How much big hair can the world take? Long extensions and lots of barrel curls have had their time in the limelight, but sometimes the work to achieve those looks is more than a girl can take -- your arms start to ache holding the curling iron, and your wallet starts to ache paying for the fake hair. Why not be a rebel with a cause and go for haute, not huge, hair?
Style Sessions took a best-of survey of our expert stylists' favorite slicked back 'dos. The coolest part about sleek, slicked-back hair is that the look works wherever you're going: at work, at a restaurant with your dude or your girls, or at a fancy affair. Each style's glam factor depends on the accessories and makeup -- versatility is your friend! Check these out:
Rows of Admirers
Singer Alicia Keys made cornrows and multi-braids the hottest hair. It's tight, it's polished, and with excellent earrings, you're the girl in the room with all the soul.
How To Get The Look: The look Style Sessions' experts like best is the three-part French braid. Start by spraying a hairbrush with firm-hold hair spray and thoroughly brush your one-day dirty hair (unless your hair is prone to the serious 'greasies') so that the hair isn't too slippery-clean. Create two parts, starting at the forehead's hairline and making your way to the base of the neck. The parts' starting points should be in line with the pupils of your eyes. Gather the center section and pile it out of the way in a tight knot on top of the head. Starting with the right side, French braid the hair to its length tips and secure with an elastic. Repeat this on the far left section; braid the center section last. Take the three "tail" sections and braid them tightly together to create an illusion of one braid. Dust the head with a light-hold hairspray. This should create a cornrow effect without the time and cost of visiting a salon.
Style Sessions Tip: Big hoop earrings are urban-groovy for a funky look, while elegant chandelier or drop earrings are an elegant approach to slick braids. Since your hair is doing a lot, opt for natural makeup and glossed lips.
Nice, Tight Buns
All stylists are fond of beautiful buns, whether they are sloppy and sexy or slick and sexy.
How To Get The Look: For a tight, slicked-back bun, start by spraying a hairbrush with firm-hold hairspray and thoroughly brush the hair (it can be clean or one-day dirty). Take a quarter-size dollop of wax or pomade product and rub it in your palms. Start by applying the product at the base of your neck, and work your way up and forward, being careful not to get too much in the front. (You don't want your hair greasy; you want it "glued" to itself.) You can do a side-part, middle part, or opt for no part. Just make sure you use a comb and create a perfectly straight part. Then, back comb the crown and smooth over. Gather the hair at the base of the neck, brushing or combing until the hair has no ridges, bumps or loose strands, then secure tightly in a pony with a clear elastic. Take the pony and twist the hair creating a smooth tube, then wrap the tube tightly around the elastic. Secure the twist into the elastic with bobby pins, angling each pin first toward the scalp then sideways. Try to hide each pin under the bun.
Style Sessions Tip: Dramatic smoky eyes are amazing with this look because all your hair is, essentially, behind you. If smoky eyes aren't your thing, you can go for classic eyes and super-bold red lips. For an added feminine touch, take a half-inch-wide black ribbon and tie it around the bun, knotting it (no bow, please) underneath the bun; leave no more than four-inches of ribbon hanging below the bun.
Wrap It Up
Pressed for time but your bangs look like they're trying to escape from your face? Or maybe your hair is quite dirty but you can't deal with the effort to wash that wig? Time to channel what our stylists call your inner '60's glamour housewife.
How To Get The Look: Thoroughly brush your hair. Smooth the hair with a pomade to control frizzies or flyaways. Create long side-bangs by creating a far side-part and smoothing down on the forehead. Back-comb the crown with a fine-toothed comb to create a lift. Secure hair with an elastic either right at the crown or just below the crown, but don't pull the hair all the way through (so that instead of a ponytail, you create a loop with the hair). Take the "tail" underneath the loop, twist it, and secure it around the elastic for a cleaner look. Next, take a patterned silk (or poly blend) scarf and fold it corner to corner creating a triangle; from the top point of the triangle, fold over in two-inch sections creating a long tube. Tie the tube-shaped scarf on the head, just behind the bangs, to create a '60s mod look. Knot tightly at the base of the neck.
Style Sessions Tip: Scarves sometimes slip backward, so try securing the scarf with strategically placed bobby pins near the ears. Add gold hoop earrings and you are paparazzi ready!