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2006 Hair: In The Mix!

Convertible hair, morphing color and soft-to-coiffed waves are awesome options that bump-up your style ranking. The jumping-off point is always totally healthy hair.

Combustible looks are all about the swing shift this season, and the only way to go from Gwen Stefani’s high-quiffed coif to Angelina’s swept-back waves is to start with a strong, healthy mane.

(Image of Gwen Stefani - 33rd Annual American Music Awards - 11-22-05 - - all rights reserved).

It’s no wonder then that the biggest trend on drugstore shelves and in salons is the hair strengthener, followed by new repair systems and high-beam shiners. While care, repair and rejuvenate (once skin care terms) now apply to hair care, a related idea says keeping manes healthy and strong demands “anti-aging” hair care, as evidenced by Alterna’s Enzymetherapy Caviar anti-aging shampoo and conditioner and Age De Phy Rejuvenating Shampoo and Conditioner by Philip Pelusi. AHA-laced shampoos like Murad’s also make the skin care connection, sloughing scalps and removing residue from strands. "Keeping hair on the strong, shiny side affects haircolor, too", says Alexander Godson, owner of Alexander G. Salon in San Francisco, CA.

(Image of Angelina Jolie - Premiere of Mr. & Mrs. Smith - 2005 - - all rights reserved).

For years, colorists have been applying color to dry hair; now they’re treating and conditioning locks first (or even for weeks out) because a great painting starts with a perfect canvas, and haircolor is no different. "If your hair is dry, damaged, weak or porous, your new color just won’t look as great as it can, nor will it last as long", says Godson.

Got your mane all spiffed up with somewhere to go? Start with a sophisticated style that shifts to a casual one for nighttime—or vice versa.

Convertible Hair

Every female on the planet wants a style that goes from catwalk to casual in as little time as possible. While mid-length manes make this the easiest, so do layers, which is why almost every cut today has a few these days. Hidden bobs, softened curls and center-part smarts all start you off with a touch of trendiness, until you’re ready for nighttime, which is the right time for embracing the real you.

(Image of Kyra Sedgwick - IFP's 15th Annual Gotham Awards - 11-30-05 - - all rights reserved).

After all, every woman is multi-faceted and your personal ranges show six degrees of separation—with your most business-like look at one end of the spectrum and ultra individuality at the other. In-between? You gotta’ have hoards of options. No wonder being a quick-change artist with hair extensions is “hauter” than ever, texture changes are great again and the easy updo is making the scene in the most au courant clubs in town. Again, new, technologically tweaked products come into play—what easier way to morph from straight strands to Roaring ‘20s waves, or from simple styles to ones adorned with superlative sparkles or big, beautiful barrettes? For the “editorial” look of the babes in the magazines, there’s a return to roller sets and lots of iron curling. To get the look, set straight hair with two or three different-sized curling irons or rollers, then finger comb. Bump up your casual curl a style-notch by adding incredible blonde or a very expensive hair accessory. The trend toward classic Hollywood made simpler also relies on hot-setting tools or waving clamps for wet sets. For smart style-shifting, avoid the super-coif; keep your hair off the face and add a single wave at the side. Now, you can move into an updo or add a few more waves come the clubbing hour.

(Image of Carmen Electra - Spike TV Video Game Awards -11-18-05 - - all rights reserved).

If you aren’t sure where to start and what look to move-up to, embrace your natural texture first—it’s so much more authentic. Cuts that bring out your hair’s true texture have wispy ends and layers that make wave more obvious or add movement to straight hair. There’s very little blunt cutting this season; it’s simply not versatile enough. Start with what mother nature gave you, and you can move onto any other texture, temporarily. Getting away from scorching flat irons is just part of the impetus behind the back-to-natural movement, which lets you be you and also allows speed styling. Anything that works fast is smart, meaning finishes are rarely precise and the volume is turned down a bit from last year’s too-big bouffant. With a fast, easy, carefree attitude, now you can find dozens of ways to style and re-style, directing hair off your face, straight up and back or completely forward. Between super-straight and tightly curled and coiffed are hundreds of options, which will make a convert out of you. If there’s one trend that takes you away from natural-to-convertible looks, it’s the fact that if hair is short, it has to make a strong statement. Usually that comes from tons of freeform texture and lots of product play.

Cool Color Moves

What hair color works best with hair that you want to look different from day to day? Ginger Reed, co-owner of Robert Clark Salon & Spa in Edwardsville IL, says "slices and weaves (so confining!) are giving way to block color and patterned shapes, or bold sections of color that stand out or not, depending on how you change your hairstyle". When it comes to trends that clients at her new color bar (the salon’s social center) are buzzing about, Reed says "cooler blondes, brunettes that work with skin tones, and reds that go warm or cast copper are at the forefront". “Lots of haircolor manufacturers are creating cool, ash colors, which allow colorists to control warmth in hair more than ever, so we’ll be seeing a lot of cooler blondes,” notes Reed. “We keep hearing brunettes are the new blonde, because there so many ranges of brunette that suit an individual. Reds are warm and coppery; that’s what looks best against the face. Cooler reds tend to be darker, and those dark, plum shades look too harsh for most women, although some younger girls can pull them off.” Because so much is being invested in prepping for and getting great shades, preventing your color from fading means a whole new trend in serious color maintenance via complete systems. Reed says her "color insurance is Paul Mitchell Color Protect, a system of shampoo, conditioner and color-locking spray". “All the products contain sunflower extracts; sunflowers turn to the sun all day and never fade or lose their color,” notes Reed. Also look for sulfate-free shampoos, which greatly inhibit haircolor-fade. A whole new slew of them are appearing in salons and on drug store shelves; just look for “sulfate-free” on the label.

(Image of Jennifer Aniston - GQ Magazine Party - 12-01-05 - all rights reserved). Jennifer Aniston was seen slipping out of the Canale salon with a bottle of sulfate-free Sudzz FX Cashmere cleansing recently; Ditty (minus the P.) and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also uses it—maybe to muscle up their color, too.

Cocktail Mixes

There’s lots more talk about hair products again because having it both ways demands different thermal tools, versatile stylants and even pieces that add temporary color, like easilites’ Clip-in Color highlights from easihair. For the ultimate in embracing nature while adding convertibility, master the art of cocktailing products.

(Image of P. Diddy - GQ Magazine Party - 12-01-04 - - all rights reserved). For instance, says Whitney Blischke, a TiGi International Creative Team member, "combine a smoothing product (for controlling frizz) with a curl booster to achieve quick, more natural curly looks". In other words, pick one product for enhancing what you love, another for controlling what you don’t’ like, mix them together and apply. Now, you’re in the true fashion mix of the moment.

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