If you think your best hair days are behind you, think again; one simple little adjustment could be all that stands between you and the gorgeous mane you’ve always wanted.
And the good news is it doesn’t require big bucks or burdensome upkeep to make your locks look their freshest.
We’ve asked celeb stylists from both coasts for timeless advice on how to work what you’ve got to its greatest potential, and what to focus on for the best results.
On your mark, get set — and va-va-va-voom!
1. Get Your Best Cut.
A great cut has the biggest impact on your hair, period. It can mean the difference between a crisp style falling into place, or battling your locks into submission with war waged daily.
If you don’t have a talented stylist in your tool belt already, ask friends with great hair for recs, or try a review site like Yelp.com to see what discerning reviewers think of salons in your area.
And depending on the shape of your face, you’ll want to make sure your cut balances out your features, provides lift to your face and opens up your eyes.
“For narrow, thin faces, it’s best to wear sexy bangs, ideally at a length that skims the bottom of the eyebrows. This will help fill out a thin face in an instant! It also offers versatility — wear them straight or slightly pushed to the side,” advises San Diego salon owner Jet Rhys.
For rounder faces, framing layers and bangs should start no higher than the bottom of the eyes, as this helps elongate and slim the face, says Rhys.
2. Increase Your Shine.
Who doesn’t look better with glistening locks? Boosting your shine is the quickest way to freshen up your look without cutting or changing your style.
The number-one culprit of dull hair is product build-up, says Laurent Dufourg, owner of both the Privé Salon NY and Privé Salon LA.
Since water can actually form a barrier between your hair and cleansers, try shampooing with Neutrogena’s Anti-Residue shampoo on dry hair first, and then step into the shower to rinse as usual. Suds up a second time if necessary for an oily scalp, and all leftover product residue should be gone, says Dufourg.
Color-treated hair can also look dull, for which Rhys has a handy shine-infusing tip.
“A colorist trick is to add three drops of Vitamin E oil to the tips of the hair while applying your color. The Vitamin E acts as a conditioning agent that works in conjunction with peroxide and hair color. This prevents hair from looking ashy and flat,” says Rhys.
3. Repair Ends Without Losing Length.
Although snipping split ends is the only way to restore badly damaged hair, there are a couple save-our-ship options you can turn to in order to replenish strands before you get to that point.
“To mend your ends and bring back that vibrant swing, using the right shampoo and conditioner is a must,” says Rhys. L’Oréal Professionnel’s Source de Richesse Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Masque contains tomato lycopene, which is known for reversing free radical damage. “It’s like an instant first-aid kit for your hair,” says Rhys.
Dufourg also agrees that daily care has the greatest impact on split ends, and recommends that you never bunch hair up on the top of your head while washing. Instead, lather the shampoo from roots to the ends, and rinse out gently.
If the damage has been done and split ends are cramping your style, a deep conditioner like Privé Leave-In Treatment will coat cuticles and temporarily glue split ends together, suggests Dufourg.
4. Speed Up Your Blowout.
The shortest path from you to fabulous hair lies in a blow-dryer and round brush, but most women find the process too long and intimidating to even attempt.
Fortunately, there are shortcuts that could have you walking out the door in minutes flat, such as skipping the typical approach of dividing hair into a bazillion carefully dried sections in favor of something quicker yet just as effective.
“Fifty percent of women dread the morning routine of lengthy blow-outs. The secret to a quicker job is to divide hair into just three sections: right, left and back. Get 80 percent of the water out before using your styling brush,” says Rhys.
You’ll also always want to use a nozzle on your dryer, as the compressed stream of air makes a noticeable difference in smoothing down hair cuticles for sleek shine, as well as, cutting down on drying time with its concentrated jet.
5. Score Smoother, Sleeker Texture.
Whether you wear your hair curly or straight, a smooth texture instantly polishes your look and makes hair appear healthier and more radiant.
And enhancing the sleekness of your texture starts in the shower.
“Rinse, rinse, rinse! The secret behind-the-scenes trick to those glossy shampoo commercials is a thorough cleansing. Take the time to fully rinse,” urges Rhys. If possible, finish with a quick cool rinse to sleeken strands.
Once out of the shower, don’t muss your strands with a disheveled towel dry, as it kills smooth texture. Instead, gently but firmly blot your scalp and strands with a hydrocotton towel for maximum absorption with minimal roughage.
Then comb through an anti-frizz serum like Avon’s Lotus Shield through strands, and blow-dry from root to tip with the nozzle of your dryer facing downward at all times. “Blow-drying downwards also prevents flyaways,” says Dufourg.
If you have curls, scrunching your strands while drying hair in a downward motion with a diffuser attachment will make for shiny, sleek texture.