Get away with last-minute hair
Have you ever found yourself with enough time after a Saturday of errands (grocery store, mall, home, soccer practice, back to the grocery store!) to do a complicated hairstyle for a wedding, dinner party, or reunion? Neither have we. But have no fear: top hair stylists gave us their best under-three-minute routines that fake a fabulous ‘do—no shower or blow dryer required. Now, you’re only minutes away from an excellent hair day.
1. Transform Your Ponytail
“Some of the easiest formal styles start with a ponytail,” says Pam Kelly, stylist and national educator for Fantastic Sams. “It’s easy to make them look intricate and fancy.” Here’s how:
Step 1: Secure hair into a ponytail at desired height on your head. For a low style, secure hair at the nape and for a high style secure hair in the center. Smooth hair strands so the style is neat.
Step 2: Separate eight little sections of the ponytail, twisting and securing each to your head with a bobby pin. This will create pretty twisted curls that surround and cover the ponytail base.
2. Create Sexy Waves
“Waves are fun, simple, and quick,” says Westchester, NY-based hair stylist Maria Licari. “Plus, the added spring of the shape makes hair look bigger and more voluminous.” Get the look:
Step 1: Clip up the top section of hair from the front of your head to the crown. An easy way to measure is from the ends of your eyebrows.
Step 2: Spray the bottom layer with hairspray and curl large sections with a large barrel curling iron.
Step 3: Drop the top layer, create a middle part, and spray again. Then curl small sections away from your face to create soft, sexy waves.
3. Make a Cropped Cut Distinct
“Most short styles don’t have enough length for an updo, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go glam for a special night out,” says Amy Abramite, hair stylist and creative director of Maxine salon in Chicago. Here’s how to get a sleek, elegant look:
Step 1: Create a side part that is located above the highest point of the eyebrow and aims back toward the crown. The side-sweeping fringe will add more drama and draw more attention to your eyes.
Step 2: When hair is dry, add enough pomade or wax to smooth down the layers for a clean, polished style. “To prevent helmet head, don’t overload on product,” Abramite says. “You should still be able to run your fingers through your hair.”
Step 3: Tuck the sides behind the ears for a flawless touch.
4. Flip the Front
“This look is all about creating flip and fun in the front, while shaping a beautiful frame for your face at the same time,” says Nick Arrojo, hair stylist and owner of Arrojo Studio in New York City. “Think low key Farah Fawcett.” Here’s how in just two steps:
Step 1: Take a curling iron to one inch sections in the front and on the sides. Section by section, curl the hair over and outwards, creating small “kicks.” These add a bounce and movement for a flowy, but polished look.
Step 2: Apply hairspray to hold the curls in place.
5. Secure an Updo (Bobby Pin-Free!)
“Celebrate your curls,” says Danilo, hair stylist for Pantene. Curly hair is forgiving, making experimenting with hair tools quick and easy. He recommends using the Goody Spin Pin ($6.50; drugstores) to create a soft, easy updo in minutes. Here’s how:
Step 1: Twist hair around the base of the ponytail so you have a messy bun in the crown area that looks natural and beautiful hair, but without competing with your dress, says Danilo. Follow your jawline to the ear, then to the crown for placement that is consistently flattering on everyone.
Step 2: Twist in the Spin Pin at the top of the ‘do for the best hold.
Step 3: Apply hairspray to keep frizz at bay.
6. Add the Right Accessory
“Elegant accessories add instant flair to any style,” Kelly says. But unless you’re a young girl doing a pageant circuit, leave the big bling at home and opt for a subtle, classy style instead. Here’s how to do it right:
Step 1: Choose an accessory size and style that is proportionate to the amount of hair on your head. If you have thin, short hair, opt for a smaller accessory. If you have long, thick hair, you can get away with something larger and more ornate.
Step 2 (Barrette): A funky barrette adds a fancy touch to an updo. Place the accessory just behind the ear, toward the back of your head.
Step 2 (Headband): Pull back your bangs with a trendy headband. Choose a narrow headband, and stay away from bright colors to keep the look classy, not girly.