Exciting New Changes @ Hair With Kate

Ladies, we have a good problem on our hands. I am at a point where I am receiving so many emails and messages from you all across the world seeking hair care advice, at home color tips and product recommendations. I absolutely love getting to help you embrace your hair by answering your questions and helping you find solutions. However, there are now so many women writing in that I no longer have time to respond to each email individually.

I love the high demand and the ability to help lots of readers, but I’m bummed when I can’t make the time anymore to get to everyone. So, things are changing. And it sure is exciting!! Here’s what’s new:


1. New Website: I’ve been working on the new site for over a good six months. Good things take time, that’s for sure! My amazing fiance, Ali has been working really hard to make this new site interactive, user friendly and with tons of new features. We are so close to being ready to go live and I can’t wait to have more ways to engage with you guys through comments, sharing and an email subscription with a monthly newsletter. You may have noticed my use of the new logo on social media and I think it perfectly showcases the way the Hair With Kate brand is moving forward in fun, innovative and fashionable ways!

2. Consultations Online: The next best thing compared to actually sitting in my chair for a consultation. I’ve heard your frustrations that you either don’t trust your hairdresser to give you the right information, don’t have a hairdresser to help you out or just find me to be very experienced and you’d like my opinion. As much as I wish I could teleport to you and give you my solutions in person, we aren’t there yet! :)

Every consultation begins with a questionnaire that you will fill out with your concerns, questions and anything I need to know about your history, health or other relevant information. I’ll also have you submit photos if you have any. Then, depending on what package you purchase (email or video), I will go through all of your concerns and help you solve your problem with my professional and experienced opinion and advice. Each package also allows for follow up questions and a summary of recommendations. This has proven to be really beneficial for women who would like to learn more about their hair type and how to style it, for women who’ve recently been through a salon disaster and need advice on moving forward or for women who would like to pick my brain about new trends, at home coloring or anything else they’ve been curious about. For more info, click here. 

3. Ask The Stylist: Even if you don’t need to purchase a consultation, I’d still love to have your questions! Moving forward, I will be compiling all email questions that come in into one monthly blog post for everyone to see and learn from. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to answer very long, detailed questions and that’s part of adding the consultations online. But if you have a shorter question that you’d love an answer to, please feel free to send it in to me with “Ask The Stylist” in the subject line. I’ll add your answer to the queue and it will be published the following month!

4. Hairstylist Matchmaking: Another issue I’ve helped readers with is finding the perfect hairdresser. It can be really difficult knowing exactly what to ask in a consultation, how to find someone who knows your hair type, or even finding someone who truly listens and understands. With this package, I consult with you about everything from your hair type to the products you love to how close you’d like to be to your new salon and an ideal personality type for your hairdresser. We’ll cover the bases for what you need and I’ll get to work finding that perfect stylist for you. I’ll tap into my huge, global network of fabulous and talented hairdressers. With me acting as your liaison and speaking to stylists in “hairdressing language” about your needs, I can break down the walls and bring transparency, accountability and understanding. And greater comfort for you.

Once I find someone you love, I can introduce you to your new stylist via social media or email and even help you set up your first appointment if you’d like. And I’ll be available for feedback and followup as well should you have additional questions and concerns. For more information, click here. 

5. Instagram Friends: I’ve been much more active on Instagram than I have been on other social media outlets. If you’d love to stay up to date on behind the scenes fun, training classes I’m taking, teasers for future blog posts and Youtube videos, feel free to add me @HairWithKate.

And here’s what’s not changing, but getting even better:

1. Youtube Content: I’ve spent the past two months compiling ideas and recording videos to be published on Youtube. Thank you to everyone who has watched a video so far. Thanks to you, one of my videos has over 2900 views! The new content will be informative, engaging and should serve as another great resource for you to learn all about hair in fun, creative ways. Some videos are on product recommendations and others are just five minute chats about hair care fundamentals. And others are #5MinutePinIts. I can’t wait to share the new videos with you!

2. My Column on HelloGiggles.com: I love being an HG beauty contributor and I’ll probably write for them until I’m a little old lady. I’ll be a pro at grey hair by that point… :) This year, you can expect to see more engaging content that falls more on the entertaining and informative side. I have built up a good foundation of columns on hair color fundamentals, face shape tips and shampoo advice. Now it’s time to get to the fun stuff that everyone loves. Look for the same voice and detail you’ve grown used to, but more out of the box thinking. And of course, if you have ideas, shoot me an email!

Thank you all so much for reaching out, for the love and for trusting me with your best accessory. You guys really do allow me to get up everyday and do what I love and there is no greater gift. A lot of these ideas today have grown organically just from listening to your needs and finding ways to solve them that make sense. And trust me, they are only the beginning of a series of exciting new adventures for this site. I hope these new additions help you embrace and love your hair and I’m looking forward to a great year of fulfilling that mission! 

The Only Beauty Resolutions You Need To Follow This Year

Because trends come and go, but loving yourself is always in season.

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1. Toss old lipsticks and mascaras: These can dry out over time and even become hotbeds for bacteria to form if kept for too long and shared with others. Don’t take the risk of an eye infection or cold sore and spend the time to regularly clean out old makeup every 3-6 months. Trust me, an eye infection is way more expensive than buying a new lipstick.

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2. And speaking of lipstick… Find your signature shade: When I got over my fear of lipstick, I found a gorgeous shade of orange-red that instantly brightens my whole face. It makes my skin look more bronzed, my teeth whiter and it makes me feel more sexy and sassy. I don’t wear it all the time, but I reserve it for days when I don’t have much time to do anything else or when I want to feel a bit more “done” for a meeting or event. It’s my little secret weapon for quick beauty.

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3. Say positive affirmations in the morning: You get to tell yourself who you are before you interact with anyone else in a given day. And focusing on who you want to be and envisioning yourself as that woman is the key to becoming her through small steps every day. Put up pictures, write out positive affirmations and/or repeat a mantra regularly to keep moving forward.

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4. Practice yoga and/or meditation: Less stress is a must for a calm mind that can make good decisions and a thankful soul that can gift you perspective. Stillness is truly where reflection can take place and gratitude can be cultivated, so make it a part of your routine. You’ll be more productive with your work and you’ll be able to enjoy your time away from work more as well.

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5. Get smart: Part of owning your beauty is realizing that your brain is just as important as your hair or your lashes. Those things might get you noticed, but they shouldn’t define you. Beauty is being able to speak multiple languages. Beauty is dominating your career field. Beauty is reading more than 50 Shades of Gray.

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6. Gossip less, love more: To me, beautiful isn’t gossiping and negativity because there’s nothing else to talk about. That’s a move for women who aren’t secure in their femininity. I know because I’ve been there… jealous, catty, bullying other girls. And it was all just a reflection of how I felt about myself. I was threatened by strong, smart, independent women because I wanted to be like them and wasn’t. But when I started to see all women as sisters and began loving them as such, I started truly loving myself as well for the first time. And once I got out of my own way, I made lifelong friends and I started really becoming the smart, strong, independent woman I wanted to be.

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7. Invest in a good hat: We all have lazy days when a messy bun just won’t cut it. Or travel days that start at 5 AM making it crazy to justify a blowdry for less sleep. Get a couple great hats (I wear a straw fedora in summer and a wool wide-rimmed hat in winter) that you can throw over dirty hair and still feel fabulous in.

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8. Use cruelty free products: You should never have to sacrifice a great product for animal safety. My favorite lines: Kevin.Murphy for hair, Sanitas for skin and Glo for makeup are all cruelty free and knowing that makes me feel that much better about using them.

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9. Read inspirational books: I love reading memoirs of women I love and admire because it shows me the journey they’ve been on and lets me understand the mistakes they’ve made and how they overcame them. I feel like a big part of beauty is being intentional, forgiving yourself and knowing how to get through the hard stuff with a smile on your face and these books can really keep you focused on that mission.

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10. Drink plenty of water: It’s true, ladies. Our largest and most visible organ is our skin and it very literally reflects the way we take care of ourselves on the inside. And skin that glows, is full of moisture and still has elasticity and firmness is the perfect pallet for any makeup. Plus, water keeps you hydrated and cleansed on the inside as well.

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11. Invest in detox treatments: It can be as simple as a monthly massage or a foot bath to pull toxins out, but it’s definitely clear that those who detox regularly feel better and more energized. A big part of feeling beautiful for me is feeling rested, awake and ready for my day and detoxing helps me feel that way as often as possible. 

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12. Establish healthy eating patterns: Last year, I gave up sugar for a month entirely and lost 10 pounds. I stuck with my routine only eating natural sugars for another couple months and lost another five pounds until I balanced out. I felt like my body knew where it should be and once my weight got there, I stopped losing weight. Now, I can literally feel it when I’ve had processed sugar. My throat hurts, I feel tired and my stomach doesn’t love it. I’ve even gotten sick twice this past year eating processed sugar. Our bodies aren’t meant to have as much as we do… if any. Commit this year to eat in moderation and treat yourself, but keep a healthy routine. It’s not about what the scale says, but it is about being healthy and happy. 

In all of your beauty pursuits this year, always remember that beauty begins with you. How you feel, how you speak to yourself, how you carry yourself and what’s really on the inside for you to share with the world. I love that beauty can not only help you live a better story with confidence and discernment, but it can also better the world. You can either give love and happiness to the world through your beauty or you can choose to add to the negativity and the noise. I choose love and happiness.. what about you?

Images Via, Via, Via, Via, Via, Via, Via, Via, Via, Via, Via


Transformation Tuesday: A New Bob For A New Life

I’ve always believed that a good haircut can be a symbol for starting over. And that doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. It can mean you are starting a new marriage (hello, post wedding chop!) or starting a new job. Or it can mean you are letting go of a certain image you’ve always had and starting fresh. Whatever the reason, I’ve always believed that cutting dead ends loose is a powerful force to symbolize personal growth.

I met my friend Shannon in November when I started working at The Oxford Hotel Salon. I colored her hair during my first real experience getting to chat with her and we immediately bonded. Her and I have both been through tough divorces and carried the burden of picking up the pieces of our hearts and starting over. We joked about the process of becoming a single girl after marriage and how it is to have a new roommate. I could just really connect to her story and it was refreshing. She shared some wisdom with me and I tried to pass some of what I’ve learned her way. It sounds like we both came out stronger after each of our ordeals and to both of us, the key was facing it head on, learning from it and putting all of our focus into moving forward to become better. You know that quote, “The only person I’m competing with is the person I was yesterday”? Shannon lives that everyday and to begin to hear her journey in that was so inspiring.

So when Shannon came to me a couple weeks ago and told me she wanted to cut all of her hair off, I was really excited for her. Shannon’s positive outlook on life and her desire to manifest happiness and growth are her driving forces and her optimism bleeds through each word she speaks and each hug she gives. This girl is not just a survivor, she’s a warrior. 20150111_130444

Before The Chop!

Before The Chop!

When she sat in my chair, I asked her why she wanted to cut her hair now specifically. And her answer made perfect sense. She has spent this year focusing on meditation and calmness in her life. She’s eating healthy, detoxing and focusing on just living a clean life. And in the midst of these major life changes, her hair has remained the same. Almost a symbol of the last remaining element of her old life and it was time to cut it loose. It was time to reflect on the outside the changes that have taken place in her heart, mind and soul inside. And it was time to embrace her texture and find a haircut that shows off her natural wave.

As I cut, we talked about her plans for the year and how much progress she’s already made. Even in just her first week of changing her lifestyle, she’s lost five pounds! Just since I met her in November, I can tell there’s been a change. She seems to have more energy and her skin just glows all the time. But what I loved most about her story was that she plans to grow her hair out after this haircut. She wanted to get rid of all the dead ends to cut ties with her past and as she grows and strengthens and gets healthier everyday, so will her hair. I really appreciate that process and loved the idea! Just like anything, it takes patience to see results and I like that not only is Shannon starting over, but she’s starting fresh and beginning from a new foundation. The beauty of that concept almost rendered me speechless.

When I was done snipping off each strand, I grabbed my brush and blowdryer and worked Shannon’s natural curl into the style. All I used for product was an anti-frizz product cream from Kevin.Murphy. I stayed more natural because I wanted her to really see herself in the mirror for the end result. I really wanted it to reflect how she feels.


20150111_135443The finished look was so fabulous on her. It quite literally lifted her up and instead of drawing attention to the length that used to cascade over her shoulders on the drier and more damaged side, her new look draws you in to her face. Her eyes that sparkle with excitement. Her easy smile that breathes love to others. It took the focus off of the old and ushered in the new. It was so beautiful to be able to help her in this part of her journey. Thank you, Shannon for letting me be the hairdresser to help with this journey. And a huge thank you for letting me share your story to the world!

20150111_13555720150111_135549Behind the chair, I go through this process with a client at least once a month, so to be able to share with all of you a real story of someone making a big change, I really hope it inspires and encourages you!


Sometimes a hair appointment is just about a maintenance trim or covering the grays. But sometimes it’s really about cutting it all off and starting over.

REVIEW: The Almond Joy Body Wrap @ The Oxford Hotel Spa

**I had already planned to receive the almond joy wrap as a service, but I loved it so much, I wanted to share my experience with you guys. I am an employee of The Oxford Hotel Salon, so this is not a sponsored post, just a review and recap of a service that is now one of my faves.
Kate Allen, Senior Hairdresser @ The Oxford Hotel Salon

From Christmas Eve at the hotel.

The Oxford Hotel is known for its vintage charm and unique, beautiful architecture. It elicits a feeling of luxury and formality that calls to mind the era in which the hotel was founded. The hotel itself is a historic landmark in Denver as the first hotel in the city, erected in 1891. From those first years where the The Oxford was a “city within a city”, boasting a barber shop, saloon, library and pharmacy until present day, the hotel has maintained the original character while adding modern touches and evolving just as the city of Denver has.

The Spa Waiting Room @ The Oxford Hotel

And the spa is no exception to the historic charm and comfortable yet upscale atmosphere. Rumor has it that the tucked away rooms which are now used for massages, wraps, facials and body treatments used to make quite the brothel. Now, of course, the layout is perfect for secluded, professional treatments. And I couldn’t wait to try mine!

Lemon Water & Hot Tea @ The Oxford Hotel Spa

I was on a mission to act as a client for this service (I was off the clock after all!), so I checked in and waited for my technicians in the spa waiting area. Though I work in the salon, the spa guest area is one of my favorite places in the building. Its soft lighting, plush chairs and relaxing music make it the ultimate sanctuary to prepare for your service. And even better if you’re already in your robe and slippers, which you can request before your service and lounge in. After a couple minutes, Shannon greeted me and brought me back.

A Massage Room @ The Oxford Hotel Spa

My technicians were Shannon, Vida & Michelle. Shannon was leading a refresher course and teaching about the different options each client has when they purchase the service and Vida and Michelle were doing most of the hands on. All three of them have a great touch, were constantly asking me if I was comfortable or needed anything and were a pleasure to work with. You could tell they’ve all been in the industry a long time by their confident and soothing touch.

I started by changing and laying on the classic massage table face down. The ladies applied warm almond oil to my back, arms, neck and legs and then I turned over so that they could apply it to my chest, arms, legs and stomach. The smell was so nice and actually, quite relaxing. And as they rubbed the oil in, I felt like I was almost getting a mini massage. On each section, directly after applying the oil, they would apply the warm coconut scrub. They applied the scrub in the same fashion they did the oil, but a bit rougher to exfoliate, which I enjoyed. I love a good scrub and I especially love knowing that in the dead of winter, my skin wasn’t going to be so dry after this service.

The next step was my favorite part. A chocolate peptide mask applied first to my back while I sat up and then down to my feet on both sides of my body. All I could smell was literally an almond joy, but Shannon likes to say “without the calories”. For someone who tries to stay low sugar, it was actually really fun to wrap in that scent for awhile and just enjoy it. The chocolate mask felt really smooth and warm on my skin and was the perfect topping to the coconut scrub and the almond oil. And I also learned that the specific chocolate mask they were using from the skincare line we use, Sanitas, was actually created and formulated in their headquarters in Boulder specifically for this treatment at The Oxford. Ooooo la la! So fancy to have an exclusive product on my skin!

I also learned at this point that the mask has several awesome benefits. They rolled me up “like a burrito” so that I could relax for about 15-20 minutes and let my wrap settle in. While I lay there enjoying the smell, the warmth of the oils and the compression’s the ladies were doing on my legs and arms, Shannon explained what the mask was doing. The peptides help lift and firm the skin and the secret seaweed ingredient helps reduce cellulite. The phospholipids drive in the nutrients of the scrub and mask. Laying in a warm blanket covered in chocolate-y goodness, firming my skin, reducing cellulite and having three ladies rub my arms and legs? Yeah, it was pretty much heaven!

After I’d been in my wrap for 20 minutes, I was unwrapped and given a big, plush robe and slippers. Shannon escorted me downstairs to the locker room so that I could take a shower and rinse off all of the oils and scrub. She was such a sweetheart having set out a mat, a towel, another robe and even an extra towel should I need assistance getting the scrub off in the shower. She thought of everything! After a quick rinse in the hot shower (they advised me not to use soap because they still wanted the oils to be there), I met them back upstairs in the treatment room. I could have done a steam in the eucalyptus steam room at this point as well, but I didn’t feel like I really needed it.

I was so relaxed and in total zen mode by this point. I joked around that I probably could have fallen asleep during the wrap if I had spent less time jabbering everyone’s ears off asking questions. At this point, I got back on the bed under a huge, fleece blanket. The bed warmer was still on and keeping me nice and toasty. At this point, the ladies applied another round of warm oil to my entire body and they spent the remaining time working it in with massage techniques. A lot of clients opt to add a massage to this treatment and Shannon explained to me that should I have chosen that option, they would just begin massaging with the last few minutes of the wrap treatment and added that time onto a massage. So if I had twenty minutes left on my wrap and I added a 60 minute hot stone massage, I would have really gotten an 80 minute massage. The timing just depends on how long you take in the shower and steam.

I wanted to see what it would be like to add on the hot stone massage because I know that at The Oxford, they do it a bit differently than I’ve had. Shannon, Vida and Michelle were so kind to take the last few minutes and “prep” me for a massage so that I could experience it.

The first thing they did was dry brush my entire body. And can I just tell you… oh my gosh! I never knew how amazing it could feel to have your whole body dry brushed! Weird at first, but after two seconds, it felt sooooo good. Shannon explained that the ladies were working in long swift motions with medium pressure always towards my heart because the stimulation can help my blood circulation and help detox my system. After that, they applied a milk and honey oil and scrub to my feet, wrapped them in a hot towel and then massaged each foot. Again, heaven like!

At this point, had I added on the hot stone massage, I would have enjoyed another hour of a full body massage with warm basalt river stones and some therapeutic essential oils. During my consultation, Shannon asked me how I was feeling today in regards to my stress level, energy level and mood. I told her I was feeling like my body was a bit tired and my mind was on overdrive. When we were discussing what the massage would be, she said for someone like me, she would use a refreshing, citrus oil on my body to awake and revive my body and a nice lavender to calm my neck, shoulders and scalp. I thought that made perfect sense.

So now, naturally, I can’t wait to get back in for another treatment and that massage! Especially being that my Hawaii wedding is a year away now.. bring on the firming and smoothing! As little cellulite as possible for this bride! And bonus points, since there was a little bit of extra scrub and oil, Shannon sent me home with a little sample cup of each since they can’t reuse any once it’s been opened for a client. Thank you to Vida, Michelle and of course, Shannon for letting me try out this treatment for being so great to answer all of my questions. And for not making fun of my lack of a pedicure and wax.

If you’d like to book The Oxford Hotel Spa’s signature Almond Joy Wrap, you can do so by calling the front desk at 303.628.5435. The price begins at $144 and the treatment lasts 75 minutes. And of course, included in all services at The Oxford Hotel Spa & Salon is the use of the fitness center, the steam room, any group fitness classes and $5 valet at the hotel.

Changing the Hair Texture Conversation.

There’s a really unique problem in the beauty industry that every woman knows about. We’ve all experienced from one side of the chair to the other and none of us know how to talk about it in a politically correct and loving way. I’ll give you an example:

Awhile ago, a receptionist relayed a message to me quietly: “We had someone call in and ask if we can work with African-American hair. Does anybody do that?”

This happens on a somewhat regular basis and every time this awkward conversation begins with a hushed whisper, I’m saddened at the state of this particular issue in my beloved industry. My answer is always proudly and confidently, “Yes, of course. I work with all hair types and all women.” I’ve gotten used to answering this question and dealing with this issue, so unfortunately, it’s a common situation that I’ve become accustomed to. But why are we still so afraid of this topic? Why do we feel the need to speak about doing hair in a hushed whisper just because we are speaking about a client whose hair is simply more coarse or curly or _________ fill in the blank? Since when did their skin color become the deciding factor for whether I can take them on as a customer? I certainly didn’t pay $20,000 for my education to turn anyone away…

And perhaps most importantly, why do clients still have to call ahead and ask this question?

There was a time when I was much more naive to the segregation and misunderstanding that occurs in the beauty industry. But when I moved to Seattle and quickly immersed myself in all of the cultures around me, I had to see what was going on. Suddenly, my clientele was full of women from all ethnic backgrounds from Indian to Iranian to Chinese to African-American.

I’ll never forget one of my favorite clients, Art. She was of Japanese descent and nearly cried after our first appointment because no one had ever tried to give her volume before and I had given her the “Victoria’s Secret curls” she’d requested. I didn’t assume her thick, straight hair wouldn’t work for me.. I used what I knew about her texture and I proceeded to curl, set and spray her to bombshell perfection. And she was so happy, she sent all of her best friends to me for the same style.

And then there was the African-American woman who almost refused to come to my chair when I greeted her in the waiting area, assuming I wouldn’t know what I was doing with her texture. I coaxed her back and section by section, as I used my knowledge and my blowdryer to smooth her curls and leave her with bounce and shine, she began to open up. She apologized for being so reluctant and admitted it was clear I knew what I was doing… but she’d had so many bad experiences before that had left her disillusioned that anyone with skin as light as mine could do her hair. More often than not, her appointments left her frustrated, her stylist upset and everyone’s end goal of her having the hair she wanted totally fallen to the wayside. And more heartbreaking than any of this, she told me the stories of the many times she’d even been refused for services. Turned away and discriminated against. I couldn’t believe it!

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Gorgeous curls!

There were a lot of times when I left that little blowdry bar on Pine Street and just cried at the struggle all of my clients had become accustomed to. In fact during one meeting, after a long day and over some amazing Thai food and champagne, I saw my hard-ass boss cry for the first time. She recently had a Persian friend explain to her the power of finding a good hairdresser who wasn’t afraid of her hair. After so many failed experiences and many tears of her own, she’d recently found someone who just got it and cut, colored and styled her tresses with confidence and ease. And boy, did that feel like a huge weight off her shoulders. All of these situations affected me in a whole new way. I have always been worried when I go to a new salon or hairdresser that they might mess up my fine hair or accidentally cut my bangs too short.. but I’ve never had to worry about having someone shyly pull through my hair as if they have never seen anything like it. And I’ve certainly never been turned away. 

So what do we do about it? Now that our eyes are opened to this lack of knowledge on the part of hairdressers and salons, how do we approach it?

First, I think we shift the conversation. Somewhere along the way, I think we made this a conversation about skin color and race when it should have always been about the hair. I think that’s part of what makes it so scary for hairdressers. Speaking about hair in terms of ethnicity makes it a foreign, unknown thing. To simply avoid. And when a hairdresser is worried about offending, she’s more caught up in other factors than just giving great hair. But when we’re strictly talking hair on a client, we are talking density and length and texture, not the color of skin that hair comes out of. It makes the whole situation a bit more familiar, a bit easier and a lot more comfortable. That’s not to discount anyone’s experiences, but to break it down and simplify so that a technician can truly understand how to approach different hair types.

And gorgeous straight hair!

And gorgeous straight hair!

See, when I was a newbie myself, I was lucky to have two very amazingly talented African-American women mentor and teach me. One woman was a good friend of mine back home. She was a former salon owner in Kenya and because she couldn’t find anyone who could do her hair properly in my home state in Idaho, she taught me how to do it. Patiently and professionally, she took me through each section of the various haircuts I learned on her and she taught me what she knew. She would wait to get her haircut until I came home on vacations and we had a blast together during those days. From her, I learned how to speak to women with curly or coarse hair in a way that felt comfortable. I learned terms and techniques that she’d used in Kenya and she taught me how to use them in my chair in Colorado.

And during beauty school, I had another educator who made a strong statement on my very first day. We had four mannequins and one was a dark skinned, curly doll named “Michelle”. One of my classmates began pulling Michelle’s curls apart and confused, told our educator she had no idea where to even start with styling this doll. Without skipping a beat, my educator looked at her and said strongly, “It’s just hair. Treat it like hair.”  From her, I learned to break it down and see things for what they were. I learned that there’s no excuse for saying, “I can’t work with this hair.” I learned a beautiful simplicity in the art of hair.

At the heart of all the biases and confusion and possibly even racism that we see in this industry, I believe it all just comes down to a lack of education. A lack of understanding in technique and skill. And a lack of understanding in what exactly it is that we hairdressers exist to do.

What hairdresser doesn't want to get their hands in each of these heads of hair??

What hairdresser doesn’t want to get their hands in each of these heads of hair??

At the end of the day, hair is hair is hair is hair. It’s either coarse, fine or medium texture. It’s either thick or thin. It’s either curly, wavy or straight. And as hairdressers, our job is to know how to work with hair. It takes a lot of time to learn each hair type and to perfect your work with each. I realize that not every hairdresser can just suddenly work with curly or thick hair just because they have a new way of thinking. It still takes specialization and training and advanced education.. and tons of practice. But that’s our art: to snip, treat and style hair into what our client wants. And we must practice and practice until we are most comfortable in doing just that. For every client.

And even more heavy than that, it’s our job to help aide in the process that makes our clients feel valued, loved and beautiful. I do what I do because I believe a new haircut, a new style or fresh highlights are all just tools. I’m passionate about my techniques and what I do, but really and truly, they are all just part of the journey of helping my client feel more beautiful each time she sees me. And why would I ever leave out a huge group of women from that experience? For me, that’s not an option. So in my chair, I’ve made it my mission to know how to work with all textures of women’s hair. So that I can grow as a stylist, so that I can grow as a woman and productive, open-minded member of society. And so that I never have to make someone feel they aren’t valued in my eyes.

Images via.

The Fine-Haired Girl’s Guide, Part 2

Last post, we went through a ton of information on how to deal with, embrace and learn to love your fine hair. This time, we’re diving in a bit deeper. I have so much more to share on fine hair and I want to make sure now that you understand the characteristics of fine hair, you know how to work with it on a daily basis! Enjoy part two of The Fine-Haired Girls Guide!

1. Avoid Tangles & Work Them Out Gently

Not only is this hair type the most prone to tangling, but it’s also the most fragile, so those tangles can cause a lot of unnecessary breakage if you aren’t careful. For best results, comb conditioner through with a wide-tooth comb in the shower before rinsing. Once you’ve rinsed, apply a lightweight leave in conditioner to only your ends and don’t rough up your hair in a towel before combing again; simply blot the moisture out with your towel. And during the day, when you notice those little tangles or static popping up, run a lightweight lotion or oil through your ends to help.

2. Dry Shampoo Is Your Best Friend

Fine hair feels like it gets greasy and oily much quicker than other hair types. And because you have less room for that oil to go, it ends up making your hair look heavy and unwashed very quickly. Meet your new best friend, dry shampoo. I wash my hair every 3-4 days and on my “off” days, I always use dry shampoo at the root. Spray it in and then work it in better with your fingers. It gives instant lift, body and the product soaks up all of the oils you have at your scalp. After finding this routine, I am the queen of day old hair.

3. Treat Wet Hair Like The Delicate Thing It Is

Because of the breakage we’ve talked about, never brush your hair when it’s wet. Always use a comb and be as gentle as possible. Also, be careful not to pull or manipulate your hair too much while it’s wet or damp. My fiance was in a phase for awhile of pulling his hair up into a man-bun while his hair was still wet because he liked the sleekness of a wet look. I kept warning him that he would start seeing breakage around his hairline because those delicate, finer hairs around his face would just break off in his ponytail. Sure enough, after a few weeks, I started seeing the breakage and showed him. I know it might seem like a smaller consideration, but having to grow out those baby hairs around the face takes forever and can alter the way your hair looks on a daily basis.

4. Avoid The “Weather Lady” Haircut

For some reason, when your hair is above the shoulders and fine, everyone wants to cut and style it into what I call “The Weather Lady”. In an effort to get full volume, the well-meaning hairstylist attempts a basic round-brush style based on how she knows to round-brush other hairstyles and textures… and twenty minutes later, you end up with a bubble. Minimal to no volume at the roots and a beveled, bubble shape from the mid-strands down. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been given this style and each time, I end up feeling ten years older than I am. The key for a modern, youthful, straight hairstyle with fine, short hair is to go for volume at the root only and let the rest lay a bit more relaxed. It shouldn’t feel so “done” and “matronly”. To achieve this kind of a look, have your stylist use a mousse or sea salt spray at your roots, rough dry your hair until it’s mostly dry and then, go through with the round-brush concentrating at the root only. Or rough-dry completely and add a few waves with a curling iron and just nix the round-brush completely.

5. Don’t Be Afraid Of The Occasional Clip In

I love my hair, but I also know what it’s not capable of. And I think that is a very crucial step of learning to love it. But in that, I know that when I’m going for a bit more drama and fullness that a good style just won’t do for me, I rock some clip ins. They are so great because you can easily put them in yourself after having a stylist cut them to your current haircut shape, they are just worn for the day and they add instant fullness and length. And sometimes, when I’m heading to a formal event or a night out with my girlfriend’s, it’s fun to switch it up and try something I understand I can’t rock naturally.

6. Think Before You Bleach

Fine hair is so incredibly fragile that when it comes to bleach, you have to go slow and steady. Here, that approach will be the only way to win the race. It’s very easy to have breakage, lose elasticity or to even lose hair from the root from over-processing. With my fine clients, I usually only lift them about two to three levels per bleaching just to make sure their hair is healthy and in tact each time. It’s easy to say, “I don’t care, I just want to be platinum!”, but when that platinum is perfect and you have so much breakage you look like you’re rocking a mullet, it’s not so pretty. Go slow, do deep conditioners in between and enjoy your healthy, bouncy tresses in the meantime!

7. Be Careful With That Conditioner

You can easily overdo it using conditioner on fine hair. When I shower, I literally use a pea sized amount of conditioner and I only work it through what can fit into a ponytail. It’s crucial to only get your conditioner on the ends because too close to the scalp will leave you looking greasy and weighed down all day long. It’s essential to get that moisture from a good conditioner, but just be careful with how much you use!

8. Don’t Overdo It On Hairspray

There is a huge misconception that fine hair won’t hold curl, so in order to get it to do so, you must curl the hair with an iron and then suffocate each hair in hairspray. With this process, you end up with dry, static-y ends and crunchy, over-done curls.. which isn’t a good look on anyone. The best way to get curl to hold is to start from the beginning: Rough-dry a texturing lotion into the hair to give grip and hold, curl up the hair with an iron, set the hair in pins for about 10-15 minutes, then take the pins out and shake your curls out. Don’t put a brush through the hair before curling because you’ll need the extra texture for hold and body. This is the best fool-proof way to get long-lasting, relaxed, modern waves on fine hair. And if you still want to, spritz some spray at the ends, but work from the beginning to ensure you get the best performance!

9. Study Which Bangs Work For You

You can definitely do bangs if you have fine hair, it’s just a matter of know which bangs work for you. As a stylist, depending on face shape, I usually recommend a long fringe or side-swept look that can easily appear much fuller than it truly is. A blunt, front-facing bang can be really flattering as well, but will usually look a bit wispier, so you just have to be prepared for that end result. And also, because fine hair isn’t as heavy, you’ll need quite a bit of hair to weigh down any cowlicks you may have at the hairline. Just know that before going in, so that you aren’t surprised when a hairdresser has to take a bigger section than you realized.

10. Have Some Updo Tricks

While fine hair usually takes less time to style because it doesn’t retain moisture as much as coarser hair, it can still be a pain to have to style it each morning. My go-to move is to have about five upstyles in my repertoire that I can throw my dirty hair up into within five minutes. That way, instead of a messy bun or a sleek ponytail, I have some more intricate, more intentional looking hairstyles that I can rock. If you need ideas, check out my YouTube page or this fun piece I did on HelloGiggles this month.

11. Don’t Shy Away From Backcombing

On an everyday basis, backcombing is just too harsh for fine hair. BUT on those days when you’re needing extra volume in an updo or down style and everything just seems to be flat, backcombing is a must. The key is to use a small-tooth comb in medium sized sections around the crown only and when you actually place the backcombing, use gentle motions to “pad” it close to your scalp. If you want to see me backcombing my own hair, you can check out this video. When you need to take your hairstyle out, I recommend either spraying a leave-in conditioner on the backcombing and gently brushing out or just jumping in the shower and using conditioner to finger it out.

12. Never Let A Hairdresser Over-Texturize

This has always been my biggest issue with getting a great haircut for myself. Yes, there is texturizing needed to get the perfect shape and to distribute weight in the most flattering way. In fact, that’s essential. But sometimes when a stylist is unfamiliar with fine hair, they go to town and texturize the way they would on someone with thicker or coarser hair and all of a sudden, I have holes in my haircut that they accidentally cut out or I look like I’m rocking more of a mullet. The best way to texturize fine hair is to point cut the ends of the layers so that they lay nice and softly without heavy lines. And usually, a little slide cutting from the root and down the sections of the crown from the interior of the haircut. But seriously, that’s usually all you need to get the perfect amount of texture. If you notice your hairdresser going to town with thinning shears or working in one section for a long time, don’t be afraid to say something. Growing out a crappy haircut is much worse than feeling silly for questioning someone’s technique. As long as you come from a place of concern and approach the situation kindly, there should be no issue and you should still get your perfect haircut! For more information on how to ask you hairdresser for exactly what you want, check out this glossary.

13. Plenty Of Fashionable Celebs Have Fine Hair

Olivia Wilde. Cameron Diaz. Angelina Jolie. Gwyneth Paltrow. Jessica Alba. Amy Poehler. Kiera Knightley. All beautiful, talented women known for their successes and all of them rocking fine hair. And I would dare to say that all of them are uniquely stylish from head to toe and on their heads, we’ve seen everything from blunt bobs to loose waves to pixies. Let these fierce ladies be your inspiration if you get bored or upset with your hair and look at photos of them or other celebs with fine hair to get new ideas. And when you are looking for a new style or haircut, look to photos of these celebs who you know have the same hair type. That way, your stylist will be able to get pretty close to the same result for you!

14. Add Dimension Through Lowlights or Highlights

One of the simplest ways to fake fullness in fine hair is to add some dimension through color. When I don’t have some kind of lowlight or highlight in my hair, I feel like my hair is a bit more blah and flat. But just a few key highlights around the face and a couple peeking through the sides and suddenly my hair looks instantly thicker. With fine hair, you have to work smarter and not harder and this is a really, really easy way to do so.

15. Have An Overnight Plan

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I love my hair when it’s day old, but I also have to be really picky about how I sleep on it. If I wear it down, I end up with flat, oily, messy hair in the morning and I basically have to wash to look presentable. If I wear my hair up too tight, I end up with breakage around my hairline. But if I sleep with a bit of conditioner on my ends and my hair wrapped up in a very loose, messy bun, I usually end up with a great starting point for the following morning. No static, minimal oil and no weird part lines or messiness. From there, I can either spray some dry shampoo and round-brush the top sections for soft fullness or add some curl with my iron. You can also add in a satin pillowcase to decrease static and dryness.

Thanks for checking out this series and I hope you learned some new tips that you find useful! If you have more questions, feel free to contact me via email. Or connect with me on FacebookInstagram or Twitter for more daily advice and tips! I would love to be friends!


The Fine-Haired Girl’s Guide, Part 1 (Fine Vs. Thin)

Let’s face it. The hardest part about finding a new hairdresser is finding someone who just gets it. They understand your frustrations about how your hair has to be cut a certain way or else it won’t lay perfectly. The way your cowlick always seems to render your bangs unbearable. The texture and how it always seems to frizz up, flyaway or fall down after two minutes. That gift of really understanding your hair’s tendencies and abilities is priceless when it comes to finding a good hairdresser… and it’s often the difference between whether you leave loving your hair or whether you need a good cry after an appointment.

My hair is fine and thin, so you could say I specialize in that hair type. I know what it’s like first thing in the morning, how it responds to all different types of products and I know exactly what it will do in any climate. I know my hair type inside and out and there are no surprises when it come to taming, teasing and tailoring it on anyone. I want every woman to know what works best for her strands so that she can embrace her style with confidence and ease and unfortunately, there hasn’t been a whole lot of help for myself and my fine-haired friends.

So here’s the first part of two meant to help you better understand your hair. Fine-haired girls, this is for you!

What is “Fine Hair” Exactly?

The term “fine” refers to the thickness of one single strand of hair. This is often a confusing situation when I speak to women in the salon. Sometimes a client will have a ton of hairs on their head and have fine hair and sometimes they will have about four hairs on their head like me.. and have fine hair. It has nothing to do with how many strands you have, but rather how skinny or thick those strands are. A very thick strand of hair would be called “coarse” and a very skinny strand would be called “fine”. And this particular texture of hair, fine, has to be treated properly in order to style well, stay hydrated and embrace thickening products. It’s really important to understand this aspect of your hair before trying to figure anything else out.

Why Do I Have Fine Hair? Is There a Cure?

I’ve seen some women in my chair who swear they used to have “thick” hair and now have fine hair. I never argue because for one, I never saw their hair before so I genuinely don’t know and two, it’s really not that important what their hair was like twenty years ago. I’m concerned about making sure it looks good now and if they’ve become insecure about it, it’s my job to help them embrace and own their hair. As far as my experience goes, however, I’ve never seen coarse hair just turn to fine and I’m not sure if that’s even possible. But that’s how important understanding the makeup of fine hair is. Oftentimes when this happens, it’s not that the thickness of your hair strands have gone down. It’s much more likely (and I’ve seen this several times over) that you’ve lost hair from the hair strand and because you have less hairs on your head, it feels like your texture has changed. That can be really normal in some situations. Sometimes we lose hair simply due to stress or climate change. But other times (as was the case with my hair changing), your hair loss can be a symptom of an underlying medical issue and needs to be checked out. I always encourage women who’ve noticed recent hair loss to check in with a doctor and make sure their immune system and nutritional intake are in good condition. However, even with all of this information, it’s important for you to know that hair doesn’t just go from coarse to fine overnight. If you have fine hair, you’ve most likely had it your whole life and will continue to have it.

There is no “cure” for fine hair, though there are several topical options to help us out. Most of the time I see someone in my chair with fine hair who explains their struggles, I tell them I totally understand because I’m rocking the same hair. The response I get is, “Really?!? Your hair looks so THICK!”. Styling products, darling. And a roundbrush. These are miracle workers for us fine-haired girls. But we’ll get to styling routines later… Basically, my whole point is that while you won’t be able to literally alter the composition of your hair strand and make it coarse, there are plenty of products and treatments out there to help with the appearance.

What Treatments Can I Use To Thicken My Hair?

Remember that there is a difference between “thin” hair and “fine” hair. Sometimes, you have both, but not always. For truly fine hair, you’ll want a topical solution, more of a simple styling product. If your hair isn’t thin and you’re just looking for a great way to plump up your strands for a fuller look, then Full Again by Kevin.Murphy is your new essential. It actually uses little Rayon fabrics that attach to each hair strand and almost like tiny, invisible hooks, they add space between each hair strand, making it appear much fuller. This is just a styling lotion you can apply to damp hair before blow-drying in, but it works wonders for making your hair look and feel more plump and thick.

Another consideration with fine hair is how easily it can break. Because each strand is so skinny, it has a hard time enduring things like heat, climate change and color without breaking and drying out easily. Oftentimes, you will feel like it takes forever to grow out your hair and even when you do, it won’t go past a certain point and keeps breaking. Or those baby hairs around the face always stick out short and never grow out. All of these issues are simply because your hair is fragile.


For fine hair that has a hard time staying strong and not breaking and for hair that is thinning out (when you lose hair from the hair follicle), I always recommend Kevin.Murphy’s Body Mass. It’s important for you to know that I recommend these products because I’ve tried them on my own hair and can attest to how well they work for me. With Body Mass, there are a couple fun features that my hair has loved. First of all, this product uses the latest in eyelash thickening and lengthening technology. It’s the first hair product that I know of using this technology and how it works is by lengthening the growing phase of hair to ensure your hair grows as quickly as possible. It also uses oleanolic acid to strengthen the hair at the root so that it has a better chance of growing long and thick. And perhaps best of all, it helps to reduce DHT, which when found in abundance, can cause baldness or thinning. All you have to do with this spray is spritz it on your scalp and hair after each wash and blow-dry it in or let your hair air-dry.

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How Should I Wear My Hair?

Fine hair is in its own category entirely when it comes to how to cut, style and treat. I have learned over the years (through failed haircuts on my own head and trial and error with my clients) what works every time, what is a total fail from the start and small, simple tricks to make your hair the most flattering it can be. I like to say I know what to do because someone tried what not to do on my hair… and I’ve had to grow out several times because of it!

Because fine hair tends to be very naturally wispy, soft and prone to static and breakage, a tailored haircut and style can be perfect. And a not so great haircut can be the worst! For me, it’s all about texture and how to place it for the most appeal. With fine hair, you’ll want more volume, more texture and more body. With longer hair, some very subtle, long layers are the way to go. Even better if you can pull off the angled look with your length a bit shorter in back and longer in front.. it will make your hair appear thicker in front where it tends to break easier. If you have a one-length haircut and want to add some spice without thinning your ends out too much, add a long fringe. You can style it to the side or down the middle, but it will add some style and height without making your ends look scraggly.

Short hair or mid-length hair are probably the most ideal for fine hair, though long can work if you take the time to style it out. With short hair or mid-length hair, you can often add some bodifying mousse or thickening lotion and get some great volume. With longer hair, I would recommend using a larger round brush and going through the whole head to get volume that will last all day. And if you are looking to hold curl on fine hair, you’ll need a texturizing lotion or spray. Go for a beach sea salt spray or just a texture spray, but always use something like this before curling. The grip of the added texture will allow your curl to hold all day long.

Things You Should Love About Fine Hair

I didn’t learn to love my fine hair until I was about 23. It was a long journey of wishing and praying and trying to get my hair to do things that it would never even attempt to look good in. But once I decided to embrace it and learn to get real with myself, I actually fell in love with my hair. Sure, I can’t over-condition or else I’ll look like a greaseball and sure, I might have to rock extensions for certain special occasions, but I take all the bad with the good and at the end of the day, I love my hair.

Think about it, I bet it never takes you more than twenty minutes to style your hair. No hour long blow-drying for us and certainly no “ponytail headaches” from having a mass of hair sitting on our heads all day. And that sleek look that’s so in right now? You know, the look that other women have to spend hours flat-ironing to get? Yeah, that’s called natural for me. So easy! I also love that when I get up in the morning, I have the option of going for a textured look with curl or a roundbrush blowout and either option looks fabulous and takes less than half an hour and a dime size amount of product.

Or being on vacation at the beach? You know exactly what I’m talking about! From the minute my hair hits the humidity and saltwater, each strand plumps up and has this great, sexy texture that I literally won’t get from any bottle of any product. Nothing beats Mother Nature in this context. Instead of having to braid it up or try to tame the frizz like some of my friends, I just get cool, lived in beach waves.

I know there is so much more to fine hair than I can put into this piece, so part two will touch on a few tips and tricks in dealing with your hair. And more importantly, in embracing it to the fullest. I’m a firm believer in first understanding your situation, learning all you can about it and then, embracing and owning it with confidence. So with part two, will finish that up and I hope between both pieces, you have all the tools you need to begin to really love your hair the way it was given to you! :)

The History of Balayage: From France With Love

I have long looked at hair color as a means of expression. From precision highlights to dramatic, dark hues to a lavender purple… your hair color tells a story about who you are. And if balayage were to say something about the women who rock the trend, it would say things like “sophisticated, cultured, intelligent, effortless beauty”. Who doesn’t want to make that statement? This look is only gaining in popularity and now, more and more hairdressers are beginning to take classes and specialize in this unique style of coloring the hair.

Balayage Begins. 


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The trend that’s quite literally sweeping the nation has been around for nearly forty years, tracing its roots back to a little salon in Paris in the 70′s. While it stayed safely nestled in Europe through much of the dramatic, foil highlighted days of the 80′s, the technique made its way to us in America by the 90′s. It was mostly used on celebrities who were lucky enough to visit European trained colorists and pay top dollar for the best in hair color.


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When Sarah Jessica Parker began rocking the sun-kissed, dimensional color pattern in the last days of Sex & The City, every fashionista in the nation was on board. We wanted to know exactly what that dewy, natural looking color, perfectly accentuating her big curls was. And when social media became a useful tool for sharing the details of what this beautiful new trend was and younger up and comers like Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port traded in their foils for the softer, European style, a phenomenon was born. Officially.

And It’s Here To Stay.


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Today, we love this technique because of the statement it makes. I think American women have latched on for a multitude of reasons (8-12 weeks between retouches anyone?), but most importantly, I think we like the story it tells about us. It’s been a tool to give American women that laissez-faire yet chic French vibe. It’s a way of saying you don’t take yourself too seriously, but you somehow always seem to look effortlessly pulled together. It has absolutely revolutionized the way we think about highlighting and contouring in the hair. And on top of the statement it makes, it can drastically enhance and accent your haircut and style like no other technique can. Balayage can give the illusion of length if you’re in the process of growing out your hair, it can add width to your style to balance out a long face shape or it can even just add points to give drama to an asymmetrical cut. It is structure and technique and knowledge. But it is also freedom and creativity and style. Balayage is both customization and classic skill. And in that, we Americans have just fallen in love.

My First Steps.

I took my first balayage class in 2011 from a Vidal Sassoon educator when I was living in Seattle. My first time painting the hair with a tiny brush and using cotton to separate sections left me knowing I would HAVE to learn everything I could about this trend. I was totally hooked from my first try because the dimensional, buttery highlights were more soft and sun-kissed than any foil work I’d seen. And that’s not to speak negatively at all about foils or what they can do. I want to be clear that there is certainly a place for foils in today’s salons and for modern clients. Sometimes they are really the only option depending on what you are doing! However, this fresh take of free-painting the hair made me feel like a true artist rather than a worker bee just placing foils one after the other in the same few patterns. It opened up a new world to me and allowed me to use both my knowledge and my creativity together.

Balayage is...

Balayage is…

From that first beginner’s class I took back in 2011, I moved on to watching every video I could get my hands on, studying every article I came across and dissecting images of celebs wearing the style. Then I chose to work under a colorist who had been using the technique in Los Angeles and learned from watching her, asking questions and practicing it over and over. Since then, it’s been all about developing, taking various webinars and classes I can find and learning to hone my skills as much as I can.

The Journey Continues.


Last week, I took an amazing class with Brooke Evans, a balayage specialist for L’Oreal Professionnel who is based here in Denver. I learned so much about the fundamentals of balayage that I hadn’t known previously and it left me wanting much more. Just in the past few days, my technique has been more solid and concise and I can’t wait to keep learning and growing. My goal for that? In 2015, I will be attending various classes across the country at L’Oreal Professionnel academies to become a certified balayage specialist. From New York to California, my plan is to learn from the best and bring what I learn to you, my amazing clients here in Denver.

You can stay up to date on my journey here on the site and through my Insta and Facebook accounts. Can’t wait to share more with you as we go and I especially can’t wait to see balayage techniques becoming more and more popular here in the States! If you live here in Denver, feel free to contact me for your own balayage appointment with me! 

And if you’d like to dive deeper into the world of balayage, I published a piece about it here that you can check out. I even profiled photos of three clients I’ve done balayage on so that you can see the technique on a pixie, long bob and long layers. Enjoy!


Editorial Training, A New View & A Pretty Gold Key

Fall always seems to be a time of transition for me. It was the season that I first took the leap to try working for myself back in 2010 and a year later, it was when I up and moved to Seattle on my own. Last fall was when I met my hairdressing idol Kevin Murphy AND began my current position as a beauty columnist with HelloGiggles.com. And most importantly, back in the day,  it’s also when I decided in 2007 to leave college and try out beauty school. I think that one worked out okay, don’t you? ;)

And the trend continues this year with my fall having been full of exciting new adventures. Because some of you don’t get to see me in the salon (okay, like about 9,000 of you!), I wanted to keep you updated on these new ventures. I think it’s important for you to know all the ways I’m staying up to date on my training and for you to see how I’m always taking active, planned steps to keep my career moving full steam ahead. And let’s face it… it’s also great for you to know what’s keeping me away from this blog when I’m not posting more than once a week!

David Lopez Editorial Training


The first thing I got to be a part of this season was watching the amazingly talented David Lopez showcase his editorial skills. David is a part of the Kevin Murphy team and is based in New York. He taught a small group of us dedicated Kevin Murphy artists how to craft his “Beach Bardot” look among quite a few others. He showed us photos of the awesome campaigns he has done this year so far and walked us through step by step how he created and designed each hairstyle and theme. And with every editorial shoot, there’s always a good story to go along with it and those proved to be just as fun to hear about as the glamorous hairstyles themselves. After the show, I was able to catch a few minutes with David and let him know what a great job he did and I truly meant it. He was calm, collected and accessible and there wasn’t even a shred of an ego on stage with him. I loved his energy and presentation and I really took a lot of great tips home with me that night. I can’t wait to see what else he can bring the editorial world and to our fabulous industry.


To learn more about David or see some of his work, check out his site.

Kevin Murphy Training


As most of you know, I’m a huge Kevin Murphy junkie. Ever since I attended my first hair show in 2011 in Seattle, I’ve been addicted to the brand, the mission and the products. This spring, I began a new journey in submitting my application to be a part of the local education team here in Denver and I was accepted. Since then, I’ve been mentoring and shadowing under some of the most talented hairdressers I’ve had the pleasure of being around. I attended one training in the summer and one last month to get more in depth with the brand and to learn better presentation and teaching skills. Both of these training sessions were under the amazing Natalie Morgan, who I have long admired as a Style.Master with the brand and seen on stage several times. Last year, she came to teach a class at my salon and I couldn’t shut up telling everyone how excited I was to see her! Lol! She would totally laugh if she heard me speak about her like this, but it’s been a huge honor for me to train under her and to share in some of the knowledge she has. To date, I’ve done about six days of intensive classroom training with the team and more spent in salons learning how to teach Kevin Murphy stylists more about our brand. And of course, lots of studying and flashcards in between! :)

So imagine how excited I was when I got my official Gold.Key this past weekend! Literally, it’s a GOLD KEY! When I got word in the spring saying my application had been accepted, I screamed as loud as I could and jumped up and down for minutes. And my reaction to finally getting my Key was more subdued and professional, but there was quite a bit of excitement! What this means is that I am now an official educator with the team and I will head into next year attending all regular training’s with other Key’s in the western U.S. and here in Denver, I’ll be teaching stylists at Kevin.Murphy salons about the brand, styling and products. Becoming an educator with a product line has always been a huge goal of mine for my time in this industry and after waiting for the perfect brand for me to come along, I’m thrilled to be able to spread the Kevin.Murphy goodness!

If you’d like to see more of my day to day dealings with the brand and fun behind the scenes photos, be sure to follow my Instagram account: @HairWithKate.

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Making A Move To The Oxford

And last, but most definitely not least is my big move to The Oxford Hotel Salon this month. I’ve been looking to make a move since the summer and I wanted to really spend a few good months figuring out where to go. I’ve had to switch salons more than I’d like to here in Denver and for myself and my clientele, I really wanted to find a home that felt comfortable, luxurious and that would allow me the opportunity to take advantage of education opportunities as much as possible. I’m so happy that after a couple months of searching, I found that in The Oxford. This week was my first week behind the chair there and I’ve been so happy with my new salon home. It’s an environment that is supportive, encouraging and warm and I genuinely admire the talented stylists that I’m working with. And being that The Oxford itself has a longstanding reputation as a high-end and professional establishment as well as one that takes customer service and attention to detail to a new level, I’m really enjoying being in the kind of environment I’ve always tried to create. The big difference is that now, I have an amazing company to support me in my mission to give my clients the total experience.



I’m currently at The Oxford on Sunday-Wednesday and you can book any appointments with me there by contacting our wonderful front desk team at 303.628.5435. So far, the clients who have come to see me this week have already loved taking advantage of the discounted valet parking for their services and the complimentary access to the eucalyptus steam room, fitness center and yoga studio. Oh, and of course, the beautiful view from my chair!

More Future Goals

Now that this season of transition is winding down to a close, I will just be working on settling into my new roles and enjoying my continued role at Hello Giggles. I will be continuing to build my clientele now that my availability has opened up a bit and becoming more acquainted with the staff at The Oxford. I also have quite a few classes lined up for the next couple months, so I will be busy with my pursuit of knowledge and in particularly, my skill set when it comes to styling and balayage. I will begin teaching all about Kevin.Murphy and settling into that role and hopefully improving day by day. And of course, I will be focusing on creating content for hairwithkate.com and finally launching the new and absolutely amazing website that I’ve been planning and putting together since the summer. Oh, and re-doing my vision boards because my 2014 boards are almost completely accomplished!!

Thank you for your continued support of my mission to bring beautiful hair, a dose of confidence and a positive outlook to all the women I meet in my chair or on this site. Your emails and notes of gratitude and appreciation mean the world to me and I love knowing that I can help you feel as beautiful as I know you are! :)



Ask Kate: The Stylist Is In

Every week, I’m the excited recipient of tons of emails from curious women wanting to know more about their hair, how to handle a recent salon disaster or just general questions about what I’ve written on HelloGiggles.com or this site. I love being able to share with you all my best tips and expert advice on all things hair and I really value being in touch with all of you who write in! Because of the constraints on my time, I haven’t been very good at keeping up lately and because I regularly get repeat questions as well, I am going to start chronicling all the emailed questions I receive here for you all to see. I’ve made each question anonymous and edited some of them down so that you get the general idea of what’s going on. Thank you, thank you to all of you who trust me to give you detailed, professional advice and make sure to keep them coming in! Email Kate@HairWithKate.com to submit your questions for next month’s #AskKate and as always, thank you for being a loyal reader of this little corner of the interwebs where we try to make you look and feel your best everyday! Enjoy! :)

**Though I am a professional in the field, I know that every head of hair is different and takes differently to color or various processes due to anything from hormones to medications to climate. Please know that when reading through these answers, it’s always best to consult with a hairdresser who can see and feel your hair if you can before trying any at-home chemical processes!


Hi Kate, I read your article about hair color and absolutely loved it, how true that is. My question is, why do hairdressers not rinse out the color well when they’re washing it? I always have stains all around my face and ears, even after she puts on jelly….and this is not just my hairdresser! It’s been all hairdressers I’ve gone to for 25 years. I go to good salons: I have no problem paying whatever it costs. I asked once and my hairdresser said “You should never have color still on your hair when you leave.” But it still continues… so, I’m asking you if it’s something they do so the color will keep taking?? Is it an inside thing with hairdressers?? I’m at a loss at this point and just hoped you could help me understand…. Thank you for your time!”


I actually learned all about this when I was in beauty school from a really knowledgeable educator. I had the dreaded scalp stains on a lot of clients (even after I tried using stain remover that the beauty supply sells) and I COULD NOT figure out how to fix the problem! I obviously knew I didn’t want clients walking out with stains, but I was trying all of the professional tools (like the jelly you mentioned) to try and guard from stains as well as take care of them after they took place and nothing worked. Especially for certain clients with darker hair color and porous skin. Then one day at the shampoo bowl, I was dealing with the same situation and my educator came up behind me before I put any water on my client’s head and started vigorously rubbing leftover hair color from my client’s hair onto her scalp’s stains. I was horrified because it looked like she was just rubbing more stains onto her hairline!!

But after just a couple seconds of rubbing out the color, the stains started pulling off her scalp. I had literally never seen anything like it and I could not believe it was working… what a ridiculous, simple solution. My educator just looked at me, smiled, said “color removes color, Kate” and walked away. From that day on I’ve done that on every single client and it’s worked on almost everyone. And even the clients it doesn’t work fully on, it takes out 90% of the stains and the rest scrubs off with the next shampoo. The only thing to remember when it comes to this is to do it before you put any water on the head because the water will help set the stain in deeper.

I would let your hairdresser know you read about this cool trick and suggest to her that maybe it would help take off your color stains? If she seems really reluctant to try it out and scared of the idea, put a glove on your hand and do it yourself before she takes you back to the shampoo bowl. I know it seems silly to do this yourself, but sometimes when a stylist is scared of something like this, it’s a liability thing. If she’s still reluctant, have her Google it. Plenty of hairstylists know this trick and I’m sure she could read that on some threads on professional, cosmetology sites.

From your question, it sounds like you might also be asking about whether the color is fully rinsed out of the hair when you leave. If that is also a problem as well as the staining effect you’re having around your ears and scalp, then it’s a big problem you should address in the salon. Especially if the girl you’re seeing has already done this in the past, after she finishes washing your hair at the shampoo bowl, sit up and literally feel around your nape to check if you feel color. I’ve gone through this when I’ve changed salons and had to adjust to new bowls that dip differently around the neck, but I always double check before we leave the shampoo area to make sure I’ve gotten all of the color rinsed out. If you still feel color, politely ask her to rinse you again until all the color is out. When I started at a new salon last year, I made the mistake of not getting all the color rinsed out on the neck and my client asked to double-check because she still felt some. I was embarrassed that I hadn’t caught it, but I can guarantee you that if I had when I went to comb her hair out and start our cut, I would have escorted her back to the shampoo bowl and we would have rinsed it out before continuing. It’s perfectly fine to ask for that and in fact, you should demand that kind of basic service.

Good luck with these tips and be sure to let me know how it works!! :)


Dear Kate, If I could make it to your salon I would. But I guess I can only hope to get your advice. My hair growing up had always straddled the line between blonde and brunette and was generally pretty cool toned for the most part. About a year and a half ago, I decided to go very light (almost platinum), cool toned blonde with all over highlighting. I was satisfied with the color for a while but about five months later I decided on going darker. I asked my hairstylist for a cool medium brown, specifying that I wanted no red tones whatsoever, and at the end of the appointment, my hair was full-on red. I panicked and went to Sally’s beauty supply and used color stripper packets to remove some of it. Over the next few months I tried a couple box dyes to get rid of the red-brown that I was left with, but to no avail. In July of this year, I went to a different salon and asked for a medium neutral brown and was pretty pleased with the results, but the red underneath seemed to take over, and when my hair is in the sun, it still look like a redhead. The first salon attempt at going darker was supposed to slowly fade over time, but the box dyes and the second salon attempt were both permanent, so I can’t figure out what to do! Right now I want to go a really dark brown (about a three or four according to your chart) and I want the undertone to be completely cool, with no red or orange whatsoever. Is there a certain process or set of processes that you think will get me to what I want without fading back to red? Thank you so much, your website has been such a help to me thus far.


Unfortunately, I get emails about this problem all the time! It’s such a bummer when you have so much red in your hair and all you want is a more natural, cool tone. I’ve certainly been there myself as well on the client side of things and I know how frustrating the process is!

It sounds to me that the problem of the red you are seeing hasn’t actually been taken care of yet and that’s why you keep seeing it shine through and pop back up when your color starts to fade. Red pigment has the largest molecules of any color and because of that, it takes a lot of neutralizing to work it out of the hair strand and replace your pigment with your desired color.

Now, there’s a difference between “neutralizing” your red and using a “neutral” color on your red-toned hair. Adding a neutral color to your hair is what you’ve done so far and you see how that has worked out. That’s because when you see a color bottle that says “Neutral Brown”, that color has a little bit of every pigment on the color spectrum. That’s what makes it a true “neutral”. That means it has some coolness and also some warmth. The coolness might work for a hot minute to make your hair look like it doesn’t have warmth, but as soon as that fades out (and because of it’s smaller molecules, it will be the first to fade out), the warm pigment is back and your hair looks more red again. This can also give you the false sense that the warmth has been taken care of, but really it’s just a temporary solution.

Neutralizing your red, however, means to use cool tones on the opposite side of the spectrum to make your red a cooler or neutral tone, depending on where you really want to be. In order to get back to either of these, you literally have to do an all over color of blue or green (depending on if your red is more “true red” or “orange-red”) to counteract the pigment you currently have. I know this can seem like a really scary prospect and that’s why you probably haven’t seen a stylist ballsy enough to do it. But I can guarantee you that unless you use that red’s opposite color to work it out over time, you will always had that red shining through.

Unfortunately, at this point, I’m not sure how much has built up on your hair with the box color that you did, so you might have to see a professional for a double process. This means because there is so much built up of that darker, red color, you might have to completely strip it out to start again. For that kind of opinion, I’d have to see and touch your hair to know what to do. But if you are a bit scared to potentially waste your money on another failed salon attempt, I would start by getting a demi-permanent green color and leave that on your hair for about 10-15 minutes. Watch that for 2-3 weeks and if that seems to be neutralizing your red, then keep doing that process every 5-6 weeks. With some luck, this will take care of your problem and you won’t have to strip out that color underneath again. I would also get a good clarifying shampoo, which can help open your hair strand and work out deep build up and I would wash your hair with that before each time you use your cool demi-permanent. And when you finishing rinsing out your color at the very end, run some cool water through your ends to seal up your cuticle and keep that color in longer.

Without seeing your hair and knowing what I’ve seen in the salon over the years and on my own hair, this is the best way that I think you should approach this dilemma. I hope this helps you out a lot and good luck, friend!! :)


Hi Kate, I’ve just read your blog on HelloGiggles and it was extremely helpful! I’ve been searching for answers on how to avoid pulling red/orange for years. I often use Ion Color Creme from Sally Beauty when I color my own hair and I’m looking to achieve a medium brown that won’t be brassy. My hair is naturally a light ash brown but it has a few layers of coloring from my hairdresser (mostly warm browns, once we did ombre). Last night, I tried a mixture of 4A and 5A from Sally’s, both ash browns, and my hair still seems to pull orangey undertones. I’m wondering if you know of any products I could get from a store like Sally Beauty that would incorporate green undertones? Thanks so much!


It sounds like you know your stuff when it comes to color theory, but I’m so glad I can help you further! While I don’t know the brands and colors available at Sally’s, I do know that if you are still pulling mostly orange, then the green undertones won’t do much for you besides create a muddier, flatter color. My guess is that the “Ash” colors you tried were more on the purple side than the blue side and that’s why they aren’t totally helping with the orange that’s left shining through.

Since I’m not familiar with the colors at Sally’s, I’m not sure what to recommend. But I know that if you are pulling more of a true orange, brassy color, you’ll need to use a blue toned demi-permanent color to counteract that and get you back to a neutral. Instead of looking for an “Ash” color that can possibly be any combination of green, blue or purple, look for a color that says “Blue”. Just like with the last answer, I know this can sound really scary to just put over your head, but leave it on for only 10-15 minutes, especially the first time. Or better yet, head to a salon and tell them you need a blue demi to counteract the orange you are still seeing in your hair and they will have plenty of strong options for that.

I hope this helps you out and thanks for writing in! Let me know what you decide to do and I can’t wait to hear about the results! :)


Hi Kate! I’m a HelloGiggles reader and I love your hair articles! I always have trouble with my hair because, well, there’s a lot of it and I can’t really do anything with it so I like seeking solutions.

I was wondering if you know Toni&Guy products? They recently started selling them at my local store and they’re a bit pricey for my range (I’m used to buying regular market brands), but I’m thinking of giving them a try because they’re sold as salon products, which I know you generally recommend. Are they worth it? I hate buying whole bottles of products I don’t know just to try them and see they’re not for me…

Thanks in advance!!


Thanks so much for the HG love, friend! I actually have never used a Toni&Guy product, which is so crazy, but the brand has a tremendous reputation in the salon world for being edgy yet professional and upscale. So I know that with this brand, you are most likely in great hands using their products. Even one of my fave hairdressers (Tabatha Coffey from Tabatha Takes Over) is a former educator with them and loved her time with the brand.

The one thing that I would advise you to do is pull up the Toni&Guy website and try to find one of their salons near you to get your product from them. There are a couple reasons why I would suggest that. The first is that usually in the grocery store, the products are a bit higher of a cost than you would get at a salon because you’re basically paying for convenience. And the second is that in a Toni&Guy specific salon, you can sit down for a complimentary consultation with a hairdresser who knows the line well, can look at and feel your hair and recommend the perfect shampoo and conditioner in the line for you. If you look at those pretty little bottles, they say on the back that they’re “only guaranteed when sold in a professional salon”. I still haven’t figured out how grocery store chains and department stores are able to sell these products outside of a salon (some manufacturers like Kevin Murphy take great pains to make sure their products only go through a salon), but I know that if you buy something through a salon and don’t love it, they can usually take it back without any kind of penalty and exchange it for something different. And they can do another consultation with you and help you find something perfect!

I hope this advice helps you out and good luck!


Good evening Ms. Kate. I have a one year old son who I’m still breastfeeding. I’ve read your post on hello giggles. I would like to ask if it’s okay for me to undergo hair re-bonding while still breastfeeding? I’m worried my son would ingest the chemicals used during the treatment. I’ve never tried this before and I’d appreciate your advice. All I’ve gone through previously was getting a hair relaxing treatment twice, 2005 and 2010, with an accidental mahogany shade/color during cellophane treatment on 2010. Also, my hair is dry and brittle and some strands fall whenever I brush it, especially while taking a bath.Thank you very much, more power and God bless you. :)


Hey, friend! Thank you so much for writing in with this question! It sounds like you are very proactive with making sure your son is taken care of and healthy and that is completely admirable!  First things first, when it comes to what you can pass through to your child through breastfeeding, I would always check with a doctor before doing. I have done re-bonding treatments since I learned how to in beauty school and I’ve seen various results depending on any medication the client is on and the hair type on which I’m performing. From what I’ve seen, any serious change in the amount of hormones you are or aren’t producing can really change the outcome of the treatment. As a hairdresser, I’d be concerned about this treatment not taking fully or doing something unpredictable just because of your body acting a bit differently while you’re still breastfeeding. Because of that, I just wouldn’t want you to waste your time and money on a treatment that might not take and do what you have paid for it to do.

What I would suggest is to check with your doctor first and verify that this is something you can in fact do. You can even just call and speak with a medical assistant or nurse in the doctor’s office if you need a quicker answer. Then, if they agree it won’t be harmful, I would do a “strand test” with a certified hairdresser to make sure it will take as you’d like it to. This just means your hairdresser will take a small section in the back of your hair and apply the treatment, let it process and determine whether the outcome is suitable or not. This way, you know whether it will be worth it to go ahead and do the whole head. Because you’ve said your hair is already in a brittle state (and I’ve seen this kind of treatment break hair off if left on too long), that would definitely be the best way to go! Good luck with pursuing this treatment and congratulations on your little guy!! :)


Hi Kate,
Loved your article and was wondering if you could help me pick what shampoo & conditioner without chemicals is good for fine hair that’s been previously colored. I’d greatly appreciate your response!


Great question and definitely one that I get all the time! I would like to first make the point that very, very few shampoos are made without chemicals. I know some women choose to make their own concoctions and at home and you can find plenty of resources on HelloGiggles that can teach you how to do that if having a chemical-free shampoo is of utmost importance to you!

However, if you are more interested in finding a shampoo and conditioner that is as eco-friendly and harmless as possible, but still works wonders for your hair (which I find the organic options often don’t), then I would steer you to Kevin Murphy’s Angel Wash & Rinse. Kevin Murphy as a brand only creates products with ingredients that have been micro-cultivated through very sustainable practices. Their products are full of antioxidants and essential oils which help deliver nutrients and vitamins to your hair and scalp and they are also certified by PETA as a cruelty-free company. And of course, they are completely sulfate and paraben-free, so I think this line would really give you what you are looking for. Angel Wash & Rinse in particular is great for your hair type because it has hydrolyzed oat proteins that plump and thicken fine hair and green tea leaf extract that helps strengthen damaged or colored hair. This is actually the shampoo that I’ve been using at home in my shower for the past few months and I’m loving how soft and thick my hair is feeling. I think you’d love this one for your hair, too! :)


Hello! I saw your article on hair color on hello giggles. I have just one question and I really hope you can answer since I really don’t know what to do..

I had very dark brown hair (nearly black) my natural color, I went to the hair colorist and I wanted a light orange-blond. I was totally ok to dye it if necessary since I know my color is very dark, but the hairdresser didn’t think it was necessary. But now I have brown-red hair!! He acknowledged that he did it wrong and I will have another color free. Now I just want to have a light brown or dark blond.

question: I think I need to dye now but can I get rid of the red by dying?

Thank you so much for your attention. I wish you a good day!!! :)


Hey, what a great question! I’m so sorry you had to go through that unfortunate situation to get to what you are wanting, but I’m very glad you spoke your mind and were able to come to a solution with your hairstylist! I always say that a hairdresser needs to be held accountable if they mess up and it can be a learning opportunity for them and you!

For your hair color, you can read the previous answers I gave to get to the bottom of the chemistry of red in hair. I would advise you to take a look at those answers as well as this segment of 10 Commandments of Hair Color to really understand why red becomes so apparent in certain hair colors and why it’s so difficult to get rid of! And once you’ve gotten that and can move on to figure out the solution to your unique issue, catch up with me here!

In your case, since there was only one poor color job that exposed a harsh red you didn’t want, you have some good options. Now, here’s where the trickiness comes into play… since you started with “virgin” natural hair and got a result you didn’t want, you should just have your stylist perform a “soap cap” or a color remover to get that previous application out and start with your natural base again. I know it sounds taxing, but it’s an easy process that can make your future with color much smoother. If you don’t go this route and just neutralize it, you might end up with a few different applications over a few different appointments to neutralize and that sounds like much more work than you want.

This “soap cap” option is something your stylist does to either pull color out that has recently been placed or it can be used to bump your level of color up by a shade quickly and easily. It’s a mixture that your stylist makes of lightener, developer and shampoo and though it sounds a bit scary, it’s a gentle mixture with the shampoo buffering. Your stylist will put this on and leave it for a just a few minutes until that red has been pulled out as much as possible. Then, they can simply deposit the color you were looking to do: a dark blonde or light brown. And once that color is deposited, you should only really need touch ups to keep your new growth covered and maintained. I would recommend doing this rather than neutralizing out the red because it will save you time and maintenance, you have only one layer of red in your hair so it can be lifted out easily with minimal damage and because you have a chance for the stylist to do this right complimentary, you should go with the most effective option.

I really hope that answer helps you out and make sure to let me know if you need any further help!


Hi Kate, So I found your blog this morning while looking for ways to fix my hair! I would really appreciate your advice… I have naturally brown hair but have box dyed my hair a mix of colours for about 5 years. In the last year I have stuck to a strawberry blonde colour that has lightened my hair slightly more every time. I tried a different colour last night that has turned my hair horribley bright red and slightly patchy! What would you recommend to get it back to my strawberry blonde colour? Or is it a case of go back to my natural colour? I really need to try and fix it ASAP as I have a few work meetings coming up (including tomorrow) and am working until 9 tonight so unable to go to a stylist!Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you soon!


I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to get to your question in time for your meetings, but I hope this answer will still help you nonetheless! :) First, I just have a general rule of thumb that any crazy color your hair ends up being can be hidden best in a chic, smooth topknot until it can be changed. I know that isn’t a permanent solution, but I’ve had to do that on myself in between color treatments and I find that it helps me still look polished for meetings and such even when my color is a bit “out there”.

When it comes to your color, though, there are a few things going on. First, you have five years of build up under your current hair color, so you have to understand that every time you change your color, you are also working with every pigment that has been on your hair since you began coloring. Obviously some of it has grown out, but all of that permanent color is still underneath and needs to be taken into consideration when making a change. Second, doing that much box color over five years time (because it has much harsher chemicals than salon color) can really cause a drastic change in the porosity of your hair. Porosity is just your hair’s ability to hold water or moisture and your lack of porosity is what you’re seeing when you see those patches. My best guess as to why this happened (without knowing your hair or what exact color you used) is that you used a color that had some redness to it, but because your hair was already lighter than normal and very porous from the box colors, it took to the red very dramatically.

Unfortunately when your hair is in that state, it will do things like this without you knowing it will happen! For a temporary solution (if you are over dealing with the box colors and redness), I would just do an overall darker color that can cover up what you have going on and leave you presentable for future commitments you have going on. However, for a longer term fix, I would probably see a stylist. They can do a few things depending on what you want your overall outcome to be. I would recommend them doing some heavy balayage highlights to begin lifting out those box colors you’ve been using and doing a demi-permanent darker color in between the highlights. This will cover up the red in between re-touches and slowly begin to lift the hair up to your desired strawberry blonde color in the meantime. Then when that color is lifted out of your hair, you’ll be left with your lighter strawberry blonde and you can pretty much take your hair anywhere from that point. And the other major thing I would recommend longer term is getting onto a treatment regimen so that your hair is in optimal condition. This will make it shinier, healthier, bouncier and way less prone to dryness and breakage. Your stylist can recommend something for your specific hair type, but definitely make sure to get on some kind of deep conditioner or masque treatment to start bringing your hair back to a great place. I hope that helps you out and again, I hope those meetings weren’t too scary with your red hair! Confidence can go a long way in situations like that, my friend and I hope you ROCKED it! ;)

Remember to get your questions in now if you would like your question submitted and answered for next month’s #AskKate! You can submit through email or use the hashtag #AskKate on Twitter! Thank you for tuning in this month and I can’t wait to bring you even more fun facts in November! :)