Giuffria tells Allure that there are two big issues when it comes to heat styling with one hand: not being able to hold multiple tools at once (i.e. a brush and a hair dryer) and the tricky task of wrapping your hair around a heated wand without burning yourself.
That’s why multi-use tools can be so helpful. Rockafellow recommends the Amika Blow Dryer Brush, a dryer-brush hybrid that allows you to achieve that salon-like blowout without needing to hold a brush and dryer simultaneously. Porter also recommends the Chi Volumizer 4-in-1 Blowout Brush as another option. “This tool sped up my blow dry and style process, and I will never go back to using a blow dryer and separate brush,” she says. An added bonus with this tool is that it comes with a diffuser attachment, which can be a speedier way to both dry and style curls.
For curling tools, Rockafellow also advises using a spring-form iron so you can clamp the hair in place and twist the iron versus wrapping your hair around a wand. If you’re on a budget and want great quality, Hot Tools is the way to go, he says.
My personal favorites combine form with function. The Dyson Airwrap comes with attachments for everything (curling, straightening, drying, round brushes, etc.) and unlike some tools with interchangeable attachments, these are very easy to swap out. Since the Dyson doesn’t rely on high heat, the attachments don’t get very hot to the touch, which limits burns both when using and when swapping attachments. My residual limb is just long enough so that I can hold the attachment under my armpit while I release the base with my right hand. If you’re unable to secure the attachment with a residual limb, you can use your knees or feet to grip the attachment while you release or reattach the base using your one hand.
If you’re really only in need of a tool that creates curls, Rockafellow recommends buying a spring form iron so you can clamp the hair in place and twist the iron versus wrapping your hair around a wand. If you’re on a budget and want great quality, Hot Tools is the way to go, he says. The Beachwaver is another pretty effortless option that takes the spring form technology one step further: You clamp the hair in place, but then the barrel rotates itself at the press of a button. All Beachwaver curling irons feature this function and come in an array of barrel sizes, voltages, and colors so that you can really tailor your choice to match your needs.
Experiment with accessories that mix form and function.
Making my hair look “special” was another aspect that I grappled with post-accident. Since the elaborate hairstyles and fun braids that used to be a habit of mine were no longer an easy option, I had to find new ways of making my hair feel unique.
Hair clips were one of my first and forever saviors. One-handed hair styling is not an art of perfection, so instead of disguising mistakes with endless hidden bobby pins and gel, I decided that any bump or un-gathered hair would not be a reason to start over, but one to use the many clips in my collection. I don’t care if I wind up with 20 colorful clips at any given time! It’s a look, and a way of embracing my imperfections whilst taking my simple pony up a notch. I take this multi-pack with me everywhere I go. It’s like bobby pins, but more fun.
These are the biggest help when you haven’t quite mastered using a hair tie with one hand. Baublebar’s collab with Ulta offers the best I’ve found yet, and they come in all sorts of sparkly, fruity styles. After gathering and twisting my hair into place, I use a wall or table, my preference, since I can sit or crouch, and use the edge to hold my hair in place while I go to open the claw and secure it.
When it comes to tying my hair up, I’ve had more success using scrunchies versus regular hair bands. Scrunchies are easier to grab hold of when you’ve got your head pressed against a couch or wall, which is usually how I hold my hair in place. Silk and satin scrunchies are gentler on the hair, and easier to use when executing the twisting technique I use to tie my hair up (explained below!) I love the Slip Silk Scrunchies because they offer a lot of stretch and come in a variety of thicknesses. Oversize scrunchies are also a really accessible option: the Kitsch Brunch or Dinner scrunchies are two of my favorites.
Find a method that works for you.
The two biggest steps I had to tackle when developing my own tying method were gathering all my hair with one hand and maintaining enough tension to keep my hair nice and tight while I wrap my hair tie around. But I came up with a masterful solution to this: using a couch for leverage. I can use its arm as a substitute for my missing arm while I work to gather my hair. Check out this post for the full video tutorial and see how I like to use some of my favorite products here. Rest assured: you’ll find what works best for you. If the couch isn’t working out, try it with a wall or the edge of a bed.