Category Archives: Blog

Tote the Rescue!

Working both in a salon and doing house/hotel calls, I am used to hauling all my hair tools with me whenever I work as I never know what unexpected situations I may encounter and I don't want to be without THE tool or product that I need to do the job. I use a traditional style, professional train case that holds a LOT of stuff. While these cases hold a lot of products, they can be unwieldy for home use. But I know some of you have a LOT of hair care products and tools, and that they are taking over your bathrooms!

 

So, I found a style of tote that is here to rescue you. They're made by Stilazzi and sold at Frends, a terrific LA beauty supply store that caters to the industry but is open to the public.  Even though they are designed for professionals working on set, a "set" bag is a great way for the hair-conscious woman to organize all of her hair styling accoutrements conveniently in a small space.

 

I have a client who is using one of these now and she cannot believe how much easier it has made her morning routine. Instead of going back and forth to her linen closet for this brush or that thermal protector, or fumbling with an armload of products, she just grabs the bag from the closet, puts it near the mirror, has everything at the ready, and just does her hair. She swears that it saves her at least 5 minutes of fumbling every morning, and she no longer has hair products strewn all over the bathroom! She says it's a great feeling to come home to a clean bathroom that looks like a bathroom instead of a hurricane.

 

Set bags come in clear vinyl or black–while the clear vinyl is great to see everything, if you are going to put your curling/flat iron in the bag, I recommend that you go for the black bag instead since you don't risk any melting.

 

Now, go have a great hair day!

Chic on the Cheap

For a bonanza of local sample sales, outlets, warehouse sales and to keep your finger on the pulse of where to get the best bargains in clothing, shoes, and accessories, look no further than Bargains LA.  This website, run by savvy shopping expert Suzanne O'Connor, covers all the best in true bargains throughout Los Angeles and neighboring counties.Recent examples include the BCBG sample sale, LF warehouse sale, and Athena designs for jewelry. The site also lists stores where you can get bargains everyday, without waiting for a sample sale. 

 

 

Access to the Bargains LA web site is free, and every listing, including the advertisers, are carefully investigated and personally visited by Suzanne and her staff to ensure that each merchant represents a bonefide bargain. There is even a mobile app you can download for your smartphone so you can go bargain shopping on the fly. If you sign up to be a member on the site you can even ask Suzanne your personal bargain questions (she recenlty gave me a great tip on where to find great deals on designer jeans! Don't worry, I will share — the store is called That Jean Shop), and there is an emailed newsletter that will keep you in the loop when a new sale comes up.

 

In addition to fashion, you can also find deals on home furnishings and accessories, pet supplies, optical, appliances, electronics, general merchandise…the list goes on and includes pretty much everything except travel, automobiles and real estate.

 

So, whaddya waiting for? Go forth and shop!

Beauty Bargain Alert!

I have a great luxury bargain find for you that I would like to share. It’s a web site called SkinWest.com They feature a lot of expensive skin care and makeup brands and are currently having a sale of up to 45% off! Here is a list of their top brands:

 

I recommend that you sign up for their emails–this is how I keep tabs on when they are having one of their amazing sales. (I try to ONLY order from them when they are having one of their sales–they have them frequently enough that I can time my purchases so that I am always getting a discount. No reason to pay full price when I don't have to!)

 

Their current sale is in honor of Mother’s Day and you can get up to 45% off retail depending on which items you purchase. They also have a lot of free-gift-with-purchase offers right now.

 

Even better, shipping and gift wrapping is free when your purchases total $24.99 and up. And since they are located here in Southern California, their standard shipping will get your products to your door in only a few days. My last order took only 2 days to arrive.

 

Skin West is a great way to get luxury items for less!

 

Look Hot while keeping your Cool

With Spring just getting underway, the decrease in stress following Tax Day is like an appetizer, a little preview, if you will, of the more carefree days of Summer that await.  Even in year-round temperate Los Angeles, warmer months and increased daylight often mean more casual dress, less "done" hair, and more natural-looking makeup. At least that is the ideal, but the reality is that looking effortlessly chic can take a lot of work. Sigh.

 

I can't make ALL the work go away, but I have found a beauty product that will lessen one of the most annoying warm weather makeup mishaps, namely, keeping your make up ON your face, not looking oily and not having to powder or frequently retouch. Enter Shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish with Microsponge Technology! Here are the claims that the manufacturer, Paula's Choice, makes about the product:

 

  • Controls oil & minimizes the appearance of pores
  • Clinically proven to keep skin perfectly matte for at least 6 hours
  • Unique MICROSPONGE® Technology keeps oily shine in check
  • Leaves silky, powder-soft finish
  • Smooths minor skin imperfections
  • Increases makeup's staying power
  • 100% fragrance-free and contains no dyes or coloring agents

 

 

The great thing here is that the claims are actually true and this product does as it promises. Ideal for use on "oily" or "combination" skin all year long, in the summer this product becomes a must-have for all but the driest skin types. Use it in your T-zone if that is the only problem area for you, or all over if your makeup tends to liquefy and slide off.

 

Honestly, in my opinion this is the best product of its kind on the market–there are many others that claim to do the same thing but either they just don't work, are just "meh", or they work fine but have unnecessary ingredients (fragrance, including masking fragrance) or the latest "miracle" ingredient that in reality does nothing for your face but empties your wallet a little because of the overblown marketing claims or is just a poor value because it costs too much for the measly amount in the tube. Shine Stopper is regularly priced at $21.95 for 1 fl oz. but it is currently on sale for $17.56, though I don't know how long the sale price will last. They also sell a sample size for $0.80 if you prefer to try before you buy. Either way, it's a beautiful solution for carefree makeup that lets YOU shine, instead of your face!

Christine

Celebrity Hairstyle Simplified: How To Get Stacey Keibler’s Glamorous Hair

 

Celebrity Hairstyle Simplified: How To Get Stacey Keibler’s Glamorous Hair

 

Last week, we gave the Best Down Do Award to Stacy Keibler for her Grade A Academy

Awards Style. Stacy Keibler’s simple style with a twist had heads turning on the red

carpet in an otherwise over-saturated hairstyle choice of full-on fancy updos or a simple

long style. See Keibler’s gorgeous face-framing style and a simple back twist below. It

was popular with you, too. So here is how to do it, step-by-step. Rock it on a night out, or

soften it for a weekend getaway.

 

Step by Step to the Glamorous Stacey Keibler Do:

 

1. Hair Prep: completely wash hair and condition only the ends. Oily roots will weigh this

look down.

2. Before blow-drying, in lieu of a conditioner, choose a root lifting product to spray at

the roots and lightweight mousse to brush all throughout the ends. Part your hair to the

side.

3. Use a round brush and polish the ends during the last ten minutes of your blow -ry.

Styling tip: Blow-dry your hair upside down to get more volume/body.

3. Set your hair in hot rollers that are about 1 inch -1.5 in size. Most importantly, DO

NOT release the rollers until they are completely cooled down, or your curls won't last.

4. After the taking out the rollers, run your fingers through some of the curls to break

them up and give the hairstyle a softer look.

5. Section a medium-sized diagonal section in the back from one side of your hairline

and sweep it over to the other side. Twist inward as you get to the other side, and secure

with small bobby pins, and tuck underneath the hair so no one can see it! Make sure to

criss-cross your bobby pins, as they stay in place better that way. Insider tip: use a mirror

behind you and in front of you to help you with this part so that it doesn’t get out of hand.

 

Voila, you're done! I said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am expecting to see this look

recreated many times over, and hope that my readers are able to after reading this step-

by-step guide. Until next time, happy styling!

 

Christine

My Picks for Best Hair at the Oscars 2012


Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Oscar-themed Hairstyle Awards


The Academy Awards is the perfect time for actresses to shine, and they often do. From a

gorgeous designer gown to beautiful hair, it’s a night showcasing talent and style. While

many lists have gone over the best and worst dressed, in my blog, I wanted to take the

chance to give out my own awards for what I think is really the most important accessory

to any look: an outstanding hairstyle. Several celebrity starlets deserve awards in several

categories: So please wait while I open the envelope.


Best Bangs

With a short, sleek style and sleek bangs to match, Rose Byrne wears them very well,

helped by the fact that she has the perfect face shape for this off-to-the-side-side

part. Even though it’s a down hairdo, it’s so polished and classy. For single-handedly

redeeming bangs, Rose Byrne gets this award. Stunning.


Best Curls

Penelope Cruz has been turning to the retro look a lot lately. It works. It looks classy

and polished, especially with her shorter length. Most of the time, we are used to

seeing this look worn with long hair. A perfect example of that is when Megan Fox did

it. But the fact that it’s more true to the decade it came from makes it more original.

Because ‘timeless’, ‘classic’ and ‘gorgeous’ are words you want to be used when others

are describing your look when you go to such a prestigious event as the Oscars, Penelope

wins for these sophisticated curls.


Best Updo

Emma Stone’s statement red gown and red hair could have been overdone, but instead,

she paired it with a polished updo that made her stand out from the A-List crowd. It’s

shiny and it’s tight and neat, without looking wound-up and hair sprayed to high heaven

(frequent offenders of those faults in updos have been J-Lo and Kim Kardasian, sorry to

say). Simple in the back and pinned up with curls, her style is the kind that you want to

have when you are accepting an award like an Oscar. She certainly wins our best updo

award.


Best Down Do

Wearing hair down to an event like the Oscars can backfire very easily, especially when

the down do is simple. So, this is award winner is a shocker because her style looks so

simple, but the back is done very creatively. Stacy Keibler turned heads all night with

a gorgeous face-framing style and a simple back twist. It is such a simple little switch-

up that you would never think to do it, but when done artistically, it looks amazing. I am

expecting to see this look recreated time and again, so Keibler takes this award hands

down. Beautiful.


Best Short Hair

 

Really short hair seems to be the antithesis of Hollywood glamour these days, but don’t

tell that to Michelle Williams. Williams wins this award because she looks absolutely

supermodel-like with her short blond locks that framed her perfect, glowing complexion.

For rocking the ultra-short ‘do and still looking absolutely stunning, she wins the award.


It was hard to cut the categories off there, but I could keep handing out awards until the

next Oscars are handed out. What do you think of my picks, is there anyone you would

have chosen for a category instead? As my picks are subjective, I’d love to hear your

thoughts. Also, are there any of the styles that you would wear? The one that I get the

most requests for, I will create a step-by-step how-to for you so that you can recreate the

look yourself.


Until then, happy hair styling!

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

alternatives.

 

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.

 

Christine

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 BeautyTech.com 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 BehindTheChair.com. 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.


Christine


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!


Christine