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The 11 Most Innovative Hair Products Under $15

Best of the drugstore hair aisle. 

There are plenty of $30 hair sprays out there, but not always a reason to buy them. But that's just as well: We're now in a golden age of innovative, affordable hair-care options, with everything from conditioning treatments to "miracle" sprays retailing for less than $15. We dug through (and tested) piles of drugstore hair products, looking for unique concepts, quality that belied the price point, and products that pulled double-duty and served more than one function. Click through our slideshow of the 11 best products that are simultaneously affordable, innovative, and actually effective.

’Do or Don’t of the Day: Jake Gyllenhaal’s Center Part

A casual chignon.

Since growing out his hair to ponytail-length this fall, Jake Gyllenhaal has been no stranger to the man-bun. Though formerly a fan of the slicked-back look, the actor appears to be switching up his styling: Last night, at the Madrid premiere of Enemy (a new “provocative psychosexual thriller” in which the major plot-point involves a bearded Jake Gyllenhaal playing his own doppelganger) he showed up in a full beard, mustache, and center part. For the casual chignon, Gyllenhaal pulled his hair back to form a messy bun at the nape of his neck, tucking his loose bangs conveniently behind his ears.

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  • 3/21/14 at 3:30 PM
  • Crime

The Big Business of Fake Hair and Why People Steal It

There's a black market for chemically treated extensions. 

Take a look at most celebrities on the red carpet, and you can bet that the hair on their heads isn’t all theirs. Well, maybe it's technically theirs (if you buy it, it’s yours, right?) but it certainly didn’t sprout out of their heads naturally.

Thanks to our celeb-obsessed culture, more women than ever are running to salons to try to replicate the look. The number of salons offering extensions has jumped 28.5 percent, according to a 2013 study by the Professional Beauty Association. And, as the popularity of extensions has exploded, so has the number of hair thefts

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Tomorrow, People Will Bid on a Single Strand of Elvis’s Hair

Ew.

A single strand of Elvis Presley’s hair will go up for auction tomorrow in Northumberland, England. The keratin wisp, which is set in the middle of a gold record and mounted with a framed photo of the singer, comes from the collection of a late Elvis fan from Newcastle, and, before that, apparently belonged to a friend of both Elvis and his hairstylist, Homer Gilleland. A signed and witnessed note on the back of the frame testifies to its authenticity, noting that Gilleland considered a bag of Presely’s hair clippings one of his most prized possessions.

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Freaky Friday Hair-Swap: Lorde and Taylor Swift

Inspired by Taylor's Giver cameo.

This week, Taylor Swift debuted wavy brown locks in trailer for The Giver, which got us thinking: What would happen if she traded her hair for the wild brown mane of her 7-years-younger girl-pal Lorde?

We would have had a hard time believing that anything could make typically glam-goth Lorde look like a character on a daytime soap opera, but now we know: Taylor’s blonde hair will definitely do it.

My Week With Jared Leto Hair

A regular guy tries hommebré.

I am man enough to admit that I am not as pretty as Jared Leto. And I think it’s safe to say that at this year’s Oscars, no one was. The man floated onstage like a Warped Tour Jesus: glorious, celestial, sexually transcendent.

That hair. The flowing ombré fade that launched a thousand stylist appointments. And while undeniably perfect on Leto, it’s not exactly a look that mere mortals can just … pull off.

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’Do or Don’t of the Day: Lily Allen’s Braided Helmet

The milkmaid look.

Yesterday, Lily Allen was spotted in Soho wearing a Chanel tweed top paired with a pretty significant plait. The milkmaid-inspired updo featured an impressive array of French braids wrapped fully around the singer’s head, doubling as a headband, or maybe a helmet. The whimsical look is certainly intricate, though if Allen’s strained expression is any indication, it looks a little trying on the roots.

’Do or Don’t of the Day: Kate Winslet’s Piece-y Updo

Wispy. 

Kate Winslet long ago mastered "Jack, I'm flying" hair, but at this week's presentation of her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she took her wind-machine-induced ringlets to another, slightly elevated level. This sexy, tousled bun is a nice balance to Kate's serious all-black getup, and substantiates our long-standing theory that she's way too cool for high-maintenance anything.

Mary-Kate Olsen Just Learned How to Brush Her Hair

Her bedhead look simply never required it. 

Mary-Kate Olsen knows how to run fashion empire (which now includes two new fragrances), but one thing that apparently alludes her: how to use a hairbrush. When Elle asked what her "hidden beauty talents" are, Olsen replied: "The truth is, I feel like I just learned how to brush my hair like last week." Considering nobody rocks bedhead quite like Olsen does, the comment doesn't seem like much of a stretch.

  • 3/19/14 at 1:00 PM
  • Q&a

Q&A: Ayana Byrd and Lori Tharps, the Authors Who (Literally) Wrote the Book on Black Hair

"The black hair story is truly an American story."

After bonding while working late hours at Vibe and discovering they had written similar school papers on hair and its deeper cultural and sociological meanings, Lori Tharps and Ayana Byrd published their book Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America in 2001. The book spans the period from 16th-century Africa to America in the early part of the new millennium.

Last year, though, the authors realized that with the increasing popularity of the internet over the decade since the first edition was published, the conversation about black hair had suddenly changed. At the end of January 2014, they published a revised and updated edition of the book. The Cut talked to the two women about what they want people to learn from Hair Story and the influence the internet has had on the perception of black hair.  

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Obsessive Tester: Making the Case for Dry Conditioner

It's like fabric softener for your hair. 

As hair care becomes more and more specialized and complex, at some point, you look at your crowded sink and have to ask: Do I really need all these bottles?

The answer: It depends on how high-maintenance you are (and, how tolerant of a cluttered medicine cabinet). When I learned about dry conditioner — yet another product to add into the rotation — I was skeptical. Was it really worth the space it took up?  According to the hair stylist Oribe, who offers sells a dry conditioner in his line, it's like fabric softener for your hair. It contains oil, often argan, and other proteins that are highly micronized into a fine, rather than wet, spray. It can be used for tangles, frizziness, and for adding softness in situations when an oil might be too heavy or wet. It can also help perk up a second-day blowout. 

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’Do or Don’t of the Day: Rihanna’s Waist-Length Ponytail

Long hair, don't care.

Over the weekend, Rihanna traded in her shoulder-length bob for a ponytail so long it puts Botticelli’s Birth of Venus to shame. It would appear that the Rapunzel look has at least some staying power: She was spotted again last night leaving dinner in New York with her new mane tied into a low ponytail and swept over one shoulder of her varsity jacket. Of course, it’s not the first time RiRi’s tried longer locks, though this look is, refreshingly, more biker chic than mermaid.

Instagram Theory: Will Jared Leto Cut Off His Hair?

He posted an old picture of himself with shorter hair.

Jared Leto sent his Instagram followers into a tailspin last night when he posted a flashback photo of his short-hair days. The 42-year-old Oscar winner uploaded a black-and-white photo of himself with short, spiky hair and the caption, "Short hair don't care." More than 4,000 people commented things like: "OMG Jared, noooo!" and "Long hair is better!" If he is hinting that he's about to chop his ombré locks, he'll have a million-plus Instagram followers to answer to.

3 New Natural Hair-Care Lines to Try

One indie, one from a drugstore, and one from a salon. 

The demand for "clean" beauty products — those without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or artificial fragrances — has been increasing steadily over the last few years. And now beauty companies are taking advantage of the increased demand by launching new lines. Here, three new "natural" lines to try: one indie, one from a drugstore, and one from a salon. 

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Ask a Stylist: How to Grow Out a Pixie Cut

Think of it like a pimple in the middle of your forehead. 

Welcome to the next installment of Hair Days' "Ask a Stylist" series, with Wesley O'Meara, a stylist who counts Alexa Chung, Kate Upton, and Sarah Jessica Parker as clients and who blogs at We Hate Your Hair. Each week, O'Meara shares styling advice about looks we're trying to pull off. 

I got a pixie cut a few months ago and now I totally regret it. How should I deal with it while it grows out, and is there anything I can do to speed up the process?

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Kim Kardashian Got a Short-ish Haircut

Piece-y layers.

Kim Kardashian officially has layers. She was photographed today with a short new haircut, which means she either chopped off a few inches or removed some serious extensions. Her new cut falls just at the shoulders, with light, choppy layers and piece-y ends. Kardashian has been playing with several different looks since she became a mom last June, but this cut is a sophisticated upgrade from the long ombré she sported a month ago.

Q&A: Hair Stylist Odile Gilbert on Her Greatest Hair Moments, How No Style Is Impossible

"For a while all the models were quite scared of doing anything to their hair."

Backstage at fashion shows, French hairstylist Odile Gilbert is practically ubiquitous: This season she was the mastermind behind the hair at Jason Wu, Altuzarra, and Rodarte, to name a few. Since the early 1980s, Gilbert has been one of the most influential hairstylists in the business, and one of the most in demand on editorial shoots, ad shoots, and at shows. For the latest edition of "Stylist Stories," Gilbert talked to Hair Days about how the industry has changed since she started, whether anything is "impossible" when it  comes to hair, and the most challenging style she's ever executed. 

"For a while all the models were quite scared of doing anything to their hair." »

’Do or Don’t of the Day: J.Lo’s Strange Side Bun

In the “I Luh Ya Papi" video.

Among the many throwbacks in J.Lo's new video, “I Luh Ya Papi,” there is denim on denim, slicked-back ponytails, a certain plunging Grammys gown, and — perhaps most strangely — a messy side bun in the opening sequence. It's a bizarre departure from J.Lo's enviable waves, but proves that absolutely nothing looks unflattering on her. Watch the video here and scroll to the 50-second mark to catch the "French twist meets Flock of Seagulls" updo in all its glory:

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Cut® are registered trademarks of New York Media LLC.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.