Balayage Behind The Chair

Ask The Stylist | Winter Edition

Q: “I get my new growth touched up every three weeks to cover up grey hair. I have dark brown hair. The past couple of times my hair started getting lighter kind of looking highlighted, but she said it was same color. This time I went and when I got home I noticed my hair really dark around my face, where my new growth is and my ends. I called to tell her what happened and she said she did not know. Do you have any idea what happened and is this normal?”

A: Without being able to see your hair and know your full color history, my best guess would be that your hairdresser probably changed up your formula without wanting to admit to it. I wouldn’t be sure whether that was done intentionally, whether they changed up the product line they were using and just didn’t formulate properly with the new line or whether they just simply didn’t leave it on long enough to process, so it stayed a bit lighter. And then when you went this last time, I’m not sure why it was so much darker. It could be because your stylist overcompensated for the fact that you’d been complaining about being lighter, so she took you too dark this time to make sure it took to your grey. But it could also be because you have a really high porosity to your hair (meaning your hair will soak up color quicker because it’s been over-processed) and it took to the dark color too much. Either way, the real issue here is that your stylist “doesn’t know” what happened and seems unwilling to be helpful in solving the problem. If this had just been one situation of you being unhappy about how things happened and she was willing to talk through it with you and figure out the solution, then I would say give her a chance. However, the way she’s approached making you feel taken care of is unsettling and I honestly wouldn’t trust her to have your best interest at heart going forward. If you need help in finding a new stylist, I’d be happy to help you through my Stylist Matchmaking service. Or I’d recommend talking to friends who’s hair you love and booking a consultation with one of their stylists. I hope this advice helps and thank you so much for writing in!

Q: “I’m seeking some tips on dealing with breakage. I have fine, thin hair that seems to break when I sneeze. I have your fine hair guide bookmarked, and I’ve made changes- using a silk pillowcase, only wide toothed combing when wet, not rough towel drying. I wash it every three days with Neuma products, use boar bristled brushes, and I try to only use claw clips and bobby pins or braids (I used to yank it into buns, no more). I have cut it short a couple of times to let the breakage “catch up”, but I’m still seeing short hairs around my part. Is there anything else I haven’t thought of to curb this? Thank you, and thank you for the behind the chair approach to your blog, I’ve never paid so much attention to haircare!”

A: I’m so glad that you’ve found some good ways to work with with your fine hair! One other thing you could think about doing is adding in a treatment system. I use the Kevin.Murphy range of Plumping.Wash, Plumping.Rinse and Body.Mass. I do all of the things you are doing (the pillowcase and good brushes and such) to maintain the strength and integrity of my hair. But then to help those fragile hairs that have a hard time growing on their own, the plumping treatments really help! I recommend Kevin.Murphy specifically because I know the chemistry behind it AND I’ve been using it on my hair for about 6 months and I’m seeing results. I’ll never recommend something that I don’t know works, so you’re safe with this! The Plumping Wash & Rinse are to add thickness to your hair strands immediately. It’s kind of a perfect volumizing regimen for fine hair because it gives moisture as well as volume, without weighing the hair down at the roots or drying out the ends. However, you could continue to use your Neuma products for the wash and rinse step if you’d like! What’s really important in this regimen is the Body.Mass. This is a leave in spray that you spray in at the roots every day for the first 14 days. It’s lightweight and can just be worked into the scalp with your fingers easily. It doesn’t dry sticky or tacky and it does give a little bit of volume, so you can even use it as a styling product. The reason you have to use it every day for the first 14 is because the product is clearing out the DHT that builds up in the dormant follicles causing hair loss or thinning. This is crucial because you need to have healthy follicles able to sustain new growth in order for the treatment to work. Then, after the 14 days, you can just use the Body.Mass on the scalp each time you wash. From that point on, your Body.Mass is simply using the same technology that eyelash lengthening and thickening products use. By allowing the hair to stay in the growing phase longer and from a healthier hair follicle, your strands will grow thicker and longer at a quicker pace. In my hair, it took about two months of use until I started to see results. But once I did, I started to see short hairs popping up and that was the new growth coming through. From there, it took about two more months until those hairs were long enough to sit down on their own without me spraying them into place. And then they were just a part of my haircut and I blended them into the layers. I would strongly recommend getting this treatment system and adding that to your routine. It sounds like you’re doing everything you can and you’re making great strides. :) But if you really care to rebuild and strengthen your hair follicles and your hair strands, this is the way to do it and make a long-term difference. You can purchase Kevin.Murphy products at any Kevin.Murphy salon and you can find one in your area by checking out the website. And of course, if you’re in Denver, you can get them from me downtown. Thank you so much for writing in and I hope you love the treatment line as much as I do!

Q: “I read your response to ombre without using bleach. My question is that don’t all developers have peroxide aka bleach in anyway? What is the difference between a lightener and a cream peroxide developer? You mentioned using a high lift colour for ombre. Typically what level of developer would be used with a high lift colour? Lastly what is the lowest vol developer that can be used for total grey coverage?”

A: All developers are made of peroxide, yes. But they don’t contain bleach in them. If that were the case, we would be adding bleach to every permanent or demi-permanent color that we mix up (depending on the color line) and that would have devastating results on color processes in the chemistry of how they are formulated (since bleach is a lightening agent) and in the damage of the hair. The difference between a lightener and a cream peroxide developer is that lightener is the bleach you would mix with a developer. And the cream developer is the oxidizing agent that you would mix to the bleach to begin the lightening process. In order to color or lighten, you have to use both agents (color or bleach and a peroxide developer) to allow the color to process, so that would be the difference. The color or bleach is just it’s own agent and incapable of penetrating the hair strand for permanence until it’s mixed with the developer. Typically, high lift colors use a 40 volume developer, but you should always always follow manufacturer’s directions when using the color line. Especially when working with on the scalp applications and/or high lift series. And to answer your last question, the lowest volume developer you can use for grey coverage is 20 volume because you need something strong enough to penetrate the cortex, not just deposit, so that you get permanent results. But again, in this kind of situation, there will be specific instructions that your color line will recommend and I’d advise you to follow those! Great question and thank you so much for taking the time to write in! :)

Q: “I just recently began using a family friend who is licensed for hair.  I get very blonde highlights about every 2 months.  My hair on top has begun to break off.  My hair is very thin … Is this the stylist’s fault that my hair is breaking off ???”

A: More than likely, it is probably due to over-processing from the bleach. That may or may not be your stylist’s fault depending on how she is applying your color, whether just to your new growth or to the mid-strands and ends as well. For example, if she is taking a high volume developer with your bleach and instead of just applying to your new growth, she’s also running that bleach down your ends, that would definitely cause breakage from over-processing your hair. Especially if your natural texture is fine and thin. But it could also not necessarily be her fault if your hair is just too fragile to handle the bleaching you’re putting it through. However, it should be her job as your stylist to make sure your hair is in the proper condition before doing anything to it.. even if that damage took place before she touched it. If it was too fragile for highlights before she did them, that was her obligation to say so. And if she had, you probably wouldn’t have seen breakage. What you need to do is get yourself a protein treatment stat. You’re losing your hair because it’s not strong enough to withstand what you’re putting it through. So for the immediate solution, you need to be doing weekly protein treatments to add lots of strength to your hair and to help rebuild from the cortex (or inner layer of the hair) out.. And then, you need to have a convo with your stylist. I wouldn’t be accusatory, but I would bring up the fact that you are seeing more breakage recently since she’s taken over doing your hair and you want to get to the bottom of figuring out why. If she’s willing to discuss it with you and figure out some options to better take care of your hair, then I would give her another chance. But if she gets defensive and isn’t helpful, I would probably spend a bit more money and go see someone in a salon. I know that might be an awkward conversation to have, but it’s better than ending up with more breakage and continued confusion. It’s also important to note that breakage and thinning can happen for a variety of reasons. In this case, it seems like the obvious culprit could be your bleaching. And I’d assume, as a professional, that’s the case. However, even a simple medication or supplement could cause that and if this continues no matter what your hair regimen is, it’s worth getting some blood work done or consulting a physician. The biggest indicators of our internal health are our hair, skin and nails so it’s always important to pay attention to the condition of those and let your doctor know when a sudden change happens. I’ve written about my journey with hair loss and my thyroid disorder, so trust me that I know both as a hairdresser who’s seen hair loss from behind the chair and as just a women who has experienced the stress of hair loss from an unknown cause. Thank you so much for your question! And if you need help connecting with a new hairdresser, feel free to check out my Hairstylist Matchmaking! :)

To submit your ASK THE STYLIST questions for quarter’s column, please visit my contact page and fill out the form. And be sure to follow me on Insta for daily tips, advice and #LoveNotes. 

How To Style A Bob For Women With Straight, Fine Hair

I’ve been rocking a blunt bob or long bob for the past couple years. I’m so in love with it I’ve even written about the style for HelloGiggles a time or two!

Even after months on months of wearing this cut, I still love how versatile I can be with styling it. It’s just long enough to tuck into a topknot for when I’m feeling lazy at home, but it also looks professional and chic when I let it air dry or add some wave to it! And I always love a good half-up do when I’m feeling particularly inspired to switch it up!

Here are my favorite ways to wear the bob:

Air-dried. My natural texture is straight and smooth, but when I air-dry, I do so with a little bit of Powder.Puff at my roots for volume and a little Young.Again Oil on my ends for control and shine. I love rocking my hair air-dried because it looks great with a side part and looks edgy, but still polished. I also love seeing naturally wavy hair air-dried with this cut!

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Sleek & Straight. I don’t do my hair super straight often because I’m more of a volume kind of gal. But every once in awhile, I like to smooth it down and show off my sleek side. I usually stick with a side part to soften the severity of the texture, but when I really want to boss it up, I go for a hard, middle part. 7509_10156368947750576_7129169943727029438_n

Side Tuck. I have this cute little pearly guy from my Dad’s wedding to my stepmom a few years ago. The only time I really bring it out is when I need to jazz up a half-up do. And since I’m trying to get more creative this year and not just wear my hair down, this is the perfect accessory. I just twisted my hair back on one side from my part-line and secured it with this clip. Add some texture from Hair.Resort spray and voila! All set!

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Texture Twist. Instead of rocking a side braid, start with two pieces and twist them together. Then add more hair in each time you twist around to the section furthest from your hair line. Finish off your twist by wrapping both pieces together until you run out of hair. I finish this with some Powder.Puff instead of an elastic. This look is a really fun way to still take five minutes on your hair, but leave it looking more 2016 than a side braid.

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Topknot. I pretty much always reserve this one for my time spent at home dancing in my undies. But that’s not to say that with a little black dress and some lipstick, you couldn’t rock this on a night out. Especially since athleisure is still going strong in 2016, a messy topknot is the perfect accessory for an effortlessly cool hairstyle.

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Bedhead. Did I roll out of bed at 11am or am I a boss lady on the grind since 6? You can’t tell because this hairstyle can really be dressed up with a midi skirt and heels or dressed down with a casual jumpsuit. I created this look with a little Doo.Over and Fresh.Hair on second day hair and then I did a couple quick turns with the flatiron around my face for added movement. But I mostly like this look to have some texture and fullness.

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*My hair is naturally straight and fine. These are the styles that I’ve found for my hair type that work the best, have the most hold and take the least amount of time. BUT it’s worth it to note that I know women of all hair types who rock the bob or lob and I LOVE seeing their natural texture of curl or wave in the style. I hope this post serves you as inspiration for rocking your texture!

Show me some of your fave ways to wear the your hair on Instagram @HairWithKate!

Hair With Kate

January #LoveNotes

Happy 2016, beauties! I hope you had a fabulous time ringing in the new year! I was at home by myself with a bottle of champagne, some chick flicks and take out. I spent some time reading, took a bubble bath, thought a lot about how I want my 2016 to look… And also rapped my heart out to every Nicki Minaj song ever. Sometimes dating yourself and not worrying about how anyone else wants to spend their holiday is just the best thing ever!

This year, I have some pretty serious goals and that was part of my wanting to stay home to ring in the new. I wanted the way I entered the year to symbolize that this would be a year of balance and productivity for me. I’ve really been growing through a time of transition and a large part of my identity is owning being a confident, empowered woman. A woman who not only knows her worth and how to carry herself, but who also doesn’t waste time on friendships or partnerships that aren’t uplifting and loving. It’s been a really tough year for me, but I’m entirely grateful for everything that I’ve been through because I’m coming out of 2015 a much stronger woman than I thought I could ever be. I’m only looking forward and I’m more focused than ever on taking care of me and continuing to become the woman I want to be. And taking you guys along with me for the ride! :)

As I’ve been on this journey, there have been a few quotes and sayings (in addition to Beyonce lyrics) that have given me strength in reminding me what I’m capable of. I’m calling them #LoveNotes and I think they are great quotes to reflect on regularly for encouragement, strength and motivation!

For daily #LoveNotes, follow my instagram page @HairWithKate!

“You must want to spend the rest of your life with yourself first.” -Rupi Kaur

“I’ve seen over and over again how much self belief drives outcome, that’s why I force myself to sit at the table even when I’m not sure I belong there- and that still happens to me. And when I’m not sure anyone wants my opinion, I speak up anyway.” -Sheryl Sandberg

“Let us pick up our books and pencils. They are our most powerful weapons.” -Malala Yousafzai

“I have dug my way out the ground with palm and fist many times. My whole life has been one burial after another. I will find my way out of you just fine.” -Rupi Kaur

“Your crown has been bought and paid for. Put it on your head and wear it.” -Dr. Maya Angelo

“I’m not searching for my other half. I’m not a half.”

“I’m stopped feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere, and realized that I actually belonged anywhere I wanted to be.” -Sophia Amoruso

“Some women are lost in the fire. Some are built from it.” -Michelle K

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person that walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.” -Haruki Murakami

“Extremists have shown us what they fear most: a girl with a book.” -Malala Yousafzai

“I used to hope that you’d bring me flowers. Now I plant my own.” -Rachel Woldchin

“The most reliable way to predict the future is the create it.”

“Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.”

“Being positive in a negative situation is not naive. It’s leadership.”

“A strong woman understands that the gifts such as logic, decisiveness and strength are just as feminine as intuition and emotional connection.” -Nancy Rattburn

“Here’s one thing the fashion industry probably won’t tell you: confidence is more attractive than anything you could put on your body.” -Sophia Amoruso

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” -Dr. Maya Angelou

“Elegance is a statement, an attitude. Elegant women are women of character with confidence.” -Elie Saab

“If you get, give. If you learn, teach.” -Dr. Maya Angelou

“Of course I’m not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.” -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

“How you make others feel about themselves, says a lot about you.”

“The biggest mistake a woman can make is to not be herself in public or private.” -DVF

“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” 

“We all move forward when we recognize how resilient and striking the women around us are.” -Rupi Kaur

“We were scared, but our fear was not as strong as our courage.” -Malala Yousafza

“Do not fall in love, darling. Rise in love.”

Out & About | Denver Style Magazine Mix & Mingle

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I’ve been following Denver Style Magazine since they launched and it’s safe to say I’m a teeny bit obsessed with the brand. They offer tons of services including access to their photography studio, brand consulting, trunk shows and also networking events for Denver’s fashion and beauty lovers. From the chic details of their logo to the flawless production of their events, Denver Style Magazine really embodies what all of us fashionistas picture Denver style to be.

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So I was really excited to go to one of their networking events with the fabulous Glamour Bar last Thursday. I finally got to see the brand in action and help out with Glamour Bar’s custom lipstick and lip gloss bar at the same time.

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The first vendor I met was Anna from Anna Festa and we had a fabulous conversation about her designs, her dreams for the future of fashion and her plans to present at Denver Fashion Weekend’s Non-traditional model night. Anna has a sincere passion for changing the way fashion is presented on the runway and to showcase that, she makes her designs in sizes 2-24. She has worked with brands like Zac Posen in the past and though she appreciates her fashion roots, she was very quick to tell me she became very uncomfortable with sending too skinny models down the runway and perpetuating an ideal that is often unattainable. So she started her Anna Festa line as well as a tennis collection because “all women want to feel pretty when working out!”.

I asked her about the qualifications for non-traditional model night and how she chose her models and she laughed, telling me that “plus-size” is technically size 6 and up. And “mature” is over 30. To which I replied, “So I’m technically a plus-size, borderline mature woman!?”

OMG. I’m so on board with Anna’s mission to change the way we run the runway. And just a little hint: her models and designs totally rocked non-traditional night. But that will be a post for next week! ;)

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Then, I headed over to MKCollab and immediately fell in love with the most fabulous cape ever. It was a bit out of my price range, but I tried it on anyways and let the ladies take a few photos for their insta. Because why not? I felt fabulous in it! I also loved a lot of the jewelry on display. Gorgeous statement necklaces, which are totally my thing! And then they informed me that a lot of the Real Housewives wear these necklaces and I JUST HAD TO take pictures for my stepmom. We are honorary Real Housewives… like literally, I bought us shirts that say so.

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Probably my favorite booth was Pink’s. Their style was so me! What first caught my eye was a blue sequined mini. And then a graphic tee that said, “Good things come to those who hustle”. And then another shirt that said, “Perfect is boring”. And then a turquoise necklace. I’ll take it all, please! :) They girls running the booth were so sweet and I really enjoyed chatting with them about our mutual love of fashion and all things sparkly and fun!

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Besides those fabulous vendors I spoke with, I also got to take part in the Glamour Bar’s custom lipstick and lip gloss bar. Roxy rocked out some gorgeous custom colors for women attending the event and it was so fun getting to watch the process in action. Very mad scientist feeling! The nerd in me who thinks she’s a secret chemist was just loving it! :)

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There was also a great DJ playing some of my faves, the ladies from BootayBag (who I worked with the week prior to style models for their launch party), some reps from Denver Style Magazine and the infamous Patterns & Pops Mobile Boutique out front. Overall, it was an amazing night getting to know some of Denver’s fabulous fashionistas. I already can’t wait for the next Mix & Mingle coming up this month on the 19th!

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Follow along on my Instagram for daily happenings and behind the scenes info before it hits the blog @HairWithKate.

Check out the vendors:

Denver Style Magazine

Glamour Bar

Anna Festa

MKCollab

Pink’s

Patterns & Pops

BootayBag

Out & About | Glamour Bar Grand Opening

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Glamour Bar is a brand new boutique beauty bar in the heart of Capital Hill and just minutes from downtown Denver. With a commitment to becoming the ultimate house of beauty, owner Lyndsay opened up shop ready to to take the Denver scene by storm. She wasted no time by planning a fabulous grand opening party, which I was so excited to attend.

 

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The night was such a blast and I loved everything from the catered Italian food from DiFranco’s, the decor of the adorable space that Lyndsay’s put together and the energy of the crowd that turned up to celebrate. I was able to tour the entire space and check out the pedicure room, the custom lip bar, the manicure station, the retail area with the cutest necklaces, dresses and Unite stations and the styling stations. There are also separate rooms for eyelash extensions and spray tans.

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Now that Glamour Bar is officially up and running, you can book appointments by going to their website and booking online or by calling 303.444.2100. Open 7 days a week and with complimentary garage parking, Glamour Bar is the perfect place to get ready for any event or just a night out on the town! Tell them Kate sent you! ;)

 

Kevin.Murphy: Skincare For Your Hair… And Skin?

12042037_10156077434415576_1232547074_nIt’s no secret that I love my Kevin.Murphy products. I don’t know what I would do without these little miracle products in my shower at home or in my station at work. What really set the brand apart when I started playing with it a few years ago was how well everything worked AND how healthy it still left the hair.

I’ve since learned that a key reason why that’s the case is because Kevin has worked really hard to make it so. As a session stylist, his products were really born out of a need to create the best that would perform in a high fashion environment, but still leave the hair looking and feeling healthy at the same time. What was on the market just wasn’t cutting it. So he went to the lab.. :) In his products, he put essential oils because they smell delicious and natural, but also because they act as bio-catalysts for the other ingredients and penetrate the hair on a cellular level. He also infused his products with vitamins and minerals so that each product is delivering beneficial nutrients to each strand. And of course, the line is very rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants work hard to minimize damage that we see from the sun, environment, color services and really anything that would cause the “decaying” of hair. Ingredients like kakadu plum and immortelle oil are used in several products to do just that. And because each ingredient is sustainably harvested and/or micro-cultivated, the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential oils are more pure and safer for the climate and client.

So as a Kevin.Murphy educator, I’ve had this question a lot: “Since the ingredients are safe and because Kevin.Murphy is skincare for your hair, can I use these products on my body and face?” And because I experiment everything, I tested out that theory. Sure enough, I fell in love with a few products that are now my go to’s for hair and skin. As I discovered what products I began to love using as a body wash or a shave oil, I began to hear feedback in classes from other hairdressers who already had faves. So I tried those, too.

Here are the top 5 that I now use on the regular for both skin and hair:

1. Super.Goo: 12080724_10156077434420576_1560542199_nI love this product on my hair for the perfect wet look or a quick vintage fingerwave set. But when I’m out of my favorite brow gel and in a bind? I love Super.Goo mixed with just a tad bit of dark shadow to match my brows to substitute for a traditional brow gel. The shadow gives it a more matte look and because it’s super strong and dries very quickly, it makes for the best gel to perfect and sculpt your brows. I learned this trick on accident when I ran out of my regular brow gel, but I think this new routine is my new go to!

 

12067951_10156077434405576_9219058_n2. Maxi.Wash: This detox shampoo is so amazing as a pre-wash. It’s exfoliating and full of AHA’s to slough off anything that’s lifting off the cuticle layer of your hair. I use it from scalp down to my ends before shampooing to give my hair and scalp a clean slate. And because it’s so exfoliating and the tea tree scent is so refreshing, I’ve started using Maxi.Wash as a body wash as well. It’s almost part scrub, part body wash because of it’s strength in removing dead skin. And because it’s already in my shower in the morning… it’s perfectly convenient!

 

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3. Young.Again Oil: And speaking of shower maintenance, Young.Again oil is the most perfect after shave oil. Because it’s full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, it really helps to maintain a moisture balance and replenish skin that has been exfoliated. It works on the cellular level, so I always layer on a good amount and give it about three minutes to soak in. I even use it on my hands and face often because it really works to give you a “second skin” and fill in the holes left from environmental and chemical damage and just natural wear and tear from aging.

 

12084141_10156077434430576_793579424_n4. Damage.Manager: This awesome product has a complex blend of essential oils and plant extracts that help to not only prevent future heat damage, but to also help repair cells that have already been damaged. The allantion in the product causes new cells to grow and arnica root prevents inflammation, making Damage.Manager the perfect spray to fix any skin burn. I spray this product on my hair as a heat protectant, but I also spray it on my hands and arms when I get any kind of burn from using my curling iron or cooking. It helps my burns heal quicker and with less sting.

 

12092567_10156077434425576_784041439_n5. Shimmer.Shine: Ever since it launched in 2013, this product has been my go to as a body spray. I love the smell and the little gold flakes from the tiny mica give off a touch of shine. And because the spray is oil based, it’s also moisturizing. I absolutely love it blowdried into my hair and as an after styling spray. But honestly, no matter how I’ve styled my hair, I usually spritz myself down before leaving my house just to give myself a little extra sparkle. I always get compliments on the scent and especially after a long flight, Shimmer.Shine feels like such a refresh!

If you live in Denver and want to try out any of my fave products, you can visit me at The Oxford Hotel Salon & Spa and book a complimentary consultation! And if you aren’t in Denver, you can head to the Kevin.Murphy website and find a salon near you!

On Humility Behind The Chair

Behind The ChairI wanted to tell you guys an interesting story about a recent situation I had with a client. I’ve changed the name of said client, but all of the details and especially what I learned through the interactions we had are very much real.

We’ll call her Rachel because why not? :)

So Rachel came to see me several months ago for the first time. She’d had a bad experience at the first salon she went to after moving to Denver and had seen my website, so she thought she’d see if I could fix it. Unfortunately, the previous hairdresser had really cut into the face framing in the front and left quite a hole where there should have been a soft, easy frame. The layers were uneven and Rachel was so upset that her gorgeous, long dark hair wasn’t styling how it should.

After a lot of time together discussing our options and where Rachel had originally wanted to go with her hair before the mess up, we decided the best thing would be to take off about 5 inches or so and allow the framing in the front to grow out. It was a huge bummer and neither of us were excited to go back to what felt like starting from scratch, but I knew that until that framing grew out, it would always be really difficult to style and it would take twice as long to blend out if we didn’t take the length now.

So we snipped.

And on that day when Rachel left, it was a weird feeling as a hairdresser. I felt somehow saddened that I couldn’t give her what she wanted. I pride myself on being able to consult well and deliver while exceeding expectations. However, I also understand that I wasn’t the hairdresser that got us here.

Still, it wasn’t a fun feeling to have her leave and know she wasn’t happy.

Every haircut has kind of been that way since I saw her at that first appointment. We’ve been growing out her layers and each time, we’ve had a little excitement to see the growth. But there was still a focus on how much further we had to go in order for her to get back to the hair she loved.

And then, I saw her again recently. I was really happy to see her because as soon as I saw her in the lobby waiting, I knew this would be our haircut. Her layers looked long enough that we could finally take off our standard ½ inch or so on the length and finally have the layers grown out enough that we could shape her entire haircut the way she’d always wanted it and let it grow out from here. I was ecstatic.

So I go through the haircut completely glowing, knowing that we are finally moving past this phase in her hair-story. YES!

But then I get to the end of the haircut and show Rachel all of the angles of her new look in the mirror and she’s sitting there, weighed down with obvious frustration, seemingly unsure what to say. Clearly, she’s not as happy as me.

So we had a conversation. And it was really difficult for me as a woman and as a hairdresser.

It turns out Rachel was still not in love with her haircut. She wanted more layers and felt like her hair was now way too flat and lacking movement. And I was frustrated because I felt like we’d just spent months growing out her layers and getting to this shape. We went back and forth with me shooting out ideas and her and I discussing the impacts of trying them. It kind of felt like we were on a verbal merry-go-round and by the end, I felt really uncomfortable moving forward in any way. I felt like I needed to do some more finishing, but I really didn’t want to make the wrong call given that it’s taken us so long to get to where we were.

The younger hairdresser that I’ve been in the past would have had a harder time letting go of the frustration and grabbing on to the humility that was called for.

But that would have been the younger me.

Instead, I asked Rachel if she would be willing to come back in on another day when I could ask for the assistance of our most senior hairdresser to consult with her and give us a fresh perspective. I told her I valued her as a client and in that, I would put aside any pride I felt at not being able to give her what she wanted and do what I felt was necessary to reach our ultimate goal: her happiness and love for her hair.

She said she’d be willing to do that.

Two days later, I sat down with Malissa, the senior hairdresser I wanted to consult with Rachel. I told her the backstory of what we’d been through and she was gracious enough to agree to spend half an hour with us giving us a new perspective.

Rachel arrived and sat down. After just a few minutes of talking, it was clear that all we needed to do was a bit more texturizing and finishing with the layers to round them out more and take out the weight. Malissa was able to see that immediately, talk Rachel through it as she got started and show me a few new texturizing and finishing tricks as she went.

And we laughed a lot, too. At the situation, at my total fear of doing anything to her hair, at our journey thus far. Just at life and how weird it can be sometimes. As I stood there reflecting on the story I’ve had with Rachel since we met, I was so grateful to feel like we’d gotten through such an often weird and difficult client/hairdresser situation. One that could have easily ended in hurt feelings, another bad haircut, lack of communication and understanding or just simply another negative experience in a salon for her.

At the end, Rachel was in love with her hair. I hadn’t seen her so relieved since I met her.

Malissa was more than happy to invest in me and help me grow.

And I had learned a hell of a lot. About how to texturize in new ways, how to speak to my clients more clearly and effectively. And most importantly, how to set my pride aside and learn to ask for help when it’s needed.

 

Springtime Musts For All Hair Types

MACAROONSSpring is one of my favorite times of year. I love how excited everyone is to be out of winter’s cold grasp, wearing short dresses and strappy heels. And the new leaves on trees and birds chirping each morning are a reminder of the world waking up to new possibilities. I’m always really inspired this time of year!

However, with the transition in weather comes another important transition to consider: how you treat your hair. Where dry winter air can cause static and breakage, wet spring air can give way to frizz and increased oiliness. They say that April showers bring May flowers, but they don’t warn us that our hair is just as prone to dramatic changes. Let’s go through some of the ways that each hair type can prep for the new season!

Fine Hair is more prone to being weighed down by heavy moisture this time of year. It’s a hard shift from static to a greasy scalp and without the proper balance, you’ll be fighting oil and limpness all season long. I recommend using a balancing shampoo to regulate sebum production or a fine hair specific shampoo like Kevin.Murphy’s Angel.Wash to maintain moisture and volume. You’ll also want to use a dry shampoo to soak up oil in between washing and to maintain volume.

Medium and Coarse Hair is prone to frizz from the new moisture in the air. In humidity, there is more hydrogen in the air, which hair is incredibly sensitive to. In fact, hydrogen bonds are what give hair its temporary shape. When we have a blowout done, for example, we are temporarily restructuring the hydrogen bonds. Humidity allows for those extra hydrogen bonds in the air to attach themselves between the regular protein and water molecules within your hair, causing major volume and and frizz. And since hair is so porous and especially if it’s been on the dryer side through the winter, it will be quick to pull in this extra moisture.

The best way to avoid frizz then, would be to maintain an appropriate balance of moisture in your hair. I recommend Smooth.Again by Kevin.Murphy for women with hair on the medium to coarser side. It’s an anti-frizz treatment that smooths down the hair strand while delivering serious moisture at the same time. It leaves your hair feeling soft, touchable and totally smooth.

And for my spring breakers heading to saltwater and sunshine, I would recommend using something like Motion.Lotion from Kevin.Murphy. It’s a curl cream with UV protection. I don’t even have curl and I even use it as a lotion in my straight hair to maintain a really soft texture while protecting my hair poolside. If you do have curl, however, this product will easily be your go to on spring break because it eliminates frizz, hydrates the hair, adds shine and leaves your curls soft and shiny unlike the crunchy gels that can be too much to deal with.

Another fun idea for springtime is using the Color.Bug. With colors like purple, peach, gold shimmer, green, white and pink, there is something for every personality. Fake temporary highlights with the gold shimmer or rock a pastel purple from your roots to ends. Made with mineral eye shadow, this product is easy to apply, won’t dry out your hair like a chalk will and is totally water soluble.

To check out any of these products, head to the Kevin.Murphy website. And if you are in Denver and want to get your hands on any of these, come visit me at The Oxford Hotel!

PRODUCT LOVE | Smooth.Again by Kevin.Murphy

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I’m going to be real honest here. When Smooth.Again launched a few months ago, I was a bit skeptical. It’s part of my nature to question everything and I think that’s a big part of what makes me really fall in love with certain things and allows my clients to trust that I’m giving them the best information out there. And also, part of what makes me think other things are just a complete gimmick. I have to know why things work, why they are beneficial, why I should spend my money on it, what is the proven science behind it… I just have to know it all.

So when Smooth.Again launched, I honestly thought to myself, “but why?” With the amazing Young.Again Oil full of antioxidants and immortelle oil and Easy.Rider with biotin and green tea extract for smoothing and strengthening, I honestly didn’t see why Smooth.Again was necessary. And knowing that Kevin.Murphy has a really strong, intentional stance to maintain a small range of products with each delivering amazing benefits and adding something to the line that isn’t currently in use, I had to figure out what this Smooth.Again was all about.

You guys, I’m not even joking… I fell in love! While I really wouldn’t ever have a need to use it in my naturally fine, stick straight, thin hair, I’ve been using it on client’s hair and the results have been phenomenal. Let’s go through some of the key benefits, ingredients and clients this would be perfect for and I’ll share with you my story of falling in love with Smooth.Again.

Reduced drying time: The first thing I noticed when I worked my round-brush through a curly client’s hair was how quick I was moving through each section. It usually takes me a good 45 minutes to take a thick, curly client to straight with my blowdryer and brush. With Smooth.Again, I was down to about 30. I know that doesn’t seem like a HUGE difference, but when you are booked back to back in the salon and you can knock 15 minutes off each haircut, that can be an extra hour or two of time freed up easily. Or if you are one of those women who styles every morning, that 15 minutes means extra sleep! :)

Super shiny, smooth and soft hair: I’ve always hated the way a flatiron look is really lifeless and stiff, but some women really love the look because it gives them the shine and smoothness they so completely want. I felt like Smooth.Again gave that same texture, but still allowed the hair to maintain movement and bounce, which is a really modern interpretation of that classic idea. The hair is touchable and soft, but not totally limp and flat. Hair today is best when it looks lived in, but intentional and I think Smooth.Again nails that texture.

Heat protection: Of course, using a lotion that has heat protection is always better than the alternative. Not only does this product leave the hair feeling soft, but it will maintain that over time because it’s meant to protect from the heat.

Botanical ingredients: Smooth.Again, just like every product in the Kevin.Murphy range, uses plant botanicals sustainably harvested to achieve such outstanding results. This product boasts cupuacu seed butter from Brazil to help heal dry hair and pull moisture in, Japanese green tea to recycle collagen and elastin, lotus flower extract to stimulate enzyme activity and melanin synthesis (helping to rebuild protein in the hair and offset greying) and baobab seed oil, full of vitamins and antioxidants to help fight aging and regenerate hair cells. With key ingredients like these, it’s easy to see why this product works so well.

No build up: I’ve often used other product lines for smoothing purposes on my curly clients and I’ve been left really disappointed by how the product just seemed to sit atop the hair strand coating it rather than really soaking in and working on a cellular level of the hair. If I’m going to use something to help smooth, I don’t want that be from heaviness or weighing the hair down and forcing it to submit. I want to see shiny, smooth hair because of deep penetrating moisture and protein that has literally smoothed the texture of the hair from the inside out. That is sustainable and I can get behind it. A heavy oil that just coats and weighs down? Not so much!

Can be used to blowdry straight or to maintain curl: I used this on a client, Valerie who has thicker, coarser and curlier hair. She wanted to start wearing her hair curly and wanted a product that would allow her curls to dry without frizz and to be smooth and soft to the touch. She also wanted to maintain some of her natural volume, but she didn’t want to feel like in humidity, it would get out of control. So we tried Smooth.Again. I combed about a nickel sized amount through her hair, twisted her hair up in ringlets, let it dry under a hood dryer and then pulled her curls apart when they were completely dry. Voila! Perfect bouncy, touchable, frizz-free curls. We both stood there speechless! I’ve never seen a product give that result in less than 30 minutes of naturally drying and honestly, I was completely hooked after this if I hadn’t been already.

So, it’s safe to say that I love this product now and I’ve barely been able to keep it on the shelf at my salon. In fact, we had to start a wait list at one point until we got some more in. I’m definitely sold and now having felt it on air-dried curls and blowdried through on thick hair, I know it’s that miracle product for clients who are in search of the perfect all in one for heat protection, frizz control, shine, movement and health.

Smooth.Again could really be used on any hair density. Meaning, anyone that struggles with frizz whether their hair is thick or thin could benefit from using it. However, I would use a pea sized amount on thin hair and up to a nickel sized amount on really thick hair. The only person I wouldn’t use this on would be someone with really fine, thin, straight hair because it’s just simply not necessary. That hair type typically doesn’t fight frizz or need extra shine. But for women who struggle with frizz, women with curl of any type or women with just really thick hair who have a hard time getting through a blowdry efficiently and with some bounce, Smooth.Again is pure perfection!

For more detailed information from the brand directly, check out the website here. If you’re in Denver, you can pick up Smooth.Again from me at The Oxford Hotel Salon downtown near Union Station. And if you are anywhere else, you can find a salon through the salon locator on the KM website. Kevin.Murphy is strictly sold in Kevin.Murphy salons and not in stores or online, so be sure to find a salon near you to pick it up!

What Kim K’s Blonde Can Teach Us About Color

Before everyone heads to the salon chair to inevitably follow along behind the queen of mixing up her hair color, I wanted to touch on the process of going from dark brown to blonde. It can be really misleading to see Kim Kardashian go from dark brown (which we know was color) to bright blonde in one simple afternoon session and incorrectly assume that we too can mix it up that easily. I’m hear to tell you what likely happened behind the scenes. Let’s break down the myths here of what is and isn’t realistic when it comes to lifting your own hair to blonde.

Do realize this often can’t happen in one afternoon. Because bleach is needed to lift the older color out of the hair and because over-processing with bleach can cause breakage and major amounts of damage, you have to take your time. You don’t want to end up with four hairs on your head because the quick and harsh lifting has caused too much damage. And you also don’t want to end up with overly porous and dry hair either. Both of which are very real possibilities when bleaching too quickly.

Do know that Kim Kardashian can always get extensions. I know this sounds really silly, but I’ve had women sit in my chair and say, “I don’t care, I just want to be platinum today!!” I explain to them the risks to the health of their hair and even that we might not be able to get to a pretty tone if we do everything in one day depending on their hair’s current condition. They don’t hear anything other than the fact that they want to be blonde like yesterday and they’ll do anything to make it happen. Okay, so if we do this and all of your hair breaks off and you are left with little to no hair, you probably can’t just go spend $1500 on extensions until the color grows out. Kim Kardashian can and probably will. I’m not saying don’t proceed if you really want to be platinum, but just be realistic about the risk and reward.

Don’t assume you can just cover with brown if you hate it. The process of going back to brown from very light blonde is almost as tedious as the opposite direction. It requires filling the hair with pigment (because remember, you’ve just removed all pigment from the hair) and lots of behind the scenes chemistry and formulating to get you back there. And oftentimes, even after that, it still takes about two to three sessions for your brunette color to not fade quickly. Just know that it’s not as simple as just covering it if you hate it, so be sure you’re committed to the process.

Do use a deep conditioner in between treatments. Because Kim K has access to all of the best treatments on the market (and the funds to get anything she wants), she can afford to do as many treatments as necessary. I mean, she has a salon room in her house, guys. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do in between color sessions. If you cannot afford to maintain the upkeep in between, you definitely shouldn’t try such a high maintenance color. For light blonde, you’ll need to deep condition, add protein and usually, add a purple pigmented shampoo to your routine as well to ensure your tone stays perfect and not brassy.

Don’t let those yellow tones show. If I had one criticism of Kim’s new color, it would be all of that exposed yellow undertone. The color really should have been lifted one more time or toned down to achieve a softer look. But again, that’s what happens when you try to go platinum in one sitting… Kim started at a level 4 or 5 and tried to lift up to a level 10 in one session. In the salon, I would usually recommend about two to three separate appointments of a few weeks in between to slowly lift and maintain health while lifting to that level of lightness. I would venture to guess they had to process Kim’s hair at least three times to get to where they did and even then, there is still so much yellow present. And that yellow is what makes her current color look less high end.

Do complement your skin tone. That yellow against Kim’s skin tone washes her out quite a bit. It might give her a severe, high fashion look and if that’s all she was going for, then that’s great! But it seems more to me that they ran out of time trying to get to the perfect level and ended up with less time to tone, leaving that yellow hue behind on accident. Especially for someone as photographed as Kim K (and photographed in all types of lighting), I would have recommended going with a more beige blonde at the level they were able to lift to so that the color was more “done looking” and complemented her skin tone better.

Don’t forget dimension. Part of what makes this new look on Kim look so severe is the fact that it’s just one harsh tone. Personally, if she was my client, I would have encouraged her to leave a subtle lowlight throughout in order to maintain depth in the color and to create a dimensional look. When the eye is only looking at a one dimensional color that has pieces of yellow, the color can fall very flat and look less flattering than it could. We all know that Kim is beautiful, but this color doesn’t accentuate that; it just points out her more severe features adding an edge to her where there should be some softness and depth.

Do rock Kim’s confidence. I truly think there is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” haircut or hair color as long as the person wearing it owns it. If you love it, screw the haters. Sometimes, like in this case, you want to go for something that might not be totally flattering, but allows for you to tap into a persona. Let’s face it, Kim’s in Paris for Fashion Week and she’ll be photographed every minute of every day. She wanted a new and edgy style to go with her more edgy outfits and she wanted to turn heads. And what she got? Not the most flattering color for her, but she got a way to bring out an element of her personality for the world to see. I went platinum blonde for a few months when I was 20 and though it looked horrible, fried my hair to the point that I had to cut it shorter and certainly washed me out, I loved it. You know why? Because I finally got to try that bottle blonde color I’d always wondered what I looked like in and I got to bring out a side of my personality that was a bit sassier. It was fun! I knew it wouldn’t last forever and because of that, I enjoyed rocking it for a few months.

For more information on toning and the process of lifting color, check out my 10 Commandments of Hair Color. For platinum specific tips, head to my column on HelloGiggles.com.