Grown-out layers, shaggy bangs, gray roots? When you can’t get to the salon for a trim or a touch-up, these easy DIY shortcuts let you have a great hair day anyway! We’ve rounded up the tips and tools you need for four bad hair day fixes that will get your strands looking salon-fresh, no appointment necessary!
Trim your own bangs.
That time you botched your bangs when you cut them yourself? You likely used dull household scissors to cut them in a blunt, horizontal line which can damage hair and leave ends looking awkward and choppy, says Kali Ferrara, hairstylist at The Salon Project by Joel Warren in New York City. You can trim them yourself with beautiful results by grabbing a pair of professional shears, like Salon Care Styling Shears ($10.19, Sally Beauty), and using them to “point cut” dry bangs, which creates natural-looking movement and texture.
To do: Separate bangs from the rest of hair; use your nondominant hand to lightly grasp them between two fingers. Next, hold the shears vertically at a slight angle and lightly snip into the ends of bangs using small, gentle strokes.
Polish your pixie.
While a pixie or a short crop requires little maintenance on the day-to-day, the more structured cuts require regular trims to retain their most flattering shape. The easy way to “fake” a trim? Hairstylist Daniel Koye, who’s worked with Jessica Chastain and Vanessa Williams, suggests styling tresses with a spray-on wax, like OGX Flexible + Beeswax Texture Hair Spray Wax ($8.69, Amazon). “Its grip and hold restores form to hair by allowing you to position and manipulate strands however you want so they appear less messy and more polished.” Plus, the waxy spritz works similarly to hair spray, helping control unruly strands and combat frizz. Simply mist a wax spray onto palms, then run hands throughout dry hair from roots to ends while pinching and tucking pieces into place with fingers.
Another way to stun: Slip on a fun, eye-catching headband, like this Satin Knot Headband ($17, J. Crew Factory). It adds playful pizzazz to hair and ensures attention is focused on the accessory, masking an overgrown cut in seconds.
Perk up limp layers.
Layers are a hairstylist’s go-to trick for infusing thinner tresses with va-va volume — but when they’ve grown out, hair returns to its flat, lifeless look. Even worse? “Hair that’s sleek and straight makes overgrown layers more visible,” says Koye. His fix? Add texture with natural-looking waves or curls. “The movement and depth creates the illusion of hair with more dimension while instantly camouflaging overgrown layers.”
To do: Work a quarter-size amount of a curl-enhancing cream, like SGX NYC Curl Power Nourishing Curl Cream (From $10.58, Amazon) through damp hair from roots to ends. Then, make waves by scrunching hair from ends to roots in 2” sections; let hair air-dry. Tip: If hair still has no bend, try spritzing a sea salt spray, like Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray ($9.48, Amazon), all over, then secure hair into two braided sections; take out braids after 30 minutes. This will create beachy waves that hold.
Touch up gray roots.
Zoom calls have been a blessing for work meetings and friend-filled happy hours. Too bad they also give us no choice but to stare right at our grown-out roots! Since it takes precious time to apply temporary color sprays or powders every day, not to mention the sticky, messy feel, stylist Eliut Rivera, of Eliut Salon in New York City who’s worked with stars like Jennifer Lopez and Penélope Cruz suggests using a semi-permanent dye for those not used to coloring at home. “The formula offers gray coverage that blends seamlessly without creating a harsh line of demarcation and will last through 24 to 28 washes.”
To do: Apply a formula, like Clairol Professional Beautiful Collection Semi Permanent Moisturizing Hair Color ($7.89, Sally Beauty), onto areas with regrowth along roots, the hairline and at temples. Once done, cover with a shower cap and let process 30 minutes before rinsing.
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.