5 of the Best Hair Tips for Fall 2011

I collect hair tips like it's my job (which it is!).
Michelle Villett
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I collect hair tips like it's my job (which it is!).

I've worked at a few fashion and beauty magazines, and at every single one it was common knowledge that HAIR—as in hair tips, hair tutorials, hair products, hair advice—was the most-searched subject on their websites. And for good reason, because if your hair looks like crap then there is really only so much that lipstick can do. (Unless you're one of those annoying people who gets away with washing only once a week and can scrape your hair back into a ponytail or bun and still look incredible. In which case... I hate you. Just kidding! Sort of.)

Clearly, all of those hair searches on the Interwebs are being made by those of us whose locks need more attention. Since maintaining my own hair is a constant battle, I've always got my ears open for intel from ANY hair expert whose path I cross—from celebrity hairstylist (and Schwarzkopf guest artist) Tyler Colton, who I met last week, to my own personal hairdresser Bill Angst. Here are my latest findings!

Tip #1: Shampoo your SCALP, not your ends.

Are you shampooing the ends of your hair? Because you don't really need to. What you should be doing is focusing on the scalp only. And apparently, many women don't do this—at least according to Tyler. I blame shampoo commercials, because they're always depicting women lathering up their entire heads. Like this:

Busted Image

But really, how dirty are your ends compared to your scalp, which produces oil? And if you're wasting all that shampoo on the ends of your hair, then how clean are you really getting your scalp? I know it's a gross subject, but we've gotta discuss it. Tyler says he meets so many women who complain that they have to wash their hair every day, and yet when they DO shampoo, they're not removing oil from their scalps properly. When you focus on the scalp, you'll get enough of a lather going that letting it run through the lengths will be enough (along with water) to get them clean. Got it?

Also, if you just can't go without washing your hair every single day—let's say because your bangs get too greasy—then you can try just shampooing the scalp in that area (or the sides as well) and leaving the rest of your hair dry.

Tip #2: Don't overuse repair products.

I haven't been on a regular hair-repair regimen since The Great Platinum Blonde Experiment of 2007, when my hair was in such rough shape that I had to dye it darker and use Redken's Extreme line to patch up the damage.

But let's say you've got some damage going on. According to Tyler, you can have too much of a good thing if you're constantly applying heavy-duty hair masques and reparative treatments in hopes of speeding up the process. That's because you're creating a thick seal with all of the heavy products and not allowing the good stuff to penetrate—and HELP—the cuticle. (And potentially weighing your hair down too, I might add.)

I think the best way to go if you have serious repair work to do is to use an entire line as directed. Usually the best ones include not just a treatment mask but also a protein spray (like Schwarzkopf's BC Repair Rescue Amino Fortifier, or Redken's Extreme CAT).


The combo of the protein plus the moisture in the mask really works, as long as you follow package directions and don't start doubling up on the stuff when you don't need to. Oh, and if you have fine hair and are just looking for lightweight damage-repair action, check out these prodz.

Tip #3: Mousse, and maybe hairspray too, are the new Moroccanoil.

Yep. I asked Tyler what his favourite styling product of the moment is, and he said it was mousse, hands-down. This confirms how I was already feeling since I discovered Phyto's (a.k.a. The Greatest Mousse of All Time):


Apparently, Schwarzkopf also makes a good one, but I was more impressed by the smell of their hairspray, to be honest. Tyler says he gets asked about the below product ALL the time. You know how Elnett works great but smells like old ladies? This is so much better:

Anyway, the deal with mousse is that anyone can use it (not just the severely volume-challenged). Tyler uses it on everyone to get not just volume at the roots but thickness, control and smoothness through the lengths. Apparently, most of us aren't using enough—he says to double or triple what you use now and apply it to both roots and lengths.


As for hairspray, that's my hairdresser Bill's new favourite styling product. (I think he uses a Redken one.) Most of us grab hairspray as our LAST styling step, but Bill's been using it on damp hair to get volume at the roots or sprayed through the lengths and then brushed for smoothness. (Celeb hairdresser Danilo, who I owe you a video on soon, does this too.) So—the word on the street is to experiment, people! The prodz you have are probably a lot more versatile than you think.

Oh! And a quick word on Moroccanoil. Tyler says the problem with it, and the oil craze in general, is that ONLY those with thick and frizzy hair should use them. No matter what the brands try to tell you with their "light" versions for fine hair, etc. So... take that for what you will.

Tip #4: Ballet schools are where it's at for hair accessories.

The last time I went in for a hair cut, Bill gave me some hair accessories to keep (this is why I love him). He got them at the National Ballet School of all places, which I am now declaring the best-kept secret in hair accessories! I can't believe I didn't think of this before—dancers need great hair accessories, obviously.

So here's what I got. These are super-thick, super-strong hair elastics from a brand called Bunheads, which you can buy in the same colour as your hair.


And these are Bunheads hair pins that are great for twisting your hair up into an easy top knot (if you don't feel like going to this much trouble). Mine are in a blonde shade so they blend into my hair well. And they totally stay put!


If you can't make it to the store in person, you can buy this stuff online here.

Tip #5: Curl your ends under. (Yeah, I said it!)

You know how every magazine under the sun (and yours truly) has been saying for years now that for "the most modern curl" you need to leave your ends out instead of curling them under?

Well no. Not anymore. I was already starting to gravitate towards curled ends over the past few months, because one of my new go-to hair looks channels this (except longer and without the bangs, so... you know... maybe a totally different hairstyle). But still:


My point is though that the curled ends thing also applies for hair that's worn more curly. See, we're moving from the beachy wave thing (straight ends) to more retro waves (curled under ends). Like I keep saying.

Tyler gave me an incredibly, incredibly awesome 'do that would've looked at home on any red carpet... but alas I forgot to take a photo, so this will have to do for the visual:


Hair like this would look ridic with straight ends, so remember to finish them if you try this at home, kids. (And you totally CAN. If you missed my post on Rowenta's new waving tool, go read it now! Tyler used a Hot Tools iron that was scarily complicated-looking to achieve my waves, but the Rowenta one is totally easy for us civilians.) Make sure to brush out the curls once you're done with your heat tool of choice.

Okay, now over to you guys...

Were you already on to these tips or will you try some of them out now?
What's the best hair tip you've ever discovered?
Are you feeling the retro waves and curled-under ends yet?