Tag Archives: hair

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.

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!

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!

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!

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?

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.