By Emily Listfield
Tame it! Bad hair days can drive you to distraction — or at the very least, to the nearest hat department. We went to celeb stylists for advice on dealing with some of the peskiest problems. Here are their top tips on how to rehab your locks.
“Start fighting frizz in the shower by using a hydrating shampoo and conditioner,” says New York stylist Kevin Mancuso, a favorite of Demi Moore’s. “Hair expands when it’s exposed to water, as it is on a humid day, but well-hydrated hair is less likely to drink up the moisture that’s in the air.” Use a silicone-based styling product to help seal the hair cuticle and lock moisture in.
If the frizz has already taken hold, you can still benefit from a silicone serum. Rub a dime-sized amount in your palm and smooth over the surface of your hair to add shine and deflate poof. Also, avoid brushing curly hair once it’s dry.
A few simple steps will help you avoid the wind-tunnel look. “Often, when people blow out their hair, they over-dry it, causing flyaways,” explains Boston stylist Mario Russo, known for styling the locks of Natalie Portman and Caroline Kennedy. “Add a small amount of a moisturizing leave-in conditioner to your hair while it’s still damp, concentrating on the ends, which tend to be more dried out. Then blow-dry the hairline and crown first to get them smooth, aiming the nozzle down the hair shaft.” Keep the air in a downward flow as you dry the rest of your hair. It’s important to get all the moisture out to avoid frizz, but stop as soon as your hair is dry to the touch underneath as well as on top, to avoid breakage.
A straightening iron can also help smooth flyaways — when used correctly. “Always apply a heat protectant first: A hydrating spray is ideal,” says Russo. “Use minimal tension and round the ends in. Finish off with a styling cream or silicone serum to smooth down wayward strands.” Stash a travel-size serum in your bag to tame errant hair on the go. A dab before donning a chapeau will also help with hat hair gone wild.
Got a little scissor-happy? While you can’t speed up hair growth, you can make the process more bearable. “Try sweeping your bangs to the side,” suggests MariLynne Mele, of Blow, a New York City salon that specializes in blowouts for a high-end clientele. “Blow-dry your bangs down with a comb to achieve maximum length, then lightly go over them with a rounded brush. Giving the ends a bend will ensure they don’t bounce up, and impart a soft, naturally wispy look.” Luckily, headbands are tres chic these days too.
Too many chemical treatments and your hair can end up looking — and feeling — like corn husks. Celeb stylist Ted Gibson, who helps get Anne Hathaway and Debra Messing ready for their photo shoots, offers this advice: “Getting a haircut, even a trim, will instantly cut off damaged ends and give you a fresh new look. Be sure to do a deep-conditioning treatment once a week as well.”
Mele recommends making your own treatment cocktail. After washing your hair, use a deep-conditioning mask mixed with about two pumps of shine serum. Apply, wait ten minutes, then rinse. It will give those dry, broken hairs extra shine and some weight to keep them down.
It’s one of the great mysteries of life how you can go to bed with perfectly fine color and wake up the next day with half-inch roots. To tide you over until your next dye job, New York City colorist Jason Backe — a favorite with beauty editors — recommends this trick: “Hide gray by using eye shadow or mascara on the roots and setting it with hair spray. Both shadow and mascara are available in shades from light brown to black, which will work for all shades of brunette.”
It’s harder for blondes to get away with this. They’re better off trying one of the new at-home hair-coloring kits designed solely for root touch-ups. Match the color as closely as possible to the rest of your hair. Finally, no matter what’s at the root of your problem, changing the location of your part will help hide the telltale signs.
Emily Listfield, a former editor at Self and Fitness magazines, has contributed to numerous publications, including Allure, More, InStyle, Redbook, Parade and The New York Times. She recently published her seventh novel, Best Intentions.