There are two things Byrdie HQ collectively agrees can perform a 180 on our moods on even the most hair-pulling of bad days: a conveniently timed compliment and/or an absolutely killer hair day. Of course, there are plenty of other things that make us feel happy and fulfilled falling under a slightly less superficial umbrella, but there's nothing wrong with admitting the confidence- and smile-boosting effect of something as easy as saying something nice or nailing your curl technique, right?
So we thought we might as well pay it forward and combine all of the above by showcasing the specific hairstyles five of our editors consistently get complimented on and asked about the most. Be it at work, via Instagram, or in the bathroom at a bar—seriously, tipsy girls in bathrooms are some of the most congratulatory and kindest we've experienced. Curious to know which hairstyles have served Byrdie HQ best for gaining a litany of compliments? Keep scrolling… Yes, texture and body are most definitely a theme.
Amanda Montell, Features Editor
"I wear my hair like this almost every day, which is probably why it's the style that yields the most compliments. Styling short(ish) hair can be tricky, so I figure since I’ve kind of nailed this one down, why fix what ain't broke?
"People usually ask how I achieve these 'Margot Robbie' waves, which I find endlessly flattering. All it takes is a flat iron. Place inch-wide sections between the plates and then a few inches down the shaft, curve the iron in, then out, and then in at the ends. Switch directions in a few places for a messier look. Then finish with a tiny spritz of Kristin Ess texture spray, and that's literally it! If you're feeling fancy, you could add a cute hairpin. I love the wordplay ones from InStyler."
Hallie Gould, Senior Editor
"I'm usually an air-dry-and-go type of gal—mostly because I've come to really love my natural curl pattern and try to heat-style it as little as possible. But I do tend to get a lot of compliments when I blow out my hair. It could be just because it's different than my usual look, but either way I'll take it. Pre-styling, I take a shower and wash my hair with Olaplex Shampoo and Conditioner. It's the only thing that'll keep my dry, breakage-prone hair hydrated and healthy. Then, I lightly (very, very gently) pat my wet hair with a towel as to not mess with the cuticle or cause split ends. I use two pumps of Shu Uemura's Essence Absolue after brushing it out with a Tangle Teezer and apply from mid-lengths to ends, really working it into the ends to make sure everything is properly protected and moisturised.
"Once my hair's about 30% dry, I use a blow-dryer to dry it, without straightening it entirely. I make sure to keep some of the texture in there so it won't be too smooth and slippery when I start creating the bends with an iron. My hair is fine, so making sure some of the texture sticks is key to keeping it from falling or losing too much body. Once it's dry, I go in with a curling iron and make only slight, undone waves. I use my fingers to break up each one so it maintains that second-day bend rather than an actual barrel curl. Once I make it all the way around my head, I spray in Morrocanoil's Dry Shampoo. It smells amazing and creates the perfect gritty texture without product buildup. I spray the roots to add lift and the ends to create a piecey look. Voilà. That's all it takes. I usually keep the style for four days, adding a bit more dry shampoo if necessary as the days go by and wash after the fourth day."
Maya Allen, Assistant Editor
"It's pretty affirming to know that I get complimented on my natural hair the most. For so long, I did everything I could to conceal the curls that grew out of my head because I was afraid of standing out. I wanted straight, silky hair like everyone else I grew up around, which was a predominately white neighborhood. So I obsessively straightened my curls and wore long extensions to blend in. Now, I love my free-flowing, messy, cricked curls so, so much. People literally turn their heads at my fro while I'm walking down the street. I feel so confidently me.
"The key for styling is really in the lineup of products I use to care for, prep, and style my strands in their natural state. Pantene's Gold Series was made especially for textured hair, and you can tell; it's seriously the truth. I'm in love with how silky my hair feels after shampooing. I swear my strands drink this right up. It also makes my detangling process 10 times easier. As for conditioner, I've confessed my undying love for this conditioning cap from Briogeo, and I'll say it again: I'm hooked. It's essentially an at-home salon treatment that gives my hair much-needed TLC when I'm lagging in the moisture department. It feels so soothing on my scalp, so I know it's working its magic. My favourite thing to do is leave this cap on for hours while I'm home, which gives me an excuse to sit on my couch and watch Netflix.
"To enhance the definition and hold of my curls, DevaCurl's coconut-filled formula keeps my curls looking shapely and defined throughout the day. Dryness is also something I'm always fighting, and this keeps my hair extra hydrated. Then, adding this Mizani jelly-based pudding to my hair section by section makes a world of a difference in how defined my curls look the day after. It adds bounce and moisture without weighing my hair down or leaving me with that gross sticky after-effect."
Erin Jahns, Assistant Editor
"Straight, ultra-smooth hair has pretty much been my signature hair MO ever since I began caring how my hair looked. Eight grade, perhaps? Anyway, thanks to its slippery and fine texture and my incapability whenever I try to twist my strands around a curling wand, straight blowouts became my default, and I was okay with that! In fact, since moving to Los Angeles and having worked with a few of the most talented hairstylists in the industry, I've actually been told my signature straight strands are probably the most flattering. That said, I've never received compliments when I wear the look.
"So you can imagine the large scale to which my world was rocked when celebrity hairstylist and makeup guru Joey Maalouf came into Byrdie HQ a few weeks ago to transform my limp, lusterless head of hair into a full-blown curl moment—aka major curls. Even though the look was for a story, never in my life have I gotten so many compliments on my hair in a short, 24-hour time period. While they did fall throughout the night, they still looked amazing the next morning, which I blame on the preservation powers of my silk pillowcases. The full tutorial for the look can be found here, but honestly, it's as easy as applying mousse to towel-dried hair, blow-drying and then dedicating about 60 minutes of your life to creating tight and tiny curls. Then, with the help of a wide-tooth comb and finger-fixing, the style comes together beautifully and a tad less precious and Shirley Temple. Even though it's about as far a departure as humanly possible than my trademark straight look, I'm already dreaming about the next time I'll wear it. Because yes, I received more compliments for this hair in one day than I've received on my smooth look my entire life thus far."
Lindsey Metrus, Managing Editor
"My most-complimented hairstyle is definitely when I wear it down in loose waves. I do it so often that I could practically wield a curling iron blindfolded (good for efficiency, perhaps not good for the health of my hair). In any event, I usually curl it all in one go with the GHD Soft Curve curling iron instead of separating into sections to save time. Then, I take a small one-inch section of hair, clamp about halfway down and turn the curling iron away from my face, leaving out a few inches of hair, and then I release the clamp and slide down the section of hair a bit and rotate the curling iron again.
"This method makes it so that the epicenter of the curl is at the center of the hair so that it lasts longer, rather than starting at the end of the section and curling all the way up from there. I then mist all over with hairspray, followed by some Oribe Dry Texture Spray at the root for more lift and volume."