Archive | Advice RSS feed for this section

Your hair will thank you..

11 Aug

Sometimes when you’re looking for hair products, the selection can be overwhelming. There are so many brands and products to choose from, not to mention that you may not know what’s best for your hair. That’s where salons come to the rescue.

Although salon-exclusive products are more pricy, they also come with so many advantages. Did you know that salon products are more concentrated (they contain less water) so you use less when styling… and they last longer! And most salon products are also sulfate-free, which means that they won’t strip your colour (saving you money in the long run!)

The most important thing about buying your products from a salon is the expert advice you get. Good salons will happily help you choose the right products for your specific hair type without selling you stuff you don’t need. Stylists also explain why the product is right for you and how to use it, so you don’t feel clueless. And most salons offer you a product guarantee – if you find that you hate what you’ve bought or that it just doesn’t work for you, you can exchange it. That’s a pretty sweet deal!

So, here is Haartek Salon’s pick of the week:

SCHWARZKOPF  REPAIR RESCUE SEALED ENDS

As featured in September’s issue of Lou Lou magazine, Schwarzkopf’s Sealed Ends is one of Haartek’s all-time favourite products… and is used religiously by many of our stylists.

The BC Repair Rescue line that Sealed Ends is part of is specially formulated for dry, damaged hair. It not only repairs the cells within the hair, but it also recreates the hair surface, returning it to its optimal level of health. Sealed Ends helps to soften the hair, controls frizz and fly-aways, and gives you the easy comb-out that everyone wants. Its Amino Cell Rebuild technology recovers the hair’s natural elasticity by strengthening the structure of the hair cell.

How to use: Work sparingly into the ends of your hair and do not rinse. It can also be applied to dry hair for general smoothing and sealing.

Is life better blonde?

5 Aug

While the great debate over whether blondes or brunettes are hotter, more “in”, or just better in general will always flip-flop, depending on the season or year, there is no question about it: there are women who will always go blonde.

There will always be that wonder for some – will I have more fun as a blonde? Whether you want to look ethereal, northern european, barbie-esque or sun-kissed, there are a lot of factors to consider before going golden.

Here are Haartek’s top 10 “things to know” for aspiring blondes:

1. Maintenance – If you go blonde, be prepared to maintain the look. Your roots will be more noticable the lighter you go.

2. Damage – Bleaching takes a toll on hair, there’s no avoiding that. The lighter you go, the drier and more fragile your hair may get, so its important to condition your hair well and get regular treatments to keep it soft and shiny… not to mention to prevent breakage!

3. TonerIt’s no secret that blonde hair can easily go brassy if you don’t take care of it. It’s recommended that you use a special blonde shampoo at home and visit the salon for a toner to keep your blonde its ideal shade.

4. How light should you go? When deciding what shade of blonde you’d like, it’s important to take into consideration not only your skin tone, but also what colour hair you already have. Hair that has been coloured dark will have a harder time than virgin hair.

5. Lifestyle – Do you swim or go into a hot tub regularly? Exposing blonde hair to chemicals and chlorine in the water will cause damage. And there’s always that chance of your hair turning green (see one of our previous posts)

6. You miss being darkNo sweat! The great thing about going blonde is that you can always go back to your darker tresses. It’s much easier to switch back to dark when you have light hair, and it’s far less damaging.

7. Resist DIY temptation – While getting your hair professionally coloured or highlighted at the salon is more expensive than doing it yourself with a box colour, the results are worth it. Your stylist will know exactly how to transform your colour and protect you from frying your hair. There’s always a risk of ending up orange with box dye. The icing on the cake? If you aren’t happy with what they’ve done, good salons will fix your colour at no charge.

8. Highlights – If you’re scared of going full-on blonde right away or would like a more naturally sun-kissed look, consider getting highlights instead of a full colour. It’s an easier way to maintain a blonde look that might not be so drastic.

9. Eyebrows – Girls with naturally very dark eyebrows might be scared of going lighter and looking mismatched. Fear not! Depending on the season, it can be trendy to have your eyebrows a bit darker than your hair. But if that’s not a look for you, don’t worry! Your stylist can lighten your brows as well.

10. Consultations – It’s always advisable to book a consultation with your stylist if you’re considering a big change in colour. It’s free of charge, and you can discuss your ideas with your stylist and get advice from an expert before taking the plunge.

Although there are many things to consider before going blonde, a big change of style is always fun. And if that old adage is correct, it’s especially so if you go blonde!

Sometimes going green is not a good thing.

6 Jul

Brace yourself, kiddos. It’s about to get all sciency up in here again.

We’re about to do our very own Mythbusters-esque venture in this post: Does chlorine really turn blonde hair green?

*cue exciting adventure/detective music*

While our budget is not high enough to rent a blonde to sit in several pools and hot tubs with hair immersed (nor are we that cruel to risk her colour), I have gotten to the bottom of this myth without empirical research (yes, I am that good).

Contrary to popular belief, it is not the chlorine in pools or hot tubs that turns natural or highlighted blonde hair green. What happens is that copper, either found in the water supply, metal pool fittings or plumbing, oxidizes and binds to the protein in the hair shaft, depositing its green colour. This also happens when pool water is corrosive because of low pH (acidic) or because the water is soft (low mineral content).

So, the sanitizer (chlorine) doesn’t directly turn hair green, but if the water is already corrosive, having a high level of sanitizer will increase the green effect. To combat this, the pool water balance level (not sanitizer level) should be adjusted. But fear not, you don’t have to be a scientist to maintain your pool – there is a scale called the Langlier index used to calculate how corrosive or scaling the water is, determining the proper levels of minerals needed in the water.

Confusing? Don’t worry. Here are some tips for preventing green hair from Patrizia, an Advanced Stylist at Haartek.

1. Wet your hair with fresh, clean water before swimming or hot tubbing. If the hair is already wet, it will help keep it from soaking up too much chlorinated water.

2. Apply a conditioner beforehand. This will seal the hair cuticle and prevent copper from binding to the hair.

3. Rinse your hair immediately after being in the pool or hot tub.

4. If you are regularly in the pool or hot tub, use a clarifying shampoo once a week.

5. And those of you who are daring to be retro, nothing beats an old-fashioned swimming cap to protect those golden locks. That, or not dunking your hair. Either way. Though, if you are a routine swimmer, Patrizia seriously recommends wearing a cap.

But what if you’re not careful and you come out of the pool looking like a Muppet? “Removing the green successfully depends on how porous your hair is,” says Haartek owner, Cosimo. “A clarifying shampoo can work, but sometimes your only option is to bleach it, go darker or cut it off, unfortunately.”

The moral of the story? “Take preventative measures to protect your colour,” says Patrizia. “And always check the balance level of the water.” Going green may be trendy… just not for the colour of your hair.

 

 

It’s summertime, and the living is easy…

30 Jun

The long weekend is here. And chances are, you’re spending time in the (hopefully) beautiful, sunny weather… preferably on a beach in Muskoka.

It’s no chance that this summer’s top hair trends like braids and messy top knots are perfect for a laid back cottage weekend. Here are some tips for cute, low maintenance hair styles, whether you’re enjoying a beer on the dock or having fun in the water.

Tie it up

Forget the boring ponytail this weekend and go for something a bit more fun – the top knot! Extremely low maintenance, the top knot only takes seconds and ensures your hair is out of your face while you’re having fun in the sun… plus, it’s perfect for the-day-after-washing hair! And with helpers like Goody Spin Pins, all it takes is for you to twist your hair into a bun, insert the pins, and you’re ready for the beach!

Braids

Braids have been hyped enough in past posts that you get the hint why we love them. Because it’s “the messier, the better”, they’re perfect for the beach, the boat or the campfire. Plus, you can wear a cute hat to protect your colour from fading and your face from getting sunburned! Our fav? The messy, side fishtail braid.

Beachy Waves

What could be more low maintenance than embracing your natural texture and letting your hair down? Textured, beachy waves are super sexy, trendy and perfect for lounging around the cottage. The key to success if you aren’t lucky enough to be frolicking in an ocean? A texture spray like Kevin Murphy Hair Resort Spray or KMS Sea Salt Spray. Psssssst… Wanna know a secret? These products are also perfect to add texture to your top knot or braid.

So now you know our favourite styles for the cottage. But even though your hair should be low-maintenance over the weekend, don’t forget you still need to take care of it! Bring a leave-in conditioner with UV protection to prevent your colour from fading and your hair from drying out in the sun. And if you don’t have a shower? Bring some dry shampoo to add oomph and texture to your summer style. No matter what your plans are for the long weekend, show your hair some love!

To wash or not to wash? That is the question…

24 Jun

The question, “Should you wash your hair everyday?” will be debated until the end of time. Or until the human race evolves into a bunch of baldies. Either way.

The thing is, there is no definitive answer to the question, no matter how many people emphasize either “yes” or “no”. Just like there are different body types, there are different hair types. Some people are blessed with thick hair that just doesn’t seem to look oily, even after a week – an obscene amount of time to those of us with baby fine manes who cringe in the mirror the day after washing, looking at flat, listless hair.

I'll bet Giselle doesn't have to wash her hair everyday. Curses!

“There’s no rule,” says Tasso, a Director at Haartek. “It depends on the person’s hair and scalp. Some hair you have to wash everyday. It’s whatever your hair needs.”

And these days, if you’re being good to your hair and using salon products that have no sulphates and leave little residue, washing often is not going to damage or strip the hair.

However, if you’re on the fence about whether you can go a few days without washing or if you need a quick way to freshen up your hair, dry shampoo just might be an option for you!

Most of the ladies working at Haartek think dry shampoo is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Originally invented for hospital patients who couldn’t wash their hair, dry shampoos are usually matte sprays that soak up excess oil, add texture and bulk, add volume at the roots and leave the hair smelling and looking refreshed. How could anyone be against that?

So for those lucky ones that don’t need to wash their hair everyday, dry shampoo is a quick way to give their hair that extra oomph in the morning. And for the unlucky everyday washers like me, the good thing is there is a way to refresh our hair quickly right before a night on the town or after working out. “It’s really great for a girl on the run,” Tonya, a receptionist at Haartek, says. “Just spray it on your roots and shake it up and you’re good to go!”

Our favourite dry shampoos at Haartek? KMS Makeoever Spray and Kevin Murphy Fresh Hair really do the trick! And they both smell great.

KMS Makeover Spray

Kevin Murphy Fresh Hair

I was once an unbeliever when it comes to dry shampoo. I thought all of them were gross and powdery that left a residue that looked anything but fresh. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and have changed my tune. It really does the trick when it comes to adding body and texture after the gym or a long day at work. While it will never replace washing my hair daily normally, I will sure bring a can to my cottage on the long weekend. Maybe I’ll even share it. Maybe.

Eat your way to healthy hair!

15 Jun

Is your diet helping or hurting your hair?

What you eat affects your physical state in every sense, and your hair is no exception. According to Ladies’ Home Journal, you need a mixture of protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals to promote good scalp and hair health.

Here are six foods to help you get shiny, healthy hair:

Poultry & Beef

Since proteins are the building blocks of your hair, getting enough high-quality protein is essential to avoid weak, brittle hair. Chicken and turkey are excellent healthy options and if you don’t have high cholesterol, eating red meat twice a week can promote optimal hair health with B vitamins, iron and zinc.

Whole Grains

Another great source of zinc, iron and B vitamins are complex carbohydrates that feed you energy over a longer period of time… and your scalp does need energy! Whole wheat bread, fortified whole grain cereals and brown, short grain rice are great options.

Salmon

Fatty fish like salmon are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12 and iron, making it one of the best foods for beauty benefits! According to the American Dietetic Association, these vitamins and minerals are essential to support scalp health. Not a fan of fish? You could try one or two tablespoons of ground flaxseed!

Dark Green Vegetables

We all know that vegetables are good for us. And they’re good for our hair too! Greens like broccoli, spinach and Swiss chard not only provide you with vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, but they produce sebum, an oily substance secreted by your hair follicles – basically, the body’s natural hair conditioner! Adventurous? Try seaweed  or a kelp supplement for your dose of iodine, iron, calcium, magnesium, niacin, zinc, sodium and potassium.

Beans

Forget that old rhyme about beans and focus on the health benefits! Legumes like kidney beans and lentils provide protein, iron, zinc and biotin to promote hair growth.

Nuts

For a great source of zinc (a deficiency of which can lead to shedding) try cashews, pecans, almonds and walnuts. The latter also includes alpha-linolenic, an omega-3 fatty acid, that can help to condition your hair! And did you know that brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp? Include some of these in yoghurt or cottage cheese at breakfast or lunch!

The key to good hair health is the same as overall body health – balance. If you consume too much of a vitamin or mineral, you may create problems with hair growth, so make sure you have a balanced diet of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, omega-3 fatty acids and low-fat dairy to keep your hair looking its best.

And beware of crash diets with super low-calorie counts and a stressful lifestyle. If you lose a lot of weight quickly or have continued high stress, you may affect the hair cycle and increase shedding. Diets and stress are bad enough without hair loss!

Many salon brands are also aware of the benefits of these foods and include natural ingredients to heal hair from the outside in. Ask your stylists which products include the right natural ingredients for your type of hair in addition to a balanced diet to give it that extra boost.

So now you know what it takes to keep your hair naturally gorgeous. Now only if we didn’t continuously blow dry, curl and flat iron it. Hmm… I guess that’s what treatments are for!  

Men, step away from the barber.

10 Jun

This post is for all the men out there that still go to barbers. And the girlfriends, wives, partners and caring friends of those that do. We know that you’ve been seeing “Joe” the barber on the corner since you were a kid, but why are you hanging on? Why do you pretend like the same cut you’ve been getting for 20 plus years is okay? Don’t you want your hair to live up to its potential? We do!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why should you pay extra money to come to a salon for a simple men’s cut? Aren’t salons only for women? Will my friends make fun of me? Let me explain.

First of all, although “Joe” may give you a $10 hair cut, are you really happy with it? Or, let me rephrase that: Is your significant other happy with it? I know some guys just don’t care what their hair looks like as long as it’s not in their way. But let me assure you that your wife, girlfriend, etc. cares. Stylists in a salon know how to deal with all kinds of hair, whether it’s easy to deal with or difficult and they can recommend products that will help you deal with it yourself… even if you’re low maintenance. And there’s this huge misconception that a men’s cut is outrageously expensive at a salon. While it’s still more expensive than a barber, depending on the stylist you see, it’s possible to get a men’s cut for $30. That’s not outrageous. You don’t even want to know what some women pay for their hair!

Now that price is out-of-the-way, let’s throw away this misconception that salons are just for women. That’s crazy talk. Tons of men go to salons. And the majority of them are just your regular type of guy having nothing to do with the fashion or beauty industry. As for your friends making fun of you? Let them. But ask their girlfriends whose hair they think looks better. That might shut them up.

And here’s the icing on the cake, boys. You get taken care of at a salon. You get a nice wash, a scalp massage, coffee/lattes/cappuccino/espresso etc., plus a generally nice atmosphere. And don’t worry that a stylist won’t get to know you like “Joe” does. Salons can feel like a little community and stylists listen really well. And they won’t force you to do anything fancy!

So really, there are no excuses. I dare you to just try a salon. I bet you’ll like it. And even if you don’t really care about the extras, I’ll bet you’ll get the best hair cut you’ve ever had. And I’ll bet someone you want to impress will notice.

*A special note to those of you trying to convince a guy to try a salon, here are some guys with style… and ladies love them. And you know they don’t go to a barber. No, I will not post a picture of The Biebs.*

 

And the last word: The Donald does his own hair.

Redheads to the right of me, redheads to the left..

9 Jun

We all know that red is the “it” colour this summer. From celebrities like Blake Lively, Drew Barrymore, Emma Stone and Malin Akerman changing from their signature blonde, to perennial redheads like Christina Hendricks and Florence Welch, fiery red hair is everywhere!

Whether you choose to embrace the lighter side of the red spectrum like Lively’s strawberry blonde, the auburn shade of Akerman or a bright red like Hendricks, going red is a big hair commitment… and you need to take care of your colour!

 Usually, reds brown out and fade faster than other colours, so the products you use are important. If you want your colour to last and stay vibrant, colour saving shampoos and conditioners are a must, and a leave-in conditioner or spray with UV protection is recommended.

The type of dye you use also makes a difference. Goldwell Elumen will give you illuminating colour with extra-long durability. It uses breakthrough patented technology to be the first oxidant-, peroxide- and ammonia-free hair colour so it won’t cause damage and it delivers outstanding vibrancy, shine and durability. Using pure, direct dyes, it penetrates deep into the hair and is anchored by magnetic attraction as the positively charged hair draws in the negative charge of the Elumen dyes. (Science? In a hair blog? Who knew!)

This translates to extra-long durability with incredible shine and intense colours, and is why stylists feel Elumen gives the best red results – as long as you want to stay red. Because it’s so durable, Elumen is harder to get rid of than normal hair colour, so it isn’t recommended for those that only want to be a redhead for a couple of months.

The benefits of Elumen are great, however. Besides the longevity, vibrance and shine of the colour, it’s hypoallergenic and eases frizz to make hair silkier. And unlike other dyes, mixing Elumen is akin to mixing paints, so there are endless possibilities when it comes to customizing your colour. Not only will you have great results, but you can have a lot of fun with your colour technician creating a look that is unique to you.  

Okay. You are now convinced that you were meant to be a redhead, but you’re not sure what shade is best for you. Carla, an Associate at Haartek, suggests that women with green or hazel eyes can pull off the true, deep red the best and those with paler complexions look great with a coppery red or strawberry blonde (think Lively). “And if you have a dark skin tone, you can really play around with violet reds… it looks stunning,” she says.

The consensus is in! Red is a really fun trend this summer… and we hope it lasts! But one last word from Carla, “Certain stars really don’t need to go as red as they have.” (We’re looking at you, Rihanna.)

Um.. We need to talk.

1 Jun

Sometimes it’s a little daunting walking into a new salon for the first time. You’re taking a risk, and trusting a new stylist with your hair, hoping that your personalities and visions will mesh. Hopefully, it turns out amazingly and you know after just one visit that you’ll be seeing that stylist for the next 20 years.

But sometimes you leave feeling underwhelmed. What do you do in that situation?

Obviously, if you and the stylist don’t click on a personal level, he or she may not be for you. But what if you liked the stylist, or the salon in general, and  just didn’t get what you wanted?

Fear not dear friends – this is when a salon should show you what they’re made of. This is when they show you that they really do care and genuinely want to know what you think… And they want to make you happy!

Before I started working in the salon, I was too shy to tell a stylist if I was unhappy with any aspect of my cut. I thought, “Oh, I don’t want her to think I’m a b****.” 

Let me tell you. I was dead wrong.

A salon is like a mini community. Everyone who goes to the salon is part of it. Although first impressions can’t be undone, salons want to give you the best experience possible. And if you’re not happy with the outcome, they want to fix it.

There is no stylist on Earth that doesn’t want to know how you honestly feel about your hair. And there is no stylist that would hold it against you if you didn’t like what they’ve done. Most importantly, there’s no stylist that wouldn’t want to fix it for you.

Making people happy is a salon’s livelihood. And a large part of making someone happy is through communication. If you don’t have open communication about your experience with the salon or stylist, chances are you won’t be happy most of the time. Think about it this way: If a stylist doesn’t know that there is anything wrong, how can they fix it? As much as we want our stylists to be mind readers, sometimes there’s a misinterpretation of what we want. But let me assure you – the more you communicate with the stylist about your hair, the better the outcome. And if you’re not happy, tell them. Because I guarantee they will fix it for you. And I guarantee they will be happy you told them rather than silently hating it or just never coming back.

“Be open with your stylist. Ask them for ways they can change your hairstyle, even if it’s just minimally,” says co-owner Remo.

The moral of the story? You won’t hurt your stylist’s feelings if you want them to make an adjustment, be it with the colour or cut. And if you want to try a different stylist in the salon, they won’t be offended. It’s a community.

A stylist is you hair’s significant other. You wouldn’t dump your boyfriend without telling him why, would you?

Crusaders in the life-long quest to de-frizz…

26 May

Taming frizzy, unruly, poofy hair is a life-long quest for many women, especially in damp and humid climates. Just ask female Torontonians in the middle of July.

Straighteners and relaxers are not new to the beauty industry, but in the past they have been very intense and full of chemicals. Although the results from last year’s breakthrough Keratin treatment, The Brazilian Blowout, were amazing, the product was later pulled from Canadian and European markets due to unacceptable levels of formaldehyde compromising the health of consumers and stylists applying the treatment over a long period of time.

Four months later, there is now a formaldehyde-free Keratin formula promising to grant the wishes of the frizzy haired. Dióra Professionnel has introduced their Keratherapy line of treatments and products as a safe alternative to traditional keratin treatments. Keratherapy is free of formaldehyde, urea, aldehydes and other harsh chemicals and is in compliance with The European Union, Canadian and other international health and safety regulations worldwide.

It boasts a formula that is derived from a blend of orange peel oil and Natural Certified Organic ingredients including: jojoba oil; aloe vera; green tea; and pomegranate and marigold extracts. The products also use Moroccan argan oil, pure keratin, collagen, amino acids and proteins to rebuild, and add strength and elasticity to the hair.

Although Dióra calls this “the evolution of brazilian keratin,” the Keratherapy available in Canada is not a straightening treatment like the Brazilian Blowout. Its results can’t be compared to the old Keratin treatments that contained formaldehyde, or even the Intense Renewal Keratherapy treatment that is only available in the States; it will not eliminate curls or waves in the hair. It will, however, smooth, tame and de-frizz unruly hair for up to 12 weeks and the treatment reduces drying time in half. It can be used on coloured or highlighted hair and it, in fact, helps to lock in the colour and extend the vibrancy of blonde or “high fashion” shades.

At Haartek, the whole procedure takes about two hours and you can’t wash or put any product in your hair for 48 hours. Dióra offers a Keratin Infused Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner that is free of sulfates, parabens, sodium chloride, propylene glycol, DEA and TEA, but any shampoo or conditioner that is sulfate free, like Kevin Murphy or Eufora, is safe to use after the treatment.

If you’re interested in getting any kind of straightening or de-frizzing treatment done, it’s best to consult with your stylist to see which is the right one for you.

But to all my fellow frizzy-haired friends, at least we know there are options out there that can help solve our dilemma, even just temporarily… ‘cos shaving my hair off is just not an option – my head is far too big.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.