A TIGHT BRAID
Apply gel to your roots and use a brush to pull hair into a high ponytail. Then braid the tail, securing the ends with an elastic. "It's good for a party, because it looks great with a cocktail dress," says hairstylist Ryan Trygstad of the Marie Robinson Salon in New York City.
A BETTER PONYTAIL
This is, hands down, the sexiest ponytail we've seen—and it's simple to do: Make a clean center part with the tip of a comb. Gather hair at the nape of the neck, brushing it over your ears, and fasten. Gently tug out pieces of hair from around the elastic (but don't pull them out all the way); you want to create a bit of volume at the back of your head. Run a bit of serum over just the hair in the tail; try Citré Shine Shine Anti-Frizz Serum.
For this laid-back surfer-girl look, all you need if you have wavy hair is "some beach spray and a diffuser," says hairstylist Tommy Buckett of the Marie Robinson Salon in New York City. Saturate damp hair with a texturizing spray, such as Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray; then dry with a diffuser attached to your blow-dryer. For straight hair, twist dry four-inch chunks haphazardly around a big-barrel curling iron instead, then mist with the spray. (By the way, you can use actual salt water to create these waves—it really works!)
A BLUNT CUT
Long layers are unfailingly pretty—don't get us wrong—but updating your look with a more severe cut like this one is a quick way to add drama to straight hair. Here's what to ask your stylist for: A cut that's "blunt at the shoulders and has strong fringe," says hairstylist Garren of the Garren New York Salon, who created this look. "The sides and back are slightly layered to create the thatchy, wispy look." To style it, pull out pieces on the sides and mist all over with hair spray to hold the sharp, graphic shape
Frizzy waves can look good (really!)—just check out the fuzzy hair at the spring Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs shows. Now do you want it? If you have natural waves, "just let your hair air-dry without disturbing it," says Garren. "Then run a paddle brush over it to separate the curls and get some volume."
A MINI POMPADOUR
Not all poufs are created equal—and this one is definitely more sophisticated, less Snooki. For this half-up style, Buckett says to grab the section of hair on the top of the head between the temples and tease it at the roots to create height. Smooth it out with your fingers and pin down the hair at the center of your crown; let the rest loose.
A HIGH BUN
The key to this roughed-up bun is in the texture, explains Trygstad. Blow-dry hair while tousling it with your hands, then use your fingers to rake it into a high ponytail at the top of your head. Tease the entire tail, twist it, and then wrap it into a loose bun, pinning it into place. Finish with a light mist of flexible-hold hair spray, such as Pantene Pro-V Style Classic Flexible Hold Hair Spray.
A SEXY SHAG
These layers add some attitude to shorter hair. To style them, Garren recommends setting two- to three-inch sections of the hair at your crown with Velcro rollers. Blast them with hot air from your blow-dryer, then let your hair down after it's cooled. "Brush it with your fingers, then pull out pieces of hair and mist their ends with hair spray for a piecey, textured effect," he says.
SLEEK AND STRAIGHT
We love how polished this style looks, but it does require some patience: Whether you have straight or wavy hair, grab a flatiron and run it over two-inch sections. Create a clean side part with a comb, Garren says; then spritz hair spray over your roots. Twist the hair behind one ear and secure it with a small bobby pin.
A SCARF WRAP
Big, soft waves give this style a really romantic feel. If you have straight hair, wrap sections in figure eights around a double-barrel curling iron, such as Rsession Tools Naluwaver, Garren suggests. Make a center part and pull hair into a low ponytail; secure with an elastic. Brush out the hair in the tail, then tie a thick, colorful printed scarf—or even a piece of fabric—around the elastic.
A seemingly simple chignon is suddenly dressed up when you add a jeweled comb or barrette. "Slide it in right above and behind the ear so you can't see it from the front," says Garren. "It's a good place for an accessory, especially if you're going to be wearing earrings."
Sleek and shiny isn't the only way to play it straight; a slightly disheveled finish is irresistibly cool. Spritz roots with a volumizer (try John Frieda Luxurious Volume Lavish Lift Root Booster, then blow-dry using a paddle brush. "Don't dry it 100 percent, though," says Buckett. "A little moisture left in the hair to air-dry will coax some frizz." Use your fingers to tousle your roots, too.
Some things in life are hard to define. Curls, though, are easy. Start by coating them with a moisturizing cream, like Redken Ringlet 07 Curl Perfecting Lotion for Medium Hair, then blow-dry with a diffuser while gently twisting them into coils. "I love the diffuser from Devachan that looks like a hand," Trygstad says. "It dries the hair without blowing it around." Apply a mist of shine spray (try Garnier Fructis Style Brilliantine Shine Glossing Spray) for that extra layer of gloss.
A MODERN FLIP
Want the glamour of a modern-day Betty Draper? Use jumbo hot rollers to secure two-inch sections of hair, making sure the ends are curved outward (this will give you that signature 1960s flip), says Garren, who created this look. Once hair is set, wait 15 minutes, then brush it out. Tease the front section at the crown, then pin it back.
A SLICK TWIST
This deceptively easy updo comes across as slightly androgynous yet totally gorgeous. First, create a deep side part, then slick hair with gel so it sticks close to the head. Brush it into a tight ponytail at the center of the back of your head. Divide the tail into two sections and saturate them with more gel. "The wetter it is, the better it will look," Buckett says. Twist them around each other until you get to the ends, then fasten with an elastic. "Roll the twist under and pin it to your scalp," he says.
The beachy look has its place, but these flawless waves can be worn much more dressed-up. Trygstad recommends using a curling wand (those are the ones without a clamp), such as Sultra Bombshell 1" to make styling easy. Mist dry hair with a texturizing formula (we like Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray), then wrap two-inch sections around the hot rod; curl strands only from the ears down, Trygstad says. When you've finished, run your fingers through your hair and spritz it with shine spray.
Thin hot rollers will give shoulder-length hair massive volume and sexy, springy spirals. Twist a one-inch section, then place a half-inch roller at its roots; wrap the hair around it. Once it's all been set this way, let it sit for 15 minutes, then gently brush it out.
AN ELEGANT PONYTAIL
Starting with straight hair, create a deep side part and mist all over with a shine spray (try Tresemmé Smooth & Silky Shine Spray). Sweep back hair to the nape of the neck, and secure with an elastic. Wrap a small sliver of hair around the band. "It immediately makes a ponytail look more dressed up," Trygstad says.
A SIDE BRAID
This style has a pretty finishing touch. Pull back wavy hair and shift it over to one side of your neck, letting face-framing pieces fall free. Begin braiding at the nape, Trygstad says; then tie it. Wrap a small section of hair from the ends over the cord to hide it; use a small bobby pin to fasten.
At first glance, this ponytail is just a ponytail—but look closer: The style is actually a mix of two different textures (the top of the head is smooth and the tail is rough). "Smooth a bit of gel on top of the head, then brush the hair into a high ponytail," Trygstad says. "Flatiron the tail, then mist it with some beach spray; pull it apart with your hands to make it look edgy and rock and roll."
A NEW BUN
Sometimes, changing the shape of a classic style is enough to completely transform it. Pull hair into a ponytail slightly lower than the center of the back of the head, then tease the tail. Twist it once, then keep wrapping the hair around itself; the resulting knot should stick out about two inches from the back of your head. "It's more cone-shaped, rather than ballerina-bun," hairstylist Paul Hanlon told us backstage at the Jil Sander spring 2011 show. Lightly rub the finished bun with your hands to create a few flyaways for good measure.
To get loads of volume, run mousse through damp hair, then pick up your blow-dryer and round brush. "Start blow-drying hair to the side immediately," says Buckett. "Then wrap sections of hair around the brush, holding each in place for a few seconds so that you're using the brush as a Velcro roller, heating the hair on it instead of pulling it smooth." When you're finished drying, rub a dab of pomade, such as L'Oréal Professionnel Lumi Contrôle, over your fingers, then use them to tousle the ends.
Full, smooth waves are as hot as a 1940s starlet. Start with dry, center-parted hair; wrap one-inch sections around a one-inch curling iron, then gently pull out the iron, leaving the hair to cool in a coil. "Once you've finished, run a brush though it; that's how you get the wave look," says Garren. "Because there are so many pieces that lie on top of each other, you get that body."
Pin-straight, center-parted hair "is a throwback to the '70s, but it's also very current," says Trygstad. Apply a styling lotion, like Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Cream, to damp hair. Part it down the middle, then blow-dry it straight with a paddle brush. Wait—you're not done yet: Flatiron it smooth, working in one-inch sections. Now you're good to go
A BOUNCY PONYTAIL
For an elegant take on the signature cheerleader high ponytail, Garren suggests center-parting the hair in the very front, then using hair spray to slick it over the head. Make your ponytail at the back of the crown. Flatiron the tail, then tease the hair underneath the base of the ponytail "to get that puff," says Garren.
A BIG UPDO
This particular style is a little extreme, but a tamer version would be perfectly appropriate anytime. "Pull hair back in a high ponytail, then tease the tail," Trygstad says. "Then make one big loop with it by wrapping it under itself, pinning down the ends at your scalp." Slide on a thick knit headband at the hairline as a bold finish.
Buckett believes there are two kinds of frizz: "Pretty frizz is evenly distributed throughout the hair, instead of just on the top of the head," he says. If you have naturally curly hair, use your fingers or a pick to muss up your curls when they're dry, making sure the texture is the same all around the head. "Mist hair with shine spray so it still looks polished," Buckett says.
Add a dash of color in an unexpected way: Spritz dry hair with a lightweight spray, then brush back side-parted hair low behind the neck. Separate into three or four sections. Tie a ribbon at the base of the neck where each section starts; then braid every one, incorporating the ends of the ribbon into each braid as you weave. Once all four braids are fastened with an elastic, flip them up toward the nape of the neck and pin the ends of each to the center back of your head.
A FISHTAIL BRAID
Love a side braid but want to make it a little more interesting? Make it a fishtail, which requires weaving two sections of hair instead of three. Garren explains how to execute it: First divide the hair into two sections, then pull a few strands from the outside of one section and weave it over to the underside of the second section; repeat the same motion from the opposite side. Keep alternating until you reach the end, then secure with an elastic. To dress up the style, wrap a scarf around your head like a headband and tie it in a messy knot or bow.