Try This Before Cutting Your Hair

Gail Lewis1 comment
For the last month I have been giving serious consideration to cutting my hair.  Maybe it's just me wanting a drastic change for the new year, or perhaps I, like so many others have been tempted by the slew of celebrities that have been sporting shorter and edgier do's in the past couple of months, whatever the reason, shorter hair is really appealing at the moment. I've mentioned the desire to go shorter a few times to my hairstylist Pearson Knight, but he's been pretty hesitant, which is understandable especially considering that I have been known to ask for a drastic change without considering my lifestyle and hair texture, then regret my decision a week later.  (Can you relate?!) Instead of giving into my pleas to just chop it all off, Pearson suggested that I try wearing my hair in a faux bob, similar to the shorter length I was considering. He told me to try this for a few days to a week to see if I really liked the way I look with shorter hair or if I just wanted to be a part of the latest hair trend.  So I did as he requested and tried a faux bob, which was accomplished by pulling my hair into a loose, low ponytail at my nape and securing with a binder, I then left the ends of my ponytail in the binder.  I then slid the binder down my nape to gain a bit of space so that I would be able to roll the ponytail under and secure with pins to the base of my scalp.  When securing my hair with the pins, Pearson suggested that I criss-cross the pins so that it would be more stable and have staying power.  I then pulled the desired amount of hair over my hair and towards my jawline to create the desired length and fullness and lo and behold I had myself a faux bob! At first I loved how much lighter my hair felt.  It was also weird how naked my neck felt and my features stood out a lot more with shorter hair.  After trying the faux bob a few times, my faux shorter hair lost its novelty and I kept thinking about how much I loved my top knots, side braids and ponytails.  Needless to say I decided against going with shorter hair and instead went with shorter layers, which I LOVE.  If you are considering going shorter I highly suggest trying a faux short hairstyle before taking the plunge! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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On Set Beauty Tip: Ear Protectors

Gail Lewis3 comments
This past weekend I shot a hair care product commercial during which I got the opportunity to pick up a few beauty tips and tricks and thought I would share one of those tips with you in this post.  Hair care commercials normally means that the hair needs to look absolutely perfect, hence quite a bit of heat (blow-drying, curling, flat ironing) is required.  Another requirement is speed on the part of the hairstylist because as they say when on set "time is money."  So combine heat and having to provide the clients with shiny perfect hair in minutes and you might be looking at a recipe for models with burnt ears.  (I know I have had quite a few mishaps with both my curling and flat iron that have occurred when I was not in a rush!)  It's a good thing that most hairstylists on set always seem to show up prepared for every possible scenario and the hairstylist that was on set that day was no exception.   Before styling my hair that day the hairstylist gave me two slip on ear shields to protect my ear from the styling tools.  Some of you may be familiar with the ear shields, but I had never seen nor heard of them before that day but they immediately made sense.  The hairstylist accidentally burning my ears was never a concern for me, but I have to admit I did feel more at ease with the ear shields on.  The hairstylist said that the ear shields can be found in most beauty stores, so I will be headed to a beauty store in my neighborhood in search of them...I am actually looking forward to curling/flat-ironing those pieces of hair around close to my ear! Have you ever used ear shields to protect your ears when heat styling your hair?

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Hairstyle How To: Creating the Perfect Ponytail

Gail Lewis8 comments
Just like me, you've probably thought that creating a ponytail is just about the easiest hairstyle to accomplish. I mean how difficult could it be? You grab a hair tie, pull all your hair back and secure it with the hair tie and voila! Well as I have learned, mostly from being on set and watching hairstylists, that way is just fine and dandy, but if you want to create the perfect ponytail you have to throw a few additional steps in there.

How to Create the Perfect Ponytail

Step 1: Create a part from ear to ear (from the back of the ear, across the top of the head to the back of the other ear.) Step 2: Clip the front part of the hair out of the way and tilt your head back slightly (to ensure that it does not end up saggy or buckles.)

Step 3: After deciding on placement (low, high or middle of the head), brush rear portion of hair into your hand loosely holding it, and with the other hand grab the ponytail tight against the head and secure with a hair tie.

Step 4: Release the top section with your head still tilted back slightly and brush front portion directly into the other section of hair (trying to avoid disruption of the other ponytail, but don't be afraid to brush the hair straight into and over the previously created ponytail) and secure with an elastic hair tie in the exact same way as above.

Step 5: Using hairspray for fly-aways, lightly smooth and spray fly-aways with hands or a fine tooth comb...only lightly skimming the top of the hair.

Bonus step: If you would like to make the ponytail sleeker or dress it up a bit, try grabbing a small section of the ponytail near the elastic hair tie and begin wrapping it around the elastic to hide the hair tie.  Secure wrap with a hair pin and bobby pin making sure that the pin is not visible.

And there you have it, two versions of the perfect ponytail...thanks to amazing hairstylist Pearson Knight for walking us through creating the perfect ponytail!

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Hair Color Review: John Frieda Precision Foam Colour

Shannon Smyth12 comments
We're heading into the colder months, which typically means making the switch from highlighted hair to warmer tones. My natural hair color is dark brown, but typically I lighten or highlight it in the summer months. Being that it is only 6 weeks until Christmas, getting my hair colored at the salon was not in my wallet's vocabulary, so I opted to color my hair at home. I made my way to CVS and decided upon John Frieda's Precision Foam Colour. I went with 4BG  (Dark Chocolate Brown.)

My highlighted hair before, colored immediately after and results 1 week later.

I have to say, I don't typically read the warnings on home hair coloring kits because I have been coloring my hair since I was 13 and they typically all say the same thing. However, I noticed John Frieda's included some things I have never seen before like you need to remove all accessories you are wearing and cannot use metal tools. Since there seems to be an issue with metal, I assumed that the accessories they meant were jewelry.  So I removed my earrings.

It also says you shouldn't use this product if you have a temporary black Henna tattoo, as it is likely to increase an allergy risk. If you wear contacts, you need to remove them also...however I'm not sure how you could put on your glasses since you can't have metal around. If you've colored your hair previously with compound hennas, metallic dyes or color restorers you have to wait until your hair has grown out and then cut. And don't try to put the foam on your eyelashes or eyebrows because it may cause blindness.

cruelty free body care

So, basically, by the time I was done reading that I was freaked out. Then I went on to read how to mix the product. It says you cannot shake the mix (you need to gently tilt it 5 times,) you cannot use the pump but instead have to squeeze the bottle to make the foam come out of the pump...which is psychologically confusing because you are holding a bottle with a pump...that you cannot pump. The bottle needs to remain upright at all times and you can only apply the foam to your hands first (in gloves of course) and not directly onto your hair. So basically I felt I was going to mess this up big time.

Application was tricky because the instructions state that you cannot get the foam on your face or ears at all. My hair is shoulder length, so good luck with that Shannon! Trying to prevent the foam from touching my skin, while trying to keep the bottle upright and not pump it was like playing a game of Twister.  

Additionally your hair needs to be "frothy" with foam in order to be "done." Ok, guess what? Foam evaporates or absorbs into your hair. Especially if you have long-ish hair and are trying to make sure you get each section equally. Wait time from this point is 30 minutes. I rinsed my hair, applied the conditioner, rinsed that out after 3 minutes and then blew it dry. I was pleasantly surprised with the color. I loved it. Tweeted about it. My 7 year old snapped my pic for me and I was happy I was still alive with great looking hair.

Fast forward 1 week and while my hair is still brown, as you can see from the picture...the color has significantly faded. Ugh. I do not wash my hair everyday, in fact I usually only wash it every other day. I also used sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, so I know it wouldn't have been the culprit to strip my hair color. I also hadn't washed my hair 24 hours before applying the foam as the instructions stated and I did not have any product build-up to prevent the color from adhering. So was it worth it to save myself the $60-$75 of coloring my hair at the salon? Not really. Have you used John Frieda's Precision Foam? I'd like to hear about your experience (good or bad.)

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Hair Color Tips from Wella Professionals

Shannon Smyth3 comments
This past Saturday I was given the opportunity to go to the Wella Color Discovery Tour in Philadelphia. Despite the crazy humidity and 92 degree weather, there was a great turn out. But better yet I was able to get hair color tips direct from the Wella Professional stylists who were there to bring them straight to you.


But first, pictured here is Rose from Philadelphia. She came out to the Wella Color Discovery Tour because she's never been to a salon for professional hair color before. She's only used home coloring kits that were vegetable-based. Cait from Salon L'Etoile gave her some great recommendations. 
salon-l'etoileCait Kinslow, Salon L'Etoile Question: How long will my color last? Answer: I always tell my clients to come in for a touch up when it starts to bother them. For some, they come in within two weeks while others will wait up until 2 months. Koleston Perfect, which is Wella Professionals' permanent hair color, can last anywhere from 4-6 weeks and Color Touch, which is demi-permanent hair color, will last up to 24 washes. Question: How do I know which hair color is right for my skin tone? Answer: There is a simple trick you can do to figure this out; look at the veins in your wrists. If your veins are green then you would look good with warm tones (like chestnut and reds.) If your veins are blue, then you would look best with cool tones (like ash or pearl blonde.) Michael Antinore, East End Salon101_0303 Question: How can I make my hair color last longer? Answer: Don't shampoo everyday! You need the oils and dirt in your hair for it to stay healthy. Always stick with color-safe shampoo, otherwise you will be stripping the color from your hair. In the summer, a UV protectant spray is also beneficial as it will seal the cuticle to help you retain your color. Question: Why choose a salon versus doing it yourself? Isn't home hair color more affordable? Answer: The directions on DIY box hair color are very easy to mess up. For example, if it is your first time coloring your hair, then your 1st application should always be root to tip. However, for future applications, you only need to color your roots--not your whole head! Many people will just disregard this because it's easier to just apply it to your entire head. However, what happens is that only the roots give you the color you see on the box, but the rest of your hair will be a different color. For Grey hair, which is more pourous, this will be the most noticeable. When you choose home hair coloring kits, essentially you are spending less to spend more (to have a professional fix it.) richard-nicholas-hair-studioRebecca Haig, Richard Nicholas Hair Studio Question: Can you make my hair color like (insert name of celebrity here)? Answer: People bring in pictures of celebrities all of the time asking me to duplicate their hair color. However, they are basing their choice on the celebrity, not the actual hair color. I always tell them to cover the face on the picture, then look at it again to see if they truly want the color. Most times the answer is no. Question: Is blonde the easiest color to change your hair to? Answer: It may be the most popular, but it is not a color you want to try to do on your own. Home hair coloring kits tends to produce more brassy colored and over processed blondes. Also, depending on the color your hair is currently, it may be something you want to fade into gradually. A salon professional can color your hair blonde in a way that leaves it looking more natural, in better condition and with results that will last longer. Liz Wright, Panyc Salonpanyc-salon Liz offered some fantastic tips to help you alter your daily routine in order to achieve a longer and healthier shelf life to your hair color.
  • Like Michael said, don't shampoo everyday. The more you shampoo you make your sebaceous glands go into overdrive producing more oil. Simply, wet your hair, but rub your fingers along your scalp as if you are shampooing. This will help disperse the oils in your hair more evenly.
  • On the days you don't shampoo, it's OK to use conditioner only. However, apply from your tips at the bottom up midshaft, don't apply conditioner to the top of your head.
  • Detangle hair in the shower with your fingers. Hair is most fragile when it's wet. You know that squeaky clean sound when you brush your hair when it's wet? That's the sound of your hair breaking.
  • Water temperature makes a big difference in the health of your hair. My advice, even in the winter, is to turn down the water temperature when shampooing or conditioning. Wash your hair in a temperature you would wash a baby in.
I honestly learned so much from attending this event by Wella. "Like" their fan page to get updates on when their Color Discovery Tour is coming to a city near you! *Disclosure

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