Think your hair’s too fine, too wavy, too thick or just plain out of control? We help you turn what you’ve got into your best asset.
If your hair is fine, you’re in good company; fashionista Kate Moss is known for her fine locks. But chances are you have an issue with its flat and limp nature, which lacks a certain glamorous va-va-voom. On the bright side, it’s versatile, relatively frizz-free and often has a natural shine.
Style icons: Kate Moss, Alexa Chung, Sienna Miller.
Reasons to love it: Fine hair can handle shorter cuts like a bob or a pixie and, with the right product, it’s easy to wrangle into any sort of up-do.
Challenges: It can look limp and is prone to oiliness.
Do: Try volumising shampoos to give your hair a lift.
Do: Revisit mousse. It’s a great way to plump up hair. Apply to wet hair then dry thoroughly to avoid that crunch.
Do: Embrace colour. The pigment in hair dye will increase the thickness of each strand.
Don’t: Condition every wash. Owner of Ryder Salon Greg Murrell says, “If you do use conditioner, apply it to the tips of hair only.” He advises tipping your head over and mass-aging product through the middle of your hair to the ends. Or use leave-in conditioner instead, which is much lighter.
Don’t: Have layers. Trust us, no matter how much your stylist protests, if your hair is fine you need every last strand.
Don’t: Touch it. Since fine hair can get oily quickly, constantly stroking it will make it limp and lifeless faster.
Try: O&M’s Fine Intellect shampoo and conditioner, $39 each, uses jojoba seed and lilly-pilly to build firmness into the roots of fine hair; L’Oréal Paris Elvive Fibrology Double Serum, $11, thickens and smooth’s; Redken Body Full Instant Bodifier, $35, is a liquid-to-foam volumiser that delivers body while protecting fragile, fine hair; Fudge Hair Milk, $25.50, is a weightless styling product which works to thicken fine hair; and Kérastase Densifique Densimorphose Mousse, $42, will add extra oomph.
Who wouldn’t want waves like supermodel Gisele? Well, often those who already have them. The trouble with wavy hair is it can seem like an in-between style – neither straight nor a curl. And it can be hard to control. Instead of trying to smooth it out, the key to wavy hair is embracing the shape. “Naturally wavy hair can often be the bane of someone’s existence if they don’t follow the rules of how to deal with it,” Murrell says. And it’s important to follow these rules right from when it’s wet. But despite needing more maintenance than fine hair, waves are flattering on all ages, and youthful looking. They also send out the message you’re comfortable with your God-given assets.
Style icons: Gisele Bündchen, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Julia Roberts.
Reasons to love it: It’s flattering, on trend and always imparts an air of effortless chic.
Challenges: It often gets a little frizzy, and if cut short it can mushroom out.
Do: Let it air-dry. Don’t rub it with a towel as this creates friction. “After a shower, part the hair and then squeeze the excess moisture out in a towel,” Murrell says. “Always use the towel in such a way that your motion is downward, so don’t flip your hair over. This will allow the grain of the hair to remain flat.”
Do: Separate wet hair into twists and let them dry naturally to help the wave formation.
Do: Sleep on a silk pillowcase. The gentler fibres will cause less breakages and the fabric won’t absorb so many of the frizz-fighting oils.
Do: Get layers; they keep hair from looking bottom-heavy.
Do: Use a product that gives texture and hold.
Don’t: Brush. Only use fingers to detangle.
Don’t: Forget about tongs. When your hair dries, some bits will be straighter than others so add more waves with tongs or irons if necessary.
Don’t: Disturb the hair. “Not disturbing the hair is key while you are transitioning from wet to dry,” Murrell says. “If you start to manipulate the hair when it is still damp, you’ll lose control of it.”
Try: Evo The Therapist Shampoo and Conditioner, $35 each, control frizz and create wavy hair à la Veronica Lake; L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.art Spiral Splendour, $34, is a cream to moisturise and define curls and waves, leaving them soft and shiny; Schwarzkopf Professional OSIS+ Curl Me Soft, $29, will add natural movement and definition to your waves; Not Your Mother’s Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream, $20, helps encourage natural waves and eliminates frizz and flyaways; and Wella SP Polished Waves, $36, is a lightweight styling curl cream that works to fight frizz.
For those who don’t have thick hair, listening to someone moan about theirs can be tedious. What can there possibly be to whinge about? Well, it’s harder to manage for a start. “When well-maintained, thick hair looks luscious, healthy and glamorous,” says D&M stylist Danny Pato. “But each step of washing, treating, drying and styling takes substantially more product, time and effort.”
Reasons to love it: It makes the perfect ponytail.
Challenges: It can trap heat in summer or when you exercise, meaning you’ll sweat. It’s also hard to wear shorter styles.
Style icons: Eva Mendes, Cheryl Cole, Blake Lively.
Do: Get layers. “Long thick hair is much easier to manage when layers are involved. But remember, the layers must be long,” Pato says.
Do: Hydrate. Thicker hair is drier so use a hydrating shampoo, masque and conditioner.
Do: Treat hair in sections. While thick hair is drier, the roots can get still get sweaty or greasy. Use dry shampoo, when needed, for the roots and serum or hair oil for the tips.
Do: Try updos. Braids, ponytails and top knots are quick and easy for the thick-haired. “What’s hard are styles that require you to go section by section, such as a round brush blow-wave or creating curls as it takes so much time and effort,” Pato says. “But the most time-consuming thing about styling thick hair is getting it dry in the first place.” Invest in a high-powered hairdryer to save time.
Don’t: Overlook the long bob. “If you want more manage-ability, get your stylist to remove the bulk of your hair without sacrificing length,” Pato says.
Don’t: Forget heat protection. When using straightening or curling irons, always use a thermal protection product and only go over each section once.
Don’t: Wear a short, sharp fringe. Go for long and sweepy.
Don’t: Get fine highlights. “If your hair is thick and wavy, it pays to go for slightly stronger pieces.”
Try: Matrix Total Results Sleek Shampoo, $19; Moroccan Oil Hydrating Mask, $60; Moroccan Oil Hydrating Shampoo, $42. Label.m Relaxing Balm, $49; GHD Heat Protect Spray, $30; Redken Real Control Shampoo, $33.
Where would Carrie Bradshaw be without her wild curls? They were so big and noticeable they were almost their own character in Sex and the City. So why do most women with coiled curls desperately try to straighten them every morning – especially when the rest of us curl our hair for special occasions because it’s such a glamorous look? We can’t answer that one, but we can show you that having curly hair is a blessing. Here’s how to manage it.
Reasons to love it: It’s unique and the envy of all straight-haired women.
Challenges: If not looked after, curly hair can look like a frizzy, tangled mass. “Curly hair is prone to being dehydrated,” says Shannon Roper, national technical manager for Schwarzkopf Professional NZ. She suggests using a product that will regulate the moisture levels in hair to redefine the curl.
Style icons: Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Kidman, Lorde.
Do: Be ingredient specific. Search out heavy-duty conditioning products that have ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil.
Do: Get a trim every three months. This is key as you want to snip off dead ends to keep the curl fresh.
Do: Tuck your curls into a silk scarf at night. It may sound old-school but doing this will keep your hair from pulling on the pillow with too much tossing and turning. For best results tie in a high ponytail with a loose scrunchy first.
Don’t: Go against your hair type. There are many different varieties of curls so you need to target the right styling products for you. Use a serum for fine coils, gels for medium texture and oil-infused creams for the thickest, kinkiest, afro-like curls.
Don’t: Overdo the product. Too much and your curls will go crunchy or will be weighed down and lack bounce.
Don’t: Forget to use the diffuser on your hairdryer – that’s the big black circular attachment that comes with some of them. A diffuser is perfect for curly hair as it allows you to dry your hair without disturbing the curls, and on top of that it adds extra oomph.
Try: Redken Curvaceous Full Swirl, $35; Juuce Kinky, $28; Pure Fiji Coconut Milk Shampoo, and Coconut Crème Conditioner, $25.50 each; Wella Professionals Curl Craft Wax Mousse, $27; and GHD Diffuser, $30, which you attach to the GHD air hairdryer, $249.