As a busy working mama of twin two-year-olds, I usually whip my hair into a quick ponytail for minimal fuss because toddlers. For date nights or work events, I longed to recreate five-minute updos, but I tended to just opt for my signature quick flat-iron look for weddings or special occasions because again, toddlers. When I was invited to meet with Philip Carreon, celebrity hairstylist and creative director for the salon professional haircare line Eufora International, at the Ramos Carreon Salon in Beverly Hills, I couldn’t wait to get some professional help with upgrading my pony.

Carreon is the go-to stylist for many of Hollywood’s top actors and chart-topping singers including Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Miguel, Hilary Duff, and Miley Cyrus. During my afternoon at the salon, he taught me some simple tricks for on-the-go hairstyles that wouldn’t take all morning to pull off, because I need every single minute my toddlers are in daycare. Keep reading for Carreon’s suggestions for simplifying your hair routine and extending your styles to last longer.

Sleek Straight Hair

Carreon schooled me on how to use a flat iron properly. Instead of running my flat iron from the front of my hair to the back, he suggested pulling up my hair into sections before straightening; by focusing on sections I could get the ultimate smooth look. “You’ll want to section off hair around your eyebrow level, or higher, if you don’t have much hair,” he said. I bought Sephora’s Hold it Together Blow Dry Clips ($10) to keep my hair in place while using my flat iron.

In order to achieve really smooth ends for a super sleek look, Carreon likes to comb the ends again and run the flat iron through just the ends to make them perfectly straight. “Hold some tension in your hand that’s clasping the hair, which will help straighten your hair more all the way through,” he said.

My usual routine with a flat iron is to just straighten my hair and leave it. But Carreon taught me an easy way to add volume after I’ve straightened it. “Make a rounded part that comes down the back around the crown of your head, then take a section of hair (about two to three inches). With a narrow-toothed comb, tease your hair by pushing the hair down close to the roots. Tease only the hair closest to your roots, not the entire section of hair,” he advised.

“Spritz some flexible hair spray into the teased hair to keep maximum volume,” said Carreon. He likes to use Eufora International’s Elevate workable hairspray (available at participating salons) because it has a hold but isn’t extra firm so you can continue to work with your hair after you’ve used it. (Try Design.ME’s Hold.ME ($22) for an adjustable hairspray.) “Lightly comb your finished ‘do with a fine-toothed comb,” he said.

Carreon suggested a cute (read: easy) way to extend my smooth ‘do with these simple side twists to keep my hair out of my face for the summer. “Take a front section of hair, lift it up high, twist it three to four times, then pull it down softly and lower it to the bottom of your head. Pop a hair clip to hold one side while you work on the other side. Repeat with the other side. Remove the clip, bring both sides together, and fasten with an elastic,” he said. I bought these black Sephora Snag-Free Hair Elastics ($4) to blend seamlessly with my hair color. Carreon recommends using this simple twist with straight hair or beachy curls for a quick, pulled-together look.

easy Beachy Waves

If your hair, like mine, doesn’t retain curls well, take a one-inch section of hair, spray a hair thermal protector product or hairspray in it, comb the product through, then curl with your curling iron for five seconds. To achieve beachy curls, tug on the ends of your hair while it’s still hot to loosen the wave. Carreon uses Eufora International’s Retain spray (available at participating salons) when curling or straightening hair because it protects hair from heat up to 428°F.

To complete my wavy look, Carreon suggested a dime-sized amount of hair fiber paste (he uses Eufora International’s Piece Works fiber paste, available at participating salons). “Rub the paste into the palm of your hands. Tilt your head upside-down, grab the ends of your hair, and work the paste through the ends only. Pull the fiber paste through the ends of your hair,” Carreon said. “After applying the fiber paste, run your fingers through your hair to add volume and boost your waves. Finish by pulling the ends of your hair out to the sides to work that fiber paste in completely.” What I liked about the fiber paste was that it felt like it kept my curls in place without weighing down my hair.

As far as retaining my summer beachy waves, Carreon said the key is dry shampoo. “Lift up your hair in sections [then] spritz with dry shampoo a distance away so your hair stays dry,” he said. “Rub the scalp area to work in the dry shampoo. Use it whenever your hair is dry or oily to give it a fresh start.”

quick Updos

Remember my ponytail rut? Carreon showed me ways to take that basic ‘do and turn it up a notch. He suggested dividing my hair so that it’s down in the front, then putting the rest of it up into a high ponytail. “Spray with hairspray and tease it to give your pony some texture, or comb it and straighten it with a flat iron for a smooth pony,” he said. “Curl the front hair if you want and you’re done.”

He taught me how to create a simple bun by rolling my hair from my ponytail under. “Be careful to touch your hair softly to keep your bun’s volume,” he said. “Turn the whole roll on its side and secure with long open hair pins (like Diane Hair Pins, $5) right where your bun meets your hair. Tilt your fine-toothed comb, gently comb your bun, then lightly spritz with hairspray.”

“After your bun is situated and sprayed, go through a final time with closed bobby pins to secure the bun at its base,” Carreon instructed. What I love about this look is that it came together quickly and made me feel like I was more stylish with minimal effort. Best of all, on hot summer days in LA running around with my kids, this bun stood the test of all-day wear.

Show us your easy summer hairdos and tag us @BritandCo!

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(Photos via Erin Day)