Maximum glamour, minimum effort
Got somewhere to be? Here's how to always have a great hair day, even on a tight schedule…
Three speedy summer styles
Hairdresser Alan Coban not only has his finger on the pulse of which looks are hot for this season, he's a master of tending tresses on the move. This week, he gives the beautyheaven team three easy summer looks to time trial…
The look: The high up up-do
Wear it: On the red carpet or on New Year's Eve
The technique: This elegant-yet-sultry style elongates your neck and looks great with a gown. "Up-dos are back with a vengeance for evenings, but you don’t have to spend hours perfecting the look," confirms Coban. "First you need to style your fringe at the front, whether you've got bangs, sideswept feathers or you're parted straight down the middle," he instructs. But don't flatten your natural movement or go poker straight, he stresses: "The most important part of this look is the free-falling fringe. Once you've created that, loosely gather the rest of your hair and pin it into place high up on your crown." Depending how long your hair is, you might need to spend some extra minutes pinning up your length – try curling it around your finger for a slightly more formal effect or loosely securing random sections for a more carefree coif.
The tools: Sebastian Professional Xtah Loose Locks Natural Styling Lotion, $38 + Matrix Vavoom Size Me Up Finishing Spritz, $21.95. Redken Body Full Weightlifter, $25 (to raise roots).
Best for: Medium length hair with an eye-skimming fringe. Long tresses equal a lengthier styling time.
Time trial: "My curly locks can be a handful, but this took me less than ten minutes to complete. The trickiest bit was pinning my length back, but once I got the knack, it was easy." – Leanne, Bh managing editor
The look: The low and loose chignon
Wear it: In the boardroom or the bar
The technique: "This classic look gives you maximum glamour with minimum fuss," says Coban. "Start by parting your dry hair on the side and gathering your locks low and loose the back of your head. After fastening with a band, simply wind the pony around the band until your hair buckles back on itself. Use pins to fasten the end of the pony and then, to create that messy and effortless look, scrunch the bun section." This is not a neat ballerina bun, so let wisps escape at will and set with a flexible hairspray.
The tools: L'Oreal Professional Tecni.art Texture Spray, $21.95 (to give fine strands some grip) + VO5 Firm Hold Pump Spray, $4.69
Best for: Long to medium length straight, wavy or curly hair
Time trial: "My fine, long hair isn't always easy to style, but this classic look took a matter of five minutes. The texturising spray was the most important step for me – without it, my hair fell a little flat and the style all but slipped straight out." – Tracey, Bh editor
The look: The un-style
Wear it: For weekend downtime
The technique: This is the sexy-in-seconds style that anyone can wear well. The trick is to work with your hair, not against it. "If your hair is straight, play up to its natural tendencies by just letting it go," says Coban. If it gets out of control when left to air dry, blast it off before blow-drying quickly with a paddle brush. For added definition without too much extra effort, Coban recommends going over only your ends with a flat iron. Curly tresses can be simpler still. "If your hair is naturally curly, simply use your fingers to scrunch defining cream or mousse through your hair and diffuse it dry gently," Coban directs. Want to dress it up? Pull sections back with bobby pins or add a cute clip or two.
The tools: Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Leave in Hair moisturiser, $6.99 (for straight hair) or Redken Fresh Curls Anti-Frizz Shiner, $25 (to control curls).
Best for: All hair types, textures and lengths
Time trial: "My fine and naturally straight hair took about five minutes to un-style. Once the straightener gets involved, that's another few, but just doing the ends saves tonnes of time while really tidying things up." – Kate, Bh editorial assistant