Get flicky with your flatiron
According to celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend, who works with Lea Michele and Minka Kelly, your hair will actually look straighter if you add a slight bend at the ends. "Pull straight down but flick your wrist right at the ends," he advises. "That slight angle is cleaner and flatter than straight ends, which can look frizzy and fried."
Make use of your blowdryer's soulmate
A mixed-bristle round brush—one with both synthetic and natural quills—will take your blowout to the next level, even if you're using a cheapie in-the-wall unit at a hotel. "The two types of bristles get the hair much smoother than just a dryer alone," says Townsend.
Repurpose your straightener
If you're going for that tousled texture, not stiff spirals, try waving with your flatiron. Clamp a two-inch section of hair at the end and wrap the hair around the entire tool, working upwards to the root. And only hold on for a few seconds—any longer and the hair will look crimped.
Meet your new volumizer
Perfect ringlets may not be de rigueur, but that doesn't mean you have to toss your curling iron just yet. For a pretty updo that won't fall flat or a side braid that's hefty, not wimpy, set your hair in spirals before you style. Work through the entire head and allow curls to cool before brushing through. You'll be amazed at how full your hair feels (and how well it holds any look.)
Map out a blowout plan
Blowdrying willy-nilly may feel efficient, but it actually damages the hair shaft. To firmly seal the cuticle instead of roughing it up, direct the nozzle at a 90 degree angle to the section your drying. And don't save the best for last. "Many women will work from the back and move forward, leaving the most important parts for when they're exhausted," Townsend explains. Translation: Dry face-framing layers first, when you can still feel your arms.
What's your hot tools styling secret?