Thanks to Megan Gardner for taking these awesome photos and to Casey Pfiser, Olivia Beeken and Alexandra Danielle for letting me play with your hair and faces. =)
While I was in Europe last month I was surprised to discover that a lot of the professional product lines in Europe are actually salon exclusive (compared to the relatively few brands that are actually salon exclusive here). It is something that is beginning to shift now, Europe becoming more like us. But it is a big issue in the beauty industry there, where as long as I can remember our drugstores and supermarkets have been filled with more kinds of products than you could imagine. It hadn’t even occurred to me that the markets could be so different. But it got me thinking, and since then I haven’t stopped thinking…
I have often heard that in Europe the hairdressers are looked at in a different way. They are seen with more dignity and admiration, whereas in the States many view hairdressers as lower class individuals. So maybe it makes sense that people in Europe who care about their hair will usually buy products from their stylist, rather than off the internet or at a store. Retail is important to salons for many reasons. It helps us help the client keep their hair looking great, it helps fund the business expenses involved in running a salon and often salons get educational advantages when they are able to sell more products for a manufacturer. Salon retail is great for the client because you can get recommendations from someone who actually knows their hair and can help them use the product, because how you use a product is at least as important as what you use.
So why do clients venture out of the salon to buy product? I can think of a few possible reasons, most of which are baseless. A lot of clients believe that salon retail is more expensive and that they can find the products somewhere else cheaper. This is pretty much never true, but I think a lot of clients don’t even look at the price tag at the salon because they don’t want to be bullied into buying it. The same hair spray will probably be more expensive at the drug store or grocery store. Not to mention a lot of salons will exchange a product if it doesn’t work out. A lot of clients talk about having drawers and cupboards full of cheap products that they hate, yet are still nervous to buy something recommended by a professional.
I believe a lot of clients think we are trying to sell stuff just to make more money. Honestly, most hair stylists don’t make that much commission on product. There are definitely stylists that push products more, but they are misguided, because it isn’t about the money. But it is frustrating shampooing your client and feeling how dry their hair has become from using cheap shampoos and hairsprays… you do everything you can while they are in your chair but you want them to have great hair inbetween visits too. I love guiding and teaching my clients, but when I am asked how much of (insert grocery store product) to use or how to apply it, I really can’t offer much help. I receive a LOT of training on the products I use and I use them all the time for clients of all textures and styles, for weddings, for photoshoots… I work hard to know what I know about products, it isn’t just a natural gift. I can offer guidelines but I am not an expert on everything out there.
Lastly, I think a lot of people don’t trust their hair stylist. And this is related to the above point but also separate… I think a lot of clients get their hair cut by people that they don’t fully trust and therefore would rather read reviews on the internet (written by people that they really don’t know anything about!) than listen to someone who actually has their hands in their hair. It’s like all of the people self-diagnosing themselves on WebMD, or becoming “experts” on topics by reading Wikipedia articles. I’m not saying these things are bad, I read a lot of online reviews for beauty products, but I know how to cut through the BS and I also know that reading a lot of beauty blogs and reviews just makes you feel like you need things that you don’t.
The problem is, sometimes people don’t really understand what’s going on with their hair. They think they have an oily scalp, when really it is just buildup from product, or people think they need more protein-rich products when really they are using so much it is making their hair more brittle. Just like people self-diagnosing and medicating themselves in so many different directions that once they do see a doctor, the doctor has no idea what is the underlying illness and what is just a result of the patient taking a million things at once. Obviously, even a trained hairstylist can make mistakes, but usually they can rectify the mistakes, especially if you are working off just their advice and not the advice of everyone you’ve ever seen on the internet. I know our culture is generally suspicious and impatient, but if you can’t trust that your hairstylist can and will try to help your hair, you should probably find a different stylist. Just like if you trust WebMD more than your doctor, you should probably find a new doctor (and stay off WebMD!)! We live in a time when their is so much information, we need to be extremely attentive to where it comes from. But why we trust screen more than people, I don’t understand. We forget that on the other side of the screen is someone just as infallible as the people we see in “real life.”
So, you ask, why would a beauty blogger speak out against beauty blogs? I love information, but lets keep it in its place and surround ourselves with professionals that we trust. Trust your hairdresser. Otherwise you could be wasting money and wasting time, not to mention downplaying the importance of real, person to person interaction.
We’ve all done it. We see someone’s makeup or hair and immediately have to know what they are using. We read reviews online, we ask people we trust and we buy, buy, buy. But no matter how great something looks on someone else, sometimes it is not right for us. However, if you are repeatedly trying new products that are highly endorsed by sources you trust and you are not seeing the results you want, sometimes the issue isn’t the product, it might be the application.
I can’t tell you that there is exactly one way to do anything, but I am going to go through some different product types and give some different tips and tricks!
Mousse, Gel and other Form-Building Products
Some products are more for detailing and others are more for structure. The most important thing for structure supporting products like mousse and gel is to make sure they are thoroughly dispersed through the hair, especially inside of the hair. In really dense hair, it can be difficult to get product throughout the interior of the hair. A lot of people will just take the product and plop it on the surface of their hair, which will cause the weight of the product to collapse the shape of the hair, and can even make it crispy in places. I always emulsify the product through my palms and fingertips and then start at the back hairline and massage the product through the root area and then pull it through the ends. That way the majority of product is on the interior and then the product is lighter through the ends. You can always go back in and put more product on the ends, but it is harder to get inside the hair once there is a lot of product on the ends.
Product will not create the maximum volume unless it gets to the roots. If you aren’t getting the root dry during your blowout, your hair will flatten as it continues to dry. So be sure that the root is going in the direction you want while you are pre-drying your hair before you pull out a round brush.
Pomades, Clays, Waxes and Putties
These are the detailing products. If it comes in a tub, it probably fits in this category. For short hair styling it is important to start with small amounts of products and thoroughly emulsify the products in your hands before going into the hair. Also, like above, you need to really press the product into the interior of the hair. To get that tousled look you really want to give yourself a little scalp massage with the product. If you focus on the ends it will just be weighed down. Detail ends with the product left on your hands after you have already pressed the majority into the root area. For controlled looks you still want to press the product all throughout the hair, root to end, but make sure to continuously direct it in the direction you want it to go.
For medium or long hair, make sure not to use too much as it can weigh the hair down. Sometimes that is the goal, but you don’t want the hair to look droopy. Start small and emulsify into your hands. You can always go back for more product afterwards.
First of all, use the correct spray for your needs! A common mistake is to reach for the most intense spray possible, but sometimes stronger sprays will collapse the hair instead of keeping the volume.
For use with hot tools, use a light to medium hold working spray and don’t hold the can too close to your head. Make sure it is evenly distributed and try not to overdo it. You don’t want your hair crunchy! Too much spray while working can just cause the flyaways to be stickier and crispier. I prefer Shaper Zero Gravity for curling iron sets.
The really tacky firm sprays are more for flyaways on slicked back hair. Mist hair with spray then smooth flyaways with tail comb.
For volume at root you can spray a medium-firm spray on partings (like where you would tease) and even hit it with the blow dryer to dry spray into the hair. I do this when I tease but it can be done without teasing, too.
Finish with a mist of spray that is suited to your hair type. Lighter sprays for fine hair and firmer sprays as needed for thicker hair. Remember that spraying hair at the end will help seal a look, but to really help it hold it is important to use other products to create the form before that last step. Without the structural support of mousse or gel, it will fall. A firm structure will keep it from collapsing.
Oils and Shine Serums
Know the weight of the product you are using. A lot of these products are easy to get carried away with. Don’t for a second think that since you have used one oil or shine serum that others will react to your hair the same way. Some are very heavy and it is important to use small amounts. Some are better put in wet, others dry, and still others can be used both ways. Some oils will feel like they aren’t there at all until all of a sudden there is way too much. Always start with the manufacturers’ instructions and then go from there.
When in Doubt, Read
Some products are activated when they are shaken. Others look like they would go in wet but go in dry and vice versa. Some are focused at the root (although, you should always pay attention to the root). Some look like one type of product but they are something else. A lot of times the directions will hint at the amount you should use, which can be crucial. Don’t say a product is too heavy until you have tried using less and really focusing where you are putting it, and don’t say something is too light until you have tried using more. Products are your friends. Be patient with them and pay attention to the feedback you are getting. And when in doubt, ask your hairstylist.
Stay tuned for Part II, with makeup application tips.
Hey everyone, summer is a great time to play around with new looks. One thing I have noticed lately is how eyeliner, more than anything else, seems to get ladies in ruts. There are so many different ways to wear eyeliner. I want to challenge women everywhere to take this month just to play around with different colors, textures and techniques. It seems like women will change blush color, lip color, eyeshadow, try different products on their brow… But however they started doing their eyeliner in middle school, high school or college, that is how it stays until middle age. Life is too short.
If you are me up and try some new methods of defining your eyes, give it a few days before you say yay or nay to the different methods.
A few thoughts on different styles, and inspiration for new methods:
– If you use very crisp eyeliner consider softening it or blending it out with a darker eyeshadow. A soft eyeliner line can make the eyes look less lined, with simply the illusion of longer lashes.
– If you always have soft/smudged liner, try something crisper, like a sharper pencil, a gel or a liquid. Eyeliner pens like Stila or Eyeko are great for people who want to try a crisp line but have trouble with liquid liner.
– Remember, it isn’t a black and white issue. Crisp and soft are too extremes and anything in between is possible!
– Try a different color. If you have light coloring maybe try a brown or charcoal over black liner. If you have dark eyes, maybe pop them with a bright color, or a subtle color like a deep green or blue.
– If you always line your lower waterline, experiment with keeping it natural. You can also line it with a white or peach colored pencil. This will wake up your eyes, draw light to them and give them the illusion of being even bigger. It is also a softer look. If you have always done the lower waterline I would recommend smudging a dark shadow under the lash line just so your eyes don’t feel too light, but this will give you a fresh new look. Personally, I think liner on the lower waterline looks too harsh unless it is supported/balanced by more eye makeup on the top, like a smoky eye. The problem is compounded by the fact that it often doesn’t last well. I always recommend very soft liner or just smudged shadow on the bottom, for a softer, fresher look. Give it a shot!
– Play with shapes. Some people feel like there are only a few options for eyeliner, when there are so many different variations. Some are afraid of a slight wing because they don’t want to have that “retro” look but a slight, soft, smudged wing can extend the eyes without a huge statement. Winged eyeliner can also curve up more or less depending on the illusion and statement you’re going for. If your eyes turn up at the outer corners you can even experiment with letting the line extend slightly downward at the outer corner for a balanced, modern look. So many options.
– Play with line thickness by using different brushes or products if they are available to you. A dark eyeshadow and a wet brush will do the trick. A thicker line in the center of the eye gives the illusion of rounder eyes. A thicker line at the outer corner will make them appear slightly more oval.
– Rim more or less of the eyes. You can go a third of the way in, two thirds, all the way along the lashes or even all the way to the tear duct (the last one is not recommended for most daytime looks). I generally recommend following the lash line on top and bottom but keeping the line at the inner corners very thin.
– If you have a more vibrant style, do a darker, neutral liner with a crisp line of color right on top. You can do either color first. If you do the dark liner first with the color on top, it will tone down the darker color.
– Try lining the upper water line. Your lashes will look so long!
Have fun! And remember, there is no one right way so loosen up and experiment! A great way to reconnect with yourself in the mirror.
Post pictures and comment with results!
Here is a picture of Mary with a soft winged liner look. Photo by Megan Gardner.
Hello everyone! I thought today was as good a day as any to jot down some of my artistic goals I will be working on throughout the coming year. These are mostly for me to be able to look back at and assess how I am doing, but it also opens the door for others to tell me how I am doing and offer friendly criticism. I would also encourage other hair designers and other sorts of artists to take an honest look at your work and think of productive ways to make it that much better! These goals are mainly for improvement as an editorial stylist, but I find that what I learn from photo sessions also teaches me a lot about other facets of hair styling and even just general design.
Here are the three areas I will be working on this coming year:
1. Juxtaposition. Juxtaposition is something I have always thought about with other forms of art, from poetry to painting to sculpture, but my recent trip to LA with Sebastian really opened my mind up to the idea of juxtaposition as a way to highlight and add emphasis to parts of a style. Strong textures can become muddled without an opposing texture to create contrast.
In the Urban Explorers collection, the Shanghai styles are a great example of what juxtaposing textures can do, adding emphasis in subtle ways. For the Shanghai styles, the models had black or near black hair, which is great for creating an architectural style with high shine. But in order to really showcase the shine, the micro crimper was used to matte areas so the shiny areas can appear shinier and the hair can still have dimension in a two dimensional picture. It is often a problem getting shapes to show up in dark, solid colored hair, which is why certain updos can look much more interesting on blondes, but with juxtaposing textures, it is possible to create dynamic styles even if the hair color is fairly flat.
For me, I do a lot of braid work and waves and just generally love texture. I am working on taking control of the textures in my work and knowing when to add some smooth or tames areas of a style in order to add emphasis to the wilder parts. Otherwise the eyes don’t know quite where to look.
2. Form/Silhouette. The overall form or silhouette of a piece is almost always what attracts me most to a hairstyle. So why on earth am I say meticulous and detail oriented to the point that I completely lose track of what shapes I am building? I get swept away. And I don’t step back enough. It is important to me this year that the overall shapes I create be completely intentional and not just the result of stacking detail upon detail. Part of the problem is I treat styles as if they will be examined from every angle rather than focusing the design on the front (or three quarters view, or back) and letting the side details be secondary.
I think planning and staying dedicated to a plan will be of utmost importance for this goal, as well as assessing my work multiple times throughout the creative process.
3. Efficiently Refining Textures. This is probably the most important goal, as it also applies to bridal clients and other salon work. I want to learn everything I can about perfecting and refining textures…. quickly! Smoothing and taming hair is always a delicate balance between keeping textures organic and free, yet making them smoother and cleaner. It is about precision and getting the texture exactly how I want it rather than just a general idea. I mean curls that are soft and frizz free without going to far and making them crispy. I mean teasing that looks whimsical rather than like a mess. I mean tight braids that are perfect and loose braids that are controlled and clean with well planned wisps.
I want to achieve ultimate control and most of this is about product knowledge, which Sebastian has been helping me with quite a bit. It is about knowing what to grab and when because the wrong pomade in a braid can make it to crisp and the wrong product for taming curls during a comb out can weigh the hair down.
Luckily, I have my whole career to strive for perfection in styling. When I am satisfied that I am taking each of these elements into consideration for every style I will make more goals. I know each of these will be a never ending journey to perfect, but as long as I can keep them at the forefront of my mind during this year, so that I can continue improving and evolving, I will consider my goal met.
Hello! My friend’s stocking company has just launched its new collection: Jardin Noir. Check out it out online.
Today I wanted to feature some behind the scenes shots from my shoot with them and tell you what I used to create the looks. Photos by Maria Palermo with Barlow Black styling Elysia’s new collection. Model is Alli Frasier of Taxi Management.
On her face:
Prepped with Embryolisse and a spritz of De-Slick from Urban Decay
Face Atelier Ultra Foundation, mixture of shades 1 and 2
Face Atelier Ultra Sheer champagne adjuster for brightening
Graftobian Warm #1 foundation palette for highlight/contour
Graftobian cream blush palette
Urban Decay Prime Potion for eyes
Lime Crime China Doll Palette (used black for eyeliner)
Ultimate Face eye shadow palette
All brushes from Sephora and e.l.f.
On her hair:
1″ Hot Tools marcel iron just to touch up natural curl
Whipped Creme from Sebastian Professional to polish curls/tame frizz
Shaper from Sebastian Professional
Hello lovely readers! Today’s post is especially for the hairdressers, but some of this will also be helpful to the makeup artists, estheticians, and even the freelance photographers, models, wardrobe stylists, etc. Particularly those new in the industry.
Let’s talk about money. We all need it to live, and yet, amongst creative people there is a tendency to be ashamed of this fact. Sometimes I see an internal struggle within them, like it is immoral to charge what they feel on another level is the right amount to charge. I don’t claim to not have these feelings. But I recognize them and understand that if I say, “That will be $115 today,” like I am embarrassed, ashamed, or afraid, people will obviously feed off that energy and feel like it is too much. You can’t talk about money with an apologetic tone or else people feel like you might not be worth it. Which is never the feeling you want people to have. If you say, “That will be $150 today,” in a decisive, confident tone, people will generally be fine. Sure, there are some cheap clients out there who always feel like they are getting slighted, but you can’t treat everyone like that, or people who weren’t otherwise cheap and distrustful might start to act that way.
I am not saying overcharge. I am just saying, don’t undercut yourself or the other professionals around you, as that devalues the hard work we put into this industry.
My mother lives in a small coastal town in Oregon and the market for cutting hair is quite different. She pays $15 including tip for her haircut for a very experienced hairdresser with a substantial clientele. There is not reason for her not to raise her haircut from $2 every couple of years. The only reasons I can think of are fear of losing clients or making them upset or being doubtful that it would make a big difference. Who is really going to be that upset over $2? Not many people, and some who grumble will still come back anyway. You might love a small handful, but you would probably still be making more money and working less. Also, people will tip more.
Above all, people want to see confidence in their hairdresser. As I said before, I am still new at all this and this does not come easy, but it has always been important to me to examine the most successful people I meet and see what makes them different.
As beauty professionals we need to have pride for our work and truly believe it is worth what we are asking. If we don’t believe that to be the case, we need to find what is missing and add it into our services. If it means more education, get more education. If it means a more thorough consultation, spend more time! Even go Vidal Sassoon style and take voice lessons if you think that will make a better, more luxurious experience for the client.
Now, my last point is one very important to me! It is related to not speaking with an apologetic tone about money. Don’t talk to clients about your money problems! Never, never, never! On some clients it will make them tip better or feel less bad about paying more, but you never want the client to feel like you are unreliable, like your mind is on other things than their hair, that they are paying because you need it not because the service is worth it. Clients will feel that their hair doesn’t look as good, even if that is not remotely true! They will look for excuses to go to someone else. They will feel like a burden. And most importantly, they will not feel recharged!
People don’t want to give money to someone who needs it. They want to give it to someone who deserves it. They are paying for experiences and for compliments.
Today I want to talk about skincare and makeup solutions to redness. I have compiled a list of tricks and not all of them will apply to each person with redness issues. There are many reasons for redness, some are based internally and some are related to what you are putting on your skin. These ideas should be experimented with, none of them are magical cures, just things to try. Even if you do your makeup in a dark bathroom, make sure you are experimenting with natural light to see if these tricks will work for you!
1. Drink more water. Take your vitamins. Watch for food triggers for redness. Be good to yourself, that is always the first step.
2. Reassess your skincare. I see a lot of women that had troubled skin as teenagers but have never stopped using acne products. A lot of times this is because their skin is not clear when they look in the mirror, but sometimes it is more from redness and irritation than from pimples. Products with a lot of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can cause splotchiness and uneven skin tone if they aren’t needed. Also, some people exfoliate with products that are very harsh, or too frequently. I, personally, exfoliate every morning with a gentle exfoliant (Microdelivery from the Philosophy skincare line), but many skincare professionals would say that is too often. I would discourage exfoliating more than once a day. Experiment, see what works for you, but please, at least try using a gentle cleanser, and give it a fair chance (a month or longer).
3. Experiment with different moisturizers. Your skin might not be getting enough nourishment. Please moisturize every night, at the very least.
4. Wash your face/body with cooler water. You don’t need to torture yourself, but sometimes the difference between hot and scalding can be huge, and the difference between warm and hot can be enormous.
5. Watch out for oxidizing foundation. If you have ever put on your foundation, felt it was a perfect match, then got to work and felt like it had darkened and turned orange, you’ve been a victim of oxidation! Many popular mineral foundations are horrible for oxidation. I can’t give out a list, because something may oxidize on you, but not on me, but bear this in mind when you are trying something new and take a foundation back if it isn’t working. This is the enemy of fair, sensitive skinned individuals! Liquid foundations can be culprits, too. Sometimes a primer will completely fix this problem, or at least hold it off for awhile.
6. Speaking of primers... Look for green primers such as Smashbox and Make Up For Ever. They look much greener in the bottle than they are on the skin. Stila also has a one step corrector that brightens and reduces redness. These work wonders.
7. Green correctors are another option. These are great for pimples or more extreme redness and come in a variety of consistencies. They are often part of palettes with a peachy tone for brightening (undereyes!) and a yellow to take away darkness.
8. Try a yellow based foundation or tinted moisturizer. This is my preferred method of correcting the problem with makeup, but use caution! I mainly only use liquid foundation around my nose and cheeks, my areas or redness, and then I blend outward and cover my whole face with a fair, neutral powder. If I use liquid foundation on my whole face I use a custom blend. Always make sure you check yourself in natural light when you are experimenting with undertones.
Hello Everyone! I am in LA right now styling up a storm, but please enjoy this in the mean time. I am very proud of this head dress.
Photographer: Chi-Chi Chuang, MUA: Maggy Pawlesh, Model: Melissa
The headdress is my own creation using chicken wire and real flowers. Very heavy!!
Hello All! I wanted to write today about my favorite Christmas present this past year, Sephora’s Advanced Airbrush Set. Truly, I love absolutely everything about these brushes except their name. I think it is a shame that they feel the need to throw airbrush into the name for marketing purposes, because these brushes are stellar even though they don’t really have anything to do with airbrushing.
These brushes are extremely reasonable for high-caliber brushes, at only $65. It is an impressively concise set. I use each brush on almost every makeup application and not many other brushes. They are synthetic so they work well with cream and powder and they are very durable. They are still like new after countless washing the last four months. These are amazing for a professional kit but reasonable enough that they would be suitable for at home use.
Brushes included in the set:
Airbrush Powder – Extremely soft and durable. Clients compliment this brush all the time. Dense and fluffy, depending on the motion you use you can either sweep light amount of powder or really pack it in with a dabbing motion.
Airbrush Precision Foundation – My favorite brush in the set! Very soft and dense. I save so much product by using this brush because foundation really stays on the outer ends of the bristles and applies as a thin, even layer. No microexfoliation, which is huge! No streaking! With other foundation brushes I either get flaking/microexfoliation or staking and need to dab with a sponge but this brush is amazing at comfortably applying a thin, even layer of liquid or cream foundation.
Airbrush Concealer – The perfect brush for blending out concealer lines! It is a little big for applying the concealer but I have small, cheap brushes for that. I use this one more for blending lines or bigger blemishes. Sometimes I use it for delicately contouring or highlighting with creams.
Airbrush Crease – This brush is a little big for some eye shapes but it is great for softly distributing powder on lids. I always shake excess powder off, though, or there would be a bit of fallout.
Airbrush Shadow – This is a very versatile brush and I actually use it with cream concealer more than anything. It is so dense and tiny so it is great for undereyes and buffing in a thicker cream primer on the eyelid. With other brushes I have felt like they just can’t get cream products smooth enough on the eyelids, like it would just be easier to use my finger to press it in, but fingers are too large and I try to minimize using my fingers on clients. This brush is the answer! It is a great size but the right balance between soft and firm so I can get the result I want without causing discomfort. It is great at packing in and blending out powder shadows also!