On a recent outing, I happened to check my hair in the bathroom mirror and was shocked by the tangled, flat mess that my carefully curled style had morphed into. We've covered how to fix a bad hair day before, but that's when you're at home with your entire arsenal at the ready. I was ill-equipped for this hair crisis: I hadn't packed a travel brush, and my purse was new enough that random bobby pins and hair ties hadn't begun collecting in it yet.
We’re sure this is a familiar situation, so we turned to expert stylists for their best hair-reviving tips for times when you have limited resources (meaning, whatever happens to be in your purse and/or the bathroom) and only seconds to spare.
Keep reading to see these genius tips!
Your only resources are your own two hands and whatever you can find in the bathroom.
Jesse Montana, stylist at Meche Salon in Beverly Hills, says if your hair has fallen flat, flip your head upside down and shake it out, while massaging the roots in a circular motion with your fingers. "It adds volume at the root by giving you a mini tease," he says. To add extra oomph, he says to look in the mirror and use your fingers to rake your hair toward the front using back and forth motions.
Jon Reyman, founder of Spoke and Weal and Jon Reyman Pro, says to turn on the tap, run water over your hands, and then run them through your strands from roots to ends. Don't worry; this won't make you look like a drowned rat. Reyman says a little bit of water actually helps the oils from your hair and the styling products you used earlier to reactivate some of their hold.
Use a scrunching motion if your hair is curly.
Montana's advice for when your curls start to look piecey? “Take the ends of the curls section by section, and hold the ends of the section and use your fingers to lightly pinch up, from the ends up," he says. "It takes your curls from tendrils to loose big volume in seconds."
Time to put your old-school flirting skills to use: "Twirl sections around your finger to create the curl back in your hair," recommends Alessandra Saman, stylist at Meche.
You stashed your makeup bag in your purse, but still have no hair products whatsoever. It's time to improvise.
"If you have eye shadow in your purse, massage shadow into sections of hair on top of the crown to give it a lift and suck up any excess oil," Saman says. (We're going to assume the eye shadow will also have to be in the same shade family as our hair color.)
You can also sub in a translucent finishing powder.
You probably packed them to mop up excess oil on your face, but blotting papers can also be used on your hair, according to Dawn Tracey, colorist at Meche.
She says to pat one over your hairline, neck, and part. If you aren't stocked with blotting papers, use a toilet seat cover instead (a classic beauty hack), as it will have the same effect.
If your hair is frizzing, a dime-sized serving of lotion can help calm it down, Tracey says. Smooth it onto straight hair, or scrunch it gently into curly hair. (She always carries Aquaphor ($6) with her to smooth down baby hairs, tame her brows, and gloss her lips.)
Scrounged from the depths of your purse (or bartered from the girl fixing her makeup next to you).
Reyman suggests twisting your hair up into a trendy yet classic topknot if you find a spare hair tie.
These super-easy hairstyles are simple to replicate with a bobby pin or two and a hair tie.
“You’re beautiful when you are having fun, when you are full of joy," says Reyman. "Sometimes the best accessory is a funny friend who will make you laugh away any momentary insecurities about your mop."
Have you ever had to spruce up your hairstyle in a pinch? Let us know in the comments.