We’re always so taken aback with delight when a celebrity makes an appearance with suddenly super-long hair. Yes, we know don’t they have some magic potion that causes extreme growth between public appearances, but well-done extensions are their own kind of magic, especially when styled in ever-so-chic ways, like how stylist Larry Sims just did with Gabrielle Union‘s hair.

On Friday, September 22, Union attended the Versace show during Milan Fashion Week and easily turned as many heads as the runway looks did. She topped off her form-fitting pastel-lime dress with a stunning ponytail that, while impressively long, is also impressively wide.

Sims gave Allure exclusive details on how he created such a sleek yet substantial look, starting with the muses: “The inspiration for this look was the ’90s supermodels — Naomi, Chrissy, Claudia, Cindy, and Linda,” he says.

After shampooing and conditioning Union’s hair, he used the actor’s own Flawless by Gabrielle Union Shine Enhancing Heat Protection Spray and 5 Butter Miracle Leave-In Conditioner (we’re big fans of the newly crowned Best of Beauty Award winner Redken All Soft Moisture Restore Leave-In Treatment) before giving her a blowout. And that’s when it was revealed how this ponytail looks so ample: It’s not just a ponytail.

“I sectioned off half of her hair to prep for our half-up, half-down look,” Sims says. The post-extensions outcome is so seamless, it simply looks like it’s all one big ponytail. “I braided the back section of her natural hair to create the base of her extensions.” He then slicked the front and sides of her hair with edge control and secured it with an elastic.

After sewing a human-hair-textured half unit to the braided foundation at the back of her head, “I secured a human-hair wrap-around ponytail with the same texture at the top of her head,” Sim explains. “To smooth her texture, I flatironed her hair with The Grip Comb attachment. It’s a genius new flatiron attachment that makes flatironing easier with a super smooth finish.” (And yes, it works on any flatiron.) 

“To finish off the look,” he says, “I applied five drops of the Restoring Exotic Oil Treatment to her hair for a luminous shine.” And it’s apparent that it doesn’t weigh hair down one bit. (We also love the new Best of Beauty honoree Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil.)

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