A Quick Upgrade: Slicked-Back Hair




Well you could tie your hair in a quick, messy ponytail. Or, just maybe, you could try something new. Something sleeker. Fancy-ish? It’s the summer and feel free to get funky. ITG has some ideas. One suggestion: slicked-back hair. You know, very Hadid-esque (that Drake song is about you, right?). Pulled up, the look is the mini facelift you didn't need but wouldn't turn down if it was free and non-surgical. Brushed straight back, it’s the relaxed alternative to a bouncy blowout. The key to the execution? Product: gels, pomades, sprays, and oils, to be exact—and expert tips swiped from five hair pros. Grab a brush and your goo of choice, pull your hair back and give these a try.

The Matte Slick Back

“I say if you’re going for the slicked-back look, just go for it—don’t be afraid to use a product that you’re going to need to wash out once you’re done at the end of the night. I love to use the Ouai Matte Pomade because it’s no shine with great hold. Start by blow-drying your hair back away from your face, then divide it into even sections—four if your hair is fine, eight if your hair is thick—and apply product from roots to ends. If you don’t divide into even sections, you’ll likely only get product in the front and your style won’t stay all night.” —Holly Mills

The Just-Showered, But Make It Fashion

“A personal favorite product for slicking back hair is Gel Serum by Oribe Hair Care. It gives a flexible hold that won’t dry super stiff, and it adds a lot of moisture to the hair, while the gold flecks reflect light beautifully. Simply start with damp hair and comb through, starting at the nape of the neck and moving upwards until you get to the crown. Keep in mind that your comb’s teeth can give you a variety of textures—wide tooth combs give a more relaxed look. I like to finish with Oribe’s Shine Light Reflecting Spray to give the hair a bit of extra luster and shine.” —Matthew Tuozzoli

The One For Natural Curls

“One easy way to slick back curly hair, especially when putting it up, is to start with it wet. I recommend using a gel like R+Co’s Motorcycle Gel—brush it into the hair using a soft bristle brush like YS Park’s Soft Cushion Brush or a fine tooth comb and pull the hair really tight. I also like to go around the hairline with whatever product you like to use on your edges. A little bit of Olive Oil Edge Control on a toothbrush works well.” —Clara Leonard

The Bella Ponytail

“A good, clean ponytail works best when the hair is slightly dirty—day three or four hair. I work my Vernon François Styling Cream into my hands before applying it on hair. The amount will vary, but smaller applications are more effective than one big lump. In addition to adding volume and structure, finishing with a styling cream also protects the condition of your hair. A natural boar bristle brush, preferably a flat one, is the best kind to use on all hair textures to get that clean finish without any unnecessary tension on your strands.” —Vernon François

The One That’s Your New Go-To

“When doing slicked-back hair, it’s easiest to start with straight hair. For naturally curly and textured hair, I recommend blowing and straightening your curls out first. Once your hair is completely straight, I use an oil like Ouai Hair Oil throughout—it keeps everything moisturized without reverting the hair back to curls.” —Lacy Redway

Photo via ITG.