Great Hair A to Z
A is for Afro
Afros are big again. For the Louis Vuitton spring show, N.Y.C. stylist Guido Palau sewed five small wigs together to create a full, curly look for all the runway models (perhaps he was inspired by Erykah Badu’s beautiful mane). And when Solange Knowles got rid of her hair extensions last summer—opting instead for short, natural curls-hers was one of the most searched names on the Internet.
B is for Breakfast
When it comes to hair, the first meal of the day is the most important. To grow stronger, hair needs a steady stream of nutrients-especially protein-so you don?t want to extend your overnight fast any longer than you have to, says trichologist Philip Kingsley, author of The Hair Bible. Aim for 3 or 4 ounces of protein in your morning meal.
C is for Cocktails
Mix a squirt of this with a dollop of that and-voila!-you’ve created the perfect bespoke styling product. L.A. stylist Mark Townsend mixes Moroccanoil oil treatment ($39, moroccanoil.com for salons) and Moroccanoil Intense curl cream ($30; moroccanoil.com for salons) in his hands, then runs his fingers through Zoe Saldana's dry hair.
D is for D.I.Y. Bang Trim
STEP 1 “Make sure you use only super-sharp hair scissors,” says Kevin Mancuso, creative director for Nexxus. “Otherwise, you won’t get a precise cut.”
STEP 2 Pull dry hair into a ponytail, letting your bangs fall. “This frames the hair you will cut,” says Mancuso.
STEP 3 Holding the scissors vertically, and starting at the center of the bangs, carefully snip into the bangs. Do this working outward, “like you are chiseling away at the edge,” Mancuso says.
E is for Eucalyptus
A Japanese study found that scalps treated with a lotion of 3 percent eucalyptus extract grew more manageable hair than untreated scalps. Find the ingredient in John Frieda Root Awakening Health Infusing shampoo ($6; drugstore.com).
F is for Face Shape
L.A. hairstylist Neil George suggests the most flattering cuts for any face:
SQUARE A cut that incorporates an angle-like Mariska Hargitay’s sideswept fringe-looks good. Avoid blunt bangs.
HEART Long layers and bangs like Reese Witherspoon’s work well. Shy away from short bobs; they overemphasize the chin.
ROUND Long layers like Kate Bosworth’s are best. Keep hair length below your chin, and maintain texture at sides.
OVAL Any haircut flatters a face shape like Kerry Washington’s, which is narrower at the cheeks than a round face.
G is for Global Chic
Hair-accessories designer Colette Malouf, who finds inspiration wherever she goes, fell in love with the bright colors worn by Kenyans and the Masai while on a trip to East Africa. She then created a collection of headbands, clips and combs richly textured with weaving and vibrantly hued feathers, like this Sunburst Feather Beakclip ($98; at Henri Bendel) and these feather hairpins ($98/3, at Henri Bendel).
H is for Hot Rollers
Put down your rattail teasing comb and turn off the scorching curling iron. A new generation of ceramic hot rollers, like this Babyliss Pro Professional ceramic 20-roller hairsetter ($55; folica.com), can give you the big-hair look that’s so popular right now-no frying required. To keep the style fresh and modern, spiral hair vertically along the length of the roller.
I is for India
So many people, so much hair-it’s no wonder many of the best new haircare ingredients come from this populous country. A derivative of cinnamon bark is found in the Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion line ($4–$6; drugstore.com); Dr. Hauschka Neem hair oil ($40; drhauschka.com) uses neem oil from a tree akin to mahogany; and Neil George’s Indian Gooseberry Treatment oil ($42; beauty.com) contains Indian gooseberry.
J is for Jet Lag
Say, “No, thank you” to looking disheveled when you disembark. Breeze through security (and refresh your look in the lav) with hair products in TSA-approved sizes. Choose among brands like Philip B., Blow, and Weleda at 3floz.com.
K is for Keratin
Lovers of sleek and glossy hair, sing hallelujah: Keratin Complex straightening will make your mane tame and frizz-free for six weeks. The salon-based treatment (sometimes called Brazilian Keratin) coats strands, smooths frayed cuticles, and leaves hair shinier. “It transforms hair,” says N.Y.C. salon owner Valery Joseph. Best of all, unlike Japanese straightening, it won’t damage fragile, color-treated hair. To maintain results, use Keratin Complex Infusion Keratin Replenisher ($40; keratincomplex.com for salons).
L is for Luigi
Stuck in a style rut? Click here to check out the seemingly endless array of hairstyles by Luigi Murenu, John Frieda’s global creative consultant. The hair pro’s runway looks range from the avant-garde to the all-American-and everything in between.
M is for Miniaturization
As you age, hair follicles shrink a bit, a process known as miniaturization. You won't notice until you've lost 10 to 15 percent overall thickness, says Philip Kingsley, noting that many women experience it in their mid-30s. But, he adds, scalp massage can slow the process; it increases circulation and stimulates growth.
N is for No-Damage Ponytail Holders
Let some other little girls hawk lemonade. Emi and Jay, teenage pals in L.A., decided to sell hair accessories-and designed a metallic hair tie ($10/5; emi-jay.com) that has become a favorite of stylists. “The elastics have a great texture, don’t rip your hair, and won’t leave that dent when you let your hair down,” says L.A. hairstylist Chris McMillan.
O is for O.D.S.
It stands for “oil delivery system”-a breakthrough in L’Oreal Professionnel’s INOA salon hair-color line (inoa-us.com for salons). Unlike water-based dyes with harsh ammonia, these oil-based ones deposit extra conditioning molecules along with color. “It actually improves hair’s quality,” says Kathleen Flynn-Hui of N.Y.C.’s Salon AKS.
P is for Product Overload
Just a dab—or three dots, or a silver dollar–size squirt—will do you. To avoid using too much, stick to these guidelines.
Q is for Coenzyme Q10
The same nutrient featured in antiaging skin care has found its way into hair products. (A small German study recently showed that coenzyme Q10 in shampoo and hair tonic rejuvenated age-damaged strands.) Now CoQ10 is a key ingredient in L.A. hairstylist Ken Paves's new Self-Help line, which improves hair's elasticity and softness, like the Self-Help Get Deep Follicular Elasticity Baume ($29; ulta.com).
R is for Red Hot
Looking for a way to spice up your color? Take a cue from celebrities like Megan Fox and add ginger tones to your hair. Red is opposite blue on the color spectrum, so these warm shades look especially striking with blue eyes.
S is for Sulfate-Free
Common detergents and lathering agents, such as sodium lauryl and ammonium lauryl sulfates, clean hair very well, but they tend to strip color and may dry the scalp, says cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson. Here, a few more gentle newcomers:
From left to right: Organix Nutritional Acai Berry Avocado shampoo, $7; at CVS. L’Oreal Ever Pure Hydrate shampoo, $7; at drugstores. Health Factor Sulfate-Free Daily Dose shampoo, $25; tigihaircare.com for salons.
T is for Thirty-Four
This is the “certain age” at which most women start noticing gray hairs. “It’s not abnormal, however, for women in their 20s or early 30s to spot a few,” says Philip Kingsley. An English study found a connection between smoking and premature graying. One possible hope for delaying grays? Vitamin consumption. “Some research has suggested B vitamins may slow down the process,” says Kingsley, noting that more studies need to be done to prove a definitive link.
U is for UV Rays
You know they’re bad for your skin. But what about hair? Though you don’t have to worry about cancer—strands are dead, after all—UV rays can fade color and leave locks dry and brittle. Your best bet: Douse with UV-protective spray, like Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil ($26; aveda.com for stores), or better yet, don a hat.
V is for Veruschka
This 1960s supermodel put the V in voluminous hair, and today she is an inspiration for top stylists who have reinterpreted her look on everyone from Angelina Jolie to Beyonce. “As a rule, hairdressers love big hair,” says N.Y.C. stylist Maury Hopson. “After all those years of super-straight, we have been waiting for this moment!”
W is for Waterproof
January’s Golden Globes had one of the soggiest red carpets in recent memory, but the hairstyle of Maria Menounos, who spent hours outdoors interviewing attendees, showed no signs of surrendering to humidity. To keep every curl in place, L.A. stylist Tommy Cyr used Supernatural Ecoly Formulas Willow Bark Heat curling lotion ($47; amazon.com) and Philip B. Botanicals Anti-Frizz Formula 57 ($35; philipb.com).
X is for X-rated
We all want more hair on our heads. But on our bikini area? Not so much. In fact, the once daring Brazilian has given way to even more aggressive trimming. “About 80 percent of my clients take it all off,” says Las Vegas salon owner Bree Goldwater. To ease the pain, she suggests using lidocaine cream to numb the area beforehand (try LMX, $32; amazon.com).
Zimmermann bikini bottom, $173/set; at Saks Fifth Avenue. Stella McCartney silk chiffon shorts, $60; net-a-porter.com.
Y is for YouTube
If you want to learn how to copy Jennifer Aniston’s braid or replicate Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” look, simply log on to YouTube.com for a tutorial-just search “how-to (celebrity name) hairstyle." Professional stylists, beauty vloggers, and amateurs alike have all uploaded hundreds of such video how-tos, attracting millions of apt pupils (with curling irons poised).
Z is for Zebra Stripes
In salon-speak, “Zebra stripes” refer to bar code–like highlights that are both too plentiful and too light for your base color. “The more highlights you have put in, the less real they are going to look,” says John Frieda hairstylist Harry Josh. “Ask your colorist for just a handful throughout the top of your head and underneath, and create a gradation so the ends are lighter than the roots.”