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Beauty: bad hair day? Try one of these brilliant cheats

Since cutting off five inches of hair, I’ve become obsessed with how much time one can save on styling – not only by shortening your hair (clearly, some short styles can be more labour-intensive even than long ones), but also with some guile and very little skill.

This leads me to do the unthinkable and urge you to buy a scrunchy. I know: those disgusting, fabric-covered hair elastics seen on Sloane Rangers and, frequently, on wet pavements, all grubby and still holding strands of their estranged owner’s hair. I am loth to admit it, but they’re my best recent beauty discovery – 24 years after they were fashionable.

It turns out I can save myself a morning blowdry by spraying a little dry shampoo – I use Redken Pillow Proof (£11.75) or Colab (£2.32) – into the roots before bed, then tipping my head upside down and gathering the lengths in a very high, loose ponytail on top of my head. In the morning, my hair has more volume than I could possibly hope to achieve outside a salon.

This works for anyone with enough hair to capture – although please don’t use regular hair elastics, which dent and flatten. I’m using Scunci Scrunchies (£3.99 for three), but honestly, these things are available just about everywhere for practically nothing (pennies, if you don’t mind paisley velveteen).

My other new love is Bumble And Bumble Creme Contour (£21.50; but so concentrated it’s probably a year’s worth). It gives that definition and piece-y look that stops hair looking like a dull, fluffy mass, and is the first I’ve been able to use without my hair falling lank in a grubby, greasy-looking non-style.

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