So, You Want to Change Your Hair

Priyanka Chopra

@harryjoshhair / Design by Zackary Angeline

Regardless of whether you've had the same look for years or only for a few weeks, you may be feeling like it's time to make a change. When is a good time to switch up your hairstyle, you ask? Whenever you want. But, if you don't particularly like styling your hair, pull it back every day, or feel like your look is "dull," it's a safe bet that a change may be good for you.

When switching up your hairstyle, it's important to pick a hairstylist that you can trust. If your stylist cuts your current hair well but you don't trust them to transform your look, it's time to go shopping for a new one. Getting a new look requires that you put your trust in the hands of another person, and you want to find a stylist who aligns with your vision for yourself. Ask friends, co-workers, or family members with great hair for recommendations, scroll through local stylists' Instagrams, or use a site like Yelp for guidance.

When you go into the salon, as with anything, it's important to know what you want and where your limits are. Look through photos of hairstyles, save them on your phone or print them out, and take them with you to your appointment. A picture provides a much better explanation than words ever could. It's also really important to listen to your hairstylist and give them a little freedom to make suggestions—they're there to work with your unique features and guide you to a new style that you'll love.

Keep scrolling to check out some simple ways to take your hairstyle to the next level.

Meet the Expert

Go Out With Some Bangs

Zooey Deschanel wears her signature bangs and a fresh makeup look


Have you experimented with bangs yet? Some try out a fringe for just a little while, while others (like Zooey Deschanel) wear bangs as part of their signature style. "Bangs can add a youthful, fun, and edgy look to almost all haircuts," says Cleveland. Changing your fringe may be just the ticket to a great hairstyle change.

Bangs, when done right, are stylish—however, they're also a lot of work to take care of. "Since bangs typically lose their style and shape around four weeks post-haircut, they can be a bit high maintenance for some. Additionally, if you decide you aren't feeling the look and you want to grow them out, they can become quite frustrating," she adds.

Layer It Up

Camila Coelho wears a tousled, layered long haircut


People make big mistakes by telling their stylists not to cut in layers. "Layers provide movement and texture to an otherwise flat look; however, you have to be careful that your hair texture is right for layers. For example, cutting naturally curly hair with layers can create a very round shape so if that is not your desired look, you may be left with a mess," explains Cleveland.

Additionally, layers can frame the face in a way that's complementary and will create depth, enhance body, and define a desirable shape in your hair. When layers are properly cut, they can also make thick hair easier to manage and give thin hair a fuller appearance.

Get Some Passion Twists

Skai Jackson wears half-up passion twists, lashes, and red lipstick

Getty Images

Enhance the look of your natural locks with some passion twists. These can either be worn up or down. "I love the versatility [of this look] and how it gives off a curly look at the same time. Passion twists are a curlier way to wear a two-strand twist for a more bohemian look," explains Bergamy. "This method is usually done using curly crochet hair or loose natural non-synthetic water wave braiding hair," she adds.

Change Your Bangs

Got fringe? Switch it up with a new cut. But Ceka advises treading lightly with the scissors if you decide to cut it on your own. "Cut them dry and with no tension. Always remember, less is more! You can’t glue the hair back, but you can cut more off if you desire," she says.

Go Bold With a Bob

Kaia Gerber wears a pink ombre bob hairstyle


The bob haircut isn't going anywhere, and it can be styled to be as edgy or as elegant as your personal style. "Bob haircuts can be very flattering if cut to accent your face shape. For example, if you have a prominent jawline, you may want to avoid having the weight line of a bob haircut fall just above that area as it will draw attention to it," notes Cleveland. It's also a great style to consider when you want to try something shorter, but don't want to commit to "too short."

Rock Some Coily/Afro French Rolls

Calling all air drying hair fans: Try styling your hair with some coily Afro French rolls. "This can be done with little to no heat (no blow drying) if you are a person who loves to air dry... the versatility is endless," Bergamy says. 

When creating this look, she says a well-moisturized mane and paying close attention to the braiding technique are important. "Make sure the hair is well moisturized. To do this, I use Contents Skin & Scalp Conditioning Cream so the hair is moisturized from roots to ends. [Then,] pin one side toward the middle of the head, and [create] a twist [to] meet with the other side." 

Spice Up Your 'Do With a Scrunchie

Instead of opting for a ponytail, why not mix it up with a beloved hair accessory from the '90s: the scrunchie. The number of looks that you can create with this hair tie is endless. When getting acquainted with a scrunchie, Ceka says messy buns, top knots, and side ponytails are some great starting points.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Halsey wears a blue and green buzzcut, blue eyeshadow, and pink lipstick


Short hair can be sexy, edgy, romantic, and beautiful. When you're ready for something easy to style with a lot of personality, a short haircut is often a great answer. If your hair has always been long, short hair can be a truly refreshing new start. There are also tons of different ways to cut your hair short. Make sure you discuss your ideas with your stylist. Ask them to help you decide what type of short haircut will best complement your face shape, hair type, and individual style.

Create a Two-Strand Bun

Bergamy recommends amping up your bun game with a two-strand bun. Ahead, she explains the process behind this look:

  1. Begin by putting the hair into a ponytail. When creating the ponytail, make sure to use edge control. Bergamy's "go-to" is Hicks Edges ($15).
  2. After putting your hair up in a ponytail, make some braids with your natural hair.
  3. Fold each braid on top of one another, then place them down with a pin.
  4. Utilize loose braiding hair or pre-stretched braiding hair, and tie it to the braid.
  5. Create a two-strand twist while simultaneously making the bun.
  6. Secure the bun with a hairpin.

She also notes that this is a great updo for parties and weddings.

Make Some Loose Waves

Gemma Chan wears a medium-length loose wavy hairstyle


To add some texture and volume to your 'do, add some loose waves. "For those with naturally wavy, textured hair, it’s super easy to create loose waves using a curling iron or a flat iron. With a curling wand, wrap the middle of the hair twice around the barrel, hold for a few seconds, and pull quickly through the ends," explains Ceka. However, don't be discouraged from creating this look if you don't have wavy hair—loose waves can add some definition to thin and straight hair, too.

Pull Your Hair Back With a Messy Bun

Give your bun an upgrade with a messy bun. In four easy steps, you'll take your bun to a whole new level. Below, Ceka walks us through the process:

  1. Start off by spraying your hair with some beach texture spray.
  2. Use a curling wand to add some waves.
  3. Put your hair in a bun.
  4. Allow for some of the pieces to fall and hang out.

Regardless of your hair type, Ceka says anyone can create a messy bun.

Enhance Your Look With Crochet Braids

Change things up with some crochet braids. Not only do they add some volume to your hair, but Bergamy says they "give the hair a rest while protecting the ends [from] any breakage." If you're not sure which crochet braids to go for, Bergamy recommends opting for crochet twists or butterfly locs.

To prevent hair breakage and pulling, Bergamy advises keeping these looks intact for no longer than four weeks.

Swap Your Natural Color With a New Color

Ciara wears long, straight ocean blue hair with natural dark roots


Nothing can change your looks like a fresh new color, face brightening highlights, or a lowlight to add depth. "Even, subtle chocolate tones can be added to basic brown hair to enrich the tone and make it pop. Warm tones reflect more light and enhance the pop factor. You can also opt for something more dramatic and add some bold, high-fashion colors," Ceka explains.

Make it clear to your stylist what tones and colors you love, and which ones you don't. Do you like red? How red? Does the thought of blonde hair make your stomach turn? Define dark. Make sure that you and your stylist are speaking the same language when choosing your color. Their definition of copper and yours could be very different.

Try a Fishtail Braid

Trade a ponytail for a fishtail braid to create a pony with a little more flair. Here, Ceka explains how to make this braid:

  1. Divide the hair into two equal-sized sections.  
  2. Separate a half-inch section of hair from the outside of the left section and pull this piece over to the right side.
  3. Separate a half-inch section of hair from the outside of the right section and pull this piece over to the left side.
  4. Repeat until you finish the braid and secure it with an elastic.
  5. Once you have completed the braid, start by gently pulling it up to loosen the braid for a boho-chic look.

For a more dramatic fishtail, Ceka recommends slicking the front hairs back with some gel.

Stay Fresh

Maintaining your new look could mean the difference between getting something you love and something you hate. Talk to your stylist about regular cut and color maintenance to keep your look fresh. Is this new look budget-friendly? Do you have the products and tools necessary to style your new look?

When you completely change your look, it can take some getting used to—particularly if you've had the same hairstyle for a long time (or since the beginning of time). Work with and adjust to your new style, and try not to go back to the same habits that pushed you to a makeover to begin with. Take note of the things you like about your new style, if there are things that aren't working for you, and keep communicating with your hairstylist. It could easily take a few appointments to get every detail right, but it's better than staying bored. Above all, enjoy your new, fresh look. Show it off, have fun, and let your new hairstyle inspire you. Experiment with new makeup colors, maybe different outfits. You'll find that a new hairstyle can just be the beginning of a brand new you.

Related Stories