Work with what you've got
Some of the best hair I've seen and known (okay this sounds weird already) is natural or virgin hair as they call it. It's been untouched by chemicals and it is literally some girls' crowning glory. Part of me wishes I'd never touched mine, yet I didn't listen to my mother and I guarantee my children will be the same, but look at what you've got and embrace it. You don't have to faff with touch ups or spend countless hours at the hairdressers (and countless pounds spent) sorting it out. Your roots won't show, your hairline won't be stained from a quick box job and you won't have to worry about the colour your fro will go once you hit the pool.
The same applies for your hair type. Everyone's hair is different. I have poker straight hair that luckily holds all styles. My friend has curly hair that does straighten well but it's naturally very curly so 80% of the time she lets it be and works with she's got. Don't fight it, embrace it.
Life is no fun without a little experimentation and this should stretch to your hair. It doesn't have to be as dramatic as changing from baby blonde to midnight black but maybe it's getting a fringe cut in, changing your parting or wearing your hair up for the first time.
Growing up I would wash my hair every single day and wear it down straight. At the time I thought it looked great and it may have done but it also wasted me a lot of time in the shower and I looked the same all of the time. Now I have dozens of hairstyles that I turn to on a daily basis. I've accepted that I'm no daring darling in the hair department - heck I've not changed my hair colour in about five years and I don't intend to, but poker straight Stacey is a thing of the past.
I'm even sad enough to have a little hair routine. Chances are if it's up, it's getting near to wash day and curls either mean I want to make an effort or I'm trying to disguise third day hair. Don't pretend you don't have one too!
Unsure of how to handle your hair? Or how to achieve that up-do? Watch and learn - literally. YouTube is full of hair tutorials, advice and tips and tricks, so make the most of it. I've learnt a lot from it, and after some feedback on here - am considering delving into hair video tutorials myself in the New Year.
Maybe you're a hair pro yourself? Share that knowledge and help others. Or speak to people who know. I remember when I had no idea how to put in extensions and I tweeted a blogger that I knew wore hers fantastically and guess what - she published a video for me on how to do it. Most people will be glad to help and impart their knowledge, so ask away. Don't forget your hairdresser too. I literally bombard my hairdresser with questions from why he's using the shampoo he is to how he'd achieve a certain hairstyle. Honestly make the use of your resources.
Thinking of making a big change? Without raining on your parade - think twice. I'm an impulsive decision maker and it has got me into a lot of hair trouble in the past, hence why I'm so anxious about anything changing with my hair. I came back from a skiing holiday adamant I wanted Gretchen Weiner's hair (off Mean Girls) but due to my scalp being burnt my hairdresser gave me (horrible) blonde streaks instead. It took me about six months for it to fully grow out. And that's not the worst hair colour disaster I've had.
Luckily, in today's society, corrections are never far away - what with Colour B4 and most hairdressers being willing to touch and fix your hair post-disaster. But it can be costly and could affect the condition of your hair so do your research and think. Maybe a gradual change will be easier to adjust to and keep your hair in good nick.
Money doesn't always equal quality
Like most things in life, money doesn't always mean quality. Heck I should know, I've used every branded hair product under the sun from budget to blowout - my bank balance cries just thinking about it. But what I've learnt is that it's not about the cost but what works for your hair.
I've been using the same shampoo and conditioner for over five years and it doesn't cost more than a fiver. I'd happily spend more because I like to keep my mane in good condition but this brand does the job just fine. My friend with the crowning glory I was referring to earlier often uses men's 2 in 1. Whilst that rips my hair to shreds (I have tried and tested it one night I stayed over), her hair is as bouncy and glorious as ever. I'm not jealous in the slightest...
It's called haircare for a reason. Whether it's colour or condition or maybe your diet - take time to care for your hair. Eat the right foods, use the right products and book yourself in for regular trims. Treat yourself to regular hair masks or leave in conditioning treatments and cut back on the styling. I'm completely guilty of this - whether it's hot irons or backcombing so I try to limit how much I do of it now, and my hair is healthier and thicker than ever.
Before or after any hair change - take time to reflect. See what hair styles and colours work or worked for you, whether you liked them and try and recall what condition your hair was in during. Bleaching will strip your hair whereas darker colours tend to make your hair look thicker, but as I keep saying, everyone's hair is different. What you like, someone else won't - but really it's only your opinion that matters.
Make the cut
I used to HATE getting my hair cut but it's one thing your hairdresser is right about. I'm not saying I completely agree you need a trim every 6-8 weeks because some people don't have the time or money to fit that in. Certain hairstyles will require more salon upkeep than others - bobs, fringes etc. Whereas girls with longer hair can get away with a longer time in between cuts.
It's not just about the length though, getting a trim gives your hair a new lease of life - that extra bounce. It makes your do look healthier, it means it'll be able to hold styles better and allows your hair to grow quicker, so a win win situation really.
Find someone you trust
Finding a hair salon or hairdresser you can trust is really important to me. To some it might not make a difference, but I like to feel like I'm in good hands. Moving to somewhere new can be hard knowing where to go so ask around, whether that's your friends and family, your colleagues or Twitter. Check out salon reviews or look out for introductory discounts.
It took me about three salons before I found one in Manchester I was comfortable with - so don't expect it to happen overnight but when you find the one, you'll know.
You know best
Overall the most important tip to take away from this is you know best. Why? Because it's YOUR hair. Your hairdresser hasn't grown up with it or been through the bad dye jobs. It doesn't know how it reacts to frizz on holiday or why it kinks when it rains. So as Christina sang - trust the voice within.
You know what products work for you and what doesn't, or what hair style suits you or what shade you like most. I'm not saying ignore your hairdresser but you have a voice too. Find a haircut, a hair colour, a hair style and a set of products that works for your hair and your life.