Styling Rules That Will Change The Way You Do Your Hair

Embarking on a journey to transform your hair game? We've got you covered with simple yet effective styling rules that will change the way you do your hair — and once you try them out, you probably won't be able to go back.


Hairstyling is an art form, and like any art, it thrives on creativity, innovation, and breaking free of conventional norms. Some of the tricks we've curated blew up on social media platforms — hi, TikTok — while others are secrets that celebrity hairstylists, such as Jen Atkin, have shared. Moreover, these tips range from ingenious methods for finding the perfect ponytail placement to easy everyday habits that can help you maintain your hair health. Of course, nobody expects you to follow every hairstyling tip, trick, or secret, but a few of the ones on this list may just tickle your fancy — and you may thank yourself for giving them a shot.

Always get the perfect middle part by following the tip of your nose

While a side part will forever be a millennial's favorite, Gen Z's made it clear that middle parts are the way to go — and its reign is only beginning. However, to get the perfect middle part, there are a couple of easy tricks to know. "Use the tip of your nose as a centering point and place your finger on it," hairstylist Matt Fugate told Allure. "When you use your comb, part to the specific point that is designated by your finger. If you part to your finger, you usually draw a cleaner line than just mindlessly trying to draw a straight line. Look in a mirror for accuracy," he added. "Keep the tail of the comb flat on the scalp and go straight back."


Something else to keep in mind when parting your hair is that it's much easier to create a part when your hair is damp, as it better dries just how you want it. When changing the part on dry hair, you can encounter volume issues, with one side being slightly more voluminous than the other. Of course, brushing wet hair can cause damage to it, which is why it's best to use a wide-tooth comb and only brush your hair as much as you need to part it. And while a sleek middle part is excellent in some cases, consider going slightly off-center with it if you want a more natural look.

Avoid sleeping with wet hair

There are quite a few beauty mistakes that can happen while you sleep, and perhaps the most damaging one for your hair is sleeping with it still wet. "Simply put, hair is at its most vulnerable when wet. Sleeping with wet hair can lead to a host of problems for the scalp: unwanted bacteria, fungal infections, skin irritation, itchiness, dryness, redness, and dandruff," hairstylist Miko Branch told MindBodyGreen. "Also, it can damage the hair cuticle, flatten strands, create an unpleasant hair odor (dampness mixed with natural sweat), and leave you with a matted mess of hair."


To mitigate these potential problems, allow your hair to fully dry before snuggling into bed. Of course, this means you'll have to do some planning ahead in the evening, as hopping into the shower right before bed is a no-go. Instead, kick off your nighttime routine with a shower, and then allow yourself to have a couple of hours before bedtime, if possible, so that your hair can air-dry. Otherwise, we advise using a blow-dryer on its lowest setting and quickly drying your hair before hitting the sheets.

In essence, avoiding the habit of sleeping with wet hair is a small but crucial step in maintaining your hair in its healthiest state. By allowing your hair to dry fully before hitting the pillow, you contribute to its strength, shine, and longevity, ensuring that you wake up with your hair looking its best.


Let your curls fully cool down before brushing them out

If you're someone who often styles their hair with heat tools, keep in mind that your strands, especially if you're curling them, should cool down in a tight position. "[You] need to let the hair cool down completely before touching it," hairstylist Stéphane Ferreira told Real Simple. "I recommend setting the hair with pins or clips until it has fully cooled."


So, next time you decide to use your curling wand, tackle your hairstyle first, put it up with pins, and let it cool down for at least half an hour. Meanwhile, you can always do your makeup or get dressed. Optionally, once you're ready to take the curls out, spray them with a bit of hairspray to ensure they stay bouncy and tight longer. Once your hair is fully cooled and you let it down, gently brush it out, making sure not to pull on it tightly. Then, you're all good to go.

A silk bonnet is a game-changer for hair health

Sleeping on silk sheets is known to have quite a beauty benefit apart from the fact that silk is hypoallergenic. So, if you're already not sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase, it's time to make the switch. However, if you want to protect your hair and hairstyle even more, sleeping with a silk bonnet is the best thing you can do for your locks. "Similar to a silk scarf or wrap, bonnets help your hair retain moisture, prevent frizz, and extend the life of your style as you sleep since these textures glide over it seamlessly," celebrity hairstylist Annagjid "Kee" Taylor revealed to Harper's Bazaar. "They also allow hair to have enough space for your curls to hold shape and maintain your overall look a little bit longer."


After switching to a silk bonnet, you'll notice that you'll barely have to do any touchups to your hairstyle in the morning, which means that in the long run, you will save time and protect your hair from unnecessary heat exposure. And if you're worried about a silk bonnet being uncomfortable, trust us — that couldn't be further from the truth. All you need to make sure is that the band around your head isn't too tight, and then you're ready to relax while your hair keeps its health and style intact.

Stop over-drying your hair with a blow-dryer

Both blow-drying and air-drying have their pros and cons, but if you're someone who frequently uses a blow-dryer as their method of choice, there are some things you need to keep in mind. "People tend to rush the blow-dry, so they use the full power and full heat, especially around the front of the hairline, which causes breakage and flyaways," celebrity hairstylist Brit Kenna told Allure. "You should use full power and full heat on the inside of your hair only when it's soaking wet. Detailing and smoothing should be done on medium power for more control."


As always, when dealing with heat, using a heat protectant spray to prevent damage is crucial. While you can technically blow-dry your hair as soon as you leave the shower, it's best to wait until it's about 50% dry to get started, as this can help minimize damage. Apart from that, always ensure you're keeping the blow-dryer at a safe distance (at least 6 inches away) — you should never be able to smell burnt hair.

Braiding hair when it's damp is much easier than when it's dry

We've all been there: You're trying to braid your hair (or your friend's), but with every new strand you take, an old one seems to slip out of your hand. The end result is a very loose, messy-looking braid, which is totally cool if that's the style you're going for. But if you want to create a tight and sleek braid, there's a simple trick that will allow you to braid much easier.


"Braid hair when it's wet or damp so you can catch all the loose ends inside the braid and form a really clean, sleek style. Also, rubbing a lightweight texturizing wax or cream on each section before braiding helps hold little layers in place," celebrity hairstylist Patrick Melville told StyleCaster. Now, if you weren't planning on washing your hair just to braid it, don't worry — simply dampening it a bit with some water will do the trick. The best part about this hack is that once you decide to take your hair out of the braid, you'll be left with tight, beautiful waves since your hair ends up drying in a braided pattern. How's that for an easy one with great results?

Don't make a big hair decision on a whim

Drastic hair changes have been known to occur when people go through big life changes, but hairstylists advise you against that approach. "Don't make any emotional decisions," celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin told Glamour. "I've seen so many clients ask for big changes after a breakup or something life-changing. Give major hair decisions a while before acting on them."


Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a University of Massachusetts Amherst professor of psychological and brain sciences, also notes that since hair is a visible part of our identity, it's not surprising that we tend to change that first when we want a fresh beginning (via Psychology Today). Nevertheless, while we encourage switching your hair up — there are always new styles and color trends to test — we don't want you to make a decision you'll regret. So, while chopping your locks into an edgy bob seems like a great way to deal with heartbreak, let that idea sit in your head for a couple of weeks before you actually decide to rock the look.

If your hairstyle has some bald spots, cover them up with eyeshadow

There's absolutely no shame in using makeup to get the best out of your hair, and the pros agree. In fact, using eyeshadow in a color that matches your hair is a well-known trick in the industry to fill in any gaps that might naturally occur. "The key is to really mimic your own natural hairline pattern and color," hairstylist Karmela Lozina told Byrdie. "The slower you go filling in your areas of concern, the more it will look like you're not wearing anything."


If you're filling in around your hairline, make sure you use a very light touch, as you can always add more. This trick is particularly useful for anyone with thinner hair, as well as in instances when you've created the perfect hairstyle but one spot on your hair is separating — and you really don't want to start from the beginning. While this trick is barely noticeable, especially if you match the hair color perfectly, if you're going to an event with flash photography, check beforehand just what your filled-in spots look like in photos — you don't want any surprises.

Use the 5.5-cm. rule to determine your haircut

If you've always wondered whether shorter or longer hair suits you better, allow us to introduce you to the 5.5-cm. (approximately 2.1 inches) rule. "The idea is that if the distance measured between your chin and earlobe is less than 5.5 cm., you'd better suit a short haircut — and if it's more, a longer haircut is best," hair expert Nicole Petty told Metro. Petty further explains that what the trick essentially does is determine whether you have a smaller or a bigger face — if you have a smaller one, shorter haircuts may suit you better.


While this trick is helpful, you should never consider it as a strict rule. After all, hair is all about personal preference, so if you've been wanting to try out a pixie haircut your whole life, no 5.5-cm. rule should stop you from chopping it all off. Any other guidance only matters if you want it.

Switch your style up twice a year

Now, we know we've said not to make any drastic hair changes on a whim, but that definitely doesn't mean you can't switch things up from time to time. In fact, experts agree that changing your hair regularly — no matter how big or small the change is — is a great way to live. "Every woman should change their hair two times a year. The color, the cut, the layers, the length," hairstylist Ted Gibson told Glamour. "It doesn't have to be a major change, just something that gives you a fresh approach to life."


Of course, while some might interpret this as advice to go bold, others might only be ready to go an inch shorter or add a couple of subtle highlights during summer. Regardless of which one you are, there's no doubt that switching it up will help you feel fresh and ready for a new chapter.

Add a clarifying shampoo to your monthly routine

Keeping your hair healthy and clean is what everyone strives for, but if you've noticed that your shampoo isn't doing what it used to anymore, it might be time for this tip. "Your hair adjusts to the shampoo you use, and it starts to build up on your hair. Ever notice that a shampoo you love doesn't make your hair look shiny or full?" hairstylist Maggie Connolly told The Zoe Report. "Depending on how often you wash your hair, give your hair a wash with a clarifying shampoo about once a month." Connolly also recommends employing a scalp brush for a good ol' scalp scrub if you notice that you have a lot of buildup on your hair. 


If you're unsure where to start, we've assembled five of our favorite clarifying shampoos so that you don't have to spend hours researching them. With most of them, a little goes a long way, and since you don't have to use them for every wash, a bottle will last you for at least a couple of months.

Use dryer sheets to combat any frizz

One weapon you might be surprised to hear should be in your hair arsenal is dryer sheets. You read that right — the heroes of the laundry room are actually quite versatile, and they can help you get rid of frizz. As The Guardian points out, dryer sheets are "positively charged," while hair is "negatively charged," meaning that they're very effective at reducing static in our tresses.


While dryer sheets are by no means a long-term solution, they can help combat frizz quickly and are especially good to have on the go. "It's easy to keep one in your purse, so you'll always have that secret weapon," celebrity hairstylist Johnny Lavoy told Byrdie. While they're great for taming flyaways, dryer sheets often come with a subtle scent that can transfer to your hair, so just be mindful of this when buying them for your hair.

Use the jawline rule for a perfect ponytail every time

Trust us on this one: The jawline rule will change how you do your hair when you want to wear it up in a ponytail. This hack, which went viral on TikTok  in mid-2023, provides an easy way to find the perfect spot for your ponytail. If you've found that something feels over any time you rock a ponytail, this rule might help you figure out just what you've been missing.


"For someone who is not accustomed to pulling their hair back/up, this trick is a great starting point for creating the perfect ponytail. Following the jawline should bring your pony slightly above the occipital bone — that positioning is ideal for a softer, more playful look," hairstylist Mahogany Grace told PureWow. So, next time you're in doubt about where you should place your ponytail, simply follow your jawline, and your hairstyle may just look better than you ever expected.