Tired of your same old tresses year in and year out? These ideas help you make your hair look better by the week.
Chances are, you like the haircut you have. But, after a few months, you get styling burn-out and your hair starts to losing its shape. Next thing you know, you're going to work or to dinner, not feeling good so about your hair anymore. Some days, you just give up.
With these ideas, there's no reason to get bored with your 'do. Sometimes, simply trying something new makes you feel better. Other times, an adjustment is in order. Whatever the case, post these 52 ideas near your calendar or next to your mirror and see how differently you look and feel over the following year.
1. Don't touch your blow dryer. For an entire week, give locks a rest from heat styling. Wrap hair on top of your head to dry when you have the time-this adds lots of volume. Other days, let it dry while you dress (finger fluffing speeds air drying) and pop in self adhesive style rollers for the last 5-10 minutes.
2. Give locks a deep conditioning. Concentrate conditioner on the ends, where it's needed most. If your hair is fine, leave conditioner on for less time and rinse longer. (5 minutes is normal.)
Note: This tip has the added benefit of keeping split ends at bay by keeping ends well conditioner.
3. Shine up the surface. Purchase a clear glosser at your local drug store or create a home vinegar rinse. For store-bought shiners, follow directions; for a home rinse, run vinegar over your hair into a bowl about 15 to 20 times.
4. Create new curl. For a twist, wrap damp hair into a pigtail, spritz the surface only with spray-on gel and allow to dry. Unwrap the pigtail and finger comb your hair.
5. If your hair is short, slick small sections with gel and wrap them around pipe cleaners or create pin curls for a change.
6. Instead of turning ends up all the time, try turning them under.
7. Make your hair smell fabulous. Add a drop or two of your favorite aromatic oil to your conditioner, apply all over and rinse after 30 seconds. For a variation, add essential oil to water in an atomizer and spritz on locks.
8. Nourish hair at the root! Give yourself a 5-to-10 minute scalp massage. Use the balls of your fingers only to avoid scratching sensitive scalp. Do with or without aromatherapy oils and enlist the help of a partner for double the pleasure.
9. Buy a new styling tool. If your hair is medium to long, try a super-large diameter curling iron and experiment. If locks are short, check out new liquid stylers.
10. Cut in bangs or gel the ones you have back into the rest of your hair.
11. Put it up. For a simple updo, bend at the waist and comb all your hair down and forward. Begin just behind one ear and roll hair closely to the scalp, at the hairline. Continue rolling across to the opposite ear, gathering all your hair into the roll and leaving a little slack. Secure with pins underneath the roll. Work all the way to the back. It's a modern take on a Victorian favorite.
12. Add a faux piece. If your hair is longer, try a ponytail. For short locks, add clip-on pieces underneath.
13. Give your color a boost. Simmer walnut, chamomile or berry leaves and other herbs in the appropriate colors. Strain the leaves, then use water as a rinse, running it over your hair, into a bowl and back over your hair at least 20 times.
14. Get a trim! No matter what your hair's length, a trim every 6 to 8 weeks helps hair hold its shape. It also prevents split ends.
15. Ask a friend to play stylist. Sometimes, others have great new ideas because your hair is new to them. You do your friend's hair and have him or her style yours. Get creative!
16. Buy barrettes or related hair accessories. One of the hottest trends today is for big girls to wear little girls' barrettes. Five to six pairs of plastic barrettes cost just 99-cents. Wear just two or try them all!
17. Tie it up. When hair is damp, wrap different-sized sections around cloth strips and tie the strips' ends in place. See what different effects you get. For super-short hair, tie strips around the bases and let hair dry. You'll get instant root lift.
18. Change your part. If you wear a center part, move it to the side; if you wear a side part, move it to the center or the opposite side. For extra fun, create a zigzag part.
19. Mold in a wave or two. To create waves, gel damp hair liberally, comb in a "C" shape, push the edge forward and clip in place, then create another "C" in the opposite direction. Make one or several, then dry, using a diffuser.
20. Slip on a headband. Any grown-out, shapeless cut is concealed this way!
21. Change your hair color. You don't have to make a dramatic change; just go a shade lighter or darker or brighter. Use a shampoo-in, semi-permanent product so you aren't stuck for long if you can't adjust to the change.
22. Throw out all your combs that have broken teeth and brushes that have the rounded tops of the bristles missing. Using the wrong hair tools can lead to split ends. Soak all your brushes and combs in hot, soapy water and remove any hair from them. They'll do the job better and won't abrade your scalp.
23. Get a voluminizing attachment for your dryer. It uses plastic "fingers" to draw hair up to add root lift.
24. Try a hair thickener. Even if your locks are already thick, they'll look super thick! Most are heat activated. Just apply a dime-sized amount to your roots, comb to the ends and dry your hair.
25. Make your hair super-full and smooth by removing both ends from a tin can, washing it and wrapping your hair around it. This is an old hair straightening method for women who had frizzy or wavy hair. Wrap hair while its damp and use tension.
26. Add layers. Whatever length your locks, have a few layers added when you get a trim. It'll style into a much fuller look.
27. Wrap hair into a ponytail. Instead of hiding under a baseball cap, practice creating a side ponytail and wrapping a section of hair around the base. Looks much more stylized than the usual variety of ponytails.
28. Tuck it behind your ears. If you usually wear it that way, try wearing it in front of your ears.
29. If your hair is super-short, get a temporary colored gel or mascara color and color tip the ends only. If hair is long, add colored gel to the ends or roots only.
30. Wrap sections in tongue depressors. For an entirely new curl configuration, wrap damp hair around tongue depressors. You'll get zigzag curls.
31. Buy an expensive hair accessory. Get a giant barrette, a jeweled one or a silk flower. Wear it just for fun.
32. Mix up products. Add a drop or two of silicone shiner to a quarter-sized amount of gel. If you use mousse, use it at the roots and spritz on a lightweight gel on the ends. See which combinations make a difference, based on where you need lift and where you don't want to weight locks down.
33. Slick it all back. This look works for any length hair. Comb gel through with a fine-toothed comb and let hair dry naturally. Finish with pomade.
34. Start using a leave-in conditioner every day. If your hair is fine or limp, spritz it on the ends only.
35. Create tiny surface braids. Take just a few strands and braid them from roots to ends. Leave the rest of your hair straight.
36. Get red of product build-up! Buy a clarifying shampoo and massage in for a full 30 seconds before rinsing completely. You'll remove any waxy build up or flaking gel, leaving hair shiny again.
37. If you have split ends, get them trimmed. Then add a shiner to just the ends when hair is wet. Use a single drop, rub between your palms and pinch your ends to keep them healthy.
38. Try a head wrap. Experiment with tying a silk scarf in various ways, either as a headband or complete head wrap. For a colorful, exotic effect, entwine two scarves together before wrapping your hair.
39. Change your shampoo and conditioner based on the season. In summer, use lighter products and deep-penetrating, cleansing shampoos; in winter, opt for heavier cream conditioners and moisturizing shampoos.
40. Banish static and flyaway by spraying ionized water onto hair. Switch to a natural bristle brush, which won't conduct electrical charges like plastic will.
41. Go to a salon for a consultation. You don't have to make the change now; as a matter of fact, make it clear you just want ideas for the moment. Go during an off hour so stylists will be more willing to give you their time and ideas.
42. When it's humid, refresh a style by either finger styling mousse into dry hair along the lines of the desired design or by spritzing a touch of water onto hair to reactivate mousse.
43. Try old-fashioned pin curls. On a Saturday afternoon, wrap hair in pin curls, then pin in place so they stand up. This way, you'll get root lift and end curl.
44. Get rid of wire mesh rollers, which can tangle, pull hair, cause hair splits and rips. Get Velcro rollers or sponge rollers instead. Sponge rollers create uneven, natural curl; hook and latch style rollers create a more even curl.
45. Skip shampooing for a day. Second-day hair often looks fuller and thicker. It's rare that someone HAS to shampoo daily, unless you exercise or perspire a lot.
46. Check out a hairstyle magazine and try out at least two of the ideas in the magazine.
47. Exfoliate your scalp. Use an alpha hydroxy body wash and massage your scalp with it for 60 seconds. Rinse completely as you massage your scalp.
48. See how your hair really moves. Shampoo your hair, carefully towel it dry by squeezing and comb gently from roots to ends, using a super wide-toothed comb. Don't use conditioner or any styling products. When hair is dry, observe how it naturally falls and moves. Experiment with enhancing nature, not working against it.
49. Go to a flower shop and buy small, fresh flowers with long, thin stems. Entwine your hair around a few, snipping off steps as desired. Add them to ponytails or pin curls or use them in a freeform fashion.
50. Experiment with your round brush when you have free time and patience. Carefully take sections from the bottom up and practice drying hair while you rotate the brush. Great finishing abilities take practice!
51. Wrap a section of hair with colorful thread or ribbon. Hold two sections of hair horizontally, in opposite directions and lay the ribbon vertically, between them. Cross the hair over the ribbon, then cross the ribbon over the hair. Continue until the ribbon is entwined in your hair all the way to the ends.
52. Concentrate on the ends. Gather all your hair and hold it in one large section. Wrap the ends around a hot roller or around a Velcro roller for instant end shaping.
If your hair is short, gel it and wrap ends around your fingers, slide your fingers out and diffuse dry or dry naturally. Either way, outgrown styles can be extended a few extra days until you can get a reshaping cut.
The 52 ideas listed above should banish any boredom you might experience with your hair. You may want to start your own list of unique hair ideas.
If none of the ideas appeal to you consider a texturizing treatment. A semi-permanent or temporary treatment-is the easiest way to get a new look. Problem-solving perms re-texturize hair, adding body, wave, movement and volume, but to call them permanents is a misnomer. They do relax over time and today's perms last as little as 6 weeks, letting you try out a seasonal style change. Also, a perm product can be used to straighten curly hair if you apply it, then comb repeatedly from roots to ends as it processes. Temporary texture changes-usually thermal or roller sets-give you a great change for a day.
In addition, new styling products from pomades to texture cremes let you have almost any look you want. For a stylish change of your own, experiment with a range of products. Enjoy!
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Original Publication Date: 10/14/1999 - Revised Date: 07/18/10
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