When you’re in a style rut, you have three main options: You can change your hair, change your clothes, or do nothing and wait for the feeling to pass. Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each strategy:

  • Change your hair: Hairstyle ideas are easy and free to research (you’re already in the right place). The research itself can take your mind off that lingering feeling that you need a style update. That gives you some mental time and space to assess whether you really need to change anything. If you decide to push through with a new hairstyle idea, it doesn’t cost you anything extra — assuming you’re already paying for periodic salon visits.
  • Change your clothes: Swapping out your entire wardrobe is expensive. You could try to scratch that itch with a lower cash outlay by focusing on accessories. The only trouble is, shopping in these situations can lead to ill-advised purchases. Here’s how it goes: You’re feeling unstylish so you reactively buy some crazy or uber-trendy scarves and shoes, then a month later you’re like, what was I thinking?
  • Do nothing: This is the hardest strategy to implement. Because the more you try to suppress those style-rut feelings, the stronger they bubble up.

So, let’s focus on the hair. Because it’s a free exercise to entertain new hairstyle ideas and there are many ways to upgrade your ‘do, without going overboard. You might only need a small change — one that doesn’t involves scissors. So keep reading for eight inspiring ideas. The first four you can do on your own, and the second four will require the help of your stylist.

1. Go straight

You can quickly create a new look by investing in quality tools like a ghd hair straightener or a ceramic brush. Stick-straight hair can be dramatic, especially if your go-to style has involved curls or waves.

If you’re new to straightening, invest in a straightening balm that offers heat protection. You’ll want to blow dry first, then straighten (vs. straightening air-dried hair).

2. Go wavy

If your go-to is straight, try adding waves. You can do this with a curling rod, a straightener (with some practice), or a round brush and blow dryer. Grab your hair in sections and, starting no higher than the top of your ear, curl each piece away from your face at the front. As you move to the sides and back of your head, you can alternate the direction of the curl.

Add a finishing spray and let the curls cool. Then use your fingers to soften your curls into tousled waves.

3. Part ways

Another easy, at-home way to update your look is a simple part switch. Try a middle part or a deep side part. Often, the change adds volume right away since your hair naturally wants to fall the other way.

Just know that if you have layers, it’s best to experiment with a new part on a day when there’s nothing on your calendar — since the part change can leave your layers looking awkward. If that happens, wait until your next salon appointment and ask your stylist for help with the switch.

4. Ride the sleek pony

Ponytails have long been a preferred solution for creating a statement hairdo quickly. Whether the day’s events involve a casual day out or a formal event, a sleek ponytail can transform your look in just a few steps.

Start by blow-drying your hair. Hair tie in hand, gather your hair back, smoothing the sides with your hands. You can fix your hair at the nape of your neck or higher, depending on your mood. Add setting spray, smoothing over any stray hairs as you go.

For an extra statement, start with straightened hair. Then, after you’ve tied it back, pull a strand from the underside of the ponytail, twist gently, wrap it around the hair tie, and fix with a small pin underneath. Repeat two to three more times so the hair tie is fully concealed under your own hair.

5. Bob it out

Bobs and their longer siblings, lobs, are always in style. You’ll definitely want to consult with your stylist here, because the bob can be personalized in so many ways. Your stylist can suggest a cut that suits your face shape and the level of maintenance you want. You could also add highlights or balayage for a head-turning, dimensional look.

6. Layer for volume

Layers are the answer if your hair seems stuck in flat, lifeless hair mode. Again, work with your stylist on this one. The texture of your hair, your face shape, the current cut you have, and your skill with a blow dryer will influence whether you’ll do best with subtle layers, choppy ones, or something in between.

I went this direction last year, lopping off a good 5 inches of my long, straight locks for a collarbone-length, layered cut. It was such a refreshing style change!

7. Shag for easy keepin’

An edgy shag cut can quickly get you out of the hairdo doldrums. Plus, it’s a stylish look, ideal for adding texture and volume to long or short hair.

The shag is easy to maintain, so you can rock this look even on your busiest days. What’s better than a cool and effortless haircut? Not much, really.

8. Asymmetry for statement-making

Straight or wavy, long or short, an asymmetrical cut always makes a statement. You can go as subtle or as extreme as you want, too. Even a slight length difference between your left and right side stands out, in a good way. Get comfortable with that look and you can level up to an asymmetrical pixie — which is a surefire wow look.

More hairstyle ideas and trends

For more looks to love, see these posts:

New hair, new you

There you have it, eight hairstyle ideas to end a style rut. With that inspo, you’re ready to do your research, collaborate with your stylist, and step confidently into a new hairdo.