Thursday, October 8, 2009

We see them everywhere; on TV, on magazine covers while we wait in shopping lines, and sometimes,on occasion, on a friend or a stranger. Just seeing a great hairstyle and falling in love with it is only the bare beginnings of creating a whole new you. Before sitting in your stylist's chair and expecting miracles from him or her, let's discuss what you need to take into consideration before those scissors touch a single strand.

First of all, consider your lifestyle. Do you work indoors in an office all day? You can afford to spend the extra time on your look should you desire since there should be nothing working against your hair such as wind or rain. Or are you out in the elements? Perhaps you go to the gym after work and need a style that dries by itself and yet still looks presentable? A precision cut or permanent wave may suit this type as they both would dry stylishly on their own. Longer hair of course should be clipped up in the wind to protect its health as well as its beauty.

Secondly, how much time do you really have to spend in the morning to create your fabulous look on a daily basis. Not how much time you'd like to spend or think you will, yet the harsh reality of how many actual minutes on the ticking clock do you have before you really need to hit the road to work or school? An everyday look should fit into your routine.

Should you only need a few, quick curls, then plugging in the old curling iron every morning will become second nature having it ready for a couple of quick applications. Do you shower in the morning and would rather have a cut that you can just blow dry or flatiron and have it lay right in place? Your style will demand more trips to the salon for trims as any style that has that precision cut to keep it low-maintenance will have to have the style kept "in shape". And this doesn't necessarily mean a short haircut as medium length styles can have blunt lines or textured ends to speed up the styling process having them styled straight or perhaps in a little "flip".

Have a little more time to spend on your do? Perhaps you would like a little more body or curl. Large, loose curls are are the rage now, ranging from gigantic 3-5 vertical curls that are left undisturbed to fall freely during the day to the more time-consuming S-waves. Should you prefer the latter on a regular basis, you should consider a design-wrap perm to lock these defined patterns in and cut your styling time way down. This will be less damaging to your hair in the long run as you won't be applying the direct heat from appliances on a daily basis.

So now you have an idea of time and environment. The next step is the hardest. Your head and facial shapes, as well as your neck structure are all very important things to consider in determining how well you might carry off that cute style you just saw. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a perfect oval face, a well defined jawline, a sleek neck of average length, all of which are well-balanced enabling you to wear short, medium or long styles of any type, you need to face the facts that you probably cannot wear just any hairstyle that you fall in love with.

Brush all your hair back off of your face, clip it or place a headband. What do you see? An oval, a square shape? Heart? Is it oblong? Or Diamond shaped?

Square, Heart and Oblong shapes usually tend to have "high foreheads". These require a part close to the center that allows hair to fall along the temples and covers up the majority of the forehead. Though the best remedy for this situation are bangs, or as they call them abroad, fringe. Bangs cover or break up areas that we would prefer to disguise.

Diamond and Heart shaped faces have very narrow chins and styles that hit about the jawline is best to help "fill in" this weak area. Or a longer style could be worn with layering in this area that may be textured with curls which would also serve the same purpose. However, Square and Oblong shapes have thick, wide jawlines and it's best to draw attention away from this area. These face shapes should not have a hairstyle that widens this area further. Hair should be flat (straight) against the sides of their chins or at least much longer or shorter to draw attention up or down away from the chin or jawline. Remember this can apply to anyone with a double chin or thick throat area as well.

These same rules apply to the top of the face. A short forehead, one who has a hairline that comes down close to the eyebrows, also needs camouflaging. Bangs are an option here. Diamond, Square and Oblong shapes do not want hairstyles that comb back to expose these flaws. It's best to allow hair to fall on the forehead somehow to disguise your less than perfect hairline.

A Diamond or Oblong shaped face needs to be very careful to avoid hairstyles with fullness across the nose and eye level as these styles will only make their face shape appear wider here. Neck length can appear shorter or longer according to your needs, depending on your style and its length. This physical characteristic is often overlooked.

Now to discuss your hair color. Yes, it's something you really need to consider as it can make or break any hairstyle. You can have the best haircut in the world for you, however, if the color is all wrong, it ruins the whole look. For those of you, who already color their hair or are considering it, know these important factors. Black and very dark shades are not just for the young-at-heart, they are for the younger and younger looking crowd only. These unforgiving colors will only harshen the features of anyone who has found themselves with fine lines and wrinkles. Very fair, porcelain skin should steer clear of very light shades as this usually washes them out.

Determine if you are a warm or a cool color person. Yes, it's something else to think about, yet it is a good thing to know not just for hair color, yet for makeup color and clothing colors as well. While some folks are lucky enough to wear either one, some look only good in one or the other.

Look good in pinks, blues, or violets? These make you a "cool color person". Only look good in warm colors? Then you usually select reds, oranges, or yellows. Green is a neutral shade and some colors steer away from their usual temperature. For example, red can be cool if it has purple undertones like say a burgundy and yet it can be quite warm if it has more of an orange cast to it.

Why is all of this important?

Well, if you are a cool color person, you cannot wear true reds or an auburn hair color unfortunately. Ever see a redhead wearing purple clothes? This is an extreme example, yet I think you get the picture. Likewise if you only look good in warm colors, anything violet, blue or possessing a blue cast would be out of the question.

Yes, there IS a lot to consider when you are talking beauty and fashion. However, once you sift through all the determining factors and find what really works best for you, you'll learn to really spot a great haircut or style that would be perfect for you instantaneously. And shopping for clothes and makeup will become much easier and fun!

Spare yourself the heartache of crying yourself to sleep knowing your hair will take forever to grow out from a bad style. Find a stylist who will really, truly listen and who has this knowledge and then some. ALWAYS take pictures with you when you want to make a hairstyle change. Not only will you know both of you are on the same page about your looks, you will reap the rewards of all your homework and knowledge. And feeling better about yourself can only lead to more confidence and a better outlook on life in general.

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