OMGGet the 411 on teen and tween beauty this fall.

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Teens and tweens can sometimes seem like they’re from Mars or Venus. They use words you don’t know; listen to bands you’ve never heard of; and look WAY cooler than you ever did when you were their age.

To help you plug into the Gen I mindset, we’ve created a teen/tween chat sheet—sorry, cheat sheet—so you’ll know what’s hot (and what’s not) before they sashay through your doors, exclaiming, “OMG, I totally want an OTT style just like my BFF’s hair!”

Whatever their music affiliation, gender or clique, all adolescents have one thing in common: They need to, like, find themselves. When I was 15 this soul searching led me to having a friend shave my hair from the tops of my ears down to my nape. Obviously, I was in full rebellion mode and wanted everyone to know it! I’ll never forget when my friend first fired up the clipper; the buzzing fueled and broadcast my excitement and fear. Although I didn’t keep the hairstyle for very long, the impression it made on everyone—especially me—was lasting.

While the styles have changed since my adolescent years, the need for tweens and teens to assert their individuality through their appearance is eternal. “Today’s kids are marching to the beat of their own drummers,” says Melissa Jacqua, master associate for Paul Mitchell and hairstylist for the hit FOX show So You Think You Can Dance. “They’re wearing their hair in ways that perhaps adults can’t because of restrictions like jobs—especially the boys!” Jacqua adds that boys are emphasizing their natural hair texture. “Boys with naturally curly hair are letting it explode! Those with straight hair are wearing it long and in their face, with a part so deep that it’s almost like a comb-over,”  she exclaims.

Damien Carney, Joico’s international artistic director, agrees. “Boys like to mix and match; they like to experiment,” he explains. “Long hair is popular right now, both for boys and girls. Long layers give movement and texture, yet can still be choppy.”

Teen and tween girls, on the other hand, tend toward emulating what they see in magazines and even on the runways. Says Jacqua, “Girls are begging their moms to let them get a heavy bang. They’re looking through magazines like US Weekly and copying the looks that they see the stars wearing.”

Healthy, flowing manes are also a priority for fashion-savvy lasses, says Carney. “They want styles that encourage movement. They’re looking for cuts that will allow them to manipulate their look, changing it drastically from one day to the next.”

All in all, says Carney, the  ’dos both boys and girls are searching for make a statement. “Diversity is a journey of discovery,” he explains.

—Amy Dodds

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