No matter how much you love a particular haircut or color, chances are you’re itching for a change every now and then. Whether it’s just that you’re lusting after a look you saw in a magazine, or you’re not feeling your current look, or you want to debut something new at a big event, wanting to switch up your style is totally normal. From the post-breakup haircut to the new season style, we’ve all found ourselves in the throes of hair boredom often enough.

How to Fake a New Hairstyle
Ada Summer/Getty Images.

And that’s why we also know that not all that is new is nice and not every yearning warrants action.

The stress that comes from a poorly thought-out styling choice is something we’re all familiar with, which is why stylists usually warn you against committing to a cut or a color when you’re going through a major life experience or just want to do so on a whim, without putting any real consideration into the decision.

If you manage to talk yourself out of it, you’ll be glad you didn’t take the plunge.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and experiment. A lot of style enthusiasts worry about playing it too safe and getting stuck in a rut; that’s totally not what I’m advocating here: just that you can have fun and let loose without going long-term with it. It’s really a win-win situation, and for once, you can have your cut and color it too. Here are some great tricks for faking a new look whenever fancy strikes.

Fake A Cut

We’ve all heard of and loved the faux bob. There was a time when it would have been inconceivable to think that long hair could be tucked up convincingly enough to look like a short do, but that sort of thinking is well in the past now.

In fact, any time a celeb known to sport long hair walks is spotted with a shorter cut, the first thought on everyone’s mind is ‘faux bob alert!’

Apart from the whole new world of styling choices that it opens up, a faux bob is a great way to get some direction if you’re wondering, “will short hair suit me?

Faux bobs, given the technique involved in faking the short length, have this distinct retro-adjacent vibe in their most basic form. But there’s no limiting the amount of fun you can have with this technique. Shorter bobs and lobs, asymmetrical finishes, and all kinds of textures- it all comes together to give you an unbelievable array of options to play with. Whether you’re channeling your inner Daisy Buchanan or simply want to shock the masses with a striking new look, faux cuts are the best way to make a really drastic change without really changing anything at all.

The basic premise is this: you’re essentially rolling/twisting/ braiding the lengths of your hair up and tucking it in and pinning into place. The most basic faux bob typically creates a hood-like effect where the actual length is tucked under, and it’s easy to spot. However, you can get really creative and make them look compellingly realistic with a little practice and the right tools. Faux bobs can be worn in smooth, sleek texture (these look especially good with asymmetrical ends) or in retro waves for a modern twist on Old Hollywood glam. You could prep the hair with curling tongs and pull a few strands loose for a wavier, messier effect or pin it up high for an old-school bunt cut.

You can learn to create a faux bob for a long face and more and really adapt the technique to your features.

Fake A Color

Coloring your hair is one of the most arresting ways to play with fashion, and it’s almost addictive: once you’ve experienced the powerful transformative power of hair dye, it can be hard to pass up a trend or ignore the urge to switch shades. That said, changing your color very often can take its toll on your hair, and while modern products, treatments, and techniques do allow greater flexibility and healthier transitions, I still recommend really thinking it through before committing to a new color. A proper dye job requires maintenance and care, and you just might not like your new color after the initial wonder fades. Pepping up your mood doesn’t always have to involve a permanent (or semi-permanent, as the case may be) commitment.

The easiest way to fake a new color is to use temporary hair dye. Hair dyes vary according to the wear time offered: you can choose different hair color types according to longevity. If there’s one thing Instagram has taught us over the last two years, it’s this: there’s no limit to how pastels and rainbow colors can be used to weave magic into everyday hair. Hair color chalk and temporary pastel colors are the easiest way to add a little pop to your look without visiting the stylist and undergoing a lengthy chemical treatment. Applying your own temporary color may require a bit of practice (get a friend to help out), but it’s a fast, cheap, and relatively risk-free way to test-driving a new look. And if you don’t like it, well, wash it off. Hair mascaras and colored hairsprays are also some temporary hair coloring options to look into.

The catch with temporary hair dyes and hair chalk is that these techniques work, for the most part, only in pale and light hair. So, if your natural or current base is dark, you’re not going to have as much luck with these tricks. But, there’s still another way to fake new hair color: clip-in hair extensions and wigs. From a full wash of color to ombré gradients and highlights and lowlights, you can try out all kinds of hues and shades. Now, these can be expensive, but if you enjoy playing with color, they’re a great way to experiment. In fact, a quality set of extensions can be dyed and treated just like natural hair, which means whatever you want to do to your own hair- you can do to the extensions!

Fake A Fringe

Bangs can be the shortest, quickest route to a new persona, but they too require maintenance, often need to be styled a particular way to look their best, and can take forever to grow out. And, all-too-often, what you envisioned in your head looks nothing like the new fuzzy accent on your forehead- which can make the wait all the more torturous.

So, how do we fake bangs? Well, the easiest way to go about this one is to just buy a clip-in fringe. Kendall Jenner’s faux fringe sparked off a revolution last year. There are all sorts available in the market today, and you can choose between styles, lengths, thicknesses, color gradients, and more. They look realistic, wear well, and you can switch your look in under a minute.

However, if you don’t want to spend money on a faux fringe, there’s another way to fake the look. Start in smooth, brushed-out hair and gather your hair into a high ponytail. Secure it in place with a hair elastic. Take a small piece of the ponytail and bring it to the front, placing the ends out on the forehead. You can pull as much or as little of it onto the forehead, depending on how long/ thick you want the fringe to be. Add some pins on the crown to secure this piece in place (pro tip: use tiny pins that match your hair color perfectly to keep them from being visible). Fan the fringe out to give it a more natural, wispier vibe. Because the piece separating away from the ponytail will still be visible, the best way to really disguise it is to style the ponytail into a bun. A messy topknot has just the right feel and texture to blend all the hair together. Allow some flyaways and a slightly tousled finish to keep it from looking too perfect. This makes it tougher to spot the faux accent.

Fake Some Length

One of the most universal hair woes, tying generations of style enthusiasts together, is the long and arduous journey towards growing your hair out. Luckily for us, quality hair extensions are no longer the stuff of legends –or Hollywood salons alone. There are tons of reliable, well-loved brands that are now making high-quality, real-hair extensions available to worldwide audiences at competitive prices. You can get them to match your natural/ current hair color, or in darker and lighter shades to add dimension along with length, or even with colored gradients to add something extra, along with the inches. Do make sure you do your research about hair extensions before you splurge.

Fake That Volume

Hair extensions can go a long way towards amping up the volume, but if you’re looking for something a little less dramatic –or expensive– there are other ways to add volume to your hair as well.

For starters, there is the old favorite- backcombing. A little dry shampoo/ baby powder at the roots and some teasing can create a world of volume atop your head. However, if you’re not into detangling your hair at the end of the day or your hair is too fine for teasing to make enough of a difference, there are other tricks.

I personally swear by using bun donuts to make voluminous Carrie Bradshaw-Esque high buns and topknots. It’s a simple hairstyle, it’s super glamorous, and it gives the illusion of wearing waist-length hair wrapped up at the crown. Voluminous buns, topknots, and chignons can be impossible to pull off if you have fine, limp hair, but a hair donut and some bobby pins are all you need to tackle this particular hair issue. You can even add some retro flair and drama with the right accessories to recreate Kate Beckinsale’s massive vintage-inspired bun from a few years back. 

Curling your hair can also give the illusion of fuller, bouncier hair. It’s a great way to fake volume in short and medium-length hair, where the curls ‘take up more space without actually weighing the hair down. If you have fine shoulder-length hair, use foam rollers to create masses of curls- it’s a look with tons of vintage appeal and instant volume.

In a similar vein, you can also use hot rollers at the crown to create more volume at the roots. If you’re looking to just generally fake some more body at the crown or you’re frustrated that beehive/bouffant-centric hairstyles never seem to work in your hair, just use a set of large hot rollers at the crown, and you’ll be amazed at the results.

Try these nifty little tricks, and you’ll be surprised at just how many new looks and styles you can pull off –all without needing to visit a stylist or committing to a change for months on an end.

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