Products and Prep: The Ultimate Hair Styling Guide
If you’ve ever stared into the deep abyss that is your bathroom beauty supply, picked up a styling product and wondered, “Now, what does this one do, again?” then this is the guide for you. Because there are as many explanations for overflowing bathroom cabinets as there are products. The simplest explanation is this: you bought it all. Pretty packaging, a skilled sales woman, a glowing review from your beauty-obsessed girlfriend – for whatever reason – there’s a heat-activated shaping cream taking up space on your shelf. And we say it’s time to put it to good use. Every styling product has a perfect match—a tool that will carry out the hairstyle the product prepped you for. Find your desired look below and learn how you really should be using all the products and tools in your beauty arsenal.
Voluminous hair: root lifter + 1¾” round brush.
For mega volume that lasts, Kérastase Artistic Director Nina Dimachki recommends prepping towel-dried hair with root-lifting gel, like Kérastase Lift Vertige. The texture of the gel-serum easily glides through hair. It’s lightweight enough for fine hair, yet strong enough to volumize the thickest of hair. Dimachki recommends using 1¾” round brush to blow dry the hair. “Too big of a round brush can lead to flat hair by the end of the day,” she notes. “For optimum volume results, blow dry each section from the underneath at root area—this will lift the hair up and defy gravity as it’s being dried into place.”
Natural Curls: curl cream gel + 3/4” curling iron.
If you have naturally curly hair, celebrity hairstylist Tommy Buckett suggests, “Using a little gel and curl cream to give you hold without creating crunchy curls.” Try working Garnier Fructis Style Curl Sculpting Cream Gel through the hair before curling. He finds that wrapping a few random curls around the barrel of 3/4" curling iron will add definition and control frizz, giving the whole look a more polished feel.
Beachy Texture: control spray + 1” curling iron.
To create that beachy, tousled look, you need to add light texture to the hair. PRAVANA Regional Artistic Trainer for the NorthEast Stacie Kowalski recommends doing this with a heat-protecting spray that offers control, like NEVO by PRAVANA Invisible Control. Use it on damp hair to give you lightweight hold as you finger dry. Then, “Using a 1" barrel curling iron, wrap the hair around the wand, top of wand facing down.” And remember to “wind the hair away from the face.” Finally, hold the look in place with a spritz of hairspray.
Create flowy waves by first prepping hair with a styling cream to control frizz. PRAVANA Regional Artistic Trainer for the South Lissette Cruz recommends using NEVO by PRAVANA Model Behavior before blow drying. Once hair is dry, use a 1½” - 2” curling iron to curl the hair in sections, “two on either side of the head and two in the back of the head.” Cruz says to direct the hair around your face so you include all the layers when you curl. “When you let go of the curling iron, the curls will cascade down giving a nice, flowy wave.”
Straight Hair: smoothing serum + flat iron.
When it comes to sleek hair, the name of the game is frizz control. Dimachki says to apply a smoothing serum like Kérastase Serum Oléo-Relax to wet hair (mid-shaft to ends) before blow drying. Use an extra large round brush when drying. “For optimum smoothness, glide down the section of hair with the brush, following with the blow dryer pointing downward working with the grain of the hair.” Follow with a flat iron that is heated properly for your hair texture and don’t forget to use a heat-protecting spray first. Try Redken Iron Shape 11 or L’Oréal Advanced Hairstyle Sleek It Iron Straight Heatspray.
Are you a volume, curly or sleek kind of girl? Tell us your signature hairstyle in the comments below.