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Recently, Paul Mitchell sent over their gorgeous, rose gold limited edition Express Ion Smooth+ flat iron, Sculpting Brush, and a matching compact mirror/brush, and asked if I would be interested in using them to create a style for their Big Night Out (#PMBigNightOut) collection. Um, yes! My face lit up when I opened my box of goodies and I couldn’t wait to dig in.
Having been a hairstylist for 10 years and using Paul Mitchell products in the salon and at home, I stand behind their products 100%.Not only is the iron the perfect color (Dang, they’re all sold out of the rose gold now, but they have lots of other pretty ones!), but it heats up to 410 degrees in just 60 seconds, and has a digital readout of the temperature. The default temperature is 360 degrees (what I use), but if you have fine/damaged hair, or very coarse hair, you can adjust it to your liking! The edges are beveled, so you will never get a line in your hair while straightening and it’s conducive to creating flips and waves!
Even though I’m a hairstylist, and I originally started this blog (in 2010) to educate people about their hair, this is actually my first step-by-step styling tutorial! I hope you’ll follow along with me at home and try it out.
This is what my hair looks like after I let it air dry and wear it up for a couple of days. I always recommend starting with “second day hair” when you’re doing an updo. If it’s too clean, it will be slippery and won’t want to stay put. You can also spray your hair with dry shampoo for a little extra grip. First, tame the beast! I brushed it out with my Sculpting Brush… I didn’t take a photo of that, but just imagine my hair 2.5 times bigger than pictured above.
Flat iron your hair starting underneath and pinning the rest up. Let down a 1-2 inch section of hair, and spray it with Hot Off The Press thermal protection hairspray before passing the flat iron over it. This will protect your hair from the heat of the iron, as well as keep the frizz down and keep your hair straighter.
You can see in this photo that I lead every section with a fine-tooth comb, followed by the flat iron. It takes a little practice, but it really helps get your hair its smoothest. My clients have remarked that this tip changed their flat iron game forever. I finished with Super Skinny Serum on the mid-shaft and ends to add some shine and make it feel smoother.
Make a deep side part, and then french braid the sections of hair in front of your ears and secure with a hair band. They don’t need to be very tight! Pull gently at the pieces of your braids to fluff them up and make them look fuller.
Next, backcomb the crown of your hair. You can do a little or a lot, depending on how much poof you want. I didn’t do a ton, I just wanted a little lift. But feel free to tease it to the moon if you’d like. I won’t judge, I used to be the queen of scene hair. I’m using a regular comb here, but really, a backcombing brush is the way to go. Paul Mitchell makes a great one, and it gives your hair a lot more fluff with a lot less effort.
Gently smooth your backcombing and pin the ends of your braids underneath so that they’re hidden. I like using hair pins, as opposed to bobby pins. The prongs are wider set and they’re better for holding large chunks of hair.
Pull all of your hair around to the side and secure it behind your ear with a hairband. Be sure not to pull down too hard on the crown, you don’t want to smush your backcombing job!
Loosely braid the ponytail you’ve just created and secure with a hairband.
Now pull the sections of your braid to make it look fuller, starting near the hairband and working your way up, and then back down. Generally, the more you pull, the fuller it will get, but after a certain point, it will just start to look loopy. So you may need to experiment a little to find the sweet spot.
Voila! You’re ready for any occasion with a style that’s chic but not fussy. Alternatively, You could pin up the part that is hanging down and go with a slightly more formal braided bun.
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By Kelsi Eldredge