What speedy tricks do you use to make your updos look more polished?
May 28, 2013 11:53 AM   Subscribe

I usually spend about five minutes on my long, wavy hair in the morning. What minor things (two minutes or less) do you add to your hairstyle to make it look more polished and done? Examples would be things like, "curl the ends of your ponytail" or "hide your crappy elastic hairtie with a strand of hair and a bobbypin".

My typical routine is wash, blow-dry, and either wear down or put in a braid, side bun, or top-knot. Recently I've been trying to add little things to specific updo styles to make them look more polished. So instead of a regular braid, I'll try a fishtail braid. I might use pins instead of an elastic for a side bun. If I wear a top-knot, I'll flat-iron the wispies that come out on either side of my face.

The goal isn't to add a significant amount of time to the process, but rather implement little changes that have a lot of payoff. What other things should I try? Assume I have hairpins and elastics, as well as a flat-iron, curling iron, and hot rollers.
posted by stellaluna to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
I have just discovered these crappy 1.99/10 pack of goody elastic headbands that are like regular elastic hairbands except head-sized, and they are ace at containing the fluffy baby hairs that curl up in a demented halo around my face on humid days. Far easier than worrying about straightening with tiny round brushes or using gross sticky zit-causing product for me.
posted by elizardbits at 11:55 AM on May 28, 2013 [6 favorites]

I have insanely thick, insanely crazy hair that sticks out everywhere and spits out bobby pins when I try to wrestle it into an updo, unless I do that sixties-mod tie wrap thing with a small scarf or one of those big cloth elastic hair ties around the base. So do that. I like these, and they come in all colors.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:57 AM on May 28, 2013

A squirt of foaming mousse that I rub into (mainly the front half of) my hair before I put it up definitely helps keep things smooth and less likely to fuzz out, but doesn't get all stiff and "producty"
posted by aimedwander at 12:07 PM on May 28, 2013

I have a lot of very fine, very straight hair - when I pull my hair back or put it up, I have a lot of wispies. They aren't fluffy baby wispies like elizardbits, they are straight, sticky-outy wispies, so a bit of hairspray works for me, rather than brute force headband. It really is the difference between polished and "did you roll out of bed and come straight to work"?

If I use velcro rollers in my hair, I spray a bit of hairspray on my brush before brushing out the curls, which helps with the same problem.

Because my hair is very very straight, I'm also careful about what I use to pin it up/back, because sometimes my hairstyle won't last the day. Barrettes will leave a big dent or bump in my hair when I take it down, so I use smaller pins or clips to hold it back.
posted by ersatzkat at 12:11 PM on May 28, 2013

after you finish rubbing lotion into your hands / body, run your hands over your hair. smoothes your business right out.
posted by guybrush_threepwood at 12:14 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

I use the scunci pin twirls to tame my thick, wavy, shoulder length hair into a bun. It used into take at least five minutes of fiddling to make an okay looking bun but with a couple of these non-snagging corkscrews I can put up a nice bun in seconds that isn't going to fall out while I'm wrangling kids at work like it would have with bobby pins!

posted by missriss89 at 12:14 PM on May 28, 2013

Best answer: This stuff is the greatest ever. It costs a bit of money, but it's really been worth it for me as I make the transition into Using A Blow Dryer Land. And it lasts, too.

I comb the tangles out of my hair and squirt a dime-sized amount into my hands, then use Combs One and Two (my hands) to lightly fluff it through before blowdrying. NOT on the roots; YES on the ends. It speeds up drying, keeps my hair looking lovely and beautiful, smooths things down without losing body and calms my sensitive scalp so I can go longer between shampoos.

(You're not washing your hair every day, are you? Because unless you've got some serious reason for doing so, that's not great for your hair.)

Also, I do a French twist all the time, which looks nicer than just a plain ponytail and maybe even a bun.
posted by Madamina at 12:28 PM on May 28, 2013

The spin pins that Goody makes are the best for this.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 12:49 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I also like the look of headbands to finish an up-do, but store-bought ones tend to either slide out, pull or break my hair, or give me a nasty headache. Instead I make my own in seconds for a just a few cents!

Head to a fabric store and pick out some 1" wide ribbons in colors you like from the "Ribbon by the Yard" section. Satin finish and grosgrain are both good for this. At the store have them cut you a 1/2 yard (18") length of each ribbon. It will probably cost around 50 cents per ribbon or so.

On your way home stop and pick up a pack of hair clips like these. I don't have very thick hair so I prefer the smaller 1" size.

When you get home, pick out a ribbon and drape it over your head like a headband. Tuck one end of the ribbon into the hair behind and below one ear and use a clip to anchor it. Do the same on the other side so the ribbon is even, taut and won't slide out.

Now you have a cheap, comfortable, custom headband that you can use to polish up any hairstyle!
posted by platinum at 12:51 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

The Ficcare Maximas clip has a big payoff. They come in different sizes so you might try before you buy. Most Nordstroms have them. They're pricey - like $38 each - but worth it to me.
I love the Goody spin pins but they always leave my hair looking messy still, although the hold like a dream.
posted by KAS at 12:52 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was going to suggest adding some product to smooth it all down after you've contained it in the hair-scrunchie things. Some gel or spray or shine oil will contain the wispies and give you a polished look.

A stiff hairspray hides a multitude of sins.

Also, I have Bumpits and I love them!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:29 PM on May 28, 2013

My hair is long and pretty much straight. I use a flat iron in the morning. It literally takes about two minutes to drag through my hair in the morning after I blowdry. I let it warm up while I'm blowdrying and then grab big sections of hair and quickly pull the flat iron through it. It makes a HUGE difference. My hair is mostly straight anyway, but the ends sort of get wavy in a frumpy and non-cute way and my hair is a little frizzier all over in general, even if I try to blowdry it flat. With a flat iron, my hair is straight, shiny and polished looking.
posted by triggerfinger at 1:31 PM on May 28, 2013

Sorry, just realized I missed the updos part. But my advice doesn't change. Almost every day I get sick of my hair being down about halfway through the day and I pull it into a loose, low ponytail. When my hair is straight and sleek, it looks a lot better. If I haven't used a flat iron, I know my ponytail will look unkempt so I usually just pull it into a messy bun.
posted by triggerfinger at 1:34 PM on May 28, 2013

Best answer: Goody Bobby Slides. Seriously, my life with my hair changed so much when I found these.

They don't slip or pull. They hold my long, thick, unruly hair. I gather it all up, make a messy bun (up high, down low, the bobby slides don't care!), and I criss cross two through the bun and one across the top. I pull out some of the messier pieces and curl those but it still only takes me a minute or two to accomplish.
posted by youandiandaflame at 1:51 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Don't be afraid of hairspray. I learned this from a friend's 10 yo daughter who does a lot of ballet. I put my hair up, spray a copious amount on, and smooth it down with my hands then wash my hands. It cements the wispies in place and you have zero frizz.
posted by selfmedicating at 1:52 PM on May 28, 2013

You can do a low, loose-ish ponytail, then create a divide in the hair just upstream of the elastic and pull the ponytail through it, top to bottom. The elastic should end up hidden.
posted by lakeroon at 1:54 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I use a tool called "Topsy Tail" for this pony tail. There are tons of you tube videos and pin interest boards that show different ways to fix your hair with the Topsy Tail. I also like to use a hair stick to dress up my updos. Sometimes I will use two of them in a "chopstick" style. Snoods are great for bad hair days.
posted by JujuB at 7:20 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have very flat hair and have been meaning to order a velcro bump to try this trick.
posted by kitkatcathy at 8:59 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: kitkatcathy: that velcro bump is just a modern version of what is known as a hair rat, used for various bouffant styles and big-volume pieces.

I do not need one of these; when I do a bouff updo, I just make a spare small bun out of my own hair; I have long/thick enough hair to create my own "rat".
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:36 AM on May 29, 2013

Oh my god! I had no idea that people made hair rats out of their own hair! Fascinating!

also good news for my brush
posted by Madamina at 1:05 PM on May 29, 2013

I use braces rubber bands to hold small sections of my hair. The top and front of my hair is thick and heavy, so I pull it up and to the side with an orthodontic rubber band, then let it drop. End result is controlled "veronica lake." You can bring up a strand from the section and wrap around the rubber band to camouflage it. There are similar rubber bands sold in Tack Stores for braiding the mane and tail of horses-- these are dyed in horse-hair colors. Drug stores also carry black and clear versions-- basically a rubber band that would fit around your pinky finger.

Another technique that I read about recently-- when forming an updo, leave out the front section of hair from ear to ear. After you have anchored the updo, back comb or tease that front section and loosely drape and pin it over the rest. The idea being that you shouldn't pull the hair away from your face and yank it tight and flat to make an updo.
posted by ohshenandoah at 10:22 PM on June 6, 2013

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