Book Excerpt: 'Cool Hair'

In Cool Hair, celebrity stylist Vincent Roppatte says looks do matter because looking good means feeling good. Read an excerpt from his book.

Chapter 1

You're the Best

Each and every one of you is a wonder, unique and different from other girls. Although there's a lot more going on inside the private you than anyone dreams, there are still many feelings you share with other teens.

These feelings represent the most important changes in your life, just as you're becoming an irresistible young woman. Can you recognize yourself in the following behaviors?

You want more privacy than ever before. You are easily hurt. You want to experiment look new, try new things, think new thoughts, maybe even shock people with your daring. Sometimes, you're mean to others and you regret it. Being popular counts a lot even if you don't love admitting it. Your moods change suddenly. Occasionally, you feel anxious about making and keeping new friends. Your self esteem flutters you often don't like yourself and you worry about your appearance. You want the right to choose what you wear and how your hair looks. Even though I'm no expert in psychology, I have spent all my life young women and what makes them look wonderful. What I've learned is that it's all about self esteem and believing in yourself. When you feel confident inside, you take on an outside glow and your best qualities show. You don't feel self conscious about expressing your deepest thoughts, And this I know for sure: The first step toward self esteem and popularity is feeling comfortable and pretty in your own skin.

Seventeen-year-old Rita Nepogoda is a gentle, free studying spirit from her multi colored toenails to her multiple ear piercings. She follows her dreams and she's the best!

Peer pressure can be killing. Although you have definite ideas, it's often easier to be swept along with the crowd and say you like the same bands, clothes, hairstyles, and makeup that everyone else likes, instead of expressing your real opinions. You don't want to be different.

When you don't feel pretty, it's even more difficult to let your true self shine through. If you think you're plain looking, it's harder to relax and be yourself around guys and even other girls. What you want to say comes out sounding totally lame. Though your achievements, intelligence, and inner qualities best define the person you are, it's easier to believe in yourself if you feel attractive.

People may tell you that thinking about your looks is shallow and unimportant; well, they're wrong, wrong, wrong. Knowing you have the prettiest hair in your class, knowing you're wearing a great outfit don't mean you're shallow. You feel smarter, funnier, and safer if you feel cool. When we know we look good, we attract the best to ourselves and our best selves come out. Deep inside you're the best. So what's stopping you from taking control of your outside look and making it the best also? When you do the most with what you have, you'll have the freedom to be yourself inside and outside. And I promise you this: One of the best ways to look cool is with wonderful hair that captures the enviable energy and radiance of your youth.

That's why you're holding this book in your hands. If you're not satisfied with the way you look, if you feel out of it, today is the day you change things. Today is the day you start to allow the beauty deep inside you to be set loose.

Reality Check

If you try on the hottest outfit in the world and your hair hangs limp, the effect is also limp, uninteresting. If your hair looks great, so do you even in your rattiest jeans and T shirt.

Look at the before and after photos on pages 4 7. Since everyone always talks about bad hair days, we thought we'd see if there is such a thing. We asked some girls who were not particularly happy with the way their hair looked to be photographed. Result? Kind of blah. Then, after a simple makeover, they were photographed again. The results are dynamite as you can plainly see.

You try it. One day, when your hair is not its best, put on your favorite outfit and look in the mirror. You won't be happy. Then, wash, blow dry, and style your hair, and put on the same outfit. The difference is amazing right?

Wonderful clothes are a good start to your day, but it takes some attention to hair and also to skin and makeup to make you look sensational.

I believe that you never need to have another bad hair day, even if you're not crazy about the texture, color, or style of your hair.

What Do You Hate About Yourself?

Does your nose seem too big? Do you have too many freckles? Do you think your lips are too thick? You are what you are. What makes you unique and terrific is exactly the shape of your nose and your lips, the individual jut of your chin all your characteristics that may not fit the bland beauty norm. Cookie cutter noses are for plastic dolls, not real, young women. The most fabulous young women I know have learned to love and express their differentness by accentuating what makes them stand out from the crowd. Julia Roberts's wide mouth, Reese Witherspoon's sharp chin, and Renee Zellweger's squinty eyes now set the beauty standards, but I bet when they were teenagers, these stars despaired about looking different from everyone else.

"The thing you hate about yourself tends to be the thing that everyone likes about you," said Nicole Kidman to People magazine. You can't easily change some things like height or coloring; your nose, eyes, or ears; the freckles that drive you nuts; and often, your body shape so it's smart to make the most of those parts and accept them, even if you can't exactly love them.

Even if you can't change anything else, with the tiniest effort you can change the most important part of your look your hair. Hair is the key to everything. Hair softens a square face, reduces a large nose, balances eyes that are too close together or too wide apart. Great hair helps you value even those features you wouldn't have chosen if you were in charge of designing you.

Hair is also a very safe place to experiment. You don't have to diet to extremes or have plastic surgery. Experimenting with hair is as harmless as it is fun. Hate the curl? Straighten it. Hate the straightness? Curl it. Hate the color? Make it blue. Hate the style? Change it. Whatever mistakes you make are not permanent. Nothing is irreversible because that trusty hair will grow back.

Pretty Appeal

If you let me guide you through the pages of this book, I promise you the hair you deserve no matter what kind of hair you were born with. I promise to teach you the tools, tricks, and skills for your hair so that you can notch up your personal style. I will show you how to have hair appeal and you will choose the kind of appeal you desire. Excerpted from Cool Hair by Vincent Roppatte and Sherry Suib Cohen Copyright December 2003, St. Martin's Press.