How to Extend the Life of Your Blowout

We’ve all been there: You spend an hour achieving a gorgeous, frizz-free blowout, only to wake up to a crinkled, limp mess. But don’t worry. There’s an easy fix! Using the right techniques and products -- starting before you even touch the blow-dryer -- will help you maintain your style for days.

Prep
The most important step to achieving a long-lasting blowout is a good wash. “Without a clean head of hair, your blowout will not last, and is likely to get oily quicker if there is any residue left from previous products,” says Jacqueline Romero, salon manager at BLOWN, a blow dry salon in Beverly Hills, Calif. Look for products that work with your hair type, she adds. Dry hair craves products that add moisture and shine, such as a shampoo with shine-boosting argan oil. For flat hair, use something with a bit of grip, or products that add body, such as silicone-free volumizing shampoo.

Technique
For a smooth look with added bounce, Romero suggests this blow-dry technique: Flip your head and rough-dry your hair, focusing on getting the roots dry to maintain the lift. Using either a large round brush or vented paddle brush, section the hair into four quadrants. Lay the hair onto the brush, and angle your blow-dryer to keep the hair on the bristles. Move from the roots through the mid-shaft to the ends while continuously turning the brush. Repeat until hair is dry. Tip: If you have bangs or a fringe, blow-dry that part first.

Maintenance
Lightly top off your flowing locks with a shine serum. “Apply just to the ends of the hair, avoiding extra oil at the roots,” Romero says. When your hair hits the “oily” day, use a dry-shampoo. “Your blow-out will last up to 2 days longer with a dry shampoo,” Romero says. To apply, make long horizontal sections in hair and spray shampoo into the first inch of the root. Brush through to disperse product. Tip: Sleep on satin pillowcases to prevent frizz.

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.

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

6 Solutions for Stress-free Hair

When it comes to our hair, we’d all like to be efficiency experts, banishing bad hair days in a flash. Now you can: The best way to keep your hair looking its best in any situation is to think like a pro and prepare. With a few simple styling techniques and some helpful tools and accessories, you’ll be able to solve the most hair-raising dilemmas almost instantly. Here’s how:

1. Need a polished look fast? Build up your accessories wardrobe. With just a small selection of headbands, decorative hairpins and combs, you can add polish to pixie cuts; bobs; long, loose waves; ponytails; and buns. Try this season’s new looks in headbands: narrow and sparkly thin bands, or stretchy head wraps in festive colors. Find them at specialty stores, at drugstores or on accessory counters at J.Crew, Barneys New York and Banana Republic.

2. Locks gone limp? If you find that your fine hair goes flat fast, tweak your products and styling habits. Pantene scientists discovered that fine hair has up to 50 percent less internal protein than thick hair. As a result, fine hair resists holding many styles. To keep your fine tresses healthy and full, select products that are formulated to support your hair’s delicate texture. Don’t skip conditioner, but avoid the crown of your head when you apply. Add volume and lift by blow-drying roots with a medium or large round brush.

3. Want unfussy curls? You can set soft waves while you sleep, says veteran hairstylist Allen Edwards of Woodland Hills, Calif. He suggests pinning not-quite-dry hair into small buns or coils. Using 3- to 4-inch bobby pins, secure half a dozen sections of twisted hair into coils high on your head. For a firmer hold, pretreat strands with a thickening spray, styling cream, mousse or gel.

4. So your favorite look isn’t working anymore? It may be time for a hair care audit, says Kristoff Ball, a Beverly Hills stylist who works with Gwen Stefani and Paris Hilton. Hair care products and tools are constantly evolving. Year after year, your hair also goes through subtle but steady changes in texture, curl and strength. The combination can mean your usual routines and products lose effectiveness. Have a detailed discussion with your stylist about whether it’s time for a new look, a product switch or an update in your heat-styling tools.

5. Want to go from workout to work? Keeping your scalp and hair free of oils and perspiration is the key to reviving your ’do. That’s why Ball keeps aerosol dry shampoo in his mobile kit. His technique: Turn your head upside down, spritz your roots from arm’s length, and shake your head to toss out any excess powder. Then, use a vented brush to redirect hair where you want it. The same method also helps extend a blowout.

6. Need a fast, fun style? Do a topknot, says Tony Chavez, a Beverly Hills stylist. “Topknots are flattering to nearly everyone because they show off your face and make you look taller,” he says. Here’s the easiest way to get the look. Bend your head over, brush and gather up your hair into a ponytail at your crown and twist a large elastic band around the pony once. As you twist the band a second time, pull the ponytail halfway through so the ends are secured in the elastic band, forming a loop. For a looser topknot, just pull a few strands out of the elastic.

Photo: @iStockphoto.com/Yunaco