These 5 Stylist-Approved Hair Hacks Will Ensure You Get Out The Door On Time

By Ashleigh Cometti
Hair stylist Michael Beel used Dyson for a photoshoot with model Holly Rose Emery in volume four of Viva Magazine. Photo / Mara Sommer

Appearing perfectly polished with minimal effort? Yes, please.

I’ve recently returned to work from maternity leave. And while I’ve always been acutely aware of how time-poor I am, nothing hammers this home more than attempting to appear presentable for the office whilst simultaneously slinging pieces of toast to a hungry

While I’ve managed to whittle my makeup routine down to a speedy 10 minutes (that’s record time for someone like me), my hair always seems to suffer. It’s long, thick and takes a lifetime to blow dry, which means more often than not I’m either a) leaving it to air-dry, or b) twisting it into a low bun.

To help me on my quest, I recruited award-winning hairstylist Michael Beel for his hot take on how to style my hair (and yours) to perfection without spending hours doing so.

As the former owner and creative director of Wellington’s Buoy Salon & Spa for the last 26 years, Michael brings with him a wealth of knowledge when it comes to caring for and styling hair.

These days, you’ll find Michael at Salute Hair & Day Spa in Lower Hutt three days per week while he pursues his freelance editorial career both in Aotearoa and across the ditch. In a rare move, the award-winning hairstylist has opened his books to new clients (so run, don’t walk).

Michael’s Top 5 Hair Hacks

Mermaid hair made easy

One of the simplest ways to save time in the morning is to style hair the night before, Michael says, especially if the goal is a style with a slight bend in it. Depending on your hair length and texture, gathering your hair into plaits around your head before you snooze is an excellent way to ensure your hair doesn’t wind up in a knotty mess, but also to create movement and texture.

“Plait slightly damp hair the night before into four to six large plaits around the head with a strong centre part,” Michael says. “In the morning, take the hair out of its plaits, shake it out with a little dry shampoo or texture spray like the L’Oréal Professionel Tecni Art Morning After Dust, $40, and you’re going to have TikTok famous “mermaid hair”.

If you want to polish the style slightly more, you can use a diffuser attachment with your hairdryer to heat hair slightly, or clamp a hair straightener over each braid to set the style.

The power ponytail

Few things say “polished” quite like a slicked-back ponytail or sleek chignon, and Michael says this style is his go-to for when you’re time-poor but want to look powerful.

“Pull your hair back off the face in a super-high pony, either bun it or keep the pony out. This look instantly says power!” he says. To achieve maximum shine, Michael sprays plenty of shine spray over the style — his pick is the ColorWow Extra Mist-ical Shine Spray, $69.

Fend off flyaways by using a toothbrush or old kabuki brush sprayed with hairspray or finishing spray to smooth hair around your hairline. “Just make sure you get a ‘hair only’ one, otherwise brushing your teeth will taste funny!” Michael quips.

Tool to try: Dyson Airwrap

Investing in professional-grade tools is sure to cut your getting ready time in half, especially when it comes to using hair dryers with powerful motors or temperature-controlled straighteners which maintain their heat with every pass through your hair.

Michael’s pick of the crop is the Dyson Airwrap, $1049, which comes with multiple attachments to achieve myriad hair looks with relative ease. He says the tool is designed for women who struggle with styling their hair at home, and adds: “Five minutes using this multi-attachment styling tool and you can have a salon-looking blowout in no time. It’s easy to use whether you want volume, straight, curl or just some soft glam movement.”

Unlike other hot tools which can sizzle hair while they style, the Dyson Airwrap uses a lower heat setting, meaning hair is kept healthy, Michael says.

Focus on your face

If you can’t bear the thought of having to style every strand, consider styling the hair on the top layer or just around your face instead, Michael says. “It can instantly transform your natural, lived-in hair texture into something that has a little bit of polish,” he adds.

“Whether that’s re-curling to get rid of some frizz, a quick glide over with straightening irons or a quick blow-dry, it doesn’t have to take all day. Less hair to style = more time lying in bed.”

Styling bangs is a slightly different story — you’ll need to wet them first before reaching for any hot tool. A spray bottle filled with water will do the trick, then you can blow dry and style them to perfection, even if the rest of your hair is slicked back into a low bun.

Celebrate your natural hair texture

Working with your hairdresser to find the right haircut for you is key when it comes to daily styling, it’ll save you time and stress if your cut is one that falls beautifully and works with your unique hair type.

“A great haircut that works with your natural hair texture that requires no maintenance will be your friend. Your hairdresser should be able to show you how to style it with a bit of leave-in styling product to get the best out of your natural texture,” Michael says.

Not to mention an in-salon blow dry should give you a few days’ wear at least, providing you have the right products at home to keep it looking fresh.

A good texturising spray is your best bet to revive second-day hair, while also adding texture and movement. Simply flip your head upside down and spray it over your hair, before flipping it back the right way and tweaking your style slightly. If your hair is curly, a shine spray will help fill any little pockets in the curl with its light-reflecting molecules, making each curl appear more defined and glossy.

Rather than think of the beside-the-basin spiel as an up-sell, Michael says it’s an opportunity for stylists to share their picks of products that will work best for your hair type, texture and shape.

“It’s not a sales pitch, it’s because we genuinely care! So trust us, listen and take them home. That’s how you’re going to get salon-looking hair a lot easier at home, using the products that we use.”

Don’t know what hair tool you should buy? Read our guide to the latest, greatest gadgets.

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