Hairstyling Cheat Sheet: A Step-by-Step Guide to 3 Right-Now Styles

The most popular hairstyles of the season are actually easy to DIY. We spoke with a top stylist at a New York City salon to break down the gorgeous looks step-by-step.

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The sophisticated curl

Step 1: Start with air-dried hair and a beach-waving tool or medium barrel curling wand.

Hair-Styling-Cheat-Sheet--A-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-3-Right-Now-StylesPhoto by Bryce Gruber Lauren Thompson, a lead stylist at Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York, is especially enthusiastic about this easy DIY hairstyle because it's perfect for anyone with some texture in their hair, ranging from loose waves to tight coils, and the style tends to wear well over the course of several days. Who doesn't love a hairstyle they can look great for days with minimal touchups? For all these styles, start with freshly washed hair (these are the best shampoos for your hair type). Lauren recommends the Sarah Potempa Beachwaver for small-medium coils, but a regular 3/4-inch curling iron makes a fine backup. Alternate the direction in which the small sections of hair are wrapped around the barrel for a natural-looking curl pattern. (Before heat-styling, always take these steps to protect your hair from damage.)

Step 2: Curl all the hair sections near your face toward the back of your head.

Hair-Styling-Cheat-Sheet--A-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-3-Right-Now-StylesPhoto by Bryce Gruber Starting from about two inches back from your face, curl each section toward the back of your head, otherwise Lauren says you'll risk looking like you have 90s prom hair, and that's definitely not the goal. To finish the look, set your tresses with a small amount of hairspray, and then work your fingers through the bottoms of your hair to loosen the curls and make them look more natural.

The modern rocker French twist

Step 1: Start by sectioning off the top of your hair into a ponytail.

Hair-Styling-Cheat-Sheet--A-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-3-Right-Now-StylesPhoto by Bryce Gruber Remember when the French twist was the go-to style for every woman headed to somewhere important? There's a new twist in town, and it's slightly edgier and cooler, and definitely easier to do thanks to this style being appropriate for all hair textures. It can also be done on dry, damp, or even fairly wet hair. Angle your fingers or comb from the outer corners of your eyebrows, gathering the hair into a clear elastic.

Step 2: Tease the ponytail and wrap it.

Hair-Styling-Cheat-Sheet--A-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-3-Right-Now-StylesPhoto by Bryce Gruber You'll need a comb or a teasing brush to tease the small ponytail's contents before wrapping them in a circular motion around the base of the ponytail itself. Use a bobby pin or two to secure the teased mini-bun.

Step 3: Continue making small, linear mini-buns down the back of your head.

Hair-Styling-Cheat-Sheet--A-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-3-Right-Now-StylesPhoto by Bryce Gruber Remember to use 2- to 3-inch sections so the buns don't become too heavy. To set your look, Lauren suggests using hairspray to tame any flyaways around the forehead too.

The downtown timeless casual wave

Step 1: Start with rough-dried or smooth-dried hair.

Hair-Styling-Cheat-Sheet--A-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-3-Right-Now-StylesPhoto by Bryce Gruber This look is perennially "in" according to the Nunzio Saviano team, and we couldn't agree more—it's all over celebs, runways, and social media for a reason. It's glam, polished, and casual all at once, and can last for days on a variety of hair textures without much work at all. While your hair doesn't have to be perfectly smooth and blown out to start this look, it's important to start with a relatively smooth surface. If you're hair is naturally straight, you can rough dry it with an ionic hair dryer like the T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i dryer, or get naturally curly hair mostly smoothed out with a round brush and a frizz-fighting dryer.

Step 2: Use a large-barrel curling iron to create the casual waves.

Hair-Styling-Cheat-Sheet--A-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-3-Right-Now-StylesPhoto by Bryce Gruber Lauren prefers using a 1 1/4-inch curling iron to get the perfect loose, casual look that plays well from day to night. The key, she says, is to alternate the direction in which sections are wrapped around the barrel, and to leave at least an inch or two at the very bottom of the hair off the wand. The last inch or so of hair should never touch the barrel, creating a lived-in look that is super hot right now. Make sure to curl the sections closest to the face away from the hairline.

Step 3: Tousle with fingers, not a brush, and set with spray.

Hair-Styling-Cheat-Sheet--A-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-3-Right-Now-StylesPhoto by Bryce Gruber Add a spritz or two of something that offers a flexible hold, like Dove Flexible Hold Hairspray, and watch this hairstyle get better as the day goes on. It should last nicely for two to three days, but Lauren recommends touching up the face-framing pieces with a fresh curl after the first 24 hours or so.

Done and done!

Hair-Styling-Cheat-Sheet--A-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-3-Right-Now-StylesPhoto by Bryce Gruber If you're really rushing out the door, you'll want to have these five-minute hair hacks at your fingertips.
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