Next to the LBD (little black dress), a glamorous hairdo is the most essential element of your holiday look. Don't fret: mastering a polished party 'do doesn't require a trip to the salon or a lot of practice.
Here are simple steps to three gorgeous holiday hairstyles from Janine Jarman, a onetime competitor on the reality show "Shear Genius" and owner of the Hairroin Salon in Hollywood. Trust Jarman to infuse your party look with sexy polish: She's styled the hair of The Pussycat Dolls, Britney Spears, Christina Applegate and Carmen Electra.
Easy as these looks are to achieve, they do involve lots of teasing and hot tools, so you'll want to make sure you treat your hair to a deep-conditioning treatment once a week, as well as a rinse-out conditioner each time you shampoo. And be sure to apply a heat-protection spray whenever you use a blow-dryer, flat iron or curling iron.
Look No. 1: Messy Bun
1. Starting with clean -- or better yet, day-old -- hair, section your tresses with alligator clips. Using a three-barrel waver, take 1-inch sections of your hair and -- beginning at the roots -- press the hair into the waver. Hold for three full seconds. Overlapping slightly so you don't leave gaps, work your way down to your ends.
If you don't have a waver, wash your hair the night before. Towel-dry, apply a texturizing styling product, twist into a loose braid and sleep on the braid overnight. When you undo your hair the next day, rake your fingers gently through the curls.
2. Apply a workable hair spray to your hair, running your fingers through the waves to reach the layers underneath.
3. Pull your hair softly to the nape of your neck. Secure with a ponytail hook or a Bobby Band (a combination of a bobby pin and an elastic).
4. Twist the low ponytail to the right, coiling it softy around the Bobby Band or hook. Secure with hairpins.
5. Go through the bun and pull it slightly apart with your fingers. "Some hairs will come loose, and that's fine," says Jarman. "You don't want the look to be tight and contrived."
6. Mist lightly with your working hair spray.
Look No. 2: The Chignon
This style, which is a knotted variation of the bun, can be worn to the side, at the nape or higher up on the back of your head. "It's great for every face shape, whether or not you have a fringe," says Jarman.
1. Blow-dry your hair, using a volumizing mousse to add lots of body.
2. Parting your hair in the center, on the side or sweeping it straight back, gather it into a low ponytail. Secure with an elastic.
3. Split your ponytail into two sections. Tie each section into as many chain knots (like a shoelace) as your hair permits. Pin the knots into the base of the pony with bobby pins. If your hair is too short to knot, simply twist and pin around the hub of the pony, or attach a ponytail hair extension. Don't worry if some hair sprouts from the knots or twists; it's part of the sexy undone look.
4. Spritz with light-hold hair spray.
Look No. 3: Loose and Adorned
1. Set your hair with hot rollers. To add extra volume, backcomb your hair before putting it into rollers.
2. Remove rollers when they're completely cool (about 15 to 20 minutes). Brush your hair with a soft brush so the curls connect, creating one soft, voluminous look.
3. Place a decorative headband -- bejeweled, metallic or feathered -- about 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch away from your hairline. If you choose very thin headbands, you can wear two or three in contrasting colors. Gently nudge the headband forward a smidgen to create a little volume in the front of the band.
4. Finish with a light mist of working hair spray.
Shelley Levitt, managing editor of The Style Glossy, is a former West Coast editor of SELF and senior writer at People.
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