Whether you’re running errands, heading a Zoom meeting, or even just ducking out of the house for a much-needed cup of coffee, nothing makes you feel more put together, like having a great hair day with the help of some easy hairstyles in the mix. But obviously, for a lot of us, that’s, well, easier said than done.
Everyday life doesn't always translate to everyday glam. Despite our best efforts, a lot of the time a proper coif is last on our triage list of Things to Worry About. Thankfully, we live in the golden age of low-effort, high-impact beauty—because who has the time for anything else, really—and as such, took to the experts to help put together a roundup of simple yet statement-making 'dos you can easily recreate in less than 5 minutes. Put one of your best hair dryers to work and see that time get cut in half, even—we promise.
8 Easy hairstyles to instantly look pulled together
Whether your hair is freshly washed, going on day two, or just a complete and total disaster, there is an easy look you can do to help make you feel a hundred times better and look more elevated (sweatpants be damned). We spoke with Ryan Trygstad, celebrity hairstylist and co-founder of Mark Ryan Salon in New York City, for eight simple and elegant hairstyles that you can do in a few minutes or less.
1. Easy messy bun
Ah, the messy bun. This OG look is the Great Equalizer for a reason: It has the ability to look unfussy yet surprisingly chic on everyone and is democratically appropriate for nearly any occasion—just ask Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, who's made this look her signature updo on and offscreen.
Experts concur: “Messy buns are an easy, sophisticated style,” says Ryan. “I love using an overnight treatment product as a styler for any type of smooth bun or top knot: You get the repair properties of the product while adding smoothness and shine to your style,” he says.
Kérastase Nutritive 8H Magic Night Serum
To cop this slick texture, try using an overnight mask, like Kérastase Nutritive 8H Magic Night Serum. Spray it in your hair before you go to bed and wake up to smoother, more hydrated-looking tresses. Then, twist hair back either at the nape of your neck or up on top of your head, depending on the look you’re going for. Pull out any bangs (opens in new tab) or shorter pieces, and then secure the bun with an elastic. Your hair will be out of your face, secure, and you’ll look just like a celebrity arriving fresh at the airport—or greeting the masses on royal tours.
2. Everyday blowout
When blow-drying at home, “I always recommend a heat protectant up to 450° Fahrenheit,” says Ryan. “You have to think about how long the blow-dry heat is on the hair’s surface and how much longer it may take you at home to achieve your desired look,” he says.
To achieve, grab a round brush and pull hair through straight down, or curl and wrap small sections around the brush as you tug downwards if you want a slight wave, as seen on the always-pristine Salma Hayek. Blow-dry hair through the brush itself and repeat until hair is fully dry.
Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray
Ryan recommends using Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray to protect your hair before a heated blow-dry. “It maintains a humidity-proof blowout for up to four shampoos,” he says.
3. Volumized half-updo with bun
For this look, pull half of your hair back tightly, using a fish-tail comb to refine the front. Spray with an anti-frizz spray, like IGK Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Spray, to tame any frizz and flyaways. Then apply a volumizing spray, like Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast, onto the hair to be coiled into a bun.
Secure the hair into a half-up style with an elastic before creating the bun. Then wrap the bun around the elastic and pin with bobby pins on the under seam. You can keep the bottom of your hair straight, or do as Duchess Kate, master of the full-bodied bouncy half-updo, and add some swirls towards the ends with a curling iron.
IGK Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Smoothing Spray
Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast
Great for straight, wavy, or curly styles, this lightweight yet strong-hold volumizing spray is a modern-day alternative to sticky mousses of yore: Just spritz on before or during a blow-dry to infuse locks with va-va-volume. Skip on the hairspray after spraying with this one; you won't need it.
4. Volumized half-updo
To create this look, tease hair at the crown while spritzing with a gentle hairspray, like Nexxus Comb Thru Finishing Mist. It holds where it needs to, but it also is easy to shape and brush hair at the same time. Spray a piece of hair, then use a teasing comb to gently nudge hair towards the middle of the head. Gently brush out to smoothen messy-looking ridges, and remember to tease gently, so you don’t deflate any volume. Then, gather hair towards the back of your head and pin it back with bobby pins or snap clips. If you want loose pieces in the front, pull out the hair before you pin your half-up sections back.
Nexxus Comb Thru Finishing Mist
5. Loose ponytail
To achieve this look à la JLo, ditch the elastics and grab hair pins, says Ryan. “Over a clip, I love, love, love Goody Mini Spin Pins: They're great for a quick, seamless half, or full updo,” he says. Instead of losing the loose, messy look with an elastic, create the pony you want with your hands, then push the screws in. They’ll disappear into the hair and still provide a secure hold.
If you just need to get those front bits out of your face, first part hair to one side, then twist the hair on the opposite of your side part and secure behind the ear with a decorative clip or just an invisible bobby pin, as Jordana Brewster did. Quick, easy, and perfect for those 9 a.m. video calls.
7. Side braid
“I love an interesting textured braid,” says Ryan. “It’s always a great look for the office or going out.” He suggests playing with special techniques like fishtail braids, or if that’s too much, "pancake" or pull out some of the pieces of your regular three-strand braid as seen on Nicole Kidman above, so your braid looks full, loose, and casual, rather than tightly wrapped and too 'done.'
R+Co Zig Zag Root Teasing + Texture Spray
8. Top knot
A top knot, as seen on Kerry Washington, is one of the easiest ways to look chic because all you’re doing is creating a bun like you normally would on the crown and then letting the front pieces fall out. The height also imparts a flattering lifting effect. Win-win.
Pattern Edge Control
Brittany Leitner is an award winning journalist and poet whose work has been published in Palette Poetry, Bustle, Shape, Byrdie, and more. In 2019 her reporting received a Digital Health Award and poems from her book "23 Emotions" have won the Sequestrum new writer award. She has over eight years of experience working in print and digital media, and previously held senior editorial positions at Elite Daily and The Dr. Oz Show. She now specializes in health, beauty, and travel journalism. She studied magazine journalism at Syracuse University and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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