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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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Found at Bay Station: the perfect pixie

4 Nov

The other day as I was rushing to the salon through Bay station a woman caught my eye. No, it wasn’t someone looking all crazy or super glamorous or quirky. It was simply a woman with one of the most perfect pixie cuts I’ve ever seen.

It was a short, Emma Watson-esque pixie, smooth, but with a hint of texture and the shortest of bangs. It suited her face perfectly and was accented with a simple and neutral headband. But what really made this pixie stunning was the colour; it was somewhere in between a copper and strawberry blonde and it was amazing. There is a shortage of perfect pixies out there in general, and gorgeous, red pixies are even more elusive. It was definitely special. Had it not been rush hour I would have stopped to compliment her and ask who did her hair. I kind of regret not doing so!

Since then, I have not been able to get pixies off of my mind. People are afraid of going uber short because they’re worried about looking too masculine and that men won’t like it. But let me tell you: if you have the right facial structure, a pixie can enhance femininity – even with some edge – and it will draw attention to your favourite features.

And not all pixies have to be cropped right to the head. There are so many options for you to play with texture, bangs and layers to get the look that’s perfect for your face and style. And you may be more excited to play with colour because it won’t be as overpowering (think Rihanna’s muppet red afro).

However, as much as I love a perfect pixie, they sadly don’t work for everyone. Those who are blessed with bone structure to die for and who have delicate features suit the pixie the best. And you have to be comfortable showing off those features as well. If you hide behind long hair and never pull it off of your face, chances are a pixie might be too big of a shock.

Here are some of our favourite pixies to inspire you. Please take note: not one of these beautiful ladies looks like a boy.

A manicure not even I can ruin…

26 Oct

Do you go to your favourite salon or spa and pamper yourself with a fabulous manicure only to almost immediately muck up your polish fumbling for your keys because you just can’t wait long enough for it to dry completely? Or do you paint your nails at home and wake up with sheet prints instead of a glossy finish? Do you wear away your polish quickly typing everyday at work? Isn’t it infinitely frustrating?

A perfect manicure really finishes an outfit. From french tips to almost black, impeccable, shiny nails are a must-have accessory.

The problem is, on the other hand (literally), a chipped manicure is the worst. It will detract from even the most glamorous outfits and hair. (Just ask Cosimo… his biggest pet peeve is chipped nails!)

However, ladies (and those gentlemen who are fans of the polish), there is an alternative to finicky nails. CND Shellac promises an ultra-glossy, mirror-like finish that lasts for 14 days. The best part? It’s dry the minute you finish your manicure.

Shellac combines the ease of polish with the permanence of gels. It’s as thin as regular nail polish, hypo-allergenic and contains no formaldehyde, toluene or DBP. And the application is easy peasy! The system includes the same steps as any professional manicure: a base coat, two coats of colour and a top coat. The only difference is that each coat needs to be cured in a UV lamp (ten seconds for the base coat and two minutes for each colour and top coat). And removal is just as simple. The shellac soaks off in acetone in just ten minutes without causing any damage to your nails.

Not only does it remain flawless and shiny for two weeks, it actually helps to protect and strengthen natural nails. It comes in 30 colours at the moment, but by layering colours you can create new shades and effects. For example, if you layer their black colour with purple on top it creates a much darker purple.

I’ve had shellac done twice and have been thrilled by the results. I am the queen of chipped nails, and this has been the solution for long-lasting, great looking manicures. And I definitely recommend it for special occasions like trips, weddings and holidays – you won’t have any last-minute chips!

Sound too good to be true? CND Shellac was voted Nails Magazine’s Best New Product of 2010 and has been praised in Flare, The Oprah Magazine, InStyle and Glamour amongst others. But don’t take our world for it… I dare you to try it for yourself. I guarantee you’ll be hooked!

It’s come undone..

30 Sep

It’s no secret that I am a fan of undone hair. I’ve written more than a few posts dedicated to various purposely messy looks… and this is no exception.

But why is the “undone look” so popular? Why this aversion to looking polished?

I have a few theories. First of all, messy hair can be incredibly sexy. I’m not talking about “dirty teenager” or “just-been-camping-for-a-week-and-can’t-remember-what-a-shower-feels-like” messy, I’m talking about the “night-after-a-great-party” or, if I may be so bold, the infamous “sex” hair. It just looks so carefree and cool… but you know there was an initial style behind it that just became, well… undone.

The second reason might be a rebellion against being a slave to heated hair tools… or the heat and humidity of the city for that matter. Why punish your hair (or your patience) when casual hair can look great for work and, with the right makeup and accessories, for a night on the town.

My third theory might be a bit of a stretch, but I think it has some merit. I point my finger at the rise of hipsterdom; there must be some correlation between the abundance of hipsters in the world and the popularity of messy hair. Just the fact that undone hair is styled to look messy reeks of hipsters, no?

But regardless of the reasoning behind this trend I am hopelessly in love with it. There is just something so appealing about less-than-perfect hair that looks somehow perfect. From tousled waves to undone top knots and chignons to messy braids, all of these styles demand some effort, but not too much. And this nonchalance is what makes it irresistible.

If you don’t understand, I dare you to take a look at some of our favourite “undone” looks. I’ll bet you fall in love too.


Take a walk on the wild side…

28 Sep

Have you ever wanted to colour your hair bright pink or purple but just never built up the nerve? Maybe your profession won’t allow crazy colours in the office or you wish it could be for just a weekend. Well, your wish has been granted.

This September, our dear friends at Kevin Murphy came out with a new hair colour that will excite tweens and grown-ups alike: Colour.Bug! It’s a temporary hair colour in powder form – think eye shadow for your hair. It’s easy as pie to apply and washes out with your next shampoo. How perfect is that?

I can imagine you shaking your head in disbelief. Surely this can’t look as cool as it sounds… or can it? And if so, it must only show up on light hair. Well, my lovelies, how wrong you are! To show you just how awesome Colour.Bug is, our very own Carla demonstrated on yours truly (a blonde) and one of our dear receptionists (with black hair) who dared to go pink.

What you need: a smoothing and shine serum like Kevin Murphy’s Young.Again; one or more Colour.Bug colours (we chose pink and purple… there is also orange available); and hairspray (we used Kevin Murphy’s Session.Spray).

Before you apply Colour.Bug, it’s recommended that you have product in your hair in order for the powder to stick easily. We suggest using a smoothing and shining serum – why not beautify the condition of your hair while you’re at it? As you can see, Tanya has a lot of hair, but only one or two pumps of Young.Again is suffice.

To apply the Colour.Bug, simply glide the applicator over hair using some pressure. Because the colour is in powder form, use your fingers to rub the product in, spreading it over the desired area and giving it the trendy ombre look. Make sure you drape a towel over your shoulders to catch the loose powder. Some may rub off on your clothes, but it does not stain.

See, I told you it would show up in dark hair! When you’ve finished applying the colour to your satisfaction (we chose to do all of Tanya’s ends) seal the deal with a dose of hairspray. Again, because Colour.Bug is a powder it is important to use a finishing product like spray to make sure the colour stays put.

And voila! Tanya has pastel pink ends without having to bleach her hair – no commitment!

So now that you know that yes, Colour.Bug is an option for even the darkest of hair. But how does it look on the blondies? Well, you’re in for a treat. Here is my hair after applying the Young.Again serum.

On my hair, Carla decided to do alternating layers of pink and purple colour to give it a rainbow effect.

Because my hair is so light, much less Colour.Bug needs to be used. Layer the colour to play with the vibrancy.

After Carla finished layering the pink and purple, she played with my waves and used the Session.Spray to hold the colour in place.

When all was said and done, I had gorgeous, rainbow tips! Lauren Conrad, eat your heart out!

Colour.Bug truly does do what it claims: it provides amazing, temporary colour, no matter what type of hair you have. However, before using it, there are things you need to consider. Remember, it is a powder which means that no matter how much hair spray you use, if it gets wet it will come out… so you don’t want to get caught in the rain. And for the blondes out there wanting a splash of colour for a day, here’s a warning: it may be visible for a few days. The packaging does say that very light or over-processed and porous hair may be stained by Colour.Bug. In my case, the vibrancy of the colour washed out after using a cleansing shampoo; however, a pastel tint was still very visible after two more washes. Four washes later, there is barely a trace except for a slight purple tint when you look very closely at a few strands. But my hair is naturally blonde and not over-processed, so the staining might be more severe with bleached hair.

Regardless of its drawbacks, Colour.Bug is a fun way to brighten up your look without the commitment of a normal hair colour. For all you nine to fivers, this may be your chance to take a walk on the wild side… for a weekend.

Too cool for school…

21 Sep

We’ve been talking about fall trends and fashions since the end of August, but it seems we’ve forgotten the most important time of year for so many – back to school!

September isn’t just about buying new clothes and supplies for school. A trip to the salon is almost mandatory to get that great cut or colour for the new school year. Whether you’re in high school or university, your hair can define your style, help you fit in or give you that stand-out-from-the-crowd quality. Whatever your aim is, great hair is important!

There seems to be two big trends in Hollywood for the young and fabulous: long and wavy with subtle ombre highlights ; or a choppy bob. Either way, they’re both fresh, young, low maintenance and fun!

Here are some of our favourite back-to-school styles:

Leighton Meester’s subtle ombre locks are effortless chic for the new school year. They add interest to her long, wavy mane and are extremely low maintenance – your roots are supposed to show! However, ombre highlights are not an excuse to be lazy… they should look deliberate and should only be a few shades lighter than your root colour – think sun-kissed vacation hair rather than growing out blonde colour.

This curly, layered lob is stunning on Selena Gomez and is perfect for back-to-school! Lobs and bobs frame your face and are still long enough that you can braid the front or put it up in the ever-popular top knot for those early morning classes!

It’s a given that students pull their hair back in buns and ponytails all the time! But there’s nothing wrong with adding a little style to that pony. Low, side-ponies are back and when embellished with a braid or twist are a fabulous alternative to a boring, high ponytail. And it’s just as easy!


Uber-long, honey-coloured hair seems to be a die-hard trend for the under-25 crowd. To make sure it doesn’t look too plain try adding different braids or subtle highlights.

It caused quite a stir when Diana Agron chopped off her hair into a shaggy bob… but we absolutely love it! She still looks young and fresh but a bit edgy! And she can keep it tousled or flat-iron it for a sleek look!

Blake Lively has the quintessential young, fresh look. From her sun-kissed colour to her easy, breezy waves, Lively is known for her trendy hair.

As we can see from young starlets, having gorgeous hair doesn’t have to be fussy or old-fashioned. In fact, the more carefree and easy your style is the better! You’re young… you should have fun with your hair! Experimenting with your style and trying out the latest trends is one of the best parts of being in your teens or early twenties so take advantage! You’re only young once, right?

Bringing retro back: 10 iconic hairstyles

15 Sep

The right hairstyle on the right person can define a decade. There’s no doubt that over the years, certain celebrity hair has stood out more than others, and regardless of when you were born, is instantly recognizable.  

Modern trends are often inspired by vintage looks, and hair is no different. Iconic styles are re-imagined and given an updated twist, like borrowing mod styles from the ’60s or soft curls and volume from the ’70s.

Which celebrities have had the most iconic hair? Here are ten of our favourite iconic hairstyles (whether they should ever be repeated or retired is debatable… *cough* ‘the Rachel’ *cough*…):

It’s time for some hot air!

2 Sep

The seventies are back, baby.

This fall, fashion is going glam with trends that are tweaked from the seventies. In the summer, we saw the emergence of maxi dresses and skirts, platforms, sequins, jumpsuits and rompers, big floppy hats and statement jewellery. Well, this fall is no different and adds fur trims and vests, the return of flared pants, and earthy tones. And the hair is beautiful.

When the humidity dies down, consider retiring the high buns, braids and beach hair to go retro – pin straight hair with a middle part and voluminous, soft blowouts are in… and we couldn’t be happier. The spotlight is on long, shiny and bouncy hair that is easy and manageable for everyone.

If you already have straight hair, this is easy peasy – just part your hair in the middle, use a frizz-fighting, high-shine serum and you’re done! If you have a slight wave, it may be time to embrace the flat-iron. But don’t worry. It’s not scary. Make sure you apply a heat protecting product before using your hot tools and go by small sections. And to limit damage to your hair, it’s better to turn the heat up on your flat-iron and run it over your hair only once rather than over and over again at a lower setting.

If straight is too boring for you then consider the bouncy blowout. Use a round brush and mousse to get lots of volume when blowdrying. You may also use a flat-iron or hot rollers to add some curls and oomph to your do, set with some hairspray, and voila! Instant glam.

Considering the deliberately messy and low maintenance hair of the spring and summer, adding some style to your tresses is a welcome change and it looks fabulous with the colours and textures that will be seen in the next months. So bust out those hot tools, brushes and rollers… we promise you’ll feel gorgeous.

Once you go black, you never go back!

31 Aug

We touched on this last week, but fall is just around the corner. I know.. I’m sorry to keep rubbing it in, but it just can’t be ignored. However, as we also mentioned last post, fall is a great excuse to try a fresh look and get rid of tired looking summer hair. It’s time to consider going darker!

As a blonde myself, I sometimes feel like I don’t give enough love to gorgeous, dark tresses. But with fall’s fashion trends including a throwback to the ’70s, with rich colours and textures like fur, darker hair couldn’t match more perfectly!

If you’ve decided to go darker, you need to figure out which dark shade suits your skin tone best. Just like there are endless shades of blonde, choosing a dark colour isn’t as simple as just black or brown. You also have to consider your make-up routine – the same make-up looks different on blondes than on brunettes and depending on your colouring, you might need to wear more to prevent looking washed out. And don’t forget your eyebrows!

But it’s not all a hassle! Colouring your hair dark requires a lot less maintenance than light hair, especially since beach season is over and you don’t have to worry about the sun fading your colour. It’s also less damaging, so say hello to amazing shine!  The favourite thing about dark hair according to the Haartek ladies, though,  is that it’s more exotic and mysterious than lighter hair. And nothing makes your eyes pop quite like a rich, dark hair colour.

The most important thing to consider before you go dark, however, is how dedicated you will be to the new style. You need to remember that it’s much harder to switch to a lighter shade from a dark colour, so transitioning back might take a longer time. But that’s if you want to go back. Because as Carla, an Associate Stylist and lover of dark hair, says, “Once you go black, you never go back.”

Here are some of our favourite raven-haired ladies that make blondes drool with envy at their shiny, exotic manes:

Get me to the nearest haberdashery!

25 Aug

It’s the end of August, and as much as it pains me to say it – summer is coming to an end. (Please, don’t hurt me.)

The plus side, however, is that fall weather and fashion happens to be some of the best (unless of course you are a beach or ski bum). With the fall comes crisp air and perhaps a few more rainy days, and thus, some style adjustment! Maybe you’re thinking of going darker or getting an edgier cut to go with the fall fashion trends, or maybe you’re growing out a shorter summer style for the winter. Regardless, you may want to add that “it” accessory to go with a chunky sweater or tailored jacket. You may want to add… a chapeau.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. A hair blog is recommending a hat. And no, hell hath not frozen over. We must emphasize that a hat is no excuse for bad hair. A hat should complement your hair, not hide a lack of effort! (Although, we must admit, if you can’t help a bad hair day, a cute hat can work wonders…)

From fedoras to cloches, there are so many fashionable alternatives to a baseball cap for covering up your tresses. And if you’re looking for that statement piece for a special event, look no further than the pill-box or fascinator that are back in the spotlight because of the recent royal wedding.

Whether you’re going for pin-straight or soft curls, adding a stylish hat can make your hair look even better – emphasizing your style, if you will.

Here are some stylish chapeaus that we wouldn’t be angry to see on top of beautiful hair for the end of summer and fall:

So unless you are actually participating in something active like a marathon or the gym, you have no excuse for wearing a baseball cap and hiding your hair. From the casual to the super fancy, there’s a stylish hat for everyone if you need to cover those roots before your next hair appointment!