It’s no secret that the pursuit of great-looking hair can cost more than just a pretty penny; it can just as easily consume precious time and energy. Nevertheless, some women seem to always have a flawless head of hair—not a strand out of place, frizz unquestionably at bay in even the most relentless Southern humidity, and volume fit for a pageant queen. So how do they do it? With just a little bit of beauty savvy, that’s how! We’re letting you in on the secrets that keep them perpetually primped. Spend a little time mastering these tips, and we promise it’ll pay off in a big way.
1. Research the products you choose.
Great product—and proper use of it—can make all the difference when you’re after gorgeous hair. Before you hit the beauty aisle, make sure you answer two key questions: What hair do you have? What kind of hair do you want?
While the first question might seem like a no-brainer, we recommend taking a closer look. Not only can the texture of your hair change every seven years, its exposure to environmental factors—like heat, sunlight, and pollutants—along with your age, and amount of friction it has endured can have a major effect on your hair’s behavior. To determine the issues you want to solve, try letting it air dry product-free when you have extra time on your hands (and no one to impress). Then, make detailed notes on what’s happening naturally. Frizz in the front? A dab of hair oil could be the fix. Flat at the crown? That’s where you need volumizing tonic! Damaged ends? Those can be tamed by massaging in a mending serum.
Once you’re acutely aware of your individual hair needs, go online, and read reviews about products that promise to deliver your desired result. And when you’re ready to hit stores, we recommend retailers such as Sephora, which encourages returning anything that isn’t working for you.
2. Try two hot tool techniques.
All of today’s most enviable styles—from Selena Gomez’s dark beachy waves to Jennifer Lawrence’s sleek blonde style—can be achieved starting with one or both of two vital hair techniques: the blowout and the tousled curl. Here, we’ve got instructive videos on how to master both the perfect blowout, and a loose modern curl. Take the time to learn these two tricks, and they’ll take you—and your hair—a long way.
3. Pay attention to face-framing strands and those at the crown.
After you’ve styled, all you need is a little product to make your look last for days. When you’re working with second-day hair, focus on refreshing the pieces around your face and re-infusing volume into the crown.
Start with dry shampoo to absorb excess oil at the roots. After you have massaged in thoroughly to ensure no excess product is lingering, use a teasing comb to lift at the crown. For more specific instruction on teasing, check out our video How to Perfectly Tease Your Hair. Next, rub a pea-sized (at most) drop of heat-protection oil between hands until the product creates a light coating on them—this will help ensure you don’t get too much product in any one spot. Lightly brush pieces that need a refresh with oil-covered hands focusing on ends and frizz-prone strands. Next, use your heat tool (blow dryer and round brush, or curling tool) to put life back into the most visible strands of hair. And there you have it, in just a few minutes your hair is refreshed and ready to go.
4. Decide on a go-to low-effort updo.
Let’s be realistic, no one and we mean no one has time for a full-out styling every single time they leave the house. There are mornings that we miss our alarms, and evenings that we get impromptu social invitations; and much to our angst, they require us to be pretty and put-together on the fly. Having an easy, great-looking updo can prove to be a real stress reliever in those situations.
When you have a little extra time, do some digging into udos—topknots to ponytails— that could work for your length, and texture. Check out some of our favorites, here. Give 3-4 styles a shot, pick your favorite, and spend a little more time mastering the look. The next time you’re ultra short on time, you just might find you still have enough to look polished.
5. Invest in a great stylist.
Where there is smoke there is fire, and where there is good hair, there is a great stylist. Don’t be shy about asking friends and colleagues about who’s responsible for their lovely cut and color. Focus on asking those who have the type of hair you want. Just as in any other profession, hair stylists have specialties, and you should find one who excels at the specific services you need—blonde highlights to gray coverage to razor cutting. It should come as no surprise that highly skilled stylists don’t always come at a thrifty price. While you may have to overcome sticker shock, we’re here to say that a great stylist is absolutely worth it.