My Pantene Commercial: Behind the Scenes (Part One)

I thought I would give you a little behind the scenes look at my commercial shoot for Pantene’s Aqua Light campaign. (Except by no means is it going to be a “little” look, as you can probably guess by the “Part One” designation in the title. I’ve been waiting 5 months to tell this story, so I probably won’t spare a detail!)

The shoot consisted of two days. The first day was the fitting/styling day, followed by the actual shoot on the next day. I thought we’d ease into this series with a post about the first day. I managed to grab a few shots with my iPhone, so here we go!

The shoot was located at Sony Studios in Los Angeles. (Right across from the Jeopardy sound stage – yoohooo, Alex Trebek! Over heeeere!)

The driver dropped me off in front of Stage 9, and first things first, if you haven’t seen a studio lot, it’s pretty intimidating. Huge warehouse-sized buildings, lots of alleys, people with headsets and clipboards whizzing around on carts…the best way to explain it would be that quintessential scene when the naive girl steps off a bus in a totally new city. There I stood, in the middle of the lot, overnight bag at my feet, wondering where I was supposed to go. I decided to peek behind the Stage 9 doors, and saw this.

Tons of people working like mad scientists in a 12,000 sq. ft. sound stage. Gulp.

I was then ushered over to the wardrobe room, and this is what I saw.

Pretty much my idea of heaven on earth. You all know I like to shop, and all of those racks of clothing were for me to try on. Not to mention the seamstress sitting in the corner, ready to tailor any item that might not fit perfectly. I was beginning to like this whole commercial thing…that was, until I realized what a fitting entails. Giggling with girlfriends while trying on the latest fashions? Um, no. Try standing in outfit after outfit while the director, the ad agency team, and the stylists all stare at you, seated with arms crossed, while quietly remarking to each other why they think this or that outfit is just NOT working. “Could you stand up? Lean against the wall? Sit down?” I remember at one point, the director asked me to “do what a blogger does,” so I just stuck my fingers out and pretended to type? YOU GUYS, good times.

(For the record, everyone I dealt with during the shoot was really lovely. Thanking my lucky stars on that one.)

A few hours later, the hairstylist (will you please look at her resume?) showed up to assess my hair for the shoot. I LOVED her. Serena has worked on most of Pantene’s campaigns, so I felt pretty honored, to say the least. What is involved in a hair assessment for a hair commercial, you ask? A lot of combing with a fine tooth comb, people. Lots of combing. Combing and assessing, combing and assessing. Usually, at this point, the hairstylist would touch up roots or refresh the hair color or trim, but since I don’t color my hair, she just put a quick glossing treatment on it. (A glossing treatment is like temporary hair color, without the pigment.)

Now, is this the face of a Pantene commercial or what? JAZZ HANDS.

After she shampoo and conditioned my hair, I endured the longest, most detailed blowout of my life, and was sent back to the hotel to get some rest for the big shoot the next morning. Call time? 5:45am. Who wants to guess how much sleep I got that night? (Hint – it was less than 2 hours.)

Part Two here.

  • kat

    March 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    i LOVE the behind the scenes stuff. and i love how real you’re keeping it too. i hope you talk about if you had to practice turning around so that they can do the big hair sweep. that’s my favorite part of the commercial.

  • Valerie

    March 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I love hearing all the details!! I want to know more about that blowout…did you get any good tips?

  • Amy

    March 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    wait just a second..you slept on your hair after a blow out? or attempted to sleep! i hope they did it all over again.

  • Jen [Tiny Oranges]

    March 6, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I can’t believe you got ANY sleep at all that night! LOVE these details – hanging on my seat waiting for Part II!!! In the meantime, I will do what a blogger does…


  • amy lewis wright

    March 6, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I love love love the behind-the-scenes details. I can’t wait to hear about part 2, 3, etc…keep ’em comin’ girl!

  • Jen [Tiny Oranges]

    March 6, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    …and excuse me for the second comment but I just finally tried adding a Gravatar and want to see if it worked!!

  • Lindsay

    March 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    What? They blew out your hair the day *before* the commercial? Consider me intrigued. Also, I’m loving this behind the scenes post. And I agree with Kat – you MUST tell us about practicing the hair sweep! :)

  • Melissa

    March 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    So fun! I love to read “behind the scenes” accounts!

  • Adventures In Babywearing

    March 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Oh my goodness. LOVE it. So, did you have to go back to the hotel wearing the cap? How did you not mess up your blow out???


  • Sarah

    March 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Steph – Actually the cap was when I had the glossing treatment on. The blow out happened afterwards, so my hair was down when I went back to the hotel. As for the blow out…duh duh dunnnnn, more coming next week! ;)

  • Sarah

    March 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I’m so excited you all like the behind the scenes stuff! I’ve been dying to tell the story…hang tight until next week!!

  • Amti'b

    March 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm


  • Lini

    March 6, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Can’t wait for the rest!

  • Donna

    March 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Did they actually use the aqua light product I wash your hair prior to styling and filming?

  • Sarah

    March 9, 2012 at 11:27 am


    Great question. And, uhhhh, I’m not sure? My head was completely submerged in one of those hair-washing sinks and I couldn’t see…however, I had been using Aqua Light for weeks leading up to the shoot.

  • […] Part one here. […]

  • […] one here. Part two […]

  • […] one here. Part two here. Part three […]

  • Odds and Ends | whoorl

    March 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    […] at Hair Thursday, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t leave out a single detail. Part one here. Part two here. Part three here. Part four here. […]

  • […] one here. Part two here. Part three […]

  • […] HairThursday.com blogger Sarah James got to star in her own Pantene commercial!  The link leads to Sarah’s behind the scenes look at the commercial filming process and her experiences going to Sony Studios in LA.  I don’t know how much she was paid, but she definately got a free trip and once in a lifetime experience because of her blog. […]