Ask the Experts: How To Break Out of a Hair Rut

Fall is around the corner, and if you've been rocking the same hairstyle since New Year's Day, it's time for a change! Step into the last quarter of the year with a new look and a new you. We chatted with Ursula Stephens, the mane maven behind Rihanna's ever-changing looks, for some advice on how to switch up your style.

Nicole Marie Melton Sep, 05, 2012

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As the old saying goes, "A closed mouth doesn't get fed."  Talk to your close friends about your desire to change up your look and see what they have to say.  You may get a referral for a new stylist you'll love or even a few new ideas on what styles might look good on you.  It never hurts to seek advice from your girlfriends who know you best!

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If you're nervous about changing your hairstyle, experiment with wigs, advises Stephens.  Wigs are an easy, low-commitment way to find a new look you'll love.  Narrow down your hair choices by going through magazines and collecting photos of hairstyles you think you'll like.  This way, you won't feel so overwhelmed when you sit down with a wig consultant.

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If you love your current hairstyle but are in need of a little extra oomph, a pop of color just might do the trick.  Melanie Fiona recently added platinum blonde streaks to her 'do, but you can also add color with the ombré trend, which only requires color on the ends of your hair.  Want to try out the color before dyeing your strands?  Opt for colored clip-in hair wefts.

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Believe it or not, your flat irons may be to blame if your hair is looking more lackluster than usual. Too hot temperatures or worn out plates can cause breakage, heat damage and lifeless hair. If it's been a while since you upgraded your styling tools, look for tools with ceramic or tourmaline plates.  Stephens is in love with her new Sedu flat iron, which she says maintains moisture and makes hair feel silky smooth.

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The number one culprit that can lead to lifeless hair is dryness.  Hair that is properly moisturized will hold styles better and will be in better shape overall.  Stephens' go-to moisturizer is Motions Hair and Scalp Daily Moisturizing Hairdress ($4.49, Walgreens.) "I use it every single day. I love it," said Stephens.

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If you usually wear your hair down, don't be afraid to rock a sexy and chic updo, á la Anika Noni Rose.  Pin-ups, chignons and topknots are other easy alternatives to try.  Conversely, if you're always wearing your hair up, let it loose and wear it down for a few days.  Whether you wear it curly, wavy or straight, you'll feel inspired by a change of pace.

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Going from straight to curly or vice versa just might be the boost you need to create a new look.  Heat-free curling methods such as roller sets or pin curls are a low-risk way of adding curls or waves sans heat damage.  If you're always rocking curly strands, grab a heat protectant and blow out your curls for new, swingable strands.

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Bangs are a fun and sassy way to spruce up any style.  Whether you choose a blunt-cut, eyebrow-length bang like Tia Mowry's, or a long, side-swept bang, you're sure to appreciate having fun, new fringe.

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Wearing your hair to the same side everyday can make for a monotonous mane.  Make an easy update by simply parting your hair on the opposite side or down the center for a refreshing new look.

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If you think about making a hair change for too long, you probably will never get around to doing it.  That's why Stephens says "Just do it!"  Yes, it's easier said than done, but making a hair change is only temporary. "It's hair—if you cut it, it's going to grow back. If you don't like it, you can always do something else," says Stephens.

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