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The gift of hair…

18 Nov

It seems the moment after we’ve packed away our Halloween costumes and decorations the holiday season is upon us. Christmas lights and ornaments adorn storefronts starting the first week of November and slowly Christmas carols are floating through the air, trying to add merriment to the general public. Besides an excuse to deck the halls and stuff ourselves, to many, the holiday season is about giving, whether to friends, family or those in need.

Toy, clothing and food drives are in full force at this time of year, supplying a little bit of cheer to as many less fortunate families as possible. These initiatives are vital, there’s no doubt about it. But this holiday season, there’s another gift that you may be able to give to a child in need. The gift of hair.

Locks of Love is a public, not-for-profit organization that provides custom-made hair pieces to financially disadvantaged children in the U.S. and Canada. The age bracket for recipients goes from six to 21 and it’s for those suffering from long-term medical hair loss, from any diagnosis, be it cancer, alopecia or a traumatic accident. (learn more about the organization here)

LOL uses donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics to give to children in need free of charge, or on a sliding scale, based on financial need. Their custom-made prosthetics are the ideal option for children because they do not require the use of tape or glue because they form a vacuum seal. Only the wearer is able to remove the wig and they can swim and shower with it in place, avoiding any shame or embarrassment that might come with it accidentally being removed. And so the child truly feels like he or she is getting her own hair, she’s able to choose the colour and length of the hair, the skin tone of the silicone base and the cut or style she wants. This process takes between four and six months and recipients may reapply for a new prosthesis every 18 months.

These prostheses are made possible through financial and actual hair donations. Each prosthesis requires between six and ten ponytails at least ten inches long, and it’s estimated that 80 per cent of all donations come from children who want to help other children.

If you want to donate your hair, there are certain guidelines that must be followed, but most salons are familiar with the organization and can help you make sure they are met. For a full list of guidelines, click here.

So this holiday season, or the next one, if you find yourself wanting to make a difference to a child in need, think about Locks of Love… all it takes is a little time, patience and care.

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The only time of year when a bow made of hair is okay…

20 Oct

We’ve talked before about iconic hairstyles and how they can define a personality. The hairstyles are almost always universally recognized, or if not, at least recognized by all of those who follow pop culture.

Halloween is one of the best times to think about iconic hair. When planning your costume do you start with the clothes? Do you ever think about how your hair could make or break the costume?

Think about it. There are certain hairstyles that will define you as a certain character or celebrity regardless of what you cover your body with. You could be wearing an astronaut suit but if you have a tall, curly blue wig on, you’ll still be Marge Simpson… just as an astronaut, right?

Here are some of our favourite ideas for Halloween costumes that are all about the hair… I guarantee you’ll recognize most, if not all, of these memorable styles.

And please keep in mind the reason they make such great costumes is that you really should never have this kind of hair on a day-to-day basis… Snooki, I’m looking at you.

Happy costume planning!

Hair horror stories: It’s okay… you can laugh.

12 Oct

Only the truly lucky people in the world are without an embarrassing hair story. For us mortals, whether it was when you were a child, teenager, in university or in your golden years, there will always be that standout memory of hair that you’d rather forget… but never will… nor will anyone who’s seen the proof let you.

But however horrific the hair was at the time, we can’t really deny the hilarity of the whole ordeal. And, of course, hair stories are our favourite stories, so we can’t complain too much.

Here are a few gems floating around Haartek that might make you giggle… not to mention make you feel better about your own hair nightmares!

Susan’s story:

When she was younger, Susan had beautiful Farah Fawcett hair but decided to go short and sassy. She drastically cut off ten inches of her flowing locks – but nobody noticed! Eventually she got so peeved that she asked her friend who replied, “Oh. I guess we didn’t notice because it just looks so good on you.” Susan was not impressed.

Debra’s story:

Debra was in grade nine and days away from going on a trip to England when she decided to get a body perm. Unfortunately, the results were disastrous: it turned into an afro mullet! She had to get her friend to cut the mullet, but she was still stuck with big, frizzy hair and thought she was going to die of embarrassment… until a shop girl overseas told her that she loved her hair. Then Debra stopped worrying. Her friends still thought it was horrible, though.

Tanya’s story:

Although Tanya has been lucky enough to never have a hair nightmare of her own, she caused a few when she was younger. Having black hair herself, she used to be really jealous of her friends with blonde hair. So when they weren’t looking she found the yuckiest of the smelly markers (think black licorice and orange that resembled Pine Sol) and coloured her friends’ hair. Yes, it stained.

A Haartek client’s story:

When she was five years old, her father shaved her entire head at the advice of her grandmother. Apparently, this trick was to make her hair grow in thicker. Unfortunately, it never did. And her brothers made fun of her the entire time it was growing back.

Carla’s story:

Carla decided to get her first perm in grade eight. Her aunt was a stylist and offered to do it for her. Carla’s problem? Her style at the time was a chin-length bob and her aunt mainly did hair for old ladies. The result? Carla walked around with giant poodle hair, but she still thought she was so cool. At least that’s something!

My story:

It was the summer before grade seven for me when the craze was to dye your hair with Kool-Aid. At the cottage, my friend and I got her mom to do it for us. I was determined to have the brightest hair, so I did one side of my hair pink and one side purple. Having blonde hair, however, the Kool-Aid stained and never came out. Not only did I have to cut all my hair off when I went back to school but I was also followed by bees for a long time.

And here’s the pièce de résistance, Remo’s story:

Although not about his own hair, this is the story of Remo’s first experience with colouring somebody’s hair on his own. In his first month of hairdressing school, his best friend’s mother insisted that he colour her hair with her Wella “black cherry” dye. On her, it was the “in” colour – dark with burgundy tones. There was always a bit leftover and she insisted on keeping it for the next time. They soon realized the colour shouldn’t be re-used as it oxidizes. However,  her husband asked Remo to use it on his almost all white, balding hair. Remo agreed to give it a go and the outcome was a flaming eggplant shade. He couldn’t leave his house for days until Remo had the time and materials to fix it. Ouch.

 So there you go, kiddies. Isn’t it nice knowing that almost everybody has an embarrassing hair story to tell? And that some of us are nice enough to post them online?

If you’re feeling charitable, do share your hair horror stories with us… it might brighten the day of someone who’s just had their aunt give them a purple afro by accident.

Glamify yourself for TIFF..

9 Sep

It’s the beginning of September, and you know what that means in Toronto. It’s TIFF time. The city is buzzing with excitement, it’s full of celebrities and packed with of events.

If you live in Toronto, especially downtown, chances are you will eventually get caught up in the TIFF whirlwind. Whether going to viewings or attending parties, you may find yourself wanting some red carpet style yourself… and why shouldn’t you? Who said you have to be wowed by celebrities? Why can’t you wow them?

Here are some of our favourite red carpet hair styles to inspire your own:

Oh, Uma. How we love you. This has to be the best red carpet style that Uma Thurman has ever donned. From the colour to her piecy waves strategically pulled back, she looks effortlessly gorgeous in this romantic hair style.

At the 2011 VMA Awards, Beyonce showed off her new baby belly, glow and simple (but stunning) side-swept locks. Her soft side bangs frame her face perfectly and a low, soft, side pony is simply elegant.

Psssst… I have a lady crush on Diane Kruger. She is the queen of imperfect, yet absolutely stunning, red carpet hair. From messy braids to slightly undone updos, she rarely goes wrong. With the accessory and loose tendrils, Kruger shows that not everything has to be “just so” when it comes to a glam look.

If old school Hollywood glamour is more your speed, consider a look like Katherine Heigl’s. Classic yet fun, a throwback to the golden days of show biz is never wrong for the red carpet.

When Adele’s hair is blown out like this it looks like she has the best hair in the world. If you want big, soft, voluminous curls for an event, this is the way to go. And don’t even get me started on her colour. Ah-may-zing.

Obviously, I have to end with Ryan Gosling – and this needs no explanation. Ladies, I’m sure none of you would mind if your men styled themselves like this. All we can say is: delicious.

So don’t ever let those pesky, beautiful celebrities outshine you again – get inspiration from their style and outdo them! After all, who doesn’t want to look like a star for a day?

Your nails deserve some lovin’ too..

19 Aug

I want to talk about amazing manicures today, people. I know, I know… our blog is called Hair Love, but sometimes we want to show some love to our aesthetic department as well! I mean, once you have hair to die for, what’s next? You can’t show up somewhere with drop dead gorgeous hair but shoddy nails, can you? It’s all in the details, baby!

It seems like 2011 has been a stellar year for nail art. From traditional manicures in gorgeous, but unexpected colours (think greys, yellows and iridescent) to the half-moon mani to intricate designs, trendy nails have been anything but boring. This nail art has been seen in fashion magazines, runways, offices and everything in between, showing the wearability of these trends in everyday life. Perhaps the longevity of these manicures stems from the fact that colours can span from conservative to neon, and the designs from simple (but interesting) to lace or snake skin detailing – there really is something for everyone!

Here are some of Haartek’s favourite trendy manicures that we hope will stick around for a while:

Whether you love or hate 2011’s nail art, you can’t deny the creativity. And we can’t wait to see what 2012 will bring!

Which manicure is your favourite? Did you partake in any of these trends this summer?

Five easy ways to be different for a day!

17 Aug

Have you ever gotten that itch?  No, I’m not talking about a rash, silly. I’m talking about that itchy feeling you get when you’re bored with your look. You want to change something but you don’t know how. And sometimes it’s just not possible to do something drastic. And other times you really just want something different only for a day or two.

Well, my lovelies. I have news for you: A change of style doesn’t always have to be drastic or permanent.

Here are Haartek’s top five ways of changing up your look temporarily:

1. ACCESSORIES

From headbands to  fascinators, hair accessories are majorly in-trend. And we’re not talking about little girl barette or bauble hair ties – these are accessories full-grown women are not afraid to rock!

Try a headband with a flower detail or the feather or glitter extension craze for a bit of flair that you can remove anytime.

2. GO KINKY

Are you tired of your normal hair texture, be it straight or curly, but you don’t have the time or patience to weld a styling tool? Well, why not texture while you sleep? Wash your hair before you go to sleep and put it in a loose braid. When you wake up your hair will be mostly dry and have amazing loose waves when you take out the braid. Use a beach texturizing product like Kevin Murphy’s Hair Resort spray and you’ll have a chic, gorgeous, un-done style with little effort! Don’t want to go to sleep with your hair wet? Braid your dry hair in the morning and run a flat-iron over the plait and get the same look!

3. USE THOSE TOOLS

While beach hair is brilliant in the summer, if you want a way to change-up your texture going into the fall, brandishing a flat-iron or hot rollers is the way to go!  If you have curly hair, try going straight for a couple of days. If you have straight hair, try using the flat-iron for curls or setting it with hot rollers. There are countless online tutorials for using these tools (here’s our own Carla demonstrating flat-iron curls) and your stylist would be happy to teach you as well.

An important thing to remember when using hot tools is to always use a heat-protection serum or spray before applying heat to prevent any damage!

4. GO FAUX

Who said you have to be stuck with the length of hair you have? Certainly not me! If celebrities can appear to have short hair one day and long hair the next, why can’t you? And no, I’m not talking about costly and permanent extensions (though, those are an option). I’m talking about rockin’ the faux look. Celebrities with long hair have been tucking and pinning their long hair under, creating the illusion of  a bob – a faux bob, if you will. Alternately, those who already have a bob can use clip-in extensions to add length temporarily or to add a pop of colour (think bright purple).

5. COLOUR FOR A DAY

Do you wish you could partake in the pastel hair trend but are just to chicken to make the committment (or have a job that wouldn’t allow it)? Well, your wish will soon be granted. In the fall, Kevin Murphy will release Color.Bug, a temporary hair colour (think applying eye shadow to your hair) that adds body as well. It will come in pink, purple and orange and will last until you wash it out… so you can have crazy coloured tips for the weekend and be back to normal for the office by Monday. Sounds pretty sweet to me.

So now you know five simple ways to change your style, even just for the weekend! Go crazy… at least a little. Why not, right?

Oh, beehive!

3 Aug

In honour of Amy Winehouse, this post is dedicated to that fantastically big, teased and lacquered hair that none but her could pull off quite the same in modern times (though, some would argue she didn’t quite pull it off). Yes, we’re talking about that crazy mass of hair atop her head – the beehive.

Most popular in the 1960s, the beehive was created by Margaret Vinci Heldt in Chicago. An award winning stylist and salon owner, Heldt was asked in 1960 by Modern Beauty Salon magazine to design a new hairstyle that would reflect the coming decade. It originated as a variation of the pageboy and bouffant styles that were elaborately teased and hairsprayed and was also given the name B-52, as it resembled the bulbous nose of the B-52 Stratofortress bomber. The style has been modeled by Dusty Springfield, The Ronettes and Joanna Lumley (in Absolutely Fabulous) amongst others, and has made its way back into fashion in Chanel shows and on modern celebrities.

Here’s a mix of retro and modern beehives that we can’t get enough of. Are you bold enough to fashion this ‘do for a special occasion, or even everyday?

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?

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!