This fall, designers like Calvin Klein, Celine and Jil Sander breathed new life into streamlined silhouettes, thus inspiring hairstyles to have similar simplistic leanings. But make no mistake, this season’s straight hair isn’t about playing it safe; it’s about mirroring the refined designs we saw on the catwalk. "I’m trying to move away from undone hair," hair guru Orlando Pita revealed backstage at Carolina Herrera’s Fall 2011 show. "I’m trying to do things that are a bit more polished, a bit more done because I feel like fashion is getting a little more dressed up and architectural."
Inspired by the runway
Straight strands got an upgrade from their poker-straight predecessors. "It’s not about severe, sharp lines," says Michael Dueñas, hair stylist and founder of the Hair Room Service in Los Angeles who counts Lady Gaga and Liv Tyler among some of his famous clients. "There’s more of an ease to the look; some texture and bend in the hair," he says. At Balenciaga, girls floated down the runway with well-behaved tresses, but they weren’t cemented to the hairline – they had movement. It was almost like a gust of wind had blown through to muss up their hair a little bit.
GET THE LOOK
First and foremost, blow-dry your hair till there’s not an ounce of moisture left in it. "Excess moisture will cause the hair to frizz and kink," says Dueñas. Before you blow-dry, work a heat-protecting product like a spray or serum through the length of the hair. Experts recommend the use of a silicone-based serum, which helps create a barrier between the styling tool and vulnerable hair. "Product is my number one secret," Dueñas maintains. "No matter how healthy your hair is, if you don’t use the right product, it’s not going to look as good as it can." Next, section the hair into one or two inch sections and blow-dry each using a natural bristle brush. Hold hair taut around the brush and point the nozzle of your dryer pointing down. This will help to smooth the hair, seal the cuticle and create manageability, says Dueñas. After each section is dry, use the cool shot button on your dryer – this will help cuticle (outer layer of hair shaft) to lie flat and will boost overall shine.
After you blow-dry, reach for a flat iron with ceramic plates. Ceramic plates slide through the hair much more easily than other types and they distribute heat more evenly so you get a uniform, sleek look. Start about a half-an-inch away from the roots and move the flatiron down the hair to the ends. "Don’t think of it as ‘ironing’ the hair, but as gliding through the hair," says Dueñas. And remember not to hold the flatiron in the same spot for too long – keep it moving so you don’t singe the hair. Choose an iron that matches your hair length and texture. Smaller ones work best if you have shorter or finer hair; ones with larger surface areas are suited for thick or really long hair.
Once you have straightened each section, work a small dime-sized amount of serum through the hair for hold and shine, especially important on drier ends to make hair look healthy and hydrated. Be sure not to choose a product that is too heavy or that will weigh hair down. One of Gwyneth Paltrow’s hair stylists, David Babaii, recently revealed that he swears by Couture Colour Pequi Oil for his clients like Gwyneth. "It is the one and only product I use on all my clients because it not only provides a mirror like shine, but absorbs instantly into the hair without weighing it down, while protecting your style against humidity and dryness," he said on Gwyneth’s blog, goop.com. To get the most enviable straight finish, skip barrettes, bobby pins and ponytails when you want to wear hair super straight – they will leave unnatural-looking kinks in the hair.