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Your hair dilemmas, solved!

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Hair secrets revealed

The only thing that baffles us more than boys is our hair. We receive tons of email from readers with troubling tress questions. Read on for the answers to some of the most common (and bizarre) ones.
Bad Hair Day

Q. Why does my hair look totally fabulous one day but crappy the next, even when I style it the same way?

A. Just like snowflakes, no two hair days are identical. Subtle switches in your styling routine plus the weather can change the way your do looks from day to day, says Scott Rottenberg, stylist at Tiffani Kim Institute on the Park in Chicago. While it's obvious that humidity causes frizz, you may not know that really dry air can also make your hair puffy. Plus, when your body heats up (like on a hot day), your scalp perspires slightly, and as a result, your hair can look flat. As for styling, keep consistent by making sure you're rinsing out all of your shampoo and conditioner and using the same blow-drying technique and amount of products every day.

Q. More hair than usual is coming out when I shampoo (the shower drain is totally clogged). Am I going bald?

A. Don't panic -- most likely you are not losing your hair for good, assures Christopher Mackin, resident trichologist at Gil Ferrer Salon in NYC. You normally lose between 70 and 120 strands a day. Altering your diet, starting or ending a medication or experiencing a lot of stress in the last three months can cause more to fall out, but that type of hair shedding is only temporary. If there isn't any obvious reason why you're losing strands, visit your doctor to rule out a thyroid problem. Regardless of the cause of your hair loss, start massaging your scalp every time you suds up. Doing so increases the blood flow to your follicles and promotes healthy hair growth.

Q. I had my curly hair blown out pin-straight at the salon. It looked fantastic, so I bought the same brush and styling products my stylist used, but I can't manage to re-create the look. What's up?

A. "You brought the brushes and products home with you but not the stylist," says Ric Pipino, owner of the Pipino salons in New York City and Miami. Beyond the fact that a pro gets more practice than you ever will, there are several advantages that your stylist has over you. "Since we stand above you, we're able to work at a downward angle, which is ideal for straightening hair," says Pipino. "It allows us to create the tension to stretch out the curl." Since you can't work on your own head from above, you should keep the nozzle aimed down the hair shaft so the cuticle lies flat and reflects more light. Finally, your stylist doesn't have to hold his arms up in the air like you do, so he doesn't get tired after five minutes. To avoid wearing out your arms, keep in mind that pros spend the first 80 percent of the styling process just blow-drying haphazardly before they begin the meticulous sleekening strategy, says Rottenberg. "Don't bother starting to straighten when it's still sopping wet -- that takes forever."

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