Sunday, November 20, 2016

Damaged Hair? Skip expensive salon treatments and do a hair mask at home!

At my previous salon, we performed deep conditioning treatments for clients with very dry and/or damaged hair.  Basically what it amounted to was shampooing a client and applying a high quality protein conditioner to moisturize and support hair strength.  The secret, my boss told me, was the way you applied it.  It was the difference between a simple shampoo with a service and the extra $25 charge for the treatment.

What was this secret?  I'll make you a deal.  You subscribe to my blog and then e-mail me.  I'll e-mail you the secret!  That, my friend, is a bargain barter!

Moving on:  Here's how you can do a hair mask at home for pennies on the dollar.

How To:
First, you will need a quality hair conditioner.  Don't just use what you have lying around your bathroom.  You want to moisturize, but you also want to add protein.  My favorite is K-Pak.  You can either buy a bottle of the magic elixir, or if on a tight budget, you can buy a packet.  I got mine free with a purchase.

If you can't get K-Pak, another good product is often less than $2:  Ion Repair Solutions.  Strangely, it's even vegan, if that's a concern for you.

So how do you go about this procedure?

1.  Shampoo your hair in warm water.

2.  Do NOT condition.  You want your hair to absorb the good stuff to its fullest extent!

3. Towel dry only.  You don't want it dripping, but you don't want it bone dry, either.

4.  Pull your hair up.  I wouldn't suggest a tight bun because you want the heat to allow the conditioner to permeate the hair shaft.  Make sure your hair is up on your head to really access the heat of the dryer, especially the ends.
Me in my stunning glory.  By the way, if you are planning to wear makeup, do it
AFTER this procedure or you'll look like an emo raccoon.  

5. Put a shower cap over it.  No shower cap?  You can use one of the banned plastic bags you may still have in your kitchen.  You want to cover the hair so it doesn't dry out.

Guuuuurrrrrlll, it really can't get sexier than this!

6.  Warm up your hood dryer and get in there!  How long?  You can do as little as 10 or as much as 30 minutes depending on the level of conditioning you need.  I like to go for at least 20 because I don't get around to doing this as often as I should.
I was wrong!  It just did!  Anyone else think this
is a throw-back to Dark Helmet in SpaceBalls?

Make sure you have a good book so you don't get bored or antsy!

Support your local library!  This book is gonna be exciting!


If you don't have a hood dryer and don't want to shell out the $20-$50, you can do one of the following:
a. use a blow dryer on your hair set to high heat.
b. Throw a towel in the dryer until it is hot.  Then wrap it around your melon and wait for it to cool.  It's not ideal, but hey, sometimes we gotta make due with what we have. It's better than having a rat's nest of damaged hair.

7. When you are done, keep that shower cap/plastic bag over it.  Let your hair completely cool before removing it.

8.  Rinse your hair in cool water.  It doesn't have to be ice cold, but cool water will help lower the cuticle (the protective layer of your hair) so that it locks in the conditioner and leaves your hair shiny and smooth.

How Often:
If you have curly, dry hair and/or hair that you chemically process, once a month is my recommendation.  Otherwise, you can do this a few times a year just to keep your hair in good shape, especially if you have long hair.

If your hair tends to break or split easily, a conditioning mask will fortify it like a kick-ass vitamin.

If you get your hair chemically processed (colored, highlighted, permed, or straightened), it can take a serious toll on your hair.  This will help prevent split ends, tangling, and breakage.

If you don't get regular haircuts, your hair has more exposure to damage, so this is one way to keep it looking good.

If you are growing your hair out (see above).  However, I still recommend getting a trim every 8 weeks to keep it healthy.  A good stylist knows how to give a healthy trim without making it look like you even had a haircut!

If you have curly or wavy hair, chances are it tends to dry out more than straight hair because the cuticle tends to be more lifted.  This will help prevent the minor breakage that occurs when the cuticles of each hair shaft get damaged from rubbing against the other hairs.

If your hair tends to tangle easily, this will help.  Again, you likely have lifted cuticle.  When your hairs come in contact with one another, they inadvertently beat each other up.  It's a little like a passionate kiss between two people who both have very chapped lips.  Ouch!  Not that I would know, of course.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Night Moisturizer that Won't Bankrupt Savings

You want to treat your skin to a good moisturizing product, but the magazines are recommending a $74 cream that doesn't fit your rigid budget. The drug store has several brands, but you're not sure which to try and whether you'll like it.  Probably one of the best products on the market is Pond's Rejuveness.

 Moisturizers are critical for dry skin, but don't think they aren't a necessary part of every beauty regimen.  To preserve this important external organ, you need to keep it clean and slightly moist.  Moisture is the best way to defend against premature wrinkles and plump up the ones you may already have.

                                         POND'S Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Cream- 7 Ounces
I had been using Pond's successfully for several years and was happy with the texture, scent, and overall protection it gives.  When I saw their night-time anti-wrinkle cream, I decided to give it a whirl.

Rejuveness is rich and creamy, and it feels great on my skin.  In fact, I like it so much I often use it as a mask after exfoliating, which feels fantastic if you have time for a warm, relaxing bath.  Target often offers a sample size for under $2 so you can try it out before investing $10 in the larger size.  Save yourself that $64 the magazine are paid to push.  Try it out!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mascara Under-eye Mess

Nothing makes a woman look as haggard as dark circles under the eye.  The problem is, even when you use a good concealer and do your makeup well, half way through the day, you may still wind up with under-eye darkness from smudged or flaking mascara.

Mascara Smudge Under the Eye

I tried a range of fixes, like using waterproof mascara.  I even tried more expensive brands that claimed they were smudge free.  Nothing worked.  I still had to carry q-tips to fix the issue.

For awhile I just stopped using mascara, thinking maybe my liquid eyeliner was the problem.  But when I got through the day scott free from smudge, I knew mascara was the issue.

I finally came across some good advice in a fashion magazine.  It claimed that the under-eye flaking occurred when mascara was applied while lashes were wet.  Sure enough, my lashes are always a little moist after applying liquid liner.  I began putting on my mascara as the last step in my makeup routine.  Voila!  No more under eye smudge!  What a simple fix for such an irritating dilemma!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Love Your Professional Hairspray but Hate the Professional Prices?

Ion Effective Care Restorative Finishing Spray       

It's easy to shell out a good portion of your paycheck on beauty supplies, but there's always the doubt that you really are getting the best bang for your buck.  As a stylist, I have tried a wide range of products.  Some are disappointing, and some will break the bank.  When you find that price-conscious spray you love, it's like discovering gold!

Stylists have a few different types of hairspray.  First, we have working spray, meaning hairspray that has good distribution and dries quickly.  It's a light spray with a little hold to help while shaping a style.  Then, when the style is achieved, we grab our go-to finishing hairspray to really seal in the style.  The finishing spray depends on the amount of hold and stiffness the client wants or can tolerate.  It's rare to find one spray that can do both.

The closest hairspray I've found, which can be workable and help hold the style at the end is not one you might suspect.  I've doled out dollar for Sebastian, paid for Paul Mitchell, and paid through the nose for Nioxin.

I've also gone cheap and have been disappointed by Vidal Sassoon, Salon Selectives, and Suave, which is surprisingly not as bad as the other drug store finds.

But for the money, the best spray is probably the inexpensive Ion spray I buy at Sally Beauty Supply.  And if you wait for a sale, you can buy one and get the next half off!

Ion Color Defense Extra Control Shaping Spray
So save your simoleons.  Seriously.  Sally's Ion spray is probably one of the best all-over hairsprays on the market.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

How to Curl Difficult Hair and Make it Last!

Many people have commented on my daughter's Halloween picture.  She wanted a curly style to embody the goddess Athena to bring softness and beauty to the powerful goddess of war strategy and intelligence.

My daughter has the trifecta of difficult hair:  stick straight, long, and heavy.  Simply curling her hair is not effective.  The curl just drops out as if I'd never even tried!  Even professional irons won't help much.

So how do you get hair like this to maintain curl?

First, we put her hair in hot rollers and let them sit in for a good 20-30 minutes.  I had already put a light styling product in to help it set.

Next, once the rollers were cooled, I took them out and set her hair in barrel curls.  I made sure to pile them on top of her head with bobby pins to make it as comfortable as possible to sleep.  Then I wrapped her head to keep the curls safe.

The next morning, we took out the curls.  And here's the important part:  do not brush the curls!  I simply ran my fingers through them to separate.

The last step was taking a 3/4 inch curling iron and curling any strands that needed it.  I also made sure to take tiny strands around her face and the top *layer* of hair (her hair is not actually layered) to add more curl and make it appear as though she had long layers.   I then poked the gilded leaves with hair pins and smoothed back the bang area with heavy duty pins.  Once it was secured, I stuck the leaves in.

To plaster those curls in place, I finished with a strong, fast-drying spray to hold those curls in place.

When dealing with difficult hair that is shorter and/or layered, I often skip one of the curling phases.  For example, today's homecoming client wanted curls, but knew big curls would drop out of her hair too quickly.  So in her case, I curled small sections and immediately pinned them to her head.  When done, I sprayed her head all over with a light, but potent working hairspray.  I let them sit to cool 10 minutes, then took them out.  I styled the hair, but as I went, I hit certain areas again with my 3/4 inch curling iron.  Here she gets the big curl look, but one that should be sustainable with the extra structural work.

Nothing's more fun than updos!  It's like jewelry for the hair!  Just make sure you charge well for your hard work!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scalp problems: Folliculitis

The longer you live, the more you see.  Recently I've noticed a problem that seemed at first to be a mild irritant, like flea bites or a basic skin rash caused by an allergen. But when even Benedryl provided no relief, I knew something was fishy.  Plus, all the itchy red bumps focused at the nape and occipital region.  Even changing shampoos and discontinuing all hair products provided no help!

It turns out some people are prone to an inflammation in the hair follicle known as folliculitis.  It's a bumpy red rash caused by exposure to fungus or bacteria, from exposure to these elements.  It's embarrassing as well as irritating, but it's important to treat it.

If a rash continues for too long, it's important to seek medical attention.  Usually a doctor will just provide an antibiotic or an anti-fungal treatment.  Otherwise, you may suffer permanent hair loss on top of discomfort!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Surprisingly Effective Styling Tool: the hot air brush

I've seen the older generation with their pink sleep-in curlers and blue-rod perms.  The hot air styling wand is one of those products I just assumed belonged to that category of woman.

And then, sharing a hotel room with my co-writer, I noticed something astounding!  This beautiful trend-setting blonde uses a hot air brush!  Was it her mother's?  Curious, I asked to try it out.  Even though I was on 2nd day hair (shampooed the day before with no intention of a shampoo that morning before an early conference), I tried it out to smooth out some indentations in my straightened hair.

The first thing that surprised me was that it gave me more volume at the roots!  It also gave a soft bevel to the ends.  For a person with fine hair, it is superior to a curling iron when smoothing and styling hair because it doesn't smash hair down but provides a refining lift.  I vowed to get one myself.

Even though I've been wearing my hair in its natural state of wavy chaos, I bought the Revlon Shine Enhancing Hot Air Kit, for special occasions.  However, after using it to sculpt my bangs, I started using it after every shampoo.  In fact, it works so well, I can go the second day without doing anything to my bangs. It's speedy and doesn't leave me with a wad of frizz like blow drying sometimes does. Score!

Example of a style attainable with this tool: