Hair Styles For Mixed Hair ~ Do It Yourself Hair Dos

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Conventional wisdom has the shape of the face dictating hairstyle. An oval face can supposedly wear any style. A triangular one requires volume around the chin to "fill in" the triangle. An angular face, square or rectangular, will have its angles softened with curls. A long face will look fuller with layers around the face. And a round face can give the illusion of angles with short hair with or without bangs.

But the overall look is more important than the shape of the face. A high forehead doesn't necessarily require bangs. A round face can wear hair pulled back. Women past "a certain age" won't always look better with their hair cut short. Over the years there have been the so-called "hair rules" and then the most stunning women would break them all and look absolutely fabulous.

How? By "restyling" the rules for the way we want to look now. Things to remember:

It is not the shape of the face that counts but the size of the face: Proportion is the key. This one is simple. Too much hair surrounding a small face can be overwhelming. You can wear long hair, but keep it close to the head and neat. Fill out a very narrow face by choosing a style with fullness on the sides. A larger face can carry "bigger" hair, but downplay volume on the sides to reduce the fullness of a very round or very square face.

Your neck and shoulders support the style: Consider the contours. Don't rely on your makeup mirror to assess your style. For this you need a full length, two-way mirror, to see whether the look "fits" the rest of you-your neck and your shoulders. In general, if your shoulders are wide, shoulder-length or longer hair balances and melds into the width. Huge curly hair can overpower narrow shoulders.

A long neck is great, and can take any type of hairstyle. A shorter neck usually looks better with short hair or longer hair pulled back. This is not to say you can never have long hair; just be sensitive to the mirror-front and back--when deciding.

Work with your texture, not against it: The choice of style also depends on texture; you'll have a much easier time if you choose a style that lets hair do what it wants naturally.

As a rule, fine hair has an overall appearance of softness, which can be very feminine and appealing. It should be layered slightly, even if the final look is to be blunt; this will give an appearance of thicker hair, whether it's long or short. A soft body wave adds fullness, and hair coloring also give fine hair more body and makes it look thicker. Try thickening shampoos.

Coarse hair, where each strand is thick, is usually thick itself and has an overall heavy look: hair that makes a statement. It can have a mind of its own and even stick out in spots. Here, cut is everything and a cut that shapes the face will also help to control the hair. Even if you're after the look of a blunt cut, a very subtle layering will encourage the hair to "lie down" where it's suppose to. Coloring will soften the texture by filling in and smoothing out the cuticle.

Straight hair can be thick or thin and when it is in perfect, shiny condition, gives the impression of a shimmering sheet of hair. A straight, blunt cut to the length you decide is best. For movement, look into a body wave. Curlers will help to add height, and you can also give soft curls-more body-with pin-curl clips, bobby pins or by sleeping on sponge rollers.

Curly hair is perhaps the most versatile. You can blow-dry it straight, use rollers of various sizes to adjust the natural curl-or let it go soft and curly on its own. As for the cut, blunt or soft layers work equally well.

Lifestyle affects hairstyle: Such movie stars as Goldie Hawn, Sharon Stone and Julia Roberts go for a sexy just-out-of-bed look, a look, by the way, that takes hours and many visits to the hairdresser to keep up. They're actresses and the look is a dramatic expression of what they do. But would Diana Ross's beautiful long tresses work for her if she were a banker? Probably not. Would Jackie Kennedy have been such a graceful First Lady with Farah Fawcett hair? Definitely not.

Would Diane Sawyer choose a pixie for national TV? No. When choosing a style, the question to ask yourself is: Who am I? Where will I be "wearing" my hair? Who's going to see it? Common sense will probably tell you to stick with a simple, easy-to-maintain style whatever length you choose and save the flourishes for evening.

The long and short of it: Contrary to what many people believe-and what some women who cut their hair short without thinking it through come to know all to well-very short hair is not always the easiest solution, and is often not the most flattering. Just cutting it all off into a no-style cut does nothing to flatter anyone. Hair needs styling, not just cutting, and short hair requires spiking on top for height or bangs for softness and careful maintenance.

It also has to be cut every four to six weeks to keep the style intact. Very short hair also shows facial lines and wrinkles more. On the other hand, hair below shoulder length generally has a tendency to drag a woman's' face down as she gets older. For most of us, in between- a little shorter here, a little longer there-works best. How to tell before making a fateful mistake?

Test before going longer or shorter: Try wigs before taking any big steps-cutting short, growing long, coloring-and use a full length mirror to analyze the perspective new look from every angle. This is the only way to judge the proper proportion of your hair to your individual shape.

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Kali S. Winters

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