The Guy Tang Effect: The Newest Balayage Tools From Pravana…Should You Get It?

“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist” ~ Picasso

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By Danni Gess

 

Ahhhh Guy Tang…..

Be still my beating heart.

Nothing gets to the heart of a Hair Junkie more than a person that pushes boundaries and encourages professionals to try something new.

Uh, yeah, I may be fan-girling it a little.

But, with that being said, when Pravana teamed up with Guy Tang to create the Pure Enlightenment Balayage Kit and ChromaSilk 5 Minute Toners I did not jump.

Nope. Kept my feet on the ground….well, okay, I picked up the toners. <grin> which I will elaborate on a another post BUT I was wary of jumping on the newest trend 100%.

This Balayage kit, which has been touted as a “Game changer in balayage” by Guy Tang, is marketed as a freedom from foils and a sanctuary to blondes. I know everybody has their favorite service to do, but foils is not one of them for me. I’m a very visual artistic girl, I like to paint…watch the hair transform; interact with the process. A “game changer” would be a welcomed addition in my life however, as always, I wanted to see some feedback from some of the Hair Artist that I respected before I make the investment.

Jason McDonald, owner and highly sought after stylist of Head Strong Creative Design in Pensacola, Florida, has experimented with quite a few different clay based lighteners. I’ve followed his work (as have many stylist) for some time and knew he could give me a good comparison. He found the Pure Enlightenment not only mixes easily but goes on smoother than comparable products. He also felt it has better lifting power than most. With common complaints that clay-based lighteners tend to not lift as high and doesn’t spread easily, this one-two punch may very well, make it the Holy Grail of clay based lighteners.

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He added, “Pravana’s kit also comes with enough accessories to help even the novice freehand artist become proficient…” The kit includes a DVD, manual, paddle, application brushes, 16 meche sheets, lightener and pre-dedicated developers.

Hmmmm….I’m intrigued so I pressed on.

Educator and Creative Director of Salon Embellish in Phoenix, Arizona, Philip Ringhas been making waves in the industry with his Pixelated Color creations but when it came to Balayage, he hadn’t found a product that he felt he could get the desired results. On his first attempt with the Pure Enlightenment he knew it was a winner. “It was creamier!” which can totally effect the control of the application. He expressed it was the first time he felt “100% proud of my Balayage”.

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I relate to this so much! I want to feel that way about all the work I do but when working with certain tools, you just know you are being held back from achieving a certain standard. When you find something that works it’s like the hair gods have gifted you with superpowers!!!

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I had one more person that I KNEW would be playing with this product in creative ways.

Shannon Keel, aka The Hair Doo Chick, is an educator and salon owner in Lee, Florida. I swear I’m not a stalker but I regularly go through her facebook and instagram feed and geek out over her hair painting and color melt techniques. Am I the only one that thinks a Herringbone pattern made with lightener is just beeeeaaaautifuuuul….?

Ehem, uh…so, it seemed obvious to ask her opinion on the product.

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“I loved Guy Tangs lightener … It has a smooth texture and the consistency stayed the same throughout my painting. I also had wonderful lift”.

As for the quality of her clients hair after using it? “It felt lovely”!

Yup. Three times a charm.

So it looks like I’ll be investing in the Pure Enlightenment Balayage Kit. I’m sure it will pair beautifully with the 5 minute toners that I’m obsessing over (again, I’ll be sharing that on a future post so stay tuned!)

So what was YOUR experience? Will you be investing in this product?

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Beautiful Thursday: Truth and Lies About Olaplex

“Olaplex is a bond multiplier containing a single active ingredient, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate. Olaplex works by finding single sulfur hydrogen bonds and cross linking them back together to form disulfide bonds before, during and after services. Disulfide bonds are broken via chemical, thermal, and mechanical processes.” ~ Olaplex.com

By Danni Gess

 

In the hair industry, there is a mystical aura surrounding this product. Over the past year we have seen Youtube videos, Instagram pictures and glossy magazine articles that extol the products benefits, but is it really the stuff of fairy dust, unicorn blood and dragon scales or is it just another product promising the world and delivering nothing?

Let me first preface this by saying that I use this product, not only on many of my clients but on myself as well. I am a natural level 5 and have an obsession with being REALLY blonde. Over the years, particularly before I became a colorist, I had pushed limits to try and achieve this blonde including an unfortunate incident where my hair fell out like needles on a old Christmas tree.

For many blondes this is a real thing. Over highlighting, too strong a lightener, flat ironing, can create a big fat plate of spaghetti hair.

Spaghetti Hair :  /spəˈɡedē her/ (n) Hair that has a disintegrated  cuticle which leaves the hair feeling slimy when wet. When dried, this hair typically falls away.

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When presented a new product, I am the first person I test it on. Nothing goes on my client’s head until I am certain that it is a product that will add value to their service. For An addition to a color service starting at $15 ($30 for the take home) I wanted to feel confident that Olaplex is something that will bring results. So, based SOLELY on my own head of hair (though I’ve done hundreds services with the product) here is what it can and cannot do.

  1. It CAN protect your hair from unneccessary damage….when used responsibly. When I do my roots, I am using Olaplex. There are times when, inevitably, the lightener overlaps onto my previously lightened hair. In the “old days” this would create some hair breakage. Luckily, having a short funky haircut helps with this because it goes unnoticeable. However, now I can honestly say I have no breakage. To the point that I’m seriously considering growing my hair out, which I will only do if I have healthy hair.

  2. Olaplex is NOT a conditioning treatment. My hair is still dry. This does not shock me. Not once have I read that Olaplex claim it is a conditioning treatment or a mask. So if your stylist is claiming it will put moisture in your hair…refer him/her to this blog.
  3. Your hair will NOT be Teflon after using it in a chemical service. Olaplex has strengthened my hair over time because I use the #3 home care product. Olaplex IS going to give extra insurance when lightening your hair BUT when you get home and style with heat and exposure to environmental elements, your hair gets damaged. If you need to strengthen your hair, maintain what you invested in by using the number #3 at home product. It last about a month (I have short hair so it lasted MUCH longer)
  4. Olaplex works BUT if you are putting olaplex/lightener onto spaghetti hair and expect a miracle, I have a bridge I can sell you! Do yourself a favor. If you have mushy overprocessed hair, go to a salon, do an Olaplex treatment, purchase the at home #3 and a good mask. Stylists, when they come back in a month, not only will you be able to SAFELY work with their hair but you will have a client for life!
  5. Alas, It is NOT made of unicorn blood, fairy dust nor dragon scales. It’s just science which is equally awesome. However, don’t get confused. It ain’t magic. When people start claiming it can do stuff that it is not designed to do, it makes my job difficult. Not only do I wind up having clients that are disappointed when rainbows and sparkles aren’t glinting off their noggin, but as an industry, it creates a culture of mistrust.

Lastly, I have a little bit of friendly advice for my fellow stylists. I understand that we all learn differently and sometimes having someone TELL you how to do something seems reliable but seriously, not everybody knows what they are talking about. AND you are the person that suffers the consequence if you do not use the product correctly. Personally, I did this crazy thing called “reading the directions” and “research”. You’d be shocked at how awesome these two actions can be!

Have you used this product? What was your experience? Have questions?

COMMENT! LIKE! FOLLOW!

Beautiful Thursday: Are You Getting A Proper Blow Out?

“It doesn’t matter if I do the best haircuts in the industry if I can’t showcase it with a beautiful blowout.”

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A few years ago, the world was introduced to blow out bars. Popping up in metropolitan areas like Manhattan, Los Angeles and D.C., it was a marketed as the “it” experience for professional women to get their hair coiffed in a long lasting hairstyle in a luxury setting. Oftentimes, cocktails would be served while pursuing through a glossy menu of style choices, giving the client the feeling of being in an episode of Gossip Girls where Blair Waldorf could breeze in at any given time.

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It’s a business model that reminds me a little of the nail salon industry. Very specifically catered to a woman who will slap down $35 to $50 a week for a polished and finished look. The funny thing is, salons have been offering this service for generations and the introduction of blow out bars had only created a rise in requests.

If you have crazy thick curly hair that you only wash a couple times a week (because who wants to blow all that out everyday?) the investment of having someone do it for you and it lasts for a few days? Hellyeah!

Or if you have an event like a wedding, a reunion or a night on the town, and you want to look gorgeous but not like you tried too hard?  Yup. A banging blow out.

But are all blow outs the same?

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First off, and many of my colleagues may get mad at me for saying this, not all stylist are trained to give a quality blowout. It seems like the simplest of hair services and is often approached that way by many salons but in truth, it’s far more complicated than one would think. Aside from having an understanding of what the client desires; the cut, texture, density, length, and quality of the hair all influence how the stylist approaches the blowout. Each factor will determine what product to use, what brush, the direction in which they hold the hair, how much hair they take in each subsection, what heat to use. Every head of hair mapped out so that each strand falls to its desired location.

This takes training from a knowledgeable educator, patience and a lot of practice. Sadly, not something all professionals want to commit the time to. Why? Time and money. Blowouts are often included in haircuts or color services which adds 20 to 30 minutes to the hair service so many people devalue its importance.

Time is money…..but quality is King.

So how do you know you got a value out of your investment?

First, you should be able to get your fingers through your hair. If the stylist is putting heavy sticky hairspray in your hair (or layers upon layers of product after you are dry), the chances are, they did not properly seal the cuticle or work the hair enough. A  little serum and a light working hairspray that still leaves your hair with movement and bounce should be adequate.

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Second, your ends should be smooth. Many stylists work on smoothing out the hair (creating that beautiful shine) but give up by the time they get to the ends of your hair which typically needs the most help. The ends of your hair is the oldest part of your hair and is subjected to the most damage. The point of a good blow out is to smooth the hair thus giving it the appearance of healthy hair.

Third, your blow out should last 2 to 3 days. What does that mean? Your hair should maintain it’s smooth texture and with just some light brushing, it should get somewhat back to it’s original style. Granted, there are exceptions to every rule. Some people have over active sebaceous glands but a little bit of dry shampoo at the scalp should put things back in order.

When I worked in New York, the demand for a perfect blowout was so high that it often monopolized my book. Once my clients came in for a cut and had a proper blow out they became excited about their hair’s potential. They were accustomed to that rough dry  followed by a flat iron which left no body. It’s an experience they never had with their hair before and It’s a little addicting.

So, now that you are armed with all this information, the question you should be asking yourself is….

Are you getting a proper blow out?

Beautiful Thursday: What to Consider when Choosing an Updo

Weddings, Proms, Homecomings, Social Events…there are so many events that come up where you may be in need of a beautiful coiffed style. Oftentimes, my clients will bring pictures of what they want,which is incredibly helpful and welcomed. However, there are some important factors that many people do not consider ahead of time and are sorely disappointed when “dream hair” does not turn out what they expected.

Here are some important considerations when pulling together a Pinterest look book of option for your stylist.

Color

Yes, a brunette can wear the same updo  as a blonde or ginger but you won’t see the details in pictures. When looking at pictures of updos decide if it’s the shape or the detail that excites you. Typically a picture of a blonde will showcase the beautiful details in the creation where in darker brunette a, it’s all about the shape. Don’t believe me? Look back at old prom pictures and compare the blondes from the brunette a. If the brunette did a style that focused on details the chances are those details, though visible, did not pop like the blonde.

A blonde an brunette. Same style, different results

A blonde an brunette. Same style, different results

Does this mean brunette a can’t have details? Of course not! Just make sure the shape is the wow factor.

Clothing

What are you wearing?

It’s one of the first questions I ask my clients when they sit in my chair. This can be a deciding factor on up, down, vintage or modern. For instance, when wearing a dress with one shoulder and you want an asymmetric updo, which side do you put the heavy side? If your stylist doesn’t know wear the straps are, you may look very heavy on one side. Or, if you chose a bridal gown because you think the back of it is gloriously detailed, you’ll want to make sure you style your hair up to show it off. Keep these factors in mind both when choosing a hairstyle but your dress as well!

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Extensions, Extension, Extensions…

I can do amazing things with hair. Really. But I cannot give you Taylor Swifts hair. She’s got more hair than the average girl so if you want your hair to have that fullness, you may need extensions. Clip ins work. Preferably real hair because the synthetic kind can not have heat on it. Expect the price to be a minimum of $100 to buy those bad boys but on the plus side, you get to keep them!

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She had surprised me on the photoshoot with her hair all cut off….extensions save the day!!!

Veils, Tiaras and Adornments! Oh My!

If a stylist does not know what you are wearing on your head, we cannot make proper space for it in our creation. Even if you are planning on putting a simple clip in your hair, a stylist should do it. Why? Because once we’ve constructed your hairstyle and lacquered it with hairspray you cannot muss with it. Besides, wouldn’t you want there to be no unsightly pins or elastic showing? That’s our job.

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You are not Kim Kardashian. You are : fill in the blank.

When you show me a picture of a celebrity updo, I will take it as inspiration to make the best possible you…not said celebrity.

Why?

Because a kabillion other women are showing that same picture to THEIR stylists. Each client is an individual. My job is to highlight that and make it uniquely and authentically YOU. I mean, why have cookie cutter hair when you can have couture?

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Still some detail in her updo but we focused on how the shape would go with her dress.

Tell us your experiences with getting your hair done and how you felt about it. We want to hear!

Beautiful Thursday: What it REALLY takes to have Rainbow Colored Hair

A soft pale pink, minty green, fushia, slashes of turquoise, and now,   a swirl of blue and violet…image
Damage?
How can something so beautiful be so damaging?
In order for some of these colors to show up, particularily the cooler shades, your hair must be lightened to the palest blonde (or darn close to it!).
I have medium to dark brown hair that is very stubborn.
Needless to say, it takes a lot of time and money to get my hair to a pale blonde.
After my natural haircolor has been lifted, the fashion colors are applied.
This is a double process. In some circumstances, triple! That equates to a lot of time at the salon and quite a bit of money spent…in the hundreds.
After all that time and money spent to get your hair to that perfect shade you want to be sure you have a plan for your aftercare.

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1) Washing your hair should be limited to twice a week and with cool water. The more you wash it, the quicker it will fade.
2) Invest in a quality color-safe sulfate free shampoo. This is not hype. A cheap shampoo is typically harsh and will take that costly color right out.
3) Conditioners and masks are a must! Underneath that rainbow is “bleach blonde” hair. It’s thirsty!

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4) Fashion colors fade faster. Period. You will need to freshen up the colors monthly unless you enjoy the faded colors. Also, a root touch up will be needed if you did all over color.
5) be prepared to put an old towel or pillowcase on your pillow. It may get stained.

With all that being said, I will continue to experiment with vibrant colors  and invest in A LOT of hair masks.

 

Top 5 Tuesday-How to Take Care of Your Hair

  1. How to shampoo: Most of you are shampooing wrong! The most effective way to shampoo your hair is to make sure it is wet enough and creates a lather. If it has been a few days, shampoo twice! I always do and occasionally need to use a clarifying shampoo to remove product buildup. You only need to shampoo your scalp. When you rinse your hair, it will rinse down through your ends. You want to avoid directly putting shampoo on your ends or it can cause dyness. You should not shampoo everyday. Invest in a good dry shampoo for inbetween.  
  2. Conditioning: The opposite goes for conditioning. You do not want to condition the scalp because it is new, healthy hair and your scalp produces oil already. Conditioning your scalp can cause an oily look and will require you to shampoo sooner. I like to leave the conditioner in while I do the rest of my shower business so that the steam and time helps to open the cuticle and get a deep conditioning.  Finally, make sure you rinse your back after conditioning so that you do not have an oily film that can cause breakouts.  
  3. After Treatment: I chronically torture my hair with hot tools and color services, therefore, I like to use leave in treatments for my poor ends.  For those with curly hair, where the hair bends is more fragile and finer than the other areas of the hair, which means: breakage. Leave in conditioners are important but make sure it is meant to be left in. I hear sometimes people leave their conditioner in and it is not meant for that. 
  4. Haircuts: I know most of the ladies want to grow out their hair, believe me, I am one of them. However, when you have split ends, the ends will continue to split up the hairshaft or break off. Maintaining a trim on a 4-6 week basis will help keep your hail healthy and prevent breakage.   
  5. Hair Ties: Please stop. Just….. Stop. You are causing friction from constantly pulling your hair up and twisting the hair ties around, which erodes the hair and causes breakage. I see this too often with clients. If you feel the need to wear your hair up daily, I suggest getting a haircut or doing something to switch it up so that you are out of your hair rut. Otherwise, I know it gets hot and some of you people live at the gym. Just use with caution and moderately.    

Misti Blu Day is a stylist and co-owns a salon with her brother Danny Day in Cocoa Village called The Big Bang Studio. She was an educator for Sexy Hair and now is beginning training to be be an educator for Peter Coppola
  

    Beautiful Thursday-What your hairstylist wishes you knew

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    Some of us hair stylists work long days and occasionally do not even get a day off. We are make shift psychiatrists and usually end up doing an extra toner on someone instead of eating lunch. Here are some helpful tips your stylist wishes you knew:

    • Products and styling: When a client says they want a “wash and go style” that looks styled and smooth without product but have untamed hair naturally, it is not realistic. The photos you see in a magazine are styled with product, hot tools and brushes. A haircut can take you halfway there but know that most styles require your upkeep with products and tools. Ask your stylist how you can maintain a look and what your hair product prescription is. Hair does not take shape until it is 90% dry so put your products in and do your morning routine and go back in with your blow dryer and a round brush to complete your look. Make sure you tell your stylist a little bit about your lifestyle so they can recommend a low maintenance style and give you some styling tips.
    • Dirty hair: Please come in with clean, dry hair. If you walk in with thick or long hair and it is damp, you will cost us at least an extra 15 minutes and put us behind schedule, which will make the next client late. Typically stylists try to book themselves solid and even miss lunch and breaks because certain clients take longer, like having a client who has thicker hair than expected or their color is more of a correction and so on. Also, if you have not washed your hair in several days, it is the equivalent of getting a pedicure without shaving your legs or eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before seeing the dentist. It also can make the color more resistant to penetrate the hair shaft if it is coated in products and oil. So, not only is good etiquette  but also ensures the quality of your service.
    • How much do you charge? We cannot give you an absolute price on your services until we see your hair. Consultations are free with most stylist to get a proper quote. There is a baseline, however, pending the length, texture, density, previous services and what you want compared to what you have now are all factors in giving a proper price. For instance, if you book a color and a cut and walk in with black hair and want to be platinum and your hair is thick and long, that price is dramatically different that a simple root touch up. That is also a color correction and not a typical color service, which may require your stylist rescheduling you due to not blocking off an adequate amount of time for your service.
    • Friends and family hookupFriends are wonderful clients but sometimes the line gets blurred and those close to us expect free or discounted services. What they may not realize is that sometimes that $30 that you throw us for a $150 service barely even covers the product cost. This is our livelihood and many of us pay for our own insurance and products, education, tools, and try to make ends meet with whatever is leftover. Please keep that in mind when asking a friend or family to hook you up with a service.
    • Late and no shows: Please be assured that if we are late it is because of some of the above reasons and know  that we are panicking that you are mad at us and plotting your next appointment with your new stylist while have been holding our bladder since we woke up this morning and are on the verge of pissing our pants. I know it sounds contradicting to ask that if you are late to please inform us when sometimes we are the late one. Occasionally it helps us because we are behind and thank god, so are you. Sometimes  it puts us far behind and now every client after you is waiting past their appointment time. Also, there are times I have personally come in for one client and not only dragged my children out of bed to rush them to a sitter on our one day off to squeeze you in and then you do not show? Helpful hint: If you are late, please bring a present! We all love coffee. It helps us forget you were late, I swear.
    • Dance party in our chair: Please try to remain seated and somewhat still while getting your fabulous new haircut. We tend to get caught up and excited to see eachother or are having a conversation with the person next to you and you are turning your head to make eye contact. Though, it is absolutely adorable that you are making new friends and we are catching up on the latest gossip. It is fun to dish and laugh and catch up but sometimes we need to multitask and sit still, ladies. Also keep in mind that your head is down when looking on your phone. Heads up please. And, thank you for checking in on Facebook that you were getting your hair done by me!
    • Shampooing tips: Shampoo your scalp only. When rinsing, the shampoo will glide down the hair and into the drain. You do not need to shampoo your ends. Your ends are  getting sufficient shampoo through the rinse and is  more dry and fragile than the rest of your hair. Your scalp produces oils and is strong and healthy and can handle a good scrub. When conditioning, it is nearly the opposite. Your scalp produces healthy hair and natural oils, therefore you do not need to condition the scalp or if you do you may have an oily appearance. Condition the midshaft to ends which may be chemically processed and often passed over with heated tools. If you have had a few days go by without shampooing your hair and many coats of products it may be best to shampoo twice. Try to avoid washing your hair everyday. Dry shampoo is amazing. I prefer Sexy Hair H2NO.
    • Hair ties: It is summertime and it is hot! Maybe it is time to hit the gym or maybe you just wanted to sleep those few extra minutes, so you tossed your hair up in a messy bun. Well, what you may not know because you cannot see it, is that when you apply friction from a hair tie several times a day or even just several times a week, you are eroding the hair shaft and causing breakage that is not fixable. Many, many times I see this as I part off the nape section to begin a haircut and it is inches shorter. Try using bobby pins or clips instead.
    • Blondes: Though it can be done beautifully, I still consider this the unicorn of hair colors. It is a lot of work, high maintenance and a very proud accomplishment to your stylist when complete. Please understand that this is a process and we very much value the integrity of your hair and want the end result to be healthy. We are not trying to rip you off and we certainly do not want you walking out the door with our name attached to your hair if it is not looking on point. Be patient and expect to pay more than you are used to. Same for the  fashion colors like purple and teal, which is an entire separate blog post. We have to go almost platinum to achieve these looks and they require several processes and are hard to keep in which equals extra appointments to maintain.
    • Swimming: Before you jump into a pool full of chemicals that will dull the beautiful color we just did, please wet your hair in the shower first. Your hair is like a sponge and if already soaking in the tap water, the chlorine or salt water will roll off of the hair instead of being soaked up first. I prefer to use a leave in conditioner when I hit the sun. Keep that hair protected!

    Hopefully this will bridge the gap for some concerns you or your stylist may have. Stay tuned for some recommendations for season product must haves!

    Contributors: Misti Blu Day, Danni Gess, Theresa Lanno