Whether you’re grinding through high school, back on college campus, or earning a post-graduate degree, fussing with your hairstyle often takes a back seat as you juggle all of your academic commitments. During our Mane Campus: Semester of Style campaign, celebrity stylist and Hair.com ambassador Bradley Leake gave us the low-down on three easy hairstyles to help extend your wash day during the back-to-school rush.
Whether it’s wash day, or you're working with second- or even third-day hair, pulling your hair together before class can be a pain, but these simple steps and professional products make it painless. Keep scrolling to find what looks work for your hair type and/or concerns as modeled by a few of our favorite influencers. Consider class officially in session!
Keilani Naipo @keilanihair
Hair type: Long, wavy hair that fluctuates between a 2B and 3A pattern.
If you have an enviable wavy mane, enhancing your natural texture on day one is a great way to set the stage for more good hair days ahead. Wavy hair patterns are drier and frizzier than other hair types, so we recommend prepping locks with a frizz-fighting shampoo and conditioner, like Redken’s Frizz Dismiss Smoothing Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner Duo. In addition to taming hair, this duo moisturizes, detangles, smooths, and boosts softness and shine.
Day 1: Side-Parted Volume
Step 1: Begin by making a deep side part on air-dried hair. Spray Matrix’s Vavoom Freezing Spray Extra Hold onto a teasing brush and use it to comb the heavier part of the hair over to one side of the face; secure into place with a pretty hair barrette.
Pro tip: Mist the freezing spray onto the clip before inserting it into the hair for extra grip.
Step 2: Play up your luscious waves by running a dime-size amount of Kérastase’s Curl Manifesto Crème de Jour Fondamentale Hair Cream from the mid-lengths to the ends of the hair. This multi-tasking, leave-in treatment provides heat protection up to 450°F, shields against frizz, and preserves your curl pattern.
To create natural, beachy-looking bends, alternate between wrapping random 1-inch sections of hair around your finger and a curling wand, switching between curling them towards and away from the face.
Step 3: Fluff out your waves with your fingers, then top the look off with a generous mist of Redken’s Dry Texture Finishing Spray to pump up the fullness for days on end.
Day 2: Headband Braid
Unwashed hair tends to better hold onto styles like braids, and an elegant plaited headband is an easy way to upgrade your next-day ‘do in minutes.
Step 1: Make a middle part, then pull out a small section of hair near each side of your neck to create the braids. Pro tip: Before weaving each section into a three-strand braid, spritz Biolage Professional’s All-In-One Coconut Infusion Multi-Benefit Spray onto hair as a styling primer.
Step 2: Once each section of hair is braided and tied with an elastic, crisscross the braids over the top of the head, pinning them together at the nape of the neck beneath the rest of your hair.
Day 3: Wavy Top Knot
By now, your mane is likely oily and losing a bit of its volume, so it’s primetime to throw it up into a chic wavy updo.
Step 1: Apply a gel such as Matrix’s A Curl Can Dream Light-Hold Gel For Curly And Coily Hair through the hair, then brush hair up into a high ponytail at the crown of the head (leave out face-framing tendrils if you’d like to soften the look).
Step 2: Split the ponytail into two sections, then tie them into a knot. Grab the loose ends of the knot and cross them over each other in an ‘X’ formation at the top of the head. Secure the loose ends into place with bobby pins.
Step 3: Wrap a few sections of the loose hair around a curling iron to add extra definition.
Bailey Nicole @baileeyy_nicole
Hair type: Straight, oily, and hard to hold styles.
If your hair is fine and straight, you know how difficult it is to manipulate it into lasting styles without falling flat. Take a cue from Bailey and ask your stylist for curtain bangs, which will help give your mane some extra movement.
Of course, voluminous hair starts in the shower, so we suggest giving fine strands a boost with Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Muroto Volume Shampoo for Fine Hair and Muroto Conditioner before diving into your styling routine.
Day 1: Curtain Bang Blowout
Day one is all about creating enough volume to get you through the week, especially in the bangs department. A bouncy blowout is a foolproof way to create the foundation your hair needs.
Step 1: Prep damp hair with a volumizing heat protectant before blow-drying and flat-ironing strands. We love Redken’s Big Blowout Heat Protecting Jelly Serum, a unique heat-protecting blowout gel that melts into hair to provide instant volume with a soft, bouncy finish.
Step 2: To give curtain bangs that sexy swooped look, use a round brush to blow-dry each section of bangs in the opposite direction you want them to fall, then blow-dry in the alternate direction once the hair is almost dry.
Step 3: Blow-dry the rest of the hair, then use a flat iron to go over the ends, flipping them in towards the face.
Step 4: Now, here’s the step that will really make or break how well your curtain fringe lasts: setting the shape of your bangs. Clip each side of your parted curtain bangs up behind each ear with a barrette, then spray them with a finishing spray. Let them sit pinned up in the clips for about 10 minutes before removing them.
Day 2: Half-Up Two-Strand Braid
Despite your best efforts, you still woke up with flat hair that’s already looking a bit greasy. Luckily, that’s nothing a good dry shampoo and a half-updo can’t fix.
Step 1: Dry shampoo is a busy school gal’s best friend and the first line of defense against oily, fall-flat hair. We prefer Redken’s Deep Clean Dry Shampoo Jumbo, an award-winning formula that bottles rice and tapioca starch to sop up excess grease and dirt that causes unwashed hair to go limp.
Step 2: After dry shampooing hair, create a half-up ponytail and split it into two sections. Make a two-strand braid, then wrap it around the base of your half-up pony, letting the straight ends fly loose.
Step 3: Bump up the shine on the half-down portion of hair with a pea-size amount of Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil.
Day 3: Teased Chignon
The chignon is a deceptively simple hairstyle that is arguably one of the most versatile. It looks as good with a cocktail dress as it does with athleisure wear heading to class—not to mention, it fares best when crafted on unwashed hair.
Step 1: Use a teasing brush to tease the crown of the head for volume. Need help? Check out our complete guide on how to tease hair.
Step 2: Split hair into two pigtails. Instead of pulling each tail entirely through the elastic, pull each pigtail of hair halfway through to create a loop.
Step 3: Pull each looped pigtail through one another as if you were tying a shoelace together (think: bunny ears) to create the chignon effect. Use bobby pins to keep the style in place, then gently tug at the bun's edges to create a messy, undone finish.
Hannah Lane @_hannah_lane
Hair type: Fine and soft, but a little drier at the ends.
Even when your long hair is fine and soft to the touch, split ends can significantly affect your length over time. If, like Hannah, your goal is to retain your princess-like mane, consider investing in a hair care system like Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate. Ideal for all hair types, using the full collection along with the Intensive Treatment has been shown to result in 56 percent less breakage, 82 percent less visible split ends, and hair that is 11 times smoother.
Day 1: Glass Hair
Glass hair is a sleek, smooth, reflective hairstyle, just like the surface of glass. Since glass hair can toe the line into looking greasy, it’s best to try this trend on day one of freshly-washed hair.
Step 1: After prepping with a heat protectant, simultaneously run a flat brush and a flat iron like L'Oréal Professionnel Steampod Hair Straightener + Curling Iron through strands to eliminate any knots.
Step 2: Apply a dash of hair oil like Kérastase Elixir Ultime L’Huile Original Hair Oil from the mid-to-ends of hair (avoid the roots), then rake a wide-tooth comb through the hair to distribute the product evenly.
Step 3: Prevent frizz and flyaways from spoiling your style by topping the look off with Matrix’s Total Results High Amplify Proforma Frizz Control Hairspray.
Day 2: Double Bubble Braids
Add some extra volume to sleek hair with double bubble braids. This adorable look features pulling hair into two traditional ponytails, then tying spaced-out elastics down the length of each tail to create the appearance of fluffed-out bubbles.
Step 1: Middle part your hair, then create two high pigtails at the top of your head.
Step 2: Tie elastics, scrunchies, or coils in evenly-spaced intervals down the length of each ponytail. For the most pro-worthy result, ensure the spacing of each ponytail mirrors one another.
Step 3: “Pancake” the braid by gently pulling apart each bubble for a thicker, fanned-out effect. Add some Redken Shine Flash Hairspray all over locks to enhance what’s left of your glass hair from the day before.
Day 3: Slicked-Back Braid
Have oily roots by day four? Make them work to your advantage with a slicked-back wrapped bun. Nobody will be the wiser that the wet sheen of this style is not solely from your hair gel!
Step 1: Ensure no frizz or flyaways are in sight by applying Mizani Edge Trimming Gel through your hair before slicking it back into a ponytail at the back of your head.
Step 2: Leave a 1-inch section of hair out from your locks before fastening it into a three-strand braid. Secure the bottom of the braid with an elastic, then wrap the loose thread of hair around the base of the ponytail. No need to pin the wrapped hair down—simply saturate it with a high-hold hairspray to hold it in place. We especially like Pureology’s Style + Protect Lock It Down Hairspray, which helps add radiant shine while providing maximum hold and control.
Step 3: Clamp your flat iron down on small sections of the braid as you work your way down the length of the tail to flatten it out. This can also help create a crimped beach-wave effect when you remove your style at day’s end—day four hair, anyone?
Loving these time-saving back-to-school styles? Find even more inspiration and professional product picks at Hair.com.