Wouldn't it be nice to have a personal hairstylist do your hair before every public appearance? Of course, but it's not going to happen. There are, however, a few simple things you can do to improve your hair's overall appearance.
Making the cut
"Number one would be the haircut," says John Steinberg, owner of chic Toronto salon John Steinberg and Associates. He encourages women to get a great haircut and to maintain it by getting a trim every six to eight weeks.
If you're growing out your hair, wait two to three months between cuts, says stylist Ronald Chong from Public Image in Toronto. Otherwise, growth results will be minimal.
For a style that will one day be all the same length, Chong suggests trimming the back and cutting a bit off the top and sides. For a layered result, get your hair shaped into a shorter version of the style you would like and then get it cut as needed. To grow out bangs, Chong suggests cutting a few layers around the face so that bangs will blend with the rest of the hair.
"It's also very important that a client sticks to one stylist," Chong says. This way, clients can discuss in advance what kind of haircut they'd like to end up with once the hair has grown.
Colouring a look
The second consideration is hair colour, says Steinberg. For a new cut, be careful of the shade you choose. "People definitely have a tendency to go too light," he explains, pointing out that this trend has grown more prevalent over the past four or five years among his female clients in their late 30s and early 40s. Since women's skin changes as they age, their hair colour should change to match, often through a slightly darker hair colour.
To cover hair with up to 30 per cent grey, choose a semipermanent colour that matches your natural colour, says Chong. If you decide to just pull out those few greys, be assured they will not grow back in pairs, as the old wives' tale states. However, grey hairs have a different texture, he says, and when the grey hair grows back, it may stick up or out at an odd angle.
Page 1 of 2 -- Find tips for keeping your hair colour vibrant, plus how to tame frizzy hair on page 2
Keeping it clean
Once a client has coloured her hair, Steinberg says it's essential to buy salon-quality shampoo and conditioner that specialize in holding the colour. Another shopping tip he suggests is to buy both the shampoo and the conditioner from the same company, rather than mixing brands. "They're formulated to work together," he explains.
Once you have the shampoo and conditioner, Steinberg recommends heading outside on a sunny afternoon with regular conditioner still in your hair to let the product really do its job.
"Summertime is a great time to get your hair in condition," says Steinberg, "because if you have a great haircut you can let it dry on its own."
Heating it up
Despite Steinberg's suggestion to put the blow dryer in storage for the summer, it likely won't happen anytime soon. A study for ThermaSilk revealed that one quarter of Canadian women spend as much time with their blow dryer as they do cuddling with their partner. That's a lot of together time, as 40 per cent of repondents said they blow-dry their hair at least five times a week.
Steinberg encourages women who do blow-dry to hold the dryer away from the brush -- not directly on it and on the hair.
"To make things a lot quicker," says Chong, "towel dry as much as you can. Then go through it with a blow dryer until it's about 80 per cent dry. Then start styling." He also suggests keeping the dryer moving. He says frizzy or flyaway hair is caused by overdrying one area.
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