Hair Care

By April Soffel

1. Go out with a bang
If you’re wearing your hair in long layers, and want a change without chopping it all off, join the ranks of Lara Flynn Boyle and Famke Jansen by adding provocative bangs to any haircut. Spring bangs can be worn long and swept to the side, keeping your look spontaneous and breezy. Have your stylist cut them at a slight angle, getting longer toward the sides of your face. This ideal ‘do can be grown out come winter, or cut into heavier, shaggy bangs, perfect for cold weather.

2. Party colors
Try a few pink highlights or some bright blue pieces on the tips of your hair for an evening out. Bright colors are de rigeur this season, and one easy way to achieve a punk, 80′s look is with temporary color. Try “Colored Styling Glue” by ICE Hair in “amp’d up orange” or “trip’d out pink”. Punky Temp’rary Color comes in palm-sized pots in green, purple, blue and pink. Not only do they add a splash of color, they also hold your style. You can find these goodies at Ricky’s for around $10.

3. Smell the roses
There is one hair accessory that should grace every woman’s locks this spring. H&M makes a delightful rose scrunchy in red, black, pink, beige, blue and green. Wear them with your hair swept into a loose, low, side ponytail, and spritz them with your favorite perfume for an added kicker. The $2.50 price tag doesn’t hurt either.

4. Minute Up-do’s
It’s hard enough to find time to blow dry your hair, never mind twisting, curling or pinning. Fortunately Revlon makes “Ready-to-Wear-Hair”, or hair extensions in the form of clips, bands and scrunchies. A braided headband holds your hair back and looks like you spent an hour doing it (6.99), a butterfly clip with tousled waves gives instant volume (19.99) and any number of scrunchies give you on-the-spot curls, braids, or spikes (8.99 and up). TresAllure makes similar products starting at $9.99. They come in an array of colors, natural and otherwise, and look surprisingly realistic. Check them out at Ricky’s.

5. All that Frizz
Springtime in New York can give you the rainy day blues, but it doesn’t have to take a toll on your hair, too. If you’re feeling creative, and a little pinched in the pocket, mix half an avocado and an egg yolk. Work it into your hair and leave it on for fifteen minutes. Shampoo and condition your hair as usual. It should cut down on frizz and fly-away’s. Don’t keep the final result for more than a few days, and be sure to refrigerate any leftovers. For another blues-buster, mix the other half of the avocado with some limejuice and garlic. Serve it with chips and beer.

6. Fear Knot
One of my favorite things about warming weather is the copious abundance of farmers’ markets. After visiting one, I’m always sure to come away with a variety of potted herbs for my kitchen. If you are victim to a similar weakness, or just want to save a little money and be good to yourself at the same time, try this homemade hair detangler. Mix ½ cup fresh oregano leaves with 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, and one cup of water. Heat the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Simmer for thirty minutes, then strain and cool it. When it has cooled, pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray it on clean, wet hair. It will keep for three days in the refrigerator.

7. Pool Hair
Harsh chemicals in swimming pools can leave your hair dry, lifeless or worse – looking grisly green or putrid orange. To protect against these nightmares, start by wetting your hair before you dive in. Applying a little conditioner will create somewhat of a protective barrier around your hair. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo after your swim to get rid of chlorine and pollutants. Bumble and bumble makes a Sunday Shampoo, designed to absolve “hair of sins.” It’s designed for weekly use on virgin hair, but colored hair can use it more selectively. Find a salon on your beat at http://www.bumbleandbumble.com. After clarifying, leave the conditioner on a few extra minutes. If you have highlighted or dry hair, this can be done as a rule. Keep a butterfly clip in your shower and clip conditioned hair up in a twist or bun, to avoid cream running in your eyes while you’re trying to shave your legs. Also stay away from do-it-yourself lighteners like sun-in. These weaken the hair and are less sophisticated than salon lightening. To protect your scalp from too much sun, mix a little sunscreen and water and spritz it from a spray bottle on your part.

8. Shagadelic
So you you’re growing out a pixie cut, and your hair looks more like a kitchen mop than a chic hairstyle. Or, long boring locks are getting you down. A fabulous, low-maintenance way to go is to get a shag cut. This style ranges from shoulder to chin length, and is choppy and textured. It frames any face nicely, goes with bangs, and shows off your shoulders giving you a hair “done” feeling. Use a leave-in-conditioner like MOP’s C-System Styling Conditioner to separate the ends and let air-dry. For a more structured look, dry the bulk of the hair straight with a paddle brush, and then curl the ends outwards with a small, round brush. The result is flirty, light, and easy to maintain. MOP’s products are available in fine salons. Find the closest one at http://www.mopproducts.com.

9. Speed it up
There’s been some debate as to whether or not regular cutting makes your hair grow faster. Unfortunately, cutting your hair only makes it shorter. Cutting does keep your style fresh, and can get rid of damaged hair or split ends. Vitamins won’t give you Rapunzel locks, either. The health of the hair lies in the hair shaft, which is supported by general good health and genetics. If you regularly take a multi-vitamin, it will help the health of your scalp, but ultimately hair length is genetic.

The best way to maintain healthy hair is to use salon products (they really are better), and to go easy on hot irons, blow drying, dying, and tight bands or barrettes, which may break the hair. Conditioning is important because it allows you to comb your hair without breaking it, and controls frizz that might otherwise lead you to bind your hair in frustration.

10. Blow drying for dummies
I’ve always considered myself handy with a blow dryer, but it wasn’t until I worked in the beauty industry that I realized a few key points every laywoman needs to know. Blow-drying isn’t impossible. It takes two things: a hair clip and patience. First dry your hair as much as possible with the dryer and your hands, lifting and separating as you go. When its nearly dry, section it off so only the under part is exposed, and clip the rest to the top of your head. Start at the root, and pull a round brush gently to the ends. Use a natural bristle brush, like boar’s hair, and try to stay away from plastic or metal. Run the heat down the length of the hair and roll your brush under the ends. When it feels dry, take the dryer away. Hold the brush for a few seconds, with the hair wrapped around it, and let the hair cool. Then release your hair so gently that it just falls off the brush. A quick release will give you fly-aways and frizz. Continue in the same manner, working your way to the top of your hair. For thick hair, or for an evening look for medium-textured hair, run a dime-sized drop of Wella Hair Putty through the ends. When your hands are nearly dry, touch the top of your hair lightly to maintain shape. Or for an all-day look for finer hair, try Biolage’s finishing spritz on the final style. Spritz from 8″ to 10″ inches, lifting the hair to evenly coat it. Call 1-800-526-4057 for information on Wella products, and go to http://www.biolage.com to find a salon that sells finishing spritz.

Extra Body Tip: When you have completed the sides, take the hair at the top of your head and lift in 1-inch sections straight upwards from your part. Dry at the root and towards the ends of the hair, taking hair from both sides of the part. Curl it toward the back of your head. Roll it down to the base, hit it with the heat, and let it sit for as long as you can. Then gently release it. Work from back to front. Run a little pomade or hair putty over ends with your fingers. Never put styling products near the root of your hair or too near your face, because the oils in your scalp will weigh your hair down. This should give even fine hair more body than Salma Hayek.

Originally published July 2003
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