Hair is one of those things that’s always been more about style rather than performance. However, for Julien Farel, the official hair stylist for the US Open for the 11th year running, styling hair that looks good is only half the battle. During the two weeks that the French stylist and his team operate the Julian Farel Style Suite at the US Open, creating ‘dos that can withstand the high intensity of competition without falling apart or getting in the athlete’s way is also a top priority. While we may not be able to bust out the intricate fishtail braids favored by this year’s players, we were able to pick up a couple performance hair tips of our own during a recent visit to the Style Suite.
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“If you’re DIYing a hairstyle in preparation for an active day ahead, a ponytail is the best option because it’s so easy and simple,” says Farel. But even something as straightforward as that can present its share of problems. Pull it too loose and your hair falls out of the style. Too tight and you’ll be battling the dreaded ponytail headache. Luckily, both issues can be fixed with two simple tips you’ve probably never thought of before.
“A layered haircut could be to blame for fallout and flyaways,” explains Farel. “While a ponytail is always a safe bet for a hairstyle that won’t budge throughout the day, if you have layers, you will want to add a tight braid to the front to lock the layers in place.” A smoothing product like Julien Farel Flexible Smoothing Balm helps to fight frizz and humidity while keeping the style in place.
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To mitigate the side effects of a too-tight ponytail, Farel offers up this genius tip. “If you pull your hair into a tight ponytail, it’s best to do it wet. When the hair and scalp are wet the roots of the hair are softer and so is the scalp. When you pull the hair up tight during this time the hair is not being forced into it and it will dry in that direction. If the hair is pulled tight after it’s already been dried, the direction of the hair will have to be forced into a different side to create the ponytail. This causes extra strength and pull which is what creates the headaches.”
Armed with these tips, we’re ready to ace our next style.