You know that dream where you're kissed by a prince, and it's a great kiss, and he calls, and he drops by -- surprise! -- with flowers the next day, and you don't have to worry because you're one of those women who never has bad hair days?
That's how you know it's a dream. Who doesn't have bad hair days?
Kate Middleton. Kate doesn't have bad hair days. Her dark locks are smooth, shiny and full of body at all times. Her mane is even flippy at the ends so it bounces when she walks and whispers, in a British accent, "princess …"
OK, we're channeling a fourth-grade girl, but we really love that hair. And while few of us can afford the salon prices Ms. Middleton pays weekly (at Richard Ward in London, in case you're in the neighborhood), we can do the next best thing: We can fake it.
Here, 10 tips to make your hair look like Kate's (or pretty close). The first step is one that requires some time, but it's worth it.
The starting point for great hair is not the cut, or the styling products, or the lack of humidity (although that helps). It's more basic.
Kate doesn't have split ends. For princess-worthy tresses, trim often (and not yourself). Visit a stylist every four to six weeks for a little touch up.
There are plenty of salons where you can get a simple trim for a reasonable price.
It will make your hair look smooth (no dry, no stringy, no split ends) and bouncy, because it's not being pulled down by dead, frizzy weight.
And while you're there …
Kate's hair has shape -- it's not obvious, and that's part of the charm. The life of it, the sense of texture despite the smoothness, comes from layers.
Layering adds body and bounce to thin hair and reduces the "poofiness" of thick hair. Long layers maintain length while adding texture, interest and some softness around the face.
Once you've got the right cut, you'll want to develop the right home-care routine …
Easy on the Washing
If ever there were an easy tip to follow, it's this: Do less.
To be more specific, wash less often. Every day is too much, since shampooing tends to strip hair of the natural oils that make it lustrous and smooth. If you have dry hair, this is especially damaging.
Keep hair shiny and sleek (and healthy!) by washing it only a few times a week. You'll notice a more Kate-ish appearance immediately.
It does matter, of course, what you wash your hair with …
There's no faster way to make your hair dull and lifeless than to use products containing alcohol. Talk about drying. (You'd think they'd leave the alcohol out of hair products, then, but they don't -- mousse is a particularly common offender. Gel, too.)
Look for products that are alcohol-free, especially if your hair is naturally dry. Your hair will be shinier and sleeker for it, and easier to style.
And now, for some ingredients you do want …
Invest in Ingredients
It's possible you do not have the Middleton perfect-hair genes, so you may need some outside help getting your hair into top shape.
Luckily, science has you covered with some ingredients that may make your hair stronger and prettier, and it's worth a shot to see if they work for you.
A couple of the active ingredients to look for are proteins (body) and silicone (smoothness).
Salon products are a good place to start, since they tend to have higher-quality ingredients.
And then, make those ingredients work their hardest.
Next, a surprising ally in the battle against bad hair ...
Treat With Heat
While excessive heat -- in the form of blow drying and ironing -- can be damaging to hair, heat can actually be a good thing. Some heat can help active ingredients penetrate hair to achieve better results.
The next time you're at a salon, request an intensive conditioning/repair treatment and some time under the dryer. At home, you can unleash heat's benefits with a hot-oil treatment and heat-activated shampoos and conditioners.
Next, a princess-worthy hairbrush …
Upgrade Your Brush
Hair brushes seem so straightforward: The bristles move through your hair to separate strands and create smoothness. The composition of those bristles matters, though.
A plastic brush can stretch and pull on hair and will eventually cause breakage. Instead, use a natural brush (boar bristle is a good one). It's especially better for long, dry hair, as it carries natural, frizz-fighting oils along each strand.
More on the brush …
Round It Out
Once you've got the right bristles, consider shape: A flat, vented brush is out when it comes to blowing your hair straight like Kate's. You want to use a round one.
A round, natural-bristle brush helps make hair look sleek. Wrap hair gently around the brush and pull it upward, with the air aimed at the brush (not the hair extending out of it). The result will be more natural-looking, bouncy straight hair, with an ever-so-slight wave.
And then, there are those pesky ends …
Do Some Ironing
Even with frequent trims, the ends of your hair can be difficult to manage. They're the toughest to manipulate into a perfectly smooth finish (and even tougher to get to flip up so they whisper "princess" while you walk).
You'll need to curling-iron it into submission. Upgrade to a ceramic one, which will maintain a consistent temperature. Loop the tip around the iron for a brief moment, gently pulling it through all the while. If you want to brush the ends afterwards, make sure to apply a bit of frizz-taming product first, and then brush lightly.
And finally, the easiest way to look like Kate on a budget …
Go Pro -- and Make It Last
So, here's the thing: You can get pretty close at home, but unless you're at expert-stylist level (and hey, you may be), your hair isn't going to look expertly styled.
Go to a pro -- a beautiful blow-out it doesn't have to cost an arm. There are moderately priced experts out there. And then, make that pro job last. Rather than washing it, "wash" it with dry shampoo, only at the roots (and not where your part your hair). At night, wrap it gently in a silk hair wrap (or scarf). Your hair will look perfect for days rather than hours.
And through it all, keep in mind: Kate, poor thing, is expected to have perfect hair. We lucky commoners can get by looking pretty darn good on a daily basis, hit the salon for a special treat and bam -- knock 'em dead and go to sleep smiling (in a silk hair wrap).
For more information on hair care and other princess-type things, look over the links on the next page.
Americans don’t have a royal family, but are fascinated by royalty. HowStuffWorks looks at five Americans who married into royalty.
- Dear William and Kate: 10 Things We Hope You Include in Your Wedding
- 10 Silver Screen Princesses and Their To-die-for Hollywood Weddings
- 10 Reasons Not to Be Jealous of Princess Brides
- 10 Tips to Get a Princess-worthy Dress on a Budget
- 5 Prince William Wedding Rumors
- Real Princess or Disney Princess?
- How can I marry prince charming?
- Who pays for a royal wedding -- and how much does it cost?
More Great Links
- Gaffey, Caitlin. "Get Thick, Shiny Hair." Harper's Bazaar. Aug. 10, 2007. (Jan. 25, 2011)http://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/hair-articles/thick-shiny-hair-0907
- Goldman, Jessica. "Get Shiny Hair." Marie Claire. (Jan. 25, 2011)http://www.marieclaire.com/hair-beauty/trends/articles/shiny-hair-tips
- How to Get Kate Middleton Hair. Glamour. (Jan. 25, 2011)http://www.glamour.com/beauty/blogs/girls-in-the-beauty-department/2010/11/how-to-get-kate-middleton-hair.html
- Kate Middleton's Beauty Secrets: Oxygen Skincare, DIY Looks. Bella Sugar Australia. (Jan. 25, 2011)http://www.bellasugar.com.au/Kate-Middletons-Beauty-Secrets-Revealed-DIY-Makeup-Where-She-Gets-Her-Hair-Cut-What-Skincare-Products-She-Uses-1256047
- Lineker, Danielle. "How to get glossy hair like Kate Middleton." Nov. 30, 2010. (Jan. 25, 2011)http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/royal-wedding/2010/11/30/how-to-get-glossy-hair-like-kate-middleton-115875-22750720/
- Newly engaged Kate Middleton has hair (and makeup) that's royally awesome. Beauty Editor. Nov. 17, 2010. (Jan. 25, 2011)http://beautyeditor.ca/2010/11/17/newly-engaged-kate-middleton-has-hair-and-makeup-that-is-royally-awesome/