Your Best Hair

Your Best Hair

Can’t make your hair look anything like what your stylist does? A seasoned hair pro unlocks the secret to creating your best look.

By Catherine Stewart

I’ve been a hairstylist for more than 25 years, and the question I’m asked most by my clientele is: “How can I re-create this look myself at home, without spending too much time on my hair, especially in the morning?”

There are two prerequisites to re-creating the style yourself and having beautiful hair all day long – without which you’ve lost the race before you’ve left the gate.

Getting Started

1. Get a terrific haircut. Seems obvious, but here’s where many women go wrong. If your hairstylist gives you a good but not great haircut, try discussing specifically what you’re really looking for (and bring pictures) to see if she can improve. If she can’t, consider finding another stylist.

2. Keep your hair healthy. Two factors play an important role here: the amount of chemical services you put it through (such as hair color, straightening or texture perming) and the frequency with which you blow-dry or use irons of any kind to straighten or curl your hair.

To keep your hair healthy, choose a stylist who uses and can recommend quality haircare products that clean without stripping and give the hair moisture without coating. Organically natural products have a molecular structure small enough to penetrate the cuticle layer and add moisture, and some organic ingredients work more like natural moisturizers (such as jojoba oil). My recommendation is the same that it has been for more than 25 years: Aveda. And if blowing and ironing is a must with each shampoo, always condition after shampooing, and even more important, use a pre-style product. I love the Aveda Smoothing Fluid, Style Prep and the Color Conserve Leave-In conditioner for starters. Also consider a straightening procedure or relaxer. One relaxing process every several months, done with care, is better than a flat iron put to your beautiful locks every single day. Plus, there are now some products that relax/straighten without using chemicals.

Time-Saving Tips

You will need:
Good shampoo, conditioner, and pre- and post-styling products;
A large tooth comb or paddle/massage brush;
Three to four large clips;
A round brush or diffuser; and
A good blow-dryer (the best ones are thermal, ionic and ceramic).

Let’s begin!
 Begin with shampooed and well-conditioned hair. (Yes, conditioner! If you’re using the right products, conditioner will not make your hair limp, but instead make your blow-dry go much faster.) After shampooing, squeeze out as much water from your hair with your hands as possible, then apply your conditioner – and comb it through. This evenly distributes the serum throughout all your hair, reducing tangles and giving it more shine.

2. Wrap your hair in a towel for a few minutes to remove excess moisture. (This is a great time to apply facial and body moisturizer.) Remove the towel and apply a smoothing fluid on the ends and a volumizer/holding product on the root area. Comb through evenly, and now you’re ready to blow-dry. I do hair before makeup because you’ll apply much less makeup once your hair has been styled.

3. Part hair as usual, comb hair into place as close to your desired style as possible, then blow-dry hair randomly to remove excess moisture. Next, disconnect the sides from the back using clips. This means pulling back sections from the top of the head to the top of each ear. Blow-dry the fringe, or bang, area in front first. (Note: Once it has dried on its own, it will have a mind of its own.)

Then go to the back of the head and blow-dry from the bottom up, using clips to pin up all but the nape area. Dry this first, then the middle back of the head section, then the top back section. Then hit the sides from the bottom up, using clips to help keep damp hair out of your way. Dry the top last.

If you wear your hair curly, follow tips #1 and #2 and use a diffuser on your blower. Scrunch hair to help form curls with your head upright, then flip your head over and scrunch a little more. Use a light holding spray and let it be. Just before you leave for the office, turn your head over and shake lightly with your hands.

4. When finished blowing or diffusing, use finishing spray – light, medium or heavy, whatever your preference. It will keep your style in place so you will look terrific all day long.

 Keep a small travel-size finishing spray in your purse. If you need to go from the office to a business dinner, or even a private engagement, just fluff, spray lightly and go. If you’ve done your work in the morning, you’ll have nothing left to do but powder, add lip color, fluff your hair and spray lightly.

You’re ready to go!

Catherine Stewart is a stylist and owner of Stewart & Company Salon.

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