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Did you sport a low bun five times this week? Nothing against your “updo,” but it might be time to adopt some new hair principles. While we aren’t suggesting you bid adieu to your familiar style forever, you should have a few let-your-hair-down looks that you feel comfortable achieving without the assistance of your local blow-dry salon. To help you overcome your ponytail crutch, we teamed up with GHD to present five hair skills every woman should add to her arsenal.

scandi waves

Soft, Natural Waves With a Flatiron

Everyone and their mom seems to be rocking this perfectly disheveled wave lately. But every time you try, it’s a battle between your fingers and your curling iron. Time to wave the white flag, ladies, because we’ve found you a new technique: the Scandi wave (or S wave) that you can achieve using a flatiron with smooth ceramic plates (so your hair doesn’t snag). Starting at the roots, hold a two-inch section of your hair into an S shape and then tap it with your flatiron. Alternate the direction of the S wave down each section of hair, tapping along the way. No twirling, clamping or burned fingertips here.

perfect blowout

A Perfect Blowout Without Visiting the Salon

Blowouts are finicky. Too much volume and your hair looks pageant-y. Too sleek and your hair falls flat. One of the best tricks we know for getting just the right balance is to always divide the hair into sections first (this helps avoid the rogue, half-straightened pieces in the back). Also,blow-dry in the right directions: At the crown of your head, dry in an upward and back motion to create volume. Everywhere else, use a downward motion to get a streamlined look. A hair dryer with ionic technology will deliver way less frizz and a longer-lasting style.

straight hair

Sleek, Straight Hair That Doesn’t Fall Flat

This might be one of the more basic hairstyles, but every woman should learn how to do it correctly. First things first, never use a flatiron on wet or damp hair. Second, be sure to use the optimal 365°F temperature, which will keep your hair healthy and shiny. Straighten your hair at a slight angle (instead of straight down) so you aren’t left with ultra-flat hair. Tip: Use an ice-cream-like scooping motion at your roots to create volume.

short bangs

Bangs That Don’t Make You Look Like You’re 12

Anyone with bangs knows they need some extra TLC. Whether your fringe is side swept or blunt, blow out your hair as usual, making sure to leave your bangs about 80 percent dry. Then, using a round brush and the precision nozzle on your hair dryer, take vertical sections of your bangs and blow them out by spinning and rolling the brush in the direction you desire. Repeat until all pieces are dry and then finish with a final brush over the whole section.

effortless beach waves

Effortless Beach Waves Sans Salt Spray

Tousled, beachy, messy… Whatever you want to call these waves, get yourself familiar with ’em, because they take less than 30 seconds and will quickly become your favorite. To get the look, wrap one-inch sections of hair around a curling wand, starting at the roots. Leave the ends unwrapped on a tapered-barrel wand to create a more natural look. Hold each piece for about ten seconds (see, we told you) and then let it fall off the wand. Finish with a touch of texturizing spray and a good shake.

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