Stuck in a hair rut? With these simple, celebrity-inspired ideas and pro tips, you’ll abandon the faithful ponytail holder forever.
Try ombré hair color
Why it works: Two words: low maintenance. Ombré means gradation in French—hair starts out dark at the roots and fades to a lighter shade on the ends. And since it mimics the natural grow-out process, you can go at least four months between color appointments, says Jet Rhys, a San-Diego-based stylist. Translation: you’ll save time and money. Brunettes such as Mila Kunis love the skin-brightening look, but Rhys says the technique can be done on any hue.
How to get it: This is one look you should leave to the pros, says Rhys. “It’s an art.” Make an appointment with a trained colorist (set up a consult first to be sure), who will hand paint lighter tones from your mid-shaft to tips.
Give yourself a bouncy blowout
Why it works: After the extended popularity of what Rhys calls “Real Housewife” hair—flat at the root with big, over-styled curls—it’s a refreshing change to ditch the curling iron and go soft and bouncy. “It’s more grownup and luxurious-looking,” says Rhys. And dare we say, regal? It’s the Duchess of Cambridge’s trademark style.
How to get it: You don’t need a royal hair treatment to get Kate’s look—just some Velcro rollers. Starting with damp hair, massage your roots with a volumizing mousse such as Biomega Up All Night Volume Foam, $20, aquage.com. Blow-dry using a shine-infusing boar-bristle brush. Once dry, wrap two-inch sections of hair around two-inch Velcro rollers, placing the rollers sideways—a trick that creates a looser wave, says Rhys. After 15 minutes, mist rollers with hairspray and remove. Flip your head upside down and scrunch at roots. Flip right side up and smooth with your hands.
Braid your hair
Why it works: The braid is the new ponytail—only when it’s full of texture like Diane Kruger’s sexy plait, no one will think you’ve just come from the gym. It’s the perfect second—or even third—day hairstyle, says Australian-based hairstylist Kevin Murphy. The secret: it works better on dirty hair, which is less slippery and has more natural texture.
How to get it: “Rough up” dry hair by scrunching in a texturizing spray such as Kevin.Murphy Anti.Gravity.Spray, $25, KevinMurphy.com.au . Create a side part and smooth the pieces around your hairline with a brush. Gather all your hair to the side opposite your part and start braiding at your jawline. Secure with an elastic band. Loosen the braid by giving it a gentle shake. It shouldn’t look too perfect.
Create a sweeping side part
Why it works: Simply changing up your part tends to have a “hey, did you get a haircut?” effect. Make it a deep side part like Emma Stone’s and you’ll also add a touch of elegance to your look. It’s the perfect, no-fuss special occasion ’do. Anyone can pull it off, but this style is especially flattering for wide and heart-shaped faces, says Murphy, because it softens a wide-forehead.
How to get it: Part your hair while it’s still wet, lining it up with the highest part of your eyebrow. Apply a smoothing lotion such as Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Blow Dry Perfector Balm, $4.11, GarnierUSA.com, and blow-dry hair upside-down using the nozzle attachment (to concentrate the air flow) and a big round brush. Once it’s dry, flip hair back over and brush down while it’s still warm, locking in smoothness, says Murphy.
Cut full bangs
Why it works: There’s no easier way to make a dramatic change than by cutting bangs. Naomi Campbell’s brow-grazing, face-framing fringe is super-flattering for all face shapes: it calls attention to cheekbones, creating the illusion of more prominent ones, explains Murphy. Anti-aging bonus: Bangs instantly hide forehead lines.
How to get it: Ask your stylist for bangs that are slightly longer on the sides—they should hit the top of your cheekbone. (If you have a long face, Murphy suggests keeping them slightly shorter in the center so more forehead shows.) To get ’em smooth and straight, blow-dry your fringe as soon as you get out of the shower. Keep the greasies away by spritzing the underside with a dry shampoo, such as the purse-sized Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo Spray To Go, $7.50, Sephora.com.
Get a “skinny” cut
Why you’ll love it: It’s named for its sleek, face-framing look, but we’re told Jennifer Aniston’s sexy mid-length bob also has the power to slim a round face. “It’s all about reducing the weight of the hair and adding movement,” says Rhys. And unlike more jagged, choppy layered cuts, this style has layers that fall nicely around the face, making it incredibly simple to style.
How to get it: Ask your stylist to “point cut” your layers—a cutting technique that removes bulk and softens blunt edges. To style, blow-dry your hair upside-down, using your hands to swirl hair in a circular motion—clockwise, then counter-clockwise. “This helps keep the hair smooth,” says Rhys. When it’s just about dry, flip back over and finish drying with a paddle brush (no round brush here).Give ends a piece-y look with texturizing cream. Try Sally Hershberger Wreck and Roll Texturizing Cream, $12.50, drugstore.com