hair thursday makeover 18

The ONE night I blow off my duties for Gossip Girl, and it’s a rerun. The audacity.

Let’s continue the theme of DIY, only this time, our next participant literally DIYed herself. (As in, snip snip.)

Meet Ashley.

Ashley au natural:


And Ashley – straight:


Ashley’s hair:

Thick, wavy and frizz-prone
Lots of volume
Usually takes around 10 minutes to style, unless she straightens which is 30-35 minutes (uses a wet-to-straight iron)
Once straightened, she can go a few days without washing
Finger combs while wavy, uses mousse
Recently cut her own hair (GASP!)

Ashley sent a great email about being a fairly recent college graduate and wanting a more mature look. (Which immediately conjured up visuals of Bea Arthur. How about “polished”?)

Some excerpts from Ashley’s questionnaire:

I have a preference for STYLE. That would be, make me look more mature/older!! (HUH?) Like you, I seem to look much younger than I am. (Already buttering me up – I like it.) I have had a similar hairstyle my whole life and since I recently graduated from college and am entering the working world, I’d love to look put together and polished. I don’t seem to have what it takes to make my hair look good (whatever THAT is?! products? tools? hair implants?!).

As for her current feelings about her hair:

I wear my hair up about 75% of the time. Maybe more. Either a messy bun or ponytail is my style of choice, I’m ashamed to admit. I think it’s mainly because I’m not happy with my hair. I like it when I straighten it, but is there any way around it taking nearly an HOUR!? If I run everyday, that means I have to shower and straighten it everyday. That’s like 2 hours total. I just can’t do that! It dries pretty well naturally, but if I go to sleep with wet hair…it’s curly city in the morning! When I put mousse in it, it’s SO easy (I let it air dry). But I don’t love having product laden hair everyday, you know what I mean? It’s not that my hair is too crunchy or anything, it just doesn’t feel as natural.

This situation sounds very similar to hair woes I’ve had in the past.

First off, the whole college into working world transition. I’ve been there. In fact, I was so determined to look “mature” after graduating college that I lopped off my completely healthy hair into a Posh bob (of course, it was 12 years ago. Posh was just a twinkle in the Spice Girls’ eyes at that time.)

Oh, but that wasn’t enough! I thought blond highlights would be sassy, yet stylish (?) and polished (?).

Something like this:


That’s my token happy drunk face, if you were wondering.

That hairstyle and the color involved HORRENDOUS UPKEEP. It wasn’t worth it. Why was I trying so hard when I had lovely hair to begin with? What can I say, it was my early twenties.

So, where am I going with all of this blabbering? Ashley doesn’t have to make huge changes to pull off a more polished look.

I don’t think Ashley should lop off her hair. 2-4 inches at most, grazing the shoulder would be ideal- giving her the most versatility possible. The focus needs to be on different styling methods. First off, Ashley has a great wave pattern. Some light layers starting in between her cheekbone and chin all around her head would give her waves and instant boost. (Please don’t do this yourself. PLEASE ASHLEY IBEGOFYOU.)

Long sideswept bangs could make a huge difference with little effort. Ashley already cut long bangs herself, but I think having a professional blend those front layers into her hair would be fantastic.

As for products, I would suggest using Aveda Be Curly or Pureology RealCurl. Both of these products are going to define the natural shape of Ashley’s waves while adding shine and smoothing frizz. I personally use both of these products on my waves, and I love them both.

If we focus on playing up Ashley’s waves on most days, the styling time will be kept to a minimum so she doesn’t need to spend hours after her runs (runs, heh). Of course, some days call for that polished look, and I would recommend using a flat iron for a sleek look, or a large-barreled curling iron for big bouncy waves.

Ashley, I am NOT a fan of the wet-to-dry flat iron. I think you need to splurge and get yourself a ceramic or tourmaline flat iron (eBay has great deals). I promise you, a ceramic flat iron will actually reduce the time you’ve been spending with the wet-to-dry iron. Why? Because you don’t need to dry your hair at all! If you are anticipating wearing your hair straight, wash your hair the night before, let it air dry or sleep on it, wake up looking like a hot mess, and get that flat iron out and get to work. It takes less time and is less damaging because you aren’t drying AND straightening.

Wow, I’m quite the chatterbox today. Let’s get to some photos.


(Yes, these are recycled photos. I have no choice, as I spent all of my allotted time talking about the glory days.)

Okay, both have layers. #1 has heavier sideswept bangs, #2 is more similar to what Ashley is sporting right now. Both cuts will look fantastic when straightened (WITH A CERAMIC FLAT IRON, ahem) and they still give Ashley the versatility she needs.

Oh my, I have carpal tunnel. Please put me out of my misery and vote.

  1. Jummy

    January 17, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    I have to admit I voted for 2 because of the similarity in head shape.

    Note to Ashley – where can I buy your perfect teeth?

  2. sizzle

    January 17, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    it might just be because i adore mandy moore (sshhh!) but i think the sideswept bang is AWESOME and more women should employ it.

  3. whoorl

    January 17, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    I’m pulling for #1 myself, Sizz.

  4. Carrie

    January 17, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Ashley is too cute, I love her au natural picture… she should keep her beautiful hair long & natural in my opinion (I voted for #2) maybe a few highlights

  5. kat

    January 17, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    i voted for #1 cause i like the bang thing.

    i was reading in lucky that sally hershberger came out with some products specific to wavy hair. wavy – not curly, not sraight.

    i don’t have wavy hair so have no idea how these products are but maybe they’ll work!

  6. Jamie

    January 17, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    forget Ashley’s hair…I want her perfect teeth!

    seriously though, those wet-to-dry contraptions are a nightmare, especially if your hair is thick and slow-to-dry. i’ve been there. get a good blowdryer and a ceramic flat iron, and you’ll cut the processing time in half! it sounds counterintuitive, but it really works!

    love number 1!

  7. Carla Hinkle

    January 17, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    To be honest I never find that the “skip the blow-dry and just flat iron” technique quite does it. It sounds great but my hair always manages to get some funky waves that won’t quite iron out. Maybe it is because my hair is too short (chin length)?

    Anyway. Just to say that flat-iron only is not always an option. I love #2 and think it looks perfectly polished — but maybe a tad annoying for working having all that hair flying around? Too much chance to get messy?

    What size is your flat iron? What temperature is it set on?

  8. Amanda

    January 17, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    ohohoh this is a good one… I want to see results! Oh, and I totally agree – she needs a better flat iron for sure.

  9. Giselle

    January 17, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    I have stubborn wavy hair too and I sleep on wet hair and straighten it in the morning with my ceramic Chi and it works out great! I love my Chi. It only takes about 20 minutes even though I have thick hair and it’s kinda long (about six inches below my shoulders). :)

  10. Michelle in Cincinnati

    January 17, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Voted for #1 for Ashley…could she BE any cuter? Did I mention I have a very cute younger brother ;o) Ashley has great DNA all the way around too…..those teeth are smashing, baby…simply smashing!!!

  11. ashley

    January 17, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    yay! it’s my turn :)

    thanks for the compliments, despite the fact that i feel completely self-conscious about these mascara-less shots.

    haha, my teeth are the product of lots of coffee drinking and occasionally still wearing my retainer to bed. :)
    (rendering me looking like a 12-year-old)

    just to clarify — my hair color is okay? (it’s natural and i’d love to keep it easy!!)

    Yes, your hair color is lovely!

  12. Christina

    January 18, 2008 at 4:14 am

    I voted for one, and am now going to be heading out to get myself a decent ceramic flat iron, my flat iron is crap!

  13. Sara

    January 18, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    You’re so knowledgeable, Whoorl, and I need your help! I had one of those dreaded wet to dry irons that I paid way too much money for. I was on a 2 week vacation in Morocco over the holidays and my converter couldn’t handle it. So the iron was fried and I was left with nasty hair for the whole trip. Maybe it was destiny…But I hated not having it. I’ve resolved to invest in an awesome flat iron. I’m tying myself over with a cheapie from Target. Can you recommend one?

    Sorry for the lengthy comment. This would probably be a better email. THANKS!!!

    This is the iron I have used for years and I love it.


  14. SleepyNita

    January 18, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I love #1 overall but voted for number two because it looks way easier to do when pressed for time since it so much like her hair now; but cut by a professional. :) Comeon Whoorl, can you honestly say you have never pulled an Edward Scissorhands on you own bangs before? I have, not gonna do it again though!

    Yes, when I was like eight! ;) Although, my hair-talented husband trims my bangs now.

  15. Sarah in LA

    January 18, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I’m interested to know what other people with curly hair think about Aveda Be Curly….I used it for two weeks (I bought the small bottles and that’s how long they lasted me) and I thought I saw a nice difference in my then long hair: my curls were more defined without styling, less frizz, etc. But I seriously balked at the price. The large bottles total out to something like $135 for shampoo/conditioner and I have to wash my hair every day or i get grossed out. I decided to suck it up but I’ve since gotten my hair cut to shoulder length and it doesn’t seem to be giving me the same definition as when my hair was long.

    I’ve never used the Be Curly shampoo and conditioner, only the Enhancing Lotion. That does sound super expensive, though.