We all know that Cinderella had a Fairy Godmother to turn her rags into a ball gown and her flip-flops into glass slippers, but legend has never explained what happened to her hair. Since modern-day Cinders invariably need quick solutions, we’ve asked leading hairdressers to tell us what to do when we’re going straight to the ball – whether from the kitchen or the office – and there isn’t a moment to wash and style our hair. (You could, of course, adapt all these ideas for freshly washed hair too.)


  • If hair has become flat during the day, spritz with water to dampen it slightly, then use your palms to work over the head in rotating movements. This will lift the roots and provide instant volume and body. For added height, gently back-comb the crown area, smooth and spray lightly with setting spray.

With a hairdryer…

  • For short hair that has become flat, apply mousse all over the hair and power dry using the fast setting of the hairdryer to give instant volume and natural movement. Leave it ruffled or smooth back into the original style.
  • If you have a fringe, apply a small amount of mousse around the hairline, then blowdry hair, pushing the fringe in the opposite direction to the way it grows, then back on itself. This will produce lift and a slight quiff. Give hair a sleek 1920s look by smoothing the rest with a tiny amount of wax warmed in your hands first. But don’t overload the hair with mousse or wax.
  • Apply a strong styling spray, lifting hair away from the head, and blast the roots with a fast-flow hairdryer. Rub a small amount of shine gel through the fingertips and touch the ends of the hair, pushing it away from the scalp. Don’t brush through, leave it tousled-looking.



  • Remember that hair which isn’t squeaky clean is easier to handle. With curly hair that has become frizzy, work with one inch sections, adding a tiny amount of serum to each one, encouraging the curl by using finger twirls. Don’t brush or use a hairdryer.
  • To revitalise naturally curly or wavy hair, tip your head upside down and pump hairspray into the hair roots. Repeat with side sections for all-over volume. Finish by dipping your fingertips into pomade or wax and lightly running through the hair.
  • Take random sections of hair, twist them loosely along the lengths, and secure close to the scalp with a grip. The secret is to leave tendrils loose and not fasten the coils too tightly.

With a hairdryer…

  • Spray your hair with a light mist of water, then dry with a diffuser attachment to encourage and revitalise curl. Catch it back into a low ponytail, allowing side sections to fall loose. Dress with hair accessories if you wish.



  • Gather your hair tightly at the back of your head, fold it over into a pleat, twisting and tightening from crown to nape. Secure it with grips and hide with accessories, such as big combs.
  • To give wave and body, use large heated rollers. When you take them out, don’t brush out the waves, just gently ruffle your hair with your fingers.



  • Pull your hair back into a high ponytail and wear a velvet Alice band across the front section for real fifties retro-glamour.
  • Don’t overwork hair, or it will become more greasy. Using a bristle brush, take it back onto the nape of the neck and make a low ponytail, securing with a scarf, ribbon or slide.



When it’s raining…

  • Use gel to slick your hair back behind your ears – that way it’ll look the same wet or dry.

When it’s humid…

  • If your hair gets too wild, spray it with hairspray and hold it flat against your scalp with your hands until it’s under control.
  • Or, instead of trying to flatten your hair – which may be a losing battle – wet it and scrunch it with styling mousse, for a casual look.
  • If it’s very humid, pull your hair back into a low ponytail and tuck it under a hat. When you get to work, let the ponytail loose and brush your hair.

No time to blowdry…?

  • Comb through a touch of gel, slick it back and let it air dry.
  • Do the ‘sunglasses’ trick – fashion and beauty editors everywhere swear by it. While your hair’s still damp, put on a pair of sunglasses as if they were a hairband. You can wear them there all day. (They’ll also be handy for blasts of bright sunshine.)

Your hair’s flat and won’t cooperate…?

  • At Philip B.’s salon in Los Angeles, they tease hair with a toothbrush. ‘The tiny bristles give you much more control because you can work on smaller areas. A firm-bristled toothbrush also lets you get at the roots, which really lifts hair and gives it volume, without making it big.’ This is best for spot-teasing, for instance a fringe, because it takes too long all over.

Your grey roots are showing through…?

  • In an emergency, Bobbi Brown has been known to use an eyeliner pencil – in dark brown – to touch up roots, as a short-term fix while waiting for a colouring appointment. (Be sure to choose a colour that matches your hair.)

The ultimate cure for a Bad Hair Day…

  • Provided your hair is long enough, put it in a top-knot. (It’s actually better if hair is unwashed and slightly messy.)