Long, natural lengths? It’s actually more low-maintenance than you think—and there are more ways to style them, too. For some reason, cropped or bobbed or any short hair length is painted as a picture of style, ease, and stress-free mornings, but really, if you wake up to a bad hair day with not much of it in the first place, where and how do you even put it away? Luckily, if you’ve got lengths to deal with, you just sweep it up into a ponytail and voila—you go from stressed tresses to sleek locks. The awesome part is you’ve got a hundred million more ‘dos to do if you’ve got enough hair for it, but meanwhile, here are six of them we’ve tried and tested and think that you should, too.
1. Long and loose
Shoutout to the boho babes out there, here’s the most low-maintenance of all: wearing your hair the natural way it falls. If you’re lucky, your natural texture would be wash-and-wear, model-off-duty straight hair with a bit of bend in it. We say wearers and owners of this hair type are lucky because styling it is as easy as air-drying it into shape (or lack thereof). If you’re a little wavier, get this look by blow-drying your hair with the hottest and strongest possible setting on your hair dryer: soak your hair with a good hair oil and blast it with the dryer as quickly as possible. If your hair’s a little flatter, let it air dry, then flip your hair over and spray some volumizer or dry shampoo at the roots and scrunch.
2. Slicked-back chic
It’s a high-impact, no-brainer look whether you’re taking it to the supermarket or a red carpet affair—it’s all in how you pair it with your outfit. Start prepping for this look by running a heat protectant through your locks, and then let it absorb. Section your hair and start at the very bottom near the nape and iron as flat as you can. Once you’ve ironed all over the head, douse the top layer of the hair around the crown with a flexible hold hairspray, and while the product is still wet, comb back. Shellac it with an extra layer of hairspray if you want a finish that’s a bit matte, but if you want the top done in a glossy hold, go with good ol’ hair gel but use sparingly as most gels eventually flake when applied in a thick layer and then dried.
3. Old Hollywood waves
Sophisticated and sleek, the old Hollywood glam is an evening look power player. It’s not as easy to achieve as your typical waves as you need a very even curl and a light hand on the products. Start by sectioning off your hair very equally, and leave the lower part near the nape loose. This is where you start curling. Use a round 1.5-2 inch curling iron–you’ll want to use the classic curler versus the flat iron that’s used for beach waves—as the smooth bend in the curl is important. When curling, make sure you set everything in one direction: if you began curling on your left side away from the face/counterclockwise, let the rest of your head be curled in this direction. Once you’ve done your whole head, part your hair deeply on one side, and then brush out your curls, girl! Finish with a very light hold hairspray all over (make sure it’s the mist type!) and once that’s absorbed, a good spritz of hair shine, too.
4. Pin straight
Shampoo commercial hair isn’t so difficult to achieve, TBH. We mean with styling and product, that is—unless you’re born with naturally pin-straight tresses, you’ll have to take the flat iron to your hair to get Kim K-sleek locks. Start with shampooed and conditioned hair—conditioning it is important and will keep frizz at bay. Once it’s completely dry, tie your hair up so only the bottom layer is revealed. It’s crucial to perfect this first step as any flyaways or stray waves underneath the layers will show through. Start by pressing an inch to an inch and a half wide section of your hair with the iron, an inch away from the root. Let it heat up the strands for three to five sections, then smooth out the rest of the section down to the ends. Make sure to pass over the section in a downward, slightly pulling manner—don’t curve in. Do this for the rest of the head, part down the middle, and tame any baby hair with a hair wax.
5. Angel waves
Get that volume-boosted, beach-babe bedhead that’ll have every Victoria’s Secret Angel shaking. Start with a head of hair that’s been washed (not conditioned for extra weightlessness), blow-dried (not styled, yet), then evenly spritzed with a helping of a texturizer or sea salt spray. Section hair off, then in one-inch pieces, start curling them away from the face in an up-and-out motion. Do this for the rest of the head, making sure they’re all waved evenly. Whether you’re using a classic round barrel iron or flat iron, the motion is crucial. Also, make sure you leave about half an inch of hair at the ends uncurled–it gives your hair that tousled out-of-bed vibe.
6. Bent ends
Ah, the perfect blow-dry, one of the most difficult things to achieve in life. That golden ratio between straight and volume. That smoothness and thickness that’d make Cher Horowitz jealous. What if we told you you could achieve that salon-done look sans the arm strain? Start by washing the classic shampoo-and-conditioner way, ideally with volumizing products. Now flip it over—yup, the way ‘90s magazines told you to—then blow-dry with low heat and high power until completely dry. Once dry, take a flat iron and “bend” the ends into a soft inward flip à la classic salon blow-dry. Do the rest of your hair without sectioning off the hair to avoid flattening the mane, and sort of freehand your way around the rest of your mane. Only iron the ends that need to be directed inwards so that the hair that dried well can give your hair an overall natural texture.