5 On-The-Go Must-Haves For Taming Unruly Short Hair

You'll always find these five items in my bag or my car for when I need to quickly make my hair look presentable.
Publish date:
November 22, 2013
short hair, hats, lip balms, headbands, brushes, hair pins, Tokyomilk, vaseline

I love short hair. I love making “top five” lists. I love having “what’s in your bag?” discussions. Obviously, I needed to combine all of these things into one xoVain article. And what better time to talk about my hair than the week that I decided to go back to being a brunette? Oh, and I scored a really cute purse on clearance at Target. The stars have aligned, so here we go.

I spent almost the first two decades of my life constantly keeping tight elastic ties on my wrists at all times. I truly admire how Annie always has her hair down, looking effortless and at peace with the world. I could never do that when my hair was that length; my hair was way too… let’s say “spirited.” It drove me crazy if I couldn’t pull it back into a ponytail.

When I cut my hair short, I rejoiced at the freedom. I caught myself still wearing elastics on my wrist for a few weeks afterwards until I had the sense to cast them dramatically into the ocean. I was freed from the tyranny of hair accessories!

Or so I thought. It turns out that short hair can be even more high-maintenance at times. I tend to wake up with the craziest bedhead. Most days, I’ll shrug it off, run a hand through my hair a few times, and just roll with it. But some days, it’s really bad, and I can’t exactly show up to work looking like this:

I never have time to beat my hair into submission with water and heat in the morning. (I’m a night bather, OK? Hmmm... that sounds weirder than it is). That is why you will always, always find these five items in my bag or my car for when I’m on the run and need to quickly make my hair look presentable.

1. A mini brush

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. I got mine for $5 at CVS. I don’t really love brushing my hair because it looks better when it’s at least a little messy, and a brush kind of ruins that. This brush is for emergency neatness only.

Those little fold-up brushes are awesome for this too, in case your bag is more of a clutch.

2. TokyoMilk Lip Elixir (or plain old Vaseline)

I know this one seems pretty weird, but guess what: it’s actually genius.

I am obsessed with this pretty tin of what is basically scented petroleum jelly. I got it for $7 at Sephora, but you can also order it from TokyoMilk’s online store in several different scents. Yes, it is a lip balm, but I’ve found it has many other uses.

I dab it all over as a solid perfume, and started using it to tame my brows after commenter Becca suggested it. The latter is what gave me the idea to start using it to tame random flyaways in my hair.

You can also use Vaseline for this, but I much prefer using this lip balm because it’s slightly sticker (and thus has a better hold) AND it makes your hair smell amazing.

3. A hat

This one’s a no-brainer. If you have no time and no other option, just throw a cute hat on.

It’s almost winter now, which helps give you an excuse to wear a hat, but giant straw hats and baseball caps work really well in the summer.

4. Pins

But what if you can’t get away with wearing a hat because you’re going to work or to church or something? Your brush and lip balm are fighting a noble battle against the rebel forces at the back of your head, but it’s just not enough.

At this point you have two choices, and one of them is pins. Not bobby pins, though--at least, not for me. My hair laughs at bobby pins. I use those really big, strong roller pins that you can get at the drugstore (you know, next to the hair rollers). Those are perfect for pinning down my thick hair.

Rather than pinning my hair down flat at the sides, I like to roll my bangs back and pin them down on top of my head.

The perk of this option is that you can do a ton of different styles with pins. The faux pompadour, I guess you’d call it, is my favorite because it’s easy. I pinned it down a bit too tightly this time, and you can see some pins sticking out, but that’s okay because we’re going to cover this up next.

5. A headband

If the pins aren’t working for you, or if you don’t like the look of them, you can replace them or cover them with a cute headband. Not the thin plastic kind with a giant flower on it--that’s not going to hold anything down. I’m talking about the wide, stretchy kind.

You can get basic black ones at any drugstore, although I sprung for the stripey one.

Those are easier to fold up and carry in a small bag, and it can hide as much of of your hair as you want. I put mine on top of my pins, so no hair was poking out.

You could also wear a scarf instead of a hat or headband (check out Alle’s wire scarf tutorial). And of course, never forget the number-one trick of sunglasses as headband.

Now I want to know what hair emergency fixers you keep in your bag at all times. I’m really curious to see who is higher-maintenance: those with short hair or long?