Shampoo and Conditioner
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Any fabulous hairstyle needs to start with a fabulous base. According to Pop Sugar, most of us aren't shampooing right. Make sure your hair is always ready for your styling endeavors by keeping it clean and healthy. The biggest mistake happens in the shower. Be sure to use SMALL (seriously) amounts of shampoo and conditioner. Focus shampoo on your roots and scalp then use conditioner on the shaft and ends. Be sure to rinse THOROUGHLY. Product residue makes your hair limp and dull.
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It seems easy, but somehow the root of all our styling problems comes down to this right here. Make sure when you are sectioning your hair you use the end of a rat tail comb. This keeps it all even and moving in one straight line. Once that line is right it'll be so much easier to rock half styles, buns and complex up-dos. Get a step-by-step tutorial from the MM and L Show.
Photo: MM and L Show
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This styling technique is a must for girls with short hair. Sometimes it's just not long enough to wrap around the barrel or wand. But that's okay. Take SMALL (1/2 inch) sections of hair and place the straightener perpendicular a little below your roots. Flip it once 180 degrees so part wraps around the tool with a long amount sticking out. Pull down. The slower you pull the tighter the curl. Don't get frustrated, just keep trying until you find the right technique. Check out From Shelley With Love for a great styling video.
Photo: From Shelley With Love
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Cue frustration. The french braid looks amazing and every video online makes it look easy but to us hair-challenged folk it's just not. Here's what you're missing: start with dirty hair (allows for more grip), take small sections each time, pulling tight as you incorporate your side pieces, and start slowly. Take your time to get the technique and start over as much as you need to. Once you get then you'll be whipping 'em out in no time. Still confused? This video from The Beauty Department will help.
Photo: The Beauty Department
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Do not, we repeat do not try to tease all the hair at your crown at once. It will not work. Instead follow Nathanial Hawkins' advice on Style Caster. Section it piece by piece so you can stay in control of the shape you mold. Place your teasing comb (yes, get one) about 1/3 from your roots and comb down, tugging at the hair; spray it, repeat. The higher up you start, the bigger the tease. Also, be sure you tease only the crown or you'll end up with a flat top and poof that pushes out instead of up—yikes!
Different Size, Different Curls
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When it comes to getting gorgeous curls, size does matter. For bigger curls, you'll need a bigger barrel, smaller curls, a smaller barrel. Want old Hollywood glamour? 1 - 1.5 inch. Tight, Shirley Temple curls? 3/4 inch Victoria Secret waves? Curling wand. Trust us. Learn more about curling iron sizes from The Beauti Lab.
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Always, always, always pull from the outside when trying to fishtail braid. Start with your ponytail, split it in two then grab a piece of hair from the ouside and pull it across to the inside of the opposite section. That's all this braid is. Outside, over, inside. Outside, over, inside. It could be a song! See our fishtail braid tutorial.
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Lets get this straight, the edges provide traction which means they need to face your head while the flat sides face out. It's basic science. And if you pin this way you shouldn't have too many slips. Of course if you have finer hair this still may not be enough, but don't worry a little hairspray on those pins before you place them solved that problem too. Once you can pin properly, no style is off limits!
Messy Bun Technique
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Yes there is a technique and you can find how to create a messy bun here. No one gets perfect messy buns just by throwing their hair up and pinning willy-nilly. Pull all your hair into a pony, then, using another elastic flip the hair into a bun. From here grab your pieces and carefully pin them around. Alternate height and size for that just rolled out of bed look.
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The waterfall braid looks great on its own, but hundreds of styles use it as a base for their updos. Don't get swept away with frustration on your first try. Instead, check out this waterfall braid how-to, take control and master it. Start with a standard braid once you have the first part of it, drop the middle piece and pick up a section from your hair, this becomes your new third piece. Braid, drop, pick up, repeat.
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You need to know how to do this. Why? Because it takes any pony from "I don't care" to "I tried to look good" when actually you didn't try at all. Nicole from The Beauty Girl shares the trick: a small section of hair that wraps around multiple times. Once it can't go around again, pin underneath the elastic. You may need two to keep it in place.
Photo: The Beauty Girl
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Using a smaller barrel (3/4 inch) curl your hair in small sections. Before the curl falls, hold it and twist into a circle bun. Pin it flat against your head. By doing this you let the curl cool in place, which keeps its springy shape. Head over to A Beautiful Mess for a more detailed tutorial.
Photo: A Beautiful Mess
Pinning a Bun
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Lets keep this simple. Four pins. Four different placements. Your bun is a compass. Place each pin (edges down) in NWSE. And that's it.
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Creating a braided headband doesn't have to stress you out. First you need to know how to do that French braid we mentioned earlier, and be sure to start with small enough sections. Once you have the braid, secure with a clear elastic at the nape of your neck. Use bobby pins to secretly secure different sections of the braid in place. No more slips for you!
The Pony Flip
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This technique has been passed from generation to generation. It's inspired several products, including the Topsy Tail, but girl, save your money. Instead, learn how to do it for yourself from Infoskep. Start with a pony tail a little above the nape of your neck. Grab the hair above the elastic and pull to create two sections with a hole in the middle. Pick up the rest of the hair and thread it OVER (got that, over!) and through the hole. Presto. A gorgeous style that you can build on or just wear to work.
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It's similar to the french braid, but instead of braiding, you just twist the sections together. Six Sister's Stuff shows you how to add more hair as you go for a fuller effect. The trick is pinning. Lift up the hair around your crown and place the pin diagonally up toward your forehead. Use two and cross in an "x" for a stronger hold. Then place your hair over to hide it.
Photo: Six Sister's Stuff
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This is a tough one to explain since there are so many kinds, but the basic thing you need to know is the importance of sectioning your hair. You'll want a set with multiple sizes of rollers, and section your hair into four parts (top, middle, middle bottom). The bigger rollers go on the bottom two sections, the smaller on the top. Use only 1/2 inch sections of hair for each roller.
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It's the perfect accessory when done right it takes an up do from "meh" to "wow". The trick is all in the placement. Go over your hair instead of under. Then pin each side in place. From here you can tuck your hair under its elastic or form an updo, covering it as you go. Get the full tutorial here.
Upside Down French Braid
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This is by far the most complicated braid on this list. But once you can do it, you'll be able to elevate any pony or bun. Flip your head upside down and brush it towards the floor, then start your French braid by picking up hair from the nape of your neck. Incorporate more pieces as you move up. Stop once you've reached your desired height, secure with elastic. Then pull all your hair into a pony tail. This one you may want a video for, and we've got a great one from BraidsandStyles12.
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Just like with all curling techniques, the beach waves start with the right tool. Desiree Hartsock uses a wand to get her effortless look, and we agree it's the easiest method. You'll want to curl 1 inch sections, holding it facing down. Finger comb your hair once your whole head is done for a lovely, laidback look.
Photo: Desiree Hartsock
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It's every lazy girl's dream, a style that takes less than a minute and looks fresh and trendy. However, if you've ever tried this "easy" style you know if not done correctly it comes off more sumo wrestler than cute. Be sure to section only the hair at your crown and be careful of where you place it. Stick to the top middle like they did at Luxy Hair and you can't go wrong.
Photo: Luxy Hair