Bad hair day? Zoe Foster has it sorted



No time? Roots? Dirty hair? There’s a solution for that.

Unlike the smug, singing women portrayed in Disney movies, our hair is not always thick and luscious and swingy and alluring. Which is frustrating, but also dealable-with. Unless you’re also pre-menstrual and low on blood sugar, in which case it’s Basically The End Of The World.

Here are some very common hair issues, and some of the simple fixes I use with heedless abandon. This, as you can imagine, is a real sight to behold, because a woman without heed is indeed a terrifying thing.

1. Your roots (really) need doing but you’re not getting them done for a while yet.

The fix depends on where your roots are. My hairdresser applies my foils in a side part, so for me to flip my part (my usual advice for root-disguising) or go for a centre part, or even a fully slicked back look isn’t that great a look. In fact, it’s worse.

As such my first line of defence is always to spray in either dry shampoo, which immediately masks the darkness, (blonde hair always looks blonder when it’s clean) and fluff it up a bit. Or, if it’s real bad, like the original balayage, (“roots”) not the cool modern one (“ombre”), I mist a texture spray/sea salt/beach hair spray all over my hair while it’s flipped upside down, and then blast it with the hair dryer on high heat for 30 seconds. This musses it all up and adds a deliberate looking piecey-ness and grit that makes it look I am cooler than I actually am, and that the roots are “intentional.” Pulling it up into a top-knot/very high bun is usually the best move from here.

If it’s more of a greys issue, or you have lighter roots coming through, you have some great options to more genuinely fool people into thinking you don’t need your colour done, or have no greys, because you are a vibrant young plum, thank you very much. There’s Clairol’s Root Touch Up, which takes ten minzos to do and is pretty foolproof, or “hair mascara” like Kiss Brush-In Colour, which you, uh, brush in. (Only available in brown and black shades, though.) Some women use brown mascara, but I just don’t think I can endorse that.

2. You need your hair to look “fancy” in a flash because you have minus fifteen minutes to get ready.

Grab a fistful of mousse and drag and mash and rake it through your hair. Now, dry off with a hair dryer on high heat. Take your curling tong or styler and do about 5-10 big curls all over the head, randomly and furiously and quickly. Pay little heed as to where. WE ARE HEEDLESS WOMEN, REMEMBER! Spray with hair spray lightly and leave to set. Do your makeup as they cool for five minutes. Now, comb your fingers through all curls. Shake them out and marvel at the instant volume and body. Finally, scrape back your hair loosely (in whichever part you fancy, or just back cleanly) and tie into a loose pony mid to low on the back of your head. Take the ‘pony’ bit and (bobby) pin pieces of it into a fancy bun, chignon thing. The wispier and more bulbous the better. Gently wisp a few pieces out around your face too, if you feel it will make you look even more enchanting. Add interesting earrings or neckpiece to jazz up. Well. Look at you, jazzy!


3. You’ve just washed your hair and don’t have time to blow dry your whole hair, but you need it to look polished! Dammit!

Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Thermo-Active Spray

A great example of why we all need at least prod that quickens blow-dry time. These prodz protect the hair, make it behave better under the heat of a hair dryer (less flyaway and frizz) and get a smoother result, much quicker. I am very fond of Aveda’s Smooth Infusion Style Prep Smoother and Kerastase Ciment Thermique. (Garnier Fructis Style Sleek & Shine Thermo-Active Spray is a cheaper option.)

Apply this prod right through damp hair before loosely drying the hair off.  Section off everything but the top layer of hair and fringe into a hairband. Take a barrel brush (tourmaline or ceramic will be quickest – try Brushworx) and blowdry the top section and fringe/face framing bits so it’s smooth and dry. Shape this smooth top section into an elegant, deep-side part and undo your low “rest of hair” pony, then gather it all together and bun it. Ha! It looks like you did the whole thing! You wizard!

4. You have too-dirty hair that just does THE WRONG THING no matter what you try, because it is, as mentioned previously, too dirty.

I hate this one. I usually advise cutting losses and washing and doing the trick above, but sometimes we think we can trick everyone/ourselves into believing our hair is cleaner than it is, but it’s filthy, and spend four goes trying to do something cute, then realising IT’S NOT GOING TO WORK but now there’s no time, and SOMETHING HAS TO WORK because beanies are rarely as cute in real life as the girls in Dolly magazine make them look.

I either reset the hair as fast as possible (wet it, mousse it and blow dry some shape into it), or I go LOOPY with dry shampoo all over and leave it out but tucked behind both ears because that disguises some of the … unfreshyness.  Or, I add MORE dirt, by way of magic dust (hair powder, such as Osis Dust it) all over the scalp and pulling it up into a messy, high top-knot. Or I comb through a hard, wet-look gel on wet hair, and then scrap that thing down low on the neck or up severely like a ballerina or J.Lo, and add big earrings and bright lipstick to distract the masses.

Ladies of flavour and distinction but sadly, non-Disney hair, I do hope this helps.

Zoe is an author, columnist and porridge fan. She was beauty director of Cosmopolitan, Harper’s BAZAAR and PRIMPED and then collated all the best tips and tricks from her time in these roles for the beauty bible, Amazing Face. She is currently the dating columnist for Cosmopolitan magazine, although her best advice in this arena can probably be found in the dating and relationship guide, Textbook Romance , which she co-wrote with Hamish Blake. Zoe has published three novels, Air Kisses, Playing The Field and The Younger Man, and she rates them among the best novels ever written in the history of the written word. Find more info on her here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.

Please understand that Zoë cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask – and answer!

What tricks do you have for fixing bad hair days?