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Hair that’s fit to be tied!

8 Sep

Hairstylists are notorious for hating pony tails.

But here’s the real deal: it’s not the ponytails that stylists hate – it’s the lack of style! When you’re lazily throwing your hair up and looking like you’re going to the gym when you’re not, stylists cringe. They hate to see that someone doesn’t care about their hair!

Caring about your hair doesn’t mean you need to spend hours primping, though. Of course it’s unreasonable (not to mention impractical) to sport a glamorous updo for day-to-day life. In real life, people need an easy way to look styled when in a rush. And thus enters the ponytail. But not the gym pony, no way. Let us introduce you to the styled pony – an acceptable (and recommended) alternative to its lazy sibling.

The key to the wavy pony is lots of volume and texture. In term of getting the right texture, this is a perfect look for day-after-washing hair, especially if you already have it in a wavy or curly style. If that’s the case, it’s as easy as spraying in some dry shampoo at the roots to pump it up and use a product to freshen up your texture, like Schwarzkopf’s Moisture Kick Conditioning Spray or Eufora’s Curl ‘N Spray Revitalizer. If you’re starting with freshly washed hair, apply a volumizing mousse and dry your hair with a round brush. Set your hair in about six hot rollers and use hairspray – this will give an easy, uneven wave to your hair with lots of movement.

When pulling it back, add some lift at the crown by slightly twisting your hair on either side, pushing it up and then pinning the twists in the centre, suggests Remo, co-owner of Haartek. You might also start a braid (just two or three plaits) and pin it, eliminating the need for a hair elastic. If you find that your curls are falling too flat, you can always fix individual waves in the pony with a curling or flat-iron.

If smooth and shiny your style, the flat-iron is your best friend! After washing, apply mousse and a heat-protecting serum and blow dry your hair with a round brush. Flat-iron your hair in small sections and add a shine serum afterwards (Haartek is a big fan of Eufora’s Beautifying Serum and Kevin Murphy’s Young.Again). Whether you want a sleek low pony or a higher voluminous one, try wrapping a section of hair around the elastic as a chic way to add style!

Last but not least, we still can’t get enough of the messy braid. This is hands-down better than a tired ponytail and because it doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s just as easy! Use a shine serum and a texturizing spray before braiding and make sure to leave a few loose tendrils – the messier the better.

As we’ve said before, unless you’re actually going to the gym, there’s no excuse to look like you’re going to the gym. We promise, it doesn’t have to take hours, so show your hair some love!

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!

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, throw down your hair…

14 Jul

Do you drool over Kim Kardashian’s luscious locks? Envy Gisele, not for her model bod, but because her hair is heavenly? Do you suffer from feelings of inadequacy because you were born with fine hair and wonder how celebrities and models were blessed with hair that just doesn’t quit?

Pssst… I have a secret to tell you. Most of the time, it’s not all theirs.

A lot of celebrities opt for hair extensions to amp up their look. Self-proclaimed to be the “Rolls Royce” of hair extensions, Great Lengths boasts not only the most advanced and gentle method of application, but the best quality hair available. Although more expensive, Great Lengths uses Indian Temple Remi hair, which is in virgin condition and donated to the temple. The difference between the temple hair and cheaper extensions is that the hair is cut and gathered in a braid, ensuring all hair cuticles are facing the same direction which prevents tangling with your own hair.

Great Lengths are available in three strand sizes (standard, fine and extra-fine), five lengths (20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 cm.) and 35 hand-blended shades and 14 “fashion” shades. And unlike other brands, they don’t bleach the hair in the de-pigmentation process which damages the hair structure, and adds pigmentation in a way that ensures colour won’t fade out. Learn more here

But using high-quality extensions doesn’t matter unless the method of application is reliable and natural looking. Great Lengths uses a patented procedure that bonds the extensions to your own hair using a polymer compound with a molecular structure similar to that of human hair. It moves and behaves like your own hair, ensuring a strong hold without damaging it. Unlike cheaper alternatives, these polymer chains are more resistant to heat and water – though our stylists do warn that if you expose the bonds to chemicals like chlorine while swimming or go to tanning beds frequently, wear does occur and non-reusable extensions aren’t for you. However, over the course of five years trying out different, more affordable brands, they found Great Lengths has the best application method, the best quality hair and stays in the longest. “There’s a reason they’re number one,” said Sandra, one of two stylists at Haartek certified with Great Lengths.

Because Great Lengths has this patented technology, their extensions are only available through Great Lengths Certified Extension Artists. So you don’t have to worry about inferior or incorrect application. Learn more here “We  learned the different variations of extensions, how to blend them and also how to use them for thickening as well as length,” said Sandra. “It really shows you if you have what it takes to do extensions,” added Patrizia, our other certified stylist. “You have to have a lot of patience, focus… and flair!”

Taking care of them is the key to making them last. It’s vital that you use the special loop brush included with the extensions: “If you do not brush properly, you will get dreadlocks,” said Patrizia. “And you need to brush from the scalp down to avoid knotting.” You also have to remember that even though extensions are made from real hair, they are still an attachment, so be gentle with them. “They’ll last for three to four months if you care for them properly,” said Sandra.

If you’re interested in getting extensions, book a consultation and discuss potential length, colour, upkeep and price. If you’re just interested in thickening, it can be from $400 to $600 and if you’re after thickening and length it’s $900 and up. “They’re definitely an investment,” said Patrizia. Keep in mind, though, they aren’t reusable.

Though it’s no secret that high quality extensions aren’t cheap, the benefits of spending the extra cash are definitely worth it if you truly want long, natural looking, shiny hair that lasts and is easy to maintain. Afterall, so few of us have full-time stylists at our beck-and-call for day-to-day gorgeousness… *sigh*

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.

Forget the dress! What about the hair!?

22 Jun

It’s almost the end of June and wedding season is well underway, but are you a bride-to-be that has no clue what to do with her hair on the big day? Fear not! That’s what blogs like these are for!

Whether your hair is short or long, curly or straight, the creativity and skill of your stylist will ensure that you find the perfect ‘do for your wedding! Doing your research is important too, however. Have a look at the cornucopia of wedding magazines and websites for style inspiration – this will give you an idea of the hairstyles you like… and give a reference for ones you hate.

Once you have an idea of the style you think will suit your type of wedding, the most important step is booking a consultation with your stylist.  If possible, find a quiet day at the salon where your stylist can dedicate a couple of hours to trying several different styles on you. Bring in any pictures of hair you like and accessories you may use to help the stylist create what you have envisioned. The consultation is especially important if you plan on using extensions – the stylists needs time to order the right kind and you may have to colour them to match your hair.

“It’s a big day and you want it to be perfect ,” says Stylist Olivia. “You want to eliminate any stress you can the day of, and knowing exactly what your hair will be like will do that. Especially if you are using extensions or accessories!”

Here are a few of our favourite bridal styles, from boho to princess, to help inspire you for your big day!

Need more inspiration? Check out Haartek Salon’s real life updos on our Facebook page!

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!  

Love that cymotrichous hair!

3 Jun

There’s just something special about beautiful, wavy hair – almost something better about it.

It’s not straight… it’s not curly… it offers the best of both worlds: extra fullness and bounce, but a polished look as well. You can dress waves up, or go beachy casual for weekends or day-to-day.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. With naturally wavy hair comes frizz. And if you have straight hair, it’s too much effort. So how can you get effortless, envy-worthy, shiny waves?

If you already have naturally wavy hair and just want to enhance it all you need are a few great hair products, a blow dryer and a diffuser. Techniques for the perfect wave vary slightly from person to person, but here are a few tips from our stylists!

Debra and Lan, Associates at Haartek, share their secrets for  full waves:

1) Shampoo and condition with Kevin Murphy’s Hydrate Me Wash & Rinse – but make sure you rinse your hair very well.

2) Towel dry your hair, but blot and scrunch only – don’t rub.

3) Apply mousse to wet hair – make sure you use enough product or you won’t have the desired effect – and comb through evenly. Kevin Murphy’s Body Builder is a great mousse. Debra prefers a curl enhancing product like KMS Curl Up Creme.

4) Lean forward and blot with a towel again.

5) Dry with a diffuser, going section by section, spending 30 seconds on each, then repeating until you get the wave you want.

Both Debra and Lan agree that in order to get great waves, the less you touch and disturb your hair, the better!

And to keep your waves going throughout the day, it’s important to refresh your hair with a revitalizing product or even with just water, according to Susan, a Director at Haartek. She is a big believer in wetting your hands with water and running your fingers through the waves to keep down the frizz. “It also helps to reactivate the existing product that’s in there. Schwarzkopf’s Moisture Kick Conditioning Spray and Eufora’s Curl ‘N Spray Revitalizer are great as well,” she says.

If you want that beachy texture, products like Kevin Murphy’s Hair Resort and KMS Sea Salt Spray are great to use before diffusing in addition to a mousse for a messier look.

This is all well and good if you have a natural wave to enhance, but what if you want volume and wave  for the day after washing or if you have straight hair? Associate Carla demonstrates on how to get the look with a flat iron.

 

So don’t be a slave to flat, straight hair. Embrace any wave you have and enhance it for the summer. If you can’t actually be sitting at the beach with a soft breeze blowing through your ocean tousled hair, at least you can look like it!

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.

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