Simple, sexy summer hair: How great would that be? Read on and find out.
At a time when your personal style seems to be shrinking proportionately to your belly's expansion, your hair is the last holdout of the real you. Of course, you don't exactly have hours to spend on styling these days (you're how many chapters behind in What to Expect When You're Expecting?), so you should like what we're about to say: Summer's hottest looks are beyond easy. Think loose waves; soft, flippy up-dos; and not a single heated appliance in sight.
*Ride the wave
Playing up your natural texture is crucial. "The last thing you want to do when you're pregnant is battle with a hot blow dryer to straighten your hair," says Ronald Braso, a stylist at Frédéric Fekkai Salon de Beauté de Provence in New York. So embrace those curls and waves. And remember: The longer the curls, the generally easier they are to handle. Enjoy the hormonally induced new thickness you may be seeing in your hair.
If you have straight, flat hair, abandon the old mousse/blow-dry/tease/ spray routine. Instead, take the easier approach to volume: "Get a cut that adds layers," says Braso. Your hair will automatically look fuller and more in balance with your growing body. Translation: You can avoid Pregnancy Pinhead Syndrome.
*Wash and go
When you're hot and pressed for time, mastering the air-dry is key; during those first weeks after the baby is born, just finding five minutes to shower is a triumph. Start by applying a styling aid to towel-dried hair. If you have fine to medium strands, mist on some styling spray. For curly or thick hair, work in a lightweight shine enhancer or leave-in conditioner. Comb your hair into place; then finger-fluff at the roots to avoid flat results.
Don't want to air-dry completely? Blow-dry a few pieces in front, advises Sandra Yu, national technical director for Rusk hair care. Another option: When Yu wants to get her hair off her face, she separates her bangs into three or four sections, twists each back, and then secures the ends with hairpins. Like any style that pulls hair up and off the face, this super-soft variation on the cornrow theme will make your face look longer and slimmer.
Hair accessories are the simplest way to let your style shine through. "Headbands couldn't be easier, and they work with long or short hair," says Yu. Or, if your roots are showing (a common plight during pregnancy, since you should ditch the dye for now), pop on a bright bandana. The beaded ones are especially hot right now. A third option, hair sticks, can turn a plain old ponytail into a funky, flirty twist.
*Cut with caution
While no summer hair story would be complete without a nod to short hair, we're not going to say what you think we are. True, a cropped top would be cool and convenient right about now, but you may want to think twice about it. "Women's faces tend to become fuller during pregnancy, so closely shorn styles can be unflattering," says Natalie Martino, co-owner of Hair America, a salon in West Hollywood, Calif.
Another short-hair shortcoming: You'll need monthly trims to keep things neat — a difficult (and costly) prospect once a newborn is in the picture. But if you still want to go for the gusto, do a test run, suggests Martino. "Walk around with your hair pulled completely off your face for a few days," she says.
Decided against a drastic cut? Consider getting a versatile, shoulder-length (or slightly shorter) style that leaves long-enough pieces to pull back when the air gets sticky. "Don't worry if a few bits fly free in the front," says Coco, a stylist at New York's Bumble and Bumble salon. "The look is pretty and sexy."