So long straight. Heave-ho that hair-dryer. After seasons of coaxing hair into super straightness, wavy hair -- more tousled than tame -- is today's must-have trend. Hair made interesting with piecey waves and smooth, shiny curls is the look on the street, and now favored by the celebrity set. Curls...waves...big hair -- it's so much sexier than straight.
Celebrities are all on board with the bodacious hair look. Stars like Jessica Simpson, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, and even former sleek-hair devotee Gwyneth Paltrow have gone wavy, showing up at must-see events with big, beautiful hair.
The trend is a boon for those with hair that already is curly and/or wavy, and not that hard to achieve if you have naturally straight and limp hair. The secret is the right hair care and styling products. If you have curly hair already, the right product will give you smooth, soft curls and eradicate that definitely not-fashionable frizz. If your hair is fine or straight, products can help coax it into creating, and holding, a wave.
How to get a red-carpet-worthy look? Here, four steps to achieve it.
STEP 1: CLEANSE AND CONDITION
The first step to this red-carpet look is prepping hair with a curl-boosting wash and condition. If your hair is straight or fine, choose a volumizing shampoo (try Amplify by Matrix Volumizing Shampoo, $11.49) and conditioner. Hair with some texture needs a smoothing shampoo, like Back to Basics Coconut Mango Shampoo ($9.49). However, don't weigh down even very curly hair with a heavy conditioner; you want all hair types to retain some lightness and bounce.
STEP 2: PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Gwyneth's hair is wavy and tousled, yet neat. This is achieved with the right styling product: one that provides hair with what it needs to create the desired look, no matter what its natural texture. On straight, fine hair, comb in a mousse designed to volumize hair (I like Aveda Phomollient Styling Foam, $12), then towel dry hair. Textured hair needs to retain its coveted curling power, while losing the frizz. I advise regular conditioning treatments at a salon -- I like Ojon salon hair conditioning treatments -- and daily, a moisturizing styling cream like Kerastase Elasto-Curl Creme ($24).
STEP 3: CHOOSE YOUR STYLING TOOL
Gwyneth's hair has loose, piecey waves on a side-parted style. How to get that style? Whatever the hair texture, towel and air dry hair first until it's almost completely dry and make a low side part. From here, you have a few styling options.
A curling iron works best for fine, straight hair. Separate half-inch pieces and wrap around the curling iron's barrel in a corkscrew fashion. Hold briefly, for less time than if you were going for a very curly look, then release. Let sections cool and gently loosen with your fingers into waves.
Wavy hair can get the look by toweling off hair, then just air drying it. Separate sections into finger waves before it's completely dry.
Very curly hair may need a little smoothing to get that long, wavy look. Rollers can help elongate curls and smooth them out for that wavy look. Roll up 1-inch sections of almost-dry hair onto each roller, let dry, unroll and smooth out with fingers.
STEP 4: PHOTO FINISH
Gwyneth's gently tousled hair holds its shape. The secret to a long-lasting tousle is the finishing step when styling it. A holding (not stiff) spray, like Aveda's Air Control Hair Spray ($23), helps hold fine hair's new waves. To create the finishing, piecey look on curly or wavy hair, apply a styling wax or heavyweight balm, like Artec Texture Paste ($12.95), just to the ends.
Check out our video guide to getting mermaid beach hair!