A cut above: 'X Factor's' lead hairstylist delivers 'shear' talent

A cut above: 'X Factor's' lead hairstylist delivers 'shear' talent
(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
by: Vince Mirenzi

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He's touched Ellen DeGeneres' hair, had his work featured in Vanity Fair, and is known as "The Hollywood Hair Guy" in celebrity circles.

It's not what you would expect from an Iowa farm boy with 15 siblings, but with "X Factor's" Lead Hairstylist, Dean Banowetz, the unexpected should always be expected.

This season of the music reality show has been exciting and unpredictable, featuring a wide-range of characters, each deserving of their own style. It's Banowetz's job to consider all factors and translate them into "X Factor" hair.

"I always take personality into consideration. I also want to make sure if a contestant is 13 they look 13. If they are a conservative or outrageous personality, I consider it all," he said, in an interview with CTV.ca.

One intriguing fact about this week’s "X Factor" finale is that it marks the first time the U.S. version of the show features a girl, a boy and a group in contention for the $5 million title. Banowetz loves it all.

"I love the versatility of working with all types of people," he said.

While the creative team and mentors Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato are always providing input, Banowetz pointed to one factor that outweighs all others when creating a contestant's perfect look.

"Above all, the contestant needs to feel comfortable, so we make adjustments when necessary," Banowetz said, though he did admit those adjustments can be quite stressful at times. "I'm always making last-minute changes. I listen to my gut feelings."

Hair is an art form, and like every masterpiece, the creator wants it to look picturesque when the world is watching. Thankfully for Banowetz, things have exceeded expectations this season.

"So far, so good… I did hair that I thought looked OK, but on camera it looked fabulous."

This season’s "X Factor" featured a "Pepsi Challenge" week, where America was able to go online and vote for what they wanted to see from every facet of a contestant’s performance. One may assume that for a stylist this would prove tricky, but Banowetz is not one to shy away from a little pressure.

"I embrace the viewers’ ideas and comments. It keeps me on my toes," he said.

One of the difficulties that coincides with working on a reality show is the sadness that comes with saying goodbye to contestants you grow close with. After working in reality television for a period of time, including a stint on "American Idol," Banowetz has learned to embrace the inevitable on "X Factor."

"In the beginning of my reality career, it was very difficult, but they are not dead, they are moving on to better their future. I am all about making lasting friendships."

On Wednesday night, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens and Fifth Harmony will take to the stage with hopes of delivering a $5 million performance. After working closely with all three finalists this season, Banowetz summed up his expectations for this season's "X Factor" finale in one word.


Full episodes of “X Factor” are available online at CTV.ca.