Let's talk styling. What products do you need? What tools are appropriate for your hair type? I will discuss the basics so whether you're a wash and go'er, occasional styler, a complete novice in need of guidance, or a professional, there are tips for everyone. The right foundation makes it easy for everyone to leave the house looking and feeling effortlessly beautiful. It starts in the shower with your shampoo and conditioner, so if you haven't read the previous blog, Art Of The Shampoo, you've made an egregious mistake! I kid, I kid but do go back and check it out.
You don't have to break the bank with a blow dryer. You can find a good blow dryer for about $150, which may sound expensive but is worth the investment and pretty reasonable for a professional dryer. My go to favorite brand is Twin Turbo. What I love about these dryers is that if something were to happen to it, you can send it to the company and get it fixed for free if under warranty and at a low cost if it's not. A powerful ionic ceramic blow dryer means less time spent drying. Time is money. So what are you waiting for? Chuck the $20 Conair and get a real blow dryer. You'll see the difference after your first use. And don't throw out the attachments!! Your nozzle is the most important one. It concentrates the hot air flow to where it needs to be, meaning smoother, shinier hair. Also diffusers are god sends for curly hair.
Speaking of curly hair, when I wear my hair naturally curly, I do all my styling in the shower and then let air dry a little and finish it off with the diffuser. High heat, low speed until completely dry and then spray hair spray or texturizer and blast it with cold air to set everything. The cold button is magic! Don't overlook it. It sets curls. It makes your hair shiny. It gives hair a tousled lived in look. Use it!
There are a lot of brushes on the market. I'm going to go over the basics. The ones I think everyone should have.
- A detangling brush
- A flat plastic/boar (combo) bristle brush
- A round boar bristle brush
Those are it. Anything else is a luxury, if you're not a stylist like me.
As I've mentioned, in the previous post, I LOVE the Wet Brush. It's the best detangling brush in my opinion. It is only meant for that. DO NOT USE WITH HEAT. It will melt. This is an integral tool in your vanity because excessive mechanical stress (brushing, flat ironing, tight ponytails, etc) leads to breakage. So if your snapping off precious strands in the beginning of your styling routine than there leaves very little room for error in the rest. To easily detangle hair, do it in the shower with your conditioner on (as we discussed in the Art Of The Shampoo). Or use the Shine Brush or a Denman flat boar bristle brush on dry hair. The natural boar bristles are the only brushes that distribute oil. Plastic paddle brushes do not! So oil, concentrated at your scalp, does not get redistributed to the ends, where it's needed, with a regular paddle brush.
Flat brushes are great for blow drying bangs, bobs and straight hair. Round brushes are for hair that needs a little more tension: curly/wavy, thick or layered hair that needs body and movement. Metal round brushes are way too harsh for most hair types and yet that's what most people are using on their hair at home. I can tell, it shows when you flat iron too much or if you are using one of those brushes. The metal barrel gets way too hot and the plastic bristles are too tough and don't distribute oil. A round brush like a Spornette gives you the tension and shine you need for a wavy bouncy blow out with minimal damaging side effects.
Clips keep you organized so you can work efficiently and effectively. They also can take the place of ponytail holders that, are in my honest albeit dramatic opinion, akin to El Diablo. A simple chignon clip like the YS Park one come in many different colors and can be used for a quick and easy impromptu up-do, which looks way more chic than a ponytail sometimes. I also love those Goody mini round claw clips. I even sleep with them in to preserve my blow dry for a few days. While blow drying clip the extra hair out of the way so you power through quicker. Always start in the front, that way if you get tired at least the front looks great and get as much excess water out before you use your brush. Never start blow drying soaking wet hair. It will take you forever and hair is easier to stretch and snap when it's wet. Healthier hair is the goal right?
I need to get this off my chest...flat irons are evil. Ok, Ok not pure evil but they're pretty bad if abused. If you flat iron everyday your hair shows the wear and tear. Trust me, I can spot a flat ironer the minute they sit in my chair. It causes excessive breakage. Occasional flat iron use is fine. I think it is one of the best inventions in the hair industry. Dependency on it as a main styling tool, instead of for touch ups, is problematic. Meaning no more than a pass or two of that flat iron. And its always the ladies with straight fine hair that are addicted that don't even need to own one. If you are going to use one then make sure its ceramic. Same goes for your curling irons. NO METAL. Now curling irons are my favorite!!! They can seal the cuticle, polish a look and add texture. Curl with these ladies and not your flat iron.
- Heat protectant
- Leave in conditioner
- Finishing serum/oil
- Dry shampoo
- Matte pomade
These are a few of your basic products that you may need/want in your beauty toolbox. Again we are trying to help simplify your hair routine, so this is a simple list. You can decide which ones fit into your lifestyle.
This product would only be for those who heat style. For fine hair I prefer sprays that tend to not weigh down strands like Davines' Melu Shield or Aestalance's Energy. For normal to thicker hair I love Davines' Oi All In One Milk. I am not too big of a fan of oils. They tend to not be user friendly. Even distribution can be tricky, can ruin a hairstyle and even require additional shampooing sometimes! Who has time for do-overs? Creams and balms are a little easier in terms of application but should be avoided if you have fine hair. The best time for application of a heat protectant is when hair is damp and towel dried, before you blow dry. Do not apply before using a curling/flat iron!! Hair should always be dry before you use any hot tools. Applying oil or spray before using hot tools can significantly damage hair, use these finishing products for, yup you guessed it, when you're finished.
Leave In conditioner
I like leave ins for when you just want to throw a product in and go. It helps control frizz, adds a little sheen and light hold. For the super low maintenance styler this is your go to product. I love the Aestalance Balm.
Finishing Serum/oil, Hairspray, Texturizer, Dry Shampoo, And Matte Pomade
Better known as your finishers. Best used when hair is dry. Whether going for a slightly undone, tousled or beachy look or a polished, sleek style, all of these products work. Serums will give a more shiny tousled look. Dry shampoo will give more body. Texturizers will give a more starchy messy look. For the sexy disheveled look, my fav concoction is to mix serum and matte pomade together and add to the mid shaft and ends of hair. I adore Danines' This is an invisible serum. My all time favorite product I couldn't live without is HAIRSPRAY!! I love a workable, brushable hairspray that has a good curl memory. There are so many good ones out there. I love Bumble and Bumble's Spray De Mode (the fragrance leaves a lot to be desired though).
All in all, healthy hair should be your goal, because healthy hair is pretty hair. Healthy hair makes color and styles look good or better. It makes styling easier or not styling at all a possibility, depending on hair type. This simple list should help streamline your styling routine and arsenal. Remember you don't need a lot, you just need the right things. When in doubt, ask your stylist. That's what we are here for.
Knowledge is wealth and beauty!