11 Hair Rules You Need to Break
1. Older Women Shouldn't Go Long
Break It: Long hair after 40 doesn't automatically make you look older, but since hair thins as you age, pump up the volume with layers and movement around the face. "Poker-straight styles are too harsh,” says stylist Byron Williams, who has worked with Demi Moore. Los Angeles stylist Chris McMillan advises parting hair on the side. “It will open up your entire face and give you a fresh, wide-awake look,” he says.
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2. Redheads Can't Wear Red Lips
Break It: Makeup artist Molly Stern gave Amy Adams a strawberry pout at the premiere of The Fighter. Stern says pick a shade that’s richer in intensity than your strands, like cherry and scarlet, and keep blush and eye makeup neutral.
Rouge d'Armani Lipstick in No. 400, $30; giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com.
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3. Hide Your Gray
Break It: "Gray hair used to represent beauty on the decline, but that’s no longer the case,” says N.Y.C. colorist Louis Licari. Models at Calvin Klein and Chanel walked down the runway with white stripes in their hair. To make silver sexy, Licari recommends adding white highlights around the face and crown and using blue-based shampoos or styling spray (like Goldwell’s).
Goldwell Colorglow IQ Leave-In Treatment, $20; goldwell.com for salon locations.
4. Bangs Shouldn't Be Wavy
Break It: Bangs don't have to be stick straight, says N.Y.C. hairstylist Garren. For a fresh look, he suggests applying a setting lotion (like Rene Furterer Acanthe Curl Enhancing leave-in fluid, $26; beauty.com). Sweep your wavy fringe to one side and allow it to air-dry. “Your bangs will form a pretty curve that softens up your entire face,” he says.
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5. Turn Down the Heat
Break It: Dialing down the heat on flatirons actually does more harm than good, says N.Y.C. stylist Robert Vasquez. "Dragging the flatiron on that same piece over and over again is what weakens the hair’s outer protective layer," he says. Divide hair into 2-inch sections and glide the iron slowly, gradually increasing pressure from roots to ends and making only one pass at the highest setting (typically 410 degrees).
CHI Gold-Plated Ceramic Iron, $288; farouk.com for store locations.
6. Trim Every Six Weeks
Break It: “Hair simply doesn’t grow that fast,” says stylist Jen Atkin of the Andy Lecompte Salon in West Hollywood. Most cuts take three months to lose their shape. (If you use styling tools frequently, cut every 10 weeks.) To keep locks looking healthy in between chops, Atkin recommends using a hydrating cream on ends.
Nexxus Pro-Mend Split End Binding Treatment, $9; ulta.com.
7. Extra Shampooing Gets Hair Cleaner
Nothing strips hair faster than a frothy lather, says Fabian Lliguin of Cocoon Hair Studio in N.Y.C. When your scalp is dry, it produces more oil to compensate, resulting in greasy roots and brittle ends. “It’s a catch-22,” says Lliguin. Instead, apply a conventional shampoo only to the scalp or switch to a gentler oil-based shampoo.
Rahua Shampoo, $32; rahua.com.
8. Don't Wear Hair Wet
Break It: With wet hair, you get amazing control and polish, says Guido Palau, who created sporty looks for the Lanvin show. “There are no flyaways; your style is completely uniform.” He suggests distributing Redken Touch Control 05 Volumizing Texture Whip ($17; redken.com for salon locations) from roots to ends before securing hair in a ponytail at the nape.
9. Silk Flowers are for Brides
Break It: Heavily lacquered undos are out, says Palau, who paired giant flowers with frizzed-out hair at the Marc Jacobs show. He suggests keeping strands long and loose and anchoring a small silk flower just behind the ear. “A big flower can overpower you,” he says.
Sephora Collection Silk Chiffon Flower Clips, $8 and $10; sephora.com.
10. Fight the Frizz
Break It: “Frizz can be super-glamorous,” says Miami hairstylist Oribe. “Movie stars in the 1930s actually brushed out their curls to create volume with an ethereal quality. It just can’t look like an accident." Add texture and control to the ends with a dollop of mousse, then smooth the roots with a medium-hold hairspray.
Oribe Impermeable Anti-Humidity Spray, $38; oribe.com.
11. Evening Requires an Updo
Break It: Loose strands can be just as dressy as upswept hair, says Oribe, as long as you define wimpy waves with a curling iron, or make straight hair even sleeker with a flatiron. “Be deliberate,” he says. “Loose hair only looks casual when its texture is neither here nor there.” On the flip side, an easy updo adds a touch of refinement to daytime looks.
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