The easiest-and perhaps most affordable-way to change up your appearance this season is with a new hair style, cut, or color. We enlisted celebrity stylist Tracey Cunningham to weigh in on the latest and greatest looks for fall, how to achieve them at home, and which celeb photos you should bring with you to a salon.
Ombré hair color
Drew Barrymore's multi-toned hair color (at left), as created by Tracy, is the go-to style of the season, and many celebs are going after the same look that gradually fades from darker roots to lighter ends in the same color family. "When I do Drew's hair this warms up her face a little bit without really changing her hair color."
At the salon
"Do not ask somebody to highlight you and stop two inches from the root," says Cunningham. "That's ridiculous and it's a waste of money. Get your hair highlighted to the root. When it's over, have them put a semi-permanent hair color on top, avoiding the hairline."
This is a great fall style, since your summer highlights will already be growing out. Choose a dye that looks like your natural hair color and dye only the top part of your hair. Cunningham says to be very careful when rinsing out to lift up your ends so the dark dye won't transfer. "That's a really important tip, because there's no refreshing the blond."
"It only takes one picture of a celebrity looking really gorgeous with bangs and then everybody wants them again," says Cunningham. "If you're going to get bangs, get bangs. Don't get that wispy little bang to the side, because you'll just end up hating that. They're never great."
At the salon
You'll definitely want to have a stylist cut your new bangs, and since there are so many kinds it's crucial to bring in pictures of the style you want. Cunningham suggests a heavier, longer bang that can go to the side, or split in the middle. Think Katy Perry (at right) or Zooey Deschanel. Sure they're a commitment, but they'll dramatically change up your look.
Cunningham feels cutting your own bangs is a mistake, but says trimming them at home once they've initially been cut by a professional can be easy. "One trick I have is taking the hair and pulling it all together and just snipping it off." That said, most salons offer bang trims for free, so be sure to take them up on that.
Getty Images"Natural" waves
Soft curls are all the rage on the red carpet right now, and are fun to create on all hair types. They're also a fairly simple way to change up your look, day or night.
At the salon
Bring in a photo of your favorite celeb 'do, and remind your stylist to start the curl lower down-we're not going for the '80s perm effect anymore. Don't be shy to speak up about your likes and dislikes.
To get a beautiful style like Kate Beckinsale's (at left) at home, Cunningham suggests starting with clean, damp hair. Mist with a strong hair spray like Redken's Wool Shake, and blow dry. Next use a 1" barrel curling iron (nothing wider, or the curl will be too loose), and coat your hair with more hairspray for extra staying power. Those with fine hair will need to go heavier on the product. Not so skillful with an iron? Set your hair with hot rollers!
Getty ImagesRed hair
Thanks to stunning stars like Christina Hendricks, everyone wants to be a redhead, and luckily, many people can pull off the hue. "There are shades that work with different skin tones," says Cunningham, who insists "you don't have to be red-red to feel a difference. You can do a burnt auburn on dark hair...and if your natural color is ashy and you warm it up it just makes you feel so much better."
At the salon
"When they say a picture is worth a thousand words, it could be more," says Cunningham, who feels you should never walk into a salon without a photo. "If I say, 'I want to be auburn,' and you say, 'oh great! My grandma is auburn, I love that color!' But we might be thinking of two different colors." No offense to Grandma, but her lovely shade might be a far cry from Emma Stone's, as seen here. As for color maintenance, a little bit of exposed root growth is considered cool right now. If roots drive you crazy, you may need to visit every few weeks.
Cunningham says you can absolutely score the perfect red on your own. Deborah Ann Woll of "True Blood" recently admitted her color comes courtesy of L'Oreal Excellence Hair Color in Strawberry Blonde 9RB. "When you're looking at a red box, go for the box that looks like a natural hair color," says Cunningham. "Stay away from the purple-maroon colors. They don't look good on our skin, and they don't look natural." Unfortunately, red dye fades the fastest, but you can keep your color fresh with hair care products for color-treated or a shampoo that contains actual red pigment.
Getty ImagesLong layers
Layering isn't just for your fall wardrobe! Chopping it up can add volume and movement. Though Cunningham cautions that layers look best on people with long hair like Vanessa Hudgens (at left). "Not everyone can rock a Joan Jett look."
At the salon
Tell your stylist how long or short you'd like your layers to be, and don't spring this on your stylist after they color your hair. "Definitely get your layers cut first, and then get the highlights last" advises Cunningham. "Usually you would do color first, but here you want to see where the color will fall."
If you can't afford a trip to a salon, Cunningham says to skip a style that involves more training to achieve. "If I were at home and I didn't have a lot of money, I would just keep my hair all one length, and add some wispy little pieces in the front. I think that's ultimately the prettiest look."
Getty ImagesSleek and straight
Those with wavy, curly, or kinky hair may seek to straighten their locks for a more polished look. And let's face it-silky, shiny hair never goes out of style.
At the salon
Thanks to straight styles like Beyonce's (at right), the Brazilian Keratin treatment has increased in popularity. It's only semi permanent and it makes things easier for you at home if you don't have the motor skills for a good blow out. But Cunningham wonders about its safety. "I've done it twice, but my eyes water. So I've been doing a lot of investigating. When your eyes water, it's a sign of formaldehyde. Last week the European Union recalled a lot of those products because they were over the legal limit [of formaldehyde concentration]." When it comes to more permanent and expensive treatments like Japanese straightening and Thermal Reconditioning, you can expect great results but frequent touch ups. "Your hair grows in curly or wavy, but the ends are dead straight," she says. Bottom line: if you're just going for a quick fix, get a blow out.
Smoothing shampoos will get your hair slicker, and straightening products can prep your hair for heat. For a sleek look, blow dry using a large round brush, and once hair is totally dry, go over them with hot tools. "It's so hard to get a good finish on your hair, but if you use a curling iron or a flat iron it will make your hair look shinier," says Cunningham. She feels investing in ceramic irons makes a huge difference as will using Moroccan Oil products, which work on all hair types.
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