Having thick hair is a big responsibility. The idea of trying new styling techniques can be a bit scary because thick hair generally has a mind of its own. To help relieve you of some of that anxiety, we’re sharing some of the most common mistakes people make with thick hair, as well as some best practices, ahead.
Thick Hair Mistake #1: Thinning it Out Too Much
One of the most popular ways people deal with thick hair is by thinning it out. While removing some bulk from your hair may seem like the best way to make it more manageable, in most cases you may actually be making matters worse. Over-thinning thick hair with shears or a razor can cause unwanted volume from the pumped-up, shorter layers left behind during the thinning process. It can also fray the ends of your hair leaving it appearing stringy and unhealthy. Layering the hair properly is the best way to ditch any extra bulk you may have without compromising the look or integrity of the hair.
Thick Hair Mistake #2 Getting a Super Short Haircut
Another route many take to achieve more manageable hair is opting for a super-short haircut. Once again, this may actually create more work for you in the long run. Short haircuts, in general, require more commitment in the styling and hair-care department, so if you’re looking for an easy, breezy style, this may not be the best option. When thick hair is cut too short, styling techniques like sectioning and updos are difficult to do, if not impossible. If you are looking for a shorter style that will work well with thicker hair, try a triangular long bob that is longer in the front. This will make pulling your hair back easier and will also distribute your hair in such a way that it appears sleeker and thinner.
Thick Hair Mistake #3: Getting It Chemically Straightened
Many clients opt for a chemical straightening treatment in the hopes that it will make their thick hairstyle easier. What most often happens is the natural texture of the hair is ruined and it becomes over-processed and unmanageable. If you’re looking to create an easier, sleeker look try getting a keratin treatment. Keratin treatments fill in the small divots in your hair that create texture to smooth it out and compress the cuticle. These treatments are also not permanent as they wash out over time and eventually restore your hair’s natural texture.
Thick Hair Mistake #4: Not Using the Right Shampoo and Conditioner
Another common mistake made with thick hair is using the wrong products. Many mistake thick hair for curly or textured hair and therefore stock up on formulas that are too heavy and weigh it down even more. Thick hair tends to retain oil more due to the density of the hair strands. Over time, this can create a lot of buildups, leaving your locks looking lackluster and dull. With thick hair, it’s important to properly cleanse it to avoid this buildup effect. Try a gentle clarifying shampoo and light conditioners like those from Kérastase Cristalliste, L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Shampoo or Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Shampoo. These formulas work together to wash out any oil and residue leftover from styling products and keep your hair looking fresh and healthy.
Thick Hair Mistake #5: Avoiding Layers
If you are part of the thick-hair family, you’ve probably experienced the fear of a new haircut. Finding the right cut for your thick strands can be a stressful ordeal and it might take a few tries before you find the perfect cut. The anxiety and confusion often cause women to choose the ease of a single-length, blunt haircut. This may work for some but for others, this isn’t necessarily the way to go. Don’t be afraid to layer your hair! Creating a long layering pattern will not only shed some weight from your hair, but it also gives you more styling versatility and a beautiful shape. Just make sure to avoid short layers.
Lattes, spa pedicures and perfect blowouts: they all top the list of those elusive things we can never quite master as well as the pros. After wrestling with our blowdryer — tired arms and tangled hair — for far too long, we decided we need to knock one of those wonders off the list and figure out how to blow dry our hair like the hairstylists do. To guide us on our journey, we caught up with hair pro Natasha Sunshine-Antonioni to get her expert advice on how to DIY the perfect blowout.
STEP 1: Prime and Prep Your Hair
The perfect blowout starts by spraying your hair before styling. “A primer sets your hair up to receive the benefits from your styling product,” says Sunshine-Antonioni. “If you think of a painter and their canvas, they always prime their canvas before applying the paint to get the best results. Spray a product like the Pureology Colour Fanatic Multi-benefit Leave-in Treatment from the mid-shaft to the ends of the hair. Then, choose a product that’s appropriate for the look you’re going for.” If you’re going for a sleek style, you want to use something that’s a bit creamier or shinier like the Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum. For a more voluminous style, use a volume spray like the Redken Guts 10 Volume Spray Foam at your roots.
STEP 2: Pre-Dry Your Hair
“I am a believer in using the fastest way to get the best results, so start by pre-drying the hair with your blow dryer,” suggests Sunshine-Antonioni. “Use your hand to stretch your hair and pull on it while you’re blowing with the tip of your blow dryer pointed down. If you have curly hair, you want to use a lot of tension and really stretch your hair, and if you have finer hair, you just move the blow dryer back and forth and do it hands-free. Do that until the hair is about eighty to ninety percent dry before you pick up a brush.”
STEP 3: Section Your Hair
“Next, make your part where you want it and section from ear to ear — one section on the left, one on the right, and then the remaining back of the head you want to put into four different sections,” she says.
STEP 4: Choose the Right Brush
Now it’s time to get down to business with the right tools. Sunshine-Antonioni likes to use a round bristle brush and says, “the bigger the brush, the straighter the hair. The smaller the brush, the tighter the curls, so choose according to the result you’re going for.”
STEP 5: Blow Dry Your Hair Like a Pro
When it comes time to dry with your brush, Sunshine-Antonioni recommends starting in the front of your hair. “If you have fine hair and you start in the back, by the time you get to the front it’s pretty much dry, and you’ve set your hair up to be flat,” she explains. It’s also important to focus more on the ends of your hair. “A lot of times people will spend time and energy by going from the root to the tips of the hair, but for a beautiful, polished blowdry you really just need to focus on the ends of the hair.” Place your brush from the mid-shaft to the end and then once it’s in there, that tension will smooth out the root at the same time.
If you want a smoother blow-dry with polished ends, roll your hair in toward the face, wrapping your hair around your brush. “A lot of times I see women drying their hair and they’re using a round brush, but the hair is not wrapping around the brush so the ends look frizzy,” Sunshine-Antonioni says.
“When you’re drying the back of the hair, it seems like everybody’s always killing themselves with their elbows up in the air, sweating, but if you actually just take your hair from the back and pull it around to the front, and you blow dry it in front of the face, it will expend a lot less energy and you’ll get a better polish to the ends. You won’t believe how much easier it is.”
STEP 6: Finish Your DIY Blowout
Once your salon-worthy blowout is done, Sunshine-Antonioni recommends setting your style with a light mist of flexible hairspray like the Matrix Total Results High Amplify Flexible Hold Hairspray.
STEP 7: Now Make Your Blowout Last
So you’ve mastered the perfect blowout but a couple of days later it’s suddenly greasy and less voluminous. Cue dry shampoo. We recommend trying the Pureology Style + Protect Refresh & Go Dry Shampoo. “Make a horseshoe shape parting on the top of your head from temple to temple and spray it right at the root, about six inches away from the hair. Next, brush it through your hair,” Sunshine-Antonioni advises. You can also follow up with a conditioner like the Batiste Dry Conditioner. “If your ends look a little dry, but you don’t want to layer on a serum because it’s too heavy, the dry conditioner is wonderful because it leaves you with light freshness. Start from the mid-shaft to the ends and spray vigorously, then brush through.” Wondering if you can use both products at once? Yes, she says, as long you brush the products thoroughly between applications and concentrate the conditioner on your ends and shampoo at the roots.
Having thick hair is a big responsibility and trying new styling techniques can be a bit scary since thick hair generally has a mind of its own. To help relieve you of some of that anxiety, I’m going to share some of the most common mistakes people make with thick hair as well as some best practices so you can make every day a good hair day.
THINNING IT OUT TOO MUCH
One of the most popular ways people deal with thick hair is by thinning it out. And while removing some bulk from your hair may seem like the best way to make it more manageable, in most cases you may actually be making matters worse. Over-thinning thick hair with shears or a razor can cause unwanted volume from the pumped-up, shorter layers left behind during the thinning process. It can also fray the ends of your hair leaving appearing stringy and/or unhealthy. Layering the hair properly is the best way to ditch any extra bulk you may have without compromising the look or integrity of the hair (we’ll discuss this more below).
GETTING A SUPER-SHORT CUT
Another route many take to achieve more manageability is opting for a super-short haircut. Once again, this may actually create more work for you in the long run. Short haircuts, in general, require more commitment in the styling and hair care department, so if you’re looking for an easy, breezy style, this may not be the best option for you. When thick hair is cut too short, styling techniques like sectioning and updos are difficult to do, if not impossible. If you are looking for a shorter style that will work well with thicker hair, try a triangular long bob that is longer in the front. This will make pulling your hair back easier and will also distribute your hair in such a way that it appears sleeker and thinner.
GETTING IT CHEMICALLY STRAIGHTENED
I’ve seen many clients opt for a chemical straightening treatment in the hopes that it will make their thick hair more manageable. What most often happens is the natural texture of the hair is ruined and it becomes over-processed and unmanageable. If you’re looking to create an easier, sleeker look try getting a keratin treatment. Keratin treatments fill in the small divots in your hair that create texture to smooth it out and compress the cuticle, making it easier to style. These treatments are also not permanent as they wash out over time and eventually restore your hair’s natural texture.
NOT USING THE RIGHT SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
Another common mistake made with thick hair is using the wrong products. Many mistaken thick hair for curly or textured hair and therefore stock up on formulas that are too thick and weigh it down even more. Thick hair tends to retain oil more due to the density of the hair strands. Over time, this can create a lot of buildup, leaving your locks looking lackluster and dull. With thick hair, it’s important to properly cleanse it to avoid this buildup effect. Try a gentle clarifying shampoo and light conditioner like those from the Kérastase Cristalliste line. These formulas work together to wash out any oil and residue leftover from styling products and keep your hair looking fresh and healthy.
If you are part of the thick-hair family, you’ve probably experienced the fear of a new haircut. Finding the right cut for your thick tresses can be a stressful thing and it might take a few tries before you find the perfect cut. The anxiety and confusion often causes women to choose the ease of a single-length, blunt haircut. This may work for some, but for others, this isn’t necessarily the way to go. Don’t be afraid to layer your hair! Creating a long layering pattern will not only shed some weight from your hair, but it also gives you more styling versatility and a beautiful shape. Make sure you avoid short layers!
True life: gym hair is the ultimate struggle. To all of you who make it look super easy to be chic and sweaty, kudos to you. We can’t say that we’re as lucky — we tend to side with those of you who turn to a high ponytail, messy bun or a quick braid built for convenience rather than cuteness. But as gym-lovers who also have a fiery passion for all things beauty, we realize there must be alternative gym hairstyles that are easy-ish to do and look good, even during the sweatiest of workouts. Sure, they might take you a little more time than that five-second ponytail, but you’ll feel like you achieved the hair straight out of your Pinterest dreams, which will obviously help you crush that workout.
We worked with NYC-based hairstylist Johnny Rackleff to come up with gym hairstyles for every type of workout.
For the Barre-Lover
Shed your sneakers, slip into your favorite sports bra-and-leggings combo, and then secure your hair away from your face. Instead of opting for a traditional braid, consider braiding your hair back into a messy (yet chic!) bun. To get the look at home, you’ll want to start by sectioning your hair down the middle and then clipping back one side while you work on the other. “Secure three pieces of your hair from one section and start the Dutch braid, ending at the nape of your neck,” Rackleff explains. Once that braid is complete, start on the second dutch braid on the second section of your hair. Once you have both Dutch braids, add a hair tie to secure the braids together and then make the remainder of the ponytail into a messy bun.
For the Yogi and Pilates Enthusiasts
We’re here for elevated space buns and soon enough, you will be, too. To give this look extra detail (perhaps, if you have to go straight from the gym to real-life), start by flipping your head so you’re able to start creating an upside-down French braid on the underside of your hair (pro tip: you might need some guidance from a friend the first time around). “Section your hair down the middle and then start the upside-down French braid at the nape of your neck, focusing the braid straight up toward the top of your head where you’ll create your buns,” says Rackleff. Once both braids reach the very top of your head, secure them with a hair tie to create two ponytails. From there, wrap the two ponytails into messy space buns. Finish by securing with bobby pins.
For the Long-Distance Runner or Zumba Dancer
Perfect for the long-distance runner who doesn’t want to deal with hair in her face, this simple-but-pretty French-braid ponytail will do the trick. “Start by gathering all of your hair at the back of your head and then start your French braid in the center,” Rackleff explains. “Pull from the sides to create your french braid and gather as you go down.” When your braid reaches the nape of your neck, gather the rest of the hair into a ponytail and secure it with an elastic. To hide the elastic, “twist a section of hair around the base of the ponytail and then hold it in place as you secure it with bobbie pins.
For the Spinning Devotee
It’s time to chanel the child within who used to love to twist your hair, clip it and call it a hairstyle. In some ways, that’s exactly what you’re going to do to achieve this side-twist-meets-bun look. “Start by parting your hair down the center to form two sections,” Rackleff explains. From there, “start at the front of the first section, wrapping your hair into itself in an inward twisting motion. Once you reach the bottom of your ear, gather the rest of your hair into a bun, securing with a hair tie.” Repeat the same process with the other section of your hair and then prepare to bike your heart out. Consider pinning the twisted part of your hair if you imagine things might get a little crazy.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn, Makeup: Ashley Rebecca, Hair: Johnny Rackleff
If you frequently color your hair at home, you’re probably all too aware of the risks that come with DIY hair dye — sometimes it comes out too dark, sometimes it’s too light and sometimes, it’s a completely different color than you intended it to be. It’s a wild ride. When it comes to at-home hair-dye jobs, we’ve all experienced a nightmare or two (read: maybe five) but nevertheless, we’ve persisted and tried again. To help you navigate some of your most common at-home hair coloring questions, we spoke with George Papanikolas, Matrix Celebrity Colorist, to learn pro tips and tricks. Ahead, read his advice on what to do when your hair color comes out too dark.
Mistake #1: You Picked the Wrong Color
Although there are many factors that can contribute to your hair color coming out too dark, the most probable cause is the box color you selected. “Most likely, you picked a darker color than you desired,” says Papanikolas. “People might think they have black hair, but really they have medium brown hair. On the color spectrum chart, there are 10 shades, level 1 black to level 10 pale blonde. Levels 1-6 are all brunette shades, so picking the right color can be tricky when you aren’t a professional.” Luckily there are several apps that can help you select the right shade at home, including the Garnier Shade Selector Tool created with Modiface. This one lets you virtually try on different colors before you buy and dye.
Mistake #2: Your Application Technique is Wrong
“The second most likely factor is that you applied the same color from root to ends. This is a wrong approach, especially if you are using permanent color. Because the ends are more porous and have more color buildup, they can suck up more color and become inky and dark.”
Tip #1: Only Use Permanent Color on Gray Hair
To keep your hair color from coming out too dark next time around, only use permanent hair color to cover gray hair and on your regrowth. “Refresh the ends with a semi-permanent gloss 2-4 shades lighter than the root color,” advises Papanikolas. “You always want the ends to be a little lighter.”
Tip #2: Use a Clarifying Shampoo to Lighten Color That is Too Dark
Papanikolas explains there is a universal rule of hair color: A lighter color won’t lighten previously colored hair. “Use a clarifying shampoo, like Matrix Total Results Pro-Solutionist Alternate Action Clarifying Shampoo, hot water, say a prayer and be patient that the color hopefully fades over several weeks.”
Tip #3: Know When to See a Professional
“The only other way to quickly lighten the hair is by seeing a professional. It’s an expensive option as it’s a complicated and time-consuming color correction, which requires your colorist to strip it out, and then go back over with the desired color,” he says. “The process is too complicated to do at home and can be harsh and damaging to the hair.”
Heat styling: Bad for your hair, yet a majority of us do it — which is exactly why I started using a hair mask every time I wash my hair. Yes, you read that right, every single time. I know what you’re thinking, “Great, just another reason to double the time spent on my shower routine,” but trust me when I say it makes a huge difference.
Here’s a little background: I have fine, naturally wavy hair that frizzes easily and I typically wash my hair twice a week. I never used to heat style my hair — I’m talking as recently as just a few years ago. I was too nervous it would ruin my texture (loose, natural waves) and cause irreversible damage. Then I became a beauty editor and the rest is history. To be honest, I still don’t heat style my hair that frequently compared to others; maybe like two times a week on average. But still, I worry that my occasional curling iron routine will fry my strands, which is why I started using a hair mask instead of a conditioner every time I wash.
“Hair masks are much more nourishing and offer greater repairative benefits than a traditional conditioner,” explains Andrew Fitzsimons, celebrity hairstylist and NatureLab. TOKYO Brand Ambassador. “Many hair masks are formulated in a way that the ingredients can penetrate further into the hair strands than conditioner, giving you additional benefits.”
Fitzsimons is on board with my mask-as-conditioner hair hack and says plenty of people can benefit from doing it — as long as it suits their hair type. “If your hair tends to be dry you can absolutely use a hair mask as a conditioner,” he says. “I have some clients who use a mask every time they wash. If you have hair that tends to be oily or is very fine and thin, though, you may not want to overuse your hair mask as it could weigh your hair down.”
So, how do you know if it’s right for you? “The trick is to test and see what works best for your individual hair,” advises Fitzsimons. “Start with a mask once every other week and build up in frequency from there.”
To make this hair styling hack possible (and to keep my shower time a short as possible), I shampoo my hair as soon as I get in the shower and immediately apply a mask afterwards in place of a regular conditioner. Then, I pull back my hair in a claw clip to keep it out of the water and go about the rest of my routine. This gives the mask time to soak for the next 15 — okay, maybe 20 — minutes of my shower, and then I rinse it out at the very end. Most hair mask directions say to apply them outside of the shower, but I personally prefer to just combine it with my existing shower routine to make the most of my time.
I recommend hydrating hair mask formulas to fight frizz and nourish your hair between heat styling. My usual go-tos include Garnier Fructis Nourishing Treat 1 Minute Hair Mask + Coconut Extract, Kérastase Le Masque Hair Mask, NatureLab. TOKYO Perfect Repair Treatment Masque and Biolage R.A.W. Re-Hydrate Hair Mask.
Even if you’re someone who colors your hair or heat styles more frequently, I’d be willing to bet your strands look sleeker, shinier and overall healthier. For me, you can barely tell I touch a curling iron — which is the dream, right?
Bobs are without a doubt having a moment right now with so many of our favorite celebrities ditching their length and opting for a chic, cropped cut. If you’ve recently chopped off your length for this shorter hairstyle then you know it’s a never-ending cycle of cutting your hair, only to want to grow it back out again.
Bob Haircut Tip #1: Messy Always Works
If you’ve found yourself in that awkward in-between phase of growing out your bob, you probably feel like your hair has lost all of its oomph. Maybe it’s falling flat or maybe your blowouts are coming out a little too rounded. Regardless, try wearing it messy! This will work with both straight hair or hair that has a bit of natural texture to it.
To add a little texture to the style, use a pomade and heat it up in your hand with a blowdryer. Once the product is softened, flip your head over and run your fingers through your hair. This messed-up style is the perfect way to give your hair a little extra kick.
Bob Haircut Tip #2: Stay on Schedule
When aiming for growth, your first inclination might be to refrain from trimming your hair, but this is the wrong mindset. One major way to keep your hairdo looking fresh while growing out a bob is to stick to your cutting schedule. Morad recommends cutting it every eight weeks to keep the ends of your hair from splitting.
Bob Haircut Tip #3: Accessorize
We are constantly seeing hair accessories popping up on runways and red carpets. Take advantage of this trend to make your hairstyle look more put together in the midst of growing it out. You can try crystal bobby pins to secure one side of your hair back or even an elaborate headband when you’re unable to do a ponytail. Accessorizing won’t only aid you in the process, but it will also bring your look to a new, of-the-moment level.
Bob Haircut Tip #4: Give It a Pop of Color
The process of growing your hair out can definitely lead to some drab days. I like to make my clients feel fabulous during this time by switching up their color, says Morad. Whether it be adding baby highlights to brighten or dramatic ombré to lend a little edge, giving your hair a color boost can add some zest to even the dullest of days.
If we told you the cure for frizzy, unruly hair is an old T-shirt, we would expect one of the following reactions: an incredulous laugh, a dismissive scoff or a disturbing stare — or all three, in quick succession. We don’t blame you. It’s hard to look at that ratty high school gym class tee and picture it being the hair-taming miracle you’ve been praying for, but today we’re sharing a trick that may just change the hair game forever. All you’ll need is a plain cotton tee.
HERE’S HOW THE T-SHIRT HAIR HACK WORKS
Instead of drying your hair with a towel post-shower, swap it for a T-shirt. Here’s why:
“When hair is wet, it becomes weaker and softer,” explains hairstylist Isabella Vázquez. “If we use a regular towel to dry it, the grooves of the towel become aggressors to the cuticle of the hair. Towels absorb all the moisture from our hair when what we want to do is absorb the excess water without stripping it of the moisture that helps the hair from becoming frizzy.”
So why a cotton shirt, you ask? Vázquez says the T-shirt will absorb excess water while preventing frizz. “Because T-shirts do not have the rough grooves of a towel, the flat surface allows water to sink in and slides over the hair instead of roughing it up.”
Another great alternative to using a T-shirt is trying a microfiber towel. We like the NuMe Microfiber Hair Wrap because it’s lightweight and will give you the same smoothing benefits. This drying method works especially well for curly-haired people who are all too familiar with frizzy-hair fiascos. Unlike thick, fluffy towels, a T-shirt or microfiber towel will dry your strands without disrupting your natural curl pattern.
TUTORIAL: HOW TO WRAP AND DRY YOUR HAIR USING A T-SHIRT
STEP 1: After washing your hair, take a cotton tee and use it to gently wring out any excess water. Then, gather your hair and wrap the T-shirt around it and gently squeeze to sop up the water.
STEP 2: Flip your hair over upside down and pull your hair through the opening of your T-shirt so that the opening stretches around your hairline.
STEP 3: Twist the T-shirt until you reach the end and tuck it underneath the opening at the nape of your neck.
STEP 4: Leave the T-shirt on for 10-15 minutes, undo and style as usual.
Some women prefer to put product into their hair before wrapping it up in a tee. Experiment with it to find the combination that works best for your unique hair type. If you like to style your hair after you shower, run some mousse or styling cream through your strands before twisting it up in the shirt. For nourishing oils or smoothing serums, apply to strands once you’ve let it down from the tee. When your hair has dried, either naturally or by a blow dryer, you should notice how smooth it feels!
We’ve all had those manic mornings where nothing seems to go right, haven’t we? You sleep through your alarm, you can’t figure out what to wear to work, and your hair just doesn’t want to cooperate. Despite our greatest efforts to hide evidence of our frantic morning shuffle, sometimes it still peeks through when we walk through the door with a disheveled hairdo — until now. While your typical messy bun is a standard weekend uniform, the workday requires something a bit more polished.
Cue: the sleek and sophisticated wrap bun. Easy enough to complete in seconds, yet just polished enough to give off the impression that you have yourself together, this hairstyle should be your new go-to for mornings when you’re trying to beat the clock.
How to Create a Sleek Wrap Bun
STEP 1: Brush out your hair so it’s smooth and easy to style and free of knots and tangles.
STEP 2: Flip hair upside down and pull it into a high ponytail at the top of the head. Secure with an elastic hair tie and smooth out any bumps or strays with a brush. To keep flyaways at bay, use a stronghold hairspray to lock it all in. We like L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Strong Hairspray.
STEP 3: Twisting the pony, begin wrapping it into a bun around the base where the elastic sits. Secure the style in place using bobby pins.
STEP 4: To set the style and ensure your hard work doesn’t come loose, give your hairstyle a spritz with hairspray once more.