What Your Hair Says About You

Good things happen to women on their good hair days. 

That may sound silly, but think about it: Chances are you were feeling your most confident glowing self when you aced that job interview, flirted with a handsome guy (or two) at the supermarket, had a terrific time at a party or gave a smashing presentation at work.

In their book, The Beauty Prescription: The Complete Formula for Looking and Feeling Beautiful, Beverly Hills dermatologist Debra Luftman, MD, and Miami psychiatrist Eva Ritvo, MD, call this “the beauty-brain loop: ” When we feel physically attractive, we project a sense of self-assurance to the outside world. That confidence makes us even more beautiful, people respond to us more positively, and we take actions that help us achieve what we want.

And the first thing people notice about us: our hair, according to the authors. It not only shapes our inner sense of beauty but also the way people respond to us. We asked three women with common hair types how their hair makes them feel and what they do to reverse bad hair days.

Hair Type: Fine
“When my hair is flat and my ends are frayed, I feel invisible and I retreat,” says Laurie D., a 39-year-old dog groomer in Newport Beach, Calif. But “when my hair is blow-dried and polished, people look me in the eye. That makes me feel better about myself, and I’m definitely friendlier and more outgoing.”

Hair Rx: To keep fine hair looking its fullest and healthiest, do what Laurie does: Apply a deep conditioner every couple of weeks, put on a shower cap and run a dryer over your head for a few minutes. Laurie also uses a texturizing cream on her ends so they look defined rather than wilted.

Hair Type: Long and Thick
Tara K., a 30-year-old New Jersey lawyer, has the opposite problem: long hair so thick it easily looks too voluminous and unkempt. “I feel prettier when my hair is newly flatironed,” she says. “The angles are sharper, and it looks fresher.”

Hair Rx: To maintain a polished look, Tara chooses products formulated to smooth thick hair. She also minimizes damage from hot tools by always using a heat protectant when she styles her hair. “I spray it on each section right before I flatiron it,” says Tara. “That not only protects my hair, it also makes it easier to straighten, so I don’t have to do as many passes with the flatiron.”

Hair Type: Curly
For Linda U., a 44-year-old New Jersey schoolteacher, every day was a battle between her and her curly hair. “In the morning, I’d weigh my hair down with a ton of products,” she says, “but after a couple of hours it had frizzed and puffed up so much I felt too self-conscious to even go out and do my errands.” Even worse, her unruly hair undermined her feelings of authority as a teacher.

Hair Rx: Linda finally got the upper hand when she found a hairdryer with a rotating brush. It helped her achieve salon-like styling, and she began using a deep moisturizing treatment created for thick, curly hair like hers. “My hair used to look like a horse’s mane,” she says. “Now it feels soft and has lots of luster.” That, in turn, has helped Linda feel “more put together and professional,” when she’s standing in front of her class and meeting with parents.

Taking extra steps to make our hair, as well as our skin, look its best isn’t a superficial pursuit, the authors of The Beauty Prescription conclude. When you feel good about the way you look, you turn on an inner light that changes how you move through the world and how people react to you. So, take some advice from Laurie, Tara and Linda, and the beauty buddies in your own life, and shine on.

How does your hair make you feel every day? Talk about it below or @TheStyleGlossy

Photo: Corbis Images

5 Habits of Women With Gorgeous Shiny Hair

Have you ever turned green with envy when you spotted a woman with gorgeous gleaming hair? Most of us have. But rather than wishing those shiny tresses were yours, here’s a better idea. Learn the secrets of women with high-gloss hair, and you can amp up the luster of your own locks.

1. Women with shiny hair don’t play rough. To create silky shine, treat your hair like fine silk. Use only a wide-tooth comb to detangle wet hair. When you step out of the shower, blot -- don’t rub -- your hair with a towel. Cut down on brushing to avoid fraying strands. “Use the minimum number of brush strokes it takes to achieve or refresh your style,” says Jeni Thomas, a Pantene research scientist on hair and scalp health. Look for a brush that has seamless bristles. “These bristles won’t inflict damage the way bristles with rough surfaces can,” says Thomas.

2. Women with shiny hair use heat tools with care. Protect your hair from being damaged by the high heat of blow-dryers, curling irons and flat irons by coating towel-dried strands with a thermal-protectant product. Always use the nozzle attachment on your dryer. “The coils on dryers are so hot you can literally fry your hair if you place the dryer right against your hair,” says Giovanni Mele, artistic director and owner of Philadelphia’s Giovanni & Pileggi salon. “Without a nozzle, you’re delivering heat and air in all directions, and that can leave your hair frizzy rather than smooth and shiny.” If you’ve been using the same hot tools for the last decade, consider an upgrade. New technology, such as ceramic flat irons and ionic dryers, speeds styling time and reduces the static electricity that causes flyaways and dullness.

3. Women with shiny hair keep their tresses well-hydrated. Shine happens when light bounces off hair’s smooth reflective surface, which means you want your hair to be less like straw and more like ice. Moisturizing shampoos gently remove dirt and product buildup -- which can lead to dull, brittle hair -- and deposit feather-light oils and protein to boost luster. Look for ingredients like dimethicone and aloe vera; they smooth the cuticle and seal water inside the shaft.

4. Women with shiny hair are consistent about conditioning. You don’t need to shampoo your hair daily, but every time you wet it in the shower, applying a conditioner to the ends is essential to keep strands soft and smooth. Once or twice a week, apply a moisturizing mask, then don a shower cap and run a blower over your head for two or three minutes. “That heat helps the treatment ingredients penetrate the hair shaft,” says stylist Steve Lococo, co-owner of B2V Salon in West Hollywood. “That’s why salon treatments always include a few minutes under the dryer.”

5. Women with shiny hair choose styling products that add extra sparkle. Whether you like glossing drops, anti-frizz cream, hair spray, nourishing oil or volumizing mousse, you can find a shine-enhancing version of your favorite styling product. Just avoid your roots and be sure to use a very small amount of product. Instead of applying the styling product directly to your hair, try spraying or spreading a bit on your palms instead and then run them lightly over your hair, section by section.

Photo: @iStockphoto.com/alenkasm

Hot New Haircut: The Lob

If you want a gorgeous, easy-to-style and chic new hairstyle, consider the lob. You’ve seen it on your favorite celebs, including Emily Blunt, Heidi Klum, Jessica Alba, Tyra Banks, Anne Hathaway, January Jones, Nicole Richie and Naomi Campbell.

An updated version of the classic bob, the lob falls somewhere between the shoulders and the collarbone. Longer in the front and shorter in the back, it can be worn straight and sleek, tousled or wavy. And it goes easily from jeans to red-carpet glamour. The lob is long enough to be gathered into a ponytail, a loose bun or an updo.

You don’t need to be a star to rock a lob. The cut looks good on almost everybody, says Los Angeles stylist Domingo Serquinia. “The lines are softer than a bob,” he says, “so it flatters every face type. And it can be adjusted to work with any hair texture, save for super curly locks.” If your hair falls in ribbons, a lob will look beachy chic.  But the style can look too boxy or bottom heavy on corkscrew or coiled curls.

Here are some tips from Serquinia, who has been turning out some luscious lobs at Paint Shop Beverly Hills, his hip hair and nail salon.

1. Choose the right lob for your face shape. If you have a square face, long choppy layers at the ends will play down your square jaw. A long face will get a lift with shorter layers. “Midface layers will draw attention to your cheekbones and eyes,” Serquinia says. Keep the lob below your shoulders to lengthen a round face. Longer, side-swept bangs can add angles to a round face, but avoid a blunt fringe.

2. Work with -- not against -- your hair’s natural texture. “The thicker your hair, the choppier you want the ends to be,” says Serquinia. That avoids a bottom-heavy cut and brings some playfulness into the style. But if you have fine hair, those choppy ends will look thinned out. Instead, keep the ends blunt to create fullness.

3. Have fun! One of the great things about the lob is its versatility. You can pull your hair into a high pony and let some of the bottom layers hang out. It’s what Serquinia calls “an unkempt kempt look.” Let your hair dry, and apply a thick leave-in conditioner or wax to play up the ends and layers. Style with a round brush for body, or use a flatiron for sleekness and try flipping up some ends. Experiment with a large-barreled curling iron to create those tousled waves.

Best Hair and Beauty Trends From New York Fashion Week

Are you missing the easy, gorgeous hair and makeup of June, July and August? I’ve got some good news for you from New York Fashion Week. The spring-summer 2013 shows have just come to an end, and while it’s too early for the stunning dresses, shifts and shorts that were shown, the beauty trends from the runway are ready to be worn right now. Try these on for size. (No dieting required!)

Technicolor Strands
Color made a big splash at Peter Som’s show. Models with light and dark hair alike added watercolor streaks to their locks. You don’t need to commit to tie-dyed tresses. Instead, create temporary tints with soft pastel chalk, colored hair powder or colored sprays. To keep the look soft and chic, place just a few streaks under the top layer of hair so the hues peep out from underneath. For maximum playfulness, try multiple colors at once.

Beachy Braids
The Jason Wu and Honor shows brought our favorite surfer-girl look into the limelight! Braids were fun, modern and simple all at the same time. For a fresh take on plaits, try braiding your hair using an unexpected asymmetrical part. Or update your office look with a chic braided bun. Gather hair into a low ponytail and secure with an elastic band. Braid the remaining hair, wrap around the base and secure with bobby pins.

Sleek Big-screen Waves
These complemented the delicate floral prints at the Thakoon show. To recreate this look, you’ll want to ditch the ringlets and go for silent-screen glamour instead. The trick is to update your hot tool, swapping your curling iron for a triple-barrel waver. Simply part hair in manageable sections and work the waver straight down the length of your hair.

Angelic Eye Makeup
Donna Karan’s models had a halo of matte burgundy around the eyes. Using a large fluff brush, apply shadow up to the crease and then use a smaller brush to trace under the lashes with color as well. Skip the liner and finish with two coats of mascara.

Oceanic Manicures
At Charlotte Ronson and Rebecca Minkoff, nails evoked images of the sea with deep and bright shades of blue. Blue is actually a great universal color. A bright chalky blue pastel is stunning against lighter skin tones, and a bright royal blue is absolutely beautiful for darker-hued gals. Finish with a top coat to lock in color.

Royal Red Lips
And, yes, you can pull off a ruby kisser too. The trick is to choose the right red for your skin tone. Blondes tend to look amazing in orange-based reds that pop, and most brunettes should opt for truer red-based reds. Skip the liner to keep the pout soft. Apply two coats and blot for long-lasting color!

Photo: Flickr.com/j-No

Post-summer Hair Repair

As your tan fades and fall approaches, chances are your sun-streaked summer hair could use a little TLC. Follow these hair-resuscitating tips from industry pros and you’ll make autumn the season of gorgeous hair days.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
“Summer hair damage isn’t going to just repair itself,” says West Hollywood stylist Mauricio Ribeiro, who operates his own namesake salon. He suggests treating parched manes with a moisturizing shampoo followed by a moisturizing conditioner. Be sure to apply the conditioner where sun-damaged hair needs it most--from the mid-shaft to the tip. “Hair isn’t as dry at the roots thanks to its natural oils, so condition there more sparingly,” says Ribeiro.

Handle With Care
To baby your stressed tresses, apply a leave-in detangler. This will add an extra boost of conditioner and also gently smooth and separate strands, so you won’t have to tug at snags with a comb. That kind of rough handling can add further damage to your hair. “When your hair is wet, only use a wide-toothed comb to prepare it for styling,” says Pantene senior scientist Jeni Thomas. “Even when it’s dry, you want to use the minimum number of brushstrokes it takes to achieve or refresh your style.”

Get Deep
If your locks still look lackluster after using rinse-out and leave-in conditioners, call in the SWAT team: a concentrated hair-conditioning treatment or mask. To get all the benefits from the nourishing ingredients, apply the conditioner section-by-section to your hair, says Dani Hauflaire, a stylist with Maxine Salon in Chicago. Start at the tips and work toward the roots. Then, leave it on for a few minutes while you buff your skin with your favorite body scrub. (Your skin can also use some extra care now!) “The steam from the shower will help the product really penetrate the hair shaft,” says Hauflaire.

Tweak Your Color
Sun exposure can leave your hair looking dull and brassy, especially if it’s color-processed. And the streaks that looked glowing against bronzed skin will wash out fall’s paler complexion. Maintain a flattering balance by adding rich tones to your hair. That means auburn, chestnut, chocolate and coffee if you’re a brunette; caramel, gold and toffee if you’re a blonde. An at-home or salon gloss will also restore shine to your hair so it gleams on even a cloudy fall day.

Cut Your Losses
Chlorine, sun, salt, ponytail elastics -- all can lead to frayed and fried ends. “Left alone, those split ends are going to continue to split,” says Hauflaire. A half-inch trim will make a world a difference -- leaving you with well-defined, healthy ends that will show off your hairstyle, whether it’s a bob, a pixie, straight and sleek or long, sexy waves.

Photo: Corbis Images