Look #1, The Perfect Blowout
With all the things you’ve mastered since having kids, one may still be elusive—a blowout that would make your stylist proud. Part of the problem is time. “It takes a professional about 45 minutes to give you perfect locks, so be sure to set aside enough time to give yourself a blowout that can last two to three days,” says Alli Webb, founder of the blowout-only Drybar, with outposts in Georgetown and Bethesda. A few more tips:
Don’t work in the bathroom. At least if it’s still steamy from your shower. Any moisture in the air will make it that much tougher to get your hair smooth and bouncy.
Start in the front. That’s where cowlicks, widow’s peaks, and other challenging areas usually live, so tackle them while your arms still have the energy. Besides, the front is what people see first, so if you need to skimp anywhere, do so in the back.
Work in sections of one to two inches. Take the time to divide hair using hair clips made for blow-drying, and perfect each section before moving on to the next.
Invest in a professional-quality dryer. High power and a steady, strong stream of heat are essential for minimizing frizz and maximizing shine—and a lightweight model doesn’t hurt. Try the Drybar’s Buttercup ($190, sephora.com)—it’s the one the salon’s stylists use—or the less expensive but still wildly popular Elchim 2001 Professional Hair Dryer ($109.99, folica.com).
Look #2, Extensions Made Easy
They’re not just for pop stars or nouveau riche Real Housewives. The new wave of add-in human hair can boost volume and length in minutes. While clip-in extensions are good for events and special occasions, tape-in extensions last up to three months and can be applied without damage, multiple trips to the salon, and hours in the chair. “Many women are concerned that adding in hair will look garish or too obvious, but it’s a surprisingly natural look,” explains Jefferson Wilson, stylist at Axis Salon in Dupont Circle, which specializes in the new tape-in systems. “Just a few pieces can fill in thinner areas.” The newest method, Invisi-Tabs, relies on surgical tape, so application is faster (about 40 minutes). You can treat Invisi-Tabs just like regular hair—washes, cuts, blowouts, color treatments, you name it—plus the hair can be reused two or three times. The initial cost for a full head of extensions is about $700, and you’ll pay $400 every 12 weeks to reapply. Compare that with $2,000 to $3,000 every three months for keratin-bonded Great Lengths or other popular long-term extension systems, and your new long, full locks are a relative bargain.
Look #3, Younger-Looking Locks
When it comes to anti-aging products, hair is the new skin. “As we get older, hair can become thinner and duller, losing the shine and healthy look it had in our youth,” says Nuri Yurt, owner of DC’s Toka Salon. Many newer hair products are loaded with the same ingredients found in skin care—peptides, exotic oils, antioxidants—that aim to hydrate, plump, smooth, and add a healthy glow. Here’s our pick of the best of the bunch.
Pureology Nano Works shampoo and conditioner ($54 and $58, Ulta stores)
This vegan duo skips the sulfates, which may cause hair and scalp dryness and dullness. Instead, wine extracts, sugar cane, and green tea make hair glossy.
Age Beautiful Intense Strengthening Treatment ($7.49, sallybeauty.com)
This deep-conditioning treatment is loaded with proteins, keratin, and collagen to fortify damaged hair and replenish shine and softness.
L’anza Healing Strength Neem Plant Silk Serum ($32, drugstore.com)
Fans swear that a few drops make hair luminous and bouncy, just like it was in the good old days.
Kérastase Initialiste Advanced Scalp and Hair Concentrate ($60, kerastase-usa.com)
Wrinkle-smoothing staples such as green-tea extract and ceramides reinforce, add silkiness, and plump. Unless your hair is very thick or coarse, use just a few drops on ends to avoid looking greasy.