How to Deal With Bad Hair Days

Believe it or not, tackling bad hair days is an achievable feat -- and one you can even do in style and with as much flair as someone who had spent a better part of the morning primping and preening in the bathroom. These strand-smart strategies will ensure that no tress distress will put a damper on your crowning glory.

The Right Cut

Believe it or not, your daily hairstyling routine starts at the salon. “A great haircut gives you a beautiful, face-framing shape and complements your features perfectly,” says Nick Arrojo, celebrity hairstylist and author of Great Hair: Secrets to Looking Fabulous and Feeling Beautiful Every Day. “The best way to do that is to get a cut that matches the texture and shape of your hair, not the shape of your face,” he explains.

So, before you ask your hairdresser for a cut to “make your cheeks look smaller” or “forehead less wide,” focus on the inherent qualities of your tresses -- from shape (straight, wavy, curly) and texture (fine, medium, coarse) to density (heavy, medium, light) and the unique combinations of these characteristics. “Not every hairstyle suits every type of hair,” says Arrojo. “If you work with your hair in its natural state, you will achieve greater success in maintaining your style.”

To-do Updo

A neat, sleek ponytail may be the quickest way to get you out the door in minutes when your hair refuses to cooperate with any brushing or shaping. But “sleek” here is the operative word. It’s easy to tousle hair up into a half-hearted updo, rendering a haggard-looking finish. (Only models seem to get away with this and still manage to look fantastic.) If you’re doing a ponytail, go for it 100 percent. Start by brushing out all the tangles, from ends to roots. “If you start at the roots and work through the ends, you can push all the knots in your hair together into one big tangled mess,” says Arrojo. Next, dampen hair and work in a little styling gel -- or wax if you prefer a matte effect -- on palms, evenly distributing it throughout strands. Use a brush or a fine-tooth comb to neatly gather hair all around. Secure with a fabric-covered elastic, or even a bejeweled clip. Steer clear of ordinary rubber bands, as they can snag locks.

The “Yorkie”

An edgier alternative to the ponytail is the “Yorkie,” a fashion-forward updo inspired by Yorkshire puppies. The look can very well be Mohawk-inspired, so this up-style is sometimes called the “faux-hawk.” It calls for gathering the top section of your hair -- mostly your bangs -- twisting them towards the back of the head and securing with two crisscrossed bobby pins. If you have a few minutes to spare, you can also try back-combing or teasing along the hairline and smoothing out the outer edges with a brush to create a smooth bump up top.

Shiny Side Part and Braids

Brush out all tangles and create a clean part on your preferred side. You can do this neatly with a tail comb, which works even better on damp hair. Use the comb to push hair backward so you create a visible gap between wet wisps to part hair precisely. Next, rub a coin-sized amount of shine serum between palms and evenly distribute throughout locks. Finish the look by pinning hair to the side. If you’re not in a big rush, try braiding the front part to form a face-framing “hair band.”

Make Like the French

When all else fails, slip on a chic beret (military print is on-trend this season) or even a floppy hat. Whatever hat or cap you choose, just be sure it makes sense in relation to your surroundings. Bonnets in hot summer weather are unfashionable and impractical, and trucker caps are a no-no if you’re working in a corporate setting. You can also accessorize a less-than-stellar coif with a bright scarf with a sophisticated print worn as a headband.