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The Ultimate Guide to Picture Perfect Hair

As a beauty writer who’s often the subject of her own articles, I’ve learned a few “tricks of the trade” over the years. For example, you often have to overdo it a little bit with blush if you want that flush to show up on camera. And a light dusting of the finest milled mineral powder can nix oil in a second while simultaneously making your skin glow.

I’ve also learned how to manipulate my hair to make it look fuller, shinier, longer and, in general, healthier. Some of it is angles, as you’ll learn, and some of it requires a product (or lack thereof). My best suggestion for those of you learning how to take photographs of yourself — whether you’re perfecting those selfies or mastering professional self portraits — just keep shooting and trying new things until you figure out what works for you. Nonetheless, I think anyone will find this simple guide to picture perfect hair helpful in any situation!

The Ultimate Guide to Picture Perfect Hair

The Fuller Hair Trick

To create the illusion of fuller hair, every single strand of your hair should face the camera in your images. So if you’re looking straight on, pull all your hair from the back and move it in front of your shoulders (permitting it’s long enough). Alternatively, you can bring all your hair to one side of your shoulder. If you’re taking a photo of the back of your head, pull all your hair from the front to the back. For those with shorter hair, you can still move the volume of your hair forward, sideways or behind.

This sounds simple enough, but most people don’t think about it and it makes all the difference in volume and body.

The Fuller Hair Trick

The Twirl and Lean Trick

This trick goes hand-in-hand with the “fuller hair” trick above. Again, you want to make sure all of your hair faces the camera. So, since this image is taken of the back of my head, I’ve pulled all my hair from the front of my shoulders to the back. I’ve also done two additional things to create a more flattering image. First, I’ve twirled my hair, as pictured, and then released. This keeps hair from spreading across your back and looks better. Second, I’m tilting my head back just slightly, which makes my hair look longer.

The Twirl and Lean Trick

Don’t Overdo The Hairspray

You want your hair to look soft, pliable and natural in your images. Hairspray counteracts all of the above. Sure, you can use a spritz or two to keep frizz at bay, but helmet head is a bad look for everyone.

The Ultimate Guide to Picture Perfect Hair - Don't Overdo The Hairspray!

Bad Lighting? Go Black and White

Sometimes you find yourself in unattractive lighting. Maybe it’s the dingy blue of a fluorescent-lit room, or perhaps you’re dealing with way too much orange in a friend’s living room. Another issue could be a location that simply doesn’t have enough light, which can lead to a grainy — or downright weird — image when trying to correct in your editing software. Here’s a secret photographer trick: nix the color and go straight to black and white. This will fix all your white balance issues. Just make to brighten and contrast so the image has vibrancy.

Bad Lighting? Go Black and White

Scrunch It Up

Scrunching your hair is a tried and true trick that works. Simply grab a handful of hair and then scrunch before releasing. Repeat across your head. Note that you don’t need any product for this, and that the effect won’t last terribly long, but it will make a difference in your images.

Scrunch It Up

Oil is Your Friend

Remember how I said that you need extra blush for it to make a difference on camera? The same is true when it comes to oil. Sure, there’s a point where you’ve gone too far, but the perfect amount can make your hair look extra glossy and healthy. You can use your preferred hair oil or serum. Simply apply a dime-sized amount in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, then comb through your hair. In the second image below, I have hair oil on the right side, but not on the left. Can you tell the difference?

Oil is Your Friend