Are You Living Up To Your Potential?

Want to know every hairdresser’s least favorite question? Here it is: “If you could do anything you wanted with my hair, what would you do?”  It seems like this would be our ultimate dream come true; a potential green light to do whatever we want to you – but it’s not! It’s frightening! The reason is because you haven’t really said that we CAN change your look, you’ve thrown in that annoying word “IF”. For a customer, flirting with change can be brought on by a myriad of reasons and as your stylist, it’s our job to read between the lines of your request and determine if you really are ready to embrace a change. Being a mind reader, a magician, a therapist, and a cutting edge trendsetter is a challenge, and for our credibility to stay intact, we must employ all of these roles in less than a minute. Even the best hairstylist can’t do a thing for you if you’re not willing to play with your hair’s “positive potential” and commit to a new look.

Speaking of “new looks”, what do think of the changes I made to my studio? Lots of remaining potential left to play with too.

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With all the new beginnings in my life I’ve been really thinking about potential and what it means to be open to possibilities. I’m into my third week in my new studio and I’m really enjoying the new sense of empowerment I have as a result of feeling more influential over all of my career’s potential. My customers are loving my new space, I’m finding my new rhythm, and I’ve definitely been busy this past month. I’m full of ideas and energy, I have goals that I have mentally mapped out an achievement strategy for, and I’m already waist deep in change. By all accounts I should be ready to soar, but something is looming over me like a dark menacing cloud. That annoying voice in my head is back and it’s hosting self-doubt, fear, and “negative potential” thoughts.  Do I have the skills I need to navigate this change and rise to my full potential? Will I be able to commit to the necessary maintenance needed to nurture my dreams?! What if I suck?! What if I fail!?! Looks like it’s time to take my own advice again and shift my perspective to see the limitless “positive potential” that is right in front of me and really commit to making my dreams become reality!

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When we focus of the good possibilities instead of the bad possibilities, then we give life a chance to surprise us! Just look at the change of seasons; Spring always shows up no matter how cold and long Winter seemed. Have you ever worried that the flowers wouldn’t bloom, the temperatures wouldn’t rise, and the days wouldn’t get longer? Of course not! The things that are meant to happen always do, we just need to get out of the way a little bit and let them. Speaking of Spring, change, and potential; everyone in my house has received some type of Spring makeover. I started the adventure by cutting about 6 inches off my mane, dying it dark auburn and adding a red “freak streak” (as my niece called it). Then my oldest daughter begged to have her hair cut short to match, so I lopped off about 6 inches of her hair leaving her with a stylish little square shaped bob. She loved it! As for my baby (now 18 months), the makeover process is proving to be a bit more challenging. Her shaggy do is out of control and after an attempt to transform her hair into an “anything is better than a mullet”, we’ve ended up with a “Dumb and Dumber-esque page boy”, a subtle but important improvement.

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Looking at children is a great way to reacquaint yourself with the amazing potential that all of us have. Did you forget that there was a time when you were just a zygote – just a little ball of cells that would become what you are today? Maybe you didn’t realize that potential energy never diminishes and that the same power of transformation is always inside of us, we just need to remember that we are all highly capable and powerful beyond measure. Just think back to when you thought you’d never grow up, or pass that class, or fit into the dress again. Now think about what it took to get from A to B and what type of mindset you had to get into to make it happen. Was it easy? Probably not! But, was it worth it? Trust that you CAN do things and remind yourself that change doesn’t have to be scary, it can be an exciting adventure.  It takes just as much time and energy to say  “What if I succeed?”, instead of “What if I fail?”, but it feels a million times more inspiring!

image (5) Who ever could’ve guessed that I would grow into the person I am today? When you line up all my school pictures from K to 11th grade it really shows the magic of change and potential!

I want to challenge everybody to think about changing something in their life. It doesn’t have to be a makeover, it can be something little. Pay attention to the thoughts that pop up in your head when you think about this change. Are these thoughts fear based, “negative potential” thoughts or are they adventure loving, “positive potential” thoughts? How do you feel when you visualize this change becoming a reality?  I’m going to challenge myself to change the wording of that dreaded “IF” question I mentioned earlier in this post so that you can use it without annoying your hairdresser. I’m thinking something like, “What do you think my hair is capable of because I’m open to the possibility of a change?” Or even better, “I’m ready for a change and I want to hear about my hair’s potential. Can you give me your professional opinion on a fresh new look for me?” Armed with these improved questions, a “positive potential” attitude, and a sense of adventure, you will be well equipped to welcome change into your life, just like we are all welcoming in Spring right now! As usual, I am interested to hear about your experiences with change (negative or positive), so please share!

Beauty Survival Tips – March into Spring

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring! I’m so sick of static cling hair, chapped lips, and darkness, I can barely write a blog about it! My frumpy sweaters are starting to pill, my fat pants are tight, and my motivation level is at a negative one. Can’t we just skip along to May and call it all good? If you are feeling like winter got the best of you, then you need a pre-spring boost and I know just how to start you off on the right foot. These 6 tips can help you fight back against the side effects of a long winter so that you will be looking and feeling fresh as a spring daisy.
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1.) Do a deep conditioning treatment on your hair! Everyone’s hair could benefit from some extra moisture after a long cold winter. I recommend something like Aveda’s Dry Remedy Moisture Mask or a hot oil treatment like Redken’s Diamond Oil.

2.) Pick up an exfoliant and moisturizer for your body. It’s not just our hair that needs to be repaired, our skin and nails also need a boost. Exfoliants, like St. Ives Apricot Scrub, can help remove dead skin cells from your body while revealing new, luminous skin underneath. Follow it with a rich body moisturizer, like Eucerin, and your skin will go from scaly lizard dry to satin ribbon smooth.

3.) Schedule yourself a cut and color. In the winter people have a tendency to go into hibernation mode after the excitement of the holidays is over. This usually results in a very out of shape haircut and a long overdue color job. Don’t wait for a friend to tell you you look like hell, just pick up the phone and call your stylist now. You won’t regret it.

4.) Shake up your morning or night time routine by adding a new habit. It could be going to bed a little earlier, setting out your clothes the night before or simply starting a little journaling ritual. Small changes lead to bigger changes and you’ll be surprised how a little adjustment can invite big change into your life and reinvigorate you.

5.) Shift your eating habits and exercise routine. I’m sure even Gisele packs on a pound or 5 in the winter and has to regain control to prep for the summer. If you too are feeling like you’ve let yourself go, then get it together now or spend the summer complaining (by the way no one wants to hear about how fat you think you are as you’re shoving french fries and candy bars in your face – make a choice). Not to mention that exercise is a proven antidepressant, so if you’ve also got the blues then it’s a double win!

6.) Buy a new item in a fresh spring color. Be it a new shirt, a gauzy floral scarf, or a cute pair of sandals, adding some vibrant color into your world can give you and others a little mood boost. I notice that this spring it looks like bright colors and rich pastels are back and still delivering pizazz to wardrobes and accessories alike. According to Pantone the color of the year for 2014 is Radiant Fuschia. To see other hot spring colors check out www.pantone.com/spring2014

I can’t wait for all the new things going on in my world to come alive in the next few months. I recently left the salon I’ve worked at for over 11 years so that I can start a new adventure in my own little mini salon where I can be my own boss. The potential and possibilities available to me are overwhelming and I know it will be hard work but I’m excited! Reflecting back on my life and all of the experiences I have had leading up to where I am now, I feel so grateful to have had the privilege to work with so many amazing mentors and professionals. I want to say thank you to all of my teachers. I am eternally grateful to you all for sharing your knowledge, expertise, and professional values with me.

Next week I start the task of trying to get my new room all set up so I can start taking customers. I will get to paint, move shelves and mirrors, and add my own flare to the 10 by 10 space. Here’s a picture of the before – next week I’ll put up a picture of the finished product. Wish me luck!

 

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Doing the “Just Do It”

If you are not a major procrastinator like I am, than you may not understand why anyone would wait until the last minute to start a project or get a task done.  I’ve tricked myself into believing that this gives me some sort of competitive edge by telling myself things like, “I’m better under pressure” and “I don’t want to overthink it”. Normally I wouldn’t encourage ignoring the present for the dream of the future, but there are times when “living in the moment” can make a task unbearable! A good example is washing the dishes. I don’t have a dishwasher so I have a tendency to let the dishes pile up and then I’m forced to spend hours sweating over the sink. The only way I can get through it is to focus on how good I will feel when I’m finally done and how much I love not seeing dirty dishes piled up to the ceiling.

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I don’t just do this with my dishes, I do this with everything; getting out of bed in the morning, taking a shower, writing a post… yes I admit it, I have been procrastinating my posts lately! When I wait to the last minute to do things I don’t feel more capable or motivated to do them, which makes the task even more intimidating than before.  What Is it about that “just do it” part that is so hard for me and my fellow procrastinators? Whenever I have a session with my coach and I’m talking about something that I want in my life I notice that she often will ask me,  “How would that feel?” or “What would that look like?”. She wants me to visualize what life would look and feel like if I had already achieved my goal. The theory is that in focusing on being done with a task, imagining what it would be like to already have that thing you want , or be the person you desire to be, that you will naturally start to head in that direction.

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Waiting too long in between hair appointments can make your stylist’s  job ten times more difficult, just like procrastinating on any task. Hair grows, on average, a quarter of an inch a month. That’s not very much when you want your hair to get long, but when you are someone spending money for a professional quality haircut or a color touch up, it can become hard to keep up with. I have some clients that never want to see the sparkle of grey roots so they come in every 2 or 3 weeks. On the other hand, I have some customers that come in a few times a year. In most cases, waiting this long in between appointments can be like starting from scratch and add extra time and cost onto the appointment. It reminds me of all the money I had to pay recently to have my car fixed. If I had taken it in for the regularly scheduled maintenance then I probably could’ve avoided the hefty bill and the hassle of being stranded. Keep this in mind when you are deciding on a cut and color for yourself and be sure to ask your stylist how often you will need to come in and how much it’s going to cost you. Looking great is an investment and just like anything else that you invest money into, there will be regular maintenance costs and requirements. I recommend that my customers come see me every 4 to 6 weeks .If this seems like too much for you then I want you to ask yourself how much you would pay ( per day ) to have hair that you liked, because your hair is the accessory you wear EVERY DAY!

PS: YOU’RE WORTH IT!!!

The visualization technique I will be using as I push through my ” just do it” could also work for motivating you to get your hair done more often, especially when you’re thinking about the cost of it. Don’t focus on spending that money, focus on how good you will feel looking in the mirror and how that will affect your mood for the day.  I have a goal by the end of February to clean out and organize my apartment so that I can empty out a storage unit that I have that is costing me $120 a month. I’m reasonably sure that more than half of the stuff in it is stuff that I don’t want, which makes the task extra annoying because then I have to decide what to do with it. I’m sharing this with you because I know that you all have some big, daunting task that you’ve been procrastinating too. So let’s make an agreement that we will get it done. We can take the first important baby step together and start by closing our eyes and visualizing what it will feel like and look like to have this done! Now let’s JUST DO IT!!!!!

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If you are a fellow procrastinator like me, then please share with me the task or goal you have decided to tackle. Sharing your goals with others is a great way to get the ball rolling.  Once you’ve told a few people, they are probably going to ask you about it again, so now you have someone holding you accountable for the chore. If you are not a procrastinator, then please share some of your tips and strategies for getting things done.

 

 

Find The Right Shampoo For You

After being sick for so long I am grateful for the simple things in life, like being able to do the dishes, clean up my living room, and take a shower. Often we fall into robotic routines where we are not paying attention to the task at hand because we are so used to doing it. A good example is washing and conditioning your hair. When’s the last time you really paid attention to the ritual of washing your hair – starting with considering why you have chosen to use the products that you have in your shower? With so many colorful bottles of shampoo and conditioner in the stores, it’s impossible to resist the allure of a new one. Have you ever stopped to consider what these descriptions really mean for your hair or have you just been shopping by smell? It’s time you knew what the confusing terms on the packages mean so that you can find the best shampoo and conditioner for your needs.

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First we need to start out with a basic lesson on shampoo and conditioner, and I’m not talking about rinse, lather, and repeat!

Shampoo is step one of the washing routine and it’s basic purpose is to clean your scalp. What!? Yes, it’s true! Keep this in mind when you’re in the shower scrubbing your head – you want to be sure to get the top, sides, and back very well, even if it means shampooing twice! Your hair will get clean as the shampoo is rinsed out and it never needs any friction to loosen dirt and oil, so if you’re grabbing the ends of your hair and scrubbing the heck out of them, STOP! Shampoo is more alkaline on the ph scale so that means it opens up the cuticle layer of the hair a bit as it’s cleaning it, which can leave the hair feeling a little rough and damaged. Conditioner is the second step in the hair washing regimen and it’s purpose is to leave the hair feeling soft and healthy. It’s ph level is more acidic, so it closes the cuticle layer down and seals in any repairing, smoothing, or hydrating properties that have been advertised on the outside of the bottle. Since your scalp already gets conditioned by its own natural oils there is no need to condition your scalp. For this reason I recommend focusing the conditioner on the middle and ends of the hair and leaving it on long enough to be able to run a wide toothed comb through it in the shower, then rinse it out well and you’re all set!

It’s not enough to find a brand of shampoo and conditioner that you like, then you must also chose the specific type that is best for your hair needs. Below is a list of some terms and an explanation of what that type of shampoo and conditioner will do for you. You can either read it and find the type that fits your needs or you can refer back to this as you’re shopping around looking for a good product line to use. I strongly urge you to bite the bullet and invest in a professional brand shampoo and conditioner and the main reason is quality of ingredients. Buying shampoo at the grocery store is like feeding your hair MacDonald’s: You can expect to get results fast and cheap, but in the long run you are not doing your hair any favors.

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Moisturizing/Hydrating/Replenishing: These are best for dry, coarse, or curly hair. Typically these types of shampoos are heavier and may not be ideal for people with fine or oily hair. If you do a lot of heat styling on your hair and it feels damaged, you may need some type of a moisturizing shampoo or conditioner to help repair it and make it feel soft again.

Volumizing: As indicated by the name, these will help people with limp, oily, or fine hair achieve more volume. They are highly cleansing at the scalp so as to help remove excess oil that could weigh the hair down. The conditioner is also very light and wouldn’t work well for someone that had a lot of very thick, dry hair, or a dry scalp.

Reconstructing/Repairing/Fortifying: These are intended to repair chemical damage caused by color, bleaching, perming, or relaxing hair. They contain valuable protein that has been eaten away and they are best used for a period of time after your chemical service and until the hair is sufficiently repaired. Lots of these lines will carry an intensive conditioner in addition to a daily one that is going to have a power punch of proteins that your hair could use if it was severely damaged. If you haven’t done anything to your hair that involved chemicals, then these are not for you.

Smoothing/Straightening: These will help you to get your hair straighter as you style it. They are not intended to magically straighten your hair and you will still need to use other smoothing products and a blow dryer and/or a flat iron to get really smooth hair. They contain added oils, waxes, and silicone to help coat the hair, weigh it down, and protect it from all the heat and styling that it will go through on its way to becoming sleek and straight.

Curl Enhancing/Texturizing: These are used to tame the unruliness of hair that already has a natural texture or curl pattern. Like the smoothing products I mentioned above, this is not a magic potion that will give you curly hair. It will only deal with curl that already exists and it’s purpose is to manage frizz and help with curl formation.

Color Enhancing/Toning/Brightening: These are tinted shampoos and conditioners used to enhance the color of hair to be more blonde, red, brown, or black. Depending on the brand, they may contain a peroxide that will actually lighten the hair and dry it out, so I would encourage anyone using one to do a little leg work to see what the term “brightening” really means. Because this is such a broad range of products I recommend asking a professional for help in choosing the right one for you, especially since using the wrong one could turn your hair a funny color.

Clarifying/Detoxifying: These are products used to help remove build up of other products, excessive oil, or minerals, like chlorine, from your hair. They can be very harsh and are not recommended for daily use because they tend to leave the hair and scalp feeling dry and can even remove hair color. If you are a swimmer or you feel like your hair is suffering from hairspray build up, then this could be your answer to get a clean slate. Just be sure to get a very moisturizing conditioner to replenish the hair after you wash it so it doesn’t feel like straw.

Color Preserving and Color Safe: These two terms are actually slightly different but they are both important to look for if you have hair color on your hair. Most professional quality brands boast that their entire line of products are “color-safe”. This simply means that they are gentle enough formulations that they will not strip the hair of artificial color. If you want a shampoo and conditioner that will help keep you haircolor’s vibrancy or tonal quality then you better shop for one that claims it will help preserve your color and protect it. Hair color fades, it’s a fact. Using a color preserving shampoo and conditioner, especially the month after your color service, can help the color last longer.

The last thing I want to shed a little light on is a very popular buzz word out there and that is “Sulfate-Free“. You may be thinking, “What is a sulfate? Is it dangerous?” and “Why do I care?”. Sulfates are highly soluble salts found within sulfuric acid and they are widely used in products like shampoo, toothpaste, and mouthwash to cut through grease and produce lather. We have long associated suds and foam with clean, and the beauty companies know that, so they have added it to nearly everything to help produce bubbles. Rumors that sulfates are dangerous has attracted a lot of attention, causing the shampoo companies to start marketing products that are “sulfate free”. What I know for certain is that you can still get your hair clean without sulfates added to your shampoo, you just won’t get a lot of lather. The research I did told me that though some are concerned that it may cause cancer, the real issue is that it is a skin and eye irritant (probably the reason why shampoo stings your eyes) and there is some legitimate concern that it may be damaging and drying to your hair over a long period of time. I do want to point out that sulfates are not just in beauty products, they are found in water and air too and their fear factor is low as long as they do not remain on the skin long (meaning rinse that shampoo well) and they are not used in high amounts (there are laws about how much can be used in products). I found these two very informative articles to deliver the best and most relevant information about this topic so check them out and decide for yourself.                     http://www.jasoncosmetics.com/sodium_lauryl_sulfate.html      http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/shampoo.asp

After reading all of these definitions you may have realized that you have multiple needs for your hair. If this is the case I recommend buying a system that will address your most crucial need. There’s no rule that says you can only use one line at a time so have fun looking around and don’t be afraid to switch it up from time to time. Good luck and happy hair washing!

Highs and Lows of 2013

Have you ever looked up and seen the constellations in the daylight? Would you know how great if felt to be wrapped up in a warm blanket if it wasn’t cold outside? If we didn’t have the dark and we never felt the cold then we couldn’t enjoy the simple things like a night sky peppered with stars or a good snuggle on the couch. The same is true for your hair. You may not be able to appreciate a great haircut if you’ve never had to suffer through a bad one. Without the bad stuff in life we could never have the good stuff because the two exist because of one another.  A blonde highlight will only appear when it is placed next to a darker lowlight, otherwise the color will look flat and boring. Of course this is true in life as well and if we didn’t have to deal with the yucky stuff then we may never really know a good thing when we have it going on already.
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This month I’ve been in a major seasonal funk – I mean an mega funk! I tried my hardest to ignore all the “holly jolly” going on around me but I have a very outspoken 6 year old and when she dramatically accused me of not having any Christmas spirit and “only thinking of myself” (ouch!),  I knew I had to snap out of it.  You know that expression “when it rains it pours”? Ya, well I know it! Fighting my mental funk has been hard enough but then my whole house came down with the flu which zapped the last bit of zip I had left, called me out of work 3 days, and displaced many of my customers. I know my whole vibe here on my blog is to stay positive and blah blah blah, but I have a side of me that is opposing this happy go lucky, sunshine and lollipops persona, and I’ve been letting it take over my life. What a great way to start the new year right?

Actually, this IS a great way to start the new year! I’m so tired of feeling this way that I’m starting to remember all the lessons I’ve learned in life and the things that happened to me so that I could learn them. I can honestly say that every good thing that has ever happened to me can be traced back to some awful thing that I thought I could never live through.  I guess I’m just starting off the new year with an extra batch of lemons and it’s up to me to turn them all into a delicious batch of lemonade. I encourage you to do the same thing and if you have to, make a list of all the worst things that have happened to you and challenge yourself to turn it into a positive thing.
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I’ll start….

If I hadn’t lost my make-up bag with all my favorite makeup in it, then I wouldn’t have had to buy all my new makeup and I actually ended up finding some pretty awesome stuff to replace my old things!

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If I hadn’t fallen behind on my rent and bills while living in my old rental house, then I wouldn’t have moved into my cute little apartment and met a good friend living next door!

If I hadn’t felt lost and alone missing all my hometown friends in CA, then I wouldn’t have made the effort to start to do their hair so that I could afford to visit more often! This worked out so well that I was able to visit 5 times last year and the added bonus was that I was forced to learn another color line.
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If I hadn’t become restless in my career and started to feel like I needed more in my life, then I never would’ve started this blog or began thinking about what the “more” I’m looking for might be!

I don’t know what is in store for me in 2014 but I know it will be a roller coaster filled with ups and downs. I may be in a low point right now, but when you’re at the bottom the only place left to go is up, right? And I suppose if I felt perky all the time then you might not believe that I had to make any effort to be that way, you may think I wasn’t authentic and my words of wisdom may just go in one ear and out the other. Happy New Year to you and  I wish you all the best of life for the coming year!

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Mini Makeover Ideas

Here I am at post #10! 3 months ago I was just waiting for the right moment to start my blog and now I’m one fifth into my 50 post goal. I still feel like I have so much to learn and today I’m feeling a little sour about my efforts. I’ve been checking out other people’s stuff lately and I have to admit it’s been intimidating! There are so many fabulous blogs out there and so much inspiration! In the spirit of my 2014 New Year’s resolution (Keep Pushing) I’m going to keep going in spite of my self doubts and just be myself. When I begin to feel like I’m just not measuring up to my competition in work and in life I instinctively search for a way to make a bold change so that I will stand out more. This often results in failure or embarrassment because I’m trying to be something that I’m not. I’m a perfectionist with a big ego so I generally compare myself to people who are at the top of their game, which always leaves me feeling less than.  A makeover doesn’t have to be a head to toe overhaul, sometimes a little tweak is all you need to neutralize the insecurity that arrives when we start comparing ourselves to others. Here are a few simple changes you can do to give your look a Mini Makeover without losing sight of yourself or trying to be someone you’re not.

1.) Change your part! Switching up your part is the easiest way to freshen up your look for free. Our faces are not symmetrical so switching the distribution of hair on your head can actually make your face look different too. Another added bonus is that you may get a burst of fresh volume as your hair fights against the split it’s been comfortable with for so long. If you don’t like it you can change it back, no commitment at all.

2.) Buy a new lipstick! The only thing stopping you from grabbing a color you’ve never worn before and slapping it on your lips is you! A new color can add excitement to your face and push you out of your comfort zone. A bold red, a bright pink, or a subtle nude shade you’ve never tried can make you feel like a completely different person. Don’t be afraid to just do it, it’s not a permanent change and you may be surprised by the feeling of rebellion you get from wearing a shade you thought you never could before. I found a great video that helps you identify your skins unique undertones so that can you pick the best shades for yourself, specifically red!http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/best-red-lipstick-skin-tone_n_2481580.html

3.) Cut some fringe/bangs! Bangs never really go out of style but the styles of bangs do change frequently. If you’ve never tried them before maybe now is the time. Consult with your stylist to see which type of bangs will look best with your hairline and face shape because that will make a big difference. If you already have bangs maybe you could consider growing them longer or even cutting them a little shorter. For some ideas about fringe styles with pictures included to show you what they look like check out http://www.dailymakeover.com/hairstyles/bangs/.

4.) Change your eyeliner! There are many different types of eyeliner out there and they all give a different type of look to the eye. Liquid liners are usually applied with a marker style applicator and they give a very defined line that can be swept up on the outer corner. Gel and powder eyeliners are applied with a brush and can be used to create a smooth solid line or a smoky diffused line. If you really want to get frisky you can even experiment with colored liners! If you go this route I do recommend keeping the rest of the bright color on your face to a minimum or you may look like you did a clown makeover instead of a mini makeover. Here is a great tutorial/article about eyeliner that I found, it even taught me a few things!  http://makeup.lovetoknow.com/Eyeliner_Styles

5.) Get some new hair accessories! A beautiful clip, a sassy headband, or even a hat can all be quick and easy ways to freshen up a boring look. Nowadays there are so many cute ones available and there are plenty of stores at the mall full of reasonably priced accessories that are not just for little girls. This tip also pairs well with the “grow out your bangs” idea I mentioned earlier. Just clip them back or to the side with a trendy little bobby pin or a headband and voila, a new you!

Sometimes it’s easy to look around at everyone else’s fabulousness and feel like you’re blending into the background. You don’t need to follow the crowd to get noticed, you just need to switch up few little things and give yourself a boost. Like I said in my debut post, the secret to really looking great is confidence and seeing yourself in a new light can make that happen! Hopefully you’ve noticed the graphic header that my sister Mandy designs for me has received a little holiday makeover with a Santa hat and a few Christmas lights! I hope you will try a few of these mini makeover tips and tell me about how they worked for you. Did it make you feel different? Did anyone notice? Did it give you that little boost you needed this winter? Share, share, share!

Want to check out some of the blogs that I’ve been inspired and intimidated by? These are all written by empowered and creative women who are experts in the blogging community and I think you would enjoy them too! They have been recommended to me by my network of Facebook friends and they are top notch.

http://www.mollieinseattle.com/

http://www.alongabbeyroad.com/

http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/

http://gardenapothecary.com/

The Gift Of The Present

When you are an ambitious working mom with a busy social schedule, living in the moment is more like surviving moment to moment. This week I’ve been so scattered I’ve forgotten where I set down my cell phone numerous times, officially lost a set of car keys within the mess of my car, and misplaced my precious make up bag! I’ve also failed to pay attention to the urgency of a few important matters in my daily world. Like I said in my first post, I am a major procrastinator and because of that I often let things erupt into a five alarm fire! For example, my recent string of bad luck with my car. Two breakdowns that left me stranded and over $1,600 in repairs later, I’m wishing I had taken the check engine light more seriously. I also have been ignoring a flea infestation in my apartment – the side effect of letting my cat cruise around outside on the balcony. For about a month I’ve silently prayed that they would just go away but after I noticed that I was literally being eaten alive, I had to accept that I was losing the battle of the bugs. My first instinct is to blame life for these major inconveniences but I know that the blame is on me. I’ve been too distracted by things that already have happened in the past or things that I think may happen in the future, to pay attention to what’s happening right in front of me!

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Whether I’m cutting, coloring, or styling a clients hair, I have to stay in the moment. If I don’t I risk hurting myself or my customer and their hair, while at the same time ruining my reputation as a master hairdresser. Once I was in a rush to add caramel lowlights to a blonde client’s hair and in my haste I mistakenly grabbed a level 1 (black) tube of color that was hanging out with the level 7s (dark blonde). Black streaks in blonde hair does add dimension, but it definitely wasn’t what my customer was looking for that day. Oops! Another time, I had my head in the clouds during a haircut and I nearly cut my finger off!  I knew immediately after it happened that I wasn’t paying attention and I was thankful I had sacrificed my finger instead of my clients ear. Being out of the moment can be dangerous and its most often when accidents happen that may make it even more difficult to enjoy the next moment!
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There are times when revisiting the past can be fun, like a 1960’s themed Christmas party. Last weekend I was invited to my friend, Rachel Belle’s, holiday work party. The theme was Mad Men and we were encouraged to dress the part. Rachel and I love to dress up, and more than that, we love attention!  I accepted the invitation to do her hair and be her date, knowing that I had a closet full of faux furs and vintage hand gloves that would be perfect.  After about an hour of prepping Rachel’s coif with a flat iron and endless backcombing, I had transformed her wild curls into a polished beehive-esque up do. Ready to take on the night, we headed out to Lake Union where the free food and fun was awaiting us. As usual, we were a little livelier than the rest of the crowd, so we left after munching and took our do’s to a small bar where we received even more attention. The night was fun and we did look amazing, but the best part of the whole night was getting to spend time with my gal pal Rachel.
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Time is a precious gift and it’s the most important thing we have to share with others when we are living in the moment. A couple of weeks ago I had a cold reminder of just how precious time is; I lost a long term customer and friend, Jen, to breast cancer. A couple days before she passed away I had made plans to visit  Jen because I knew she was sick. I was all set to head out to her place, when my stupid car broke down! Stranded and annoyed, I canceled our get together and rescheduled it for a couple days later, thinking that a few days wouldn’t really matter, but it did. I was so sad that I had missed our “last visit” and I felt silly remembering all the things I had complained about earlier that day – things that didn’t matter at all.  When I talked to Jen’s brother to express my sympathies and heartache that I hadn’t been able to see her a few nights before, he thanked me and said, “I know, we all thought she had more time.” More time.
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It is so easy to lose sight of the most important things in life like family, friends, and time. The magic of the holiday season isn’t on sale at the mall, it’s happening right now in front of you! Take a look around and appreciate all the good things you already have in your life because the future is quickly turning into the past, and the present moment is the real gift. Reflecting on the past can be a great tool to help us navigate the potential future, as long as it doesn’t overwhelm our attention and make us forget to enjoy the moment. The future is only something that may happen, and no matter how much we plan for it, we have no control over what will come to be. The only thing we can do is enjoy the moment and make sure we share it with the people that bring us the most joy, so keep that in mind this season when you’re wondering what to get that special person on your list. The gift of time is something that doesn’t cost much and it can be shared with anyone and everyone. Happy Holidays!

Haircolor 101

When you’re searching for things to be thankful for this holiday season be sure to add to the list hair growth. Can you imagine a world where our hair never grew and you had to keep whatever haircut or color you had forever? I can’t, and thankfully I don’t need to, because the promise that hair will always grow allows us to try lots of new looks. Since hair growth is a guarantee, many of us out there have a false sense of security about what can be done with our hair color. As a color specialist I have noticed that most people have unrealistic expectations about what their hair can handle chemically, and while it is true that new hair will always grow in, it is still important to keep the hair you already have in tip top shape.

Hair coloring is a science and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your hair is like a delicate piece of fabric and there are instructions on how to care for it. Most of the products that color hair contain strong chemicals that are capable of causing damage to your hair if they are not used properly or are used too frequently. I like to have people change their color gradually and seasonally. Generally people go a little darker in the fall and winter, and in the spring and summer everyone wants those sun kissed highlights. There are ways to keep your hair in good shape and still make color changes, but there are two very important color laws that have to be remembered. If they are not, you may have to spend a lot of money on an expensive color correction or worse, you may damage your hair so badly that your only hope is cutting it off and starting over.

Semi Permanent Color Will Not Completely Rinse Out! There are many different types of color on the market and the only ones that will completely rinse away are referred to as temporary dyes. They include color conditioners, rinses, hair powders and hair mascaras, but even some of these will leave a residual stain on very light blonde hair, so be careful. Semi Permanent hair color is the bridge between temporary and permanent hair color. For this reason it is not a good option for trying to completely cover grey hair. That’s why it is often advertised as a grey blending product, because it won’t leave a harsh line as new hair grows in. Semi permanent colors usually are paired with a more gentle activator that deposits the dye onto the outside of the hair shaft like a coating; this can often leave a stain even after it has “washed out”. This stain will not be able to be colored lighter with anything but bleach, and sometimes that wont even do the trick. You cannot go lighter with semi permanent color, you can only go darker or add more tone (as in more red or gold, etc). If you want your hair to be lighter, you must use a permanent hair color or bleach to lift the hair to a lighter level.

Color Won’t Lift Color! This means that once your hair loses its virginity to hair color ( both semi permanent and permanent),  you won’t be able to make it lighter without a corrective color procedure. If you want to go darker, you can do that but you will never be able to use a darker shade one day and then apply a lighter shade over it and expect it to lighten anything but your roots.  A good analogy is coloring crayons (hair color) used on a piece of paper (your hair). Once you’ve colored something brown you can’t color yellow over it and expect it to be yellow, the brown was there first and it will remain there until it is erased. The only way dark color can be “erased” out of hair is with bleach or a harsh chemical color remover (I’ve never had good luck with these and they take forever). Once the color has been “removed” (a misconception because your original color is not hanging out below the surface, waiting to be set free) it must be recolored again to balance the mess that is left over. This process removes valuable protein from your hair that helps it to be strong and healthy. If that isn’t scary enough, there are no guarantees that it will even get hair light enough before it becomes so damaged that it melts! The results hinge on how much color is on the hair (counting every time that strand was colored since it grew out of your head), what type of color was used (strangely enough semi permanent color can be harder to remove than permanent color), and the current condition of the hair (so if you’ve already bleached it and dyed it dark, your hair may not survive another bleach party). Some protein can be added back to the hair after a color removal service with the use of protein rich shampoos and conditioning treatments (reconstructors), but it will never be the same as it was before.

If you want to have fun with your color you can, but you have to do it carefully and you have to have a professional helping you along the way. If you have a color question that you need an answer to please drop it down into the comment box below and I will give you my two cents of sense about it. I wish I could gift everyone I meet with the knowledge I have acquired about hair in my 14 years as a hairdresser, but if that were possible then you wouldn’t need to read my fabulous blog!

It’s Time To Get Uncomfortable

Holy Moly! The last couple of weeks have been crazy for me, to say the least. I’ve celebrated 3 family birthdays, including my 6 year old daughter’s at Chuck E Cheese, and my mother’s at the  Indian casino. I had a “rock bottom” cold that left me feeling so low that I became hopeless and depressed as I lost my voice for more than a week.  Just as I was starting to feel better, I boarded an airplane with my toddler, headed to California for a scheduled visit with my best friends.  Despite my efforts to entertain her, my 15 month old angel screamed for the majority of the time and I wanted to just disappear into the seat. Due to all of these life hurdles, I was unable to muster up the energy or focus necessary to push out an inspiring post last week, and even now I am struggling to collect and organize my thoughts into something tangible. So instead of trying to “Wow” you, I’m just going to do my best to get my thoughts out, because for 3 weeks I’ve been ruminating on the concept of discomfort and its necessity for growth and change. I could call it a coincidence that I have been so physically and mentally uncomfortable in the last 15 days that I literally don’t feel like myself, but I know better. This is life’s way of testing me on the very principle I want to share with you….getting comfortable being uncomfortable, and its necessity in life for providing us with a path toward growth and change.

While I was in California, I got a chance to stay with one of my favorite people in the world, Jen, and her boyfriend Kris. They both have jobs where they deal with putting people in uncomfortable physical situations; Jen is a yoga instructor and Kris co-owns a gym and is a personal trainer. In order to help them train the minds and bodies of their clients, they are constantly pushing people to try harder, reach higher, and embrace discomfort as a tool for growth and change.  Jen told me that in Yin Yoga, a discipline she teaches, the goal is to contort your body into a very unnatural, uncomfortable position and to hold the position for a predetermined amount of time. She emphasized that the point isn’t to be comfortable, instead the point is to rest in the discomfort so that you can train your brain to recognize that it can handle difficult situations and survive. It’s actually a conditioning technique for the mind! Kris told me that at his gym he doesn’t like to stand behind people just counting reps for them, he likes to let them find their personal strength to overcome the challenges they face by acting as their educated guide and coach. He often tells people to “get comfortable being uncomfortable”, a slogan he learned from a fitness mentor he respects and follows. Kris knows firsthand the kind of mental strength it takes to reach your goals, because as a boy he weighed over 300 pounds. Now a strapping 200 lbs and in the best shape of his life, Kris is able to inspire people at his gym to want more for themselves and believe they can do it! He’s living proof that if you want to change you can, but its not going to be easy, and it’s definitely going to feel uncomfortable.

I will be the first to admit that I hate being uncomfortable. I dress up for work because I have to, not because I want to, and any chance I get, I am in my “comfies” looking like a frazzled mom instead of a professional hairstylist. Becoming a blogger has been, and still is, incredibly uncomfortable for me. Every time I think about putting myself out into the blogosphere with a new post, I hear a voice in my head say “Who do you think you are?” I push on because I know a secret about being uncomfortable – eventually it becomes comfortable. I’ve recently started wearing bright lipstick, but for years I never did because I have large lips (how stupid right?) and I felt self conscious about all that color on my face. I also love the way high heels look, but they don’t feel as good as flats, and at 5 foot 9 inches I’m already tall. When my desire to become a person who wore lipstick and heels overwhelmed my desire to blend into the background, I decided to push past my doubts and do it anyways, just like I’m doing now with my desire to be a life and beauty advice blogger. Being uncomfortable isn’t a good enough reason to stop following your dreams, it’s a conditioning tool to train you to make you stronger! The road ahead will be challenging, thats a guarantee, but the reward will be worth it!20131124-163335.jpg

I want to challenge you all to identify something in your life that you want to try but never have because it makes you uncomfortable. I also want to challenge you to share your experiences with me and the other readers by telling your story as a comment, or on my Dear Hairdresser Facebook page. Now that you all know about me, I want to know about you!


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Learn To Speak “STYLIST” And Get The Haircut You Want

Going to the salon can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know how to communicate your needs to your stylist. They may tell you all the things they want to do to your hair, but how would you even know what it all meant if you weren’t a hairdresser yourself?  It’s time to learn how to speak our language so that you know what to ask for when you’re in the chair, and you know what we mean when we are telling you about a specific cut we want you to try. “SYLIST” is a complex language, and new terms are always added at will, because we know that you don’t know what we are talking about, until now!

The 10 terms listed below refer to HAIRCUTTING. I will cover haircoloring terms in a future post because to add them now would result in one long post, and I know your attention span is as short as mine.

SHEARS : This is what our scissors really are called. It sounds snobby, because it is. A good pair of styling shears costs anywhere from $150 to $1,000+.  Tack on a sharpening fee of about $35 every few months, and you start to understand why a stylist simply cannot cut hair with an ordinary pair of scissors.

RAZOR : This a tool used to cut hair and leave it with a lighter, tapered end. It is also used to remove weight from hair, increase movement and volume, and add choppiness to a style. Razor haircuts are not recommended for people with a coarse texture or curl, but I’m sure there are some hair “artists” out there who have found a way to sell this technique to people as a trend. In my experience, if you want your hair to lay smooth or be smaller, a razor cut is not for you.

FRINGE : This is the European word for bangs and it sounds real fancy. It is also the term that has been used in nearly every cutting class I’ve ever taken in my life. If you feel the urge to use it or want to seem worldly, then please do! And if you want to test your stylist to see if they’ve really been to all those amazing classes they say they have, drop the word “fringe” and see if they know what it means.

LAYERS : Layers are different lengths of hair, geometrically cut into a shape in order to create movement, and decrease volume. They are not things that you have 2 or 3 of, but instead are angled lines that connect the hair at the top of the head to the hair on the sides, or the back of the head.  Layers blend into themselves by laying on top of one another, with the shortest layer resting on top of all the other longer layers, and creating a weight line. If you could get each of your hairs to stand up on end, then you would be able to see the lines that your layers follow and the shapes that they create.

GRADUATION : Graduation and layers work well in tandem, but they do completely opposite things. The purpose of using graduation is to build up weight, and to add strength and volume to a part of the haircut.  A good example is a “stacked” haircut or a wedge. In a graduated haircut, the hair underneath is cut shorter to support the weight of the longer hair that rests on top of it, creating a weight line that sits up and stands out. Graduation connects hair from the bottom of the head, to hair on the sides or the back of the head, and it can be subtle or very severe, depending on the desired outcome.

SLIDE CUT : This is a technique used to create a connection between a very short piece of hair and a very long piece. It is also used for removing weight from the ends or the interior of a cut, and it is achieved by sliding the shears down the length of the hair, like a razor, while relying on the sharpness of the blades to do the cutting, instead of the shears themselves.

TEXTURIZE : This is a term that means adding different lengths into the interior of your cut to help it get more volume or to be lighter. There are MANY different texturizing tools and techniques out there, and as long as they are being done well and with discretion, they can all help make a great haircut even better.

DISCONNECTION : This is when two pieces of hair purposely do not blend together. It’s used in fashion cuts, and a good example of it in a conservative form is fringe (bangs). Disconnection is a technique you request when you want a really edgy cut, or you are trying to accentuate a certain part of your style, like a longer piece on one side, or some really short pieces on the crown.

ASYMETRICAL : This is when a cut, or part of a cut, is purposely left longer on one side. It’s most often done in bobs, bangs, and cropped styles, where one side might be tucked behind the ear or left long to seem more feminine or funky. An asymmetrical cut may use disconnection, but it doesn’t have to.

INVERTED : This is when hair is cut shorter in the back and left longer in the front, also sometimes called an A-LINE.  If you wanted to get real fancy you could have an inverted, graduated, asymmetrical cut with some disconnection and layers, but make sure your stylist also knows what that means, or you may end up looking like you cut your own hair with a lawnmower.

Stylists love to stand out and be creative, so we are always coming up with amazing new ways to cut hair and make it seem cooler than what someone else is doing. The terms I’ve chosen to share with you are the ones I think will be most practical for you to know, and the definitions I’ve given you are pretty standard throughout the hair world. If you have a question about another term you are unsure of, then please ask me about it and I will do my best to explain it to you. My goal is to eventually transfer this list of terms onto a GLOSSARY page, so if you are a stylist and you have a term you think people need to know, then tell me and I’ll be sure to add it onto the list.

This week I’ve been struggling with a bad cold and it has taken my voice! I was reflecting on how I have lost my voice in my world, yet I have begun to find my voice in my blogging world!  The only voice left to hear more from is YOURS! Please, please, please feel free to leave comments or ask me questions about anything and everything. I want to work towards a part of my blog where I focus on Dear Hairdresser question from readers about hair topics and life issues so don’t be shy. Help me grow my blog and I will help you in return.