In high school, a friend told me my natural hair looked like it belonged to a “child at a park holding a popsicle, with red food dye all over their face.” Highly specific, but also oddly spot-on... which is probably why I remember it so well? It's also not completely untrue. Just like my mom and her mom did, I've tamed my unruly, inconsistent waves with a hair blowdryer followed by a flatiron, since middle school. The fact that I workout most days and have naturally fine, greasy hair means I had to repeat this process every day. Fry, repeat, fry, repeat. When I started at cupcakes and cashmere three years ago, I was still doing this. (It's crazy to look back at the photos—my face hasn't changed, yet the shape looks completely different because of my hair.) It wasn't until I came to work one day with hair, au natural, that Emily basically stopped in her tracks and asked me why I never wore my hair air-dried. Her compliment encouraged me to give it a try—which I did for several weeks (you can see in these photos and above). I liked it, but didn't love it.
When I got my hair cut and colored last month at Spoke and Weal in L.A., things clicked into place for me: I felt inspired by my fresh cut and a new tool I'd recently purchased, and quickly found three simple styles I love and now rotate through. They aren't dramatically different (I wear my hair down to work almost every day), but they are fool proof (if I can do it, I promise you can do it), and I feel so much prettier and pulled-together having three, get-out-the-door styles to pull from. Here are three simple ways I've been styling my hair lately:
Because I generally work out and wash my hair in the evenings, two of my three go-to styles are intended to make my slept in, air-dried hair look good. To create this look, I wash my hair, then spritz in about five sprays of Kristen Ess's Blow Dry Mist, and wrap it in an Aquis towel until it's damp but not dripping (about 10 minutes). Once I take it out, it dries to bone-dry almost immediately. I wake up with air-dried (read: crazy) hair, and run a curling wand through it. Unlike when I usually do my hair for an event, which can take upwards of 20 minutes, this style is built for speed: I don't bother dividing it into two levels, and curl two-inch sections of loose waves all in the same direction, away from my face, leaving the ends out. For my hair length, this means the hair wraps around the curler once or twice, tops. I then carefully brush it out to make the waves a bit looser.
When I Wear It: When I work out the night before and want to look just a little cuter.
How Long it Takes: 7 minutes
This is as 👏 easy 👏 as 👏 it 👏 gets, since it's really just air-dried with a fancy twist. But I do have a few tricks up my sleeve: The night before, I either wash it with shampoo if it's really dirty or just water (the oils in my hair help control the frizz). Then, I add a dime-sized amount of Kristen Ess's Air Dry Crème and brush it through my hair to distribute it evenly. Before my hair fully dries, I use a comb to create a distinct middle part, which helps make the look feel more intentional and wrap it in an Aquis towel, then brush it straight, then do my best not to touch it and let the curls/waves/frizz fall as they may. In the morning, I assess the damage and either don't touch it or brush it through and rock the full-frizz look. Before heading out the door, I add a clip, like the tortoiseshell number I used above, to one side (see this post for hair clip styling tips!) and stroll right on through the door.
When I Wear It: When I work out the morning of or night before and just want to get out the door.
How Long it Takes: 1 minute
When I ran into my friend Caroline recently, she had such gorgeous, smooth flowing locks, the first thing out of my mouth was, "When did you get a blowout??" She was thrilled by my reaction and to reveal she'd done it herself in ten minutes with this $14 round brush. I'd impulse-purchased the same brush weeks before after reading this cup of jo article, and it had been sitting unused in my bathroom cabinet. To be honest, I was a bit intimidated by it, but let me tell you: It is everything both Carolines promised it would be. As soon as I'm out of the shower, I spritz my hair with Kristen Ess's Blow Dry Mist then follow this tutorial exactly, blowing my hair out in two-inch sections.
When I Wear It: When I want to look extra put-together and chic.
How Long it Takes: 10 minutes
P.S., When I'm extra fancy, I always do my hair like this!