Extensions: Get Long Hair in a Flash
When it comes to extensions, you have several options to choose from besides clip-ins. Bonding involves taking small sections of your hair and fusing bundles of extensions at the root of your real hair with a special wax glue. With glue-in extensions, the track is glued directly onto your scalp; not your hair. Taking them out requires a special bond-remover, so a trip to the salon is necessary. Braiding is when the extensions are braided into tiny sections of your hair, usually at the back and the sides where your natural hair can conceal the braids. Braiding, like bonding, lasts up to three months. With weaving, a stylist braids your hair into one cornrow, except for along the hairline, which is left alone so the weave can blend. The extensions are then sewn onto the cornrow. Removal of the weave involves simply cutting the strings that were sewn in.
Tip: If you're getting your extensions done at a salon, meet with your stylist a few days before so he or she has time to dye the pieces to match your natural hair hue.
2 Lust-Worthy Styles for Long Hair
If your hair is already the length you want, here are some options for keeping it off your face and neck. These styles also work great for days when you're in between shampoos.
The Fishtail Braid:
Channel your inner Little Mermaid® with a twist on the traditional braid like Blake Lively does here.
Divide your hair into two equal sections.
Start a fishtail braid by holding the right section with your right hand. Then, using your left hand, pick up a one-eighth-inch piece of hair from the outside of the left section and cross it over to the inside of the right section.
Repeat on the other side: Hold the left section in your left hand. Use your right hand to pick up a one-eighth-inch piece of hair from the outer-right section and cross it over to the inside of the left section.
Continue picking up small sections and crossing them over until you reach the ends of your hair.
Secure with an elastic band.
The Undone Updo:
Start by spraying a volumizer onto damp hair at the roots and hairline before blow-drying.
Once your hair is dry, part it into three manageable sections and use a barrel curling iron to create loose waves.
When you're done, shake them out to create loose waves.
Twist small pieces in the front and pull them back or to the side and secure with bobby pins. Do the same in the back, without making it too symmetrical or perfect.
Finally, finish with a flexible hold hairspray to keep the style in place.
Pump Up the Volume
Since longer styles tend to make fine hair fall flat at the crown, use a thickening spray to give the illusion of a fuller head of hair (think: Princess Jasmine®). If your hair is thick, curly, or wavy, opt for a haircut with all-over layers to take out some of the bulk. Without layers, you could possibly land a staring roll in The Prince of Egypt attraction at Disneyland® (hello, pyramid head!).
Pamper Your Strands
Skip the Suds
Get into the habit of washing your hair every other day, since daily shampooing can strip your tresses of healthy natural oils, leaving it feeling dry and fragile. To refresh second-day hair, dust your roots with a dry shampoo like Oscar Blandi Pronto Invisible Volumizing Dry Shampoo Spray, another Gold Star Award winner.
Healthy Scalp, Healthy Hair
Pay attention to your scalp—it's your ticket to healthier, stronger strands. "Your scalp is the foundation for healthy hair," says Head & Shoulders dermatologist Dr. Ilyse Lefkowicz. "To bring the life back to it, minimize the amount of styling products you use, since most can cause an unhealthy buildup of oils, and lessen the use of heat tools. When you shampoo, treat yourself to a scalp massage—the action invigorates follicles and reduces excessive sebum buildup that can lead to scalp irritations." Try Head & Shoulders Refresh Shampoo, which contains soothing menthol to rejuvenate and cool your scalp.
The Trick to Sleek and Shiny Hair
If you have fine hair, apply a lightweight leave-in conditioner on damp tresses before styling. For medium to thick hair, apply a small amount of styling cream to keep strands smooth. When drying, use a flat brush to get underneath your strands and be sure to keep the hot air aimed down along the hair shaft. If it's humid outside, mist your hair with a protective heat-styling spray and run a flatiron through, starting about two inches from your roots.
Of course, it always helps to start with a shampoo and conditioner that caters to your hair type and length. We recommend using a line like Pantene Restore Beautiful Lengths, which offers three different combos for all your "tressed-out" issues, whether it's breakage, frizz, or lackluster locks.
Take Your Vitamins
Great hair starts from within, so getting all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs will in turn help it grow. Be sure to take a daily vitamin that has Biotin (vitamin B7). This B-complex vitamin not only supports hair growth, but it can help strengthen brittle nails, too. And, if you're already taking a multivitamin, look into adding biotin to your daily regime. (But like with any dietary supplement, be sure to talk to your doctor first.) Here are two hair-helpers that Real Beauty staffers take daily:
Viviscal, $42.99; drugstore.com
Biotin 5 mg capsules, $16.99; vitaminshoppe.com