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We’ve all heard it said that confidence is sexy. And you see it in action all time time. Surely each of us has fallen under the spell of a certain someone who exuded an irresistibly confident air, or watched a friend work her magic at a bar and wondered what it is that makes her such a guy magnet.

“Attractiveness is not measured completely objectively,” writes Art Markman, Ph.D., YouBeauty’s Psychology Advisor. “We judge people’s physical attractiveness by many factors including their actual body type and facial structure, the way they carry themselves, the way they dress, the social energy they project and the way they engage with us. Most of these factors are completely under your control. Anyone can project her beauty to others. It all starts with confidence.”

Great. Unless you lack confidence in the first place.

“If you struggle with confidence, it’s more difficult to feel good about yourself in many ways, including seeing yourself as sexy,” says YouBeauty Self-Image Expert Heather Quinlan. “If you don’t see yourself as sexy, it’s unlikely that you’ll feel sexy and project that self-image to others.”

While we can get the flowing hair, the perfect pout, the alluring fashions that are the hallmarks of sexiness, the ultimate accessory can’t be bought. Fortunately, it can be faked.

“Carrying yourself confidently (standing up straight, eyes forward, smiling), looking people in the eye and speaking clearly can convey confidence, even if you don’t truly feel that way, and may actually help you feel more sincerely confident,” says Quinlan.

Markman contends that confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Pretend that you’ve got it and you’ll start to believe you do. And believing in yourself is the crux of the matter. He says, “If you walk with confidence that you don’t feel, if you speak clearly when you want to whisper, if you look life in the eye when you want to look away, then the world will respond to your actions.” And so will you. In the same way that putting on a happy face can actually make you feel happier, striking a confident pose can make you feel more confident in a very real way. A 2010 study by Harvard and Columbia University researchers found that after assuming a dominant stance for just one minute, volunteers reported feeling more powerful and in charge. There was a physiological response as well: They saw a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, and a surge of testosterone, the hormone most associated with dominance.

“Your external world is a manifestation of your internal world,” says orthopedic surgeon Ken Hansraj, M.D. “It is well known that when human beings and animals feel optimized internally they manifest power by presenting good posture. This study reveals that the reverse is true as well. Get into good postures and then you can control your internal neurochemistry and the way you feel. This internally-based confidence leads to better productivity, sense of well-being, state of physical being and finally sexuality.” In his book, “Keys to an Amazing Life: Secrets of the Cervical Spine,” Hansraj argues that good posture—ears aligned with shoulders, shoulder blades retracted—is directly related to finding emotional and physical love.

The confidence question doesn’t end there, though. Once you’ve made a connection, the feedback loop to feeling confident can help you engage more fully and with greater satisfaction than you may be naturally inclined to. “People who have a poor body image or feel uncomfortable in their own skin often say that they’re self-conscious with intimacy,” Quinlan reports. “They may feel embarrassed or awkward being naked in front of another person and have trouble focusing on anything other than unhappiness with their own body.”

Manhattan sex therapist Stephen Snyder, M.D., points out that unlike men, who are generally turned on by outside stimuli, women get turned on by the idea that they are irresistible. What he calls “self-related cues” are an integral part of a woman’s sexuality. “As any sex therapist will attest, for a woman to feel good about sex often requires that she like how she feels in her jeans,” he says.

So should you fake it in the bedroom? That is, fake confidence? “Better to find something to delight you,” says Snyder, “such as a scent or an outfit that pleases you. Something you feel relaxed in.” And your partner can help you, too, he says, “by desiring you truly and honestly, and letting you know it.”

MORE: Test Your Confidence With the Self-Esteem Quiz

Confidence and power (not booty and cup size) are the two attributes that came up again and again when we asked 11 guys to tell us about their top celebrity crushes. Browse through their responses to see what sexy really means.


Nowadays, the photos you most often see of sports stars, celebs, and even the President of the Free World are as likely to be a product of their own index fingers as a lengthy portrait-and-Photoshop session.

Facebook and Instagram feeds are littered with #selfie tags of friends and strangers, sometimes in various states of undress (or at funerals). And, as evidenced by the fact the word “selfie” has been named the 2013 word of the year by the Oxford Dictionaries, like it or loathe it, the informal self-portrait cluttering your Instagram feed seems to be here for the long haul.

Part of the reason for its popularity is that those smiling, slightly off-center images of your giddy grin may actually enhance your self-esteem. Research from the University of Indiana found that the way we project ourselves on social media can actually make us feel better about ourselves, precisely because we’re the ones in charge.

The study didn’t focus specifically on selfies—rather on how we project ourselves on social media—but found that when we can control our image, we feel better about what we see than we would if we simply looked in a mirror. “Because we have the time to choose how we present ourselves online, our presentations are a bit ‘better,’ ” explains co-author Amy Gonzales, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Indiana University.

At first glance, that makes sense: After all, when you’re the photographer and star of a selfie session, no one’s saying that you can’t take 10 or 20 shots in order to get the perfect image. There’s no film wasted, no one rolling his eyes because you want to take just one or two more, and a quick click of the delete button makes it impossible for anyone to see the outtakes.

And once you’ve finally found a perfect pic, you have a fun, flattering photo to share with your friends—and your “friends”—without any of them knowing how hard it was to produce. But as anyone who’s eagerly refreshed her phone in the quest for Instagram hearts and Facebook likes knows, it’s rarely that simple.

MORE: What is Instagram Doing to Our Self Esteem?

Protect Your Self(ie)-Esteem

Before you snap a shot, check in and ask why you’re taking this particular photo, suggests Ellen Kenner, Ph.D., a psychologist in Rhode Island. “If you love the way you look one day, or are in a playful mood and want to capture it for yourself as a memory, or share it with friends and family, there is something fun and self-valuing in that,” she says, and your friends and family will enjoy seeing you genuinely happy or excited. The problem, she explains, occurs when you’re waiting for feedback from others. If you spend the next 20 minutes furiously clicking refresh, or wishing specific people commented, then it could be a sign that you’re overly dependent on external feedback to determine your inner happiness. “All the selfies in the world won’t replace genuine self-esteem,” reminds Kenner.

“A lot of energy goes into a selfie, especially if you’re the type of person in the habit of taking them all the time,” warns Jaime Kulaga, Ph.D., a psychologist in Tampa. “An occasional selfie is part of being on social media, but more than a few may signify an underlying confidence issue.”
Selfie-taking can be harmless fun. But if you’re spending over an hour a day related to your selfie-behavior (including the two-minute checks to see if anyone responded, because they add up quickly), warns New York psychologist Alice Boyes, Ph.D., or if you find yourself seeking out situations (or outfits) because they might look good on Instagram and garner an outpouring of feedback, then it could be a good sign to dial back a bit.

QUIZ: Test Your Self-Esteem

Live First, Shoot Later

That’s especially true if your selfie-taking is habitual rather than a way to chronicle meaningful moments, like visiting a historical site or showing off your new pixie cut.

Spend too much time pulling a duck face at the lens or putting every hair in place and not only are you wasting time, you’re also missing out on the spontaneity and imperfections that are part of making memories. Windswept hair, spiky eyebrows, a funny facial expression … part of the reason candids are so much fun is that they’re less than perfect. The windswept hair? A reminder of what you accomplished on that six-hour hike. And the spiky eyebrows can instantly bring back the feeling of just getting out of a pool on a hot August day.

If you do find yourself frequently taking selfies just because, try to at least tone down the pre-shoot prep, just to see how it feels. Post the first (or, okay, the second) picture you take, then turn off your notifications so you won’t be compelled to count the “likes” as they roll in—or lament if they don’t. That way, you’re minimizing your focus on the attention you receive from the photo, and making it more about how you feel in the moment.

Ready to step up your less-is-more approach? Try limiting your sharing—at least for a bit. Instead of immediately posting, keep them on your phone to look at later, or just send them to a best friend or significant other. The more you take away the “insta” part of Instagram posting, the more meaning it will have when you do choose to share this glimpse into your world.  Says Kulaga, “Like the saying goes, it’s all about creating a life that feels good on the inside, not a life that only looks good on the outside.”
MORE: 3 Steps to Better Body Confidence



Are Ponytails Bad for Your Hair?

The Scientist

Temitayo Ogunleye, M.D., a dermatologist and assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania

The Answer

Ponytails are convenient and useful, but in general, women should treat their hair gently.

You shouldn’t feel like you’re giving yourself a mini-facelift every time you pull your hair back. Tight ponytails yank on the delicate hairs at the front of the scalp. These strands are the most susceptible to damage by traction (pulling) and over time they can fall out.

This hair loss is temporary—but only at first. If you’re addicted to ponies (ponytails, that is, not adorable little horses), especially if you like them tight, or always wear them in the same spot on your head, you put yourself at risk of permanent loss around the hairline.

As many women experience with cornrows and weaves, constant traction can cause inflammation around the hair follicle, which can eventually damage the follicle itself and rob it of the ability to regrow new hair.

It’s a good idea to vary up the location of your ponytail—high, low, crown, side—to keep from abusing the same hairs in the same way, over and over. Even if you don’t damage the hair at the roots, you can break the shafts where the fastener rests day after day.

As far as what kinds of ponytail holders to use, the most important thing is to have a fabric covering over the rubber of your rubber band, to decrease snags. If the elastic becomes exposed, toss it and use a new one. Flat ribbon elastics are popular these days and might benefit your hair by distributing the tension more than traditional hair ties.

Finally, if your ponytail feels too tight, it probably is. They say beauty is pain, but too much tugging on your scalp irritates nerves and can cause headaches. That’s not pretty, no matter how good your top knot looks.

MORE:  Healthy Hair Quiz 


End Animal TestingSad fact: Many cosmetic brands still test on animals. And specifically, rabbits have historically been used to test new mascaras to determine if they will be safe on humans.

The Draize eye test was developed way back in the 40s as a way to ensure that consumer products (especially cosmetics like mascara) are gentle enough and won't irritate or cause any damage to human eyes. But not only does this process subject our furry friends to unnecessary harm, it's also time-consuming and expensive. Both animals and humans alike benefit from better testing methods that cut critters out of the equation.

And now for the good news: A new test is being developed right now that's effective in vetting mascara, but cuts the animals out of the equation, and is more efficient and less expensive. Win, win, triple win.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool are developing a method to test mascara for potential irritation sans animal subjects. The test uses tiny organisms, or protozoa, called slipper ciliate and eyelash ciliate. These organisms have genetic similarities to humans and are large enough to see under a miscroscope. Researchers tested the mascaras by painting each on a small glass plate and placing them into an experimental chamber. They then added the protozoa and their food. After some time, the scientists were able to measure population growth on each glass plate, and they found that it varied by mascara—some brands killed the protozoa, while others didn’t harm them at all.

"This test has great potential for reducing the use of rabbits as it is both cheap and reliable, and while the protozoa have a similar metabolism to animals they are not classed as such,” notes Dr. David Montagnes, who supervised the project. "When you can develop a simpler and cheaper alternative, there is really no need to test cosmetics on animals," he adds. We agree wholeheartedly.

Another success in the fight against animal cruelty, Ipsen, the Paris-based pharmaceutical company that makes Dysport and Azzalure (both botulinum products that work similarly to Botox), has announced it will end animal testing by the end of 2014. (Allergan, which manufactures Botox, already has an alternative testing method approved and has pledged to reduce animal testing by at least 95 percent.)

Hopefully, new research and action by big companies like Ipsen and Allergan will pave the way for others in the cosmetic industry to follow suit and become more animal-friendly too.

MORE: Your Guide To Reading The Labels

Michelle Williams’ polished brows and pale platinum crop featured in the Louis Vuitton fall 2013 ads have become the beauty reference of the season. It’s an elevated ladylike take on the strong brow/light hair trend that’s captured the imaginations of women because well... it’s just perfect. Celebs like Rita Ora and Miss Miley have twerked punkier versions on the red carpet as well.

We went straight to the nicest and most sought-after blonder in the business, Marie Robinson (who is a killer blonde herself), to get the scoop on how to realize your blonde ambitions without setting a wrecking ball to your hair.

If you aren’t familiar with Marie’s work, her buzzing salon in the Flatiron District of NYC is where Anne goes from brunette to platinum, Natalie maintains her shimmering brown and yes, where Michelle gets her creamy white blonde.

We also interviewed up-and-comer Meg Sanchez-Hartigan who cares for Marie’s own platinum locks, because if Marie trusts her, she must know her stuff.  We threw in a round of tips on brows because they are such an integral part of the look.

Q: Everyone is obsessing over the dark brow/light hair look—but do you have to go platinum to make it work?

A: Going platinum is always fun and being extreme is not for the faint of heart as it requires maintenance and time. You don't have to be as platinum as I or some of our clients in order to have Rita Ora's look.  You can simply brighten your natural color a little bit and then deepen your eyebrow one shade darker to create the same contrast and effect.

Q: You've been a beautiful redhead but now you've been blonde for a while. How do you care for your own platinum hair?

A: I use clear and/or white shampoos that are meant for color-treated hair so it doesn't discolor my blonde. I'm not fussy with shampoos and change often between Pantene, L'Oréal and Wella. One product I never stray from is my once a week conditioning treatment ColoristCure. It's an intensive treatment that removes product buildup on my hair shaft, coating my individuals hairs with essential oils. The result is bright, shiny hair!

Q: Are you in the camp that anyone can go blonde?

A: I do think anyone can go blonde and should try to at least once. There is a simple rule to follow: If cool tones or silver jewelry work on your skin then keeps tones cool; if you wear yellow gold and warmer colors that are autumnal, stick to warmer blondes. If you have very dark or olive skin tone, very light hair can be sexy and dramatic. However, leave your natural root or have a colorist create the natural root in your hair to keep your skin looking good.

Q: My friend Sara is devoted to you, and since she's been coming to you her hair has become much healthier, yet you still manage to take her to a level of bright blonde that other colorists couldn't. What's your secret?

A: I don't think I have any special secret! When coloring, I take care of the hair by not overlapping on hair that has been previously highlighted or lightened and I just retouch it to add brightness. I take care to add lightener to the new hair that hasn't been colored yet. I also don't over-process the hair and when it's that perfect lightness, I don't risk leaving it on. Another trick: Leave a little gold in the highlight and don't lift to maximum whiteness because warmer blonde reflects more light than cooler blonde.

And Meg...(Meg Sanchez Hartigan, colorist at the Marie Robinson Salon and Marie’s current colorist)

Q: Describe the technique you use to do Marie's blonde.

A: On Marie I apply a concentrated bleach straight to her salt and pepper regrowth. Using a little bit of low heat I lift her roots to a pale-yellow and rinse in sections to assure evenness. We use toner, but only on her roots to shadow them just a touch and leave the rest bright and creamy.

Q: Besides Marie, where do you derive your inspiration?

A: The waitresses that work at Samurai Mama in Williamsburg always inspire me with their Japanese street style. They are such a treat to look at. Not only are they super sweet but their hair/makeup/outfits are always killer. I've never seen a cuter staff!!

Q: And do you think anyone can go blonde?

A: I think if you're itching to bleach your hair out, everyone should try it once! However, the darker your natural hair, the harder it will be to bleach it to white blonde. Also, double processes don't always have to be white blonde! A pale "paper bag" blonde can look beautiful on women with darker skin tones. Another factor to consider is the current state of your hair. If you've been coloring your strands midnight black you will have to cut it off and start from scratch. Bleaching out your hair can be a damaging process; the texture of it will permanently change until your natural grows out. It is A LOT of maintenance, but if you're dedicated to taking care of it, it will be a head-turner!

And finally, brow tips from Landy Dean, makeup artist at the Marie Robinson Salon and for this shoot!

"I love a full, straighter brow. For shape reference think Audrey Hepburn and Lily Collins." Follow his tips below to darken your brows the right way.

  • For a platinum blonde, use a brow color that is ashy or smoky.
  • Then darken the hairs with a darker shade of brow gel or pomade to keep the dimension. Benefit Gimme Brow in Medium/Deep adds volume and is a great neutral shade with a precise applicator.

MORE: The Exact Products to Buy If You Have Colored Hair


If you dye your hair and the color stays vibrant and shiny until your next appointment, we’re happy for you. Really. But let’s assume that the other 99.9 percent of women aren’t so lucky.

The confusion arises when you go to shop for hair products. Your first instinct is to grab color-protecting formulas, but oh hey, over there are the frizz-control ones and you need those, too. So what is the priority?

If you’re dealing with frizz, limpness, dryness or damage, or other issues on top of color fade, you’re not doomed to a lifetime of bad hair days.

Clayton, Bumble & Bumble Creative Lead for Color, adds that your individual needs are a major factor here, and suggests enlisting your stylist to come up with a custom-made plan of attack. “You might have to use a few products meant for various issues on different areas, instead of just everything from one particular line,” she says. “Think of it like skincare; maybe you have combination skin, so you’d use one thing to treat oiliness in one spot, and another to treat dryness somewhere else. You need to tailor your routine to address each part of your hair to help it look the way you want.” Here are some common colored hair problem combos and how to deal, plus a handy cheat sheet!

MORE: The Best Hair Color for Your Skintone

If Your Hair is Colored and Dry

According to Clayton, the color you choose is the key factor in caring for hair that’s dry and dyed. Hard-to-maintain color—think how blonde can go brassy and red tends to fade quickly—probably needs the assistance of a color-conserve regimen (bonus: they also usually contain moisturizers to help with dryness). She suggests sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner (try the Bumble & Bumble Color Minded product line), plus a weekly moisture mask, applied to the ends only, to address dryness. Forget the idea that squeaky-clean is best, since cleansing too frequently strips out natural oils and does no favors to dye. “The enemy of color is water; rinsing the hair opens the cuticle and the color washes away,” says Ni'Kita Wilson, YouBeauty Cosmetic Chemistry Expert.

If Your Hair is Colored and Frizzy

Eric Spengler, Living Proof Chief Commercialization Officer and SVP, Research and Development, says there’s often a link between these two problems. When you look at a strand of hair, “The cuticle, or outer layer, of each hair strand looks like shingles on a roof. When the hair is damaged through color or chemical processing, those shingles can flare out, resulting in frizz, especially when exposed to high humidity,” he says.

Styling products come into play in a major way here. Start out with color-preserving shampoo and conditioner, but pay close attention to what you apply after rinsing. Salon owner Rodney Cutler suggests cuticle-smoothing styling creams like Redken Smooth Lock Stay Sleek  to repel humidity and smooth hair. “If you blow dry, use a flat boar bristle brush and direct the air from root to end and allow the hair to cool while still on the brush to seal and flatten the cuticle. Finish the look with Redken Control Addict 28 High Control Hairspray to hold the look and repel humidity,” he suggests.

Speaking of the “H word” (public enemy number one when it comes to frizz), Wilson recommends anti-humectant products that help create a film or a seal around the cuticle to keep moisture out and color in. “Even if you love your color, you’ll never be happy unless you address the frizz,” says Wilson. Try Living Proof No Frizz and Restore products; in clinical testing, they (and their fancy, high-tech proprietary molecule) were shown to be 70 percent more effective at blocking humidity than typical silicone-based anti-frizz products.

MORE: Is Color-Safe Shampoo Necessary?

If Your Hair Is Colored and Fine/Limp

Cutler says the goal is to add maximum volume without causing color fade, a common complaint since many thickening products add volume by fluffing up the cuticle, which allows color molecules to slip out. Look for volumizing products that clearly state they're color-safe or are designed for color-treated hair. Products like this used to be hard to find but advances in technology have paved the way for color-specific hair care companies such as ColorProof, Pureology, and ColorWow to come out with volumizing products that pump up the hair without stripping color.

Spengler adds that there are tons of products out there that contain silicones and oils, which weigh the hair down and cause build-up. Fine hair is particularly prone to this, so he says to read ingredient lists carefully to avoid a flat, limp and greasy-looking mess on your head. A good rule of thumb is that if silicone or dimethicone is listed above the fourth spot on the ingredient list, move along.

If Your Hair is Colored and Chemically Straightened

In this case, Wilson says to go for products made for damaged hair, since they’re designed to help seal the cuticle. “Doing this helps with both issues, since the sealed cuticle helps heal the damaged parts of the hair strands, and also prevents pigment from leaking out to keep color fresh,” she says. Cutler adds that both parts of this combo can be treated in one move. “Moisture, moisture, moisture! Colored hair that has also been chemically treated tends to be extremely dry,” he says. “To get back some of the moisture lost during these processes, it’s ideal to limit the frequency of washes and only use sulfate-free formulas.” He likes Pureology Precious Oil shampoo and conditioner, which are super hydrating and will also help maintain color vibrancy. Taking this tip one step further, Spengler says it’s essential, not optional, to indulge in a weekly intensive treatment mask to prevent further damage. It’ll help strengthen and reduce the risk of breakage, and since healthy hair retains dye better, it’ll also cut down on color fade.

If Your Hair is Colored and Oily

“This combination is a little tricky, since you’ll likely want to wash more often but doing so can fade your color,” says Wilson. She says to completely avoid shampoo made for oily types, which tends to strip the hair; it’ll feel nice and clean but will lose its color quickly. Instead, go for a shampoo created for color-treated hair, followed by a light conditioner (nowhere near your roots, though, unless greasy is the look you want to achieve). Wilson likes UV-protective styling sprays for this hair problem combo, since they’re lightweight but also help preserve color. Joel Warren, L'Oréal Professionnel Artist and co-founder of Warren-Tricomi Salons takes a slightly different approach, which may seem counterproductive, but try to keep an open mind. “To offset oily-looking hair, you actually need to use products that contain oils,” he says. These types of products work to balance the natural oil levels so it’s cleansed at the root and nourished at the ends for a weightless finish. His fave is the L'Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil hair care line.

MORE: How to Rock the Dark Brow Blonde Hair Look

If Your Hair is Colored and Curly

This one’s a bit easier to navigate, since products made for these two issues are formulated in a very similar way. Wilson says that since taming curls (especially tighter, kinkier ones) and preserving color are all about moisture, emollient-rich shampoos and conditioners made for color-treated hair are an ideal choice. Add in a weekly deep-conditioning mask, and you’ll be all set (this is only untrue for curly hair that’s also fine, which can get weighed down by too-heavy products). Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask is a concentrated boost of much-needed hydration.

After preserving color via shampoo and conditioner, Wilson suggests allowing styling products to take center stage when it comes to defining curls. Thankfully all those drying, alcohol-laden gels and sprays that made curls look like uncooked ramen noodles have been replaced by creams and serums, which polish and smooth curls with a soft finish. Two to try: Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Waves Collection Creme Pomade for everyday styling, and Salon Series by Ouidad Mongongo Oil Multi Use Hair Treatment, for brittle hair that needs serious healing and and added shine.



We sort of like the modern day Disney title of the classic fairytale "Rapunzel" better than the original. Why? Because we’re realists and "Tangled" is what being a longhaired princess (or everyday gal) is all about: knots, split ends, damaged hair shafts and general mane malaise.

Consider this: Hair grows from its roots at an average rate of one centimeter per month. That means that if your hair is past your shoulders, which makes it at least 16 inches long (about 40 centimeters) then your ends are over three years old! Just think about all the environmental abuse they’ve been through. All of these aggressors chip away at each hair’s cuticle, causing it to frizz out, feel brittle and be more prone to breakage.

MORE: Turn Brittle Hair Soft Again

It almost sounds like a miracle that anyone actually has long hair in the first place.

Yet, long, thick locks that have blinding shine and touchable softness remain to be the beacon of beauty, youth and vitality. The good news: It actually doesn’t take a miracle to make that happen. Using the right kinds of products and being mindful of your styling moves can ensure your hair stays healthy as it grows longer and longer and longer.

First, try not to wash your hair every day. “Daily washing will actually dry it out. Instead, skip every other day and use a dry shampoo if your roots are oily or your hair looks limp,” says New York based celebrity hairstylist Creighton Bowman, who works with Felicity Huffman and Jane Krakowski. When you do lather up, give your scalp a good massage, which will boost blood flow to your roots, helping follicles to function at peak performance and stimulate hair growth.

But don’t mess with the rest of your hair too much. Hair is actually even more fragile when wet because it can absorb as much as 45 percent of its own weight in water, causing it to stretch 2 percent longer and up to 20 percent wider—that’s a lot of tress stress! So suds up gently. Also, avoid using very hot water, because the heat will cause the hair shaft to open up and cause frizz. Always use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner so hair gets clean but still stays soft and manageable.

When you’re out of the shower, blot-dry your hair with a super absorbent, microfiber towel. Don’t rub back and forth with a regular nubby bath towel. Again, since you hair is still wet, it’s extra fragile and you must treat it with TLC. Smooth a detangling spray from ear level down to ends (your roots have enough natural sebum, so they don’t need extra product), then use a wide-tooth comb or specific detangling brush on wet hair (see some picks below) to gently remove tangles. Always comb out your ends first, then gently work your way up to roots. This avoids cramming the comb down the whole length of knotted hair.

Look for styling products that also contain conditioning and strengthening ingredients like natural oils (argan, avocado, safflower, etc.), keratin and amino acids. Use a natural boar-bristle brush when styling, and stay away from accessories with metal clasps and tight hairstyles, which can tear your hair.

QUIZ: Is Your Hair Healthy?

As for maintenance, include a deep conditioning mask once a week. Apply it to freshly shampooed hair, then wrap a hot towel around it for 10 minutes, which will open up the hair shaft and let all the moisturizing ingredients sink in. (Tip: Zap a wet hand towel in the microwave for a minute or two.) Rinse out the mask with cool water to seal up your hair cuticles.

Finally, trim your dead ends when necessary. Once split ends start, they’ll progressively get worse and work their way up the mid-shaft of your hair. “Dry, brittle hair may need trims every few weeks while healthier hair can go a few months,” says Bowman.

For this and other hair health articles, check out


Ombré came and conquered. With a vivid shift from dark to light hair and a bold line of demarcation, the trend was no doubt the celebrity favorite for several seasons.

Now that the moment is over (don’t take it personally, ombré—it happens to every trend), top stylists are already waxing poetic about their newest obsession: a reimagined version of the gradation.

Enter sombré (subtle + ombré), a coloring technique that allows for a softer, more natural diffusion that even those of us who aren’t red carpet regulars or bold personalities can actually pull off with ease. Think color that gradually fades from top to bottom, much like a little kid's long hair gets those gorgeous, naturally lighter ends in the summer. It's a look that seems more refined, less fashion-victim-y, and is absolutely appropriate for office environments (unlike crazy, two-toned ombré).

And while brunette ombré-loving beauties like Mila Kunis, Jessica Alba, and Lily Aldridge have already transitioned to the flattering technique for winter, it’s a look that translates to virtually every base shade of color. Even redheads, who didn’t get as much love during the ombré craze, can play with ease.

We were first alerted to sombré by the color experts at L’Oréal Professionnel, who were finding that clients were requesting strong color for fall, but wanted it to be more natural-looking. “Sombré is a fantastic evolution from ombré. I’m living for beautiful, rich, tortoise shell shades and jewel tones of garnet and amethyst, all of which look amazing in sombré style,” says L’Oréal Professionnel Artist Jason Backe, who uses the ammonia-free salon INOA line to achieve the look.

Other color pairing ideas to consider: sun-kissed warmth for blondes, shimmer bronze on brunette, redheads with rose gold and cinnamon for deep darks. Like its cousin, sombré is ultra forgiving to growing roots, and you’ll likely be able to sneak more time in between colorings than usual.

Sombré also helps prevent highlights from taking over your hair—like when you go for a couple of touch-ups, and suddenly you’re an all-over blonde six months later. With sombré, maintaining gently contrasting depth is part of the technique.

“With this look, you still get to enjoy forgiven roots and ribbons of pretty highlights, but women feel more polished than they do with ombré, because it’s natural and subtle,” says San Diego salon owner and stylist Jet Rhys.

And according to Beverly Hills celebrity colorist Kim Vo, you can achieve sombré with a single process and final toning glaze for shine. Which means that if you’re going to a salon to get the look, it’ll cost less than other more complicated color options.

Considering the ease of sombré, we predict this is one trend that will be around for quite a while.

MORE: Your Colored Hair Care Shopping Guide


Photo Courtesy of MahoganyCurls

The breakthrough comes from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), where researchers successfully grew human hair by mimicking a cell behavior that is thought to give rodents perpetual hair growth—a method that is particularly exciting for women experiencing hair loss.

The secret lies in dermal papillae cells, which help form and nourish hair follicles. When human cells of this kind are transplanted, they revert to basic skin cells and lose the ability to birth new follicles. But when the same is done to rodent dermal papillae cells, they form clumps that scientists think allow the papillae to interact and release signals that reprogram skin to grow new hair follicles.

“This suggested that if we cultured human papillae in such a way as to encourage them to aggregate the way rodent cells do spontaneously, it could create the conditions needed to induce hair growth in human skin,” says first author Claire A. Higgins, Ph.D., associate research scientist.

While the idea had been hypothesized by scientists for about 40 years, no team had successfully translated the idea in experiments. Until now.

The CUMC group harvested and cloned cells from seven human donors into tissue culture. After a few days, the new cultured papillae were transplanted in human skin that had been grafted onto the backs of mice. In five of the seven tests, new hair growth emerged that lasted at least six weeks. The researchers used DNA technology to confirm that the new hairs were human, and genetically matched the donors.

The news is major for the hair loss industry, where current treatments can only move existing hair follicles from one part of the scalp to another (aka, hair plugs), stimulate growth in still-active follicles, or just simply slow the rate of hair thinning. The approach could significantly expand the use of hair transplantation to women with hair loss, who tend to have insufficient donor hair.

“This approach has the potential to transform the medical treatment of hair loss,” says co-study leader Angela M. Christiano, Ph.D., a Richard and Mildred Rhodebeck Professor of Dermatology and professor of genetics & development. “Our method…could make hair transplantation available to individuals with a limited number of follicles, including those with female-pattern hair loss, scarring alopecia, and hair loss due to burns.”

Unfortunately, the treatment isn’t quite ready for primetime yet since a consistent and tested methodology still needs establishing—but the team is optimistic that clinical trials could begin in the near future.

MORE: 7 Fixes For Thinning Hair


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