How To Lighten Your Hair #MyOliaStory

Shannon Smyth

I'm sharing #MyOliaStory as part of a Garnier sponsored series for Socialstars™

How to lighten your hair via @agirlsgottaspa #MyOliaStory #sponsored Taking your hair color from dark to light is a not something that can be done in a day. Well, at least not when you are doing it on your own at home. You want to be really careful with dyeing your hair so as not to over-process it and cause any damage. When done correctly, you can end up with gorgeous hair at a fraction of the cost at the salon. You just have to follow directions and need a little patience (enjoy the Guns and Roses earworm.) I have dark brown hair, but I've been wanting to go lighter. Not blonde, but a much lighter brown, because I want to stick with something natural looking that won't contrast with my skin tone in a negative way. I've made that mistake before. I've dyed my hair red, I'm dyed my hair so black that it had hues of blue/purple and I've "frosted" (OMG so 80s) my hair. Red brought out the ruddiness in my skin. Black made me look goth (not my style, but it may be yours) and frosted looked more like I just randomly threw bleach in my hair (i.e. it looked like straw) and made my skin look sallow. Before You Begin: How to lighten your hair via @agirlsgottaspa #MyOliaStory #sponsored

Have Realistic Expectations:

If you have visions of going from brunette to a bombshell blonde in a matter of an hour, think again - at least if you want it to look as natural as possible. Not to mention, sometimes trying to immediately make a major change can sometimes result in less than optimal results. (Like brassiness, looking more orange than blonde, etc.)

Research Shades in Your Hair Color Range:

First know exactly which shade of brunette you are and the tones to your hair (blonde, golden or red?) While you can look on the side of the box to see a side by side comparison of your natural color and your Garnier Olia result in the store, I recommend going to their Shade Selector on their website instead. It is a better visual to understand where you are at and where you want your hair color to go.

Know it Will Take Time:

Come to terms from the start that this is a process. You want to step down your hair color so that it looks like it lightened naturally, which may take 1-3 applications (over time), 6 weeks apart each time. This will look even more believable when it is the Spring to Summer transition.

Follow Directions:

How many of us skip the instructions and just want to get down to it? Don't rush and don't do overall coloring each time. The first time you use a permanent hair dye, covering your entire head is fine. But each re-application in the weeks to follow should be done at the roots and/or roots for a period of time, then the rest of your hair. How to lighten your hair via @agirlsgottaspa #MyOliaStory #sponsored

How to Use Garnier Olia to Lighten Your Hair:

Get Set Up Before Starting:

You'll need something to time it, instruction pamphlet, gloves, applicator, developer, colorant, an old towel and a petroleum-like jelly. Wear old clothes. Even though Olia does not drip, there is still human error and you don't want to mess up your clothing. Apply the jelly along your hair line, and back of your neck, and tops of your ears so that color wipes off easily and doesn't stain.

Apply to Your Roots First:

My first application with Olia covered my whole head, but with this application, in order to step down my color some more, I had to apply to my roots first for 28 minutes. Make sure you are in good lighting so that you can see exactly where your roots end. Eat something chocolate while you wait. (Or is that just me?)

Apply Mid-Length to Ends:

Around 27 minutes I began to apply the rest of the Olia ammonia free hair color from mid-length to my ends while not washing out the dye on my roots. I let this sit until the 30 minute mark. I didn't want too huge of a dramatic difference between my roots and the rest of my hair. The top of your head will always be lighter when naturally lightened by the sun, but you don't want it to be all BOOM I colored my hair looking.

Rinse and Apply After Color Conditioner:

Make sure you use lukewarm water to rinse. I probably rinse for a good 3-5 minutes to make sure it is all out. Then apply the After Color Conditioner and leave it on for 2 minutes and rinse again.

Style As Usual:

I never wash my hair for the first 24-48 hours after coloring, so I go light on the hair treatments. Since hair dye plumps up your hair, I don't put in a root lifter for the first few days, just some anti-frizz serum and a little hairspray. I typically curl my hair though because it'll give my hair the look of fullness. How to lighten your hair via @agirlsgottaspa #MyOliaStory #sponsored I do have many grays and Garnier Olia has 100% gray coverage. Since it is powered by 60% oil, I also have shiny hair as a result. My first application was with Olia Light Brown 6.0 and this application was Olia Lightest Golden Brown 6 1/2.3 What do you think of the color? If you have any questions about coloring your hair, ask away in the comments! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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Getting My Hair Summer-Ready #MyOliaStory #Ad

Shannon Smyth

Disclosure: I’m sharing #MyOliaStory as part of a Garnier® sponsored series for Socialstars™ The fabulous hair color is all mine.

Shiny, healthy hair with Garnier Olia via @agirlsgottaspa #MyOliaStory #sponsored Keeping my hair color vibrant, healthy looking... and most of all, covering the grays, is important to me. It feels like post-pregnancy that the gray hair is coming out in full force. I don't want to look older than I am, so I have no shame in dying my hair. 4 weeks ago I gave Garnier Olia® a try in 6.0 Light Brown, as my goal is to start stepping down to a lighter color by Summer. A few years ago I frosted my hair blonde. Yes, you heard that right - frosted. So 80's. And my hair totally looked the part. It was unnatural looking and I couldn't wait for it to grow out. This time I'm doing it right and taking it slowly instead of just diving in. My 14 year old had to learn the hard way recently when he wanted to dye his hair blue. He has dark brown hair like me and thought he'd be blonde in a matter of 30 minutes. That was a whole lot of nope. His hair turned an orangey yellow and once he added the blue... he was green. Love my hair color with Garnier Olia via @agirlsgottaspa #MyOliaStory #sponsored My hair color has held up well, as has the shine. It's still a nice shade for the Spring and something I can step myself up to for Fall once I've gotten as close to a light golden brown as I can get without being too brassy for Summer. With 100% gray coverage, my grays are still nicely concealed. My hair doesn't feel dry and is still soft to the touch.100% gray coverage with Garnier Olia via @agirlsgottaspa #MyOliaStory #sponsored In a few weeks it will be time to color my hair again with Garnier® Olia® and I'll be trying to take it a shade lighter. I'm thinking I might also chop my locks for some added effect. Maybe an angled bob or lob. I've had both, and to be honest I prefer to have long hair. But I just keep can't seem to make it work and my hair tends to always be in a ponytail. One thing I can say, is that since coloring my hair, I've been curling my hair more often to show off how great my hair looks. Best hair color to cover gray via @agirlsgottaspa #MyOliaStory #sponsored Please check out my Garnier® Olia® review - I'd love to hear if you've used Olia® and/or if you'll be changing up your hair color now that Summer is almost here! Be sure to also follow Garnier® on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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Spa-Like Hair with Pai-Shau

Shannon Smyth
Spa-like hair care from Pai-Shau - love it! via @agirlsgottaspa This is likely the only time where you hear me rave about tea. I'm your coffee-obsessed kind of girl, but this hair care line by Pai-Shau based on a proprietary blend of concentrated steeped teas, is making my life right now. Pai-Shau is a vegan and cruelty free hair care line that marries an ancient bathing ritual from Vietnam with modern day science. I received Pai-Shau's Replenishing Hair Cleanser and Supreme Revitalizing Mask (from their Hydrating Ritual) and Biphasic Infusion (from their Enhance Ritual) to review. Having never heard of this brand, I held no expectations - which honestly, is the best thing to have, because I was totally WOWED. Love this cruelty free shampoo from Pai-Shau. Review on @agirlsgottaspa Since I recently colored my hair, using sulfate-free hair products are a must. The Replenishing Hair Cleanser and Supreme Revitalizing Mask are both sulfate-free, color-safe, paraben and gluten-free. The hair cleanser itself is not a very large bottle, only 8.4oz. However, as is usually the case, good things come in small packages. This cleanser is no different. While the ingredient list is not on the bottle or on the website, it is on the box and it appears that besides the tea, there is also shea butter in this cleanser, which explains why it is so hydrating. While the fragrance itself is not listed by name, it smells of sandalwood and maybe a bit of patchouli. Whatever it is, it smells very earthy and something that would be used during a spa treatment. This hair cleanser is thick when it comes to consistency and pearl white in color. It feels great and rinses clean without making your hair feel stripped. Supreme Revitalizing Mask from Pai-Shau - an intensely hydrating hair mask! review on @agirlsgottaspa The Supreme Revitalizing Hask Mask is also a thick conditioning treatment. It too has the same earthy fragrance as the cleanser. The directions state to apply it generously to towel-dried hair and to leave on for 5 minutes then rinse. However, this mama doesn't have time for a post-shower treatment, so I simply applied it while in the shower and left it on while I washed my face, shaved my legs, etc. then rinsed. My hair felt gloriously silky smooth and hydrated. Biphasic Infusion Rejuvenating Concentrate for Hair from Pai-Shau... review of this Enhance Ritual on @agirlsgottaspa At first I thought the Biphasic Infusion was a hair serum and would come out of the bottle like one... it works much like one, however, it's a liquid concentrate. The bottle needs to be shaken before pumping it out, as the ingredients separate. This product pumps out like water, so really cup your hand to keep it from spilling everywhere. You can apply it to damp or dry hair, I found that it works the same either way. It works great to smooth hair and tame frizziness. Since it's super thin and watery, it is essentially weightless and doesn't make hair greasy. Overall, I really liked how smooth, soft and silky my hair felt. I'm not typically a fan of earthy-musky type fragrances, but this one is not overwhelming or perfumey. This is a great product line worth checking out! Pai-Shau is only available at salons (none local to me though.. boo.) Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Disclosure: Press sample

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Tips for Gray Hair #GrayAway

Shannon Smyth
Tips for gray hair (ways to slow it down or cover it up!) via @agirlsgottaspa @grayawayeverpro I hate to break it to you, but eventually gray hair will rule your mane. Chances are, if you are reading this article, you already know this to be true. When we go gray, and how much, is a mix of genetics and lifestyle. So while you may not be able to avoid it, you can slow it down or simply cover it up. Slow Gray Hair Growth with Vitamins and Minerals: Eating healthy benefits you in more ways than one, and that includes gray hair! When you have a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals, it can not only affect the strength and sheen of your hair, but your hair color, as well. For example, low vitamin B12 and folic acid levels are notorious for causing loss of hair pigment. The production of melanin, which determines skin and hair color, slows as we age, so eating a diet rich in copper helps boost melanin production. This means that when your hair goes through its life cycle, you're less likely to have a gray hair replacing your typical color. I can attest to this myself! I'm 41 years old and had started seeing gray hair begin to emerge years ago. However, when I got pregnant with my 5th son in Nov. 2014 and began taking my prenatals, and even now still taking them due to nursing, I noticed something curious. I only have one singular, wiry gray strand. That's it. I wondered where all my gray hair went until I did my research and found out that I indirectly kicked it to the curb. I've even been asked lately what I use to color my hair (I haven't colored my hair in a few years now!) Stop Premature Graying by Quitting Smoking: Research indicates that there's a correlation between premature graying and smoking. While I couldn't find indepth details, the studies out there point to free radicals created by smoking as the culprit to damaging the cells that produce melanin. Smoking is bad for your health all around, so quitting is a no brainer. Conceal gray roots with @grayawayeverpro via @agirlsgottaspa Use a Gray Root Concealer: If you prefer your regular hair color and only want to conceal your gray roots, there's an easier way than dyeing it every 6 weeks. GrayAway has a root touch-up magnetic powder that self-adjusts color to match yours and washes out with your regular shampoo. Simply apply the powder with the sponge applicator, only touching up where you need it. The color stays all day, and because it is protein-infused, it leaves your hair shiny and soft. A bonus is that because this gray root concealer is a powder and you are applying it at your roots - it should also give your hair a little volume, as well. GrayAway also has a fast drying, sweat-resistant temporary root concealer spray, too. Gray hair affects most people by the time they turn 30, so hopefully these tips will help you slow down the process or find and easier way to cover them up. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Disclosure: This post was sponsored by GrayAway. You can follow them on Twitter @grayawayeverpro, on Instagram @grayawayeverpro and Facebook @grayaway.

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Voluminous Beach Wave Hair

Shannon Smyth
How to get beach wavy hair and volume with @mitchstonehair Little did I know when growing up on the beaches of Rhode Island, that the wavy hair that came naturally among the sand and surf, would be a hairstyle I would try so hard to achieve as an adult. While my hair does have a slight natural wave to it, it's not really the kind that magazine hair is made of. Pinterest is full of how to get beach wavy hair tutorials that include curling wands, flat irons and braiding your hair before bed... but let me be honest with you, I prefer to do some things the easy way. Who has time for all of that? Beach waves with @mitchstonehair Texturizing Spray Enter Mitch Stone Essentials Texturizing Spray. I'm already used to adding a hair treatment to my hair before styling it, so it's not something I had to go out of my way to do and it didn't add another step to my beauty routine that I didn't already have in place. I simply spritzed it at my roots and then throughout my hair. Then I would either blow dry my hair until it was damp or I would just let my hair air dry. Either way, curls and waves would begin to emerge. Sometimes, later in the day I would spray it a few more times on my dry hair to give it a little more volume. It would wet my hair at first, but quickly absorb and plump up the waves within minutes. Add volume with @mitchstonehair Texturizing Spray Mitch Stone Essentials Texturizing Spray is the concept of celebrity hairstylist, Mitch Stone. Not only does the Texturizing Spray include mineral-reach sea water, but it also contains hydrolyzed wheat protein and silk to make hair strong and shiny, and papaya extract for healthy hair. Typically salt water can be drying to your hair, but it seems that it's all balanced out with the other nourishing ingredients to prevent this. I've been using it for 2 months now in addition to Mitch Stone Essentials Lustre Shampoo and Conditioner, Lustre Drops and Session Spray and my hair hasn't been dry or brittle at all, in fact, it's the healthiest its ever looked. If you have long hair, I bet this would work amazing for you. And shorter hair? It will give you some volume. Try it and let me know what you think! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! *Disclosure: press samples

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KEUNE So Pure (and so awesome)

Shannon Smyth
  Keune So Pure hair care review via @agirlsgottaspa KEUNE's So Pure products should simply be called "bottle of awesome." I had never tried this line prior to being sent them a few months ago, and I was skeptical that anything could combat my scalp issue at the time. All I can say is, scalp dryness and flaking? GONE. I've been on the hunt for a while for a good scalp exfoliator, especially one that is cruelty free. And let's get real, I don't really have the time or energy these days to whip up a good DIY. When I learned about KEUNE's So Pure Exfoliating Shampoo, I was intrigued. Its main ingredients are tea tree oil, lavender, coconut and argan oil. It aims to remove build up, relieve itching and prevent future flaking.
KEUNE So Pure Exfoliating Shampoo review via @agirlsgottaspa Living in the Pocono Mountains, the heat is on most of the year and between the wood stove and oil heat, the moisture in my hair is depleted fast. This only leaves me in a never-ending cycle of using moisturizing hair products, my scalp over-producing sebum and me trying to pick every single flake out of my hair. It is super embarassing to say the least. The Exfoliating Shampoo is clear, smells of a combination of tea tree, lavender and other essential oils. It's a pleasant scent and not overpowering. You don't need too much for it to work its magic. Since it is sulfate-free, it won't really lather up. I massage my scalp and let it sit for a minute or two. The cap is a little tricky to open though. The cap is round and you have to pull up to open... when my hands are already wet, sometimes I can't get a good grip on the round cap to pull it open. In about a week's time I noticed a decrease in scalp itchiness. In about two weeks time, I saw a noticeable decrease in flaking. By week three it was like I had a whole new scalp and head of hair. No more build up, no itchiness and no flakes (and I was using a regular conditioner from another brand at the same time.) I literally have been using this shampoo for months and have only used half the bottle. If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know I don't wash my hair every day (just 2-3 times per week.) KEUNE So Pure Defrizz Shine Serum review via @agirlsgottaspa Whether it's frizziness due to depleted moisture or humidity, KEUNE's So Pure Defrizz Shine Serum has also become a must-have for me. Like the Exfoliating Shampoo, the serum is clear, paraben-free and has a light, semi-sweet fragrance of orange, palmarosa and argan oil. I only use 1-2 pumps on my damp, towel-dried hair and that seems to do the trick for managing frizz while increasing shine. The serum is weight-less, so I can still use a volumizing hair treatment (or not) and not notice any pull to my hair. Also like the Exofoliating Shampoo, I've been using this for months and it looks like I've barely touched the bottle! I haven't yet tried the Moisturizing Shampoo, as my hair hasn't needed it yet. So I am totally hoarding it until winter. I'm loving what I've tried so far from KEUNE. The best part is that the So Pure line has various collections like Color Care, Calming, Cooling, Exfoliating, etc. You can view them all on their website www.keune.com. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Disclosure: press samples, affiliate links

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HASK Beauty

Mandy Lewis
Hask Beauty Macadamia Oil hair care review via @agirlsgottaspa Anyone who is of mixed ethnicities knows how hard it is to find shampoos and conditioners for our hair types. I'm always on the look out for products that will keep my hair healthy, smooth, moisturized and soft. My mixed ethnicity (Afro-Guyanese, Indonesian, Amerindian and Portuguese), sometimes makes it difficult to find a product that works well for my hair type. Although my hair is thick and coarse, most products that are extra moisturizing tend to leave my hair oily and flat or sometimes even adds more frizz and leaves it feeling dry. Not so with HASK products! With exotic oils like Argan, Macadamia and Manoi and using high quality ingredients, HASK provides "high performance, salon quality results at an affordable price." HASK shampoos and conditioners are free of sulfates, parabens, drying alcohols, phthalates, gluten and artificial colors. And of course they do not test their products on animals! My kit included the Macadamia Oil Shampoo and Conditioner, Moisturizing Shine Oil and Moisturizing Deep Conditioner. All of the Macadamia products are made especially for dry, thirsty hair, smells fabulous and actually works! Hask Beauty Macadamia Oil results via @agirlsgottaspa I used the shampoo and conditioner, which are both thick and luxurious, left my hair feeling soft, silky, healthy and smelling so wonderful. Then I let my hair stewed for a bit (about 4 days), before using the Moisturizing Deep Conditioner. It's recommended to leave it in your hair for at least ten minutes, but after using the shampoo, I left it in for twenty minutes. Usually after using most deep conditioning treatments and rinsing it out, I still end up adding more conditioner to my hair, but with the HASK Moisturizing Deep Conditioner I didn't have to. My ends were a bit brittle from styling and this deep conditioner worked to make them soft again. My hair is thick and long, but the packet was enough for two treatments. My absolutely favorite product from the kit would have to be the Moisturizing Shine Oil. It's lightweight and absorbing, doesn't leave my hair greasy and my hair felt smooth and soft every time I used it, which has been every day since receiving it. And a little goes a long way so it will last for a while. I took it with me to Florida for a girl's vacation and everyone ended up using it. It definitely stood up to the Florida heat and humidity! You don't have to spend a fortune to have beautiful, healthy hair. With HASK products, you're sure to find something for your hair type and be happy with the results. Have you tried anything from the HASK hair care line? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Disclosure: Press sample, affiliate links

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Best Products for Curly Hair

Gail Lewis
These products will get you the BEST curls! via @agirlsgottaspa #beauty Looking to embrace your natural curls? I've been on the hunt to find the best products for curly hair since forever. Below are some amazing curly hair products that I recently had the chance to test out: One of my favorite curly hair product lines is called The Gold System, which was developed by Oprah Winfrey’s longtime hair stylist, Andre Walker. The Gold System contains a series of products specially designed for naturally curly hair. These products work together to create gorgeous curls without having to go to a salon.  The Gold System products include; the Ultimate Moisture Sulfate Free Shampoo, TKO Ultimate Moisture Conditioner, Beautiful Kinks Styling Crème Gelee and Get It Straight Styling Crème.  Combined together, the Ultimate Moisture Sulfate Free Shampoo, TKO Ultimate Moisture Conditioner, Beautiful Kinks Styling Crème Gelee left my curls moisturized, shiny, defined, bouncy and frizz free.  I will say that a little of the Beautiful Kinks Styling Crème Gelee goes a long way. I used the Get It Straight Styling Crème to blow dry my hair and this product was also a wonder! It took my curly hair to straight with shine, body and frizz free yet still looking and feeling healthy and moisturized. Another product that works wonders for curly hair, but that I also love for blowing out my hair, is Carol's Daugter Marula Curl Therapy Collection.  This collection is formulated to deeply rejuvenate each curl so they are trained to always be soft, shiny and beautifully free, which is exactly what my curls looked like after using the Marula Oil Softening Serum and Marula Softening Hair Mask.  The mask left my hair super soft and moisturized while the serum had my hair looking amazingly shiny and smooth.  I also use the serum to blow dry my hair straight and it is honestly the best serum I have ever used.  My hair had movement and shine without being weighed down. I am seriously addicted to this serum! Best products for curly hair via @agirlsgottaspa #haircare Alterna Bamboo Smooth Curls Anti-Frizz Curl-Defining Cream and Anti-Frizz Curl Re-Activating Spray also make my must-have list. The Anti-Frizz Curl-Defining Cream smoothed and defined my curls while controlling frizz.  My curls were light and bouncy and my hair felt really soft and not at all crunchy.  It almost felt like the cream was conditioning and styling my hair at the same time. The Anti-Frizz Curl Re-Activating Spray refreshed and redefined my curls without me having to get my hair completely wet.  I actually went three days with my hair curly and just used the Curl Re-Activating Spray everyday.  It was great giving my hair a break from washing and styling tools yet still have beautiful looking curls. Lastly, another curl beautifying, frizz-taming curly hair perfecting system is the RICI Curls 5 Step System. This system includes; the Splash Shampoo, which is a sulfate-free moisturizing shampoo, the Drench Conditioner, which is a sulfate-free conditioner with multiple uses.  The conditioner is one that can be used everyday, but can also be used as a leave-in conditioner and when added to water in a spray bottle, it is a curl refresher. The Thirsty Gel is designed to seal the cuticle, control frizz, define and/or enhance curls, while the Memory Mist locks in the curl while holding your style in place and blocking out frizz, both can be used on wet or dry hair. The Velvet Smooth Serum helps define curls while reducing frizz and producing soft shiny curls, as well. To be honest this was the most products I have used on my hair at once, but used together these products left me with curls that had never looked better.  My curls were big, bouncy, shiny and smooth.  To sum it up, my curls looked absolutely glamorous! Have you tried any of the products mentioned? If you haven't, I highly recommend them! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! *Disclosure: Press samples, affiliate links

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Cleansers for Natural, Textured, Curly Hair

Gail Lewis
Right now my hair looks and feels dry, lackluster and just downright sad. I know that I could've taken better care of my hair, but sometimes it's much too easy to neglect my hair care routine and just disguise less than stellar hair with a cute braid or bun. Agreed? I decided to start the process of devoting more time to healthy hair by reevaluating the products I use to clean it.  A lot of shampoos actually have a drying effect on my hair (textured, curly) so finding an alternative to drying shampoos was my first order of business. From the Lab Hair Cleanser via @agirlsgottaspa #beauty #hair This first hair cleanser I tried in my quest to undo the havoc I've wreaked on my hair was a non-sudsing, oil-based shampoo called From the Lab Transforming Hair Cleanser No. 724.  This hair cleanser contains a combination of traditional oils and high tech stem sells that clean, condition and detangle hair.  I will admit that it was a challenge psychologically to get used to a cleanser that does not produce suds since that is what my brain has been conditioned to understand - suds = cleansing. However, my hair did feel really clean after using the Transforming Hair Cleanser No. 724 and once dried, my hair did feel less dry and brittle.  As I mentioned, if you are like me and are accustomed to seeing and feeling soapy suds when you shampoo your hair, this product will take some getting used to, but it does work and I would highly recommend it for naturally curly, textured hair like mine. Colorado Aromatics Angel Falls Sage Shampoo via @agirlsgottaspa #beauty If you just can't see yourself cleaning your hair without soap or suds you may want to give Colorado Aromatics Sage Angel Falls Conditioning Shampoo a try.  Angel Falls shampoo is a natural shampoo with conditioners to soften hair.  The all natural, ecocertified, biodegradable surfactants in this shampoo are gentle on hair and will not strip your color. Plus the botanical extracts and Vitamin B contribute to both hair and scalp health.  I absolutely love the soothing, minty scent of this shampoo.  It seemed to gently cleanse my hair and left it feeling clean and refreshed without that stripped, dry feel.  What is great about this shampoo is that I can not only pronounce the all natural ingredients that it contains, but I also know what they are...a first for any shampoo I've used. Mane Choice Shampoo via @agirlsgottaspa #beauty Another one of the hair cleansing products that I tried and positively loved was the Mane Choice "Give It To Me Straight" Moisturizing Shampoo.  This shampoo is infused with Moroccan Argan Oil to nourish, protect and hydrate hair.  It's gentle enough for chemically and color treated hair and even to clean extensions. It's free of parabens, sulfates and sodium chloride.  I  loved the delicious lemony cookie scent of this moisturizing shampoo and immediately after using it my hair felt softer and not at all dry or stripped. I especially like using the Mane Choice "Give It To Me Straight" Moisturizing Shampoo when I plan on blow drying or flat ironing my hair because it contains thermal protectants formulated to protect hair from straightening appliances. All of the cleansers are cruelty free. I'd love to hear from you if you've used any of the above mentioned products - or to tell me about your favorite that I should check out! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! *Disclosure: Press Samples

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Prevent Your Hair Color From Fading #ColorAssure

Shannon Smyth

This is sponsored post for Nexxus through Condé Nast. All opinions and amazingly vibrant hair are my own.

Nexxus #ColorAssure @nexxushair @CNSway via @agirlsgottaspa For those of us who color our hair, there is one thing we can all agree on - watching the perfect hair color fade away is a sad, sad experience. I've tried a variety of hair care tricks to make my hair color last longer; from washing with cool water to washing my hair less in general to using sulfate-free products. Now Nexxus has developed a color-safe hair care system to take the guess work out of the fading hair color mystery and retain hair's vibrancy. The Nexxus Color Assure system includes a Pre-Wash Primer, Shampoo, Conditioner and Glossing Tonic. There are a few things about this system that make it different from the typical sulfate-free and color-safe hair care lines. Nexxus #ColorAssure Glossing Tonic review @nexxushair @CNSway via @agirlsgottaspa #haircare For one, the key to this entire line lives within the Pre-Wash Primer. While yes, it does add an extra step into your hair routine, and yes, there is a learning curve, it does seem to make a lot of difference. The shampoo and conditioner, while sulfate-free, are also oil-based like the Pre-Wash Primer and Glossing Tonic. The Glossing Tonic is like the icing on the cake, providing a healthy and weightless shine to your hair. Prevent hair color fading @nexxushair #ColorAssure via @agirlsgottaspa @CNSway #haircare The Nexxus Color Assure Pre-Wash Primer is a pre-treatment to shield hair in the shower. It helps to repel water, so color stays longer and more vibrant. The Pre-Wash Primer is sulfate-free and infused with a blend of clear oils, including almond, coconut and argan oil. • Almond oil is known to lock in moisture, nourish hair and reduce breakage. • Coconut oil is known to provide softness and elasticity. • Argan oil is known to improve shine and vibrancy. • White Orchid Extract is known to provide moisture and works to seal and protect hair by repelling water from humidity and keep it from entering the core. To use the Pre-Wash Primer the directions say to use 5-7 pumps and work through hair starting at your ends and working up to your roots. You shouldn't saturate your hair or else you'll be overdoing it. Think of it more like a serum that you would use for styling or to prevent frizz - you only lightly apply it to your hair and sparingly. Now that I've chopped most of my hair off into a bob, 5-7 pumps is way too much. In fact, the most I could use was 1 pump or else my hair would be really greasy. In addition to my hair being short, it is also very fine. If you have fine hair, you'd probably want to use a half pump. However, the Pre-Wash Primer is the most important step, so don't skip it! Once you've worked the Pre-Wash Primer into your hair, you then apply the Color Assure Vibrancy Retention Shampoo and Conditioner followed by the Glossing Tonic (once hair is towel-dried.) All of the products are fragrance free, which has been interesting since I'm used to having some sort of fragrance in my hair. Before and 4 weeks after using only the @nexxushair #ColorAssure system review from @agirlsgottaspa @CNSway #haircare The proof is in the before and after! I used this hair care line exclusively for a month and snapped a picture on the first day I colored my hair and 4 weeks after. As you can see, my hair is so vibrant, shiny and my hair even looks darker! It is kind of amazing. Not only do you reap the benefits of retaining your hair color longer using Color Assure, but shiny hair also gives the impression of healthy hair (even when you heat style it as much as I do.) Look for the Nexxus Color Assure Pre-Wash Primer, Color Assure Vibrancy Retention Shampoo, Color Assure Vibrancy Retention Conditioner and Color Assure Glossing Tonic in mass retailers, select drugstores and supermarkets nationwide. Nexxus is also cruelty free. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooShannon on G+

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