How I get textured, second-day hair on a short bob.

Guys, I won’t lie, it’s taken me a bit of bloody perfecting to get this right – I put this down to the fact my hair has COMPLETELY CHANGED TEXTURE SINCE HAVING A TINY BABY – but that’s for another post/century.

Pic: Jennifer ‘T & A” Stenglein


I’m working with hair that is:

  • A total bitch
  • Fine
  • Flat
  • Slippery
  • Lank
  • Short

Which I wish was:

  • Full of volume
  • F-d up
  • Messy
  • Gritty
  • Textured
  • Dirty
  • Movey… as opposed to wavy. Almost straight, but full of body, with a soft wave. (I flick it over from side to side, real ’80 style, so curls don’t work.)

So. I get a real good cut at Edwards and Co every 3-4 weeks. Also a colour. (I see either Monsieur Jaye Edwards himself, Melvin Royce Lane, or Lauren Mackellar, they are all EXCELLENT and I trust them implicitly.) My natural hair without bleach in it is a floppy, flat mess. I get the ends razored so the bob doesn’t look TV Newsreader/too perfect/daggy.

I wash with a volume shampoo like Redken Body Full Shampoo to remove all product and start the scaffolding of volume. Then I wash again to actually clean the hair and scalp. No conditioner. My hair can’t handle it at the moment. Buzz off, conditioner! I heard you were a snitch anyway.

On damp hair, I spray some kind of volume boosting, body-boosting, fullness product all over. This might be L’Oréal Professionnel tecni.art Volume Lift Spray, which is lightweight and has a targeted nozzle and which I love, or it might be Kevin Murphy BODY.MASS, and not just cos the bottle looks great, don’t be so godamn shallow.

Kevin Murphy BODY.MASS

Then I blast dry with my beloved bright orange Parlux 385, of which there is no comparison, either hand drying the hair (no nozzle on the hairdryer), or (using the nozzle now), brushing the hair in every direction, across, over, both sides, with my Denman Styling brush, of which there is also no comparison. This creates more volume. More air in the hair.


I then go to bed. I never tong freshly washed hair. It sucks. Hair needs to be a bit lived in so the curl will hold.

Next morning, it’s about shaping the hair. Not curling. Shaping.


Wake up, take something “gooey” and thickening and run it through the hair, all over, to give the hair movement and thickness and a mild ‘wetness’, like Kevin Murphy UN.DRESSED. (Your chap’s matte texture clay could even work here, esp from the mid-lengths to the ends.)


I spray in setting spray, like Matrix Thermal Active Setting Spray, then I use either the ghd Curve Creative Curl wand, (I like the tapered barrel for haphazard, I-woke-up-like-this waves), or my beloved Babyliss curling tong. With longer hair, you can afford to leave ends off the styler, to create beachy, lazy waves. With my length, it’s better to get those ends on that styler/tong, because leaving the ends out looks so ’90s and crunchy. So I wrap from the mid lengths to the ends of the hair for approx. 8.04 seconds, then I remove wand, and I tug and pull at the bottom of just-curled sections so loosen up the wave and make it straighter.

ghd Creative curl Wand

Then I let it set. Curls and waves only set when they are stone cold. No touchy til then. (Maybe a light mist of Bumble and bumble Spray de Mode, but that’s it.) Being fine, my hair demands I go easy on the finishing products. (It also demands pikelets for breakfast, but is less victorious in that respect.)

After 10 mins or so, I go through the hair with a wide tooth comb, to make waves blend, and to soften them up.

Then a light dusting of volume powder (Evo Haze, for instance) all over the top of the head, massaged into the scalp, for grit and to zap any remaining floppiness. I run fingers through and mess around with it a lot to get the shape right.

IF I STILL FIND IT TOO WAVY: I spray some sea salt spray lightly over the hair and blast hair dryer on high heat over it for 30 seconds. This will straighten it, but maintain texture.

I add more volume powder and dry shampoo each day for about three days, when the hair finally looks utterly perfect for about six minutes… then it’s time to wash again.

It’s definitely a dirtier, more product-ier is better hair style. I miss lazy top-knots, but I feel WAY more me with short hair.

And remember: the shorter the hair, the shorter the hemline. YEEEEEEEEEW!


Responses to this drivel: 17 Comments
Responses to this drivel ( 17 )
  • Kellie

    Dude. I totally get it. My baby just turned one, and while she has blossomed and grown and become better with each paaaing day…my hair has not. It has lost all curl, all shine, all volume. I spent the past year growing it purely so I could put it in a pony and ignore. I’ve finally had enough and went in for the chop today. Feels so good to embrace short hair again. And dare I say, even the curls seem to be enjoying it! I normally smoosh a bit of Revitafoam through my dry hair but will have a crack at your two-minute option. That’s literally all the time I have for my hair at the moment. 

  • Allie

    what a babe zo! haircut/style perfection xx

  • Erin

    Kudos to you. I am tired just reading that, and I don’t have a kid.

  • Jess


    So may be slightly paying too much attention but you mentioned you bleach your hair. Can’t help but notice its (a gorgeous) shade of brown. I followed your “underlighting” post and totally have limp, way to soft/healthy hair as it has never been permanently coloured (only semis).
    Do you bleach before colouring?

  • Kate

    Hi Zoe
    You totally inspired me to get the CHOP last week and BOOM, now you’re sharing all your hot tips to pimp my do!

    With 2 small kidlets and months of neglect (the hair, the hair, not the kids!) it had to go and I’m loving it.  Your night before method gives me hope that I can do this! 

    Sweet, sweet blog post oh how I love you. Thanks Zoe

  • Kara

    What flavour Denman styling brush do you use, and by flavour I mean size. 

  • Jess

    Oh my goodness, how do you have time for all this, it sounds like so much effort, can you please tell us when you sleep? I have a baby same age as yours, and I cannot despite my best efforts, manage anything but wash and go at this stage. I must be doing something wrong. 

  • Nat

    Oh Zoe you are so awesome! You look beautiful and you’ve totally inspired me to get the chop too (I have a two year old and a bubba Sonny’s age so in serious need of some easy glam). Do you mind if I ask where you get your lashes done? They look so natural and lovely.

  • Erica

    Hi Zoe!
    Do you/have you tried any hair growth/thickening supplements? I have fine, thin hair that I want to look thicker and healthier and Ive had no luck with an enormous amount of various products, so I was looking into supplement options. Any advice would be appreciated! 🙂
    Thanks so much, love your blog xx

  • Lucy

    Zoe! Once again you are my hero this routine has bought new life into my crap,thin, dead straight hair!! Cannot thank you enough!!! 
    I am temped to also get a you inspired chop however as I am 6 months pregga’s with my first baby, I am unsure if I should leave it long and easy to pull back for the first few weeks of new born fun?? Would love your advice!! 

  • Michelle

    You look great in short bob. I’m so tempted to cut my flat, straight and lifeless hair. But how do you get the time to do all that??

  • Sharna

    Thanks for a great post Zoe! For years I’ve battled with fine hair that goes ratty at the end as soon as it’s past shoulder length and as limp as week old lettuce. My hair dresser put me on to Matrix Mega Dust which really helps to add texture and volume.

  • Elizabeth

    I just can’t stop laughing at your blog. You’re so funny. Looking at your dark hair makes me jealous. My friends always told me to get it chopped off sooo suited me short and I mean short. Now it’s longer as I like to have a bit of a pony but it’s blonde , or should I say growing out salt & pepper. Ugh love it blonde but just not sure how blonde yet. Nor the cut. Plus it’s not shiny or soft like I’m used to. Wish I lived in Melbourne. Have visited 3 times since June. Love it. 

  • DB

    ERM, just letting you know – someone has ripped this blog post off as their own work. (I was googling trying to find your post that I’d originally read, and came across this copycat/thief.) Not cool: http://beverlymay.com.au/?p=2544

  • Kate O

    Hey Zoe,
    Can you reccommend a good, easy roller for fine, limp completely uncooperative hair?

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