When I was going out , I used to always do the same thing with my hair- get it blown out, straight and smooth but full. Same instructions every time. Then I discovered that playing around with my hair could actually be kind of fun and it could even look, gasp!, just as good as if there was professional help involved. But since I rarely have the time to run to a salon anymore- and with my Flywheel obsession blowouts rarely can last more than a day- I am quite grateful to these three little hair helpers (all of which happen to be under $5- look at me, all thrifty):
Goody DoubleWear Elastics: Genius, genius, genius. I hate when I catch myself all dressed up with a ragged ponytail holder around my wrist- but being sans one when you need it is even more painful. These drape loosely around the wrist just like a bangle, and come in gold and silver options so you can match to the rest of your accessories. And in the hair, the metal accent dresses a 2-second updo up just enough to make it look like you put some effort into it.
Studio 35 Beauty Small Polybands Hair Ties: Clear elastics need not be pricey, and they must be plentiful (since every time I take them out, they tend to disappear). For fastening the ends of braids that will later be tied up into a bun of some sort, they are perfect. Also for a sleek ponytail, these puppies will wrap around twice, just enough to secure without snagging.
Conair Bobby Pins With Travel Case: The clincher here is the travel case- for the most part, bobby pins are bobby pins. But to be able to keep them all together like this so when you need one (or 10) you can actually find it? Priceless.