"When a woman changes her hair, she can instantly alter the way she's perceived by the world, says anthropologist Grant McCracken, PhD. "It's like an actress trying out a new role." Play your character right and your hairstyle can land you the job, the guy, the starring part, or It Girl status. To prove it, stylist Serge Normant, global creative director for John Frieda, created the styles here. One woman, four vibes. Take a look...then decide who you want to be — and what you want to get — today.
The Killer JobYou want a potential employer focused on you, not distracted by a frizzfest. “Keep your style smooth, and don’t go for anything crazy,” says Susan Solovic, author of The Girls’ Guide to Power and Success. Normant suggests a soft but polished silhouette. Comb a frizz-taming cream through damp hair (try Redken Smooth Down Detangling Cream Leave-In Smoother, $14.95) before you blow-dry. Rake hair off your face from the ears up, and secure just below the crown (a bit of teasing on top adds glamour). A shine spray, like John Frieda Frizz-Ease 100 Percent Shine Glossing Mist, $5.99, smooths the final look.
The Guy’s Attention
Full locks keep a guy’s eyes planted on you. He can’t help himself: Thick, bouncy hair is a sign of youth and good health, says anthropologist Helen Fisher, PhD. And men are subconsciously drawn to those qualities because they signal fertility. But don’t use three cans of hair spray to pump things up. “Guys are attracted to styles they can run their fingers through,” says Normant. Just work mousse (like Paul Mitchell Sculpting Foam, $7.95) into damp hair before blow-drying. Use a large-barrel curling iron to create waves, part hair down the middle to give the look a slight edge...and then start taking numbers.
Whether you’re auditioning for a reality show or looking to talk up your new venture on the local news, casting agents and producers say you need hair that dazzles. “Shiny hair conveys energy, and that’s what we want to see in a contestant,” says one American Idol producer (exhibits A, B, and C: Kelly Clarkson, Katharine McPhee, and Carrie Underwood). For the perfect effect, rub gel (we like Matrix Vavoom Hold My Body Forming Gel, $13.95) through damp hair. Blow-dry, then curl half-inch sections and pin them against your scalp. Once the hair cools, let curls loose, then brush through them until they morph into soft, light-catching waves. Finish with a hair spray that leaves a layer of high shine, like Biolage Complete Control Extra Hair Spray, $14.95.
“An It Girl gets other women to stare...and then follow her lead,” says Normant (who has helped stars like Sarah Jessica Parker achieve trendsetter status). Short hair is the boldest option (and a Yale study found that cropped locks convey the most confidence), but if you’re not ready to lose length, blunt-cut bangs produce a similarly strong effect. (Leave them a bit longer on one end so you also can rock a side-swept look.) Keep the rest of your hair straight but sultry by working a texturizing foam through dry strands (try V05 Extreme Styling Weightless Volumizing Mousse, $3.49) before you flatiron.
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