Cinta Aveda Institute Guest Speakers

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In a series of tests commissioned by beauty retailer Escentual and conducted at the London Metropolitan University, out of date makeup products were found to contain unsafe levels of potentially harmful bacteria.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

Braiding Hair

Different Styles of Braid

For a regular braid, take three sections of hair. From left to right, number the sections 1, 2 and 3. Take section 3 and place it over the top of section 2. Now from left to right, again the sections become 1, 2, and 3. The middle section is number 2. Take section 1 and place it over the top of section 2.

Continue taking the outside sections and placing it over top of the middle section. You will take section 1 and switch it with the middle strand, section 2. Repeat all the way to the end of your hair and you will be left with a braid!

If you already know how to do a regular braid and want to learn something a little more advanced, try a fishtail braid. For this braid, you will be working with two large sections. Section 1 will be on the left and section 2 will be on the right. Take a small piece of the back of section 1 and place it over section 1, joining it with section 2. Then take a small piece of the back of section 2 and place it over section 2, joining it with section 1. Repeat all the way down to the ends of your hair until complete and you are left with a beautiful fishtail braid.

French braids are easier to learn if you practice on someone else before attempting it on yourself. Take a section of hair at the top of your head and divide it into three sections. Begin a regular 3 strand braid. Then begin taking small sections of hair and adding it to the outside piece of hair before braiding it over the middle strand. Continue adding small sections of hair every time you braid a strand over the middle piece. Once you run out of hair to add, continue with a regular 3 strand braid and you are done!

A Dutch braid is also called a reverse braid or an inside-out braid. You will begin again by taking a section of hair at the top of your head and starting it off with a regular 3 strand braid. Again, you will take a small section of hair and add it to the outside strand of your braid. Instead of placing it over the middle strand, you place it under the middle strand. Then on the other side, take a small section of hair and add it to the outside strand. Then braid the strand underneath the middle. The steps are the same as a French braid except you are braiding underneath instead of over the top. Continue adding hair until all of the hair is added to the braid and finish it off with a regular 3 strand braid and you have completed your Dutch braid.

Benefits of Sandalwood Oil

Sandalwood Oil Bottle and Chips

For centuries, sandalwood has been highly respected and even worshiped, especially in the Hindu religion, where it is considered to be holy. In every step of life, it is considered indispensable, from birth to death. It is used to anoint babies on their birthdays, to decorate brides and grooms, and, mixed with flowers, it is used to embalm bodies. It is also used on the funeral pyre when cremating the dead.

Beyond its cultural uses, it is also a great antiseptic. The essential oil of sandalwood is safe for both internal and external applications. When ingested, it is said to help protect internal wounds and ulcers from infections. When applied to the skin, it protects wounds, sores, boils, and pimples from developing infections or from becoming septic.

Sandalwood paste and its essential oil is also an effective anti-inflammatory agent. It has a nice cooling effect and provides relief from all types of inflammations in the brain, and in the digestive, nervous, circulatory, and excretory systems. It can be used for infections, fevers, the side effects of antibiotics, poisoning, insect bites, or wounds. Sandalwood essential oil is also particularly beneficial in cases of nervous and circulatory inflammations.

I’d have to say that Sandalwood is my favorite oil because it has so much to offer.

Tips for Color-Treated Hair

Cortney Garig with Blue Hair

I’m a person who colors her hair blue. I only dye my hair once a month, which many people don’t believe. But you should believe it because it’s true! But I still find it very important to take extra care of my color-treated hair.

  1. Wash your hair as little as possible

    This may sound gross, but I only wash my hair about six times a month. Yes, my hair does get oily, but in a healthy way. Over-washing your hair not only strips the color, but also makes the scalp produce more oils to compensate for losing its natural oils. My advice: try using a shampoo like Scalp Benefits or another cleanser to remove dirt and stick with Color Conserve conditioner for the ends of your hair. This is my approach but other people have different techniques. Personally, this has helped me remove dirt and add moisture while doing as little shampooing as possible.

  2. Rinse your hair with lukewarm or cool water

    I can almost hear you exclaim, “Are you crazy? Cold showers? No!” But this is not really what I mean. It doesn’t have to be cold, just a nice cool temperature. Why is this so?

    • It seals your cuticle—the outer layer of hair—from the environment. When you leave the cuticle open, you are leaving it so that anything in the environment can get inside your hair. That can make your hair brittle and dry.
    • It promotes shine and growth.
    • It makes your skin soft. If you have dry skin, this helps make the layers of your skin seal up as well, keeping it soft and supple.
  3. Try to stay away from heat

    I know this sounds laughable, but it is unhealthy to curl or straighten every day, especially if you bleach your hair or dye it often. Your hair can slowly but progressively break more and more.

  4. Try supplementing your approach

    • Braid your hair to add texture.
    • Add smoothing crème, slicking your hair back to wearing it in a bun. This gives a straightened look.
    • Use roller sets for a curly look.
    • Twist your hair with texture crème for a beach look.

Health Benefits of Flaxseed

Golden Flaxseed Grain, Unground

Flaxseed warms the human body. The seeds need to be eaten as a ground meal. If eaten whole, flaxseed is not digested by the body. But if ground and taken daily with water, flaxseed provides the appropriate amounts of fiber to keep your digestive system working, as long as you keep your fluid intake high.

Flax is well known for its cholesterol-reducing properties. A couple of spoonfuls of ground flaxseed provides the short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are generally present in fish oil. If you rarely eat omega-3’s you’ll be missing out on the benefits of lower cholesterol and beautiful skin.

Flaxseed is another way to get nutrition for pescatarians. Eaten in combination with nuts and fish, flaxseed can be a great help. The alpha-Linolenic acid—an omega-3 fatty acid—helps reduce the inflammations that can contribute to chronic heart ailments, arthritis, asthma, and diabetes. It can even help guard your body against colon cancer.

The high amount of fiber in ground flaxseed is responsible for its cholesterol-lowering effects. High fiber diets help you feel full, so you tend to eat a little less. In turn, this can stabilize your blood sugar and help your intestines function well.

To me, antioxidants and phytochemicals spell an advertisement for an anti-aging cream. Flaxseed contains lignans—a type of phytoestrogen—which work in our intestines and convert to become substances that balance out hormones in women. These have been proven to promote fertility, reduce the risk of breast cancer, and reduce the symptoms of menopause.

Hydrating Effects of Serums

Aveda Tulasara Serums

Light, silky, and fast-absorbing, facial serums are a must-have skincare product. They are especially useful if your skin has taken a beating over the summer and is in need of moisture ASAP. Truthfully, the fact that they have instant hydrating effects on the skin makes them almost addictive.

Serums are water-based moisturizers that contain a high concentration of active ingredients, such as vitamins, antioxidants, and/or plant extracts. It hydrates your skin and makes it look more radiant. Unlike regular moisturizers, serums do not contain occlusive emollients like shea butter, so they penetrate the skin quickly as opposed to sitting on its surface.

Serums have the smallest-sized molecules of all skincare products. That’s how they can penetrate deep into the skin. It’s also why, on a molecular level, they are especially effective for battling free-radical damage. When skin is damaged by the sun, molecules in the skin can lose an atom and become unstable, referred to as a free-radical. To make matters worse, the unstable molecule steals an atom from a stable molecule to cause more havoc within our skin.

Generally, serums’ silky texture comes from smoothing ingredients such as glycerin or “slip” agents such as silicone. Some are treatment-oriented, perhaps to target dark spots or firm the skin. So make sure to check the package before use. You should consider adding a serum to your routine whatever your skin type to increase skin hydration.

How do you use a serum? Apply, wait five minutes to let it sink in, then apply your regular moisturizer. If you have oily skin, a serum can be worn alone.

Incredible Hair Shows

Woman with Elaborate Hairstyle

For a hairstylist, a hair show is an incredible career-changing event. If you haven’t been to one yet, you must. Even if you’re not a hairstylist, it is still a great experience. It’s like an art show for hair. And it is where hairstylists and beauty industry leaders from all over the world show their best work, the techniques they use, and top-selling products used to create the look.

My first hair show was at the Shadow Lounge in Oakland. Many Bay Area hairstylists who specialize in braids, extensions, weaves, color, dreadlocks, and any hairstyles that involve textured hair. Many different salons put on a whole show to present their best work and also to network with other salons.

I was able to do the makeup for the entire model crew of the well-known salon “Nappy or Not”. It was a great experience because they wanted very bright and dramatic makeup looks to contrast with the outfits and the hair designs. I valued it particularly because I learned how to work with textured hair, braids, and extensions. It taught me the backstage life of a big event like this hair show.

As hairstylists, or any beauty industry leader, it is true that we never stop learning and we will always continue to learn, just as I did with my first hair show. This event changed my outlook on my career and has motivated me to continue to grow my talent.

Avocado Hair Masks

Avocado Mask in Hair

Initially, the early Egyptians were the first to recognize avocado’s benefits for skin and hair, and now these benefits are well known. The Egyptians used this fruit to promote hair growth, prevent hair loss, add shine and luster to the hair.

Avocado is not only beneficial for skin and health, but this amazing fruit also has many benefits for hair that will surprise you. The oil of avocado is easily absorbed in the hair, therefore, it goes well with dry hair.

You can use raw fruit or avocado oil to get its rich vitamins and minerals. There are many natural avocado hair treatments to remedy different hair conditions. It works wonders when it is used as a hair mask. It nourishes as well as strengthens the hair.

Natural Beauty Tips

  • While making an avocado or any fruit mask, blend or mash it thoroughly into a lump-free paste. If you have small fruit bits in your mask, it would be difficult to wash them out entirely. If you face such a situation, simply use a comb to remove the bits. It’s a tiresome process, but you will get the job done.
  • If you have oily roots then don’t put the avocado mask onto the first inch or so of your hair. On the other hand, if your hair is dry or frizzy, spread the mask all over your hair and scalp. Pay special attention to the hair ends, as that is where your hair is mostly damaged.
  • If your hair is thin or limp, skip the deep conditioning masks, as they tend to weigh your hair down.
  • Always try to dry your hair naturally, without using a hairdryer, to avert damaged, frizzy hair.

Avocado Mask Recipes

Avocado and Honey Hair Mask With Olive Oil

Honey is a rich source of vitamins that strengthen scalp and hair. Further, it works as a humectant to make your hair strands retain moisture. Olive oil has excellent hydrating properties, so it protects your tresses from damage and is very useful for those who use lots of heat on their hair usually. You can also add in a few drops of lavender essential oil, which is a natural treatment for the scalp that helps get rid of dandruff and itchy skin. Moreover, it adds a feel-good smell to the mask. It’s one of the best hair masks for dry hair!

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado (pitted and scooped out)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • A few drops lavender essential oil (optional)

Method

Mash the avocado until it forms a smooth paste without any lumps. Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and blend them all together, until the mixture forms a smooth paste of uniform consistency.

Damp your hair with water and apply the mask onto your hair, paying extra attention to the hair ends. Massage the mixture a little bit. Clip your hair onto the top of your head and then cover with a shower cap. Allow the mixture to sit for about 40-45 minutes.

Remove the shower cap, rinse your hair thoroughly as many times it requires to remove the mask entirely, and then wash and condition your hair as you normally do.

Avocado and Banana Hair Mask

This provides a deep conditioning treatment for dry hair. This recipe can even maintain the gloss on your naturally curly hair.

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • A few drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender, rose, sweet orange or jasmine (optional)

Method

Blend the ripe banana and ripe avocado together, until they form a smooth paste without any lumps. Put the mixture in a mixing bowl; add in olive oil and 2-3 drops of essential oil. Stir all the ingredients together until you have a smooth mixture of uniform consistency.

Damp your hair with water, and apply the mask onto hair—including scalp if you want—paying extra attention to the hair ends. Massage the mixture a little bit. Clip your hair onto the top of your head, and then cover with a shower cap. Allow the mixture to sit for about 15 minutes, longer if you prefer.

Remove the shower cap, rinse your hair thoroughly as many times it requires removing the mask entirely and then wash and condition your hair as usual.

Avocado, Egg Yolk Hair Mask

This mask has a number of benefits for hair. Use this mask for volume, growth, and conditioning of your tresses. Avocado and egg yolk are also very effective for softening, hydrating, and conditioning hair naturally.

When using any mask containing egg, never use hot or warm water on your hair, as this will cook the egg and you will be stuck with egg bits in your hair.

Ingredients

  • ½ ripe avocado
  • 1 egg yolk

Method

You can use a blender to blend the avocado and egg yolk until they turn into a uniform paste without any lumps. Or you can whisk the egg yolk until it forms a frothy liquid, mash the avocado until it turns into a lump-free paste, and then mix the two together.

Damp your hair with water, and then apply the hair mask with your fingers starting from your scalp and working all the way until you reach hair ends. Massage the mask gently into your scalp for few minutes to stimulate blood flow. Let the mask sit for about 15-20 minutes, longer if you desire.

Rinse your hair thoroughly, as many times as needed to remove all the traces of the mask. Shampoo your hair, condition and rinse your hair as you normally do.

Avocado and Olive Oil Hair Treatment

If your hair is dry, damaged, and frizzy, use this soothing home remedy with olive oil and avocado as its two main ingredients. You can use this mix as an avocado deep hair conditioner to moisturize your mane and restore its lustrous shine. Both these ingredients have moisturizing qualities and will leave your hair looking shiny and feeling soft. Avocado has biotin, a vitamin that helps to strengthen your hair. Olive oil smooths frizz, nurses hair damage, and helps in removing tangles.

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ¼ cup steel-cut or rolled oats
  • ⅛ to ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup milk

Method

Mash the avocado into a lump-free paste and mix it with the oats. Add in olive oil, using the larger amount if your hair is dry. Mix in milk and thoroughly stir all the ingredients together until the mixture turns into a smooth paste.

Apply the mask onto your hair, starting from the scalp till the hair ends. Wait for 30 minutes, and rinse the mask out with water, as many times as needed to remove all traces of the mask. You may then shampoo and condition your hair as usual.