Everybody knows what a difference having a good hair day makes. When you’ve got that salon-fresh cut and style, all the other things you have to deal with and accomplish in your day seem that little bit easier.
A good hair day means a good self-confidence day, a good self-esteem day, and a good I-can-do-it day. But how can you recreate this fresh, fabulous feeling the day after your salon visit, when you’ve slept badly and got ready in a rush? And what about the day after that, and after that, and after that…???
In this article we will go through the five key hair styling techniques that can keep you feeling on top of your hairstyling game, and give tips and tricks on how you can make the best choices for your particular hair (and face) type. Read on for the ultimate hair styling survival guide!
Why Bother Styling Your Hair?
In the simplest terms, hair styling is the art of modifying your hair by cutting it, drying it, arranging it or using products on it (and oftentimes it involves a combination of all these things).
How you choose to wear your hair can communicate a great deal about your character to other people, and can positively (or negatively) affect your own self image.
You could convey a sense of purpose, power and authority through a sleek up-do to help you feel assertive in the workplace; or you could convey a sexy confidence through voluminous curls to make you feel amazing on a date night.
The possibilities are endless, and the way that you style your hair will not only affect the way that others see you, but also the way that you feel about yourself.
What Type of Hair Do You Have?
Before we begin looking at the 5 key hair styling techniques, it is essential that you ascertain what type of hair you have. Everybody’s hair is different and there is no type that is better or worse than another, however, you can only get the best out of your hair if you account for its specific properties.
Therefore, have a look in the mirror and run your fingers through your hair to really feel its weight and texture. Then ask yourself:
- Is my hair long (below shoulder-length), mid-length (around the shoulders), short (around the jawline) or cropped (close to the head)?
- Is my hair thick, moderately thick, or fine?
- Is my hair curly, wavy or straight?
- Is my hair silky, frizzy, or wiry to touch?
- Is my scalp oily, neutral or dry and flakey?
- Is my hair healthy and hydrated, split at the ends, or split and dry throughout?
- Is my hair color natural or dyed?
Once you have really analysed your own hair type you will be able to pick products and techniques that are most suitable for you. Speaking of which…
What Do You Need in Your Hair Styling Survival Kit?
There are a few things that you should make sure you have in your hair styling arsenal before you can begin on your styling journey. With each of these items you should be sure to buy the most appropriate for YOUR HAIR TYPE, because what works for some hair types will not necessarily work for others.
The Right Hair Brush
Cheap, poorly made brushes can cause your hair to split and break, so investing in a
good hairbrush is a must for anyone who takes their hair care needs seriously. Going for a brush with natural bristles is always a good place to start, but if you know you have frizzy, static hair then plastic or rubber prongs are better.
A wide paddle brush will help you achieve smooth, sleek styles, whereas a circular brush will help you achieve volume and texture. If you have curly hair then a wide-toothed comb will protect your locks.
The Right Shampoo and Conditioner
As a general rule, shampoo makes your hair clean and conditioner makes it healthy.
It is often best to buy shampoo and conditioner from the same company because they will have designed the products to compliment each other. If you have a dry scalp then an anti-dandruff shampoo will be of great use, and if you have an oily scalp then look for shampoos ‘for oily hair’.
Those of you with curls will benefit from buying specialist curl-friendly shampoo and conditioner which will optimise your natural hair properties.
A Decent Blow Dryer
You do not need to spend loads of money on a fancy blow-dryer as most will do the
same job whether you paid $20 or $200, however be sure to buy one with a wattage of at least 1500 or it will lack power and limit your styling options. Getting a dryer that has a ‘cool-air’ button is a great bonus, as is getting a diffuser nozzle for curls and volume.
A Supply of Styling Products
And finally, it is always a good idea to have some heat protection spray in your styling
kit, as heat can really damage the fibers of your hair. A hair serum will help to lock in moisture, and a holding agent (like hair spray, gel, mousse or wax) will help to keep your tresses in place so that your styles last for longer.
The 5 key Hair Styling Techniques:
Now that you know what your hair type is and your styling kit is assembled, let’s look at the 5 key hair styling techniques and practices you can follow to make sure your hair looks and feels its best.
1.Get the Perfect Cut
Your actual hair cut is the foundation on which all your other styling techniques rest. If you are unhappy with your cut, it can be far more difficult to create the styles that you want and that suit your face shape.
Finding a hairdresser who you know and trust is always helpful, and personal recommendations from friends, family and colleagues are always a good starting point in your search. Once you have a hairdresser, you should always aim to go to the salon with a clear idea of what you are after.
Taking photos and clippings of celebrities or models whose hair you like will give your hairdresser a much clearer picture of what you want.
But remember, what looks good on someone else may not necessarily be the best style for you. So, have a think about which of the following most relates to your face shape:
Round Face – if you have a round face then you will probably suit short cropped styles like pixie cuts but may want to avoid short bobs that will widen your face. If you have long hair try adding some short layers that fall below the jawline to compliment the curvature of your face.
Oval Face – if you have a classic oval face then you will most likely suit all manner of hair styles, be they long, layered, shoulder-length or cropped! Take your pick!
Square Face – those of you with a strong jawline will really benefit from some softness to balance out your bone structure. Short layers that fall around the cheekbones can help to do this, as can very short crops that show-off your chiseled looks.
Heart-shaped Face – if you have a dainty chin and full cheeks then you will look great with longer hair that doesn’t add too much to the top of your head. Long layers that fall below your chin will look great!
Narrow / long Face – those with long, narrow face shapes can benefit from bangs which create the impression of a lower hairline and the illusion of width across the brow.
Wide / short Face – Those with a short face shape often look great with a sweeping side fringe as the diagonal line creates the illusion of length and elongation.
2.Add Some Color
The cut of your hair can help to accentuate your best features and balance out those features that you don’t like – but the color of your hair is where you can really express your personality!
You can convey so much about your character through hair color, and there are so many really great quality home-dye products out there these days that you do not need to pay hundreds of dollars to have a professional do it for you.
Let’s go through some of the best hair color options available:
All Natural – Often, your natural hair color will be the most nuanced and flattering choice for your complexion. What’s more, it is becoming more and more acceptable for women to show off their greys as they come through and it can look really sophisticated and classy.
The best way to make the most of your natural hair color is to take good care of your hair so that it is in great condition and healthy.
Enhanced Natural – Of course, there are loads of really authentic looking natural hair dye colors that are easy to apply at home. It is always best to test out a new brand or shade with a semi-permanent dye rather than diving head-first (excuse the pun) into permanent colors.
If you go for a dark, rich shade then you may need to apply more blusher or lipstick to create a balanced look, and if you go for a softer, lighter shade you may need to dial your make-up tones back a little.
Bold and Bright – You can turn heads and make a statement by doing something daring with your hair color. You can get really vibrant and effective blue, green, purple and pink dyes these days, and there are even metallic or multi toned dyes available.
A top tip is to keep these colors fresh as they can look washed-out pretty quickly. If you don’t want to do your whole head, why not try just dying a few under-strands?
Highlights / Lowlights – It is generally best to get highlights and lowlights done professionally because the technique is time consuming and fiddly. Highlights can add softness to your face and work particularly well on older women.
Low lights can add structure and definition to your face and will really make all your clothes seem to pop again! It’s like getting a whole new wardrobe just by changing your hair color!
Ombre – Fading from a light shade to a darker shade (or vice versa) is known as ombre and it can make your hair look shorter or longer respectively. Ombre can be really feminine and eye-catching (and it is also very ‘on-trend’).
Roots and All – there are some really excellent root touching up options available in shops which help you to stay on top of those annoying roots as they come through.
This saves you having to dye your whole head unnecessarily and also helps you maintain a clean and cohesive look. Touch-up sticks, powders and sprays are all fast and effective options.
3.Become a Blowdrying Master
So you have the cut, and you have the color… Now it is time for you to master the blow-dry!
The way that you dry your hair can affect its texture, volume, and its style. Air drying is far more forgiving on your hair fibers, but it will not allow you to control the finish. We therefore recommend that you allow your hair to air dry when you have a night off or do ot need to style it.
On those occasions when you do need to blowdry, it is always better to have your blowdryer on a low heat and to apply heat protection spray prior to starting.
For Volume and Body – If you want to optimize volume, a great tip is to flip forwards so that your hair is dangling down towards the floor and rough-dry your hair upside down. Shake your head and jiggle the dryer to increase the body and volume.
Once it is semi-dry you can flip up and finish the job by using a large circular brush. Divide your hair into three sections (two side sections and one top section). Then use your brush to scoop your hair up and out at the root to create root-lift.
Do not twist the brush too far round or your hair will become tangled. Gide the blow-dryer along with your brush but try not to jiggle it about anymore so that your hair isn’t frizzy (you want to end up with thick, flowing locks not a bird’s nest!).
For Smoothness and shine – To create a smooth, silky finish you should turn the heat and intensity of your blow-dryer down. This way you will not disturb the hair fibers as much and they will dry more smoothly.
Again, divide your hair into three sections, and dry the two side sections first, using a hair brush to control the hair and guiding your dryer along over it. Have patience and try not to jiggle the dryer about too much in order to keep the hair sleek.
4.Create Gorgeous Curls
If you already have curly hair then there are some wonderful creams and mousses that you can apply (before drying) which really help to condition your curls and make them lovely and defined. If you have straight or wavy hair and want to curl it then there are a few simple trick you can use:
Curling Tongs / curling wand – one of the easiest ways to create your ideal curls is to invest in a pair of curling tongs. Remember that the size of the barrel will dictate the size of your curls, so if you want a poodle perm look you will want a narrow barrel, and for loose, boho waves you should use a wide barrel.
Be sure to always use heat protection spray before curling and don’t try to curl too much hair at one time – it will not hold very long. Instead, pin your hair up on top of your head and start from the bottom, curling the undermost layers first.
Heated Curlers – heated curlers allow you to create big, bouncy curls with a professional finish. You simply plug the pack into a socket and allow the curlers to heat up, then roll your hair into them and leave them until the curlers cool. The cooling process causes the hair to set and creates a curl that lasts well.
Be sure to spray with holding spray before and after you roll however to ensure you get the maximum hold.
Rollers – old-school rollers can work really well, especially if they are left overnight. It can be uncomfortable to sleep with large rollers in so you might not want to do your whole head. However, popping a few rollers in the top section of your hair overnight is a great way to ensure that you wake up with volume in the morning.
Scrunchy bun – never underestimate the power of the scrunchy bun. For a quick, easy cheat to messy curls, simply twist your hair into a bun whilst it is still a little damp and then take it down once it is fully dry!
5.Go Sleek and Straight
And finally, if you want to achieve a really gorgeous, glossy hair style (a la Rachel from Friends, Seasons 9 and 10) then straighteners are the only answer. A good pair of straighteners might set you back a few dollars but they will more than make up for it in saved time and effort.
Always use heat protection spray prior to straightening and NEVER STRAIGHTEN WET HAIR as it will damage and break. Instead, keep your straighteners on a moderate setting and only draw small sections through the irons at a time.
Straighteners can also be used to curl hair by adding a simple twist of the wrist once each section is locked between the irons!
It isn’t advisable to straighten your hair everyday, but if you have to then keep the temperature setting low and remember ‘less haste, more speed’
Happy Hair Styling!