Who says you have to stop playing with your hair? Here are 32 new styles—for every length and texture—to try in 2012.
Being a bombshell is easier than you'd think. For these gorgeous Marilyn waves, just prep your hair with mousse such as Paul Mitchell Flexible Style Sculpting Foam, then blow-dry it upside down for volume. Create a side part, then set the hair in pin curls. When your hair is cool, gently brush it out to create a swooping wave near the crown and soft curls at the ends.
To give your blowout an edge, try adding volume. Start by combing a volumizing mousse such as Garnier Fructis Style XXL Volume Thickening Mousse through wet hair, then blow-dry it upside down, using your fingers to rake through the strands. Flip your head upright while the hair is still warm, part it in the middle, and wrap two-inch sections around medium-size Velcro rollers. After ten minutes, take out the rollers and spray dry shampoo (we swear by Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk) from the ears down for a rough finish.
This isn't your mother's shag—and this bold cut is surprisingly low-maintenance. Take this photo to your stylist and ask for unkempt, allover layers that look like you cut them yourself. If you have thick hair, your stylist might need to razor-cut your layers to reduce bulk. If your hair is thin, ask your stylist to bring your ends up to at least shoulder-length to keep your hair from looking too fluffy. To style, simply run a pea-size dab of light styling cream (we love Bumble and Bumble Texture Hair (Un)Dressing Creme) through damp hair and scrunch lightly. Or straighten random sections of dry hair with a flatiron. "The more haphazard-looking, the better," says hairstylist Sam McKnight.
Three-dollar Goody Jenna Barrettes were all over the fall runways, including Prada's (shown here). While we don't recommend piling on over 100, adding just one gives the hair a smooth, pulled-together appearance. Pull half of your hair back and secure with a clip, or add one above your ponytail.
First, comb a thickening lotion such as Bumble and Bumble Really Thickening Serum through damp hair from mid-shaft to ends and blow it dry with a round brush. Gather the hair into a side ponytail, back-comb it to add volume, and use pins to secure it in a bun. Then, place a long piece of lace at the hairline and tie it around the elastic. Fold one end of the material over the bun and pin it underneath with bobby pins, cutting off any excess lace. Don't stress about making it perfect—"the less time you spend, the better," says hairstylist Ken O'Rourke.
Spritz clean, dry hair with leave-in conditioning spray (we like Aveeno Nourish + Condition Leave-In Treatment), then wrap random sections of the hair around a half-inch curling iron, starting two inches from the roots and leaving a few inches of hair untouched at the ends. Loosen waves with your fingers, then smooth a curl-enhancing cream such as Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious Calming Creme over the hair for added shine.
To create this elegant style, hairstylist Garren set the top layer of hair in pin curls, then brushed them out for voluminous, soft waves. After teasing the hair at the crown, he gathered it at the nape, pulled one side taut, and rolled the other side over. Voilà.
Give your blowout a makeover—and some movement. First, apply a setting lotion such as Lea Journo La Forme Styling Lotion to damp hair and blow-dry upside down to build volume. Once your hair is 80 percent dry, separate it into four parts and roll each section into extra-large Velcro rollers. Take out one roller at a time and dry that section using a round boar-bristle brush and the nozzle attached to your dryer. Finish drying each section by smoothing it with the dryer and brush, then winding the brush up to your scalp like a roller and leaving it there until your hair cools.
Perfect for those days you wake up late, this wet style takes three minutes. First, mist damp hair with leave-in conditioner such as Nexxus Botanluxe Nourishing Botanical Leave-In Conditioner, then brush it into a high ponytail and secure with an elastic. Twirl the tail until it becomes a tight coil, pin into place, and tuck the ends underneath. Finish up by rubbing a drop of serum such as Redken Shine Brilliance Glass 01 Smoothing Serum over the top for shine.
To get the ethereal style seen at 3.1 Philip Lim fall 2011, hairstylist Odile Gilbert gathered the top half of the hair into a ponytail, pulling it halfway through the elastic in a loop. She used a three-pronged iron to create rippling waves on the remaining half of the hair. (A good one to try: Hot Tools Gold 3 Barrel Waver Spring Iron.)
For this soft, sexy look, like the one at Nina Ricci fall 2011, set the hair in large pin curls, then remove after ten minutes and tease the roots at the crown for volume. Take a section above each ear, crisscross them at the back of your head, and fasten with pins. "It's very French—very Bardot," says hairstylist Guido, who created the look, shown here.
HALF-UP SIDE PONY
Smooth the upper half of the hair back as if you were going to tie it in a basic ponytail, but instead of securing it at the back of the head, pull it to the side. "In the middle, it's just too normal," says hairstylist Orlando Pita, who created the look for Giambattista Valli fall 2011 show, shown here.
This updo is neat without looking too obsessive. For the soft style, Garren set the hair in medium-size hot rollers. Once the rollers had cooled, he brushed the curls out, teased the hair at the crown, then swept everything to the side to create the dip in the front and used pins to secure the ends in a tight chignon at the nape.
Here's a fun twist on the old scarf-tied-in-a-ponytail trick (and a great pop of color). First, pull your hair into a low ponytail and attach a bright scarf to the elastic. Then, braid the scarf into two sections of hair and loop it into a bun.
Just as jewelry dresses up jeans and a T-shirt, hair accessories—like this headband at the fall 2011 Nina Ricci show—kick a basic ponytail up a notch. Start by lightly teasing the roots at the crown of your head, then smooth hair back and secure with an elastic at the nape of your neck. Slip on the band, keeping it no more than one inch back from your hairline.
The secret to this textured style is shine. After applying mousse (try Tresemmé 24 Hour Body Foaming Mousse) to damp hair from roots to ends, blow-dry your hair. Create a center part and fasten the hair into a ponytail at the nape. Wrap one-inch sections around a quarter-inch curling iron and tease the length of the ponytail with a paddle brush. Use a silicone-free shine spray (we love Aussie Spray Gloss) to smooth your hair from your hairline back to the elastic. Add a jeweled accessory behind the ear for drama.
Give your ponytail a boost—with volume. After spritzing salt spray (we recommend Biosilk Beach Texture) at the crown for texture, mist the rest of the hair with a volumizing spray such as Sebastian Professional Volupt Spray and rough-dry it with a blow-dryer. Then, create a deep side part with the first three inches of hair from the hairline and section that part off. Set the rest of the hair at the crown in Velcro rollers for ten minutes. When you remove the curlers, tease the hair and spray all over with a dry shampoo like Sachajuan Volume Powder. Brush the front section off the ears and secure with an elastic at the nape of the neck. Pull the rest of the hair back and tie it all together into one low ponytail.
You (thankfully) don't have to skip the shower for this grungy, wet look, seen at the spring 2011 Prada show. After curling dry hair from the ears down, rake mousse (we love L'Oréal Professionel Texture Expert Lift Extrême Mousse) from roots to tips to add "an edge," says Guido. Skip hair spray, which tends to make wet-looking hair stiff and crispy.
First, apply dry shampoo (such as Fekkai Au Naturel Powder Clean Dry Shampoo) or texturizing spray (we love Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray) all over dry hair to add lift at the roots. Then, divide the hair into two sections from crown to nape—as if you were going to create pigtails—and twist them toward your scalp. Tie them in an actual knot and secure an elastic right below it. "If pieces fall out, that's pretty too," says hairstylist Brent Lawler. Finish with a bit more texturizer, then rough it up slightly with your hands.
Don't stress over making your next updo too perfect. The French twists, bouffants, and chignons on the spring runways (including at Chanel, pictured here) were soft and relaxed. "The more disheveled the hair, the nicer it looks," says Guido. Spritz a texturizing spray such as Sally Hershberger Salon Mineral Spray on dry hair for a matte finish. Then, pin the hair into a twist and pull out random pieces all over.
If you can't beat unruliness, join it. Prep the hair with volumizing cream or mousse such as Pantene Triple Action Volume Mousse, then create a side part and tease with a paddle brush from roots to ends to accentuate the fluffiness. Then, instead of finishing with hair spray, "apply a light oil or shine spray so the frizz looks touchable," says hairstylist Tommy Buckett. (We think Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil is worth every penny.)
CRAZY HAIR COLOR
Purple and blue streaks might not be work-appropriate, but the rose-gold highlights at Peter Som are pretty and wearable. Colorist Aura Friedman suggests asking for a couple of one-inch streaks under the top layers of hair. Blondes look great in rose-gold, while brunettes can try pale coral or mauve.
This slept-in style should look sexy, not sloppy. Here's how to do it right: First, apply a volumizing foam such as John Frieda Full Repair Protecting Root Lift Foam to damp hair and use your fingers to scrunch the hair as you blow-dry. Set the hair in large Velcro rollers and heat them with a dryer for five to ten minutes. Take out the rollers and brush the hair forward over one side of the forehead. Finish with light-hold hair spray such as Suave Professionals Touchable Finish Hairspray Lightweight Hold.
Fake a vacation in any season with surfer-chick waves. Mist texturizing spray such as Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Texturizing Sea Spray onto clean, towel-dried hair from roots to ends. Part your hair and blow it dry with the nozzle pointing downward, using your fingers instead of a brush. Then, wrap random sections around a one-inch curling iron and tug on the ends to loosen the waves. A bit of wax on the ends—try Fekkai Coiff Nonchalant Piecing and Forming Wax—adds definition and piecey texture.
DEEP SIDE PART
This vision-impairing hairstyle probably shouldn't be worn while operating heavy machinery—but it looks sexy everywhere else. Sweep your hair across your forehead so that it reaches your brow and pin it loosely above the ear. Try rocking this look with a loose chignon or a sporty ponytail, or just leave hair soft and loose.
To get the look seen here, Gilbert gathered the hair over one shoulder and secured it with a tiny braid and an oversized hair comb. Work a mattifier such as Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion from roots to ends to get the mussed-up texture, then part the hair to one side. "It's a controlled mess," says Gilbert. "The looseness makes it sexy."
FULL IN THE BACK
This style, from the Fendi fall 2011 show, inspired by the Hitchcock film Rebecca, has a "modern, aerodynamic shape," says McKnight. To get it, divide the hair in half from top to bottom. Gather the bottom half into an elastic, wrap the tail into a loop and secure with pins. Then, brush the top half of the hair over the loop and pin it underneath so the hair juts out from the back of your head.
Modernize the pompadour by making it touchable. After misting the hair with saltwater spray (try KMS California Hairplay Sea Salt Spray), wrap the top sections around medium-size Velcro rollers. After ten minutes, remove the rollers and tease the roots from the hairline back to the crown. Brush the hair back to smooth it over the roots, then mist on a flexible-hold hairspray such as Aveda Air Control Hair Spray. Leave the rest of the hair tousled and loose.
To keep the front of the hair controlled and the back loose at the fall 2011 Oscar de la Renta show, Pita created a center part and tucked the front pieces behind the ears. Then, he curled the hair below the chin with a one-inch iron, let it cool, and brushed and back-combed it for added volume.
Apply a volumizing mousse such as Sebastian Professional Whipped Crème to damp hair and rough-dry it with a blow-dryer. Then, wrap pieces around a small curling iron, stopping about three inches from the scalp, and smooth the curls with a paddle brush. Loosely braid the hair starting at the nape of the neck and secure with an elastic two inches from the ends. Roll the braid between your palms to create roughness; this will make it look even bigger, "like a woven loaf of bread—in a good way," O'Rourke says. Finish with a headband to keep the style from looking too messy.
After combing mousse (try Garnier Fructis Style Volume Inject Mousse) through your hair, create a center part and pull it all into a low bun. To make your hair more manageable, you can also apply a texturizer with the mousse. "If the hair has a bite to it, it helps hold the style," says McKnight, who created this look for the Chanel fall 2011 show. Finish with a statement accessory placed at the center of the bun—try a jeweled barrette or even a vintage broach.
Instead of fighting frizz at your hairline, enhance it. First, add volume in the front by back-combing the roots into a pouf, then use your fingers to rake the teased hair toward the back of your head. Pin the hair into a French twist or chignon and loosen a few pieces around your face. Finish with hair spray (we like Oribe Hair Care Superfine Hair Spray).