10 Hacks Only Hairstylists Know

Hairstylists are full of all sorts of cool, unconventional tricks that make styling and coloring hair a cinch. We asked a few top pros to reveal some of their best secrets.

1. Sweet'N Low cuts dye irritation

The chemicals in hair dye, like ammonia, can cause an irritated, itchy scalp. To prevent it, Stephanie Brown, colorist at Nunzio Salon in New York City, adds a few packets of Sweet'N Low to the color mix. The pH levels of the sugar substitute help offset or lessen ammonia's uncomfy side effect, she says.

2. SPF protects against frizz

Want a slicked-back style for a summer day? Johnny Lavoy, celebrity stylist for PRO Beauty Tools, uses a dollop of a creamy sunscreen as a styler. The thick lotion tames frizz while giving your strands and scalp some protection against UVA and UVB rays.

3. Baby powder makes a great dry shampoo

When Devin Toth, hairstylist at SCK Salon in New York City, needs to refresh hair or build volume, he reaches for baby powder instead of dry shampoo. "I like the application because you can pour it on one specific spot," he says. "Sprays cover a broader area." Or, if sprayed too close to the hair, it delivers too much product, he says.

4. Hidden ponytails are the key to sleek styles

When creating a tucked-behind-the-ear look, Toth pulls the section of hair taut and anchors in a low pony behind the nape of the neck. The pony will be completely hidden by the rest of your hair resting on top of it, and your tuck will stay in place all day, he says.

See hair hacks that will get you out the door faster.

5. Lip balm prevents dye stains

Nothing is worse than a ring-around-the-hairline stain from hair dye. Lavoy prevents it by coating the surrounding skin using a stick of lip balm before coloring hair. The waxy balm acts as a colorproof barrier.

6. Hairspray can smooth hair -- but not in the way that you think

Matt Fugate, Kérastase Paris Consulting Hairstylist uses the actual can to smooth flyaways. Holding it like a round brush, Fugate places the can to the hair and runs it down from root to tip.

7. Aquaphor creates smooth styles

Enzo Angileri, celebrity hairstylist for Infusium 23, always keeps a tube of the rich skin moisturizer in his on-set bag. First, Angileri thins out the thick ointment by rubbing it between his fingers. Then he applies it directly to flyaways. Angileri says you can also apply it to dehydrated ends. "They appear healthy and shiny immediately," he says.

8. Dry shampoo helps bobby pins stay put

Celebrity hair and makeup artist Erica Whelan spritzes her bobby pins with Pssst! Dry Shampoo ($7; ulta.com) before popping them into hair. The powdery coating gives the pins more grip, so they won't slip out of even the finest strands.

9. Eyeshadow covers grays

To cover silver-y roots in pinch, celebrity hairstylist Ricardo Rojas dusts them with powder eyeshadow in the same shade as his client's hair.

10. Coffee colors hair

A shot of espresso doesn't just give you a much-needed energy boost. When the goal is a deep chocolate hue, Rojas adds the strong drink to his hair color mix.

Life-Changing Hair Hacks

Flat irons are for so much more than straightening your hair. Learn what else this magic wand can do for your locks and more!


  1. As a retired hairdreser I would NOT recommend trying any of this.

    1. hence your retired

    2. Why not?

  2. I’m desperate. My top hair, mostly sides, is poor and fizzy but not curly, compared to my ‘underhair’ which is smooth with structured curls. Suggestions please. Thank you for reply

  3. I love this! How cool to use flat iron to curl! Just heat and twirl.
    And, I like that makeup tip. Useful.

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