Get Out of the Haircut Rut

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"I Need a More Professional Look!"

The dilemma: You might be thrilled about your new job, but when you stare at your rumpled ponytail in the mirror, you quickly realize that you're going to need a little bit of help in getting your hair out of casual mode and into something that is as career-ready as you are.

Style solution: While there is no particular haircut that is more professional than another -- good news indeed! -- there are certain elements that make a big difference in how you present yourself every day, including a smooth, neat finish and modern touches. Proper styling will give almost any haircut these basics, but the most dramatic update is accomplished with a great, new cut.

Few haircuts streamline your look as effectively as the bob; long hair can look too vampy or even messy for the workplace -- if it's not styled correctly, of course -- and medium-length hair might not give you the impact that you need. Yet a bob always looks sophisticated and current. It's versatile, too, since it looks great sleek and straight or slightly wavy and more textured on other days.

Intrigued? There are a few guidelines to remember when consulting with your stylist about this haircut. "The trick to a modern bob is to have it taper to a fine edge and blend into the jawline," explains Garrison, who also refers to this rendition of the classic haircut as a "graduated" bob. Otherwise, he adds, it can look too wig-like and stiff.

A razor or trimming shears is your stylist's best tool for taking the bulk out of hair, particularly if yours is really thick. Scissors alone can't give hair this airy feeling. The front of your hair should be slightly longer than the back, with a subtle angle that slopes toward your chin. Not only does this help to accentuate your face, particularly your eyes and cheekbones, but the sharpness of the cut won't be lost when you nod or shake your head. Also, make sure that the stylist keeps the top layers long, at least long enough to graze your cheek. Go any shorter, warns Garrison, and this section will be too short in relation to the rest of your hair, making your head resemble a pineapple. Need another great reason to ask for a bob? It can be pulled back into your comfy ponytail on the weekends. Sign us up!

Styling essentials: Garrison begins by running an anti-frizz serum thorough locks. Next, he sprays the volumizer, such as Cristophe Beverly Hills Volumizing Spray Tonic, $7.99, to help lift the hair at the roots, where you need a bit of volume and movement. (We also like Rene Furterer Fioravanti No Frizz Gel, $20, and Pantene Pro V Root Lifter Volumizing Spray Gel, $3.99.) With a big round brush and blow-dryer, Garrison blows hair straight and smooth. When finished, he quickly runs a flat iron through it. This last step is actually a timesaver, as it helps to lock in the sleekness of your blow-dry -- a great plus during the busy workday. Finish with a veil of one of the new soft-hold hairsprays, such as Physique Keep It Flexible Hair Spray, $7, which will keep your 'do styled, yet soft to the touch.

Continued on page 4:  "Help -- I Have Mom Hair!"


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