Hair Inspiration and Symbolism:
Kevin Alexander, the hair designer, sticks pretty religiously to the hair references in the book–there are many and they’re all rather symbolic. You’ll recall that hair color was a key plot line when Ned figured out that the blonde Joffrey was the child of Cersei and Jaime’s (eww) incestuous union rather than the king’s son. Red heads also figure prominently, from the auburn Catelyn Stark and her offspring, to that smoke monster-birthing Malisandre and the sassy wildling Ygritte.
So besides the books, Alexander’s research led him to the pre-Raphaelite artists, and painters like John William Waterhouse and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. And what about those killer braids?
“They come out of our imagination actually,” Alexander said. The braids all started with the Dothraki, and then when Daenerys became one of them, she adopted a more plaited style, and the rest is history.
So what’s involved in all the hairstyles?
Wigs: Alexander estimates that 20-30 wigs are in use on the show; show principals like Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), Cersei (Lena Headey), Malisandre (Carice van Houten), and Margeary (Natalie Dormer) all wear wigs, which can cost up to $7,000 each. Why so expensive?
Alexander explained that the price shoots up the longer you go–and some of the wigs are 24-28 inches long. The human hair is sourced from India, Europe, and Russia. Plus Cersei’s wig doesn’t have any chemical processing at all. The wig maker sourced individual colors and strands of hair, which were then individually knotted onto a lace cap for her golden blonde blend. The wigs are then carefully maintained; at night they’re put on custom made blocks in the shape of the actresses’ heads. They treat it like actual hair. Every few days they’re washed, styled and set–the team uses Wella products, and Cloud Nine rollers and The Wand.
Besides wigs, Alexander and his team use some pretty impressive color processing on the cast. Sansa (Sophie Turner) has naturally baby blonde hair. To get that Tully red, Alexander uses a mix of four different watercolor shades. Since Turner was only 13 or 14 when she started on the show, Alexander didn’t want to use peroxide on her. The color lasts about ten days and needs to be touched up constantly. Ditto for King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), whose naturally dark hair needs touching up every single day he shoots to keep it Lannister light. (Joffrey’s hair is also kept short, unlike some of the other dashing knights, because it makes him look younger.)