Monday, December 29, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

I hope you all are having an awesome holiday season! We just got back from Florida and are entertaining some family. That means this Transformation was actually done a couple weeks ago since I have been on vacation.

This week's lovely lady has been a client of mine for a while. The last time I saw her, I was giving her a balayaged ombré, and it was her first time ever getting anything done other than a cut! So this time, we decided to give her a little more balayage and lighten it up a little bit more. And she loved it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

So, You Wanna Cut Your Hair Off?

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season so far, I know we are! 

I cannot tell you how many hair chop horror stories I have heard over the years. Everything from a postpartum not-so-pick-me-up, to a spur-of-the-moment make-under. No matter what the reason, everyone wishes one thing, someone told them "NO!" If you or a friend are considering a drastic change in hair length, please consult this flow-chart. I hope you find it helpful!

Do you have any short hair horror stories?

Adventures In Blonding

I am particularly excited about this post because the model for this transformation is me! The hard work you are about to see was performed by my girl Stephanie Pion, who works with me at West End Salon. 
Well my friends, my hair has been every color under the sun! Brown, black, dirty blonde, light blonde, red, purple, platinum. But one thing stays the same, I love a good change, and a drastic one at that! 
Today, I'm going to take you through the adventure that Stephanie and I took to achieve this amazing color. I hope you learn a thing or two about how labor intensive it is to take a brunette, blonde. Maybe even find a new appreciation for your hairstylist, and their vast knowledge of every corner of the hair world. 
Our journey began with the history of my hair. In the last 18 months my hair has been: mostly virgin (never been colored or lightened), colored, highlighted, dyed back to brown, a little balayage, and not colored for 9 months. Needless to say, I presented quite a challenge for Miss Stephanie. 

Photos: Coco and me before (I love Coco's face! Yawn! Bored already!); lightener on everything but the virgin hair.

We started with putting lightener (AKA bleach, lightener just sounds nicer) with Olaplex (a bond multiplier that prevents breakage and damage cause by light enters) on everything that isn't virgin. Virgin hair is hair that has never been colored or lightened before. We left the virgin hair out because it lightens faster and doesn't have any barriers for the lightener to break through, like color.

Photos: Stephanie, Coco, and me waiting patiently; my gorgeous hair after rinsing out the lightener; neutralizing the color with toner

After the ends were light enough, we went back and applied lightener on the virgin hair. Then, we waited... And waited....And you guessed it! We waited some more. Once the hair was light enough, we rinsed. This next part was crucial: toning! (Toner neutralizes unwanted tones in the hair by using complementary colors on the color wheel.) Toning was what took my hair from highlighter yellow and Nickelodeon orange, to a beautiful sandy blonde. This vital part of the blonding process really separates the professionals from the DIYers and box dyers. Getting the right tone is something you really can't duplicate at home and without the right training.

Photos: Before and After!

Once the toner was done processing, we rinsed, shampooed, conditioned, and blowdried. All in all, this whole process took us about 3.5 hours. Oh and did I mention, we did this all with the baby hanging out on my lap. So thank you Stephanie, for being patient and making my hair gorgeous!

Photos: My whole blonding journey from start to finish!

Tips from Stephanie:
Do an in-salon or at-home repairing treatment once a week.
Use a violet shampoo or conditioner to keep your hair from looking brassy.
Get regular trims every 6-8 weeks.
If you have iron in your water, rinse your hair with bottled water to prevent a brass attack!
Use some sort of oil or serum on you ends to keep them hydrated. Trust me, they're thirsty!
Don't use products with dye in them.
Be gentle and enjoy! 

Check out Adventures In Blonding Part Deux. The adventure continues!

What are some of your transformations you've loved?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

What a week it has been! The craziness before Christmas is seriously insane! 

This lovely lady has been an icy platinum for some time now, and was ready for a change. She didn't want anything too drastic, just something closer to her natural so she won't have to touch-up her color as often.

I have been doing this mermaid's hair for a while now and that is exactly the goal! Mermaid Hair! We've been using Obsession Tape Extensions on her for a little over a year now and it has allowed her baby fine hair to grow while creating minimal damage to her natural hair. These are 22" extensions, they normally come in 18", but this mermaid likes her hair extra long!

I am so happy with the way this color turned out. We did a little balayage on her regrowth and toned down her existing highlights to a beautiful honey blonde. I wish the pictures did it justice!

We gave this beauty some more balayage highlights to give an overall lighter effect.

This lovely lady wanted to be a little lighter so we gave her some soft balayage highlights to brighten her up for the holiday season.
I was so excited about this transformation! I love a good chop (on someone who is ready for it)! Other than the obvious haircut, we also lightened her up a little bit. Her hair looks so much fuller on her baby fine hair and I love it! It is super flattering on her!

To see more transformations check out my Before & After page here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

When I showed this transformation to my husband, he said, "Well that's not a huge difference." And he's right, but most people aren't looking to go from black to platinum (although it is a fun challenge when I get to do things like that.) The goal with this particular client was to diffuse the line of demarcation and tone out some of the gold in her hair, getting to look as natural as possible. She didn't want it to "shout" or "talk", she wanted it to "whisper." 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Are You Washing Your Hair Too Much?

Growing up, I thought that everyone washed their hair everyday because that's what my family did. As I got older, I found out that that's not necessarily the case. Washing my hair less is something that I struggled with for a long time and it took me years to get myself and my baby-fine hair trained to where it is now. That's right, training! I know what you must be thinking:
"My hair is super oily!"
"I just feel dirty!"
"But I work out!"
Well I have a solution for all of that and some excellent tricks to break you of your excessive washing ways.

Everyone should be washing their hair no more than two times a week. For some of you, that may sound absolutely ludicrous! But hey, we really don't need to be washing that often. Why you ask? Our natural oils are there for a reason, to hydrate and moisturizer our scalp and hair follicles. 

For my ladies with overly oily hair: 
Your hair is oily because you wash it. I know it sounds completely backwards, but I promise it makes sense. Every time you wash your hair, you are stripping it of its natural oils. Then your scalp thinks, "Hey! Where's all the oil? Oh well, I'll just make more!" Your body only makes what it thinks it needs. 

How To Get Started:
1. Start by skipping a day of washing. Once your scalp gets used to that, skip another. Remember, dry shampoo is your friend!
2. Discover new, fun things to do with your hair that help mask your potentially oily scalp.
Top knot
Sock bun
3. If it's really oily, put a hat on it!
4. Maybe you're a gym rat or you do hot yoga. Well, sweat doesn't equal dirty or oily, but you can always rinse your hair out and massage your scalp, like you are washing it without shampoo.
5. Get yourself on a schedule. Here's mine:
Monday- Wash and Air Dry
Tuesday- Curl It
Wednesday- Sock Bun
Thursday- Wash and Air Dry
Friday- Curl It
Saturday- Hat
Sunday- Sock Bun

Some Benefits to washing less:
- Hair and scalp aren't as dry!
- Use less shampoo and conditioner!
- Save yourself time getting ready in the morning!

Remember, it may take some time for your scalp to adjust and your oil production to slow down, but I promise you wont regret it!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

A little back story behind this transformation. This particular client was sent to me from another client. She had her hair done in Vegas on Thanksgiving vacation and it wasn't anything close to what she had shown him. Luckily, that stylist did most of the hard work for me by getting her dark hair lighter. Needless to say, she was extremely happy that she finally had the hair she had dreamed of before going back to school from her holiday break.

This was the inspiration for the color.

Before & After
Balayage Going Darker

More before and after pictures here.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Importance of Buying Professional Hair Products (From A Salon)

A huge part of my job as a stylist is, not only to provide amazing services to my clients, but to educate them on their hair health. The best way to maintain the health of your hair is to use high quality product and here's why.

One of the first questions I ask a new client is, "What is the biggest challenge with your hair?" I usually hear that it is dry, it won't grow, the color fades fast, etc. The second question I ask is, "What products are you using?" When I hear that someone is using a brand from the drugstore, I ask if they are getting the results they want and is it taking care of those challenges? The answer is usually a resounding "No." Solution? Better products! Professional products!

Side Note:The funniest thing I see on drugstore products, are outrages claims like "Reduces breakage up to 97%" or "Repairs up to 2 years of damage." And all for $8.99. Really? If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Protect Your Investment- If you are investing good money in your hair by getting regular haircuts and color services, then you probably want it to last. The only way to guarantee that is to buy professional products.

More Bang For Your Buck- Professional products are highly concentrated, meaning you have to use less product in your hair to achieve the results you want. Sometimes if you weigh out how much product you are using versus how much money you are spending, buying professional products can sometimes cost the same as drugstore products.

Sulfate and Paraben Free- Sure, you can find drugstore products that say "Sulfate Free" or "Paraben Free", but companies can still put a certain amount of sulfates and parabens into their products while still saying they are sulfate and paraben free. You are more likely to find professional products that are truly free of sulfates and parabens. 

Environmentally Conscious- A lot of professional lines have become super aware of their carbon footprint and have restructured their values based on their consumer's values. You can find so many professional brands that don't do testing on animals and use less plastic in their packaging. Some companies are PETA approved and are even working on being completely bio-degradable within a year of hitting the landfill. So cool!

"But I Can Buy It On Amazon."- When you buy professional products from anywhere other than a salon or authorized retailer, you run the risk of buying a product that has been tampered with, or is old. Sometimes, salons go out of business and sell off their old back stock, or there may even be Suave in that bottle of Paul Mitchell. There is no quality control and there's a reason it is so cheap.

"But I Can Buy It At Beauty Brands Or Sephora."- All I can say is "Support you local businesses!" Give your dollar to a family owned business instead of a corporation. Plus, it usually costs the same. 

Next time you are at the grocery store and you have that bottle of product in your hands, I hope these tips resonate in your head. Make the choice to buy local and buy from a professional. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Transformations

The holidays are upon us! With the cold weather and it getting darker outside, it may be time for a change. Lets step out of our comfort zones, a little, and spice it up for this holiday season!

Full Transformation Progression

Bleach and Tone (Using Olaplex)

Bleach and Tone (Using Olaplex)

Balayage Going Darker

Balayage Going Darker

Balayage and Cut

Balayage and Cut (with Dark Purple Streaks)

Just A Fun Side Braid

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

Balayage and Cut

Balayage and Cut

Bleach and Tone

Bleach and Tone



Check out more Before & After's here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hair Extensions 101

Extensions, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Hair extensions were one of my first introductions to the hair industry, so I have been working with them even before my stylist career began. Over the years I have learned that there are so many uses for hair extensions: to add length, fullness, a splash of color or for people whose hair won't grow past a certain point, for those who just have super fine hair and need more bodyor sometimes we make a split decision to chop off all our hair and then decide we hate it! There are a thousand reasons to have extensions, but there are also many options on what type of extension to get. The possibilities are seemingly endless. Here is a guide I have created to help direct you to your perfect hair extension solution.

Clip-In Extensions
Clip-in’s are an awesome way to introduce yourself to the wonderful world of hair extensions because they simply clip in and out whenever you want them. Whether you wear them out for a special occasion or every day, clip-ins are a great, temporary option to try out extensions. They are the most inexpensive, with no commitment or damage to your hair.
Best For: Everyone, First-Timers, One Time Use, Special Occasions, Minimal Commitment

Use As Needed
Quick And Easy To Take In And Out 
Last For A Long Time


Install Yourself (this can also be a pro)
Not Permanent 

Micro-Links/ I-Tip/ Cold Fusion 
Micro-links are attached to a small amount of hair using compression with a small cylinder and extension. These are great because they are easy to move up when your extensions start growing out.
Best For: Everyone

Easy To Move Up
Reuse Hair


Long Installation

Moderate Damage

Keratin Bonds/ U-Tip/ Fusion
Keratin bonded extensions are very similar to Micro-Links except they are attached by a heated keratin bond. They are great for someone who doesn't want their hair redone often. The downside, they can cause quite a bit of damage to your natural hair.
Best For: Thick Hair, Coarse Hair


Long Wear

Reuse Hair


Maximum Damage

Long Install

Long Removal

Single Sided Tape-Ins
This newer method of extension is very simple and natural. The extension is attached using a 1"-1.5" wide weft with tape on one side.
Best For: Fine Hair


Reuse Hair

Quick Install

Quick Removal

Minimum Damage


Need To Be Redone Every 6-8 Weeks

Double Sided Tape-Ins
Double sided tape-ins are very similar to the single sided method. The wefts are wider coming in at 3". The biggest difference is that there is hair covering both sides of the tape making thevirtually undetectable. 
Best For: Fine Hair


Can't Feel Bonds

Can't See Bonds

Quick Install

Quick Removal

Minimum Damage


Only Stay In For 2-3 Months

Can't Reuse Hair

For all you visual people out there. Note: "Annual Cost" does not always directly correlate with what is most cost effective. Prices will also vary depending on your location and stylist.

Last, but not least, here are a few things to consider:

You need to buy high quality hair if you want your extensions to last a long time.

Never buy synthetic hair!

Buy 100% human hair.

Buy "Remy Hair" whenever possible.

Consider how much you are going to tip when looking at pricing.

Factor in that you are probably going to need to buy new products to take care and protect your hair extensions.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

How To Get Low Maintenance Hair

One of the biggest requests I get in the salon is making my clients hair low maintenance. Now that could mean a few different things: daily styling maintenance, color maintenance, and/or haircut maintenance. Maybe you are someone who wants all three, so here are some of my suggestions to achieving a great look without all of the time and effort.

Low Maintenance Styling
If you are a person (like myself) who needs to curl, straighten, or somehow alter their natural texture, then this section may not be for you. This is for people who want wash-and-wear hair. Something that will look like you spent 20 minutes slaving away under a hot blowdryer, when all you did was let it air dry. But how? Product, product, product! Invest in high quality products that are going to enhance what your momma gave you, starting with shampoo and conditioner. If one of the only things you will be doing to you hair is washing it, I suggest you make the most of it by using professional products.

Low Maintenance Color
Tired of touching up your roots every six weeks? Good thing there are a lot of great, trending options that look super natural and the upkeep is minimal. There is always the ombré. The ombré allows you to have your natural hair color with lighter ends and is virtually maintenance free. 
The ombré done with extensions.

My favorite option that I am absolutely LOVING right now is balayage! Balayage (Bah-lay-ahzge) is a method of highlighting hair without using foils, that with make your hair look gorgeous and naturally sun-kissed (and it's fun to say). This is how you get that Victoria's Secret Angel look.
A before and after picture of balayage with a little bit of a soft ombré at the ends.

Tip: When you are looking at pricing for ombrés and balayage, the cost might be a little higher. Stylists have to do this because they won't be seeing you as often. However, the price still usually works out in the clients favor.

Low Maintenance Haircuts
The only advice that I can give that will truly guarantee your haircut lasting longer is, get better quality haircuts. Going to a budget salon and paying $15 just won't cut it (forgive the pun.) Spend the extra money on an experienced stylist who will make your haircut last beyond 4 weeks.

Moral of the story, if you invest in your hair, you will be rewarded with luscious locks that every woman will envy and admire.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How To Find A Hairstylist

For most people, finding the right hairstylist can be more challenging than it ought to be. How are you going to find that stylist that not only has the skills and talent to make a masterpiece of your mane, but also a stylist that just seems to get you? You require someone who understands what you need and want, even if you don’t. It might be optimistic to find the perfect stylist complete with magic hair taming powers, but here are some tips and tools to finding a great stylist none the less.

How I Feel About Yelp
I hate to start off with a negative, but I want to get this first one out of the way. Yelp can definitely help in finding out some pros and cons about certain businesses, but there are some reasons why I would refrain from using Yelp. One reason is, it might help you find a great salon, but it might not help you find a stylist. Secondly, Yelp screens their reviews. They pick and choose which reviews they want to feature, and some can be years old and irrelevant to their current service. The biggest reason I don’t suggest using Yelp too much, is that most of the time people are reviewing a business is to report something negative, which doesn't necessarily give you an accurate depiction of the business. If you are going to use Yelp, I suggest sorting the "Recommended Reviews" by date and also checking out the reviews not recommended at the bottom of the page.

Ask Someone
The absolute best way to find a good stylist is by a referral. Whether it's from someone you know or just from asking a stranger in the grocery storefind someone whose hair you admire and just ask them who makes their hair so magical. A plus to this strategy is that you will probably make someone’s day and maybe even a new best friend.

But what if you're new to town or too shy to ask?

There is a lovely little website called that some stylists use for a variety of reasons. One of them being, to find new clients. Granted, not every stylist is using this website, however, there are tons of great stylists on this site waiting to be discovered by you. My suggestion is to go on the site, search for your city or area and check out the stylists with great recommendations and call. They might not have a ton of availability, but that means they're probably good if they're busy.