What's Your Damage?
Check the Bulb
Pluck out a strand of hair at the root and examine the base. Strong hair has a thick bulb. “If there’s no bulb, the hair follicle isn’t healthy,” says Michael Shaun Corby, global creative director for Alterna Hair Care. The cause? Damage from styling or, potentially, genetically linked hair loss.
Give It a Tug
Wrap a strand of hair around your index finger and thumb (like a piece of string), then use your other hand to tug on it. If it snaps immediately, your hair is lacking moisture; if it stretches “like bubble gum,” says Corby, it needs protein, which strengthens the hair’s keratin bonds.
Do the "Sink or Float" Test
Drop a strand of hair into a glass of water. A healthy strand will float. If it sinks, the shaft is porous. This can happen to color-treated hair, but it can also occur with a protein deficiency.
To get a fair picture of your hair’s overall health, repeat tests on at least four strands from different parts of your head, suggests Donna Maggi, education manager of Nioxin, a hair- and scalp-care company.
Stop a Bad-Hair Day Before It Starts
If you go outside with wet hair
Outdoor elements (wind, cool temperatures) can be rough even for dry hair, explains Corby. But when hair is wet, it’s actually more fragile and susceptible to breakage.
Healthy-hair fix: Try styling products designed to cut drying time. The Paul Mitchell Express Style line, for example, is formulated with technology to help hair dry faster.
If you use a subpar blow-dryer
In a cheaply made blow-dryer, the coil and motor can overheat, frying your hair’s cuticle. The tip-off: “The louder the sound, the poorer the quality,” Corby says. But a professional blow-dryer isn't always better, says Erin Anderson, VO5 celebrity stylist. “They’re powerful and can burn hair if used incorrectly,” she says.
Healthy-hair fix: an ionic blow-dryer. Ionic technology shrinks water molecules, so hair dries faster but with less damage. Try the T3 line (the Rolls-Royce of dryers), or you can find one for less, like Conair ION Shine 1875 Watt Dryer, $37.
If you still smoke
That nasty habit is not only bad for skin — “it pollutes your hair,” says Anderson. Smoke leaves residue on the scalp and hair, making it look dull.
Healthy-hair fix: Um, quit. Also, use a clarifying shampoo monthly, and consider a “facial” for your scalp. “Just like the rest of our skin, the skin on our scalp needs to be addressed,” says Maggi. Try Nioxin Scalp Renew, an in-salon dermabrasion treatment that removes buildup and unclogs follicles.
hair tips & beauty advice
Beauty editors are routinely asked to name three essentials they couldn’t live without on a desert island. So here’s our list: water, matches, protein bars. As much as we depend on beauty products, they’re not exactly essential to survival. These luxurious fragrances, nail polishes, and tools are no exception. They’re the anti-basics—hardly your medicine-cabinet staples. They won’t shrink pores or obliterate frizz, but they will make you weak with desire. And that’s a refreshing change of pace. Beyond just looking and feeling great, each of these cool new things appeals to our sense of style. How’s that for an SOS?
You could breeze through the rest of summer with the same sheer balm and nude gloss you always wear. Or you could throw caution to the wind and try one of these superfun, superbright lipstick shades we saw on the spring runways. True red, orchid purple, neon orange—these lipsticks are as bold as they are beautiful.
These buns are haute! Pretty twists spotted on this year’s runway put a couture spin on the go-to bun.
Your strands are saying more than you think. Not only can your facial features tell you a thing or two about yourself, "your hairstyle can also reveal things about you," Jean Haner, an expert in face reading and author of The Wisdom of Your Face, says. Here, Haner tells what your strands most likely are saying about you, based on her studies in 3,000-year-old face reading derived from Chinese medicine.
Realized that pixie or bob haircut isn't for you? Luckily, it is possible to make a graceful transition back to long.
Could you go that long without using cosmetics?
From a young age, little girls learn the word "pretty," but in the last few years, everything has been changing — for the better.
You've seen many a star hit the red carpet in glamorous curls. But, most of the time, these coiled updos come courtesy of a curling iron, which leaves us craving some all-natural inspiration.
We've done some strange things in the name of beauty (a butt facial for one), but these powerful ingredients would make us gag — if they didn't work so damn well.
Maybe this sounds familiar: You fall in love with a sweet new face scrub and love it so much that you use it, oh, every day. Morning and night. Until your skin breaks out in protest. Or perhaps you’re in the once-a-year pedicure camp, and have to spend hours pumicing your callouses before even thinking about polish. Well, the laissez-faire approach stops now. It's not just which products you choose—but how often you deploy them. Here’s a quick rundown of how frequently you should be doing various at-home treatments.
From Edie Campbell’s tawny ginger to Kristen Stewart’s flaming hue, red is the statement hair color of the summer. After all, no one goes red quietly: Whether the effect is aristocratic or punk, its transformative power brings with it an undeniable drama that hasn’t been lost on the fashion set. “The thing most redheads will tell you is that they hate it when they’re kids because [of] teasing,” consummate redhead Jessica Joffe tells us in an email. “But as soon as you become an adult, everyone loves it. People never stop talking about it.” Perhaps that’s why Karen Elson, whose career first took off when she amped up her natural strawberry blonde to a fiery copper, has never looked back, and Stewart’s supernatural orange sparked headlines this summer. Meanwhile, Emma Stone’s new russet hues look so convincing, it’s hard to believe she was born blonde. Above, a look at summer’s best reasons to take the plunge.
We're smack in the middle of wedding season, which means you could definitely use a pretty new way to wear your hair. From Anne Bancroft's ponytail in The Graduate to Janelle Monae's signature coif, get inspired by these signature styles.