Secrets to Getting Gorgeous Hair

If you’ve ever been baffled by all the different styling aids on the shelves and wondered which ones you actually need, you’re not alone. “Any time someone finds out I’m a hairstylist, I end up surrounded by women with questions about products,” says Lisa Chiccine, owner of the Lisa Chiccine Salon in New York City. Here, Chiccine and David Rhys of Jet Rhys Salon in San Diego look beyond the label to demystify what’s inside the bottle.

Hair Spray
“It will put a nice hold on an elaborate style and lock in a look,” says Rhys. “It also helps refresh a look throughout the day.” Be aware that different types of hair sprays, such as flexible and maximum hold, deliver very different results. Higher-octane sprays (generally in aerosol form) are going to give you longer-lasting, stiffer hold and volume while locking out humidity. A flexible spray (in plastic bottles or aerosol cans) gives you more control and hair that still feels soft to the touch.

Style benefit: Hold, control, volume
Best for
: All hair types and styles
How much to use
: One to two pumps applied wherever you want to achieve hold. With sprays, you can be generous since they will disperse evenly
How to use
: Hold bottle several inches from head to get even distribution, and spray on dry hair

Thickening Spray/Root Booster/Volumizer
“Before a blow-dry, this will give your hair body that will sustain itself all day,” says Rhys. 

Style benefit: Volume
Best for
: Fine or straight hair
How much to use
: Apply one to two pumps per section
How to use
: Spray at the root and work into scalp with fingertips, then mist once over the rest of your hair

Texturizing Spray
“A texture spray makes hair stick together,” explains Chiccine. “You don’t want to see clumps, so less is more.”

Style benefit: Defines waves, curls and reduces frizz and flyaways
Best for
: Wavy, curly and/or thick hair
How much to use
: Five to six spritzes
How to use
: Spray damp hair evenly from mid-shaft to ends of hair, then scrunch

Styling Cream/Styling Lotion/Curl Cream
“These are light and versatile and amazing as blow-drying aids for that non-product feel,” says Rhys. “They are also wonderful finishing products to show off layers and movement.”

Style benefit: Definition and separation
Best for
: All hair types, but especially good for short, layered and curly hair
How much to use
: A nickel-sized blob for creams, and two to three pumps for lotions/liquids
How to use
: Work through hands, then run evenly all over damp or dry hair

“This is the heaviest product there is,” says Chiccine. “It takes just the tiniest amount of wax to create texture, and it’s best-suited for thicker hair.”

Style benefit: Texture, piecey look, spikiness
Best for
: Thick hair, especially shorter pieces
How much to use
: A baby pea-size dab
How to use
: Spread between fingers, then pinch onto the ends of hair

“Ideal for short cuts, gel is good to mix with paste for a defined style that’s not sticky,” says Chiccine.

Style benefit: Volume, hold, control, texture
Best for
: All hair types, but especially short styles
How much to use
: A nickel-sized dollop
How to use
: Apply evenly to damp hair

A hair care staple for years, mousse has come a long way. “Like gel, it’s evolved into touchable, brushable, non-flaking goodness,” Rhys says. There are different formulations (some thicker and some lighter) to help you achieve different looks -- lift at the roots, all-over thickness, curl definition, tousled “scrunched” waves.

Style benefit: Volume, hold, definition
Best for
: All hair types, but especially thin or fine hair
How much to use
: A golf ball-sized dollop
How to use
: Apply evenly to wet hair

Shine Serum
“Everyone needs shine,” says Chiccine. “Serums seal the cuticle layer to deliver maximum sheen, which is great for sleek looks.”

Style benefit: Shine, curl control, heat protection|
Best for
: All hair types, but especially frizzy or coarse hair
How much to use
: A pea-sized dab. Too much will make even clean hair look dirty and weighed down,” says Chiccine
How to use
: Rub between fingers and run over wet or dry hair from midshaft to ends

Frizz Cream
“If you dislike the syrupy texture of serum, try the creamier, weightless version known as frizz cream,” says Chiccine.

Style benefit: Same as a serum but lighter and less likely to weigh down hair
Best for
: All hair types, but especially frizzy or coarse hair
How much to use
: Start with a pea-sized dab and add more as needed
How to use
: Rub between fingers and run over wet or dry hair from midshaft to ends


Simple Steps to Beautiful Holiday Hair

Next to the LBD (little black dress), a glamorous hairdo is the most essential element of your holiday look. Don’t fret: mastering a polished party ’do doesn’t require a trip to the salon or a lot of practice.

Here are simple steps to three gorgeous holiday hairstyles from Janine Jarman, a onetime competitor on the reality show “Shear Genius” and owner of the Hairroin Salon in Hollywood. Trust Jarman to infuse your party look with sexy polish: She’s styled the hair of The Pussycat Dolls, Britney Spears, Christina Applegate and Carmen Electra.

Easy as these looks are to achieve, they do involve lots of teasing and hot tools, so you’ll want to make sure you treat your hair to a deep-conditioning treatment once a week, as well as a rinse-out conditioner each time you shampoo. And be sure to apply a heat-protection spray whenever you use a blow-dryer, flat iron or curling iron.

Look No. 1: Messy Bun
1. Starting with clean -- or better yet, day-old -- hair, section your tresses with alligator clips. Using a three-barrel waver, take 1-inch sections of your hair and -- beginning at the roots -- press the hair into the waver. Hold for three full seconds. Overlapping slightly so you don’t leave gaps, work your way down to your ends.

If you don’t have a waver, wash your hair the night before. Towel-dry, apply a texturizing styling product, twist into a loose braid and sleep on the braid overnight. When you undo your hair the next day, rake your fingers gently through the curls.

2. Apply a workable hair spray to your hair, running your fingers through the waves to reach the layers underneath.

3. Pull your hair softly to the nape of your neck. Secure with a ponytail hook or a Bobby Band (a combination of a bobby pin and an elastic).

4. Twist the low ponytail to the right, coiling it softy around the Bobby Band or hook. Secure with hairpins.

5. Go through the bun and pull it slightly apart with your fingers. “Some hairs will come loose, and that’s fine,” says Jarman. “You don’t want the look to be tight and contrived.”

6. Mist lightly with your working hair spray.

Look No. 2: The Chignon
This style, which is a knotted variation of the bun, can be worn to the side, at the nape or higher up on the back of your head. “It’s great for every face shape, whether or not you have a fringe,” says Jarman.

1. Blow-dry your hair, using a volumizing mousse to add lots of body.

2. Parting your hair in the center, on the side or sweeping it straight back, gather it into a low ponytail. Secure with an elastic.

3. Split your ponytail into two sections. Tie each section into as many chain knots (like a shoelace) as your hair permits. Pin the knots into the base of the pony with bobby pins. If your hair is too short to knot, simply twist and pin around the hub of the pony, or attach a ponytail hair extension. Don’t worry if some hair sprouts from the knots or twists; it’s part of the sexy undone look.

4. Spritz with light-hold hair spray.

Look No. 3: Loose and Adorned
1. Set your hair with hot rollers. To add extra volume, backcomb your hair before putting it into rollers.

2. Remove rollers when they’re completely cool (about 15 to 20 minutes). Brush your hair with a soft brush so the curls connect, creating one soft, voluminous look.

3. Place a decorative headband -- bejeweled, metallic or feathered -- about 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch away from your hairline. If you choose very thin headbands, you can wear two or three in contrasting colors. Gently nudge the headband forward a smidgen to create a little volume in the front of the band.

4. Finish with a light mist of working hair spray.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Keep Your Long Hair Healthy and Beautiful

Are you noticing split ends, frizz and a general lackluster lankness to your flowing tresses? That’s no surprise. “Long hair is often damaged simply because it’s been around longer and exposed to more daily wear and tear from styling and the environment,” says celeb stylist Corey Powell of The Salon by Maxime, in Beverly Hills. After all, hair that tumbles to your shoulders and below may be at least five years old. But hold the shears! Your Rapunzel locks can still radiate youthful sheen with these simple, no-fuss tips.

Get Frequent Trims
The only successful treatment for repairing split ends is a sharp pair of scissors. While some hair care products may temporarily merge split ends together, this fix lasts only until your next shampoo. And left untreated, these tiny splits can splinter farther up the hair shaft. “Have your stylist take off a quarter inch or less every six to eight weeks,” suggests hairstylist Mario Russo, founder of Mario Russo Salons in the Boston, Mass., area. After trims, use a protecting leave-in cream to prevent split ends from recurring so frequently.

Beware of the Sun
Oxidative stress from the sun can fade your color and leave hair dry and lackluster, warns Russo. Studies also show that hair is more vulnerable to sun damage in both very dry and very humid climates, particularly when it’s wet. “At home or on vacation, don’t let your hair bake dry in the sun after swimming,” says Powell, “and wear a stylish scarf or hat to protect it during any prolonged exposure.”

Invest in a Few Hair Tools
When investing in hair products, these will help keep long locks strong:

  • A natural boar-bristle brush. Its fibers are best for distributing your hair’s natural conditioning oils down the shafts.
  • A wide-tooth comb. It’s gentler than a brush when your hair is wet and weakest.
  • A microfiber towel made for long hair. It wicks water out of your hair so you can air-dry faster and more easily.

Color Correctly
Coloring makes long locks even more prone to breakage, and the damage is usually cumulative. To offset it, celebrity colorist Johnathan Gale, who has worked with Charlize Theron and Jennifer Garner, brushes organic neem oil throughout hair before painting on color or highlighting solution. “It conditions the hair and buffers the chemicals so you minimize damage, but it won’t interfere with the color process,” he says. Ask your colorist to do the same. After coloring, be sure to use a shampoo formulated for color-treated hair during each hair wash.

Condition, Condition, Condition
Use instant conditioner after every shampoo. It will lessen friction between hairs so you have fewer tangles. Apply a deep conditioner for about 15 minutes every couple of weeks (more often for coarse hair), then wrap your head in a damp microwave-warmed towel to help it sink in. “Frayed and frizzy strands are like totally open flowers, so you want a penetrating conditioner that really gets into the inner shaft to smooth it down,” says Russo. Once a month, treat hair to a strengthening and smoothing mask. Hair masks are specifically designed to help stop breakage and create additional shine.

Styling 101
Treat your hair (as often as possible) like a model does in her off time; lay off the blow dryer, curling iron, hot rollers and flat iron. “Use these hot tools three times a week max if you must,” says Russo. “And always use a heat-protective product with them.” To prolong a blowout, sleep on a silk pillowcase: The slick fibers don’t rough up the hair’s cuticle. Also try this healthy hairstyle: “Smooth on some conditioning hair cream and create a single braid,” says Gale. “It’s a sexy look for long hair and good for it too.”

The Romantic Bride: Long, Loose and Shiny Hair

When Kate Middleton walked down the aisle of Westminster Abbey last April -- with her lustrous chestnut brown hair in loose, elegant curls -- brides-to-be everywhere put down their bobby pins. Her stylist, James Pryce, described the style as “romantic waves,” and said the Duchess had chosen the look because she wanted to “feel like herself” when she married Prince William.

Today, long and loose styles are the most popular look for brides, says Eli Mancha of Chicago’s Bang! Salon, named Hairstylist of the Year at the 2011 North American Hairstyling Awards.

The key to making cascading hair work on your own wedding day isn’t a diamond tiara but shiny, healthy tresses. We asked Mancha for advice on how to get your long hair ready for the big day.

Avoid a Pre-wedding-day Split
Even though you’ll be growing your hair or keeping its length in the months leading up to your wedding, you still want to maintain the ends to prevent splitting. “A trim is necessary at least once every three months to keep the ends fresh,” says Mancha. You might also want to invest in a silk or satin pillowcase to prevent breakage. “The ends of long hair can be very fragile, especially if your hair is fine or color-treated,” says Mancha, “and it can catch on the cotton fibers of traditional pillowcases.”

Rehearse Your Color
Start coloring your hair six months in advance so you’ll have time for at least two touch-ups, and any necessary fine-tuning before the big day. Schedule your final color appointment for a week before your wedding, “so it looks fresh and shiny but more natural than freshly colored hair,” says Mancha. You might also consider a gloss or cellophane treatment. “For blondes, a gloss will tone out any brassiness,” he says, “and it will add richness to darker shades. It also acts as a topcoat, smoothing down all your ends, producing incredible shine and locking in the color so it won’t fade during your honeymoon.”

Find Your Perfect Product Match
Choose the shampoo and conditioner that’s designed for your hair texture: curly, straight, fine or thick. You might also consider products specially formulated for long hair, which has been exposed to more washes, styling and environmental damage than short hair. Wash your hair every other day, applying shampoo to the roots, but only put shampoo on the ends about once a week. Using a leave-in conditioner after your final rinse will provide the extra moisture your thirsty ends need.

Final Prep
“I usually tell my brides to wash their hair the night before the wedding,” says Mancha. “Sleeping on the hair gives a little bit of natural body. What’s more, freshly washed hair is very slippery and won’t hold a style as well. If you are going to have any curl or wave added to your hair, I recommend you or your stylist use a flat iron to create the curls. Not only are flat iron curls more modern and natural-looking, I find that they last longer. You get a slightly more squared curl, which defies gravity better than a curl created by a round surface.”


The Safe Way to Get Straight, Silky Hair

If you love the look of your hair when it’s shiny, glossy and straight, you might be saving up for an in-salon keratin straightening treatment, or tried one already. At a cost of $200 to $500, these treatments promise to turn even the frizziest, most unruly manes into manageable sleek locks, with results that last for months.

But recent headlines have warned of the hazards of these treatments. It turns out that formaldehyde fumes from the smoothing ingredients, which are sealed into the hair with a flatiron, can cause lung, eye and skin irritation. This is true, government investigations found, even of treatments that are advertised as being formaldehyde-free. That’s led some stylists to don gas masks while providing smoothing treatments and to offer masks to their clients as well.

OK, so this news might hit you like the blow of learning that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny aren’t real. But don’t despair. Some simple shower-to-sidewalk steps will help you achieve smooth, shiny hair -- without putting your health at risk.

1. Pick the right shampoo and conditioner. Sun, heat-styling, chlorinated water and chemical styling processes leach protein from hair and make curly hair especially difficult to manage or style straight, says Lindsey Watts, an educator for Empire Beauty Schools. Shampoos and conditioners that are protein-enhanced temporarily smooth the outer portion of the hair fiber, making strands glossier and more manageable, says Dr. Jeni Thomas, a senior scientist with Pantene’s research and development team. Look for products that are labeled acid- or pH-balanced; many contain hydrolyzed keratin.

2. Be gentle with wet hair. Curly hair is especially fragile when it’s wet, so blot -- don’t scrub -- hair with a towel to dry. Keep in mind that those super-plush towels that feel so good against your wet skin aren’t the best choice for blotting your hair. The makers of CURL-ease, a completely flat towel, point out that strands of hair can get caught in the loops of regular terry towels, leading to frizz. You might want to invest in a towel designed for drying hair. Some are made of microfibers that whisk water away quickly, cutting drying time.

4. Detangle with care. Use a wide-tooth comb to gently separate curls. Finer hair may require a leave-in conditioner or detangling product, while thicker smoothing creams and straightening lotions often work best on coarser, curlier hair, says Domingo Serquinia, co-owner of the Paint Shop Beverly Hills salon in Los Angeles.

5. Practice healthy heat habits. To minimize heat damage, coat locks with a thermal protection product, allow to partially air-dry, then blow hair completely dry. Be patient; use clips to divide your hair into several sections and then place a round boar-bristle brush under a 3-inch section of hair. Attach a condenser nozzle to your dryer and hold so the airflow aims downward to smooth, not ruffle, the cuticle. Before releasing the brush, hit the “Cool” button on your dryer. “Letting the dried hair cool while it’s still held tightly in the brush will help set the smooth, shiny style in place,” says Thomas.

6. Add a spritz of shine. Spray your hairbrush or your palms with a shine spray and run it lightly through your hair. If you apply the spray directly to your hair, you’ll likely get too much product on your locks, and that extra moisture could lead to frizz.