Tag Archives: Advice

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.

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.)

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!

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?

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