The classic cartoon image of a woman losing it always shows her hair going madly awry. Indeed, I once came across some guidance for (male) medical consultants on how to spot post-natal depression, with messy hair topping the list. Hair, for women, is an important part of our self-identity. It cannot be denied that how we feel about our hair on a day-to-day basis can set the tone for the entire day ahead. Whether you’re scrubbing up for the commute or morning school run, knowing that your hair looks great provides a bedrock of confidence that will pull you through a stressful day. Knowledge of a few simple tricks and techniques can help you wrest control back over your hair, and your self esteem.
1. WORK WITH YOUR TEXTURE
A leading cause of damage, not to mention frustration, is styling your hair against it’s natural texture. If you have straight hair, accept its straightness and opt for daily styling that works best for this type. If you have curly or wavy hair, make sure you have a cut that compliments your hair’s natural tendencies. Forcing your hair into a style which is opposite it’s nature requires heat, strong styling products as well as time and effort. This is all very well for special occasions, when going to town with a style is part of the fun of dressing up. But for a daily routine, your hair will be better behaved for you if you appreciate what your natural texture brings to the table.
2. CHOOSE HAIR ACCESSORIES THAT AREN’T JUST PRETTY
Most high street hair clips are designed only with fashion in mind. The reality is hair clips, like your shoes, have to actually work hard and stand up to more wear and tear than a belt or piece of jewellery. Hair clips and headbands which can handle your hair, whether it is very fine or very thick, won’t have to be frequently readjusted during your busy day. Ideally you should be able to do your hair so that you won’t need to fix it again at least until lunchtime, if not until cabernet o’clock.
3. KNOW YOUR FACE SHAPE
Hair styles, like dresses, flatter different shapes. Knowing what looks best for your face and profile will easily make you look younger and more groomed than having the wrong style. Longer hair simply worn down can be aging, so playing with updos, half-back styles and different ways of parting your fringe are very worth the time. Ask friends and your stylist for advice, as it is easier for them to see you from all angles.
4. EXERCISE DAMAGE CONTROL
Most damage to hair is caused by salon treatments, such as colouring and permanents, followed next by mishandling your hair when it is wet, such as using a brush or straightening irons on wet hair. Your hair can generally tolerate one form of abuse, but not both. If you colour your hair, go easy on heat styling. If you are addicted to your straighteners, you should avoid any chemical processes to your hair. If you can manage to give up both, your hair will reward you with less (or even eliminating) breakage as well as becoming increasingly easy to style as the internal structure of the hair will be stronger and more resilient.
5. LISTEN TO YOUR STYLIST
Stylists are usually at the mercy of the demands of clients, faithfully delivering whatever you ask them to do. They are really untapped resources of information about current styling trends. A good stylist will keep up to date with cutting techniques and be able to help you evolve your look so you stay on trend. At least once a year, talk to your stylist for some ideas that might work for you. They’ll be so glad you asked!
6. USE YOUR MIRROR
Mirrors should be your second best friend (after your diamonds, natch). Invest in a great hand-held mirror. The best is about the size of a normal A4 size of paper as it will give you a good view of the back of your head, but not be too heavy to hold. Check your hair before leaving the house: front, back and sides. Don’t rely on how you look just face on. The rest of the world doesn’t see you only from the front.
7. BROADEN YOUR REPERTOIRE
You don’t have just one outfit in your cupboard. Why only put your hair up in the same old style all the time? Knowing a variety of ways to wear your hair up or back means you will have more fun with your hair, but you will also have more tools in your arsenal to deal with a bad hair day quickly and easily. Exercising these seven secrets will transform your relationship with your hair.
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Authors Bio: Melissa Hill
Hair Expert, Owner of Stone Bridge Hair Accessories, specialising in French and Italian handmade hair clips and headbands. Every week Stone Bridge Hair blog (http://stonebridgehair.blogspot.co.uk/) discusses styling tricks and hair care secrets that can help you have more beautiful, better behaving hair.