Tools For Keeping Your Hair In Control When You Aren’t

Coming to both understand and know how to properly work with one’s own hair is a lifelong journey.  We pour through blogs (no irony there), scour through magazines, ask all our friends, experiment with myriads of product, and stare into the mirror for probably what amounts to weeks of time on Earth just trying to get a grip on what it takes to make our hair look consistently great.  There are the rare awesome hair days that we manage to pull off without help of a stylist, but for the most part, our hair is just kind of … there.

Maybe you’re one of those folks that insists on every day being a great hair day, and so you wake up earlier, or go to bed later, bust out the heat tools on a daily basis, take time to actually blow out your hair once it’s washed … but that’s not everyone.  If the aforementioned describes you, I sincerely admire you.  I mean it.  Not in that fake, condescending Well I just don’t have the time for that way (because I probably do have the time, if we’re honest)… I genuinely admire you.  And my side-eye is probably just me being jealous of you.

But for those of us whose biceps start whining at the very thought of blowing out our hair, for those of us who wake up and feel like your hair needs a complete do-over if you’re going to actually style it with intention, for those of us that lack the daily discipline, for those of us who can’t wait for the curling iron to heat up- I give you my list of the most helpful hair tools for when laziness strikes.  And all are meant for unwashed hair.

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A boar bristle brush

When my hair has become greasy and I have to go out before I get the chance to wash, I find it helpful to embrace the oils and brush my hair thoroughly with this sturdy brush.  It distributes the oils evenly through my hair and smooths things out.  This usually works best when my hair has gone flat at the roots and lost any wave or curl.  It also adds fluff to the body of my hair so that I can pull it back in a full ponytail or a voluminous bun.  You don’t want to brush with something wimpy on second or third-day hair; a plastic bristled brush or something less dense won’t control the oil as well.

A combo of sea salt spray and dry shampoo

In my case, I prefer Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Infusion spray that contains hydrating oils in it along with the salt mixture, because salt sprays can really dry out my hair.  The Surf Infusion brings texture, volume, and some curl or wave back into the lengths of my hair without making it feel like a sticky pile of hay with tacky glue all over it (as is the case with some texture products).  If I add a little Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo to my crown along with that, I’m usually in fighting shape for another day.

A black elastic headband and some bobby pins

These usually end up being the tools for my hair during the final day before a wash.  I also default to this style when I just want my bangs out of my face.  I pull my hair up in a high bun, try to “neaten” it by pinning down the pieces poking out with bobby pins, and pin any bits falling out as well as my bangs.  Adding the black headband can give it a sporty vibe or something a little more ballerina inspired if the band is maybe a satin ribbon, and if the bun is elegant enough.  Be sure to push the band forward enough and see that it’s not too thing; otherwise, you end up looking more like a high school soccer player.  I’ve been trying to see what I can add to make this look more intentional rather than haphazard; its very easy for a quick bun to look haphazard in my case.  If my bangs are in good shape, they can really take a bun to the next level, as bangs can give a bun that extra “fashion blogger” feel.

On some days, if the lengths of my hair are doing okay, I’ll just pin back my bangs with two bobby pins in an “X”.  A little dry shampoo in the roots and that pretty much settles things.

A shot of cold air with a blowdryer or a spritz of water

Sometimes, the best answers are the simple ones.  Running over your hair with a blowdryer can do different things on different days.  For me, sometimes it volumizes it, brings back texture, adds shine, etc.  Other days, it doesn’t really do anything.  I’m not one for claiming my advice is foolproof; things just don’t always work on everyone’s hair, everyday.  The same goes for water.  On occasion, just spraying my lengths with water has done amazing things.  It’s brought back wave or tamed frizz in certain areas when it’s dry out; other days, my hair dries and looks just as it did before.  My point is, sometimes you just give different solutions a shot and see what happens before resorting to pinning it up.

Any other ideas you have to offer?  I always hear about the braiding solution, but as I’ve mentioned before, that’s something I can rarely do without needing a third or fourth arm.  Anyhow, I’m an open book, so give me your tips!  xo, MR

How To: Seriously Beachin’ Waves

Loose, shine-free, textured waves are my favorite kind of hairstyle.  It’s fairly easy to replicate the look on myself because my hair has some natural wave to it, so the bias is obvious.  However, I do love the different which-ways you can make waves go, and I like their easy, laid-back feel.  My friends will tell you that one of the ways I express friendship is by “waving” your hair- I’m not kidding.  It’s the most relaxing process for me.  And just the word “wave” evokes peaceful memories of the ocean, and being a California girl, that’s never a bad thing.  Although, authentic “beach waves” with a bit too much salt going on can get a little crusty if we’re honest.  There’s a difference between looking like you spent a weekend at Laguna Beach or a year on an island with Tom Hanks in a loincloth.

When I create my own waves, I go by a couple tried-and-true tips so they don’t look too neat, but I do want to make sure they have plenty of body.  If you have curly hair, the general method is to blow your hair out straight first and then create the waves, but that’s a lot of heat and effort so I understand if you bypass this how-to with an annoyed eyeroll.  I’d encourage you to still give it a shot though, when you’ve got extra time just for fun!  If you have stick-straight hair, this may still work but you will probably want to crank the heat on your curling rod and a good dose of hairspray won’t hurt, either.  Regardless, see if this works for you too.  I love straightening my hair when I have time, though it’s a different kind of vibe with bangs.  Making my hair extra curly is the hardest for me, but it’s been really fun the few times I’ve executed it well.  Waves are just the easiest for my hair type, and here’s what I do to get them.

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Step 1:  Freshly washed hair works best, because you can rough dry it and give it serious volume.  I’ll wash and condition my hair, comb it through with a wide-tooth comb and a few sprays of Unite’s 7-Second Conditioner, and give it some time to air dry.  This allows at least a little natural texture to come through, which is good.  If I’m doing my makeup, I try to take this time to apply moisturizer and get my face makeup on while my bangs are still pulled back.  Once my bangs are dry and styled, it’s hard to do my makeup without messing up my bangs.

Step 2:  After my hair has had a little time to dry (think like, 60% dry), I’ll use a blowdryer to rough dry it the rest of the way.  No brush required (except for the bangs, just a little bit)!  I’ll flip my head upside down and all that, and just kind of go at it until it’s dry.  You don’t want to lay a heat tool to it while it’s still damp at all, or you’ll basically boil your hair.  After it’s dry, I spray some more heat protectant on it and let that settle for a minute.

Step 3:  I wave my hair in three sections- bottom, middle, and top.  I’ll use a clip to keep the upper sections of my hair out of the way as I go.  Using the Hot Tools 1.25′ curling iron, I’ll take small chunks of hair (probably 1-inch sections) and wrap them around the iron.  The key is to not use the clamp; just wrap the hair around the iron and hold it there for a couple seconds.  When you wrap the hair, don’t wind it tightly around the iron; think more of a languid, ribbon-around-the-Maypole kind of wrap as opposed to tightly winding thread around a little spool.  You want these waves to be loose and lazy.  Also, I try to not wrap hair in the same direction every time.  I try alternate between wrapping forwards and backwards, although if you wrap in all one direction I actually don’t think it turns out that bad.  Another thing- I leave the ends out!  That’s a big part of the beachy feel; don’t wrap about the last inch of hair around the iron.

Now, I suppose you could just use a curling rod for this whole process, but the results with a rod are almost a bit too precious from my experience.  The best rod I know of is the Sarah Potempa BeachWaver, but Hot Tools costs a fraction of the price and they yield the same results in my opinion.

Step 4:  Time to apply texture product!  As you curl each section from bottom to top (and by curl, I really mean wave), liberally mist a dry texture spray all over the waves you’ve created.  I like Bumble and Bumble’s Thickening Dryspun Finish and Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray.  Spray it into the roots and, as you go through each section, flip your head upside down and shake out your waves with your hands.  Additionally, take another texturizing product that isn’t dry, like Living Proof’s Instant Texture Mist, and apply it to the ends.  I spray some of this into my hands (because it can be sticky) and scrunch it into the midlengths and ends.  I love the effect of this particular product; it gives a piecey-ness to the look.  You can also try a wet sea spray like Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Infusion like I did this time; it has moisturizing oils in it so it not only gives that beach effect to my ends but it also moisturizes them, which is nice after all the heat styling.  And it has just enough sea salt in it to not be too drying.

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A lot of people also like to add a mousse or some other volumizing product before they begin rough drying, but my personal experience has been that applying stylers after drying my hair is the most effective.  I get plenty of volume with a dry texture spray, but if you have success with a product applied to wet hair, by all means go for it.

The nice thing about this style is that it tends to hold up pretty well the next day.  You can always go back over sections with the curling iron again, too.  And dry texture spray also functions as a dry shampoo; that stuff is seriously the gift that keeps on giving and is by far my favorite hair innovation of the past five years.

Let me know if you try this or these products, and tag me in your pictures if you do!  xo, MR

Fall 2014- The One Beauty Trend I’ll Be Trying

Any day now, I’ll be receiving four giant September issues in my tiny little mailbox.  Well, a couple of them will be much larger than the others (because Lucky is still working its way back up the ladder, after all), but you all know how I feel about September.  It’s the biggest month of the year for fashion, and if you’re doing things right as a fashion publication, your September issue each new year is your biggest issue ever with all kinds of designers and other folks in the industry paying to have their advertisements in your magazine.

However, I have to admit that when I finally open my mailbox and see that behemoth set of pages clogging up space and squashing the rest of my mail, with my eyes practically dilating and the small rush of excitement flowing through my nerves, I get a bit anxious.  There’s just so much to look at, so much to take in, and knowing how I am, I tend to fall prey to whatever trends the editors dictate.  Sometimes I take on a trend just for fun, sometimes I do it because I really, genuinely like the look of it, and other times I do them, well, because I’ve been told I should.  Lame.

When it comes to beauty though, I’ve tried everything at this point.  I’ve done the bright eyeliners for spring, the sleek middle parts, the burgundy lips for fall, the rumpled texture, the metallic eyeshadow, the “natural” look, everything.  Well, everything but braids really, because I still can’t braid.

So I’m making it easy on myself this next season.  I’m trying one beauty trend from the Fall 2014 runways.  And it literally costs nothing, and takes no effort.

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Nope, it’s not putting your hands in your pockets!  And it isn’t leaving your mouth gracefully gaped open!  Nope, it’s quite simply just leaving your hair whimsically and artfully tucked in.

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Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t even say that this is a trend I’m going to try because this is something that I’ve actually been doing for years.  I love leaving my hair tucked in!  Leave it in leather jackets, turtlenecks, trench coats, anything.  There’s something so chic and, I don’t know, Scandinavian about tucking in your hair.  It feel mysterious and luxurious, haphazard and I-have-so-many-places-to-go-but-I-have-an-amazing-coat-and-sense-of-fashion-and-I-can’t-compromise-either kind of feel.  It sort of makes you want to ride a horse and race off to a castle and yet have a cup of coffee in a small, trendy cafe at the same time.

I don’t know why tucking in my hair makes me feel so many things, but I haven’t been this excited for a beauty trend since red lips made an official comeback in 2006 (and they really haven’t left ever since).  And like I said before, it costs nothing and takes zero effort.  Boom.

xo, MR

Spring Blahs: What’s exciting, what’s frustrating, and what Ben Affleck did for my beauty routine.

It’s been a while since I posted last- over two weeks!  It’s hard to write about something like beauty and hair and the latest trends when you’re not feeling particularly inspired, and I haven’t been so much lately.  I’ve been dealing with a lot of what we’ll just call blah these days, and that’s okay.  Beauty and fashion are constant and probably won’t ever really “go away” so to speak, but sometimes I peek into the lives of people in these industries and it’s like they try to rely on these things to keep calm, stay happy and escape from the reality that life deals them … and that’s called self-medicating.  I don’t want to fall into that cycle, and so I’ve been allowing myself to accept the fact that there are times when I will feel “meh” about hairstyles, colored eyeliner, and CC creams.  There will be times when the things I typically enjoy won’t bring me joy, and that’s okay.  It’s a season, and the joy will come back.

This doesn’t mean, however, that I cannot practice joy in makeup, beauty, and hair.  I still see the goodness in identifying something that I really, really like and expressing how much I like it, even if it feels functional and not as interesting as other times.  And so here, in the midst of blah, I’m listing what I’m currently excited about (or perhaps what I’m not excited about) in beauty.

1.  Early one morning before taking off for teaching, I attempted to do this seemingly easy slicked-back hairstyle.  I thought I had the right product for it, and I had planned to wash my hair that afternoon so it seemed like a good chance to use plenty of gel.  I ended up looking more like a wet Pekingese than anything, or like a cow got really friendly with me and decided to lick me and just not stop until the cow’s tongue turned to sand.  I’ll try it again later when I’m not planning on standing in front of teenagers all day, susceptible to their scathing criticism and underappreciation for the avant-garde in the classroom.  Such peasants, they are.

2.  I’m excited for these.

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Every year, InStyle comes out with an issue that’s just about hair (awesome) and People StyleWatch‘s May issue always features a big beauty section covering skin, makeup, hair, and the works (awesome).  InStyle‘s main edition also features a “Best Beauty Buys” section in it’s May issue (more awesome).  I think I just like pouring over up-close shots of celebrities with inspiring hairstyles and makeup shown in hi-def, and issues like these are loaded with them.  I swear my hair gets healthier and prettier during the week after reading a new magazine like this.  I also swear that the longer you stare at a picture of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s hair, the more likely you are to grab a curling rod and get to work on your own.  It’s this thing I call “envy”.

3.  I got through my whole bottle of Lancome’s La Vie Est Belle!  It’s a miracle, I tell you!  I never get through a whole bottle of perfume in just one season (because I frequently forget to put it on, in the first place), and I am so proud of myself for finally doing it.  I can officially call that my Fall/Winter 2012/2013 scent and I can now move on to bona fide summer fragrances, like my beloved D&G 3 L’Imperatrice, so I can smell like an unmistakably rich juicebox.

4.  I acquired the supposed shade of lipstick that was used on Jessica Alba in my post here (Avon’s Totally Kissable Lipstick in Lovey Dovey Pink, as my reputable resources tell me), but I proceeded to find that the shade was in fact a frosty pink that had me feeling more like this than anything.  I’ll be needing to do a little more research on that shade of Jessica’s.  I’m not convinced.

5.  I’m not at Coachella looking so impressed with myself that my eyes are rolled into the back of my head.

6.  But I WAS impressed enough with myself AND my hair one night to shamelessly Instagram this selfie.

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But come on, cut me some slack.  My hair was behaving like a voluptuous attention hog, I’d had an extra twenty minutes that evening to do a perfect smoky eye, and my bathroom lighting can get weird to the point where you can leave some photos unfiltered and they’ll still have a nice, flaw-concealing sheen to them.  And lest you believe this is a common occurrence, here I am, as I exist, right now:

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No filter, IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING.  Now if you’d excuse me, IMG Models is calling and I’m replacing Miranda Kerr in the Victoria’s Secret Angels lineup.  This is the face that will crush Gisele.

7.  I had my hair color refreshed recently, and I’ve found that since then my hair texture has slightly changed.  It dries much straighter, and each strand seems, I don’t know, perhaps a bit more wire-y or thick.  My friend said she’s seen it happen particularly with dark shades, and so I’m not really worried.  But I am prepping myself for going lighter in less than a month, I’d say.  I have relatively no layers in my hair at this point (what I’ve wanted- mission accomplished).  It’s weird though, I’ve had layers basically for the last ten years up until now.  I’ve finally grown them all out (and had them cut to one length) and now I’m now sure how I feel about it.

8.  I watched Argo the other night and proceeded to bite off all of my nails until each finger started to burn with pain.  No nail polish now for nearly a month.  Thanks, Ben Affleck.  You and your movies make a crap manicurist.

Alright, I’m done.  Time to go sleep on a satin pillowcase to keep my hair and skin smooth and to prevent split ends and breakage.  Yes, I obsess over breakage even in my sleep.  xo, MR

It … could … work!

So, you know how sometimes you’ll be looking at some ‘How To’ tutorial article in a magazine that shows you (in three easy steps!!) how to blow out your own hair into goddess locks? Seriously, it’s so easy, right? And then they’ll recommend, like, one miracle product that will do just the trick to get you from Point A to Point Z. Seriously, just a little dab of Moco de Gorila and BAM- your hair be lookin’ like this.

I think we’ve all felt a little mislead at some point by tutorial articles. The work it truly takes to achieve that kind of red carpet hair can have a team of stylists clocking in literal hours on one head of hair. However, every once in a while one little feature is found to be so helpful and accurate, like a precious golden nugget.

Enter this ever-so-tiny feature in the July 2012 issue of People StyleWatch. My recent haircut had rendered me somewhat anxious as to how to style it in it’s more natural state (read: wavy/curly). This little gem recommended just a couple cheaply-priced products and the fabulous, super-convenient suggestion of air-drying your hair overnight! I chose to purchase the Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly spray gel because I’d never tried a spray-gel before, and the novelty only cost me five bucks. I followed Strahan’s instructions, covered my hair in heat-protectant spray the next day, misted with the spray gel, and then used my 1-inch iron to create waves in different directions. I had good feelings about this one. It could work!!

Voila! I’d say it was a success! You’ve gotta love successful little tips in a world full of useless beauty information. The spray gel has a nice scent, but for how much I touch my hair I find that I have to use quite a bit for the waves to really hold strong. No harm in that, though. Cheers! xo, MR