How To Style Your Hair for the Dance Floor?

Published on by CMe




How To Style Your Hair for the Dance Floor?

If you are getting into the salsa groove of things, you’ll have to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible on the dance floor. It’s important to wear comfortable shoes and clothing as well as a comfortable yet versatile hairstyle.

If you are a woman involved in leisurely salsa dancing, it’s best to wear your hair up in a ponytail to keep the hair off of your face. It’s best to place your hair up into a bun also, which is even more appropriate for salsa dancing.

But if you are venturing into the competitive world of salsa dancing your hair should be up but secured in place neatly. Since you’ll be swung around, the last thing you’ll want to do is whip your hair in your partners face. Although it may be amusing to watch for some, your partner may think otherwise.


A good woman’s hairstyle is an updo like a French twist, French braid, low bun or other upsweep hairstyle. But make sure that you wear a hairstyle that’s completely swept off of your face to ensure that your hair does not distract from your dance or accidentally get in your face and ruin your routine.

A bit of gel should be used to lightly comb back your hair. A little spritz of hairspray is also helpful at keeping those lonely stragglers at bay.

For male dancers it’s also best to wear a short hairstyle. But for those with longer hair, some gel and hairspray are excellent helpers at making your hair the least of your worries while dancing. A hair elastic is a must for men with longer hair. It’s essential to comb the hair back and keep it completely off of the face and in a low ponytail. But don’t go crazy with gels since you may be sweating a lot and the last thing you need is gel getting into your eyes. Make sure you use enough hairspray to combat any hair troubles that may arise.

A simple hairstyle that’s not too tight is the best option when salsa dancing. Look good, feel good and have fun!

Let’s salsa!

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After the charismatic Cheryl Bautista Burke won the Second Season of ABC's Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) in the Spring of 2006, I had the immense pleasure of actually interviewing her on the phone. 

Cheryl won the 2nd edition with her dancing partner Drew Lachey. At the time we originally chatted Cheryl was "in talks with ABC to return for another Season in the Fall" but things were still not final. Not only did Cheryl return for The Third Season, she and her star partner - Emmitt Smith (formerly of The Dallas 

Cowboys) won the intense dance competition. 

Her performance with Emmitt was stellar and if possible, even better than her work with Drew. And yes, she won the competition for the second straight time in a row. I have to confess that after speaking with Cheryl on the phone I had no doubt this fantastically talented performer would give the other dancing couples a major run for their money.

Cheryl told me more than once in the conversation "dancing is my life". Besides chatting about her stunning dance style which she confirmed "is unlike anyone else's" we talked about her hairstyle which "is very unique". In fact, Cheryl admitted "she has yet to meet anyone that has a hairstyle that is anything like hers". Since my passion is definitely hair we had a lot to talk about.

Cheryl's Shaggy Hairstyle

Although the gorgeous 22 year old Taurus born May 3, 1984 always makes her sensational dancing look effortless, it's the result of years of extremely hard work, "zillions of hours of practice" (at least "3 hours per day") and careful planning. 

Such is the case with her spectacularly sexy hairstyle. Cheryl explained her hair "was specifically designed to showcase her entire look by her dance coach - Allan Tornsberg - who helped her design - and yes "he cut" her "championship winning look". I asked Cheryl how she might describe the style and she admitted it's "hard to describe" since "it consists of hundreds of different lengths and wispy pieces all cut at different lengths all over" her head.

Cheryl's Short Shaggy Fringe

Cheryl agreed "it's definitely not a bob because of all the different pieces" and "actually combines a couple of different hairstyles" such as a bob, chop and cap, although it does not exactly fit into any of those hairstyle categories. She noted the closest accurate description might be a "fringe" cut to extends all along the perimeter of her head. Indeed, after she mentioned the fringe factor, I studied her photos and it really does look like a beautifully handcrafted fringe that you might find on a couture gown or a beautiful suede jacket.

Ultimately the goal was to infuse her hair with "maximum movement", whether she is "moving or not". Since the champion dancer is famous for "breaking all the rules" with her dancing, she also wanted to create a hairstyle that was completely unique.

Because her dance style is a combination of Latin and ballroom, which she describes "sexy and sensual" she wanted her hair to have a similar feeling. In fact, Cheryl confessed that she used to wear her hair "long and with blonde highlights" but wanted to "break all the traditional ballroom hairstyle rules". 

Cheryl's Dancing Hair Secrets

The bubbly natural brunette explained "ballroom dancers more often than not slick their hair up and back into a bun or other updo that doesn't move when they dance". For her, strand movement is key when she dances. She wants her hair to move along with the rest of her body.

To give her hair an even more dramatic flair, it was actually dyed black for Dance With The Stars. Cheryl was required to live in LA for four months during filming. In between the two season (Two and Three) of the DWTS shows she "let her still-fringe enhanced hair grow "from her chin to "just below her shoulders" and let her "natural brown hue" show through.

She again dyed her hair "black" for the third season although at the time I originally talked to her she was unsure if she would. When we chatted I mentioned that it really did give her an exotic look. She agreed and added it "made her hair look super shiny.

Steal Cheryl's Hairstyle - Step By Step Instructions

The bubbly natural brunette explained "ballroom dancers more often than not slick their hair up and back into a bun or other undo that doesn't move when they dance". For her, strand movement is key when she dances. She wants her hair to move along with the rest of her body. And move it does, capturing all the eyes of the audience.

Follow the steps below to steal Cheryl's stellar Dancing With The Stars Famous Fringe:
  1. Start with a hair cut that mimics Cheryl's layered short cut that according to her celebrity hairdresser (who was introduced to Cheryl by Drew Lachey) is 100% razor sheared.

    Keep in mind that not every type and texture of hair will work well with a full razor cut. Discuss your options with your own hairdresser before proceeding.

    A similar shaggy cut can be performed with scissors or other types of cutting shears.
  2. Shampoo and condition hair with products created for your hair texture, type and current condition. If your strands are naturally fine or thin and you desire lots of volume, be sure to use volume enhancing products to help amp up your strands.

    If your hair is colored or chemically treated like Cheryl's black dyed hair be sure to use products that address these special needs to prevent the development of dryness or damage. 
  3. Finish with a cool/cold water rinse to close the cuticle and help add natural shine.
  4. Towel blot - do not rub - hair with an absorbent towel.
  5. Depending on your hair texture, type and condition apply a moisturizing heat protecting conditioner or a cocktail which includes a leave-in conditioner and/or defrisant product along with a styling mousse. It's your option to work with all three types of products or select only those that your hair might require to create fullness and movement.

    If your hair is naturally curly or wavy you may wish to substitute a straightening balm for the styling mousse to achieve a slick straight glass like finish.
  6. Gently detangle hair from ends up to roots using a "hair friendly" comb or your fingers.
  7. Separate hair into individual 2" strands. 
  8. Start at the back of your head using a round Boar's head or similar style brush to anchor the individual strands while directing the air flow of a blow dryer down the shaft from roots to ends creating a stick straight finish.

    Continue to blow dry until each section is 100% dry.
  9. Once hair is 100% dry, separate into 2-3" strands and use a small to medium sized hot iron to go over all of the strands to create a perfect glassy straight finish.
  10. Apply one or two drops of shine serum into the palms of your hands and distribute well. Lightly brush your hands over the top of your newly finished style. Optionally you may finish with a spritz of hairspray like Paves Professional Firm Hold Repairing Hair Spray. If desired, clip all of your hair back off your face and hold in place with a jewel encrusted barrette. a gorgeous silk flower or similar clip or pin.

Optional Looks

For an optional look you can create some soft volume along the crown extending from the hairline to the back of the head. This volume can be created by simply back combing the desired section or by using a volume enhancing spray or similar product when blow drying the style.

Another option is to instantly change your hair length, color and style with one of Ken Paves' HairDo options from HairUWear. At one point Cheryl appeared on DWTS in a much longer hairstyle that was obviously either clip-on extensions or a wig. Ken and Jessica Simpson developed a spectacular line of clip-in hair that can transform your hair in a matter of minutes with no permanent changes


What's next for the dance diva now that she has won two straight seasons in a row? The sky's the limit at this point.

When I chatted with Cheryl after winning the first competition with Drew (before dancing with Emmitt) she was brimming with joy and excitement because she explained "I just found out that I was nominated for two Emmy awards for her choreography on Dancing With The Stars - Season Two." She emphasized "it's was such a tremendous honor to be nominated" that she is just "thrilled beyond words".

As for the future, there is little doubt that Cheryl will continue to do a lot of dancing. For years her "true core" has been dancing and that will "not change anytime soon". In fact, she believes "her greatest achievements in dancing are still on the horizon of the future". Can that even be possible? With Cheryl Burke anything is definitely possible..

Drew Lachey & Cheryl Burke

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Jessica Alba 


Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at  MetroSexual LA


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