Have you ever felt like there's something really off with your hair, but you just can't seem to identify what it is? We have, so we consulted with Bumble and bumble senior hairstylist Damian Santiago, who graciously laid out our hairstyling errors. We confess, it stings for a moment, but you will thank us later. Here, Damian's list of our most common hair mistakes.
Baselessly cutting your own hair. Let's say there appears to be one strange and straggly piece that somehow emerges longer, looser or odder than any other piece on your head. You are tempted to trim it -- but don't self-cut! "It'll all straighten out in the shower," Santiago says. And if you don't have time for a shower, just dampen your hair and evenly distribute a bit of styling pomade. Once you start cutting, it's hard to stop and impossible to keep your style even.
Misusing products. Damian calls this "product abuse" and explains that, because it's often so difficult to decipher the language on many products' labels, there is no mystery behind our confusion. With promises like "de-frizz," "smooth out," "keep it sleek" or "make it shine," we consumers are left totally befuddled. The result of using the wrong products can be limp, greasy-looking hair or hair that just won't stay in place. The only way to get around it is to resign yourself to tons of trial-and-error purchases or ask your hairstylist for recommendations. Professionals will be able to tell you which products are right for the results you want and for your specific hair type.
Being misguidedly generous with products. Another product no-no that can lead to flat, dead-looking hair is applying too much product. Remember, unless stated otherwise, most hair products are concentrated (even shampoo!), so a little goes a long way. Never forget you can always add more later.
Compartmentalizing. You just see the front section of your hair, but never forget the world sees all of it. Too many of us spend too much time getting the hair around our faces perfect, to the detriment of our overall look. If this is your "hair-or," you're in good company. Damian says when he's done with a cut and offers to show clients the sides and back of their hair, many of them say, "No, that's okay, I never look back there anyway." Need we say more?
Mistakenly choosing an impractical style. Before you choose a hairstyle, understand this: After you walk out of the salon, it's up to you to maintain that style. "A good hairstylist can replicate any style you throw at him," says Damian, "but is it realistic for you?" Before selecting a style, he says, take into account your hair's texture, length and health, and how much time you want to spend styling it each day. "If you're not realistic before you get a haircut, you'll end up being a slave to your hairstylist."
Breezily tuning out when going for a consultation or haircut. You've heard before that you must bring pictures and communicate clearly to your hairstylist, but you must also pay attention to what your hairstylist says. In order for a hairstylist to do the best job, you must be open to his expertise. If you don't trust your stylist, find another one.
Miscalculating your color choice. Even though all hair colors are beautiful, they may not appear beautiful on you. So, when coloring or highlighting your hair, carefully consider which shades will flatter your skin tone. It can be the difference between appearing totally ashen or radiant and glowing. Bring a photo of the color you want to your colorist and discuss the tones and hues of the shade and how it will look on you.
Letting your eyebrows clash with your hair color. Brow color looks best when it complements hair color, and as a general benchmark, brows should be about a half to a full shade lighter than the darkest part of your hair.
Damian Santiago is a senior stylist at New York's prestigious Bumble and bumble salon. If you'd like to make an appointment with Damian, please call 212-521-6500.