Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Long Hair: One Length, Angled, or Layered

Very Long One-Length with Heavy Bang
So you've grown your hair out long, but aren't quite sure what to do with it, cut-wise.  There are three basic cuts, with a thousand variations in each.  In this blog we'll look at one-length, angled, and layered styles for hair far below shoulder length.  Later we'll look at medium length and then shorter styles.

One Length
For fine hair, or hair you just don't want to be bothered having to style, one length is probably your best bet. There's not a whole lot to say; your basic variations are bangs or no bangs.

Very Long One-Length Hair
By the way, bangs do not have to be as heavy and severe as the picture to the left.  Scroll down to see other variations.

Angled refers to what we used to call feathering in the 70's. Angling is a way to get face-framing style without the commitment of layers.  Your stylist will use scissors or a razor to create layers just around your face.  They can blend in with bangs, or just stand alone to give you that extra oomph of beauty without the pain of having to spend a lot of time styling every day.
Very Angled with Lip-Length Bangs on Fine Hair
Very Minimal Angling; Mostly One-Length

Long and slightly Angled with Bangs
Very Angled, with Possible Slight Layering
Angled Hair; Minimal Layers Volumized

If you like to curl your hair, or just have too much of it, layers can be a fun option.  More trendy hair tends to be layered also.  Having layers does not have to mean spending hours every morning blow-drying and curling or straightening.  There are different degrees you can try.  For the layer virgin, try invisible or long layers.  This is a nice way to get your feet wet without having to stress finding a new way to style your hair.  

Angling with Some Layering with Big Curls
Angling with Some Layering

Heavy Bangs with Angling and Heavy Layers

Heavy Bang, Long Layers, and Long Angling:  Fine Hair
Heavy Bangs with Heavy Layers and Angling

Curly Hair with Long Layers and Angling
For those well versed in layer styling, go wild!  Layer as much as you prefer to get the look you want!

Of course, ask your stylist for advice.  When you find the look you like, take in some pictures and discuss how to make it look best on you!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Favorite Coloring Instruments

This post is for those who know their way around hair color.

I've been coloring hair for about 21 years and have developed a yen for certain tools I couldn't live without.  I was fortunate enough to spend an excellent internship with an experienced cosmetologist who not only lived color, but taught it, traveling the globe to bring her insights to salon stylists.  The first two tools were introduced by my mentor, Anita Wise, owner of  Anita's TriValley Salon and Scalp Clinic.

Color Palettes
Color Palletes

Color palettes are a great way to add lowlights or brightlights to hair.  While not recommended for highlighting with bleach, they make the job of adding tones so easy!  You simply weave the hair as usual, but instead of using foils, you lay down the palette and paint the color on.  The teeth help to remove excess product.  Be sure to use your cotton to avoid bleeding, especially onto regrowth or previously lightened hair.

Skinny Brush
Skinny Tint Brush
This skinny brush is another great way to add tonal variance to hair.  You can use it to paint in lowlights and/or brightlights.  Better yet, when coloring regrowth, you can use it the last 10-15 minutes of coloring to pull the color through the ends in pieces to refresh color in a natural way.

(Caution:  While this is a great way to refresh blondes, brunettes, and the like, do not use it on reds.  The brighter the red, the worse the result as reds really need to be refreshed all over, such as the effect you get from a shampoo cap.)

Metal-tailed Rat Tail Comb
Metal Rat Tail Comb
To keep up in the industry, manufacturers are always coming up with new products.  It's often hard to tell the hype from the help.  When I needed to replenish my rat-tail comb stock, I decided to try a metal tail comb.  It was a little more expensive than the plastic kind, but what the heck, sometimes just having a new tool can motivate some extra inspiration.

This comb obliterated my skepticism!  I have never produced lines so clean while highlighting!  It's so far superior to plastic rat tails, I can't go without one now!

Sometimes a little experimentation can yield better results, whether it's the way the client's hair turns out or the ease it lends the process.  Never be afraid to try something new.  As Anita always said, "What's the worst that can happen?"

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Expensive Bath Made Luxuriously Affordable

The other day, while sipping a piping hot mug of my favorite lavender tea, I thought about how soothingly delicious it would be to use tea ingredients in a hot bath.  I looked online to find that bath teas do indeed exist.  And they are very pricey.  So since I already have a cupboard full of various awesome herbal teas, I decided to do myself a favor and marinate in a bath of my favorite teas.

Not only did I smell wonderful after my bath, but my skin felt great!  I wasn't sure my dry skin would be much improved by my tea bath, but it really helped.

So here is your recipe to a sensuous soak in the tub:  Take three or four of your favorite tea bags and put them in a comfortably warm bath as it fills.  I recommend the Yogi brand.  Then slide in!  I also recommend soaking with lights off and candles lit.  Since I find it hard to relax, I often have a crafting magazine or a good book at my fingertips (nothing too exciting or emotional--you want to relax and enjoy).

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hair Color at Home...Why Not?

When it comes to doing hair, I like to be as meticulous as possible, even if it takes more time.  Yes, time is money, but having to redo someone's hair (especially when it comes to the delicate world of color), it pays to do it right the first time.  That said, when it comes to my hair, I'm lazier than a hound dog after the hunt.

I don't remember ever buying a hair color kit from a drug store.  I pay my good money at professional beauty supplies to get quality ingredients and mix my color up right.  But the other day, since I happened to be in a CVS, and I didn't want to drive out to my usual place, I broke down and picked up a box of Garnier Nutrisse.

In my defense, I've been putting in a lot of hours at work and I am no longer in a salon where access to supplies is as easy as a weekly order.  The lovely young lady on the box with the gorgeous hair wore down my reservations.  This is where I lost my ability to reason properly.  It's hard to tell, but it's a light-to-medium brown with a whisper of auburn.  Just what I needed to enhance my color.  I hadn't highlighted in months and I was looking a mess.

After doing a foil weave, my friend offered to help me with my color.  I could see she might be a little wary of using a *palette, so I said, what the heck? Just slap it on.  She did a GREAT job.  The color did not.

What went wrong???  As soon as my hair dried I knew the problem.  First, I should have stuck with the *palette.  Second, even though I never use these colors, I should have applied the color theory I knew well for using a darker color with a red tone.

What appeared to be a very natural color with a hint of red turned out to be a dark red-violet concoction way too stern for my pale, 40-year-old features.  Here's why:

While I didn't like my very washed-out hair, the color took advantage of it and turned my blondish ends very dark.  Since haircolor companies know how badly red tones wash out, they sometimes overdo it and add a blast of violet-red.  So what you see is NOT what you get.

Here is why the palette would have been a better idea:
When you apply color all over your head, it can look like a solid mass of that color, for better or for worse.  And if you do not try doing a strand test (mixing up the color and testing it by applying it to a good thick strand of hair to determine the outcome), you may not be too happy with the result.

Using a palette is like using foils.  Usually this awesome device is reserved for low-lighting or for adding a new tone to natural hair.  When you foil or paint pieces into hair, it has a very natural looking result (as long as you do it right).  Throwing one color all over your head, particularly if you still have color left from an old job, may really wreck your style.

Lucky for me, there is a solution.  Since my hair looked so dark, I foiled in about 10 foils with a low volume developer (10 volume and 20 volume) with bleach for about 25 minutes.  This way I didn't get blonde streaks I didn't want.  I just lightened the hair around my face so I didn't look so washed out by the dark color.  Much better!

Color always fades.  Those few foils will help me deal with the color as I adjust to darker hair and as my hair slowly drops some of the intensity over the next few weeks.

Color questions?  Drop me a line!  E-mail me at and I will respond!