Posts tagged ‘hair care’

Beauty Byte: Hair Frizz Fighters

These product reviews reveal which formulas tame fine, thick, wavy and curly hair … and which are a waste of money


August 15, 2008 at 2:03 pm Leave a comment

FGW: So you want crazy hair?

You know, way back in the day (8 or 9 months ago) I got an email from a new web friend asking me for advice on dyeing her daughter’s hair. All this time later I get to dish out the same advice to a larger audience, facilitated by the same web friend, the amazing Jen Hill. Imagine getting to talk about all the new things you’ve found and all the things you love, and occasionally even getting a box of goodies in return. It’s been an amazing and fun journey and I’m so proud to be a small part of this awesome project Jen has going on here.

“What Have I done????”

I am a hair color afficionado. I have been coloring my hair for more than half my life, no joke. My natural haircolor is unclear, but I assume it’s some random brownish auburn color. Currently my hair is a lovely, shiny raspberry color. I’ve tried most colors at least once, with the only exceptions being green and yellow.  With my skin tone? No way. I’ve done professional and home color, even playing the role of the guinea pig when I worked at a salon…”Do you think this’ll work? I don’t know, let’s try it out on Mo”. So I’m here to offer a few of my pointers to the uninitiated and the curious.

First things first, you have to decide on placement. Are you doing streaks? Bangs only? Tips? Just underneath? All over? A few streaks or just part of the back are good just to play around and try it out. If you have very thick dark hair you can pull up the top half of your hair and add some color around the middle, that’ll add some dimension and a little eye candy. I once had a nice normal color for most of my hair but changed my bangs from week to week. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Next you need a color. I’ve found that purple looks good on most people, but red and pink are pretty all purpose as well. This part gets tricky, because this sort of hair color does funny things sometimes. A friend applied a vibrant purple to her freshly bleached locks, only to have it end up as an odd sort of gray color, barely even visible in her dark hair. Another applied ‘Apple Green’ and ended up with bright turquoise. My own ‘Deep Violet’ once came out as a rather shocking royal blue. If you aren’t willing to risk a bit of a surprise then I recommend having a professional help you with color choice and application.   It’s pretty easy to find these colors if you know where to look. A quick trip to your local beauty supply store or Hot Topic should be all you need. Some of the more standard and well known brands out there are Manic Panic, Punky Colour, and Special Effects(they have a great user photos section for each color). Upkeep is a factor to consider when choosing a color as well. Green and blue can fade to icky versions of themselves in no time at all and red fades faster than pretty much anything out there.

Prepping your hair will depend on your placement choice a bit, but to get the most out of these colors you’ll usually want to bleach your hair before applying. However, L’Oreal Colour Rays are a kit that require no previous color removal and are great on dark hair. They are an easy one step product for the first timer and are pretty darn reliable as far as results go. If you’ve never bleached your hair before I HIGHLY recommend going to your favorite trusted stylist the first time. Home kits can be harsh, and if you aren’t sure how your hair will respond it can get ugly quick. My stylist recently started using Paul Mitchell and the lightener is effective and so ridiculously gentle I instantly fell in love. It’s best to get a feel for your hair before you start abusing it. If you don’t remove all of your original color you will alter the way your new color ends up, so again, be prepared for a surprise. In my opinion it’s always better to risk a surprise color than a head made of straw, so err on the side of caution and don’t over bleach. Be sure to shampoo your hair before applying color so that you don’t leave any lightening agents in your hair. DON’T use conditioner between the bleach and the color!! Hair that has already been processed(sraightening, perming, etc..)may not even need to be beached unless it’s dark. But red or purple over dark hair without lightening can still give some really great highlights.

Most colors come in a squeeze bottle or a jar. Preference is key here, I’ve used both but actually prefer a jar. There’s more room to reach in and grab globs of dye, and you aren’t spreading dye around the outside of the container every time you have to squeeze it into your hands. A jar is also easier to dip a comb into for touch ups or for applying to short hair, like mine. Since these colors stain fast and hard, always wear gloves and a grungy shirt. Keep a pack of disposable latex or vinyl gloves on hand, since you’ll need them for coloring AND for rinsing your hair afterwards. Almost everyone recommends petroleum jelly to coat your hairline and ears, but I like something like Repelle because it’s easier to remove and doesn’t feel as gross on my skin. Typical process time is 15-20 minutes, but I try for at least half an hour. A plastic cap and some heat will help you get better color, but an infrared light at your beauty shop gives maximum results. Walk around the house doing chores while you let it sit, you’ll get something productive done and you’ll let it sink in longer because you’re preoccupied, a win-win situation all around.

Once you’ve let it sit you’re ready for the rinsing. Rinse until the water runs clear sounds easy enough, but it feels like it takes forever.  Wear a pair of gloves until the water is mostly clear or you may end up with hands the color of easter eggs. This is usually the only time I will use shampoo on my brightly colored head, to help remove a lot of the excess dye. From this washing on I’m a conditioner only gal. It helps your color stay put longer and it’s gentler on your already taxed hair and scalp. A dark shirt afterwards is also recommended, since you never know just how much might rub off onto your collar right after coloring.

Upkeep is very important to me. With a little practice touch ups are easy, and you can simply slap some color on before your usual shower. I’m old enough that a faded funky head just looks like I’m trying to hard to be a kid again. Keeping your color fresh and touched up can actually help people take you more seriously with crazy hair because you’re obviously willing to invest time and effort into yourself. I’m a grown woman with 3 kids and, while I like having a little color and pep in my life, I’m responsible enough to know I’m not 15 anymore. There comes a time when you recognize the value of putting your best foot forward, even when that foot is encased in a Fleuvog.

I know that we have at least a few faithful readers (Jami) that enjoy dipping into the bottle just like I do. We want to hear from you. I mean it this time!! As always, PG rated pictures are encouraged!

August 6, 2008 at 12:05 am 7 comments

Jessicurl’s CHIRP program

While embracing my naturally curly hair, I have come across some extraordinary haircare product lines.  One of my favorite lines is Jessicurl.  To learn more about Jess McGuinty and how her company started you can visit my interview with her from a few months back:

Jessicurl: Hair with Heart and Soul. An Interview with Jess McGuinty

In developing a beauty blog, one of my main objectives is to find products that I strongly believe are worth your pursuit and money.  Nothing is more frustrating than purchasing something and finding out later that it isn’t doesn’t fulfill your need for it.  I first tried the Jessicurl hair care line a year ago and was delighted with the quality, the natural ingredients, and the way my curly hair responded to it.  I also loved the natural scents of the products, not overwhelmingly perfume-y!  I have a very sensitive nose, and a lot of cosmetics and haircare products can leave me feeling whoozy while using them.

I have recommended the Jessicurl hair care line and her demonstration videos many times, and if you have become a fan of the Jessicurl line you might be interested in the CHIRP (the Curly Hair Incentive Referral Program).  Basically the CHIRP program at Jessicurl is an affiliate program to help you build store credit in return for your mentions on your website.


If you feel the desire to sing the praises of the Jessicurl hair care line and would like to join the CHIRP affiliate program at Jessicurl, you can register at:  Jessicurl Partners Zone.

Right now I am trying to save up for some silk pillowcases and some more Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner!

June 3, 2008 at 7:34 am 1 comment

Where did I put all those pesky Hair Clips?

In embracing my natural curl, I have dramatically changed my methods of taking care and styling my hair.

If you are not familiar with the No-Poo, water-soluble silicone, air drying, no brushing, deep conditioning, cool final rinse, finger scrunching, hair plopping, and hair clipping terms associated with the “Curly Girl” Method, I have some good reading for you.

“Curly Girl,” by Lorraine Massey: A great introduction to the entire concept and theory behind the correct way to manage your fabulous curls. Massey is the Queen when it comes to the curly girl method.

“Curl Talk,” by Ouidad: Another marvelous book about curly hair from the famous NY hairstylist Ouidad. Her methods are similar but have some slight variations from Massey’s techniques. Articles, Reviews, Shopping, and Forum all on one amazing site. All the women that manage NaturallyCurly are extremely knowledgable and friendly.  You can determine your hair type according to Andre Walker’s hair classification system, and join a forum to address your specific hair type and hair concerns. They discuss everything from your favorite drug store brand conditioners, to ways to select a great hair stylist.

I was recently honored to receive the title of, Curl Ambassador,” from Michelle at

Here is my acceptance speech:


People of planet Earth,

  • Do you suffer from dry, damaged, frizzy, uncontrollable hair?
  • Do you spend an inordinate amount of time blow drying and styling your hair, only having to do it again day after day?
  • Does the weather tend to dictate your hair style and your mood?
  • Are you just tired of fighting against your hair?

Maybe you have been going about your hair all wrong. Maybe, you have CURLY HAIR!

Read the above mentioned curly hair books, and check out the website. You may not think you have curl, and after using the curly hair methods for 3 weeks, might discover something very different about yourself. Many of us are in denial about our curls.

Embrace them!

October 18, 2007 at 2:24 pm 7 comments

Embrace Yourself!

How about a little show and tell story? This is a story about my hair, and it is a bit of a sob story. Here is my picture at the age of 2 in 1971 with my older sister, Monique, and younger brother, Eddie. Can you guess which one I am?

My sister has always had stunningly gorgeous, very dark brunette hair. She could wear it short, or easily grow it very long. She had just the perfect balance of waves and thickness.

In the early 80’s when the style was “preppy,” she could wear perfect wispy bangs and draw the rest back with a stylish pink and green ribbon headband. On lazy mornings, she could sweep it all up in a ponytail, simple and elegant.

When hair styles went bigger and wavier in the mid 80’s, she got a body wave perm. Monique could then style it any way she pleased: full and wavy, or blow dryer straight with curled ends. Yes, I thought my sister had the perfect hair, and I was always green with envy.

I was born with very little hair, and the little hair I had the nurses immediately shaved off. After my delivery, I had some breathing issues and severe jaundice that led to having an IV being placed in my scalp. After a few months, my true hair started coming in. My hair had the appearance of yellowish downy feathers like what you see on a baby duck.

As I got older, and my hair grew, my mother tried several things and consulted with many women at the local beauty shops. At the age of 2, she gave me my first home perm in hopes of giving it some curl and control. I can remember at times standing next to my Mom in the checkout line at the grocery store, or at church, and someone would ask her, “What happened to your daughter’s hair? Bad perm or something?” It always amazed me how people would make these comments and think I didn’t understood what was being said, or that I wouldn’t feel badly about their statements.

I have many memories of my Mom trying to brush my hair out in the morning before school. My scalp just grew accustomed to the pain. It was no use complaining. I just had to accept it. I usually would avoid looking at myself in the mirror as well. In the morning, my Mom would slick it down with Vaseline and water and pull it tightly into a pigtail. By the end of the day, it would be bursting out of the pigtail all over the place. One big frizz ball.

When hearing the story of the Ugly Duckling, I truly believed that I was that duckling.

While growing up, I learned little by little how to try different techniques and products to make my hair look better. Luckily, by high school, I could actually make my hair presentable. It would take a lot of time and work. I usually would wake up at 5:30 am to have enough time to wash, blow dry, set curlers, and style my hair. And usually, if I went out again after school, I would need to re-wash and re-style my hair. .Seriously, the amount of time and energy I have spent on my hair is staggering to think about! And the end product still left me self-conscious and embarrassed.

That is until March of this year, when something inside me couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t torture, blow dry and fight against the hair God gave me one more day.
I believe it was nothing short of divine intervention that sent me to and Lorraine Massey’s book, “Curly Girl.” Without a doubt, these two sources of information have changed my life and given me a new found love and appreciation for my hair.

I only wish I had learned to be comfortable and confident with my hair before now. All those years of despair, feeling like an outcast and believing I had a flaw that made me different from other children. All that time thinking I was an ugly duckling waiting to become a swan when in fact I was an adorable little chick!

That is also what inspired me to create my blog and share these experiences. Writing out those memories still gets to me. I sincerely hope that we can empower each other by sharing our knowledge and building each other up. I want to get the word out so that the “little Jenny’s” out there can benefit from my experience and learn to accept themselves for the beautiful people they are! Embrace yourself and your hair, no matter what!

September 20, 2007 at 10:31 pm 6 comments

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