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The Beauty Of Balayage

Balayage Hair from the BackBalayage has blown up in the past couple years. It’s very popular among celebrities and salons all over the world. The beauty of balayage are sunkissed highlights that look like natural pops of color.

One reason people are obsessed with this hair trend is because it’s low maintenance. The highlights are painted free-handed, and away from the root, with no lines of demarcation. When your hair grows out, you don’t need to get it retouched every four to six weeks. Some people even go up to six months without touching it up. Typically, the base color isn’t lightened, so the grow out is beautiful. It’s versatile—the look can range from natural to dramatic. Think “beautiful sunkissed goddess”; it’s never boring, and it can be downright amazing!

Personally, I’m obsessed with this hair trend. I don’t feel like it’s going away anytime soon. I have been balayaging my hair for the past two to three years and I never get tired of it. I can truly say I’m possessed!

The American Wave: Curls are Back

Models - The American Wave

A few weeks ago, I stopped into Dre Holder Salon to visit one of their stylists, who is also one of my good friends. It wasn’t too busy, so some of the other stylists were on break just chatting about some of the new hair trends. However, there was one that really stuck out to me that I wanted to share: “The American Wave.”

The American Wave was pioneered by one of New York’s master stylists, Nick Arrojo. He defines the American Wave as “a professional salon service to create soft, natural-looking, wave and curl patterns, bounce, body and movement for those that want to make the graceful elegance and individuality of texture a part of their hairstyle and identity.”

Nick Arrojo utilizes a system of ‘soft tools’ that reduces the stress on the hair. The techniques he employs, and teaches to others, ensure that the textures that are created are always contemporary, fashionable, and wearable. The system also uses a specialized waving lotion that reconditions the hair for a smoother cuticle filled with life and vitality, not dryness and damage; instead of chemical compounds, American Wave smells like eucalyptus.

As a wave, texture, and volume enhancing service, it creates a range of customized looks, from cascading beachy waves to increased fullness and bounce to curly shapes and styles. The four service options include The Beach Wave, Style Support, Expanded Curls, and Color Wave.

  • The Beach Wave: Using a vertical drag wrap soft tool technique, this style marries straight and wavy textures to create the sexy, tousled beach waves on the vanguard of fashion and beauty trends.
  • Style Support: For clients with fine and/or straight hair, Style Support uses a new spin on soft tool wrapping techniques. It adds volume and texture to hair that lacks life and vitality by creating a resilient consistent wave pattern that helps create better blow-dries and hot-tool styles.
  • Expanded Curls: For those with curly hair, Texture Specialists use a round soft tool wrapping technique to create buoyant and resilient wave and curl patterns that are healthy, frizz-free, and fun.
  • Color Wave: Color Wave allows for any of the American Wave styles to be applied to lightened hair, so you can pair bombshell blondes with bombshell waves and curls.

Since its launch in 2012, American Wave-made hairstyles have been featured at a cornucopia of global hair and beauty shows, shared with thousands of American professionals, and inspired American Wave editorial images and videos. In the salon it is used on clients who want to make the timeless elegance, beauty and grace of texture a part of their identity. Meanwhile, the technology, techniques, and results have featured everywhere from The Today Show to The Chicago Tribune to Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Allure.

Now is the time to embrace your curl, and Nick Arrojo is “proud to be on the front line of the texture trend and to be part of a healthy, free-spirited and unrepressed approach to beauty.” He feels that, “hair should make you look and feel young and carefree, sexy and fun and fabulous. So boost your body and bounce, enhance your natural texture, make your roots pop, create sexy, tousled beach waves and curls suited to the easy-going and versatile fashion and beauty zeitgeist.”

The Skinny on Water

Exotic Waters in FlasksThese days, there seems to be a lot of mindfulness around the water we drink. When shopping at your local market, there are endless options for an individual to choose from. For our hydration, there are bottles labeled spring water, sparkling water, alkaline water, even black water is available. With the endless options at our fingertips, how do we chose something as simple as drinking water, and what is the difference between these choices?

If you have never stopped to consider what distilled water will do for your body versus what mineral or alkaline water will do, this blog post may answer some questions for you. For most people, the words “distilled water” are synonymous with purity and cleanliness. However, distilled water may not be the best choice to hydrate and quench your thirst. Distilled water has undergone a process of distillation, in which you take hard water, or water full of different minerals (good and bad), and turn it into soft water by means of vaporization and condensation. This new water is pH neutral and contains no traces of minerals. Because our bodies need minerals such as calcium and magnesium in order to hydrate and maintain the health of our cells, you can see why distilled water is not the optimum choice for providing the body with nutrients. Furthermore, distilled water has the ability to attract minerals to it. This means it can collect the bodys minerals as well as toxins and flush the system clean. This water may be great for a temporary cleanse, but living on distilled water can be quite harmful.

On the flip side, there is “mineral water”. Most of the time, these are carbonated water, with a varying degree of mineral content. This water is normally bottled at the source and contains minerals that our cells need for optimum hydration. Our muscles, cells, bones, and tissues need these minerals in order to maintain health, so choosing a mineral water labeled high mineral content is a great choice when seeking hydration.

Another choice, and by far the best choice of drinking water, is water that is labeled “Alkaline Water.” Alkaline water has a higher, stabilized pH normally of about 8-9. This alkaline pH means that this water contains many electrolytes, the key to our body’s hydration. Our body needs these chemicals in order to transmit electrical messages. When at all possible, this is the water that will give the body the most nutrients, and provide the cells with much needed energy. In addition the alkaline pH will help to provide balance from so many acidic foods that we eat and drink, such as coffee, chocolate, meat, and dairy items. An individual with chronic dehydration (often seen through fine lines on the face) should strive to drink water that is alkaline to balance and hydrate.

Lastly, if tap water is the only option, using a filter can help to rid the water of heavy metals that can be harmful to the body. In addition, a slice of lemon can alkalize your water, and provide your body with a healthy jumpstart each morning.

Coconut Sugar Body Scrubs

Body Scrub Jar Contents Closeup

These are homemade sugar scrubs, straight from nature’s pantry. These scrubs should last you at least two months if not longer. All you need, beyond coconut oil and sugar, are some cute jars and a label. Add the ingredients found in one of the following variations to create a variety of scent combinations, or invent your own!

Coconut Sugar Scrub

Ingredients

½ cup white or brown sugar

¼ cup coconut oil

Method

Mix all ingredients and store in an air tight jar.

Use one tablespoon of the mixture as needed in the shower. Scrub skin with the mixture and rinse will. This awesome scrub will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.


Brown Sugar Variations

Spicy Cinnamon Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Vanilla Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

1 teaspoon vanilla essential oil or real vanilla extract


White Sugar Variations

Lemon Hand Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

15-20 drops (or more) of lemon or bergomot essential oil

This is great after washing dishes.

Vanilla Lavender Relaxing Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

1 teaspoon vanilla essential oil or real vanilla extract

15 drops lavender essential oil

Relaxing Rose Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

½ teaspoon rose essential oil

What’s Your Hue?

Exotic Lip Art by Girl Grey Beauty

Image courtesy of Girl Grey Beauty.

A lot of people have been trending new, upcoming, and out of the ordinary colors for lipsticks this past year. Colors from purple to blue, and now even green and yellow. Some of these colors have been around for years, but have not reached the surface of the high fashion pool until now.

MAC is a brand that is known for being bold and creative with their colors and matte looks. Having such a wide range of unique and intense hues has made them one of the most popular cosmetic line for lipsticks. This not to say that they were not already famous for their bold eyeshadow colors, blushes, and other face makeup. From their “Bronze Shimmer” to the “Up the Amp,” they have over 200 different hues including every color on the rainbow.

I am not much of a exotic lip color gal myself, however I have been dying to test drive a few “out of my comfort zone” lip shades. One of my favorite lip colors for myself would be a maroon or a deep reddish-purple color. But I want to discover what it feels like to explore purple lips. Strangely enough, these bold colors seem to not only bring out people’s personalities through style, but they also increase their confidence. I believe women (and men) feel so many different emotions just by adding some lip color to their look. It can make you feel sexy, subtle, happy, excited, bold, and so on. I know I feel like a million bucks when I rock a great red or maroon.

So challenge yourself to find a color that not only suits you, but brings out your inner, beautiful self.

Psoriasis and High Frequency Electrotherapy

High Frequency Electrotherapy MachinePsoriasis is a very common chronic skin disorder. It causes skin cells to reproduce too quickly resulting in thick, dry, scaly patches that can be red, white, or almost silver in color. These patches are itchy and can be painful, but most of all, they can be embarrassing for the person affected.

I have suffered with psoriasis on my scalp and neck for a few years now, and I’ve tried many different treatments including creams and ointments both over the counter and prescribed by physicians. The results have always been the same. They help for a while and then, in a few weeks, the symptoms and my embarrassment return.

Recently, I’ve started a new treatment. It is called High Frequency Electrotherapy which uses an electric current to stimulate the surface of the scalp and local blood circulation, improve the process of nourishment, stimulate local glandular activity, and supply heat to sooth the nervous system of the scalp. These benefits all help decrease the irritation and symptoms of psoriasis.

I’ve personally been doing a high frequency treatment for 10 minutes three days a week for the past three weeks. I’ve seen a significant reduction in my symptoms—enough that I’m finally comfortable wearing my hair in a ponytail which I have not done in years! I highly recommend high frequency treatments for anyone with psoriasis. It’s been a life changer for me.

Choose the Correct Sunscreen Product

Drawing of Sunscreen Bottle

Although many only use sunscreen during summer months, sunscreen is an essential skincare product we should use every day of the year. Of course the sun is brighter during the summer, so it is especially important then, but sunscreen protects against skin damage from UV radiation all year round.

It is advisable to apply sunscreen at least 15-20 minutes before going outside to allow the drying time on all exposed body areas. Re-apply every two hours when exposed to the sun in general, even on cloudy days as 80 per cent of UV rays can penetrate the clouds. When out on a beach, it is advisable to re-apply sunscreen every 15-20 minutes. Wash your face or wipe off the area with a wet tissue before re-applying.

But different skin types should use different types of sunscreen. Here’s how to choose the right sunscreen for you according to your skin type.

  • If you have normal skin:

    Normal skin types are the least problematic. The tissue does not reveal any traces of oil and looks clean, smooth and has a good circulation and a healthy complexion. Opt for a cream-based sunblock. In case of oiliness, dab with a tissue to remove the excess oil.

  • If you have dry skin:

    Dry skin has a low level of sebum and can be prone to sensitivity. The skin has a parched look because of its inability to retain moisture. The skin usually feels tight and uncomfortable after washing unless a moisturizer or cream is applied. Lotion or moisturizing SPF is the best choice for dry skin. When opting for the right sunblock, one has to keep in mind that a certain thickness is required in the base to protect the skin from sun damage. With this in mind, always opt for the ones that are thick and not light (matte finish, for example). The higher the range of the SPF, the more oily the formulation.

  • If you have oily skin:

    Oily skin is one of the most problematic skin types. The face has spots of facial oil, normally located in the t-zone. The face usually looks greasy, thick, coarse, and shiny and also has large enlarged pores and tends to breakout in acne. For oily skin, gel or aqua-based SPF formulations work the best. These have a drying effect and do not make the skin look greasy.

Styling the Man Bun

Man Bun Hairstyle

Attending school in the heart of San Francisco, we see a lot of interesting styles out there on the streets. One style in particular that has continued to grow in popularity is the “Man Bun.” Whether you’re the type of guy who likes to keep the sides nice and tapered with an undercut for a “semi-bun” or prefer to let the long luscious mane flow for a “full bun,” here are some pointers to help you achieve the perfectly styled Man Bun:

  • The Man Bun is typically worn at the crown of the head. But “full buns” can be worn lower towards the nape area of your neck.
  • Depending on Man Bun style—semi-bun or full bun—hair should be around 6 to 10 inches long.
  • Creating your bun:
    • Start at your front hairline and gather and rake all of your hair into one hand on the crown of your head. Once you have gathered all of your hair, secure hair in place with an elastic hair tie by pulling the length of your hair through the hair tie and then twist and wrap the elastic tie around your hair 1 to 2 more times depending on the thickness of your hair, each time pulling the length of your hair through the tie.
    • On the final wrap and pass through only pull the length of your hair through half way, allowing the elastic tie to close on top of the hair and create your bun. You can then wrap the remaining ends around the base of the bun so that no loose hair is visible or leave them free to create a Pony Bun.
  • Another way to style your Man Bun is to again begin gathering and raking your hair towards the crown of your head starting from your front hairline. Once you have gathered all your hair, begin to twist the hair like rope and coil it into a circle on top of your crown. Secure by wrapping an elastic hair tie around it one to two times depending on the thickness of your bun.

Here are a few helpful styling tips:

  • To add more weight to your hair, try washing your hair every 2-3 days. The natural oils that build up will actually help you achieve your desired style and create a better hold for your Man Bun.
  • If you are starting with wet or damp hair, consider using a leave-in conditioner or a styling cream with a waxy-like finish such as Aveda Light Elements Texturizing Cream to create some hold.
  • If you want your bun to look casual, use your hands and fingers! Using a comb or brush to style your Man Bun will cause it to look dressy and done.

Fading Dark Spots on Skin

Product - Murad Age Spot and Pigment Lightening SerumI’ve always been a picker. I can’t leave my skin alone and try to pick things that don’t even exist.

I’ve been using all these different products over the years, pro-active brightening spot treatment, Derma’e and other concoctions.

I walked into my favorite beauty supply and a friend of mine handed me a sample of Murad’s “Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum.” I saw my dark spots and pick marks start to fade in just two days. I couldn’t believe all the good it did for me in such a short amount of time. Murad’s product has really been a discovery for me.

It has two active ingredients: Hydroquinone, which is a progressive and intense bleacher, and Glycolic Acid. You have to use Hydroquinone sparingly because its effect can wear off; three days using it and two days off. Glycolic Acid is an AHA, which gently exfoliates the skin and sloughs away old skin cells.

This product doesn’t only get rid of old skin but helps renew skin as well. Though I love Murad products, I realize that what helps foster good skin and not having any dark spots is to also use vitamin C and exfoliate at least twice a week to help promote cell turnover and get rid of bacteria buildup.

For anyone out there who hasn’t found their answer to dark spots, I suggest using this Murad product. It worked for me.

Aloe Vera — a Powerhouse for the Skin

Aloe VeraEveryone is probably very familiar with Aloe Vera as a treatment for burns. However, Aloe Vera has a host of other skin and body healing properties. The Ancient Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality.”

There are many studies that back up the effectiveness of Aloe Vera in treating a variety of skin conditions, from flaky or dry skin, cosmetic ailments, and scalp problems.

Aloe treats sunburns through its powerful healing activity at the epithelial level of the skin, a layer of cells that cover the body. It helps the skin to heal quickly.

Aloe acts as a moisturizer without giving it a greasy feel, so it is perfect for anyone with oily skin. Aloe is also great for treating acne. The gel contains two hormones Auxin and Gibberellins. These two hormones contain wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Aloe is used to effectively heal chronic skin problems, such as psoriasis, acne, and eczema.

Aloe Vera is also widely used in anti-aging products. Aloe leaves many antioxidants including beta carotene, and vitamins C and E, that help improve the skin’s natural firmness and helps keep the skin hydrated. Aloe also lessons the visibility of stretch marks.

Besides being an effective skin treatment, Aloe is nutrient rich for good health. The solid material contains over 75 different nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, antraquinones, or phoenolic compounds, lignin, saponins, sterols, amino acids, and salicylate acid. It also helps to aid in digestion when taken internally.

Aloe Vera is one amazing, medicinal plant that anyone who cares about health and skin wellness should know about.