A hairstyle, hairdo, or haircut refers to the styling of hair, usually on the human scalp. Sometimes, this could also mean an editing of facial or body hair. The fashioning of hair can be considered an aspect of personal grooming, fashion, and cosmetics, although practical, cultural, and popular considerations also influence some hairstyles.
Stylists often wash a subject’s hair first, so that the hair is cut while still slightly damp. Compared to dry hair, wet hair can be easier to manage in a cut/style situation because the added weight and surface tension of the water cause the strands to stretch downward and cling together along the hair’s length, holding a line and making it easier for the stylist to create a form. It is important to note that this method of cutting hair while wet, may be most suitable (or common) for straight hair types. Curly, kinky and other types of hair textures with considerable volume may benefit from cutting while dry, as the hair is in a more natural state and the hair can be cut evenly.
Hair cutting or hair trimming is intended to create or maintain a specific shape and form. There are ways to trim one’s own hair but usually another person is enlisted to perform the process, as it is difficult to maintain symmetry while cutting hair at the back of one’s head. Its extent may range from merely trimming the uneven ends of the hair to a uniform length to completely shaving the head.
When not completely shaved off, the overall shape of the hair is strongly influenced by the length of the hairs; shorter hairs naturally tend to stand up more whereas longer hairs lay down under gravity. Thus the overall shape and to a significant extent the texture of the hairstyle is usually controlled by trimming it to particular lengths.
Cutting hair is often done with hair clipper, scissors and razors. Combs and hair grips are often employed to isolate a section of hair which is then trimmed.
Although trimming enhances the hair’s appearance by removing damaged or split ends, it does not promote faster growth or remove all damage along the length of the hair.
Brushing and combing
Brushes and combs are used to organize and untangle the hair, encouraging all of the strands to lie in the same direction and removing debris such as lint, dandruff, or hairs that have already shed from their follicles but continue to cling to the other hairs.
There are all manner of detangling tools available in a wide variety of price ranges. Combs come in all shapes and sizes and all manner of materials including plastics, wood, and horn. Similarly, brushes also come in all sizes and shapes, including various paddle shapes. Most benefit from using some form of a wide tooth comb for detangling. Most physicians advise against sharing hair care instruments like combs and clips, to prevent spreading hair conditions like dandruff and head lice.
The historical dictum to brush hair with one hundred strokes every day is somewhat archaic, dating from a time when hair was washed less frequently; the brushstrokes would spread the scalp’s natural oils down through the hair, creating a protective effect. Now, however, this does not apply when the natural oils have been washed off by frequent shampoos. Also, hairbrushes are now usually made with rigid plastic bristles instead of the natural boar’s bristles that were once standard; the plastic bristles increase the likelihood of actually injuring the scalp and hair with excessively vigorous brushing. However, traditional brushes with boar’s bristles are still commonly used among African Americans and those with coarse or kinky textures to soften and lay down curls and waves.
Hair dryers speed the drying process of hair by blowing air, which is usually heated, over the wet hair shaft to accelerate the rate of water evaporation.
Excessive heat may increase the rate of shaft-splitting or other damage to the hair. Hair dryer diffusers can be used to widen the stream of air flow so it is weaker but covers a larger area of the hair.
Hair dryers can also be used as a tool to sculpt the hair to a very slight degree. Proper technique involves aiming the dryer such that the air does not blow onto the face or scalp, which can cause burns.
Braiding and updos
Tight or frequent braiding may pull at the hair roots and cause traction alopecia. Rubber bands with metal clasps or tight clips, which bend the hair shaft at extreme angles, can have the same effect.
If hair is pinned too tightly, or the whole updo slips causing pulling on the hair in the follicle at the hair root, it can cause aggravation to the hair follicle and result in headaches. Although some African-Americans may use braiding extensions (long term braiding hairstyle) as a form of convenience and/or as a reflection of personal style, it is important not to keep the braids up longer than needed to avoid hair breakage or hair loss. Proper braiding technique and maintenance can result in no hair damage even with repeated braid styles.
Curling and straightening
Curling and straightening hair requires the stylist to use a curling rod or a flat iron to get a desired look. These irons use heat to manipulate the hair into a variety of waves, curls and reversing natural curls and temporarily straightening the hair. Straightening or even curling hair can damage it due to direct heat from the iron and applying chemicals afterwards to keep its shape. There are irons that have a function to straighten or curl hair even when its damp (from showering or wetting the hair), but this requires more heat than the average iron(temperatures can range from 300–450 degrees). Heat protection sprays, and hair repairing shampoos and conditioners can protect the hair from damage caused by the direct heat from the irons.