Beachy waves are to summer what dry shampoo is to post-workout hair. Come fall, though, moodier, more dramatic hairstyles are primed to take over your social media feeds, and this season’s chic hair trend has gotten everyone from Kim Kardashian to Jennifer Lopez on board. Two words: liquid hair. Think of the look as a sister to glass hair and a distant cousin of the wet hair trend — it combines the ultra-smooth sleekness with a hefty dash of shine for a seriously pretty effect. The difference? It involves more flow than glass hair (think: glossy movement like your favorite maple syrup) and feels soft to the touch (unlike the wet hair trend, which typically requires a handful of gel to achieve and thus, feels firm to the touch).
According to Cédric, celebrity hair stylist and founder of Cedric Salon in New York, liquid hair reflects light much more than your usual day-to-day hair style. And while the celebrities you see dominating the trend are likely sporting extensions or wigs, soft, fluid, glossy hair can still be in the cards for you this fall. With the help of professional hairstylists below, here are the best tips on how to replicate this Insta-worthy trend.
How To Achieve Liquid Hair
The goal with liquid hair is sleek, frizz-free strands, which usually takes a two-step process to achieve: a blow dry followed by flat ironing, with some product sprinkled in between. Because of this, Cédric recommends a keratin treatment as a sure-fire way to nail the trend, especially if you have curly, frizzy hair, as the treatment gives your strands a head start and a shinier, smoother base to work with.
Depending on your hair, Cédric recommends getting the in-salon Cezanne or the Lasio treatment (both of which are formaldehyde-free), as they help to smooth out frizz and flyaways. Keratins are not a one-size-fits-all-treatment, notes Shelly Aguirre, professional hair stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, which is why it should be performed in-salon by a professional stylist after evaluating your specific hair type and needs.
If you’re new to the treatment, here’s how it works: “A keratin treatment is applied to the hair as a coat, washed out, and then blow dried,” Cédric tells TZR. “Following the blow dry, the hair is flat ironed in order to seal the keratin in and close the cuticle, creating a hair shield that gives smooth, shiny, frizz-free results.” When done correctly, your hair should return to its natural texture after the keratin fades (typically three to five months).
If you’d rather achieve liquid hair without help from the salon, Aguirre says that it’s possible. If you have curly or frizzy hair, she says to first prep it with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Then, use a rich hair oil to smooth down the hair, which will not only tame frizz and flyaways, but it’ll douse your hair with the moisture and nourishment it needs, too. If your hair leans fine but is still prone to frizz, Aguirre says to still use a shampoo and conditioner duo that leaves the hair cuticles hydrated, but your post-shower styling will look a bit different. Instead of a heavy oil, opt for a lightweight hair serum, as serums use silicones to smooth out the hair and add shine without flattening out your strands (remember, the goal is for the hair to be glossy and sleek, but with some movement).
After prepping the hair with products you’ll want to blow dry it straight. Cédric recommends using a narrow nozzle attachment on the dryer so that hair is being blow dried in one direction (in this case, straight down) for a smoother, more polished look. Top off your blow out with a run through of a flat iron, working in sections, to create as smooth a texture as possible. Finally, amp up the shine with a non-greasy hair elixir or shine spray, ensuring you’re applying mid-way of the hair shaft and downwards toward the ends to avoid greasiness.
As celebrity hair stylist and co-founder of Trademark Beauty Joseph Maine notes, the difference between your everyday blowout and the liquid hair trend is all in the finish. “It’s important to not overdue it with the flat iron and to find a good balance with your products,” he says. “You want the finish to be glossy with no flyaways, stray ends, or greasiness.”
Maine also highlights the importance of overall hair health, as “over-processed, dry, or poorly maintained ends will make it difficult to achieve the liquid hair trend.” Make sure you’re getting regular trims every two to three months to maintain smoothness and structure in your hair.
Looking for the best products to help you achieve liquid hair? Check out six expert-vetted products below.
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Both Maine and Cédric recommend Dream Coat from Color Wow. “It’s like a mini keratin that you can do at home, lasts up to three washes, and locks out the humidity while adding shine,” says Maine.
To achieve liquid hair, opt for a blowdryer that’ll smooth out your mane but not leave you with poker straight hair. This one from Remington acts as a two-in-one product and both dries and styles all while leaving the hair with some fluidity.
Aesthetics aside, Cédric touts the GHD Platinum+ Styler’s ability to smooth the hair, thanks to its rounded-edges. “The temperature goes as high as 365 degrees to ensure no extreme heat damage or breakage,” he adds.
For coarse hair that is typically lacking moisture, Maine recommends this elixir, which is a single ingredient solution to adding shine, hydration, and integrity back to hair that has become dull with coloring or styling.
Cédric says straight hair calls for a lighter serum or oil. He’s a fan of this one from Shu Uemura because it smoothes frizz without weighing the hair down and offers UV protection at the same time.
Once you’ve blow dried and flat ironed your hair, Cédric says to use this shine mist from Renee Furterer as a top coat for all hair types. It gives hair a high shine and glossy finish, and helps with pesky flyaways, too.
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