All posts by Christine

The DL on Brazilian Blowout Zero: Organic and Environmentally Safe Alternatives


The DL on Brazilian Blowout Zero:

Organic and Environmentally Safe Alternatives


It's no secret that there is a stigma against the Brazilian Blowout line of products.

The stigma revolves around the brands that use different chemicals traditionally

used to make it work (formaldehyde’s link to cancer is a big one), but I've noticed

that many brands have done a recent revamp to transform the hair without using

such harsh chemicals. From Chi Enviro 'American Smoothing Treatment', to QOD

Organiq and Brazillian Blowout Zero and other brands claiming to be new and

improved, hair straightening techniques have been revolutionized.


As with all new products, there are pros and cons. But before I go there, I want to

let you know that all of the products below use alternatives that effectively coat the

hair. Different brands use different chemicals to activate, and while I love that there

aren't any harmful ingredients (including any aldehyde family chemicals), these new

treatments definitely have a flip side. I could spend days explaining each treatment,

so feel free to browse each one on their websites.


My suggestions:

Brazilian Blowout Zero

Chi Enviro 'American Smoothing Treatment'

QOD Organiq



No matter which system you use, there are major pros and cons to the new line of



Pros: Just like the Brazilian Blowout Zero's plant-derived Kerasafe Bonding System,

all alternative products do effectively deposit and seal essential amino acids onto

the hair, providing a smooth, radiant and frizz-free surface for up to 12 weeks. I love

that it's formaldehyde free, all natural and organic.


Cons: As with all chemical alternatives to formaldehyde, there is just no

comparison to the original, harmful chemical. I hate to admit that. And honestly, ‘up

to 12 weeks’ is a rare occurrence for these new alternatives. While they do provide

a good conditioning protein treatment, they don't have the same luster. It explains

why there is still a demand for the old ones, especially if you need straightening

power on hair that isn't straight already..


In short, I simply cannot choose between the two for my clients, as it is a personal

choice over chemical use and desired result. One thing I will say is that I've been

noticing that Japanese straightening is coming back as well, but with less harsh

formulas. Be on the lookout for that in an upcoming blog. Until then, happy hair

straightening, and if you need help, you know where to find me.



Real vs. Fake Are We Getting a Real Salon-Worthy Product Discount or Cheaper Substitutes?

Real vs. Fake
Are We Getting a Real Salon-Worthy Product Discount or Cheaper Substitutes?

What most of you may not know is that, other than my love of hair and makeup, I am also a polish-holic! I know that salon products sold in grocery and drug stores are often imitations or different in some distinguishable way from the real deal. Still, the other day, I found an Essie Color that I loved at my salon, so when it chipped and I spotted it at CVS for a cheap price, I figured 'why not?' It looked identical to a real Essie bottle and was a little cheaper than at the saloon, too, so I thought I may have landed a polish steal. But after taking it home, I realized some slight differences between this Essie bottle and my previous one from the salon. The differences had to do with a slight size and ink change, and at first I thought that it might just be me and my skeptical ways as an insider…

But I am not alone in noticing fakes. An article by GreenEyesPinkNails showed that last month, a fellow polish-holic suffered the same fate of a false-looking Essie polish when she ordered from her online retailer. The differences between the Essie bottle in the salon and the one that both of us received were different in small ways that she states best. For more, read her Fake Essie Polishes blog entry.

The way the Essie bottle at CVS is different this time around:

    •    The paint on the front, (white vs. transparent), look different.
    •    The content of the bottle is 13.5ml instead of the regular 15ml.
    •    The labels are written in black (just like the old formula bottles), not in blue (like the new formula bottles).
    •    There is no phone number to call in case of questions/comments on the bottles, whereas the original bottles purchased in a salon always provide a phone number.

Alas, these differences prove the existence of imitation products throughout the industry, and this includes a hair-care favorite: Paul Mitchell. But a cool fact about Paul Mitchell that separates them from many big brands is that  a company policy states that a distributor will be charged $100 per bottle for any product that they find out is not contracted by them.

But most brands just don't publicly worry about it, as it is a little-talked about fact that most manufacturers don't guarantee their hair products unless consumers purchase them from "authorized realizers,' according to Jay Wilson, a reporter in her article 'What's in the bottle?"

It's true, almost any hair care or product brand that you can think of is sold in an imitation form at some grocery or retail stores: Redken, Bed Head, Matrix, Chi, Wella, Garnier and many, many, more.

The alarming thing about imitation products is not just the massive quantity of fakes on the market, but also that there is such a big a grey market that  it makes imitations legal in a sense. The missing piece here is accountability on the distributor's part. In normal business, the brand manufacturer of a brand contracts with a distributor. The distributor, in a grey market, breaks an agreement secretly, making a deal with another manufacturer to make an imitation product, not overseen by the original brand manufacturer. Then these inferior and imitation products get sold into stores. This is called diversion. It makes money for the distributor but costs consumers…

So, while Paul Mitchell fines products that aren't imitations when they find out about them, what about the ones that they don't catch?  Paul Mitchell products are notoriously inconsistent when bought from discount retailers like Target. Consumer dissatisfaction with products that are fakes is clear in forums like Read eye-opening complaints about diverted products and think twice before buying an imitation.

Your best bet: a salon shopping trip, every time. Then I can also recommend products right on the spot. Curious: have you noticed an imitation product recently? Let me know in the comments!

– Christine

Hair Extension Do’s and Don’ts: How To Make Sure Your New Hair Looks Fine, Not Fake


Hair Extension Do's and Dont's:

How To Make Sure Your New Hair Looks Fine, Not Fake

Hair extensions, hair extensions… I have seen so many of them lately! I have had more hair extension appointments in the past six months than I have in my entire career. Hair extensions, of all kinds, are being brought to me, whether it be for new application or a redo. I have seen some gorgeous hair, but, on the other hand, I have also seen some damaged and unmanageable messes that I know could have been prevented. So, I'm writing this blog to tell you how to keep your extensions as soft and as pretty as your real hair. 

After all, no matter which method you choose, from protein bonds or beads (which I recommend), to wefts, the fact is this: you need to take even better care of the hair than your own (and hopefully, that's pretty darn well). A note at the start: if it's possible, purchase hair at different lengths, as it allows for a more blended finished product. 

Speaking of getting a nice finished product, check out my simple suggestions for long-lasting extensions:

Redo them often: I can't stress this enough, hair extensions are high maintenance, but in such a beautiful way if you maintain them. Maintaining them is a must! Every two months is ideal, because the longer you wait to redo your extensions, the further they grow away from your scalp, resulting in more weight in your hair follicle, and the possibility of pulling your hair out. No matter how in tact your extensions are now, after those two months, you'll see matted patches, hair loss, and scalp irritation. 

Deep conditioning is also a must: Be sure to restore moisture to your extensions once a week, because your hair extensions went through a lot before they even got to you. They were sanitized weekly, and the process was harsh. When you deep condition your hair, you restore shine, making sure that your hair will be softer and last longer. Insider tip: never condition at the roots, as the conditioner will make your hair more slippery, and your extensions will slip out much more quickly.

Keep your hair under control while sleeping: Yep, hair extension control is a 24/7 job. But it's pretty easy to maintain overnight. At bedtime, simply create two side braids to prevent tangling while sleeping. In fact, wrapping your head/hair in a handkerchief is the best thing to do, as it holds the hair in place, but many find two side braids easier to do night after night. Another word to the wise: sleep on a satin pillowcase, because the soft fabric is less likely to cause tangling of the hair

Shampoo and style with care: Shampoo in a downward motion to avoid tangling while washing, and while styling, hold your hair at the top as you brush the rest of your hair to avoid pressure and strain on your extensions. This preserves the bonds near the roots. Another tip: make sure to always examine for matted patches, and always comb them out. Skip them, and they will turn into even bigger bunches of trouble.

The good news is that with these tips, you are only a few simple steps away from healthy, shiny hair that looks like your own. Happy styling, and enjoy your new, glamorous, and longer hairstyle.


Three Resolutions for the New Year: Try Something Different and Love the Results

Three Resolutions for the New Year:

Try Something Different and Love the Results

We all know what our resolutions are. I have to admit, mine always include more gym time, less procrastination, and a better perspective on the things that I am grateful for. While these things fluctuate, I feel refreshed when I set out to do them, resolved to live my life as fully as possible. Because a big part of my passion for life is my profession, which includes hair, I thought of a few easy ways to help you resolve to avoid a lackluster mane while you’re making a difference in the other areas of your life. My goals are very manageable, I promise, so, say it with me:

This year I resolve that my hair will be…

Frizz Free and Softer:

The weather is against our hair. It is. Whether too dry or too humid, the climate is almost never ideal. Luckily, there are plenty of good shields. Product wise, I love glosses. Now, I know people don't always love glosses, but it works so well as long as you use it on only your ends. There are lighter and heavier glosses, so be sure to only use a heavier one if you have thick hair. Thick hair is often confused for a lot of hair, but you can have a ton of hair that is really fine. Define which category your hair falls under, whether fine or thick, and apply accordingly.

Protected from Fading: 

There is only one solution to preventing color fading, and that is the use of more color. No matter what your conditioner bottle tells you, color fades. Color gloss is your best option. It's not high maintenance like you think, either. Redken’s Shades EQ is the best, and is a professional line. Yes, this might be a tad bit of self-promotion, but I am your link to getting Shades EQ with my license. I've tried other commercial lines, and they're honestly just not the same. 

Safe from Split Ends:

There is a misconception that split ends are the result of a lack of trims, but the real culprit is that you need to use some kind of protection when you use heated styling products, like a flat iron. I have seen many people smooth the same piece used over, and I have advised them that it doesn’t work well. Month after month, split ends get worse if you continue that habit. Use a leave-in conditioner, or at least a heat protectant. 

My recommended leave-in conditioner is It’s a 10: Shine Miracle Spray ($15), or a heat protectant in the form of Paul Mitchell Hot off The Press ($18).

Happy styling and Happy New Year!


‘On The Go’ Fix: Bad Hair and Makeup During the Holidays


'On The Go' Fix: Bad Hair and Makeup During the Holidays

Last Minute Style Saves: Car Edition


I often get asked about what to do when the occasional bad hair or makeup day strikes. Ideally, you'd have time to start over with a shower. But, that's rarely the case, especially if this sounds familiar: you have a full list of things to do, places to go, people to see, and you look into your car mirror to see that your hair is unruly and your makeup is smudged or non-existent after a long day. What do you do?! Here are the key solutions to common last-minute problems.


Problem: Oily Hair

Solution: A simple side-braid or twist. 


This style is simple. The only things you need are a few bobby pins and a scrunchy that is close to the color of your hair. Since the problem is your oily roots, simply part your hair to on side, then braid across, and pin the braid slightly behind your ear using two bobby pins in a criss-cross. For a glamorous undo, twist your hair into a lower bun using the scrunchy and a few bobby pins for strays. Braids a little too complicated? Simply twist your hair to the side, and it's just as pretty! The best part? Imperfection is just as pretty with this style! Check out three different version of this style, worn by Jessica Simpson, Drew Barrymore and Nicole Riche.






Problem: Melted day makeup, a dinner awaits, and your eye liner pencil is broken!

Solution: Creative use of a few simple makeup favorites.


It's amazing what a little bit of lipstick and mascara can do. With lipstick, you have a two-in-one fix. Simply mix in a generous dab of concealer with your lipstick and rub it into the apples of your cheeks, and bam!, instant blush. Now, back to that broken pencil eyeliner… it might even be a blessing in disguise that it's not sharpened. For a smokey eye look, simply tap the pencil against your eyelash line, starting on the outside of your lid and moving about 3/4 of the way in. Feeling dramatic? Smudge a little below your eyes, too, but be sparing with it. No pencil? Use a little eyeshadow and wet a little makeup brush or Q-tip, and do the same dabs on your lash line. A celebrity who perfects the smokey eye is Beyonce, see below.



Seventy-Two Hour Style Stay: Three Long Days, Three Hair Saves


We've all had that glorious moment of looking into the mirror and seeing the  reflection of a perfectly tame and gorgeous head of hair. Whether you woke up with it or worked hard for it, your goal is the same: to keep your hair's style for as long as possible. Then you remember a whole list of perfect hairstyle threateners: you have your brisk walk to work, your yoga class, and three full days of plans with no time to start over for a nice hairstyle. 

For those three, non-stop days, here are three style saves:

Keeping Your Hairstyle in Place While Working Out:

Working out can be… well, a lot of work, and ponytails can be the absolute arch nemesis for healthy hair. Whether you have yoga class or a long jog ahead of you, not only can a simple hair change keep your style in place, but it can even wave your hair for you. 

For curling-iron type hair, consider this ponytail alternative the next time you work out, or even have a long shift at work and need a quick undo:  part your hair down the middle in the back of your head, making two pigtails. Twirl the two sections into buns and secure them together with some kind of soft scrunchy. The style looks like a ballerina-type bun, but really has two practical uses: to help hold and create curls, and to keep your hair smelling clean, away from possibility of sweat. Try it, and be amazed by the hairstyle saving power of a simple style change.

An added bonus of this two-in-one ballerina bun style : in the morning, simply unravel the bun and put a gloss on the ends. 

Keeping Your Hair's Style Overnight, Every Night:

So, you've managed to keep your hair in great shape all day, and eight hours in dreamland threatens everything you've worked for. A couple of simple tips, for both straight and curly style:

For straight hair:  brush your hair before you sleep, and try to keep your hair above your neck. One easy way to do this is to keep your head on a pillow and then flip your hair onto the pillow, so that it doesn't touch your neck. An added bonus is that this also keeps your hair's volume in tact.

For curly hair:  part your hair in half before going to bed and create two very loose braids. Be careful not to make them too tight, or the results will be more crimped than curly. Keeping the soft waves in your hair in place is the purpose of the braids, and they should look a little too loose. After all, they're just acting as a placeholder for your hair.

Fixing Quick Morning Frizz Mishaps:

Even when you somehow keep your hairstyle in place overnight, it usually still needs a quick touch-up. Good news, you have two options based on your hair type:

Straight hair: flat iron where necessary, which, if brushed the night before, is usually just baby hairs at the top of your head, near the part. A simple finish with serum on the ends helps to smooth any dryness or split ends, and just like that, a five minute fix has your ready for your meeting.

Curly hair:  simply spritz your hair with water, a little mouse, hairspray, curl creme, or gel. (Just be sure that if you use gel or mousse, that it is very sparingly, or your hair will appear greasy). To refresh dry-looking curls, use a light gloss, too, on the ends. And shine on.

I hope that you've found a few hairstyle extending tips that work for you. Stay tuned for the next blog, which will feature my favorite hair products for November.

Until next time,




Hello World:

Welcome to my blog. I hope that this week's post will provide you with enough information to make the cut into your blog roll, Facebook Share or Like, Tweet, E-mail, or if it really moves you, something over the top like connecting your computer to a big screen television and presenting my message to the world… OK, so I'll cut the jokes out and keep my job as a stylist. Basically, any form of spreading the word is appreciated if you get half as excited about the new trends in hair this month as I am. Here are the two that I'm most excited about.

Peek-a-Boo Highlights: You've seen it… a brunette with brassy blonde streaks or a redhead with highlighter-resembling marks, or even blonde gone wrong with bright white patches. Trust me, I'm not one to point it out, and thanks to this new technique, those looks have not happened in my chair. Case in point: shimmery highlights that don't risk that "highlighted" look are possible with this new technique. Staying away from the hairline, carefully placed color brightens and complements your current color without overpowering it. It's naturally beautiful, which is always better if you currently love your hair color and just want a little bit of a change or color boost. Kim Kardashian's hair in this picture is a good example of this technique. 

An oldie but a goodie, "ombré": We've been talking about it for while now,but when it first came out, it was natural's antithesis. Black on the top and blonde on the bottom, it was really that drastic. See this picture of Ashley Simpson, for example:

What has me excited about it now is that the trend has evolved into a sun-kissed look instead of grown-out-highlights style. I have given many brunettes a touch of the caramel blonde that they have wanted for years but been afraid to fully commit to. This is an opportunity for anyone who wants a gradual transition, and the moment it gets boring, there is no limit to the contrast that we can create from hairline to roots. 

My favorite example of this style is Mila Kunis:

I am looking forward to sharing the current trends in hair and other useful bits of information learned the hard way by me… and, hopefully, made into a fun, bi-weekly blog for you

Please feel free to leave me a comment, I'm looking forward to sharing the ever-changing trends with you.



Styling Tools


Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Flat Iron


Rusk Speed Freak Hair Dryer

-gives high shine at 450 degrees 

-can be used for curling hair

-extreme power and force to keep down frizz
-very very high heat
-recommended for professional use only, because of high heat

Parlux 3200 Ceramic Hair Dryer


T3 Hair Dryer

-high power to keep down frizz
-high heat for shine
-lightweight and easy to work with
-medium heat
-very popular for home use

Babyliss  Pro Nano Titanium Conicurl Wand


Hot Tool 1 1/4" Curling Iron

-easy to use wand for natural looking curls
-high heat
  -most standard size for natural looking curls
-high heat, long lasting hold

Styling Products


Tigi Catwalk Sleek Mystique Blow Out Balm 


Paul Mitchell Fast Form Cream Gel

-Great for blow drying straight styles
-Helps maintrain frizz
-Good for dry hair 

-Great for blow drying styles with body 
-Good for frizz control
-Great product for lightweight hold for men's styling

Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Hydrocream Whip 


Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Shaping Cream

-Great for blow drying styles with body 
-Gives lightweight hold
-Moisturizes strands

-Great "not too sticky" hold for mens styling
-Not shiny
-Long lasting hold

Mixed Chicks Leave in Conditioner


Aquage Curl Defining Creme

-Moisturizes curls
-Gives lightweight hold 

-Moisturizes curls
-Gives lightweight hold 

Paul Mitchell Hot Off the Press


Kenra Platinum Finishing Spray 26

-Great for lightweight hairstyling
-Use before flat ironing the hair for heat protection, shine, and hold

-Extra Strong Hold, for after hairstyling 

Paul Mitchell Extra Body Firm Hairspray


Paul Mitchell Soft Spray

-Extra Strong Hold, for after hairstyling

-Light flexible hold, non aerosol
-High Shine

Paul Mitchell Gloss Drops



-Fights frizz
-Adds Shine
-Refreshes day-old hairstyles