The Goal: Soft Texture, Volume, and Hold
Step 1: Mix together a pea-size amount of styling cream and a dime-size amount of extra-hold gel. "Combining styling cream with hair gel helps give hair lots of soft, touchable texture that won't fall flat," says Paul Brown, owner of the Paul Brown Salons & Day Spas, in Hawaii. Use your fingertips to massage in the mixture from roots to ends. Then set the dryer to a medium speed and heat setting and pinch and twist one-inch sections while aiming airflow at the roots to help establish lift.
Step 2: Focus the warm air on the roots. "Drying roots first helps support the hair, giving it lots of lift and volume," says Brown. Work your way around your head and, when the roots are completely dry, style the sections around your face using a small round ceramic brush, which holds heat longer than a wooden or plastic one. Continue using the brush to dry the ends of the rest of your hair.
Step 3: Put a dime-size amount of pomade in one palm and rub your hands together to warm the product. "Pomades are often stiff," says Brown. "Warming one up in your hands will make it easier to use." Use your fingers to pinch pomade onto ends of small sections to define layers, create a sleeker look, and give your style hold.
RS picks: Aquage Fortifying Ultragel ($16, aquage.com for store locations). An extra-hold gel and styling cream in one. Aveda Light Elements Defining Whip ($24, aveda.com for salons). An airy whipped wax gives hair texture and hold after drying.
Feeling inspired? Find more short hairstyles like the pixie cut pictured here.