How can I up my hair game while still remaining extremely lazy?
December 27, 2016 5:55 AM   Subscribe

I'm tired of wearing my long, straight hair down, in a messy bun, or in a ponytail. I still don't want to spend a lot of time. What should I try?

I am super lazy about my hair. I have long hair (mid-back) because I generally find it easier to care for than short hair. I sometimes brush it, wash it every 2-3 days, and fluff it up while driving with the heat on. I cut it myself because at this length, no one noticed when I paid for a haircut, and I like having it all one length for ease of braiding.

However, I would like it to look slightly nicer/more professional. It looks nicest down, but then it can be distracting and my baby will grab it. I like pigtails, but they make me look young and I need to project authority since I'm an elementary/middle school teacher.

I would love advice from people who have gotten slightly less lazy about their hair. Are there other easy styles I should try to mix things up? Products or doodads I should try? Tutorials that will teach me how to make my buns look less messy? Should I actually pay for a certain type of haircut? Help me help my hair!
posted by chaiminda to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 114 users marked this as a favorite
Gibson tucks are your friend. Depending on how fancy you're feeling on a given day, you can make this look more elaborate by doing a twisted or braided headband like this. For doodad hacks, Spin pins are much better than bobby pins for quickly throwing a bun or updo together.
posted by blerghamot at 6:29 AM on December 27, 2016 [42 favorites]

I have similar hair for similar reasons. Can you french braid your own hair? I thought it was impossible when I was a kid, but in the past few years I've trained myself pretty easily and now it takes me about a minute to do an acceptably tidy braid -- no products, no mirror, just starting with dry and relatively untangled hair. I have a "young face" and actively try to style myself to look older for my job, and I find a french braid really serves that purpose in addition to keeping my hair out of my way all day.
posted by telegraph at 6:29 AM on December 27, 2016

If you cut it, I've found that taking the length off my hair has made the entire blow-dry thing take a lot less time. If your hair is like mine, it's no real trouble in terms of how it dries (don't have to do a lot of round-brushing etc) cutting it short will just make that take less time. When I blow mine out it takes a very short amount of time and looks good with only that amount of effort (so non-zero but also not a lot). I use dry shampoo and or sea salt spray on day 2, and then I wash on day 3. YMMV. I don't regret cutting my hair. Edited to add because I got distracted and hit post too soon: I'm sure you have a friend or coworker whose hair you admire; ask them for a recommendation and get a real pro hair cut. It makes a huge difference in terms of how easy it is to keep up your hair and if you describe the desired outcome, a good stylist should be able to help you out.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:57 AM on December 27, 2016

This is me. I will not wear anything that requires pins. It needs to be one hair doinker, one barrette or one clip. I sidebraid my hair a lot and wear it with a scarf if I am feeling dressy-ish. I did make a whole YouTube playlist of how to make better buns thought most of it is too fussy for me. I also get it cut (at the barber) and have them layer the ends so it looks decent when I wear it down or in a ponytail. You can also just get a big hair clip and sort of spin it around on the back of your head and clip it with the ends up. Looks decent and slightly more put together.
posted by jessamyn at 7:46 AM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

Welcome to my life, sister. I am very, very lazy about my hair. I am lucky to have hair that looks pretty good with minimal effort, but I get tired of wearing it down too. Here are some things I regularly do.

1. Pin it back with a little height. Just pulling hair away from your face creates a different look. You can pin it to the side with a side part with a bobby pin or two (crossed like an X) or use a tiny claw clip to pull it back at the crown like this.

2. Do a looped ponytail. They sell devices like the Topsy Tail but all you need to do is this, to make it happen. I do it with either the full ponytail, or more typically, with just a top section of hair. (like the woman on the right in the first image)

3. Spin Pins by Goody! They make buns that hold reallllly well. I have layered and razored hair, very thick and long (not as long now as it was, but I've used them with mid-back-length hair), and they hold despite all that.
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:54 AM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have relatively thin and light hair, but when it was long, I could twist it into a bun at the back and clip it with one large hair clip (example - they come in better colours). Bonus: this can be done without brushing the tangles out.
posted by jb at 8:04 AM on December 27, 2016

My hair is 2B/2C wavy, very fine and I have tons of it. It's so thick I have to get it thinned out and/or undercut when it's short. I'm really lazy about my hair so I was hesitant about layering, but the layers thin out my hair enough to where I can easily blowdry it and flatiron if I'm in the mood for that kind of fuss. Usually I just wash-n-wear: get it wet (or wash it) throw some moisturizing product in it, scrunch it up, and run out the door.

Personally, I like long layers when my hair is long. I can still braid it, but it looks much better when I wear it down than when it's all one length.You didn't mention what type of hair you have, but you might want to look that up and look up simple styles based on that. I didn't know my hair type until I looked it up, and after I changed my routine based on what 2C's need (added lots and lots of moisturizer and cut back on washing a lot) I didn't have to fuss as much. I've found the healthier my hair, the more it will accommodate my laziness because it looks alright no matter what I do with it.
posted by onecircleaday at 9:02 AM on December 27, 2016

For me the key to this question has been short hair and always telling my stylist before every cut that I hate fussing with my hair and want something I can wash and wear.
posted by bunderful at 9:13 AM on December 27, 2016

If/when you can french braid, double it up by learning the inverted French/dutch braid. You can do that for everything a french braid works for (pig tails, one plait tucked under to make a roll, side plait, whatever) & it tends to make the hair look more glam by ''popping' the plait & making the hair appear thicker. There are more ideas on the same website though some of them require multiple pins/elastic bands.
posted by AFII at 10:04 AM on December 27, 2016

I am also incredibly lazy about my hair, but one thing that will make your ponytail a little nicer is to grab a small section of hair from the bottom and wrap it around the ponytail at the base, covering up the hair tie. Then just tuck it back through the hair tie and you look like a fancy person who gives a damn.
posted by exceptinsects at 10:10 AM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

I also find short hair more work, so I get you there. When I do a bun, I use hair sticks (Etsy is great for them). Pretty much just do a tight twist all the way close to ends, pull it up, so the ends are pointing at the ceiling and then grab the middle and twist the whole bunch around two fingers. You'll need to move with the twist, that is don't try and keep the hair ends pointing to the ceiling. This makes a figure 8. Hair sticks to secure and tuck the ends in.

The look is a tighter look, though you can do a messy version too. Hair sticks allow you to fancy it up as they are anywhere from plain wood sticks to fancy fancy with embellishments.
posted by MandaSayGrr at 10:49 AM on December 27, 2016


You want a Ficcare clip - the Maximas/Maximus style specifically. I have long hair and very few things actually hold my hair up all day comfortably: the Ficcare Maximas is really the only thing that does. You basically twist your hair up at the back and then clip it: it's super simple (and faster than a ponytail even). I can run in my Ficcare clip, wear it to more formal occasions, and everything in between. It's great for business casual wear too - pretty and professional. The clip is strong and durable, and the design is rather beautiful for a hair clip (they have different ones, but the ones I own are simple and neutral, to go with everything). I read about them on Ask Metafilter, and I also saw them continuously recommended on a hair board I used to read, and those women know hair clips. Then I tried one, and I wore the same one basically every day for - no joke - years before getting a second one, and it held up wonderfully then (and is still going strong). You probably want a Medium or a Large - Medium holds a good amount of hair (my hair is reasonably thick and armpit/bra strap length and a Medium holds it well (a Large would be too big). They have more sizing info on their website. You can buy them at their own website, or online at Nordstrom. Yes, they are pricey. But it will be the last hair clip you will ever need to buy.
posted by ClaireBear at 12:55 PM on December 27, 2016 [5 favorites]

While I love my Ficcare clip (Medium, black enamel), my all-time favorite hair hardware is a barrette made by Karina, style K 205. No other barrette I've found is the right size to hold all my hair up in a twist. My first Karina K 205 lasted me nearly eleven years of frequent use... until I lost it. Occasionally you can find this barrette at beauty supply shops, and I used to have one in faux tortoise brown, though I can't tell if it is being made any longer.
posted by workerant at 2:00 PM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

A French twist (such as this) held in place with a comb is super, super-easy with a tiny bit of practice. I started by using a clippy-claw to hold the French twist in place (the claw goes off to one side to hold both the twist and the flat hair underneath); then I graduated to this type of French twist comb in this type of way .

I ONLY use the comb -- no pins, no hairspray, etc. This depends somewhat on your hair texture (if it's very fine and smooth the comb may not have enough friction to stay). But the trick to a French twist, and to using side combs correctly (which could be another option!), is that you use the weight of the hair trying to undo itself to lock the comb in place. So you don't just slide the comb in where you want it; you slide it in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION and then flip it over and push it in, so that as your hair tries to untwist, it's locking the comb in. There's a pretty clear video on this page of a comb-only twist. You can make it messy like in that video, or you can make it very smooth and tight and Jackie O with all the ends tucked in. Takes me about 30 seconds to do a comb-only twist and it will stay up all day ... although it's not too hard to retwist on the fly if I need to!

People are always super-impressed if they see you do it since it's thought of as a fancy style you go to a salon for, and not that many people know how to do it with a comb (rather than a billion pins).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:27 PM on December 27, 2016 [6 favorites]

My hair is like yours - long, straight, unlayered.

I'm lazy *and* I work from home so I don't have to look professional, so I mainly go for a low ponytail. But if I'm going out for a nice dinner, I'll often use hair sticks to hold a bun, as MandaSayGrr suggested, or do a super, super simple half-up/half-down look (like this) with a little clip or a ponytail holder. It gets the look of wearing my hair down without having to mess with it falling in my face.

I also wanted to mention that I had had really long hair (waist length or longer) forever, and recently cut it to just below armpit length, and I find that I'm able to do everything I want with it (braid it, pull it back, etc.) without dealing with it being quite so long. I also wear it down more often too, now. You might consider going a little shorter - somewhere between mid-back and shoulder length. I agree (in theory - I haven't tried it) that shorter is harder than longer, but in my experience there's a point of diminishing returns. Except for the coolness factor, of course, but I got to the point where my laziness outweighed my vanity ;)
posted by bananacabana at 9:23 PM on December 27, 2016

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