L.A.'s Coolest Cuts — & How To Air Dry Them

Photographed by Daria Kobayashi Ritch at Jones MGMT
If Anh Co Tran's name sounds familiar, it's because he's likely tagged in almost every Pinterest or Instagram photo you've saved in the last few years. The hairstylist, entrepreneur, and L'Oréal Professionnel ambassador has been churning out L.A.'s trendiest cuts since opening his eponymous salon Ramirez|Tran.
His cuts cover the spectrum — from short bobs to loose long waves — but every chop maintains the same lived-in finish that's become his signature. Eager to lay off the hot tools in the dog days of summer, we asked Tran to reveal his top air-dry tips, along with the three cuts he's loving most right now. Check them out, ahead.
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If You Have Wavy Or Curly Hair...

Courtney's hair is medium weight, long, layered, and has a natural wave to it, so Tran used a simple twisting technique paired with the right styling products. The result is full, imperfect, and almost as cool as the snowboarder-turned-model.

This trick will work on any hair type that is straight (but holds a curl like a champ), has a slight wave, or is curly. (Hold tight if you have stick-straight or textured hair — you're up next.)

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Tran prepped Courtney's damp hair with mousse followed by a curl-enhancing gel. The secret to keeping the gel from making your waves crispy or uneven? Warm it in your hands first. (Try TRESemme Flawless Curls Enhancing Mousse and Devacurl's Spray Gel.)
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Tran carefully worked each product into the hair from roots to ends, making sure the formula was absorbed evenly before graduating to the next. (It's sort of like layering your skin care.) If you need to, comb through the hair for the most distribution, he notes. The order is up to you, but Tran sticks to one rule: "I prefer to work lightest to heaviest," he says.
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Section the hair so you can start on the bottom strands first, then grab a 1.5- to 2-inch triangular section and lift the hair off the scalp while twisting it around your finger. (It may seem silly, but triangles, as opposed to squares, tend to create more natural looking waves, Tran says.)

Again, it's very important that you lift the hair off the scalp so that it dries with volume. (Bonus: It will dry faster, too.) Once you're done twisting, gently slip your finger out of the curl and release it without touching or disturbing it.
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Repeat all over the head, rotating the twists in opposite directions. Be sure to keep the sections around your face twisted backwards, away from the face, for the most flattering effect.

Tip: Hair should be fully wet when set into the twists, so mist the ends with water if they dry before you get to that section, Tran says.
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Once your hair is dry — yes, you can gently diffuse strands if you're in a hurry — flip it over to gently break up the waves. Then, if needed, use a comb or Tangle Teezer to break it up more, focusing only on the roots and mid-lengths. Do not comb the ends or they could get fluffy or lose their shape. "You still want to maintain some separation, so only break up big, chunky pieces," Tran says.
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Once your waves are broken up to your liking, grab your favorite texture spray or dry shampoo and blast the roots and mid-lengths. This will also diffuse the shiny finish of the gel for a more lived-in look. Tran swears by Milbon's formula for every texture. "It's softer than most brands!" he says.
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Give those air-dried waves a shake and you're good to go.
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If You Have Curly Or Kinky Hair...

Brett's thick, textured hair is low-porosity and natural, so Tran saturated her 'do with a cocktail of hydrating and smoothing products while wet, then alternated between Bantu knots and braids to create a twist-out that's unique and unexpected. The result is an "off-duty model" finish that makes her look like the coolest girl in L.A. — even if she's barely old enough to drive.

This technique will work for anyone with textured, curly, or kinky hair, but expect a long dry time if your hair is high porosity (if it soaks up a lot of water when washed) — or just break out the diffuser to finish it off after sleeping on the style.

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Tran started by working a healthy amount (10 pumps) of L'Oréal Professionnel's Mythic Oil through Brett's wet hair, then massaged a cream/gel hybrid through her strands (he used the brand's Bouncy and Tender cream.). "The oil provides moisture and a sleek finish, and the cream adds definition to her curls," he explains.
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Next, he created 1.5-inch squares at Brett's hairline and begin alternating Bantu knots (tight twists) and three-strand braids. Again, be sure to work off the scalp for volume.
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To ensure the texture is perfectly uneven (yes, that's a thing), Tran suggest thinking of your scalp as a checkerboard. In this case, the red squares are Bantu knots and the black squares are braids.
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Once dry, slowly release the knots and braids. "If you do decide to diffuse [to save time] make sure you select a high temperature and low speed," Tran advises, which will better set the twists without disrupting the texture.
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"Unravel gently," Tran advises, "Or it defeats the purpose of creating different textures with the braids and Bantu knots." Next, arrange the curls and create your preferred parting using your fingers; this look should feel casual, not sharp or precise.
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To finish off the style, Tran misted the hair with texture spray (he used L'Oréal Professionnel's Crepage de Chignon, but any formula that's light, gentle, and non-drying will work. Even dry shampoo formulated for natural hair, like Cantu's new spray, will get the job done).
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And that's it — a mixture of air-dried textures that look natural and chic, with defined pieces that frame Brett's face perfectly.
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If You have Straight Hair...

Gabbriette cuts her own hair — a move that makes her layers more punk rock than precise — but even with her shaggy cut, her stick-straight strands rarely hold a style for long. To pump up the volume and movement on her medium-weight hair, Tran layered high-hold products into her wet hair and set her choppy layers into pin curls to dry. The result is somehow both messy and sleek.

This style will work for anyone with straight to curly hair — or anyone with a ton of layers.

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Since Gabbriette's straight strands tend to fall flat, Tran loaded her wet hair with lightweight mousse, gel, and a touch of cream. Any formulas you love will work, but the order is important — otherwise your strands could end up looking greasy or gunky. Mousse goes in first, from root to tip, then gel using the same strategy, but keep your styling cream just at the tips to seal the ends.

Again, make sure each formula is fully absorbed into your wet hair before moving onto the next. (Play it safe by combing through hair for the most even distribution.)

Have bangs? You can quickly blow-dry them if they don't dry straight, first prepping the hair with a bit of mousse for hold. Otherwise, comb them straight down and resist the urge to touch.
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Starting on the bottom layers first, lift a 1.5-inch square section and wrap it around two fingers like you see here. Make sure the hair is smoothed out — any twists or knots will change the final result — then pin it to the scalp. Make sure you double check that the hair is lifted off the head to ensure a more-voluminous end result.

The direction of the pin curl depends on how many layers you have. Lots of layers will benefit from curls that angle slightly backwards for a more wind-blown look; if you have light to no layers, simply curl sections under.
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Repeat over the entire head.
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Tip: Try your hardest not to mess with your bangs. The more you touch them, the less smooth and straight they'll dry.
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Once hair is dry, simply release the pin curls and flip your head over. Shake out your hair and finger comb into place. Those with fine hair can add volume spray or dust through roots for more thickness; those with thick hair can smooth a little style cream through any dry or frizzy sections.
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Check out that body... Tran's last look proves that even straight hair can air-dry into a bouncy style.
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appearance by Lucie Fink.
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