Thursday, March 27, 2014

Throw Back Thursday - A History of My Hair in Pictures

(Warning: The following blog post contains selfies.)

So I never really got into the whole TBT thing, but since it's a lovely grey day outside, I thought what the hey? - let's throw up some old pictures for fun. Part of the reason I got into doing hair in the first place was because I loved to color my own hair - much to the chagrin of my childhood hairstylist - now I feel her pain when a mom brings me a kid that dunked her head in kool-aid. So I won't show you some of the box color jobs I did in high school, but rather some of my favorite looks from when I learned how to use professional products, and a few colors done by some other stylists. But first, a picture of what mother nature gave me...

I was a super blonde kid. Later as a teenager I would take this picture to a stylist and tell her I wanted to be that blonde again. She pulled my hair through a cap and well... it's a great pumpkin Charlie Brown.

One more kid pic. My mom fancied herself somewhat of an amateur hairdresser and thus my hair was always perfectly coiffed: teased, bangs, bow. The side pony, which was my signature look for about 2 years, was due to the fact that I tried to cut my own hair and took off a chunk behind the right ear... my quest for an asymmetrical haircut would later become an obsession. 

So this was the first really fun thing that I did to my own hair color. I wasn't in cosmetology school yet, but I was getting my platinum blonde roots touched up at a salon and then foiling in the baby pink and blue/purple with Manic Panic at home. (Word of caution: I never recommend anyone doing their own bleach and tone. Even experienced hairstylists can't see every piece of hair in the back of their heads and overlap = breakage.)   I know that there are so many fashion color brands out there, but I'm still madly in love with Manic Panic. They have some of the most awesome shades.

First week in hair school. Hair chopped off and dyed black except for some little pink pieces left through the fringe. This was for a harajuku themed hair show.

Hair school again - I finally had the guts to cut it off into a mohawk and my color instructor gave me this fun toucan look =) I touched this up myself with a lot of different colors and then eventually colored everything black because the fashion shades faded so quickly. 

Fast forward several years later and I still had a mohawk. I couldn't get enough of the short hair and I loved it being buzzed on the sides. By that point it had been through a lot of color changes including blonde, pink, green, and purple. 

Go forward another year or so and I finally decided to grow it out. But I kept working with that asymmetrical hairstyle I had always wanted. Using Subtil Color Out we lifted out the level 3/4 permanent color I had been using and started working toward a copper-red. 

As my hair grew I started balayaging highlights through the pieces around my face to achieve that natural strawberry blonde look. I love painting highlights in my own hair because I know exactly how I'm going to wear each piece. 

Two years later and I was still painting in those blonde pieces around my face and sticking with a 7.43 base color. I loved being red and it was easy to keep my hair in the same color range while growing it out. You can't tell from this picture, but it was a few inches past my shoulders and all the asymmetry had finally been cut away.  

Here's some fun with hair chalk. I did sort of a Heidi braid around the back and left out some of the blondest pieces up front. Then I used Bumble and Bumble chalk in Blush to create the accent pieces. To really get hair chalk to pop you have to layer it. I placed a piece of paper underneath each piece and sprayed on layers and let it dry in between. Once it's dry you can comb through it to soften it up. If you want curl in your hair, do that before you apply hair chalk. 

Well I finally got rid of the red. This is not a great picture, but it's the only one I have since getting bangs. My all over color (the blonde was filled first) is 4.3 and 5n in L'Oreal Majirel, and in between touching up my roots, I gloss my hair with Dia-Light in 5.07. It may seem counter-intuitive to color my hair with something warm and then gloss it with something ash, but it works out well. I've been in the sun a lot lately and so that underlying copper pops through quite a bit. The 5.07 mutes the red without destroying all the warmth in my hair. My hair is now so long that it gets caught in my armpits when I'm getting dressed and I find that extremely annoying... might be time to cut it off again soon =)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Few Tips on Wedding Hair - Charlotte, NC

We've set our clocks forward, St. Patrick's Day is over, and the Spring Equinox is a mere two days away. That means that wedding season is right around the corner and brides everywhere are anxiously pinning a million hairstyles to their Pinterest boards and booking trial runs. One of the best recommendations that I can give a bride-to-be is to not step too far out of your comfort zone. Unless you are one of those people that consistently makes makes drastic changes to your hair cut and color, make up, and personal style, you run the risk of looking back at your photos and not feeling like yourself - or worse, looking in the mirror on your wedding day and feeling like a stranger is staring back at you. Whatever your normal style is, strive for the prettiest, most glamorous version of yourself. To give you an example of what I'm talking about, I have some pictures of two very good friends of mine that got married in the last two years. Both of these brides decided to wear their hair down which I absolutely loved, because that is the way they would normally wear it.

Let's start with Whitney. Whitney has beautiful, super-thick hair that naturally dries with a bit of a wave. She wanted to wear in down for the ceremony, but she still wanted it off of her face, and we needed some sort of structure to anchor in her veil. We opted for loose curls and a subtle braid adorned with tiny wax flowers. These flowers are great for updos because they hold their shape for a long time after they have been cut. The wedding was at a picturesque dairy barn, so the flowers also added a bit of a softness to her overall look and helped to tie-in the green, earthy landscape. 
Isn't she beautiful!

Their kids are going to have great hair =)

Here you can see a little bit of the fine detailing. The center braid that held most of the hair was a fish-tail, and then there where two tiny braids on either side that we used to anchor the wax flowers.

This was my favorite detail. Whitney loves dinosaurs and so her something blue was this tiny blue stegosaurus. At least I think it's a stegosaurus =)

Next up we have the beautiful Ashley. Ashley's wedding hair was a process in both style and color. Ashley had been a blonde for most of her hair color history, and was quite blonde when she met her fiance. About a year and a half before her wedding we had actually given her an ombre look with her base being a level 4 - which she is naturally. Once we started talking about wedding hair though, we decided it would be be better to work her back to a more natural looking blonde. While she loved the ombre and the ease of the maintenance - because she's naturally so dark - we both thought it was best to not have something quite so trendy for wedding hair. You never want to look back and your wedding pictures and say "oh, that was so 2012." =) Since we had a few months to work on her color, we gradually transitioned her back to blonde through heavy highlighting. You will see the transition from engagement photos to wedding pictures below. As for style, Ashley wanted loose, slightly messy waves, but also pulled back from her face. 

This is a shot from Ashley's engagement portraits - you can see how dark her ombre was.

Pardon the terrible lighting in my kitchen - this was something we tried during a trial run. Initially we were going for sort of a braided headband, but I think this look was maybe a little too Renaissance Festival =) We ended up doing something a little different for the wedding. You can also see in this picture how we had already started lightening her hair color a bit. 

Here she is day of! We opted for a simple twist back with a small spray of wax flowers. At this point we had her back to a youthful, natural looking blonde. We highlighted through almost all of the dark permanent color, and lifted her base with a color wash. We used a wand to create her waves and used lots of Bumble and Bumble Texture cream and it stayed all night through dancing and sparklers.

My favorite shot of the adorable couple.

She looked so beautiful. Perfect look for a breezy, romantic wedding in the country.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Subtle Ombre Touch-up

One of the reasons why I love and will continue to love ombre (can we talk about Jared Leto's hair?!?!), is because once you have some color variation in your hair from root to end, it's so easy to touch it up and make it look beautiful and fresh. Below are some pictures of my client Allison. Her hair was already a subtle ombre, but she wanted something a little bit more dramatic and fresh. Because Allison's hair had been a bit over-processed at a previous salon, and because her hair is curly and fine, I didn't want to lighten her ends anymore at risk of causing further damage. To achieve her look I simply darkened her base by a level, pulling a few darker pieces down into the mid-shaft, and then glossed her all-over for 10 minutes with L'Oreal Professionnel's Dia-Light demi-permanent color. I love the Dia-Light because it is an acid based color that will make even the most fragile hair feel shiny and silky.

Before - variation lost, hair is dull

After - variation is restored, hair is shiny

Jared Leto - just because =)