I will start off with the tools/equipment needed to cater to most hairstyling needs.
- Hairdryer: A decent hairdryer will not only last you years, but can be used to add volume and body to hair, smooth ends and quicken your styling time. As a general guideline any good hairdryer will have power of 2000w or more.
- Hair Straighteners: Modern ceramic straighteners have revolutionized home hair styling, with many of us at a loss without our beloved G.H.D.'s!! Straighteners really is a deceptive name for this styling tool, you can achieve a variety of looks from smoothing straight to flicks,curls,waves and volume in any hair length greater than 4 inches. It just takes a little patience and practice to master the use of this styling tool and your hair is ready for any occasion!
- Brushes/ Combs: Your hair type and desired look will dictate what brushes/combs should be essential to you. As a general guide, a wide tooth detangling comb, a pin tail comb, flat vent brush, a small/medium/large barrel brush for short/medium/long hair to blow dry with and a backcombing brush for body/upstyling. This combo of 5 is all you need and they are readily available in most chemists or Penney's stores for reasonable prices!
- Clips and hair ties: A small selection of hair clips for pinning up hair, sectioning clips to help you style your hair and hair ties for ponytails/ upstyles are handy to have, especially for long haired ladies who want to save a bit of time with their hair styling. Again available from most chemists or Penny's for 2 euro a packet. Try to get clips that are similar to your own hair colour for a more polished look.
I will now move on to products, which is where most of us tend to fall into bad habits and have half used bottled hair miracles strewn in a forgotten drawer! The type of products you need depend on your hair type and texture but for styling purposes only 4 products are really essential.
- Blow drying product: This is where your individual hair type really come into play. Mousse (volume, curls), leave-in conditioner (dry hair, heat protection), hair oils( smoothing, nourishment) and lotions (volume, smoothing, heat protection) all fall into this category. It is essential at this stage of styling not to overload your hair with product, one of these should be enough. Most products now are clearly labelled and divided into hair types, so chose the type which matches your own needs.
- Finishing product: These are for use after you have dried your hair to polish your style, again dependent on your hair type. Serums/glazes are popular for smoothing and shine, waxes, putty's, clays for hair texture, and sprays for hold/shine. One type of finishing product is normally sufficient for longer lasting style.
- Hairspray: Every girl should have a tin of hairspray! It can help to hold any style on any hair length, which in a country like Ireland with wild weather is a must and is the foundation for up-styling your own hair.
- Dry Shampoo: I am always praising the virtues of dry shampoo, it is such an underrated product that can make d.i.y. styling easier. From freshening up a day old blow-dry and fringes, to a backcombing aid without the stickiness of hairspray, to adding matt texture to curls and short hair, it is a product no styling kit should be without!