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How to Diffuse Curly Hair

Here are some tips and tricks for diffusing curly hair.

First, shampoo with a moisturizing shampoo like the Be Curly Co-Wash and condition with either the Be Curly Conditioner or the new Detangling Masque for extra moisture.

Towel dry your hair and use a Curl Enhancer for tighter curls, or Curl Controller for looser curls on damp hair, paying extra attention to the mids and ends.

Then section off about 2 inches from the bottom hair line and take about a 2 inch square sub section of hair and twist it around your finger, away from your face.

Continue all the way up your head, twisting your hair away from your face until all of your hair is twisted.

Then use a diffuser attachment to your favorite blow dryer and use the hot or medium heat on low speed. Hold your blow dryer so the flat part of the diffuser is facing the ceiling, and gently place the mids and ends of your hair into the diffuser. Let your hair sit for about 10–15 seconds for every section of hair you take. Constantly move around, diffusing different sections of hair every time. Diffuse until 80-90% dry so your hair doesn’t get frizzy and let your hair air dry the remaining 10–20%.

Use a light weight oil like the Dry Remedy oil on your ends. Use 2–4 drops in your hands, rub it around to distribute evenly on your hands and scrunch it into the ends of your hair and use your fingers to gently comb through the twisted sections to break up your curls.

Then you have successfully diffused!

Tea Tree Oil Benefits

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree is native to Australia and its oil has been used and known among the original inhabitants of that continent as a cure-all medicine since ancient times. Since it’s made its way to us people are now starting to realize just how important it really is. The main substances in Tea Tree essential oil are Alpha Pinene, Beta Pinene, Sabinene, Myrcene, Alpha Phellandrene, Alpha Terpinene, Limonene, Cineole, Gamma Terpinene, Para Cymene, Terpinolene, Linalool, Terpinenol and Alpha Terpineol.

Tea Tree oil is an excellent expectorant. People who are suffering from cough and cold, congestion, bronchitis and other troubles associated with colds, can often get relief using Tea Tree essential oil. It can be rubbed on the chest and inhaled while sleeping, or a drop can be placed on the pillow so it can do its work at night also, and you can wake up feeling much better in the morning. I myself have used Tea Tree oil in this way and have come to realize that it really does work to help alleviate the symptoms of the common cold.

Lastly, this essential oil has a stimulating effect on hormone secretions, blood circulation, and most importantly, on the immune system. It boosts your immunity and acts as a shield against different types of infections. It is also quite popular in aromatherapy, because it blends well with many other oils and can also provide you with internal benefits that would otherwise be impossible, since you are not allowed to ingest Tea Tree essential oil.

Tea Tree oil is not entirely benign. You have to be careful with it. Be sure to read and follow all the warnings.

James Vincent—Celebrity Make-up Artist

James Vincent and Cortney Garig

If you aren’t aware of James Vincent’s existence, you should wake up and smell the make-up! He is a self made make-up artist who has came up on his own from rags to riches. A true Cinderella story, that is if Cinderella decided to cut off her long locks, shaved a mohawk, and added some flair and fought for equality while changing the world.

Now if you were expecting some DYI blog explaining how to do a smokey eye, skip this. Instead, this is a life lesson blog about a very inspiring man with some fantastic advice on the industry. Specifically, if you’d like to work in New York creating the latest trends, then read on fellow entrepreneurs!

Who is James Vincent?

Here comes this fuzzy man, covered in tattoos, glam rock, a bandana hanging out of his pocket, shaved head, big beard and completely metal looking to boot, yet when he spoke to the crowd at the Cinta Aveda Institute he introduces himself and gives the warmest smile. Growing up from a punk background myself, I was very excited to hear what this guy had to say.

He grew up in Rhode Island, the tiniest state in the US. Huge family, but surprisingly the first one to go to college. He studied social work. His family was always hard-working, and he never thought he would be a make-up artist, he believed that being stuck in an office was the way to live.

From social work to make-up? Yes. It is truly an odd transition, but as the wise Forest Gump said “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” He started off in the bath and body shop just to make some money through college even though he didn’t know the first thing about make-up. He enjoyed it and moved to Atlanta, Georgia to further his career. He then began writing papers about women of color in the make-up industry. At the time, the women in advertisements were usually Caucasian.

Through these blogs and the passion he had to change the industry from what was the standard to something unique, MAC Cosmetics discovered him and asked him to help launch MAC. At this time MAC was just starting out. He started doing make-up with them.

“Use what you have, make it work. It will work for you.”

At the time, cosmetic companies did not have much variety as far as contours and concealers go, especially for women with darker skin. One fine day, a girl came in to get her make-up done and he decided to use orange lipstick to conceal darker shades under the eyes. This woman got so excited, she offered him a job in the music industry. Little did he know, he would be working for TLC!

Domino Effect to Success

From then on people in the industry where discovering him left and right. Who did he start working for?

  • Special Olympics
  • America’s Next Top Model
  • Puff Daddy, Regina Spektor, Foo Fighters, Lady Gaga, Reece Witherspoon
  • Sex & the City, CNN

He began doing about 12 shows a season for different networks and television series.

Since then James is now a Director of Education for The Makeup Show, runs The Powder Group, and owns his own make-up line.

What are important keys to success in this industry?

  • Build a community of support networks/find a mentor
  • Work freelance work/build a portfolio
  • Buy a domain name, market yourself!

Some Important Key Notes From James Vincent Himself

“You are a small business, education does not end, beauty is 365 days a week.”

If you are unaware of this think to yourself, how dedicated are you to learning, to working hard, and to expanding your network to get your name out there.

“Now is the time to work”

Build a portfolio while in school, get out there, and show the world what you are made of.

“You are dealing with someone at their most venerable, you are there at the moment to help”

Treat everyone with respect!

“Too much information can hurt you.”

People want to know who you are and what you do. They don’t want to know your full novel.

“Your stuff lives forever.”

Be aware of what you post online. Know the limits between a personal social media page and a professional one.

“If you can not name a five people that inspire you, then you are not prepared.”

“Opportunity was mine! That situation becomes the right opportunity when you’re prepared.”

Seven Ways to Drink More Water

Water Splash

Not everybody has a taste for water, but we all need it to ensure that our bodies continue functioning at their best. A lot of people struggle with getting the appropriate amount that they need. If you want to drink more water, but aren’t crazy about the taste, here are some tips that can make it more enjoyable:

  1. Add fresh fruit. Citrus fruits-lemons, limes, and oranges—are the classic enhancers. Put fresh raspberries or watermelon into your water or add strawberry slices. Cucumber and fresh mint are refreshing flavors as well, especially in summer.
  2. Use juice. Any fruit juice can be a good base flavor for water, but tart juices—cranberry, pomegranate, grape, and apple—are especially delicious and will have you craving more. Go for juices that are all natural with no added sugar. And remember that fruits and their juices don’t just taste good, they contain vitamins and antioxidants that can also benefit your health.
  3. Make it bubbly. Many people prefer sparkling to still water. If plain old water isn’t inspiring to you, try a mineral water or try bubbly seltzer, a carbonated water. You can add fresh fruit or natural juice flavors to your seltzer or look for naturally flavored seltzers at your grocery store.
  4. Get icy. Some say that ice water tastes better than water served at room temperature. If that’s so, flavored ice cubes may make an even better drink. Use some of the flavoring suggestions above and start experimenting with fresh fruit, mint, or cucumber ice. Add flavors to your ice cube tray along with the water, then freeze. You may also consider juice, tea, or coffee cubes. If you want to be more creative, use ice cube trays that come in fun shapes like stars, circles, or fish.
  5. Drink tea. Herbal, fruit, green, white, and red teas are generally considered to be better for you than black teas because they contain little to no caffeine. And there are countless flavors of these teas to choose from.
  6. Try bouillons and broths. If you lean toward the savory, you may pass on tea and start sipping one of these hot and savory liquids instead. Choose low-fat and low-sodium versions. Since soup is water-based, a cup of hot soup will count toward your daily fluid intake.
  7. Add fast flavor. If you’re looking for a quick-and-easy flavor booster, you might also consider sugar-free drink mixes like Crystal Light.

Day Makers Movement

Holding Someone's Hand

Recently I learned about this new movement called “Day Makers”. It’s so positive and touching that I decided this is a movement I want to participate in.

Day Makers are people who perform intentional acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place. Day Making is to make a special effort to make someone’s day! Anyone can be a Day Maker. There are many ways that a person can do this.

In my field of work, I’ve learned just how important it is. I read an amazing story written by a cosmologist that touched my heart.

He had been doing hair for a client for several years. The woman came in and wanted a nice new hairstyle and that was just what he did. He explained that he had a little extra time and he wowed her. He made her feel special, but he was completely unaware of just how much that appointment had helped her.

She later wrote him a letter. She told him that the reason she had wanted an extra special hair style was because she wanted to look her best for her own funeral. She had planned on committing suicide the evening after her appointment with him. But the extra attention that he paid to her in that one appointment—just that small window of time—made her change her mind and feel that her life was worth living.

I get choked up every time I hear the story. It’s changed my view on every person that sits in my salon chair. You never know what people are dealing with at home.

Being a Day Maker to me has become a every day effort. If I can make someone feel special and look amazing maybe, just maybe, I can make their day.

As a cosmologist, we tend to constantly fight against time, to stay on schedule for the next client. But, if we can take a minute to go the extra mile, you may be making a huge difference in someone’s life—perhaps you’ll even save it!

You don’t have to be a cosmologist to make someone’s day. Anyone can participate in this incredible movement. I know that I will for the rest of my life.

When I make someone’s day, it feels amazing.

Magical Relaxation

Bathtub

I’m sure I’m not the only one that finds myself feeling overwhelmed and stressed at the end of a busy week of work and school. I’ve explored different ways to unwind and let go of the stress I’ve managed to bottled up through the week.

While I’ve always known how stress affects my mood, through my classes at the Cinta Aveda Institute, I’ve learned of the physical effects of stress on our bodies. Stress can make us feel drained and helpless, lower the activity of our immune system, cause skin breakouts, and, in time, potentially lead to serious illness and disease.

Learning how to dissipate stress should become a priority. Personally, my favorite way to relax and de-stress is by enjoying an Epsom salt bath with aromatherapy. The combination of the Epsom salts and the aromatherapy oils is magical.

Epsom salts are not actually salt but rather a natural mineral combination of magnesium and sulfate. Both of these minerals are easily absorbed through the skin, making it easy for us to enjoy the large variety of benefits provided by Epsom salts: they reduce inflammation and help ease muscle pain or cramps, they relax the nervous system, and they help to produce serotonin by adding magnesium back into your body. When your adrenal system is overworked from stress, you are depleted of magnesium. Soaking in Epsom salts is a good way to replenish the magnesium in your body and create a feeling of calm. It even helps to heal cuts and detox the body.

Aromatherapy is a great tool to use in your life for transforming your state of mind and mood. Some of my favorite oils for a bath are lavender, bergamot, and peppermint.

A lavender bath is soothing and relaxing. It cleans the mind and body. Lavender also has wonderful benefits for the skin and can help with reducing discoloration. It’s also an antimicrobial.

Bergamot is great for an uplifting bath. It is known to work as a mild anti-depressant, is energizing yet also calming, and is also an antimicrobial.

Peppermint creates an energizing bath. It stimulates your mind and body. It helps to clear congestion, ease headaches, and perk you up after an exhausting day.

Aveda also carries single note essential oils that are wonderfully pure and effective. Pick yours up today and try a few drops in your next Epsom salt bath. I promise it will provide magical relaxation!

Tech Tips for Coloring Hair with Foils

Applying Hair Foils

When you foil with color, formulate your color one level lighter than the target level. For example, if you want to end up with a level seven highlight, mix your formula as though you want level eight highlights. Since the color is processed in foils, it’s not going to oxidize enough, and your highlights are going to end up a little lighter than they otherwise would

In similar fashion, when doing lowlights, I like to formulate a level darker to add some dimension to the existing color. If the color of the lowlights matches the existing color precisely, it will look too monochromatic.

Highlights and lowlights should be at least two levels apart from the background color in order to be visible.

When highlighting with color, remix your formula every twenty minutes. The trick here is to put the tint and the developer together in the bowl but don’t mix them until you are ready to apply.

You don’t need many foils to create special effects. Remember that highlights are just that: highlights. Fifteen to twenty foils are enough for partial highlights; quite often the desired effect can be achieved with ten to twelve foils. Thirty to thirty-five foils should be plenty for a full head.

Concentrate on the visual area of the head: the top and the front. That’s what everyone sees.

Stay ¼ inch away from the scalp to avoid bleeding. Remember that the thickness of a slice or a weave will influence the distance that you should stay away from the scalp.

There is a great technique called shadowing when you put highlights and lowlights in the same foil. The results are very impressive. Another way to do it is to weave highlight in one foil and then put pieces of the same weave into a different packet. You will have two back-to-back foils.

Cinta Aveda Institute Guest Speakers

Word Cloud

In the time I’ve attended the Cinta Aveda Institute, we’ve had many amazing guest speakers. I’ve taken away so much from the advice and information these professionals shared with us here at the Institute.

A great feature of our pool of guest speakers is their diversity. We’ve had guest speakers that covered everything from make-up artistry, to financial and business planning, to hair extension experts, to world-renowned hairstylists, to local salon and business owners. The range of speakers and their unique knowledge and experience was truly priceless.

We have also had guest speakers educate us on other important aspects of the beauty industry. For example, the importance of a presence on social media, how to read personality types, and real examples of the salaries a first-year cosmetology graduate commands.

There are also perks to attending the Institute. For instance, when hair extension experts from Balmain came to present for us, they offered us an exclusive discount on their Balmain Extension certification course. When world-renowned make-up artist James Vincent came to speak to us, he gave us a discount on tickets to his Pop-Up Makeup Show here in San Francisco.

I feel fortunate to have attended these lectures and found them to be inspiring, educational, entertaining, informative, and priceless in terms of everything I took away from them.

Now that I’ve graduated from the Cinta Aveda Institute, my advice to a prospective student is to take advantage of all these guest speakers/mentors and all the wisdom they have to offer you.

Christmas? Throw Out Old Cosmetics!

Christmas Tree Cosmetics

How long should you keep your beauty products? Yes, it’s extremely hard to throw away that favorite lipstick of yours, but after two years it may be hazardous to your health.

Perhaps Christmas Day would be a good time to take stock of your beauty products and throw out those past their recommended shelf life.

In a series of tests commissioned by beauty retailer Escentual and conducted at the London Metropolitan University, out of date makeup products were found to contain unsafe levels of potentially harmful bacteria.

The University tested recently expired products—foundation (four months past date), lip gloss (still within its pull date), blush (nine months past date), lipstick (ten months past date), and mascara (four months past date). The results were horrifying.

Paul Matewele, a microbiologist at the University, said: “The foundation, lip gloss, and lipstick all tested positive for Enterococcus faecalis under strict laboratory tests. Enterococcus faecalis is the potentially deadly strain of bacteria that causes meningitis and septicemia and is one of the biggest killers for newborn babies.”

Rakesh Aggarwal, CEO of Escentual, said: “Most women are totally unaware that their cosmetics are a potential breeding ground for deadly bacteria. But if you think about it, you wouldn’t keep food for months after the use-by date, so why would this be acceptable for cosmetics? This research has even surprised us and has shown that there is a serious health risk here. Pregnant women or mums with small babies need to take extra care after our finding showed that the deadly meningitis bacteria were found on several items of out of date make-up.”

This is a wake-up call for all us beauty product junkies out there. In addition to taking stock at least once a year, I also recommend writing the purchase and expiration dates on your makeup products when you buy them. That way, you never have to wonder.

Aveda’s Products for Fine Hair

Aveda Thickening Tonic

As a lady with finer hair myself, I have always envied women who were blessed to have long, voluminous, thick, fluffy hair. Their messy buns always look perfect, their braids are thick and beauty, their hair never falls flat or dull. In the hair department, they always seem to have it going on! Luckily, Aveda’s Thickening Tonic was recently released to help us fine hair girls join the thick hair club and incite our own hair envy.

So you may ask how this magic tonic works? Well, certified organic alma fruit goes in. It helps thicken the diameter of every hair strand, resulting in the appearance of more hair from roots to ends which provides extra volume. Also, it contains wheat protein that helps to protect from heat-styling damage.

To use, it is best to “rough dry” your hair to about 80% dry, section your hair out, and spray generously from roots to ends. Once done, comb through to evenly distribute the product. Finally, blow-dry your hair using a round brush, making sure to point the hair flow down the hair shaft to avoid unwanted frizz. You will be left with instantly thicker hair and a gorgeous, full mane that will demand to be seen.

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, here are some product cocktails and styling tips to really help you make the most of your newfound thicker locks.

In addition to having finer hair, I also have curly hair and am no stranger to frizz or the fight against humidity. A personal favorite product combination of mine is the Thickening Tonic combined with Aveda’s Smooth Infusion Nourishing Styling Crème. The Nourishing Styling Crème is a great lightweight crème that helps to nourish hair while combating frizz even in the highest humidity using organic cupuaçu and shea butters. Following my application of the Thickening Tonic, I use about a nickel-sized amount of the Nourishing Styling Crème distributed through my mid-shafts and ends, and then blow-dry smooth and straight using a wooden paddle brush.

Another great product cocktail is Thickening Tonic + Aveda’s Phomollient Styling Foam. Phomollient is an amazing product that helps to create a weightless hold for finer—to medium-textured hair by using certified organic honey, burdock, and marshmallow. First, apply Thickening Tonic and then apply about two pumps Phomollient to the mid-shafts and ends. Divide your hair into about five to six sections and, using a round metal brush, start in the nape and, as you near the ends, begin to turn your wrist so that the ends of the hair curl around the brush. Be sure to evenly heat up the hair so that the metal round brush will act as a curling iron. When the hair is thoroughly dried, gently unwind the hair from the brush and continue working through the remaining sections.