I go on about this a lot, but nothing gets me down more than the fact that my hair is lifeless and lacking texture. I can spend up to two hours tonging it and misting it with several different sprays and still not manage to achieve the effortlessly tousled look I so crave. At the end of the whole ordeal, I’m left with one of two hair looks: matted, flat and greasy as a result of the excess product in there or a Dolly Parton–esque bouffant.
If you ask me, achieving beachy lengths that look effortless is one of my hardest beauty feats. And while I’m still eagerly anticipating my post-lockdown haircut, it’s safe to say that I am looking for all of the tips to style out my rather ridiculously long hair right now. Luckily for me, I recently got the chance to sit down with Laura Polko, T3 ambassador and hairstylist to the likes of Gigi Hadid, Kate Bosworth, Lea Michele, Lucy Hale and Martha Hunt, to discover exactly how to achieve effortlessly tousled hair. This is what she had to say…
It turns out a huge problem that so many of us face is that we’re repeatedly opting for the wrong styling products. “I see so many people using too much spray. When you use too much texture spray, it can make the hair look matted,” she warns. The answer? Steer clear of sticky texturising sprays and instead opt for targeted dry shampoo application. “Just take a small amount of dry shampoo to the crown. Spray it, and then shake it all out. It’s the best way to get that undone look.”
A key point that Polko is keen to drill home is that relying on product to style your hair just isn’t enough and usually won’t work. “It’s all in the tool,” she says. It would seem that there are lots of things many of us don’t consider when shopping for hair tools that can totally make or break the end result. “A hair tool that reheats itself often will make things a lot easier. It means that you don’t have to go back over things or end up with one half that looks dramatically different from the other.”
The other thing to keep an eye on? The lengths of the plates. “So many people struggle to curl their hair with straighteners, but the key is finding a pair that uses longer plates so that the hair doesn’t fall out,” she says. But if you still can’t nail it, there are other things you can try. The ultimate undone, natural-looking style, according to Polko, is flat-iron waves. “It’s not a look that comes across as overly styled. The key is, though, to always open up the face. Always bend up first. Otherwise, you get unnatural volume where you really don’t want it.”
Speaking of opening up the face, Polko suggests that this isn’t something that needs to take time or be a laborious task. In fact, it can be super quick and easy. “It’s called face framing. You don’t have to do anything with the hair except for one really subtle wave just where the eye is. This is where your hair would naturally tuck beside your ear,” she advises. If this seems weird at first, just try it and see the difference it makes. “The minute you add that, it makes everything look really natural. It’s subtle, but it really opens up the whole face.”
Here’s one that I can definitely take note of. When styling your own hair, it can be tempting to put all of your effort and attention into the middle section, where the eye is naturally drawn to. However, Polko warns that neglecting the ends can totally make or break your ’do. “You have got to pay attention to the ends. It’s the key to natural-looking tousled hair,” she says.
With the ends being the most fragile part of our strands, it makes sense that we are often reluctant to inflict heat upon them. However, making sure you use a hardworking heat protector first should do the job at protecting them. “If your hair is long, the key is to make sure the ends all go in different directions. If it’s short, curl them under a little bit. Naturally, the ends would all be doing a different thing,” says Polko.