The 5 Keys To The Perfect Haircut

The perfect haircut for me!

The perfect haircut for me!

If you feel like you’ve never had a haircut you love, there are probably a few reasons as to why. It can come down to not knowing what is best for your face shape or texture or simply not having seen a hairdresser that can guide you in the right direction. Whatever the reason, it totally breaks my heart when I see someone in my chair who tells me how much they hate their hair. And fortunately, that’s where my job comes in… to help every client I see love, embrace and own their hair. To show them that finding their best look might take a minute and we’ve all had some battle stories to prove it, but by following a few easy tips, you can find the perfect haircut for you. This is how:

1. Embrace Your Texture: When you are realistic about what you’re working with, a whole new world of options and opportunities can open up for you. Besides the fact that it’s just a much more positive outlook to work with what you have everyday instead of fighting and struggling, it’s also amazing how you can come to really love your hair by embracing it’s natural state. It can be really helpful in this case to look through photos of women who’s hair looks like your own and study how their layers look, whether they wear more blunt or textured looks and the variations in how they style it. If your hair is coarse and curly, it can be really freeing to embrace a longer haircut with longer layers that have just enough weight to pull out frizz, but not too much weight that pulls out all of the curl. Or if you have fine, straight hair, it can be really freeing to embrace a long bob that adds body and movement to your limp locks with blunt ends that add weight and thickness. If you still aren’t sure what will work best for your specific hair type, this is where your consultation with your hairdresser can come in.

2. Know Your Face Shape: Choosing a haircut that matches and accentuates your face shape is really crucial when it comes to the perfect haircut. If you’ve never had a haircut you love, this is probably the reason why. This is the reason why women like Jennifer Aniston and Lauren Conrad never seem to switch up their signature styles… because they know what flatters them the most around their face and they stick with it. Jennifer, for example, has a pear face shape where the jaw line is wider than the forehead so to balance, she always wears a face frame around her jaw line. To find your face shape, hold all the hair back off your face and take a look at your facial structure. What is the widest point? Is your chin longer than your forehead? Does everything seem to be in perfect balance, making you an oval face shape? Take the time to really study your face (as awkward as it might be to stare at yourself in the mirror) and then read up on what the best cuts are for each. When you book your appointment with your hairdresser, make sure to clarify with her in order to achieve the perfect haircut. Check out this post on HelloGiggles for more info on how to find your face shape.

3. Keep In Mind Your Maintenance Level: This is the one that everybody forgets about. Those bangs sounded like a super fun idea until two weeks later when you realize you just really hate having to style them every morning. Or consider your place of business. Do you have to wear a ponytail everyday? Or are you at home with a young child everyday who likes to tug on your long layers? Unfortunately, every haircut is completely different when it comes to maintenance levels based on your texture. What takes five minutes for someone with curly hair can take someone with straight hair twenty minutes and vice versa, so it’s really important to consider how you want your every day to look. Think about your job, how much you tend to play with your hair, what products you want to use and how many, what kind of heat tools you’re open to using and how much time you want to commit.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Try Something New: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a woman with a round face shape sit in my chair and say, “I know I can’t wear a short hairstyle because it will make me look even more round….” Or a curl client who says, “I don’t want layers because I NEED that weight on my length…” It always makes me sad that for who knows how long, that client has not been able to find the best haircut for them because they’ve been closed off to some of the best things they can do for their hair. Part of this is just research and trusting your hairdresser that they know what it takes to make your haircut work. But another big part of it is you truly being open to trying something new. Acknowledging that if nothing else has worked in the past, it might be best to try something you’ve been afraid of. I can promise you that pixie, if it’s shaped correctly around your round face shape can actually slim you. And by adding some layers to that curl, you will actually get rid of that “triangle” shape that your hair always seems to grow into. Sometimes the key to finding the best haircut is not being afraid to take a risk.

5. Detailing, Personalizing & Finishing: My favorite part in the whole process! In an average haircut, I spend about 30% of my time doing my finishing techniques once the haircut has been dried and styled. I do this because it takes a generic, step by step haircut to a detailed, perfect haircut that lays exactly as it should, goes right back to where it should after being shaken out and falls into place without much styling. This last crucial step to a haircut is what can take weight out of certain areas and add texture to certain areas that want to be “piece-y”. Sometimes the difference between a good cut and a perfect haircut is just a simple re-distribution of weight or texture and all of that is done with some personalization and finishing.

Now, I need your feedback! Does your hairdresser follow these steps or ask you about your maintenance levels or past haircuts? Or are you one of those women who would tell me they’ve never had a cut they loved? I want to hear from you about your experiences, so be sure to tweet me @HairWithKate! 

The Crown Braid (For Shorties) #WhatIWoreWednesday

The Braid Crown (For Shorties)

Check out another #WhatIWoreWednesday over on my Youtube page! This week, I’m showing you video from the morning last month where I had to catch a 7AM flight out of Denver. I thought it would be fun to give you an easy, quick way to throw up your hair into a Crown Braid, no matter what your hair length or type is. I love this look because you can be done in just a few minutes, have an adorably trendy hairstyle all day long and on day two, take your braids out and enjoy wavy tresses for a day. Who doesn’t love a style that can turn into a second day style?!

Enjoy the video and be sure to send any feedback or questions you have my way!

Image: Julianne Brasher

PPD: The Dangerous Hair Color Chemical You Must Know About

I have seen a trend behind my chair in recent years that has caused me to study a common chemical in hair color. As a hairdresser of six years, I’ve done my fair share of coloring and highlighting and rarely have I seen a reaction. Usually if something doesn’t go as planned, it’s due to increased hormones from pregnancy or a change in medication and any problems can be traced back to that by the doctor… and those problems have really been about color not taking or taking in a different color than it should. But recently, I know a few people (none of whom I’ve seen in my chair) who have developed severe reactions after using hair color. Those reactions resulted in redness, inflammation, itching and burning on the scalp, fever and in one case, a scary trip to the ER. All cases ended with a diagnosis of allergy and the harsh realization that suddenly, gray would be the way to go. No more hair color for the rest of their lives, they’ve been told.

The culprit? PPD or paraphenylenediamine, an ingredient in permanent hair color. It’s an essential and active ingredient as its main function is providing the permanent state of the color. Every other possible color available either fades over time or rinses out slowly with each shampoo, simply just coating or only slightly penetrating the cuticle of the hair strand. Whereas permanent hair color actually penetrates the innermost layers to permanently stain the entire hair strand, which is the most attractive reason to go for the harsher, more damaging color choice. It’s basically essential for anyone with gray hair or for changing your color level by more than a few shades without having it wash out in a week, if it takes at all.

PPD is also common in black henna dye, giving the dark paint its deep pigment. Though the henna color is not mixed with a developer (which can enhance reactions in hair color), it can still cause a reaction from the amounts of PPD in it.

The scary thing about this allergy is that it can just happen out of nowhere. It can develop after several years of coloring your hair on-scalp problem free. Because of this, it’s crucial to pay attention to your body when you’re at the salon and directly after. There’s no reason to get paranoid for every trip to your hairdresser because thankfully, seeking treatment early can easily and quickly eliminate any risk. However, don’t ignore any warning signs and if you feel any itchiness or tightness while color is processing or directly after you leave the salon, consult a doctor right away. I’ve had a couple clients over the years who have complained of itchiness while their color is on (one of which I rinsed off immediately because she was quite nervous), but even then, the itchiness is usually mild and only a discomfort. Because it’s not painful, most women would rather just deal with some itchiness than not have their color done. But it’s not just that; it’s also a warning sign of a major allergic reaction that could really do some damage to your body.

During an outbreak, swelling of the head will occur, which usually starts with a feeling of tightness on the scalp. Usually, there will also be lots of redness directly where all the color was applied. Once the allergy has developed further, fever, headache and just a general aching are common. The worst case of this I’ve heard of was from a woman who let her symptoms go for a few days and ended up in the hospital. While this allergy can become severe and require more maintenance to treat if it goes for too long, it rarely is if you listen to your body and contact your doctor as soon as things don’t feel right.

The best way to help prevent an allergic reaction is to be safe with your hair color choices. The first rule of that is to only receive your color treatments from a professional salon and/or stylist. Box colors from the grocery store (even if bought at Whole Foods and labeled as “natural”) are much harsher and higher in this ingredient than salon professional color lines. And because demi-permanent color lines are usually PPD-free or very low in PPD, your stylist can transition you into one of those color choices very safely and efficiently. It’s also important to stay away from black henna dyes, whether used on your hands or with hair color. Most women assume that once they can’t use permanent color anymore, henna is the next best option. But with black henna (as opposed to pure henna), you have PPD in the actual dye, so it’s just as bad. If you do want to try that option, be 100% sure the henna is pure. I also just believe that being in the salon at the time of coloring is safer because your hairdresser can watch your scalp and head as you process and determine any necessary steps. Your hairdresser is also trained in how and when to do a “patch test” before applying any color and can perform this on you and watch your skin for the next two days to see if there is in fact a reaction or if it’s safe to proceed. Part of our job is to take care of you and follow up with any concerns, so I know when I even hear about itchiness or if I see a lot of redness, I can take your color off, soothe your scalp and send you to a recommended doctor to be seen.

Another great option for women with PPD allergies is to transition to highlights. Because the color doesn’t sit directly on the scalp and the toners are very low in PPD (should they need to sit on the head for a few minutes to eliminate brassiness), this is by far the safest choice. I know for women who have lots of gray, it can be really scary to think about moving to just highlights. However, if you are 60% gray or less, it’s actually fairly easy to cover most of the gray with highlights and tone out the rest so that it blends really naturally. I suggest this option to all women who want to step away from on-scalp color whatever the reason.

In today’s world, we own almost every part of our lives. And I’m making the claim that your hair, your health and your beauty are also worthy of being owned, understood and taken care of. Share this information with a friend and mention it to your hairdresser. The more women who understand the serious risk that can arise from something that most women do on a regular basis, the better we all will be.

Have you had a negative reaction from hair color? Have you tried other options that have worked? Email me {} your feedback and questions because I would love to hear from you!


Fall Trend Report | 2014

It’s that time of year again! We’ve been wearing cut off shorts and throwing our hair up in ponytails all summer long and now with the calendar turning to August, fall is around the corner. With the new season comes promises of leaves turning orange, legs covering up in tights and longer nights snuggling up by the fire. And if you’re a beauty and fashion junkie like myself, it brings a whole new season of trends to explore, hairstyles to try out and runways and fashion spreads to pine over.

I get asked by clients, readers and friends alike each season about what is on the runways and how they can translate these looks into their everyday lives. This season, I’ve been researching and studying my little heart out to know everything I need to know about the fall trends before fall even gets here. I thrive on knowing what’s going on in Europe before Katy Perry or Rihanna have even jumped into a certain style and I love being the first in my city to cop a trend and pull it off boldly. I love studying Vogue and Elle and watching how these trends have already started becoming staples of our summer style and I certainly love giving all of that information to people I love! So this season, I’m taking that passion and using it to answer your questions before you even know what to ask!

This is your full, comprehensive Fall Trend Report for 2014. I’ve profiled the three most popular trends that I’ve seen on runways and in fashion magazines from Europe, Australia and beyond. I’ve broken each one down complete with images and a mood board for inspiration to help you truly understand each concept and be able to style for it yourself. And of course, the whole point of this all is really the hair! In light of that, I’ve spent a lot of time spelling out exactly how each trend incorporates texture, shape and angles of haircuts and styles and I also spotlight what each trend is open to when it comes to color. I think each of us can go from one trend to the next (sometimes even within the same day), but I felt that it was important for you to understand why the hair is the way it is in each category in terms of balance and proportions with the entire look.

Without further adieu, take a look at your new fave styles and learn all about taking them from catwalk to sidewalk in your fab city!

Trend Inspiration: Girly Grunge

GIRLY GRUNGE | Fall Trend Report 2014 |

Images via:,

Grunge is really just getting started as a major theme in fashion and style, especially here in North America. And the trend this fall is to not only embrace the leather, plaid and bright hair color, but to mix it with some girlish accents for a complete, balanced look. If you look at Katy Perry with her green ombre, she’s paired it with loose waves and a floral, fitted dress for a more modern and feminine take on the trend. And Olivia Palermo, always the chic sophisticate, simply wears a black dress and minimal makeup to match her grunge inspired angled bob. I think you get a great feel for what this trend really looks like from the mood board below. Take a look at the inspirations and the many ways women have rocked the trend this year:


Images Via Pinterest

When it comes to hair, which is what we are obviously all about, there are a few major themes. We’ve seen them on runways in Paris and Milan and on celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Selena Gomez, but there are multitude of ways to make these styles your own. Like Selena Gomez, I tend to love the more “futuristic” side of this girly grunge style and I like to opt for a sleek, straight hairstyle paired with a simple black leather dress. Kylie Jenner (and some ladies I know here in Denver) would go for something more fun and playful, like her blue ombre worn very textured with cut off shorts and an over-sized band tee. The key here is to take the trend, understand it and wear it in a way that suits you and makes you feel comfortable!

The most popular hairstyle for this trend is by far the blunt, mid-length cut. Most women are opting to wear it slightly angled towards the face and in a more straight texture, but I’ve also seen it worn one-length and more bold with waves. However, it is important to note that the focus is on natural texture. Whether your hair is straight, wavy or naturally curly, the key is to embrace that texture and wear it in a mid-length style. With color, pastels and bright pallets are huge. Both are worn best either in a subtle ombre or all over, but should not look grown out or sloppy. The modern update on this trend is that it should look “effortlessly cool”, so a bold color is perfect, but it has to be done tactfully to still be feminine and sophisticated. This is also why balayage or ombre is a natural fit for this trend because it is ultra chic, but very low maintenance, very much like our girly grunge trendsetter!

Trend Inspiration: Modern Minimalist



Modern Minimalist is probably my personal favorite trend. It was huge in the spring and it’s getting even bigger this fall with couture houses like Narciso Rodriguez and Michael Kors proudly sending structured, neutral looks down the runway. I always think of Kim Kardashian rocking this trend because she seems to be the queen of slicked back, wet hair and form fitting minimalist dresses in various creams and beige colors. In the featured images above, Rihanna perfectly displays this trend with a sleek, white dress, a bold red lip and a textured pixie. The pixie was the hottest hairstyle of the 90′s and with this trend (and Rihanna pulling it off flawlessly), it’s only begun coming back this year. I also love the bob photo because the clean lines and angles are exactly what this theme is about. Think of white space in a chic apartment or the angles of a very modern building and how everything looks so concise and open. The whole idea that less is more is the motto of our modern minimalist girl. Take a look at the mood board below to see visually how this theme translates to all of fashion:

Images Via Pinterest

Images Via Pinterest

The hair is really the crowning piece for this trend and sets the tone because it is so different from everything else we will see this fall. The name of the game is understated structure and elegant, sleek styles. Everything should be a bit more severe and that’s why you’ll often see these hairstyles paired with a red lip or a form-fitting dress to add femininity. Women who tend to sway towards this trend can go for short, medium or long, but the pixie is definitely the most true minimalist style. And the way women like Rihanna and Jennifer Lawrence are wearing it with natural texture is perfectly chic and modern. And for a true minimalist, it’s also less maintenance! With longer and mid-length styles, a heavy, blunt fringe is the coolest. It can add to a more textured look if you are in the middle of growing out some layers and in any case, it looks just oh-so-couture.

In hairstyles that are long enough, a slicked back wet look is so effortlessly beautiful. This look has been all over the runways and all the celebrities have tried it, so you don’t have to worry about being the first person on this side of the pond to rock it. I tend to like being the first to wear something, but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea! :) And also with longer styles, a very clean part line is crucial. A deep side part has been more popular on the runways than a middle part (and a lot of us were wearing middle parts with our long waves in recent years), so it can be fun to mix it up a bit. But as long as it’s clean, straight and sleek, you’ll be fine! When it comes to upstyles or formal looks, a classic French chignon reigns supreme. It’s usually very structured and elegantly simple when done correctly and is the perfect complement to a modern minimalist dress. The other huge style is a sleek ponytail either worn parted and low or worn brushed back from the hair line and completely smooth, placed over the crown or higher.

When thinking about hair color in this trend, most anything goes. Pastels, dark browns, platinum blondes, reds… Almost any color can complement the neutral tones of a modern minimalist look. The most important factor with hair color, though is that the colors are muted and not too bold and vibrant. The pastel pink on the mood board above is the perfect example. You can rock a red, but go a bit deeper with it and add some cool tones like a red-violet rather than a bright, bold fire engine red. And of course, a balayage is completely in style across the board for any trend. In this modern minimalist theme, a balayage would look so beautiful worn in a straight, sleek style.

Trend Inspiration: Urban Naturale



The Urban Naturale trend is definitely the most fun and one that I go to when I’m feeling a bit more like a free spirit. It’s kind of the idea that anything goes and bigger is better as long as it’s balanced, modern and still feminine and elegant. I think in the past animal prints and bright, tribal colors and patterns have been seen as completely bohemian and only women like Vanessa Hudgens would wear these overdone styles. No hate on Vanessa, but it’s always been more Coachella than office appropriate which can feel too youthful. But I am soooo loving the way designers are presenting this trend for the fall. It’s very much city meets nature and it’s inspired by cultures all across the world. I’ve seen bedazzled elephants and sari inspired dresses coming from Indian inspiration, bold tribal patterns and lots of earthy, safari inspired colors coming from African inspiration, deep greens and exotic birds coming from Amazonian inspiration and even exaggerated butterflies, trees and natural elements that could be inspired by English or American cultures. Any of these concepts paired with a sleek pair of heels or minimal makeup is the ultimate Urban Naturale look. Check out this mood board to see what else can inspire this look:

Images Via Pinterest

Images Via Pinterest

I notice with this trend that even the straight hair has a kind of “straight texture” to borrow a phrase from Kevin Murphy. There is no such thing as sleek and smooth in this trend and it really is all about letting out your inner exotic goddess, which I think we all have a little bit of. Cue “Roar” by Katy Perry on the speakers, right? :) But seriously, whether it be through just a whole lot of natural curl, some manufactured waves, braids or just straight texture, the bigger the better!

One thing that I really, really love about this trend is the amount of braids incorporated and how creatively they’ve been added to a style. There are also a lot of accessories added in for even more texture, movement and playful accents. I love how the braided faux-hawk in the photos above is a cool, modern braid with a leather accessory built in and ultimately used to tie the braid at the nape. Gone are the days of a braided headband being daring and different and now, it’s all about bolder and bigger. I also love the comeback of box braids, like the style Beyonce is wearing in this photo above. I remember being a young girl who hated her fine, stringy hair and when Clueless came out and Dionne wore those fabulous box braids, I literally prayed at night to wake up with hair like hers… I seriously just love this look! It’s effortless, it’s chic, it’s couture and it can be pulled up into really intricate upstyles for a different look. Remember Bey on her trip to Cuba and that awesome upstyle she wore? Love it!

I also love the way girls like me with fine, straight hair can get into this without braids. Of course, I can incorporate braids and that’s super fun when I have the time, but on a normal day, this trend simply calls for a bedhead look. Check out the model at the top left of the mood board. She’s wearing a classic middle part and it looks like the stylists just bent the hair slightly with a wand and roughed up the hair with some product to get natural texture. I don’t know about you, but I wake up like this most days, so I’m okay with this look being a signature! A little dry shampoo, a little finesse and you’re all set!

In terms of color, anything goes as long as it’s bold and dimensional. In the photo of the model with the large back-brushed curls, you can see that her color is actually a pretty standard medium brown, but it’s got so much depth and richness to it that when it hits the light, the vibrancy just shines. Beyonce’s color is flawless because it’s a generic blonde, but it’s very neutral toned and rich. You can even go to more of a red or purple or bold color choice as long as there is richness to it, tied to a brunette or blonde base. Just remember with this trend, more is always a good thing and the inspirations all come from various cultures and the most natural of elements. You really can’t go wrong as long as you keep that in mind!

I hope you guys have enjoyed this guide to fall 2014 style! I always love knowing what’s coming around the corner when it comes to clothing, makeup, hair and really anything beauty or fashion related. And I always love to share what I know and help you, my readers, clients and friends, stay up to date on all things modern and chic. Please let me know if you have any questions about how to rock any of these themes throughout the next season or just shoot me any feedback you may have! Can’t wait to watch how everything evolves through the spring and give you my next report then! :)  


Product Knowledge | Kevin Murphy Fresh.Hair

Kevin Murphy Fresh.HairThe first product from the Kevin Murphy line I fell in love with was Fresh.Hair. It’s a dry cleanser that can be used on any hair type and in pretty much any situation to refresh and revitalize dirty and limp locks. When I first learned the miracle of dry shampoo, I went on a mission to find the best. Before I found Fresh.Hair, I was using another line that seemed to work really well, but eventually, I was getting way too much buildup in my hair. It worked, but it wasn’t perfect. Some others were too greasy, too heavy or just simply didn’t work. And the worst were the ones that showed up white on my dark hair and never rubbed in enough to blend in! Ugh!

So when I tried Fresh.Hair, it seriously felt like a life-changing experience. I loathe getting up early and at the time, I needed to leave for work around 7 to 7:30 most mornings. My mid-length haircut was difficult to style day old without some extra help and I certainly wasn’t going to wash my hair every morning and style it completely wet to dry. I was becoming the queen of topknots and ballerina buns and really needed something that worked. Enter Fresh.Hair. Let me share with you the details on how and why you should try it out, too!

What it’s for: Originally created by Kevin after needing an easy way to turn over models hairstyles in between shoots, this product is most simply designed to refresh hair. In the real world of everyday at-home hairstyling, the purpose continues with using the powdered substance to soak up grease at the roots, add volume and rejuvenate your style after a long day of it possibly flattening or falling out. Simply put, it’s for giving you an extra day or evening of great, fresh hair.

How to use it: Spray in small sections at the root from about 6 inches away. After spraying it in, work it in with your fingers and you can even use a towel or cloth to rub out excess powder if needed. I also like to brush it through to distribute and make sure I cover everything!

Added benefits: With ingredients like burdock root extract, grapefruit extract and Chinese cinnamon leaf oil, this product not only refreshes, but it helps to repair and regulate your hair and scalp. It’s antioxidant rich, so it can promote hair growth and it regenerates the cells in each hair. It is also anti-inflammatory and helps balance sebum production. A great product is one that has many added benefits which help improve the hair while you use it and that’s exactly what this product does. And it’s water soluble, so you never have to worry about buildup!

Always remember: Shake that can before using! The ingredients can separate while sitting, so make sure to shake, shake, shake before spraying it onto your strands!

Price Point: $22-$27 depending on location

Where to find it: Any Kevin Murphy salon or hairdresser. In Denver? Contact me and I can get it to you! If you’re anywhere else, try this link of the website to find the closest distributor near you!

The Twist & Turn | Youtube Tutorial

The Twist & Turn #5MinutePinIt

#WhatIWoreWednesday is all about giving you practical, easy and simple hairstyles that you can recreate in just 5 minutes. Every look is something I’ve actually styled in the morning (as you can tell by my lack of makeup and hairstyling at the beginning), though I am filming these bits in advance to stay up on content. In every video, I come to you straight from my own bathroom and I show you what you need to use, I do the look on myself and I showcase photos of the finished result. I literally give myself 5 minutes to do the look and I start with morning hair so that you can be sure every look truly is as simple as they seem. For sneak peeks and teasers, I’m posting to my Facebook and Instagram, so head there if you want to get insider info on when each video launches!

Check out my very first #WhatIWoreWednesday full tutorial on Youtube now! 

The art of balayage, 3 ways. Kate Allen.

Balayage 3 Ways & A List Of Benefits

Balayage is SO BIG, you guys! And guess what? It’s not going anywhere! Sorry, haters but this trend is only gaining popularity in new groups of women who have been shy to try it out. For women who thought it was just a fad not worth spending money on, for those women who can no longer color their hair on-scalp and for those women who just realized they can get sun-kissed, naturally beautiful looking highlights that are also low maintenance… Well, for those ladies, it’s just begun!

My prediction is that by 2015, most of us are going to be on board with this practically magical technique. So I think you should take a couple of minutes now to learn all about why you should switch your highlight game to this gorgeous upgrade….because it looks great on every length!

Scroll through for balayage three ways: on a pixie, long bob and long layered hair cut. Then, continue down for a list of all the best reasons to consider ditching your foils and trying balayage!

1. Bright Blonde On A Pixie

For this look, I wanted to have some statement bright blonde pieces to go with Gina’s natural dark blonde hair color. They are a bit more dramatic and they’re just perfect to go with Gina’s bright, warm personality. In this particular balayage technique, I use varying degrees of thickness for each strand of hair and I varied how close they got to the scalp from directly to the scalp to about one inch out. This allowed me to really play up the fringe area (to give the appearance of more thickness and texture) and to allow her color some “pop” around her face, mimicking the pattern in which the sun naturally lightens the hair.


2. Medium-Blonde On A Long Bob

Tina’s hair has been transitioning since I met her a year ago and it’s never looked better! This was after moving her over from highlights to balayage and though we want to go a bit lighter and brighter, this was the perfect first color! You’d never tell from this photo that Tina’s hair is a little bit thinner because the subtlety of the balayage gives an enormous amount of dimension and depth (one of the favorite things about it!). As you can see, I placed the balayage only around the crown and the front to leave her base color as the contrasting accent. I took each highlight straight to the root because Tina is used to a traditional highlight, so I didn’t want to change it up too much and make her feel like she had roots. But I still made sure to feather it in really well so that it would look very natural and sun-kissed as it grows out. Especially because my hair is a lot like Tina’s, I’m loving this look on her and how thick, vibrant and dimensional it makes her locks look!


3. Ombre Balayage On Longer Hair

Stephanie had quite a bit of grow out and I wanted to give her something fun, bright and youthful to match her personality and lifestyle, but also something that was lower maintenance, allowing her more time for fun and less time worrying about her roots. She was into an ombre look, so we went for it! I feathered in from about an inch and and half from the roots, leaving room for her natural to blend in between. Then, I continued the balayage down to the bottom of the hair. I blended our medium-blonde color from near the roots to the bottom and then on the bottom, I saturated the hair with a brighter blonde, then feathered it in with a clean brush to blend seamlessly. I wanted people to look at her hair and see no transition from the medium color to the bright blonde, especially when worn straight. I love how this look gives Stephanie, another fashionista like myself, a trendy and youthful look that’s still work appropriate!

IMG_20140310_131637 (1)

Benefits of Balayage:

Natural look that mimics the pattern of lightness created by the sun. Just like when you spent all summer at the beach sunning and laughing with girlfriends!

Perfect for women who can’t apply color on scalp, this allows for bleach or color to only sit directly on the hair. So if you have an allergy to color, are pregnant or have other reasons for not wanting anything to soak into the scalp, this is perfect.

More time in between grow out. Because of the feathering used to place the highlights, there’s a very seamless transition from dark to light and no line of demarcation like you’d get from foils.

Lower maintenance technique that requires touch-ups only every 8-12 weeks, depending on hair type and desired result.

Can’t decide on just one color? Try ombre through balayage and get the best of both worlds with two different colors blended into each other. I’m currently rocking a balayage from my natural darker color to red on my ends.


Less damage! Because you aren’t completely saturating all of the hair in bleach or color, there’s much less damage and dryness on your hair strands, meaning healthier, softer, shinier tresses.

Use balayage to accent a haircut. If you have an angled bob or a rocking fringe, have more highlights concentrated near the angles you want to accentuate.

Want hair to appear longer? Just do balayage underneath through the bottom of the hair and instantly trick the eye.

And a word about at home, DIY balayage…. You guys, this technique is really difficult. It’s not as easy as painting it on with a brush or combing it through. This particular concept took me a little over a year to specialize in (only after I’d taken tons of classes and trained under someone who specialized in it) and I didn’t perform it on a paying client for 9 months. There is a lot of this technique between how much color to use per strand, what consistency that color should be, how to apply it, how to feather it in to blend perfectly and how to properly apply heat if needed. I just barely will do it on my own hair, so I would seriously advise you to go to a professional for this kind of technique! Just trust me! And if you don’t, just Google “at home ombre” and you’ll see exactly what I mean! :) I’m all about saving some money or any added convenience, but I’ve seen this technique end in disaster too many times to not make a note about this!

So what do you lovelies think? Have you heard of balayage yet and would you be willing to try it out?? Tweet me @Hairwithkate and let me know! For questions on booking my services here in Denver or in Vancouver, shoot me an email at! 


PRODUCT LOVE | A guide for how much to use

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A common cause of a bad hair day is too much or too little product. Too much powder at your roots can clump your hair together and too little styling mousse can leave very little hold and volume.

Today, I got lost in my product sample closet and took a quick snapshot of the most common products that are applied before or after drying your hair to show you a basic guide. Keep in mind, this a very basic starting point, so women that have much thicker hair might need a bit more. But this is a great starting point to show you approximately what you need. Always layer more if you need more, but start with these estimates. Also, keep in mind that each product line comes with certain recommendations of where to apply each product, so follow your manufacturer’s directions when in doubt. These products are various samples I had in my closet, so I’ll tell you where to apply based on my experience with each.

Rusk Styling Cream: Nickel sized amount, applied from the mid-strands to ends. 

Moroccan Oil Mousse: Palm-full, applied from roots to ends.

Deva Curl Styling Gel: Nickel to Quarter sized amount, applied from mid-strands to ends.

Osis Powder: Three sprinkles, about a dime sized amount, applied at roots. 

What are your favorite products to use before drying or for a refresh? Have you ever used too much or too little and it’s totally-ruined-your-morning?!? Tell me about it on Twitter or Instagram @HairWithKate! 

Check out these product reviews to learn more:

Big Sexy Hair Powder Play

Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Shampoo & Conditioner


Moroccan Oil Volumizing Mousse

THROWBACK THURSDAY | Beauty Shop Edition

Old Wives Tale: Use hairspray to get rid of static.


Modern Update: Since we know that static is caused by a lack of moisture in the hair, adding hairspray to the problem will only further the static. It might work to make the hairs submit and lay down, but since many women like to wear their hair more natural and touchable these days, helmet head doesn’t fly. Because of this, you have to handle static on a cellular level.

To handle a basic dryness in the air which is often the culprit of static for fine haired ladies in the winter, you just need a cream or lotion that can penetrate and add moisture. I recommend Kevin Murphy’s Anti Gravity for this purpose. It uses lavender flower water to balance the production of oil from the sebaceous gland, so it will pick up oil production if the hair from the follicles are too dry. Anti Gravity also uses honey extract to seal in moisture, helping with static production in the future.

And for hair that is severely damaged through the cuticle and cortex into the innermost layers of the hair, a deeper treatment will be necessary to rebuild. Kevin Murphy’s Young.Again treatment oil would be perfect! It uses immortelle, which is incredibly high in antioxidants to help prevent and decrease damage. Bur oil also helps eliminate dryness and flakiness on the scalp and safflower seed oil adds serious moisture. This oil can used on all hair types and also has the Kevin Murphy Extreme Heat Protection up to 428 degrees fahrenheit, so you can style directly after applying. If you currently aren’t doing anything to add moisture to your hair through rich antioxidants and deep penetration, I would recommend trying one of these products!

The biggest thing to remember when static strikes is add moisture! In a quick fix at the office, you could even run a tiny bit of hand lotion through your locks or spritz some facial mist on your ends. Use your resources, but just remember no extra dryness! Leave that helmet head to the vintage ads of the 50s!

 What is your go to move to prevent static? Tweet me @HairWithKate! 

STEP BY STEP | Kevin.Murphy Wave Clips On A Bob!

By now you know that Kevin.Murphy is king when it comes to innovative, modern and easy hairstyles. His three kits, Mermaid, Screen Siren and Surfer Girl have given women easy ways to recreate their fave looks and they each come with all the necessary tools and products. The problem? These tutorials area always shown on women with long hair.


So I’m rocking a long bob lately with my straight locks. Kind of like Emma Stone this year… and we all remember her super adorable beach wave look from the Spiderman Premier she did. And just like Emma, as much as I love my new look, I need quick ways to shake it up from time to time. Especially on those mornings when I just don’t feel like styling! I’ve also always wanted wavy hair since I was a little girl. That’s why when I do utilize my KM tools, wave clips are usually the first thing I opt for. But since my hair is so straight and much shorter than it was before, I don’t want so much curl that my hair bounces up to my chin. Sounds like a lot of demands, right? I decided to try out my precious wave clips in a modified manner and see what I came up with!

I should start with a disclaimer that the way we are doing this tutorial is not how Kevin Murphy teaches. To watch his video and learn exactly how he does it, check this out. But like I said, I’ve never seen these waves clips on day old, short, straight hair and I wanted to see if we could modify the process to work for me and women in my situation. So, I got a bit creative and did things my own way, which is what beauty is all about.. finding what works for you! Follow the photos above and check out my detailed steps below to learn exactly how this modified wave clip technique can work for you if you have short hair!

1. Hi! My name is Kate and I’m a beach wave-aholic. 

2. Wave.Clips. Get them from your local Kevin.Murphy salon or hairdresser.

3. Hair Resort Spray. Get this from your local Kevin.Murphy salon or hairdresser. Both tools are the bread and butter of this look and absolutely essential. Start by spraying Hair Resort all over your hair in sections. This spray is a miracle worker when it comes to giving the feel and look of a day at the beach. It’s the ultimate texture enhancer and also boasts wheat amino acids to allow the hair to retain moisture better and to give shine. Another key ingredient is hydrolized silk, a conditioning ingredient that helps give control and conditioning. And of course, it has heat defense up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit, so you don’t have to worry about your precious little head losing any hair to heat damage.

4. Place your wave clips. Since my hair is so short, I took four sections along my head and used one clip per section. My front sections were just above and in front of each ear and the back sections were behind that and split down the center back. I used a comb to gather up my hair in one section and then I simply snapped the clip into place a bit higher than I normally would, just above the eyebrow. Any hair that was left sticking out of the ends, I secured to the wave clip with a pin curl clip. You can see from the photo that I still had a few layers sticking out.

5. Blowdry the secured clips. If you have any amount of frizz or natural wave to your hair, you’ll want to place a texture net over your clips before blowdrying. This will ensure the hair stays smooth while drying. Since I have the straightest hair you’ve ever seen and literally zero frizz or movement (and I don’t mind any bit of frizz I MIGHT get from drying), I decided to try it without the net to see what I got. Either way, you’ll want to set your blowdryer to high heat and low pressure to heat up the hair in the wave clips. I only dried my hair for about four minutes because I wanted a really loose beach wave like Emma’s. If you want a very defined, waterfall wave then you’ll want to dry longer. *Also, in the video, Kevin puts the product on after securing the wave clip. You can spritz a bit more on at this point, but I put mine on at the beginning because I was working on day old hair, not a fresh blowdry.

6. Cool the hair. After drying, you need to cool down the hair to let it set properly. You can do this by using the cool shot button on your dryer or simply just let it cool down naturally. This step in the process is crucial because it’s the cooling down that really creates the style and locks it in. Once the hair is completely cooled to the touch, you can unsnap your wave clips and take them out.

7. Wave! You should be able to see the pattern immediately. Yay!

8. Shake! I don’t like to break this look apart too much when I’m done because I like the uniformity of the waves right after styling. So, I just shook it a little bit and fluffed it up with my hands like in the photo. All I’m trying to do is just add a bit of movement and break it up the tiniest bit. If needed, you can comb through it with a wide-tooth comb.

9. Voila! Take a look at the wave that was created in just five minutes! It looks super cute on my angled bob, I have volume everywhere (which I love!) and paired with the right outfit and accessories, I can take this look to the beach on vacation or to a meeting downtown. And if you’re dreaming extra of vacation, you can put a flower in it, too! :)

A few key things to remember… This modification is great for short, straight hair. If you have time to blowdry your hair, if you are prone to frizz, or if you have more hair to work with, you’ll want to follow Kevin’s steps more closely. BUT! If you are like me and rocking a shorter look for 2014 and you get oh-so-sick of having to just wear it straight everyday, this is an AMAZING five minute trick to get those awesome beach waves. Also, you can purchase each tool or product individually from your Kevin.Murphy salon or you can just ask for the Mermaid Kit, which comes with all the tools you need, including the texture net and pin curl clips.

Be sure to let me know on Insta or Pinterest how you like these clips and this tutorial. I want to see your modification and how you’re making this look your own! And as always, if you have questions, send them my way!

I hope you enjoyed and have a lovely Friday! :)