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Factors that define a hairstyle
Japanese women and girls in Western dress with various Western hairstyles. 1 September 1887.

A hairstyle's aesthetic considerations may be determined by many factors, such as the subject's physical attributes and desired self-image or the stylist's artistic instincts.

Physical factors include natural hair type and growth patterns, face and head shape from various angles, and overall body proportions; medical considerations may also apply. Self-image may be directed toward conforming to mainstream values (military-style crew cuts or current "fad" hairstyles such as the Dido flip), identifying with distinctively-groomed subgroups (e.g., punk hair), or obeying religious dictates (e.g., Orthodox Jewish have payot, Rastafari have Dreadlocks, North India jatas, or the Sikh practice of Kesh), though this is highly contextual and a "mainstream" look in one setting may be limited to a "subgroup" in another.

A hairstyle is achieved by arranging hair in a certain way, occasionally using combs, a blow-dryer, gel, or other products. The practice of styling hair is often called "Hairdressing."

Hairstyling may also include adding accessories (such as headbands or barrettes) to the hair to hold it in place, enhance its ornamental appearance, or partially or fully conceal it with coverings such as a kippa, hijab, tam or turban.
[edit] Hairstyle process
Most cosmetology programs in the United States require students to purchase practice heads that are made with real human hair. Students can cut, color and add permanents as they are trained in the procedures.

Hair dressing may include cuts, weaves, coloring, extensions, perms, permanent relaxers, curling, and any other form of styling or texturing.
[edit] Length and trimming

Hair cutting or hair trimming is intended to create or maintain a specific shape and form. Its extent may range from merely trimming the uneven ends of the hair to a uniform length to completely shaving the head.

The overall shape of the hairstyle is usually maintained by trimming it at regular intervals. There are ways to trim one's own hair but usually another person is enlisted to perform the process, as it is difficult to maintain symmetry while cutting hair at the back of one's head. Although trimming enhances the hair's appearance by removing damaged or split ends, it does not promote faster growth or remove all damage along the length of the hair.

Stylists often wash a subject's hair first, so that the hair is cut while still slightly damp. Compared to dry hair, wet hair can be easier to manage in a cut/style situation because the added weight and surface tension of the water cause the strands to stretch downward and cling together along the hair's length, holding a line and making it easier for the stylist to create a form.
[edit] Brushing and combing

Brushes and combs are used to organize and untangle the hair, encouraging all of the strands to lie in the same direction and removing debris such as lint, dandruff, or hairs that have already shed from their follicles but continue to cling to the other hairs.

There are all manner of detangling tools available in a wide variety of price ranges. Combs come in all shapes and sizes and all manner of materials including plastics, wood, and horn. Similarly, brushes also come in all sizes and shapes, including various paddle shapes. Most benefit from using some form of a wide tooth comb for detangling. Most physicians advise against sharing hair care instruments like combs and clips, to prevent spreading hair conditions like dandruff and head lice.

The historical dictum to brush hair with one hundred strokes every day is somewhat archaic, dating from a time when hair was washed less frequently; the brushstrokes would spread the scalp's natural oils down through the hair, creating a protective effect. Now, however, this does not apply when the natural oils have been washed off by frequent shampoos. Also, hairbrushes are now usually made with rigid plastic bristles instead of the natural boar's bristles that were once standard; the plastic bristles increase the likelihood of actually injuring the scalp and hair with excessively vigorous brushing.
[edit] Drying

Hair dryers speed the drying process of hair by blowing air, which is usually heated, over the wet hair shaft to accelerate the rate of water evaporation.

Excessive heat may increase the rate of shaft-splitting or other damage to the hair. Hair dryer diffusers can be used to widen the stream of air flow so it is weaker but covers a larger area of the hair.

Hair dryers can also be used as a tool to sculpt the hair to a very slight degree. Proper technique involves aiming the dryer such that the air does not blow onto the face or scalp, which can cause burns.
[edit] Braiding and “Updos”

Tight or frequent braiding may pull at the hair roots and cause traction alopecia. Rubber bands with metal clasps or tight clips, which bend the hair shaft at extreme angles, can also have the same effect.

If hair is pinned too tightly, or the whole updo slips causing pulling on the hair in the follicle at the hair root are other scenarios that can cause aggravation to the hair follicle and result in headaches. Although many African- Americans use braiding extensions as a form of convenience, it is important not to keep the braids up longer than needed to avoid hair breakage or hair loss.
[edit] An industry

Hair styling is a major world industry, from the salon itself to products, advertising, and even magazines on the subject. In the United States, most hairstylists are licensed after obtaining training at a cosmetology or beauty school.[2]

In recent years, competitive events for professional stylists have grown in popularity. Stylists compete on deadline to create the most elaborate hairstyle using props, lights and other fantastic accessories.[3]
[edit] Hairstyling tools
Hair being straightened with a straightening iron.

Styling tools may include hair irons (including flat, curling, and crimping irons), hair dryers, and hair rollers. Hair dressing might also include the use of hair product to add texture, shine, curl, volume or hold to a particular style.
[edit] Hairstyling products

Styling products aside from shampoo and conditioner are many and varied. Leave-in conditioner, conditioning treatments, mousse, gels, lotions, waxes, creams, clays, serums, oils, and sprays are used to change the texture or shape of the hair, or to hold it in place in a certain style. Applied properly, most styling products will not damage the hair apart from drying it out; most styling products contain alcohols, which can dissolve oils. Many hair products contain chemicals which can cause build-up, resulting in dull hair or a change in perceived texture.
[edit] Wigs

Care of human or other natural hair wigs is similar to care of a normal head of hair in that the wig can be brushed, styled, and kept clean using haircare products.

Synthetic wigs are usually made from a fine fiber that mimics human hair. This fiber can be made in almost any color and hairstyle, and is often glossier than human hair. However, this fiber is sensitive to heat and cannot be styled with flat irons or curling irons.There is a newer synthetic fiber that can take heat up to a certain temperature.

Human hair wigs can be styled with heat, and they must be brushed only when dry. Synthetic wigs should be brushed dry before shampooing to remove tangles. To clean the wig, the wig should be dipped into a container with water and mild shampoo, then dipped in clear water and moved up and down to remove excess water. The wig must then be air dried naturally into its own hairstyle.
[edit] Functional and decorative ornaments

There are many options to adorn and arrange the hair. Hairpins, clasps, barrettes, headbands, ribbons, rubber bands, scrunchies, and combs can be used to achieve a variety of styles. There are also many decorative ornaments that, while they may have clasps to affix them to the hair, are used solely for appearance and do not aid in keeping the hair in place. In India for example, the Gajra (flower garland) is common there are heaps on hairstyle.

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