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Hairstyle tricks of the trade

Stylist David Babaii offers advice on quickly taming hair.

March 29, 2009|Melissa Magsaysay

David Babaii usually gets only 30 minutes or so to style and touch up his celebrity clients' hair for premieres and press junkets, so he's learned to move quickly, travel light and use products that do double duty. In addition to tailoring his hair care line -- David Babaii for WildAid -- to fit his on-the-go lifestyle, with compact hair dryers, super-slim straightening irons and versatile texture sprays, he's developed several time- and money-saving techniques that make red carpet hair possible to do at home.

"The key thing is to have a really good haircut as your foundation," Babaii says. "From there, it's about using great products -- not expensive products, but things that work and will last you a long time."

He offered these simple tips, all of which use inexpensive products.

The toothbrush and hair spray trick: To tame rogue baby hairs and frizzy hair lines, Babaii recommends spraying a toothbrush with a fine mist of hair spray and lightly combing down unruly hairs. It keeps the hairline neat and small hairs out of the face without the grease and weight of pomade or gel. If you're traveling and don't want to tote a can of hair spray around, clear mascara also does a good job of getting small hairs to stay put.

'Pebbles' curls: Creating those big bouncy curls on the back of your head can be impossible without a third arm (or your own personal hairstylist), so Babaii suggests a tip he learned from Angelina Jolie. "Pull all of your hair on top of your head, like Pebbles" of "The Flintstones," he says. "Then simply separate small sections of hair and start curling the ends until the whole ponytail is curled. Take it down, throw your head over and spray the hair with Bohemian Beach Spray for volume. Angie [Jolie] taught this to me, and now Kate [Winslet] and Uma [Thurman] both do it. It's great, 'cause you can reach all of your hair."

The secret? Simplicity: To keep his styling explanations as easy and effective as possible, Babaii puts on a long hair wig at home and practices the steps on himself to best communicate them to his clients. He's a big believer in simplicity. "The key is not to be a slave to your hair," Babaii says. "Your hair should be a slave to you."

-- Melissa Magsaysay

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