For the Love of Blondes! Part 2: Keep it Sparkly

21 Jul

I walked into the beauty supply store the other day and the salesperson there asked me if I did something different with my color. I said no, why? The salesperson said, “Your color looks brighter, prettier, more sparkly”.

I’ve been using the new Pureology Perfect for Platinum shampoo, conditioner and the Miracle Filler for Blondes.

This series of products has the specialness factor I love. They are made specifically for chemically lightened hair.

The sulfate-free shampoo cleanses gently, brightens and adds the blonde glow that turns heads.

The conditioner detangles, brightens and protects color with their Anti-Fade complex.

The Miracle Filler for Blondes fills in the gaps in the hairs cuticle providing internal and external strength that prevents breakage and color fading.

I'm using this pic again because it brilliantly demonstrates the glow.

The salesperson at the store has hilighted brown hair and she said she loves the products as well because they help keep her hair from turning brassy. So not just for blonde hair apparently.


For the Love of Blonde! and other hilights. . .

19 Jul

When I started dyeing and bleaching my hair, my Dad would say to me, “you keep doing that and your hair’s gonna fall out”. Well my hair never fell out Dad, it just broke off. But I never told him that.

So in my recent transition from red to blonde, I made sure this wouldn’t happen. The hair reconstructing products are way better than they used to be and I decided to test them out by bleaching my whole head. The process took 2 days.

This product, Extreme Cat, by Redken, saved my hair from a chemical haircut.

For Extreme cases, like mine, I did 8 treatments in a row. I shampooed, towel dried, sprayed it on, let it sit for 4 minutes, rinsed and repeated 7 more times. And I continued to use it after every shampoo thereafter. I only recently cut back to two times a week.

Why so much?

Bleaching or any kind of hilights and even hi-lift colors create holes in the hair shaft that lead to dryness, brittleness and eventually breakage. This particular product fills in the holes and gives support and structure to the hair. You will find with consistent use, 1-2 times a week, your hair will be stronger, shinier, and your color will last longer.

Extreme Cat Treatment is also wonderful for fine hair as it will not weigh it down.

So again, if you bleach, get hilights, or lift your haircolor 3-4 shades lighter than your natural, I recommend adding this product into your routine.

Nabbing the Greasy Hair Bandit and debunking the urban myth.

7 May

You’ve heard of the greasy hair mystery before in a previous post, but since then I’m not satisfied with the use of dry shampoos.

I started getting this greasy hair thing at the root on the second day after shampooing. I thought it might be because I wash my hair at night. I shampoo, let it air, finish blow-drying, and style it before going to bed. It’s not that ridiculous because it saves time in the morning. So I started to think that I was wasting hours of freshly washed and styled hair while I was sleeping and if I washed in the morning I could get those hours back and have cleaner hair for a day more.

I had a couple experiences this week that showed me this is not the case, there is a different one.

While I was at a haircutting class for Bumble and Bumble, the Bumble rep is raving about their new line of products called “Shine”. It’s a shampoo, conditioner, and shine spray. She said she was on her third day and no grease. This caught my attention. I checked out her hair and she had hair not much thicker than mine. Hmmm.

Then the Enjoy rep comes into the salon to inform us about how wonderful the product is. He insists that I experience it for myself. So he gives me a “treatment” from their line. This consisted of 7 or ten products at the shampoo bowl. First he wet my hair and sprayed the clarifying spray, worked it in and applied the shampoo and lathered, while he explained to me the purpose of the clarifier.

Simply, a clarifying shampoo removes build-up. It had been so long since I used one and I forgot all about them. The build up comes from shampoos, conditioners, styling products, environmental toxins, minerals from water, and possibly medications. (I’ve heard mixed reviews whether a shampoo can remove medications or not) This was a big clue to tracking down the Greasy Hair Bandit.

After he applied those 7-10 products, my hair felt amazing! I was totally impressed by how much volume I had after all the crèmes and the reconstructors And! he styled my hair with the Enjoy hair oil. I kept thinking I could rewash if my hair was a greasy mess, but NO! I had great volume and no grease for two days.

And that talk about changing shampoo every so often is a myth. The only reason that’s necessary is the hope that the new shampoo will remove the old ones’ buildup. Either get a clarifier or buy a better quality shampoo. Also if your conditioner makes your hair super slick, consider getting a clarifier because it’s just coating your hair and it may never completely wash out.

So, indicators you may need a clarifier,

– dull lifeless or greasy hair means your shampoo, conditioner, styling products and whatever else are not rinsing out clean. Too much buildup equals no shine.

– your hair is still dry after using conditioner, this could mean the conditioner can’t penetrate due to build up.

Most clarifiers are not color safe, so use sparingly, 1-3x a month.

One’s I’ve tried and liked, Purelogy Purify (green bottle), Redken Hair Cleansing Crème, and Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo.

Your hair will feel squeaky clean after, so it’s a good time to use a deep conditioner.

So long Greasy Hair Bandit.

Men’s Hair Color!…Yes, it can look natural.

27 Apr

Not This

Frequently my male clients say, “I’m thinking about coloring my hair”.

I say, Awesome! And I explain how the process works. It will just blend the gray, meaning it will look like you did right before you got all the white hair in. It takes only ten minutes and it will gradually fade out over time, so no commitment, Yay!

And then a couple months later, “What do you think about hair color for me”?

I say, I think it will look great! Then I explain the process again.

So this one is for all my male clients and men out there who are wondering if they can color their hair without weird looks and their coworkers snickering as they walk by.

I say, Yes you can!! Even better, people may not even notice except to say there’s something different but they don’t know what it is.

I use a product for men called Color Camo by Redken. I apply the color at the shampoo bowl, it sits on for 5-10 min depending how much gray blending I determine the client needs. It last 4 to 6 weeks and has a gradual fade out so the client will not see a line when his hair starts to grow out. The color comes in light, medium and dark.

Check it out…



Any questions?

My Client is a Cryotherapist.

21 Apr

One of the coolest thing about my job is that I get to spend personal one on one time with people. And, I am introduced to wonderful new things that are so beneficial.

Antra Truksane saw my reviews on yelp and booked an appointment with me at the salon. I could tell by her really cool clothes and of course her accent she wasn’t from the United States. Antra is from a little country named Latvia. And she is here to introduce the bay area to the Cryosauna. I was intrigued immediately.

My boyfriend Jeff had been experimenting with cold showers as a therapy to boost his immune system, so I was familiar with the benefits of cold therapy. It works, because he didn’t get sick when I was horribly sick. Cold therapy also promotes fat loss, reduces anxiety and depression, and pain relief.

Jeff tried too!

Antra has set up shop in Los Gatos and invited me to come and experience the Cryosauna. The Cryosauna is a whole body cryotherapy which uses nitrogen gas to lower the temperature of the skin to around 32 degrees. The temperature in the tank is much colder, -130 degrees celcius, -202 degrees fahrenheit. When the skin is cooled to this degree, the immune system is stimulated, every organ in the body is affected positively and the self-healing capabilities of the human body are jump-started.

What fired me up was the anti-aging benefits. I’m 32, so anything reasonable I can do to stay looking under 30 is exciting to me and my body will be regenerating itself. Nobody is cutting into me or I’m not spending lots of money on creams that don’t affect much.

I set up an appointment with Antra at her office to test it out. My biggest concern was claustrophobia. I thought I would be in this tank with the door shut for three minutes breathing in nitrogen, then stumbling out high for the rest of the day. My concerns subsided when I realized my head would stick out the top.

Antra gave me a pair of socks and slippers to put on to protect my feet and a blanket to cover myself after I undressed. (You must be naked in the tank to receive the benefits).

I was cold, but not unbearable so. After the 3 minutes of cold I felt so invigorated and energized that I signed up for the treatment sessions. I’ve had 7 so far and boy, it’s awesome. The inflammation and pain in my knees and legs is gone, I’ve lost a few pounds (you burn 500 to 800 calories per treatment!), I have lots of energy, my skin looks great, smoother. The treatment reduce cellulite too, yay!!

This would be amazing for chronic pain and for rehabilitation from injuries and surgeries. Apparently an ice bath works similarly. But I don’t know, sitting in an ice bath for 20 minutes is not an option for me, just sounds like hell, versus a 3 minute cryotreatment? I’ll take the latter.

For more information or to visit Antra, call 214-235-8014 or email

I can go every other day.

16 Apr

Day Two: Dry Shampoo

At the moment I wash my hair every other day, and even that is a stretch. After one day my bangs are separating from natural oils. But I can’t wash every day, my hair and scalp feel way too beat up. This is regardless of what kind of shampoo I use.

I’ve tried not washing for two days but rinsing with water in the shower. Flat, lifeless hair was the result.

I’ve also tried putting shampoo in a tint bottle and spreading it in fine lines on my scalp. I scrubbed my scalp leaving out the ends and then rinsed, allowing the water to carry the shampoo through my hair into the drain. I heard I would get some more volume at the roots while not stripping the essential hair oils from the ends. It took too much time and didn’t notice much difference.

I have medium length fine hair with medium density. I wash with a volume shampoo and use a volume conditioner, because I want volume. I make sure my hair is super wet and concentrate the shampoo on the scalp, scrubbing and allowing the shampoo to rinse through the ends.

Just recently I started using a dry shampoo on the second day. I picked up one by Pravana. It has more harmful chemicals in it than I like, but it’s fine for the moment. Dry shampoos can be tricky with the application. I used too much the first time and I got a helmet. A dry shampoo usually comes in a spray can; you shake it and apply 10 to 12 inches away from the root of the hair. This is like a foot away from your head, not up close. Brush it and re-style with your fingers.

I met a stylist today who loves the Big Sexy Hair Dry Volume Shampoo. She washes her hair twice a week and that’s on the high end, she told me. Regardless of whether it’s clean or dirty she uses the dry shampoo, because it adds a texture and a bit of volume. So for all the fine haired people, this is a good tip if you need more thickness at the root.

I know another stylist who uses baby powder. I don’t have experience with this so I’m not sure if it’s a viable option.

Other textures of hair like curly and coarse can go much longer without a wash, and their hair seems to get better with more oil.

My recommendation is experiment, but try not to every day.

Thank you to Miss Heidi Chun of for the inspiration of this post

Ooooh, ooooh, I found a new shampoo!

13 Apr

If you read my previous post you know safe products are on my mind.

Just when I thought it was going to be hard to find an accessible product, one that didn’t require ordering online and talking to reps, I found one! And it was right under my nose.

Alterna which is a line that I have used in the past, has reformulated some of their products and come out with new ones.

Alterna products have organic ingredients but they are not completely organic. This is fine with me because two of their lines are very free of harsh chemicals.

I bought the Alterna Caviar Color Hold Anti-Aging Volume shampoo and conditioner. There is no fish roe in this product. They call it Caviar because it’s amazingly luxurious. My hair is so soft and so full of volume. Usually I get one or the other. Oh and I also bought the Caviar Volume Molding Creme. It’s a medium to strong hold creme that adds volume, texture, hold and it’s still soft, used wet and dry. This makes me so happy.

The big thing with this line of products is that they DON’T have sulfates (harsh detergents that irritate), gluten (people with celiac can use it), TEA and DEA (chemicals linked to causing cancer), PABA (causes allergic reactions), Parabens (disrupt hormone functions), Paraffin (found in cheap candles and clogs pores), phthalates (damages liver), petrolatum (suffocates the skin, found in breast tumors) and they don’t test on animals.

The Caviar shampoo is an investment, though Alterna has another line, Bamboo, which is a little less. In the Bamboo line there is a smoothing anti-frizz, a shine and volume shampoo and conditioner. They also have a line of styling products that go with it.

If you’re concerned about cost and want better quality, chemical free products, I say buy the big size. You basically get three small bottles for the price of two. Most shampoo will last for a year maybe two. You can check on the back of the bottle at the bottom for a 12M or 24M, this means it will last for 12 months or 24 months. If you won’t use it in that time you can split the large size with a friend.

So if you try it let me know what you think, or if you have any feedback on other salon products that are free of the chemicals listed above.

Sulfates, Parabens, Phthalates, Oh My!

12 Apr

More and more products are displaying sulfate free, paraben free, phthalate free, etc and I started wondering, what does this have to do with me?

For many years, I used products that said it’s free of this! and free of that! and I felt good about it, but I didn’t understand why I needed to be free from what they were advertising. Then I went the opposite direction and didn’t really care. I bought Dove moisture body wash because it’s so creamy, Crest toothpaste for the minty fresh taste and all sorts of different hair products that weren’t free of anything.

More recently I began learning what these chemicals are and realized putting them on my face, hair and skin on a daily basis couldn’t be good over time.

This is what I found.

Sulfates are used in detergents, shampoos , toothpastes and soaps to make them foam up. Sulfates are just plain irritating. They fade color number one, and irritate the eyes and scalp, tangle hair, cause split ends, dry up and frizz out your hair. Maybe these few things aren’t a big deal but over time using sulfates daily can cause hair loss, cataracts, strip your skin of oil and moisture, leading to dandruff and eczema.

Parabens are even scarier. Parabens are a preservative in products used to extend the shelf life and prevent microbial growth. Parabens are also linked to disruption of hormone function. This looks like fertility issues, bad periods, loss of sperm and testosterone, and breast cancer.
And lets not forget phthalates. These guys are used because they cling nicely to the skin and extend shelf life. They also are known to cause birth defects and damage to the male reproduction system, childhood obesity and liver problems.

Can I say disturbing?

I started thinking about how I was using products EVERY DAY that have these chemicals in them.

I did freak out at the magnitude of having to replace EVERYTHING I use. But when I calmed down, which was only recently, I realized I don’t need to throw it all away, just one thing at a time.

Awareness is the first step. I’m not making myself throw away my favorite products, but I’m actively looking for things that work, are safe and sustainable.

So check your labels, your long term health depends on it.

For more information and to see how the products you use rate, check out this site,

“My stylist said not to wash my hair before color”

7 Apr

My opinion on this is, it depends.

Surfactants, the cleansing agents in shampoo, will remove the dirt and oil from your hair, including your scalp. These natural oils act as a barrier protecting the hair and scalp from the color, which could irritate the scalp depending on how sensitive you are.

Generally the rule is, wash your hair 24 to 48 hours prior to a color service. But again, this depends.

If you have really oily hair that’s obviously oily after 48 hours, please stick to the 24-hour rule. I have a high tolerance for oil, but it’s hard to do an accurate highlight when there’s so much oil separation.

A very lovely client of mine notifies me ahead time if she hasn’t washed her hair and offers to pay me more for the inconvenience. This is only when it’s been like 4 days. Bless her heart.

Also, check with your stylist, because when to wash could depend of what kind of color is used. If your stylist uses an all-over demi-permanent color, this is best done on clean hair. Clean could be, washed that morning but no scalp-scrubbing. This color is less invasive and usually has no ammonia or other irritating chemicals.

The safe bet all around is to wash 24 before color.

Be kind to your stylist, acknowledge your oils!

Hair Products, Salon vs Drugstore?

6 Apr

Years ago, before I went off to college, I bought a 32 oz size of Herbal Essence shampoo and conditioner from Costco.  I remembered the commercials of the shiny flowing hair and thought I’d be good to go for the whole year with two gallons.  Prior to this I used whatever my mom bought at the salon.  At this time I did not know the difference.

Leaving San Jose I had shiny blond hair and an easy time getting some volume at the roots.   Within a few weeks of college, living in the dorm, I had flat, lifeless, mousy- colored hair.  At first I thought I needed layers, but no, it turned out my hair was greasy and lifeless from the shampoo and conditioner I was using.  It left a residue not only on my hair, but my scalp too.

I used the small amount of money I had to get some salon hair products.

In my experience as a client and as a professional stylist, there is a difference.

Salon products do cost more but you are getting a higher quality of ingredients.  The surfactants, which are the cleansing agents in the shampoo, are gentler in salon products.  They will not strip your hair of it’s essential oils that keep it shiny and healthy.

Drugstore brands use less quality ingredients in order to keep the cost low, but you will pay the price in other ways.  Your hair may become dry due to harsh surfactants and on some clients I’ve seen their scalp become oily due to the stripping of the natural oils.  And, if your a color client, your color will fade faster and turn brassy.

Salon products are also more concentrated because the quality of the ingredients is higher.  This means you need to use less.

When I used that Herbal Essence, I had to use a quarter of a cup in order to get a lather versus Pureology, a salon product, I use a teaspoon sized dollop and I get lots of suds.

Another benefit of buying products at the salon is that it comes with a recommendation and a guarantee.  I recommend products that I have used personally and I know work and if you don’t like you can bring it back and get a refund.  Who are you gonna ask in the drugstore?

At most you might be spending the same in the drugstore versus salon.  You may even spend more in the drugstore because your buying more to compensate for cheap ingredients and because you don’t know what works.

What makes sense to you?