Get high-speed hair

TRACEY STRANGE
Last updated 05:00 04/09/2013

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Bad hair doesn't simply ruin your day; it can affect as much as 20 years of your life, according to recent British research.

The survey, by a British budget hotel, found women's moods can be severely affected - to the point of depression - when their hair misbehaves. Overall problems like frizz, flat hair and flyaways - not to mention those mornings when your hair just won't sit right - can make a woman irritable, lacking in confidence and stressed.

The survey also aimed to discover how often women woke up to unruly hair. The answer was at least three times a week. Extrapolated out over an average lifetime, this means that a woman will put up with 7332 bad hair days in her life, equivalent to two decades.

That's an awful long time to be cranky.

Bad hair isn't the worst of problems but there are many better ways of fixing it than hiding it under a cap. We asked some of the country's leading hair stylists how to get good hair - fast.

THE PONY

- "A ponytail is the standard for no-nonsense hair on the go," says Danny Pato from D&M hair design. "To give your pony a fashionable 60s edge, backcomb the crown area before tying your hair in a low-ish pony.

If you have a fringe, try sweeping it to one side; if not, you can backcomb the fringe too before smoothing it back. Finish with a gentle mist of hairspray like Davines More Inside Medium Hairspray, $42.

HOW TO DRESS UP SHORT HAIR

- "Most people wear short hair in a messy way so the best way to dress it up is to bring a touch of formality to it," says Greg Murrell of Ryder. "Consider a side part or pushing the front up into a quiff. Another way is to change the texture of your hair with irons, tongs or crimpers."

- "Dressing up short hair is about breathing life into the look," says Jason Davies of Adoux. "After shampooing and conditioning, lightly spray in a volumiser and begin blow drying vigorously, from side to side and front to back. Once the hair is completely dry, apply a thumb bail size of a dry gel paste or wax such as L'Oréal Professionnel Play Ball Deviation Paste, $31. Products like this are designed to be lightly massaged into the hair, to effectively dress up short hair and to add separation - creating the perfect texture."

- "An easy way to make short hair look more formal is to add height to the hairstyle," says Wayne Richardson, of Ktizo. "This can be achieved by creating a wave or curl using curling tongs and backcombing in a texturiser, like a wax paste. Don't forget to brush through the top sections after backcombing, to smooth out the top, or move the brush with the wave to create a soft curled look."

TIPS FOR QUICK BLOW-WAVING

- "Invest in a quality blow-dryer," says Rebecca Brent from Willis York. "It will save you so much time, and that extra 20 minutes in the morning is worth the investment. Always - even if you are in a rush - protect your hair from heat with a thermo-protectant spray. Section your hair in four parts, and blow-dry section-by-section. Don't forget to point your blow-dryer in the direction you would like your hair to go, eg if you want volume at your roots then blow-dry your roots upwards, if you want smooth hair then dry in a downwards direction."

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- "For curly hair," says Rebecca, "don't forget that the more you touch your curls the worse they get. A quick dusting of hairspray will give you that protective barrier for the external elements, and you're good to go."

TRICKS FOR BEACHY HAIR

- Greg Ryder: "Spray a product such as KMS California HairPlay Sea-Salt Spray, $36, into damp hair and then divide it into about eight vertical sections and twist each of them until taut. Maintaining the tension, loop and pin these to the head. Use a hairnet to keep it all in place and let the hair dry. You could go do something else, sleep on it or use a hair-dryer to speed up the process. When the hair is nearly dry, unpin the hair, loosen the twists, shake the hair and pull into place."

- "The best way to get beach hair is to wait until day two of washing your hair, so it is naturally quite tussled," says Wayne Richardson. "Add in a few curls using your straighteners by dragging your tongs down on an angle through the hair, to get a longer, skinnier curl. Do this on fifty per cent of your hair, and then spray on a salt spray such as the L'Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Beach Fizz, $31, which will add that great beachy texture."

ROCKING A FAUX BOB

- "Fake bobs rule," says Rebecca Brent. "Loose and soft are the key words. Place your hair into a low soft ponytail, pulling the tie out to your desired length, and tucking the ends up underneath the pony, securing tightly with bobby pins. Be sure not to work with hair that is too clean and slippery. Texture dusts such as the L'Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Texture Dust, $33, are amazing for giving your bob good grip so that it lasts longer."

- Stuff

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