Top 10 “Holiday” Hair Mistakes.

1. Corkscrew Curls

The only corkscrew you want this season is one that opens a bottle of wine. “There’s nothing flattering about tight curls on anyone over the age of seven,” says hairstylist Mark Townsend. “For a more modern wave, wrap hair around the outside of the barrel of a curling iron, leaving the ends straight for texture.” Once all the hair is curled, break up the ringlets by raking through a little bit of texturizer.  The result: “Curls look more uneven and natural.”

2. Milkmaid Braids

If you look like you could work on a Swedish dairy farm, your braids are too tight. “You always want hair to look touchable,” says Townsend. For a less severe style, resist parting hair down the middle—it’s flattering on almost no one—and instead “loosely pull your hair straight back and make whatever style braid you do a little messy by spraying it lightly with dry shampoo and mussing it with your hands.”

3. Tendrils

They’re really old-fashioned (and not in a cool, retro way). “There is nothing more unattractive than tendrils, especially when they’re obviously pulled out of a finished style,” says Townsend. Rather than deliberately placing stray hairs (or, even worse, curling them), just let loose hairs fall where they may: “It gives a modern touch to an often classic look.”

4. Hair Spray Overload

Remember: You’re walking into a party, not a wind tunnel. The problem here is not just your trigger finger, but holding the spray can too close to your head. “The product doesn’t have time to dry, so you end up with sticky, wet-looking hair,” Townsend explains. If you can’t hold the hair spray or shine spray 12 inches away from your head (and let’s face it, who can?), your best bet is to spritz the product on your palms and run them over your style. “That way, hair is beautiful and touchable all over,” Townsend says. (Using a lightweight spray doesn’t hurt.

5. Too Much Teasing

A little bit of volume can dress up any look, but anything higher than an inch of two has the potential for a big hair mistake. Instead, add subtle volume to a ponytail or high bun by back-combing only at the hairline, then pulling the hair back loosely.

6. A Cheesy Half-Updo

The hairstyle of the commitment-phobe (you can’t bear to put it all up, but don’t want to leave it all down) often leaves hair looking top-heavy. “A common faux pas is pulling too much hair up,” says hairstylist Mark Townsend. To keep the balance, make sure hair is pulled diagonally upward and secured above the start of the nape of the neck—no higher. “Brush key areas, the hairline and forehead, with an eyebrow brush lightly coated with hair spray to keep them in place,” Townsend says.

7. Decking Your Head With Too Many Ornaments

If there’s a headband, there can’t be a clip. If you’re all about barrettes, one is safe, and two can be cool if they’re stuck in in a random way, as they were at Dolce and Gabbana. And remember the cardinal rule of hair accessories: Don’t wear them with big earrings or a serious necklace. Some of our favorite hair embellishments of the season:

8. Poker-Straight Hair

“Straight hair can be gorgeous, but it still has to move,” says Townsend. To keep it from hanging too close to the head, he recommends spritzing roots with thickening spray and blow-drying with a round brush before tackling it with an iron. “I hit just the very bottom of the hair with an iron,” he says. “That way, you can still see the layers.”

9. Slicked-Back Updo

There’s a difference between a classic upsweep and giving yourself a temporary eye lift with a night updo. The trick, says Townsend: “If you’re going to pull hair really tight, don’t slick it back with too much product. Instead, use a small amount of styling cream to tame flyaways, and that’s it.” Also, consider your part: If you do decide to incorporate one into the style, make sure it makes sense. “If you’re doing a low bun, it’s a great time to go for a part—but if you’re doing something higher, just pull the hair straight back,” Townsend says.

10. Teased Bangs

The ’80s may be making a comeback in fashion, but that doesn’t mean it has to hit your look over the head. The biggest culprit here: “using a round brush when blowing out bangs,” says Townsend. To cut volume, dry your bangs with a flat boar-bristle brush and watch the gunk factor: “Don’t ever use a shine- or silicone-based spray on your bangs,” Townsend says. “It will clump hair together and make it look greasy.”


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