Wedding Dresses & Style

Monte’s Perfect Holiday Hair and Beauty Tips

posted: 12/06/12
by: TLC
Photo by Amanda Reed | Courtesy of Monte Durham

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and you should look your most wonderful, too. I have some hair and beauty tips to get you through the holiday season, whether you're attending one special event or one dozen.

When it comes to great hair, my philosophy is that you don't need a lot of products if you have the right ones. And while it's a true luxury to be pampered in a salon, if you understand the products you're using and the method for getting the look you want, you can style yourself at home. (Use the money you'll save on a handbag!)

Great style isn't just about nailing the products and process -- you also need to know what's au courant. So, let's talk, shall we? We'll chat about the latest trends, and I'll share some important winter hair care advice. I have three step-by-step styles to share with you, and a few bonus beauty and wardrobe tips.

Up next, I'll dish about trends.


No matter your age, no one's wearing the shellacked, stiff styles that we see on some news reporters. I know plenty of stylish reporters, and they're embracing the organic look that's rocking runways and sidewalks everywhere.

What do I mean by organic? In a word: movement. Hair should be full, lustrous and healthy -- and it should move with you! It bounces when you walk and softly frames your face when you turn your head. Sideswept bangs add interest to your face, and loose curls from the jawline down look natural and romantic. Hair shouldn't be too perfect; a slightly disheveled look is what you're after.

Length is hot now, too. Whether your length is natural or achieved through extensions, the longer your hair, the more styles you can achieve. If you have long locks, you can play with color, too. Tipping is back in a big way. This is an effect where the very tips of the hair are a few shades lighter than the root. Starting about 6 inches from the end of the hair shaft, the color starts dark and fades.

The less restricted your hair is, the more organic you'll look. Stash the headbands and barrettes. You can add sparkle with other elements, like a crystal-tipped bobby pin or a brooch sewn onto a comb and tucked behind your ear. A formal look should still be natural, comfortable and self-made.

I've got some healthy-hair basics for you to follow this holiday season and beyond -- up next.

Winter weather can wreak havoc on hair. Moisturizing your hair with conditioner is your first line of defense against the cold and industrial heat blasting inside buildings, homes and cars. When you can, keep heat off your face and hair. In your car, focus heating vents on your feet.

Spare your hair by shampooing strategically. Only the roots of your hair get dirty, so focus your efforts there and skip the fragile ends. Massage your scalp, and as you rinse, let the suds streaming down do the work of cleaning your ends. It's the opposite for conditioning. As you condition, start at the ends and work your way up the shaft.

In my experience -- when I worked in a hair salon and as I talk to brides -- I've found that people generally fall into two camps when it comes to styling their hair. Some are afraid of products, worried that anything they put on their hair will make it stiff, sticky and unnatural. And then, there are those who love products a little too much and figure the more product, the better! I'm here to introduce a happy medium. And I'll explain a little product science, too.

First things first: adding any product on top of dry hair dulls your luster. So, begin with wet hair. Apply a root lifter for volume, then dry your hair with your head turned upside down, using clenched fingers to massage the roots. While your hair is slightly damp, run a taming balm through the strands mid-way to the ends. This seals the cuticle, helping you get smooth, shiny hair without weighing it down.

As you apply product, remember two things: size and order. A dime-sized drop of product goes a long way. No matter what you're applying, begin at the base of your head and move up to the top layers. Applying your products directly to the crown of your head will give you a slick, artificial look. As for order, be mindful that as you layer products on dry hair, you're laminating your locks. You're coating the hair, and it'll fall flat from the weight. Begin with wet hair, add to damp hair, and finish with a mist of spray on dry hair.

And on that note, get over your hairspray phobia! So you achieved the perfect style in your bathroom. So what? No one's going to see you there! If you want the look to hold as you work the party circuit, you're going to have to finish it with hairspray.

I'll give you four options for finishing. Hold the can 8-12 inches from your head and apply. Spray a mist and walk through it. Apply hairspray to your brush and comb it through your hair to get rid of frizz. Or, spray your hand and tap down the frizz.

Next, let's talk about a few styles you can easily create for your event.

Scene-Stealing Curls

Once you've lifted and smoothed your hair (see previous page), you've built a great foundation for curls. You'll need tissue and hot or foam rollers. The size of the roller indicates the size of the curl you're creating. I recommend a mid-size roller.

  1. Section out hair randomly.
  2. Wrap the end of one section in tissue.
  3. Twist the hair around the roller like a barber pole -- you're going around the roller, not under. Clamp where the tissue protects the hair.
  4. Going through the hair in odd sections in random places, repeat.
  5. Apply makeup and get dressed, or allow rollers to remain in for at least half an hour. Then, finish your style with hairspray.

Sophisticated Ponytail

This isn't a ponytail for the playground. If you look best with your hair off your face -- or if you simply want to show off a sensational smoky eye -- this look is for you!

  1. Mist a vented hairbrush with hairspray, and run it through hair to collect flyaways.
  2. Lifting hair from the back of the ear, divide hair on your crown.
  3. Create a ponytail, and push forward to create a lift at the top. Secure with a ponytail holder.
  4. Then, take the other section of hair, and twist it up to meet the ponytail. Wrap it together with bobby pins.

Another dressed-up ponytail is a side pony. This looks particularly festive with one-shouldered tops and dresses. Allow the ponytail to hang on your bare shoulder, and loosely curl the end for a sexy, messy look. For a face-framing complement, pull strands at the top of the ear and at the arch of your eyebrows. This looks natural, rather than overdone.

Audrey-Approved Ballet Knot

Braiding the knot adds dimension and interest to this look. A classic ballet knot looks best with a straight bang or side part.

  1. Pull hair to just below the nape of the neck.
  2. Braid the hair and secure with a ponytail holder.
  3. Twist the braid and wrap it with bobby pins.

Last things last! A few of my favorite things for the holidays on the very next page.

Women ask me all the time what look will carry them from neighborhood block party to office party to New Year's Eve party. What am I, a magician?

There actually is a secret ensemble that will work for all these events -- no matter your age. Depending on the color of your skin, there's nothing prettier than a white or ivory silk blouse on a woman during the winter holidays. Alfred Hitchcock dressed his actresses in white because it lit their face and repelled shadows. You can use the same trick! Pair the blouse with leggings and a belt, or a sparkly miniskirt and tall boots.

Add a strand of pearls, and expose a little cleavage. Layer the blouse with a silk camisole or a bustier. Sweep back your hair to expose your jawline -- ponytail or side knot work perfectly! Add diamond studs or an incredible chandelier earring.

Lastly, dare to wear a red lip. It's the holidays! What better way to step up your look? Red makes your teeth look white, and it photographs beautifully in black and white, as well as color.

Now, you're ready to party. Happy holidays!

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