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7 Solutions to Bad Hair Days

  • Problem: Fade-outs
    To prevent color from getting dull, first protect it from the sun: Stay in the shade or wear a hat when you're outside for more than 30 minutes (which is good for your skin, too, of course!).

    Color-care shampoos and conditioners can help as well. They contain fewer sulfates and tend to have thicker, more hydrating conditioners, which prevent color from seeping away. We like: Dove Advanced Color Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner, $4 each.

  • Problem: Frizzies
    This is usually a sign of dryness, so give your hair a weekly deep-conditioning treatment. We like:Pantene Pro-V Moisture Replenishing Mask, $4.

    Style for smoothness: If your hair's straight, take time to blow-dry. Divide into sections and dry with a round brush, pointing the dryer down the hair shaft.

    Curly? Comb a lightweight conditioner through hair, and let air-dry.

  • Problem: Split Ends
    The ultimate fix for split ends is a trim, but if you can't get to the salon, you can cheat. First, chill out -- literally. Make your final hair rinse as cold as you can stand. Then, if you're blow-drying, press the cold-shot button for a few seconds right before you finish, which helps the hair cuticle lie flat.

    If your hair is too frayed to wear down, put it up in a ponytail, tucking the ends underneath and securing with a bobby pin. For added smoothness and shine (which can help hide split ends), we like: TRESemme No Frizz Shine Spray, $4.

  • Problem: The Flats
    After shampooing, apply a lightweight conditioner to the ends of your hair only, then rinse. Towel-dry, and work a dollop of volumizing mousse through hair. We like: istyle by SAMY "Give Me Body" Volumizing Mousse, $6.

    Blow-drying will help give you height. If you have a few minutes, use a medium- to large-barrel round brush, with the dryer aimed underneath at the roots. In a hurry? Just flip your head over and blow-dry.

  • Problem: The Greasies
    Once a week, use a clarifying shampoo in place of your regular one. (More often than that and it'll dry out your hair.) In between washes, spray dry shampoo on your roots to absorb excess oil. We like: Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo Spray, $21; (It's pricey but goes on evenly and leaves no residue.) And -- no touching! The oils on your hands will only make it worse.

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  • Problem: Grays
    If you have a stray gray now and then, it's okay to pull it out. Anything more than that and you might want to start coloring. If you're a newbie, don't skip the strand test; you could be saving yourself from after-tint regrets. Try it out on the underlayer of hair before you do your whole head.

    Choose an allover shade that's close to the color you had as a child. It'll probably be a few shades lighter than your current color, which will help camouflage gray.

    For permanent color in only ten minutes, we like: Clairol Perfect 10 by Nice 'n Easy, $14.

  • Problem: Grays
    To avoid staining the skin at your hairline, we like: the Repelle Skin Shield Wand, $5. It goes on smooth, doesn't feel sticky, and washes off with water.

    Unless otherwise noted, products are available at drugstores or department stores.