Do you want hair like a Hollywood starlet without spending a fortune on products and treatments? We got celebrity hair guru Robert Vetica (Mariah and J. Lo sing his praises) to share—in his own words—his best advice on everything from cuts to color. Follow his top 10 tips to get gorgeous forget-me-not locks—whatever your hair type!
1. Don't over-wash your hair
Ever wonder why women in Europe or Asia, or for that matter anywhere outside the United States, have such amazingly healthy-looking hair? They do not, I repeat, do not wash their hair every day. They go at least two or three days between washes, letting their natural scalp oils coat and nourish their strands. Now I know there are some women out there saying, "You're absolutely nuts. I go to the gym, run, do yoga, and sweat, so my hair has to be washed every day." Take it from me, it doesn't. Instead, just give your hair a good rinse with water and follow with minimal product to avoid buildup. I promise, soon you'll find that you have a head full of lustrous, healthy hair.
2. Learn to love leave in conditioner
If you give your hair a break from shampoo, it will dry out less and won't require much conditioner. That said, I am sort of addicted to leave in conditioner and recommend massaging one into damp hair on days you do wash. It gives your do just the right amount of moisture it needs to stay soft and adds a bit of texture and hold too.
3. Stock up on dry shampoo
This is a permanent fixture in my styling case because it has so many uses. For example, you can dust dry shampoo on to absorb excess oil when you've gone too long between washes. Or you can use it to give fine hair some oomph—just apply it at your roots all over your head and brush through.
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4. Accessorize with caution
Steer clear of elastic bands with metal closures; although they might look harmless, they literally rip out your hair. Instead, use cloth-only ponytail holders to create "cruelty-free" tails and updos.
5. Layer styling products
When working with a new styler—anything from mousse to pomade—take baby steps. Remember, you can always add product, but removing it is not so easy and can leave you with a serious case of the greasies. Begin with an extra-small dollop and build up from there. Another smart move: Apply stylers to the back of your head first. That way, even if you accidentally used too much product, you won't end up with a big, unsightly glob of it where everyone can see. And when it comes to hair spray, spritz it onto your hands first, then smooth them over the top of your head for a nonsticky finish.
6. Make the (right) cut
If your hair is fine, ask your stylist to "blunt-cut" it. This is a styling technique where scissors are used to snip straight across each and every strand, creating thickness at your ends. And if your mane still lacks body, wrap large, dry sections around Velcro rollers, mist with hair spray, blow-dry briefly, and unwind for insta-volume.
7. Pick the best brush
I have tried just about everything out there to get rid of static— and feel strongly that boar bristle hair brushes are the best at detangling and boosting shine without inducing flyaways. But the catch is that these brushes can be costly. The perfect compromise? Choose one of the boar bristle hair brushes that combines natural and synthetic bristles for all the gleam minus the price.
8. Color your do on the cheap
I'll let you in on a big secret: If you're on a tight budget, do a little research and find a beauty school near you (go online or look in the yellow pages under "cosmetology"). On Fridays and Saturdays, the students usually run a salon, and for a small fee they will color your hair. Even though a student is applying the dye, she is being watched over by an experienced teacher. It's a win-win situation: The students get the training, you get the discount!
9. Fix wayward strands
Got a strong cowlick or part? Once you've styled your whole do, go back to the section that's misbehaving and run a drop of gel through it (any level of hold will do). Then brush the area to the side you'd like it to gravitate toward and blast with a hair dryer.
10. Avoid a "blow-fry"
If you have a dryer with a metal nozzle, be careful not to touch your hair with that thing! It can get really, really hot and do damage to your hair. Use the nozzle only to direct heat, and opt for a dryer with a plastic attachment.