Those with unruly hair know that the sexy, bed head look works for certain occasions - hanging with family and friends, a quick errand run where you can accessorize with (or hide under) a hat and sunglasses, and yes, right after you wake up. But for work and all other matters of play, your unkempt hair looks, well, disheveled. How do you temper your tresses and still keep its joie de vivre?
No matter how unmanageable your hair, it’s important to choose combs, brushes, dryers and irons that are designed to be gentle and effective. Especially if you have hair that’s already stressed from coloring, chemical treatments, dehydrating products, and the environment. Choose wide-tooth combs so the teeth won’t snag and break hair. Whether you opt for a paddle brush to detangle or a rounded brush to style, beauty experts agree that boar bristles are best because they evenly distribute scalp oils on the hair shaft, strengthening and adding shine.
Pick a hair dryer that is tourmaline-infused - it closes your hair cuticle and locks in moisture which minimizes frizz and cuts drying time in half. Consider hair dryer attachments for diffusing and straightening, too. Styling irons also include tourmaline technology so you can quickly create luminous curls or glossy-straight locks. Ceramic irons are less damaging than metal ones, and they distribute heat more evenly, too.
Unruly hair is parched, so select products that are ultra-moisturizing without making the hair greasy or crunchy. Use a shampoo that hydrates, and then go a few days - or a week - before washing your hair again. Dry shampoos can help keep your hair feeling and looking fresh in between washes. Conditioners can be used daily, but only on the parts of the hair that are dry. Detangling sprays are perfect for coaxing the snarls out of your hair every morning and again before bedtime.
If you have course spirals and want to create loose, cascading curls, consider a de-frizzing serum, a lightweight cream or a nourishing oil. If you have straight hair that’s plagued by flyaways and split ends, turn to a smoothing gel, a conditioning mousse or a relaxing balm. The product should be applied to hands first, and then gently finger-combed through your wet hair. Treat yourself to a weekly deep conditioning - hot oil treatments and hair masks work well, too - to deeply soften and replenish your tresses.
Unruly hair veterans swear by shampooing and styling the night before because taming hair in the morning is often too time-consuming. This doesn’t mean blow drying your hair. You can twist and curl damp hair, wrap it in a plush towel and then sleep on it. Away from home and without your favorite comb and dryer? Run your fingers through your wet hair to separate strands and then air dry. Add olive or coconut oil to give your ends and curls that extra shine. And follow fashion’s lead and turn heads with styles that make the most of your carefree mane. The runways are filled with buoyant ponytails, loose braids, and flirty wisps falling from pinned-up hair. Use ponytail holders and headbands that are metal-free so they’re easy on your hair. Scarves add a bohemian flair, while the right hat - a dashing fedora or wide-brim coyly obscuring your face - sets the mood.
Have you lost the battle with your stubborn locks? Visit a professional stylist to get a cut that eliminates split ends, and go shorter if you have to. It will grow back healthier. Then together decide if you need a salon deep conditioning, hot oil treatment or something more drastic. If you want straight, sleek hair that lasts for months, your stylist will be able to detail the pros and cons between thermal reconditioning, keratin treatments and relaxers. If you have straight hair and want to add voluptuous curls, consider a body wave that will also last for months. As with any hair-enhancing chemical, make sure you understand the time, budget, and health implications.