Ask a professional

Ask A Professional: Hair Stylist

Because Their Hair Is Actually Full Of Secrets.

By: Alicia Cesaro
Illustration: Meghann Stephenson

ICYMI: We had the top derms to, ahem, Beyoncé and Olivia Palermo, answer a slew of skincare questions you tweeted at us. They broke down everything from adult acne to when to get a chemical peel and how to deal with oily skin. And it turns out you guys have a whole lot more where that came from. This time? In the hair department.

You know when you leave the salon with a really, really great blowout and all you can think of is how to keep your next shampoo as far away as possible? Come day two, there are usually a couple questions you wish you’d asked your stylist. Post-shower day five, you're lost and confused, trying desperately to recreate all that magic in your apartment bathroom with no avail, wishing your could call on them for help. Luckily, we can, so we passed on all your hair styling conundrums. Their answers are pretty damn good—we'll admit we learned a thing or two. Like how hair bungees are the unsung heroes of top knot success, the key to curly-hair cooperation and the ever-popular, but still dumbfounding, secret to recreating beach waves, without the, uh, beach. It's basically a refresher course in hair basics 101 so wrangle some bobby pins and get reading :ok_woman:.

P.S. Want us to ask a professional, uh, something, well, anything? Shoot us a Snap, Tweet, Instagram or Facebook comment and we'll see how we can hook it up. 

How to make the perfect top knot with a few easy steps?

- @chromantics_blog

 

“Getting the perfect topknot is easier than you think! All you need is a hair elastic, hair bungee, and a few bobby pins or French pins. I usually separate the hair into two sections to make it easier to manage. I create one high pony with half the hair, then use a hair bungee to attach the rest of the hair to the original pony. Twist and loop the hair and secure with pins. Depending on the type of topknot you want though, will vary the steps. Check Bun 101 on Mane Addicts for more in depth instructions.”

- Jen Atkin

 

“Top knots can be very versatile looks. They can go from loose and undone for day to super high end fashion for formal looks. Placement is key depending on how you choose to style them. Personally, I like to start with not freshly washed hair because hair with a little texture is better to work with and offers more hold. IIf your hair needs more texture use Hamadi Shea Hair Cream, focusing primarily on mid-hair shaft to the ends. If you are going for a more casual look then finger comb the hair into a high ponytail. Secure with a band and then wrap the ends of the hair around the base. For more playful looks, wrap another band around and allow pieces of the hair to stray. If you are going for a more polished look then loosely brush through the hair and follow the above steps, only secure with pins instead of a band. For a dramatic and sleek look apply Hamadi Healing Serum to the hair at the beginning. The result is completely edgy and cool.”

- Jamal Hammadi

 

"Top knots are a chic and easy style that will always be en vogue. Most girls can do a top knot with their eyes closed, but the key to getting it perfect are those extra little details. Start by pulling up dry hair into a tight ponytail on the top of your head. Take your time with this and make sure to use a brush to get all the bumps out before you secure with an elastic. Once the hair is secured, I braid it loosely and secure with a small elastic at the bottom. Braiding the hair before you twist it up creates and interesting texture that brings this top knot from basic to Beyoncé. Next, wrap the braid around the base of the ponytail and create a bun shape. This is where you get to play and really personalize it. You can make it as big or as small as you want depending on your face shape. Once you're happy with your top knot silhouette, secure with hair pins. I'm obsessed with gold plated YS Park pins at the moment. Next, grab an old mascara wand and spray it generously with Dove Spray + Shine Extra Hold Hairspray. Use the mascara wand to gently comb back any flyaways and baby hairs along your hairline. All in all, it should take under four minutes; instant chic!"

- Mark Townsend

 

If your hair is curly are you supposed to wet it everyday for styling?

- @iamjnsb

 

“All curly hair is different, so to say what works for one person will work for everyone is shortsighted. In general, some product is enough to refresh your curls without having to wet it everyday. I’m a big fan of R+Co Pomade Mousse for texture and separation.”

- Jen Atkin

 

“Hair, especially curly hair, craves moisture, not water. Water can actually dehydrate the hair. Spritz on Hamadi Shea hair spray, it’s ultra light but adds shine, moisture and a natural hold to coax wavy to curly hair into cool styles.”

- Jamal Hammadi

 

 

"All my curly haired clients know this dreaded tale; you have the PERFECT curl day, everything is zigging and zagging where its supposed to be. It looks moisturized, gorgeous, and healthy. You go to sleep and pray that it lasts the until the next morning and then, bam! It's a mess. Do you wash and start over? Not necessarily. Overly washing curly hair can strip it of it's natural oils. So I recommend trying to extend the style in between washes. A chic top knot like described above looks incredible on curly hair. As does deeply side-parted twisted looks. But if you feel like you must wash it, the key is to get the proper moisture in. R+Co's Analog Cleansing Foam Conditioner cleanses the hair while also locking in moisture and Dove Oxygen Moisture Souffle Treatment is a MUST for any girl with curly hair."

- Mark Townsend

 

When using a curling iron to create waves, how do you keep the hair staying that way all day?

- @tatted_tat_

 

“Hairspray is so underused, but essential to make sure your style stays! I love Balmain Session Spray or Moroccanoil Luminous Strong Hold Hairspray because they set the style without it feeling stiff or sticky.”

- Jen Atkin

 

“It’s all about quality products. Start with a leave-in conditioner to retain moisture and hold. After creating waves, seal the look with a finishing spray.”

- Jamal Hammadi

 

"Nobody wants to come to the party with gorgeous waves and leave with a flat, straight locks. These easy steps will show you how to maintain those waves! To start, spray a root lift spray (I'm coveting Sally Hershberger's 24 K Root Envy these days) at your roots before you blow dry. This will give your hair that much needed lift you need. Once the hair is dry, plug in your favorite curling iron and get your duck bill clips ready. Curl your hair as you normally would using large sections, but try to leave the ends out. This will make it more of a wave and less of a spiral curl. Immediately after curling a section, wrap the hair up while its still hot and secure it with your duck bill clip. In order for the wave to lock into your hair's memory, it has to cool still in the desired shape. Don't worry about wrapping it up perfectly. The less uniform it is, the better it will look. After you've curled your whole head and pinned it up, take out the clips and use your fingers to rake out the hair. Instead of using a hairspray, spray Dove Hair Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo generously all over your mane. The starches from the dry shampoo will lock into your hair and make those waves last!”

- Mark Townsend

 

What's the best straightening technique for curly hair?

- @byankha

 

“A patient blowdry! Use small sections and a ceramic brush (I love GHD). Finish each section with the cool shot on your Dream Dry Blowdryer to set the hair smooth.”

- Jen Atkin

 

“The best straightening technique is when the hair is damp and a little dirty. If it's too clean, it's a little frizzy although it may get staticy too so you need to even it out more by adding moisture which smooths out the hair cuticle. I like using an extra large round brush to smooth it out and applying a light serum or smoothing cream. Next I prefer to use the ionic FHI or t3 ionic straighteners. Just run the iron over each section once or twice, fast and simple; this provides extra sheen for a straighter look. You can decide the amount of body or sleekness you want. This is a quick and straightforward way to achieve a great look. I prefer the ionic irons because they are designed not to overheat or dry out your hair and you only have to run it through your hair once or twice, as opposed to other irons that  require you to run the iron through your hair more times and for longer, which may burn your hair.”

- Jamal Hammadi

 

“When it comes to making curly hair sleek and straight, its ALL about the blowdry. Straightening curly hair with an iron on the regular will create damage, so its best to start off when your hair is damp. Apply Dove Youthful Vitality Silk Creme throughout your hair (while avoiding the roots) while its still damp. The creme will lock in moisture and keep the hair looking healthy and shiny. Next blow dry your hair with a large boar bristle brush. I prefer boar bristle to metal brushes because of the shine enhancing effect of the bristles. Best sure to use a ton of tension when blow drying to get all the bends all curls out. It should feel taut, but not painful. Once you've finished blowdrying, you can go in with a flat iron to smooth out any imperfections. BUT be sure to use a heat protectant spray (like Oribe Balm d'Or Heat Styling shield) and only go over the section with the iron ONE time. If you use the right tension and the right speed, one pass with the iron will suffice. Finish the look off by using a mascara wand coated in hairspray to tame any flyaways or baby hairs”

- Mark Townsend

 

How do you ACTUALLY prevent your hair from getting frizzy when blow drying?

- @fashion_investigator

 

 

“It’s important to pay attention to the direction of the nozzle on your blowdryer. It should always be pointed down and you should keep the flow smooth, slow and steady without constantly rewrapping the hair around your brush. When the hair is dry, set it with the cool shot on your blowdryer and avoid touching it too much with your hands as the heat from your fingers can cause it to frizz.”

- Jen Atkin

 

“In order to prevent frizz from blowdrying, it is essential to protect the hair with moisturizing styling products. I reach for Hamadi Shea Hair Cream for moisture and natural hold. Also use Ionic ceramic hair dryers, they make a world of difference. Otherwise you are damaging your hair with the heat. Do not over blowdry or over hairspray or over anything, this can create frizz." 

- Jamal Hammadi

 

“Frizz is your hairs way of saying that it's thirsty. In order to get rid of flyaways and frizz while blow drying, a moisturizing product is a must-have. Start by applying Dove Pure Care Dry Oil Nourishing Treatment to damp hair. The Macadamia oil in the product actually penetrates the shaft and moisturizes from the inside out. If your hair gets frizzy easily, I recommend using smaller sections of hair when you blowdry. It may take longer, but it will extend the life of the blowdry by days. Also, make sure that your hair is sectioned when you're drying it. Having your hair flying all around as your brushing one section is just a recipe for frizz. Use inexpensive duck bill clips to keep all the hair locked in so that you're only blowing one section at a time. Another hack I mention ALL the time is to use mascara wands or natural bristled tooth brushes coated in hairspray to tame frizz and flyaways as the day goes on. You can keep them in your purse along with a travel size bottle of hairspray.”

- Mark Townsend

 

Is there a way to get beachy waves without salt spray?

- @nmoss1000

 

“Although salt spray is my favorite to use for beachy waves, there are plenty of other products that work great! I love Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray for the perfect natural texture and separation.”

- Jen Atkin

 

“Spritz Hamadi Shea Spray onto slightly damp hair and gently scrunch the hair to create that fresh from the beach look or braid the hair. Set for about 20 minutes from wet to dry and you’re good to go.”

- Jamal Hammadi

 

“Salt sprays are great for beach waves, but they can sometimes leave your hair a little bit thirsty. It is called a salt spray after all! Here are the steps to get enviable beach waves at home with no sodium added! Start by applying a generous amount of Oribe Curl Shaping mousse into damp hair. Once the product is evenly distributed, section your hair into 4 or 5 sections and make loose braids. Grab your blow dryer and gently dry the braided hair. Your hair shouldn't be soaking wet to begin with, so drying it should take no more than ten minutes. Release the plaited hair and finger rake it. You made need to use a curling iron to get a bit more definition around your hairline, but you don't need to over do it. Less is more with beach waves. Finish it up by spraying R+Co Death Valley Spray or Elizabeth and James Nirvana Dry Shampoo generously for that sexy, lived in, Malibu look.”

- Mark Townsend

 

Why do hairstylists seldom style hair that can't possibly be repeated by the ordinary person?

- @wateroakfarmsinc

 

 

“Because then you’ll put us out of work!”

- Jen Atkin

 

“Hair stylists are experts in their field so of course they know how to manipulate the hair to create otherworldly looks that the average person might not be able to repeat. We also know the tricks of the trade, like anyone who is good at their job. You want this experience for a special event, but a truly gifted hairstylist also recognizes that ordinary people need styles that look good and can actually be reproduced. A talented hairstylist listens to the clients lifestyle and demands and offers suggestions that will make that person feel beautiful.”

- Jamal Hammadi

 

"It's a stylists job to make your hair dreams come true when you're sitting in their chair. They often come with years of experience and hundreds of tricks up their sleeves to make your mane look its absolute best. Don't be afraid to ask questions while they're styling. I love when my clients ask me how I'm doing something! Most of the time, a stylist will show you tricks and even let you practice a step-by-step as they're going. You're paying for a stylists time, so don't be afraid to get the most out of it. Pull your phone out and take a video (with their permission, of course) while they're styling so you can go back later and try to recreate it at home!"

- Mark Townsend

 

×

Not like a regular email sign-up, but like, a cool email sign up.

Be the first to get insider access & all things exclusive. We'll pop up in your inbox a few times a week when there's something chic to share.