Hairstyle Classics: How to Keep That Do From Looking Dated

If you’ve rocked a classic style for a while, beware that even the simplest cuts need to evolve. The dawn of a new decade is a good time to update that hairdo. Take a tip (or two) from stylists and stars who know how to keep a good thing going.   

The Pixie
This ultra-short cut not only accents great cheekbones and jawlines, but it also portrays gamine youthfulness and chic sophistication for any age.

  • Vintage Liza Minnelli has made the pixie her signature cut, which she keeps fresh by adding layers and fullness through waves and curls. In her days as Mrs. Frank Sinatra, Mia Farrow made the pixie so enduring that, years later, the boyishly attractive cut helped define the waif movement of the ’90s.
  • Modern Today’s pixie vixens, such as Michelle Williams (who looks a lot like Mia Farrow) and Halle Berry, wear their short cuts with a mix of fragility and seduction.
  • Keep it fresh Hairstylist Kristen Ess, who counts Rachel McAdams and Amanda Bynes as clients, likes to add a few accessories, such as a pair of narrow headbands, to make the pixie more playful. “You think when you cut your hair off that you are limited to that specific look, but the pixie is very versatile,” says Ess. “You can also use products to give a different look or shape. Pomade can make a matte texture, sort of like a shag carpet. A light-hold gel can make it go elegant and sleek, like Sharon Stone, with a lot of control.”

Long and Sleek
Nothing says “sexy” better than a long, flowing mane of luscious, shiny and thick hair.

  • Vintage For Cher, long, shimmering hair has been as much her signature as have her wild Bob Mackie bugle beaded costumes.
  • Modern Demi Moore not only has the body of a teenager, but also the flowing, shiny hair to match. The ageless beauty often lets her hair down for big red-carpet events.
  • Keep it fresh Great hair requires dedicated upkeep, says Ess, who recommends applying a temporary gloss to hair every six weeks. “It seals down the cuticle and acts like a topcoat for your nails,” she says. Carla Gentile, owner of Steam, a hip salon near Beverly Hills, Calif., says the fast way to update long hair is to add bangs. “You can also get away with a really low side part, like Gisele,” she says.

The Shag
This layered hairstyle has become the chic rebel’s favorite look, if only because a bit of tousled imperfection makes it all the more appealing.

  • Vintage Jane Fonda’s shag in Klute made her character tough, scruffy and sexy, and it launched a look that defined the 1970s and beyond.
  • Modern Kristen Stewart and Ashlee Simpson have made a long, loose shag a sought-after look, with hair that is black, red or blond.
  • Keep it fresh
    Gentile says modern shags don’t hug the head and neck as closely as Fonda’s cut. Longer, looser layers are today’s look. Gentile also suggests experimenting with products that thicken or add texture to make the layers more distinct and chunky.

The Bob
The classic bob endures because it is an easy-care style that radiates sophistication -- or in extreme colors, delivers an ironic, punk twist.

  • Vintage The angular bob that silent-film star Louise Brooks wore in the 1920s and ’30s matched the elegant lines of art deco.
  • Modern Katie Holmes has worn a variation of the classic bob for the last two years, first with razor-sharp bangs and now with longer, sideswept ones, while Keira Knightley wears her straight and wavy.
  • Keep it fresh Wear it a bit longer to look modern, says Ess, adding, “The long bob is called the ‘lob,’ which is an awful word but a gorgeous hairstyle.” Ess also suggests giving the hair a few spiral twists around a 1-inch curling iron to add some wave. “And don’t be too uniform with how you’re curling it,” she says. “You want to break up the curl.” 

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.”

Photo: @iStockphoto.com/anneleven

Kate Middleton: Royal Wedding Beauty

Will she or won’t she … wear her hair up? That’s the question royal watchers are asking about Kate Middleton’s ’do for the big day she marries Prince William -- April 29 -- in Westminster Abbey. One thing’s for sure: The 29-year-old future queen of England has her own sense of style, and she won’t take orders from the royal advisers just because it’s “tradition.”

With her long, shiny chestnut locks that are often topped with a hat (so very British), Middleton might want to wear her hair loose when she walks down the aisle -- that’s her signature look, after all. But given the fact that this is a royal wedding, with 1,900 gold-leafed invitations sent out and a fairy-tale glass coach to ride in after the vows are exchanged, some speculate that Kate’s hair should be as formal as it gets: worn up in a classic style, such as a French twist.

This sleek, sophisticated ’do would showcase the tiara the bride will undoubtedly wear, chosen from many in the queen’s “jewel pool” and usually presented by the queen as a wedding gift. However, “a French twist is so structured, it can look too severe and mature on a young woman,” says hairstylist (and fellow Brit) Christopher Dove of The Doves Studio in Santa Monica, Calif. “That said, I’m sure Kate would look amazing with her hair up in a French twist, but I’m voting for a much more youthful half-up, half-down style.”

Makeup Fit for a Princess
“All of the young brides I make up are asking for smoky eyes on their wedding day,” says Eugenia Weston, an Emmy-nominated makeup artist and owner of Senna makeup studios in Los Angeles. She imagines that Middleton, however, will skip the sultry makeup.

“I think she’ll go for a fresh, clean look -- starting with her skin -- to take advantage of the fact that it’s naturally luminous,” says Weston. “I’d define her eyes with delicate eyeliner, and add a few individual false lashes to fill in where needed for a feathery fringe. I’d also groom her brows so they are dramatic frames for those lovely eyes. And for her mouth, I’d suggest a rosy lipstick, or maybe even a matte shade that reads like a rosy stain.”

The bottom line: Middleton is so pretty, there isn’t much to be done, and in the conservative splendor of Westminster Abbey, dramatic makeup would look inappropriate. 

Your Own Wedding Countdown
Here’s how to achieve the healthiest and most beautiful hair possible on the big day.

4 weeks before the wedding: Schedule a practice session with the hairdresser. Bring in a photo of your dress and the actual headpiece (veil, jeweled clip, headband, tiara, silk flowers). Bring a camera to capture the range of hairstyles (updo, French twist, half-up half-down, long and flowing). At home, print out the top hairstyle so the hairdresser has a handy reference point for the big day. 

3 weeks: Start weekly at-home deep conditioning treatments.

2 weeks: Have hair cut or trimmed. Book an intensive in-salon conditioning hair care treatment.

1 week: So your hair color looks as fresh as possible, wait until now to have your color or highlights done. Have bangs or fringe trimmed. Continue with at-home conditioning.

Day of: At least three hours before the wedding, meet with the hairdresser. If you’ve chosen an upswept style that can be pinned up securely, you can have your hair done earlier. But if your hair will be worn down with soft curls that can go flat, the appointment needs to be closer to the wedding’s start time.

If you’re headed for a tropical honeymoon, don’t forget to pack that at-home conditioner to maintain your hair’s shine and to protect it from the sun and the sea.

New Hair Trends for Spring

There may still be a chill in the air, but there’s a clear forecast for spring hair: It’s coming undone. As relaxed silhouettes, bright colors and textured lightweight fabrics paraded down the New York fashion runways, hairstyles also unwound -- think the disheveled glamour of Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively and Sienna Miller. 

“This spring, you’re perfect in a cool pair of jeans, a simple shirt and a beautiful jacket,” says Jeanne Yang, who styles the likes of Keanu Reeves and Katie Holmes, with whom she also designs the fashion line Holmes & Yang. “Your hair should have the same vibe -- like you’re pulled together, but not trying too hard. Nobody wants to look like they’ve just sat in a salon for an hour.”

Hair is getting shorter, cut in long layers just below the collarbone or at the shoulders. Beverly Hills stylist Byron Williams, who tends to the tresses of Selena Gomez and Eva Mendes, has been chopping flowing hair to 2 inches below the collar bone for an “edgier, fresher” take on surfer-girl sexy. Still, says, Lori Morris, senior editor of American Salon magazine, “There’s no big haircut of the season. Curls are relaxed and wild, and ponytails are loose and messy, as if you’ve just played tennis for an hour.” Jamal Hamadi, a favorite stylist of Kirsten Dunst, says come spring he’ll start with a shoulder-length cut that has jagged ends for more natural texture. “You want to look like a messy child,” he says.

Want to get a jump on spring hair? Here’s how to achieve what will be the season’s big four hair trends: 

1. Loose Waves
For this surfer-girl look, start with day-old hair that has some texture and body to it. Dampen your wavy locks with a texturizing spray, then scrunch random pieces while you blow-dry with a diffuser. If your hair is straight, wrap 3-inch chunks around a large-barreled curling iron. Finish with a light-hold hair spray.

2. Messy Braids
The look: braids with attitude. Spritz hair with a texturing spray, then part to the side, letting loose strands fall around the face. Gather hair into a slightly-off-to-one-side ponytail. Braid loosely and secure with an elastic band. Cover the band by winding strands of hair around it. Fasten stray strands with a bobby pin.

3. Textured Ponytails
The ponytails that bobbed down the spring runways were a bit less sleek than usual. With the tails textured and a little bit wild, they were a fetching mix of control and chaos. To get this new hair trend, smooth your hair with a dab of gel, and then brush it into a high ponytail. To texturize the tail, flat-iron hair and then mist it with sea-salt spray. Pull clumps apart for that cool, unkempt, out-at-the-club-till-4 a.m. look.

4. Hot-rollered Hair
For sexy tousled waves, wind haphazard sections of your hair into hot rollers. Leave in for five minutes, then remove and fluff the curls with your hands. If the waves are too voluminous, lightly brush. Place a dab of shine cream onto your palms and work onto the surface of your hair, then mist with a light-hold spray. “I wore hot rollers in my hair as I drove to a wedding,” says Yang. “When I got there, I pulled them out and headed to the party. Everyone kept telling me my hair looked fabulous -- little did they know I’d just styled it in my car!”

Latest Celebrity Hair Color Trends

When it comes to embracing beauty trends, hair color is a tricky one. After all, few of us would undergo a drastic change in color just to make a fashion statement. Fortunately, you don’t need to go Lady Gaga platinum to feel current and fresh.

British celebrity colorist Louise Galvin explains how it’s done. “Good hair color should always enhance skin tone and eye color,” she says. “That means staying within two shades -- darker or lighter -- of your natural base. For example, Emily Blunt and Keira Knightley are classic English beauties who never move too far from their own color, but instead change the tone throughout the year, going lighter and brighter through the summer and then richer in fall and winter. Another example is Jennifer Aniston. Her color is always spot-on, moving from deep caramel tones in winter to honey in spring and summer, but always staying within the boundaries of her natural base.”

Here, the top hair color trends for 2011, from London to Los Angeles:

Warm Color
Just say no to ashy blond or beige-blond shades, which can make the skin look dull and gray. “Cold colors like that are not flattering to the face, especially on winter-pale skin,” says Lea Journo, owner of The Lea Journo Salon in Beverly Hills, which attracts A-listers such as Brad Pitt, Sienna Miller and Kate Bosworth. Instead, go for warmer tones: If you normally wear bright blond highlights, take them down to golden. Red hair is still on trend for 2011, but will be richer and warmer, in the strawberry or auburn family. As for brunettes, check out Journo’s client Katie Cassidy of Gossip Girl. “We gave her warm-honey highlights and lowlights that stay within the brown family, but are still lustrous and multi-tonal,” Journo says.

Hand-painted Highlights
Skinny streaks are out. What’s in: chunky highlights that vary in size and in depth of brightness, depending on where they’re placed on the scalp. It’s a look best created by a method known as balliage -- painting color directly on the hair instead of using traditional foils.

“After the client’s hair is cut, I ask her to show me how she wears it every day, how she moves with it, how she puts it up,” says Journo. “This helps me design where the lowlights and highlights should go. Since I don’t want a thick chunk of blond at the roots, I use a paintbrush to sketch the color on softly and then gradually widen the streak as I go down the hair. The strength of the color also changes, becoming brighter on the ends.” This technique is shown to best advantage on her client Ellen DeGeneres, “whose highlights and lowlights are bright and shiny and full of dimension, thanks to balliage. We could never achieve that look with foils.”

High-shine Hair
Forget the matte grunge look; lustrous, light-reflective locks that show off your multidimensional color will feel more chic in 2011. Galvin says you can achieve this glossy finish by tweaking your hair care habits. “Apply your conditioner or deep treatment liberally to the mid-lengths and ends, skipping the roots,” she suggests. “Massage it through using your fingers -- not a comb -- and allow the product to penetrate the hair for as long as you can. When you’re ready to rinse, apply a little water to loosen the product, and then begin combing it out, starting from the ends and gently teasing out any tangles while you work up to the root. Once you’ve combed it through, rinse.”

While this system takes a little longer, treating your hair as gently as you treat your skin will leave it nourished and moisturized -- plus it will keep your hair looking shiny and healthy.

Photo Credit: Getty Images