When it comes to our hair, many of us are on an endless quest to find the style. Yet you can have an arsenal of products, a standing appointment at the hottest salon, or enough combs, brushes, flat irons and curlers to rival those of top stylists and still fall short of your goal. Great style requires learning what works—and what doesn’t—for your hair and your life. With that in mind, we asked seven women who found beautiful do’s to tell us how they did it. Take note!
As the coanchor of CBS 2 News This Morning in New York City, Shon Gables can’t afford to have a bad-hair day. “I have a high-maintenance do, and there’s no way on God’s green earth that I could meet the demands of my job without a team of really qualified stylists,” she says.
Why it suits her: “I tried to do my own hair and it fell out, leaving me with just an inch all over.”
Why it works: “Both of my stylists have excellent technique. They keep my hair camera-ready.”
Words of wisdom: “It’s worth it to find a qualified stylist whose technique will keep your hair healthy and great-looking.”
Joan Morgan, journalist, author, public speaker, full-time mom
In times of major life transitions, Joan (left) has always found solace in a close cut. “I cut my hair when I had my son. Later I opened a café and cut it then too,” she recalls. So when this long-time city resident recently moved to the country, “it was definitely time for a haircut.” She admits, “I like hair in theory, but I cannot stand the maintenance. I can’t think of a reason why I would let mine grow again.”
Why it works: “It’s cool, it’s easy and I feel as if it’s really me. It’s extremely liberating.”
Words of wisdom: “The trick to carrying off hair this short is you really have to feel that you look good, and walk through the world that way. I’m at the stage in my life where I’m perfectly comfortable with that.”
Chrishaunda Lee, CEO, founder, Chrishaunda Lee Public Relations and Marketing
As the head of her own PR firm, Chrishaunda (right ) says, “I’m all over the place, meeting with people and traveling.” Years ago she discovered that a weave was the best option to keep pace with her lifestyle.
Why it suits her: “I like the polished look that straight styles offer, but my hair is very fine and can’t take the constant heat styling needed to keep it straight.”
Why it works: “It’s superversatile. I can go from a boardroom meeting to a business lunch to a black-tie affair without hair drama. I can wear it bone-straight or add color extensions for highlights without worrying about split ends or damaging my own hair, which is now shoulder-length.”
Words of wisdom: “There’s this big stigma about weaves that implies you’re ashamed of your own hair. Not so! If you like versatility and experimenting with different looks, it’s a great way to preserve your hair and keep it healthy.”
Trenesa Stanford-Danuser, executive, wife and mom
“Controlled mania” is the term that Trenesa jokingly uses to describe her busy life as a mother, wife and vice-president of global communications for Origins Natural Resources. After years of frustration from making her hair do “unnatural things,” she went for the ’fro and never looked back.
Why it suits her: “I began to value my hair and my time differently. I was tired of constantly having to spend time in the salon. I wanted to focus my energy elsewhere—on my child, marriage and career.”
Why it works: “My Afro defines me before I say hello. It says I’m bold and self-assured. I’m no longer overly concerned with my hair.”
Words of wisdom: “Select a style that gives you the freedom to express yourself but also time to do things important to you.”
Lisa Richards, fellow at the Vilar Institute for Arts Management at The Kennedy Center
Lisa immersed herself in the arts at the tender age of 12 as a dancer and actress. Now, with her sights set on becoming an arts executive, the hair decision she made in her youth still serves her well.
Why it suits her: “As a dancer, I couldn’t possibly go to the hairdresser every five minutes when my hair and scalp were sweaty.”
Why it works: “On a daily basis, it takes me all of ten minutes to do my hair. On a rainy day it’s even better because humidity and moisture are good for locks. They’ve become a signature for me.”
Words of wisdom: “Look within for the inner beauty, and then the external beauty will follow.”
Aria Riccardo, model, chef
Years of strutting down runways and posing for the camera took Aria’s hair through many changes. But seven years ago she found a look that worked, and she stuck with it. “I wanted a new, easy-to-manage hairstyle,” she says, so she took a shortcut to a natural curly crop. “My mom has always had this hairstyle, and I love it. It lets you see all of me.”
Why it suits her: “Between modeling, working as a chef and taking culinary classes, I’m always on the move.”
Why it works: “This style is ideal for both of my professions. My hair no longer has to withstand the damaging effects of styling for modeling, and as a chef I can tuck it neatly under my cap.”
Words of wisdom: “If you lead a busy life, find a style that’s convenient and low-maintenance.”