Archive | July, 2011

Birds of a feather, flock together…

28 Jul

One of the best things about hair is that styling options are abundant. You can colour, highlight, straighten, curl, cut, braid, extend and pin-up your hair if you so please, and changing the style every once in a while is a really fun and easy way to update your look and express yourself.

Hair accessories add another dimension to playing with your hair. Cheaper and more temporary than many salon services, accessories are more popular than ever and there have been several big trends this summer. One of our favourites, however, is an easy way to add colour, fun and a bit of edge to your hair.

Sported by Steven Tyler, Miley Cyrus, Hilary Duff and Jennifer Love-Hewitt, to name a few, feather extensions have caught on like wildfire. Cheaper than highlights, natural or brightly coloured feathers add dimension, interest and flare to your hair. And the best part? They’re natural and reusable – when you’re ready for a change, you can take them out and save them for next time!

The feathers come in various widths and lengths and can be brushed, blow-dried, straightened and curled like natural hair (although it is not recommended to be rough with them) and are applied using a bead and clamping method. They are made of all-natural rooster feathers and depending on how you treat them, they can stay in for up to two months.

If you want in on this trend, however, you may have to do some searching. Because the feathers are from roosters and traditionally used on fly-fishermen’s lures, the supply of these feathers cannot keep up with the demand, but fear not… stylists won’t let those fishermen hog them all. Anyway, who said fashion and fishing couldn’t mix?

Here are a few of our favourite feathered looks:

Rainbow Brite would be proud!

15 Jul

Colouring your hair a non-traditional hue has been around for decades – from psychedelic looks to punk styles, many types have experimented with bright colours. But starting in spring/fall 2010, the ombré hair trend came out full force in the fashion world using pastel dyes.

Fashion editorials and runways took to the trend like ducks to water and celebrity fashion risk-takers like Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Kate Moss sported pastel rainbow ‘dos. But the trend never made it big in day-to-day living – it has been rare to see true pastel ombré  hair on the street, teenagers growing out their faded colour being the most common.

Almost a year after the trend started, a new stir was created by Lauren Conrad of The Hills fame. Not one to be adventurous with hair colour, Conrad coloured the tips of her long, sun-kissed locks in a tie-dye effect. Blurry photos of Britney Spears and Snooki with similar hair have surfaced over the past few days causing fashionistas and twitterers alike to ask, “Is this the next new thing?”

What do you think? Is tie-dyed, pastel, ombré  hair making its way into the mainstream?

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*

A close shave..

9 Jul

Usually anything involving a woman and a voluntarily shaved head signifies a punky or edgy, hard style. You would never connect a shaved head with a beauty queen or glamorous startlet. Or would you?

Although a few stars, including Demi Moore and Natalie Portman, have sported shaved heads because of film roles, rarely has it become trendy, and even more rarely been considered feminine.

But lately, the undercut has appeared, not only with pixie cuts and bobs, but with long, flowing waves accessorizing vampy make-up and evening gowns.

Edgy, but feminine, the undercut is definitely a trend for the more adventurous and those with facial structure to die for. It adds interest to what might be just another long mane of hair or typical pixie, but still keeps enough hair to play with to be feminine – especially if you have gorgeous features to highlight.

What do you think? Can the undercut be considered soft, or will it always look harsh and punky?

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.