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How To: Sexy Tousled Hairstyle

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There are literally hundreds of hair related websites that advertise "medium" hairstyles but when you get to the various hair spam sites, they usually only contain a few photos that may or may not even remotely be in the realm of what is a medium length hairstyle.

Of course we all know that sites like that are basically used as a ruse to attract advertising and not really provide quality hairstyling information.

One such "hair spam site" even proclaims on the front page that medium length hair is the easiest of all lengths to style.

Ironically I do not share that opinion. Having received literally thousands of emails for the past ten years asking for hairstyling advise from consumers as well as those attending Cosmo school, I believe that medium length can be some of the most challenging tresses to style. Why? 

In some cases medium length hair is not long enough to easily wrap up into a twist or bun but too long to spike or finger wave with ease.

When cut and styled well, I do believe that medium length hair can be styled into some of the most gorgeous styles around. Take for example the recent hairstyle worn by the always gorgeous Charlize Theron at the Premiere of Sleepwalking in Los Angeles.

Charlize showcased a gorgeous tousled hairstyle. It was a work of hair art. The actress obviously had the help of a celebrity hairdresser.

Although the hair style Charlize wore works perfectly with the latest trend for lots of lush waves, Charlize has worn this particular style off and on during her career. It was a style she favored in 2005 and 2006 as well. 

Charlize appears to return to the similar hairstyle because it works fabulously with her slightly heart shaped face, naturally wavy hair and medium length strands.

As I have mentioned before in the blogs, getting a tight definition of medium length hair can be difficult because hair consumers and hair professionals might not agree. 

What I have suggested is that medium length hair, in most cases, would be defined as extending from the roots to the end of the earlobe or conversely extending from the roots to the chin or slightly below.

The key difference between medium hair styles and long hairstyles is that the long hairstyles extend from the roots to the top of the shoulders or slightly below.

With this medium length hairstyle definition in mind would Charlize's hair be defined as medium length or long? Honestly, it could go either way. When her hair is stick straight and not curled into the tousled style she wore in LA, it would probably touch her shoulders, which would then be defined as long.

How To Create A Medium Length Tousled Hairstyle

To style sassy and sensual tousled tresses like Charlize, complete the following steps listed below:

Step 1:  Shampoo and condition your hair with your normal products designed for your current hair type, texture and condition.

If your hair is highlighted like Charlize's use either a moisture enhanced or color enriched formula. If your tresses are dry from chemical processing, consider diluting the shampoo formula to minimize shampoo related dryness.

Shampoo products to try:  Phyto - Phytojoba Hydrating Shampoo, Rene Furterer's Carthame Moisturizing Shampoo, JF Lazartigue's Shampoo with Shea Butter

If you have baby fine or thin hair and wish to build in the same lush movement and volume that Charlize has, use a volume enhancing shampoo.

Skip rinse-out conditioning products which might leave hair too soft and/or flat. If you must use a rinse-out conditioner, make sure you limit how much you use.

Concentrate application to the middle and the ends of your strands. Rinse well with a cool water spray which helps build natural volume and increases shine.

Step 2:  Towel blot strands. Don't rub wet hair which is more fragile and prone to easy breakage. Gently detangle strands from the ends to the roots.

Step 3:  Apply your favorite mousse or texture defining cream and/or defrisant balm. Distribute from the top of the ears to the ends. Distribute well.

If you prefer, create a mix that combines the mousse or cream with the defrisant and/or leave-in.  This is known as cocktailing in the hair trade.

If your hair is fine or thin, apply a volumizer or similar product to the roots to get lots of body and movement.

To protect against heat and add body, distribute a leave-in conditioner, mousse or gel from the top of the ears to the ends. Distribute well.

Step 4:   Separate towel blotted strands into 2" sections. Working from side to side, allow strands to nestle into the basin of a long finger diffuser allowing air flow to move through the strands evenly.

Step 5:   Once hair is completely dry, separate into 3" sections. Spray each individual section with a good setting spray or hairspray. Use fingers and twist hair clockwise into a tight sausage formation. Pin against the scalp. Spritz again with styling spray. Repeat around the entire head until all hair is twisted and pinned.   

Step 6:   Allow newly formed twists to air dry or if you're in a hurry, sit under a hard hood or soft hood dryer until hair is dry.

Step 7:   When hair is completely dry, remove each pinned section one at a time. Use fingers to lightly pick each section and tousle. Don't use a brush or comb which may flatten the newly formed twisted sections.

Step 8:   To achieve a tighter tousle, use a medium sized curling iron to curl random sections.  Allow newly curled section to cool before arranging into the finished style.

Step 9:  When finished styling, spray with a firm holding hairspray.

Step 10:  Apply a tiny drop of shine serum, drops or spray into the palms of your hands. Lightly brush the palms over the top of your style. 

You're ready to flaunt your style. If you prefer, add a jeweled hair accessory to finish.


A tousled hairstyle like the one showcased by Charlize Theron in this newsletter is a fabulous hair style for medium length hair. With some creative finger twisting, picking or tousling, your hair can look sassy and sophisticated just like the award winning Charlize.

Although medium length hair may take longer to style than other lengths, ultimately it can be coiffed into beautiful hairstyle creations with some time and creativity.

If you would like to learn about a specific hair trend, email
If you would like to consult with Karen personally about any of your hair questions, please see our Ask Karen page.

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