Season after season I go to the fashion shows and look for new trends in beauty. Much to my frustration, the models' hair never changes. To keep attention on the clothes, the hair is almost always pulled straight back in a bun, a twist or a chignon. If there is any statement to be made, it is usually done with dramatic makeup. The face paint is usually translated to a prettier, more wearable version for the woman on the street.
This year one of my (and many others') fashion heroes, Marc Jacobs, broke the mold. The women wore their hair long, soft and full. The makeup palette was almost nude with just a pinch of color. Lips were soft with a hint of orange and coral, a combination we haven't seen in years. The overall effect was girls' born with a natural splendor who need very little effort to look beautiful. The soft look is easy to achieve and the makeup colors could be adjusted easily to enhance any complexion. The look is pretty, wearable and suitable for all occasions.
The hair was gorgeous. Barely coiffed, it looked like hair that had a great cut and beautiful, natural textures. I must give credit to Marc's favorite hairdresser, Guido Palau. He can make the most ordinary hair extraordinary. You know of course that not every model has beautiful, full hair. This may be every woman's dream, but in fact, for most women, especially those with fine hair, it's an illusion that has to be created.
There are two types of fine hair. The first is when you have plenty of hair but each strand is baby fine. The second and most difficult hair to deal with is sparse and fine hair. This kind often looks like see-through hair or hair that sticks to the head moments after the blow dry. This is apparent when the tips of the ears stick out, or hair looks scraggly and absolutely refuses to hold a blow dry or set. Here are some easy tips to make your fine hair look its best.
* The finer and more sparse your hair, the more essential it is to have the right haircut. The best cut for almost all fine hair is the bob. There are many variations of the bob, from layered to the most traditional one-length Vidal Sassoon signature cut. You must find the one that suits your face shape. I would rather see hair look a little thin than cut painfully short. If your hair is extremely thin, try having the ends cut to look a little irregular. This will allow you a little extra length and add dimension and style.
The big bang cut is perfect for woman with fine and sparse hair. With this haircut, the bangs start almost at the crown of the head. This gives thinning hair the illusion of fullness and is extremely chic. The pixie is a very good haircut for thinning hair. You can wear it combed or messy and it always look great. But you must have a good face shape for this cut. Warning! It will accent a sagging jaw line or a drooping chin.
* This is the perfect time to talk about hair extensions. They can be the best solution to add volume to fine hair. Applying hair extensions is a highly developed skill. The hairdresser must be aware of the size or thickness of the extension and the number applied. Nothing looks more horrible or artificial than hair that looks too thick and wig-like. Less is always more unless your goal is to look like Lady Ga-Ga. Hairdressers will often splice the extension in two to create a more natural look. Placement is key. The attachment to the hair must never be visible. The colors of the extensions are also important to a natural look. Usually lighter tones are picked. As hair grows, the ends do become a pinch lighter. Pick up the ends of your hair and compare the color to your roots. You will instantly see the difference. The color at the ends of your hair will provide the palette you should pick for your extensions.
* Styling fine air is crucial. Volume starts at the roots. This is the foundation for all full hair. If you are good at wielding a blow dryer, make sure to lift the hair directly off the scalp. Use a spray of light root lift on each section. If you are not handy with a blow dryer, use old fashioned rollers. These may be the best-kept secret in the business. You can find them backstage of every fashion show and photo shoot. Every stylist I know has rollers in her beauty kit. Rollers are not only for your mom; they're for you, too. Make sure you place the rollers squarely on their base. This will guarantee optimum lift and fullness. They are usually applied after the hair has been blown dry. Using rollers not only gives extra body but prevents over-drying and damaging hair. Once the rollers are in place, it is the perfect time to apply your makeup.
* Volumizing products can work miracles or be a complete disaster. You must experiment and find the right product for your specific hair. I find that sprays and mousses work best. Creams often weigh the hair down unless they are very dry. Gels and silicones will exaggerate your thinning hair and must be avoided at all cost.
* Color can make hair look and feel thicker. Adding color actually roughs up the hair, giving it texture and creating the illusion of volume. I have many clients who come to me not because their roots are showing, but rather because their hair has started to look flat on their heads. Avoid either excessively dark or light colors. They will make your scalp more obvious. This is a definite beauty faux pas.
* People with naturally thick hair are lucky. Their hair almost always looks good and their styling lasts much longer. Fine hair does require more work. It requires frequent shampoos and needs to be restyled more often to look its best. But don't despair! There are many beautiful women with less-than-perfect hair. They just know how to make it look its best. Just remember that Victoria Beckham, Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz and Paris Hilton all have fine hair. They also have some of the best looking hair in Hollywood.