I'm convinced "bad hair days" are synced to our mobile calendars. Is it a coincidence that just when we need to look our best our locks look their worst? Of course, we could blame decades of chemical treatments, as well as daily heat styling and attempts to turn our locks into what they're not — since that's the cold, hard truth. Instead of a healthy, glossy and enviable mop, we look in the mirror and find thin, stringy, frizzy, damaged, dry, dull, dyed and fried strands that suck the life out of our fabulous 50-plus faces. Even celebs are not immune to BHD syndrome. Here are 10 new tricks to turn tresses in distress into coiffures of confidence.
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PHOTO BY: Getty Images (3), Desiree Navarro/WireImage; Amanda Edwards/WireImage; Kris Connor
1. Wear your hair up ... with bangsIf you already have a fringe the solution is simple (and if not, add them ASAP). Pull the rest up in a ponytail or topknot and let those feathery, brow-grazing face framers do the flattery work, like (from left) Halle Berry, Molly Ringwald and Linda Evans. Since hair grows about a half inch a month, bangs fatten up first and are always are the healthiest part of your hair. Plus, they give the illusion of more hair and cover a receding hairline. Head for a salon snip today.
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PHOTO BY: Getty Images (4), Taylor Hill/FilmMagic; Rob Kim; Desiree Navarro/WireImage; Donato Sardella
2. Fake it
At some recent point in time whether your hair was entirely your own or not became moot. Some stars, like (from left) Christie Brinkley, Iman and Raquel Welch, even have their own brands of extensions, bangs, pieces and wigs — and make no bones about wearing them. (Check out Iman's quick switch, above center, from a huge brunette natural hairdo one day to ripply bronze waves the next.) Having worked on shoots with nearly every star and supermodel over age 50, here's the truth: Nearly everyone adds clip-in extensions to cheat volume and thickness, if not length. Adding faux extra topknots, bangs and ponytails are now as simple and acceptable as changing your shoes. Camouflage is fast and easy. Google Hair2Wear.com and Wigs.com.
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PHOTO BY: Getty Images (4), Greg Doherty; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; Matt Winkelmeyer; Jim Spellman
3. Distract with unexpected color
While not for every woman, temporary pastel blues, lavenders and pinks are adding spice to damaged hair. Most of us won't go so far as Jenny McCarthy's (top center) blue bob or Lisa Lampanelli's (right) blue and gray crop, but adding supersubtle candy-color tips like Cindi Lauper's (bottom center) locks and colorful clip-in extensions like Vivica A. Fox's (left) top-knot mix add edgy glam fast. For a head-turning one-day or night statement and solution, try a spray-on wash out-with-shampoo temporary color like L'Oréal Paris Colorista 1-Day Hair Color Spray ($7, target.com) in blue, pink and lavender, or try Splat Instant Color Hair Chalk ($6, target.com) and just do the ends or one big streak.
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PHOTO BY: Getty Images (3), Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic; Lester Cohen; C Flanigan
4. Cut it
Long damaged hair — especially stringy or broken dry hair — responds to a chop. Book a salon appointment for that day and bring plenty of photos on your mobile to make sure you and your stylist are communicating exactly how far to go. While this is an extreme change, if not now ... when? You will be eliminating hair beyond repair and starting fresh. Consider your color, too. Shorter locks could be a good time to start going grayish like (from left) Sharon Stone, or taking the drama up a notch for a spiky effect like Gladys Knight or Joan Jett.
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PHOTO BY: Getty Images (3) Matteo Chinellato/NurPhoto; Walter McBride/WireImage; JB Lacroix
5. Make waves
Use a light-moisturizing styling product for lift, and a large-barrel ceramic and tourmaline technology-based curling iron for safe subtle waves. Lifted off the face in a sculpted elegant effect, like (from left) Cate Blanchett, Jessica Lange or Ellen Burstyn, big bouncy waves disguise breakage, see-through scalp, growing-out bangs or a cut gone awry with too many layers. It also has a very retro-inspired movie-star look that's so glam. Make up for extra heat styling by leaving a hair mask on overnight (just wear a plastic shower cap and use an old pillowcase) and rinse out in the morning.
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PHOTO BY: Getty Images (3), Michael Loccisano; Earl Gibson III; Amanda Edwards
6. Turn on the lightsShiny hair looks healthy. Dry, dull hair requires a once- or twice-weekly deep-conditioning mask to restore hydration. It also deserves the fastest blow-dry to prevent scorching. Upgrade to a dryer that uses tourmaline and ionic technology to shorten drying time with a post-dry cool-shot button for a vibrant glossy look, like (from left) Michelle Yeoh, Lela Rochon and Bo Derek. A few tone-on-tone discreet highlights also amp up sparkle for any color hair (even gray or white) and keep dark hair colors from looking harsh.
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PHOTO BY: Getty Images (3), Isa Foltin; Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic; Earl Gibson III
7. Own your natural textureIf you've been torturing curly hair straight with keratin treatments or relaxers and flat irons, or attempting to make thin, fine hair a wild Gisele-like mane, just stop cold turkey. Aside from solution No. 2, this is not a realistic goal, a smart use of time or a do-good situation for your hair. If your hair is baby-fine like (from left) Robin Wright's, let it be pin straight. If it's curly like Bernadette Peters' or Pauletta Washington's hair, don't even think about straightening. Embrace it.
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PHOTO BY: Getty Images (3), Noam Galai; Eamonn M. McCormack; Charly Triballeau/AFP
8. Let your roots go a bit longer
Honestly, a little regrowth is cool if you take a look at (from left) Mary J. Blige, Naomi Watts and Sarah Jessica Parker. There's no rush to retouch every four weeks. Having chemically colored hair is fine and dandy — you're not fooling anyone. Meanwhile, keep doing restorative nourishing masks and minimizing heat styling by alternating wet shampoos with dry and stretching those salon visits or at-home color treatments an extra two weeks.
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PHOTO BY: Getty Images (3) Walter McBride/WireImage; John Lamparski; Edward James/FilmMagic
9. Let the frizz fly
After years of frizz fighting, frizz taming, anti-frizz serums, creams and oils ... let it win. Frizz is your hair's version of wrinkles, and we're learning to embrace those crinkles and creases as markers of our personal history, right? Who says a little extra halo of texture is bad? We loooved it back in the '70s! Whether your hair is wavy like (from left) Stockard Channing's, ringlet-y curly like Taraji P. Henson's, or a glorious mass of fuzz like Margaret Trudeau's, its time has come. In fact, amp it up with texturizing sprays and salt mists made to do just that.
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PHOTO BY: Getty Images (3), Alberto E. Rodriguez; Jonathan Leibson; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
10. Braid it
Whether you add mini braids like (from left) Tichina Arnold, do a thick ropy coif like Tracee Ellis Ross, or have one long, loose braid like Nicole Kidman, braids — real and fake add-on types — mean you're cutting your routine some slack. Avoid stressing hair by pulling it into taut braids at the hairline, and don't worry about stray pieces; the effect should be creative, relaxed, bohemian artsy — not stuffy and stiff.
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