Great hair gets you noticed…its shine, the way it catches the light, and how it swings as you walk. Not having it, however, is the bane of many a woman’s existence and for them, a ‘bad hair day’ feels like it lasts a lifetime. Taking care of your tresses doesn’t have to be a struggle, and as our hair experts point out, there are many ways to improve the health of your hair and get the look you want.
CUT: It all begins with a good haircut. Ginger Bay Salon & Spa hairstylist Devyn Vitale says while it’s a good idea to have something in mind when you get to the salon, it’s more important to have a thorough consultation with the stylist. “The consultation is key to a good haircut,” she says. “I have to know what the client wants. If he or she doesn’t know, then I ask them what they don’t like or what hasn’t worked in the past.” Vitale says it’s common for clients to bring in magazine clippings of styles they like. But, she cautions, “Sometimes people bring pictures that are unrealistic, so it’s up to the stylist to be completely honest.”
Manageability should also be top-of-mind. “Certain styles need more commitment,” she says. “If you don’t have much time in the morning, choose something simple, like a bob. If you’re able to put in the effort, you can throw in more volume with layers.” For a fun look, Vitale suggests bangs or fringe. “Not everybody can do a full bang, but a side-swept or fringe style could work, it provides interest around the face.”
COLOR: Add depth to that great haircut with color. “Color creates dimension, texture and shine,” says The Face & The Body Day Spa master stylist Rob Gildehaus. He says color also makes hair healthier. “It helps close the cuticle at the hair shaft, making hair shine and giving it more pliability.” After getting a color treatment, Gildehaus advises looking for color-safe products. “There are two different forms of color shampoos, those that moisturize and products that actually keep the color from fading. You’ll need shampoo that helps protect the color from fading,” he says, adding that detoxifying and clarifying shampoos also should be avoided as they could strip color from hair. Along with using color-safe, professional products, there is a summertime tip to make color last and keep it shiny: “If you’re going to be out in the sun, wear a hat,” says Gildehaus.
VOLUME: Grant Adams, a stylist at Dominic Michael Salon, says a curling iron can do the trick in as little as five to 10 minutes. To get started, Adams says the hair should be completely dry. “Work in sections by clipping the top hair up, and start curling underneath,” he explains. “Use a workable-hold hairspray before curling to set the curl.” He says while it’s generally safe to use a curling or flat iron every day, he suggests using products: sprays, mousse and styling lotions, that protect hair from heat. “Once you master the use of a curling iron, you can experiment with different looks; from Hollywood-style waves toward your face to loose, messy curls,” Adams says. He notes the recent popularity of bob-style hair has left some women longing for a different look. “Some people who’ve had it for a while are getting bored with it. But you can dress up a bob by adding curls, which give your hair texture and volume.”
extensions: These offer another way to achieve volume, and they last up to five months. “Most people who request this service have thin, weak or damaged natural hair,” explains Clare’s Salon owner Clare Taylor, a national educator for Great Lengths hair extensions. In addition to volumizing, she says extensions dramatically add length, create bangs or can be used to cover up scars. Taylor says Great Lengths uses 100-percent human hair that is compatible with Caucasian and ethnic hair in any texture. “The extensions come in wavy or straight and can be colored or permed,” she says. A full lengthening process takes approximately six hours and costs an average of $2,000. Taylor notes that the keratin protein bond used to attach the extensions to natural hair is resilient and undetectable. “It’s the same thing that hair is made of, so the bond is seamless.”
PRODUCTS: Whether you’re hair-obsessed or just see it as a covering for your head, there are more products available today that specifically target what your hair needs to keep it healthy. All types of hair need special attention in the summertime, says Salon Blanca owner Jeanny Barbata. “You’re outside more, out in the sun, swimming in a pool with chlorine, driving in your convertible, so the elements cause the most problems. She says hair should be treated to a good dose of moisturizer once a week. “Depending on your hair, moisturize or use a repair product that will strengthen it, this is above and beyond using your everyday conditioner,” she suggests. “If hair is parched, use a moisturizing treatment. If it needs to be repaired, find a treatment or mask with protein.” A good tip, she says, is to take the product to the pool and apply it to your hair. “Lay out with it, leave it on and let it bake on your hair for about 30 minutes.” And Barbata says just as you protect your skin with sunscreen or sunblock, hair needs to be shielded from the sun’s damaging rays. “Use shampoos, conditioners and other products with sunscreen and ones with anti-fade or anti-age complex, especially for color-treated hair.”