In my 30 years of being alive, I've gotten pretty proficient at doing my own hair. However, the one part of the blow drying process I still struggle with is
how to style my cowlick so my long bangs go forward to frame my face, instead of flipping back off my forehead. This isn't an issue when I wear my hair in its natural waves, but if I'm looking to smooth out my strands, I generally want my hairline to lay a little flatter too.
On a recent press trip with T3,
celebrity hairstylist Laura Polko was tasked with doing my hair every day before our group dinners (a rough life for me, I know). The first thing I requested she teach me was her technique for blowing out a cowlick — and, it turns out, the trick is to utilize some clips you can buy in bulk on Amazon for about $2 a piece. In fact, Polko says those clips can replace your other hot tools (besides the dryer, of course) once you get the hang of using them to shape the hair that frames your face. Here's an easy step-by-step breakdown for the cowlick-smoothing process I've been using ever since Polko showed me the light. Dry Your Bangs First
After rough drying all of your hair to get it about halfway dry, Polko recommends styling your bangs first. This way they'll have time to set while you finish up the rest of your hair.
"You really want [to dry your hair] directly straight forward," Polko says. "A lot of people go side to side [to try to get rid of the cowlick], but you really need to go straight down as if you had bangs." I was definitely a side-to-sider before meeting Polko, and can attest to how much better pulling my bangs straight down in front of my face while I dry helps my cowlick lie flat.
Polko and I both use the
T3 Cura Hair Dryer — I honestly find it makes the process of smoothing out my hair easier than with any other dryer I've tried — but as long as your dryer has a concentrator attachment, it should work just fine. Use A Round Brush To Create Tension
After you've blown your hair forward, "use a grabbing motion with the brush to pull it down to either side," Polko says. This helps start to create the face-framing shape I was going for. Polko recommends using a smaller round brush for this — specifically, she used the
T3 Volume 2 for me, and it's what I've been using at home ever since — because it's the easiest to create tension with. You want to keep your strands super taut as you dry them to help flatten out any kinks at the roots. The photo above shows this ideal tension, even though it's happening at the crown of my head instead of the bang area. Clip Your Bangs Back
Now it's time to create the shape you want around your face, and let your bang-area pieces set while you finish your hair and makeup. "While your hair is still hot, place some setting clips to get that swoop you're looking for," Polko says. The setting clips in this photo were Polko's, but I ordered
this set from Amazon as soon as I got home and have been using them ever since.
First, use a clip to push back the hair wherever you want a bend, usually around ear level. Then, use a small clip near your part on both sides of your head to push your hair forward and further flatten out the cowlick. Using this four clip method is "the best way to get a cowlick out, and it's the best way to get this swooping motion over your forehead," Polko says. "Sometimes I do this instead of a hot tool, and just leave the clips in while I put my makeup on."
Blow Out The Rest Of Your Hair
While your front pieces set, finish drying the rest of your hair. "Start from the top of your head, blow drying it forward," Polko explains. "Then, blow dry the back up and back."
Heat Style, If You Want To
You can definitely skip this step and just take out the clips for a loose bend at the hairline (something Polko does often, with a final result like the style
in this photo) but if you want to add some waves, now's the time. For this particular look, Polko used the 1.25-inch clip barrel from the T3 Convertible Collection on 1-inch sections of my hair to create super loose waves. Add Some Product
Once you take the clips out, do any additional styling you need to blend the pieces into the rest of your hair, then add your product. Polko spritzed a little
IGK Beach Club Texture Spray into my ends, then dabbed some Big Sexy Hair Powder Play Volumizing & Texturizing Powder into my roots. "Put [the powder] on your fingertips and dab it at your part and at the curve in the front," Polko recommends. "It gives a hold as if it was a pomade or hairspray, but doesn't leave as much residue." The Final Look
This photo was taken a couple hours after Polko finished doing my hair, and I am still quite pleased with how my bangs fell that night. Of course, getting your hair done professionally is one thing, but I'm excited to report that it was incredibly easy to do the hack on my own head at home — even on three-day-old hair.
Seriously, who would have thought a $2 clip could be such a game-changer?