Why commit to short or long hair when you can have the best of both worlds? "Shoulder-skimming hair is a great compromise. It's long enough to pull back in a pony but short enough to have some lift and allure," says Gerry Leddy, senior hairstylist at Pierre Michel Salon, in New York City. Whether you want to wear your hair sleek and polished or a little wavy, start with a smoothing cream to keep frizz under control. Then use a medium-barrel brush to blow-dry hair straight or add loose waves. Mist with a light shine spray to give your hair that final glossy finish.
Strike the perfect balance between chaos and control by creating soft, luscious tendrils. A versatile cut with long layers does this by weighing curls down so they don't get too big, says celebrity stylist Sally Hershberger. To tame coarse, tight ringlets or unruly spirals, set dry hair with hot rollers or use a wide-barrel curling iron to loosen the diameter of the natural curl and make it softer, says Gretta Monahan, Dove celebrity stylist. Or section and pin up wet hair, applying a curling cream or gel first, then air-dry. Last, a touch of serum will keep your curls from drying out.
Try: L'Oreal Paris Studio Lasting Curls Gel, $5
Long, wispy bangs provide instant camouflage for those annoying lines on your forehead (who needs Botox?). "The most flattering low-maintenance fringe is cut diagonally rather than straight across and hits at the bridge of your nose," says Monahan. You'll need to use hot tools to style your bangs, so prep them with heat-protecting gel or cream. When you blow-dry, sweep your bangs from side to side to give them some swing, then mist your brush with hairspray and give your fringe a final pass. Or use a mini flatiron to quickly reshape dry, frizzy bangs.
Extra inches can really drag you down. A flirty, layered crop gives your hair more body (and gives you sexy confidence). "Layers make for softer lines and youthful movement," says Hershberger. Massage a lightweight mousse into your roots, then fluff your hair with a flat brush or your fingers as you dry it. This gives your hair body without creating the bubble effect you get from a round brush, notes Leddy. When hair is dry, apply some texturizing product and twist into piecey sections.