Master these three key looks, invest in some must-have tools and banish bad hair days forever.
The Classic Blow-Dry
This bouncy 'do will take you effortlessly from desk to dinner.
1. After washing, start by roughly drying strands with a blow-dryer. "Blasting your hair with your head upside down helps remove moisture quickly, and helps give your lengths some root lift," reveals Goldwell ambassador Shane Henning, from Noddy's On King salon in Sydney. He recommends using your hands to shape and smooth strands as you go, until two thirds of the moisture has been removed. If your hair is fine or needs a little support, add some styling mousse to increase fullness and help hold the style.
2. Gather the front section of your hair - from your ears forward - on top of your head and clip away while you dry the rest. Starting at the nape of your neck, wrap a 2.5cm section of hair around a barrel brush and point your dryer down the hair shaft to smooth, explains Henning. Keep rolling the brush as you go until strands are completely dry. Continue this technique on small sections up the back of your head. "Before starting the front section, pop a couple of large velcro rollers into the ends of the hair you've just blow-dried," he adds.
3. Now it's time to start work on the hair you clipped away previously. Create a low side part and begin by drying the strands on the lower side, using the same technique. When dry, wrap this section around another roller.
4. To style the segment on the fuller side of your part line, Henning recommends separating it into two sections - front and back. Dry the back section while rolling your brush under and smoothing as you go, before again wrapping this piece around a roller. Then, set to work on your fringe section. This time, place the brush on top of your hair, rather than underneath, wrapping hair backwards over the barrel to create a sexy, low flick as you dry.
5. "Once your hair has cooled, remove the rollers and brush through, smoothing the ends under and flicking back the front section," says Henning. Finish with a spritz of hairspray.
The secret: This look is all about the right tools. "You'll need a medium barrel bristle brush, about 5cm in diameter, plus a good-quality, powerful hairdryer," advises Henning.
Prepare with Schwarzkopf Extra Care Volume Power Mousse, $4.99. Dry with Parlux 3800 Eco Friendly Ionic & Ceramic Edition Dryer, from $189.95. Smooth with The Body Shop Ceramic Styling Hairbrush, $35.95. Shape with Hair FX Self-Gripping Rollers, $4.95 for a pack of six. Fix with Garnier Fructis Style Elastic Power Fix Brilliance Hairspray, $5.95.
The Sexy Wave
Let cascading, carefree curls impart "I'm-not-trying" glamour.
If your hair is straight:
1. Wash with volumising care products, then work a styling mousse through damp strands. Blast completely dry with your hairdryer.
2. Clip your hair up and, taking 5cm sections starting from underneath, wrap around the barrel of a curling tong and hold each for a few seconds. "Try not to make the curls all the same - on some sections, leave the ends loose, on others, curl only the mid-lengths or ends," suggests Henning.
3. When your waves have cooled, flip your head upside down and rake through with your fingers, then straighten up and shake your hair gently with your hands to finish. A spritz of hairspray will seal the deal.
If your hair is curly:
1. Fight frizz by combing your hair in the shower when your conditioner is on, but never afterwards, warns Henning. "Then, do a final rinse in cold water as this helps seal the cuticle layer, preventing fluffiness." Gently blot your curls with a towel - don't rub - and add a wave-specific styling product.
2. To encourage movement in natural curls, "scrunch" the shape in gently with your hands. "Best results are achieved by letting hair dry naturally, or you can use a diffuser attachment on your hairdryer if you're in a hurry," says Henning.
3. Add texture to the style by using a curling tong on a few individual tendrils to lend a slightly more defined look. Finish with a mist of humidity-resistant hairspray to keep curls smooth.
The secret: "The idea is to create a loose, casual feel - you don't want it too curly or too perfect," states Henning. "It's a good idea to style one hour before venturing out, as this gives some time for hair to 'drop' slightly."
Shape kinks with Goldwell StyleSign Crystal Turn Curl Gel Wax, $22.95. boost straight strands with ghd Maximise Mousse, $35. curl with Remington Tribal Tong, $53.95. hold with Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly Flexible Style Hairspray, $6.99. finish with KMS California Flatout Anti-Humidity Seal, $28.50.
A few additions to your bathroom cabinet will help you achieve a professional look with ease.
- Bobby pins: A must in any styling kit. Try Hair FX Bobby Pins, from $3.50 for a pack of 60.
- Snag-free elastics: Look for those without the metal fastening. Try Lady Jayne Snagless Elastics, $5.99 for a pack of 18.
- Round brush: Helps with creating a professional-looking blow-dry. Try VS Sassoon Opti Heat Round Brush, $16.95.
- Wide-toothed comb: Use to detangle damp strands without damage. Try label.m Carbon Antistatic Comb, $24.95.
- Tail comb: Create sharp part lines and tease with ease. Try Elite Professionnel Rat Tail Comb, $5.65.
- Paddle brush: Best for grooming dry hair and creating up-dos. Try Brushworx Keratin 230 Hairbrush, from $18.95.
The chic chignon
Always a classic, this quintessential up-do is as timeless as it is elegant.
1. Using a bristle brush, groom dry hair well, then gather into a ponytail at the nape of your neck. Although this step sounds simple, it takes practice, and may take a few attempts to get your strands perfectly smooth and into the right position, warns Henning. "This style looks great with a low side parting, or simply brushed straight back." Once you perfect both, you can change your look with ease.
2. Tie your ponytail with a snag-free hair elastic, or do as Henning does and use a length of hat elastic to prevent damage to your hair. Then, twist the ponytail around and back on itself, tucking the ends under as you go for a sleek look. Fasten with bobby pins.
3. Once your hair is smooth and secure, spray generously all over with a strong-hold hair lacquer, then smooth over with the palms of your hands to prevent fly-aways.
The secret: "This look is easiest when hair is slightly oily, or a day or two after washing, as it's simpler to control and you can achieve a smoother finish," says Henning. If your strands are freshly washed or naturally soft, use hairspray before styling to add hold and texture.