Babyliss Pro-mance

For those who saw my video on IGTV this Saturday you will have noticed two things.

Firstly, I like white wine

Secondly, I gave no actual information about the Babyliss Pro Perfect Curl styler…In fact I couldn’t even remember its full name.

Thirdly, I am also more than aware I am super late to the party on this one.  There’s a very simple reason.  Being a hair stylist I am a snob when it comes to things I think are gimmicks.  Myself and my GHD’s will turn our shiny noses up to anything that smacks of a ‘flash in the pan’.  However, I recently had to demo how to use a Perfect Curl styler and I am big enough to admit my OCD was thrilled as I saw perfect curl after perfect emerge from this machine.

BUT. Here. Is. The. Thing.

I might make a living out of doing everyone else hair but I am also a real person that’s a little tired of seeing people ‘effortlessly’ curl/braid/style hair.  Every single one of those people did something for the first time and I can bet that attempt wasn’t as smooth as the carefully selected locks they are working on. (meow, claws away, Kim) …you know what I mean though right? 

Showing the first attempt on my own hair not only showed that these things rarely go smoothly but they often will, with a little know how work out in the end.  That’s the second thing, we need to know HOW to get around the issues we face when doing something new, simply so we don’t give up, swear and throw these things in a cupboard, you paid good money for that.

So here is what I learned from using the styler

  1. Brush your hair and section it before you start starting from the nape area and work your way up or you will get into a right kerfuffle
  2. Each section needs to be really neat and a maximum of around 2cm, if your hair is really thick then then reduce the section size
  3. If you have fine hair using this is so much easier
  4. If you have long hair don’t curl from the root start further down the hair to avoid wanted jamming.
  5. If there are any hairs outside of the hair chamber when you close the device it won’t work or it again can jam
  6. If you are going to alternate the curls have an idea of where that curl will sit to avoid pig tails on the top of your head
  7. Basically, plan a(your)head until you get used to it.

Ultimately this wasn’t a difficult piece of equipment to use, it was fiddly but by no means impossible.  You can see from the video the end result was good once the curls were styled out. If you don’t alternate the curl you could easily brush this out into a 40’s style wave, which can be hard to do with other curling apparatus.

It does give slightly less control on the type of style you can achieve but if you just want some body and movement to your hair and be able to put your make up on in between the beeps then this could be a good option.  

Babyliss also have a Perfect Curl Mk II which does give the option to do three different types of curl, tight, medium and loose.

I don’t think this will be the curling device to end all other curling devises but it’s certainly really easy to use on someone else.  So, if you have one sat in a cupboard having given up on it, grab a friend before a night out and have them use it on you and save yourself some drama.

Kim

P.S I still haven’t found out what the middle switch does

Mental Health Awareness

‘Are you off anywhere nice on holiday this year?’ …That’s the stereotypical question you are expected to answer at your hairdressers.  If I am honest, I will probably ask it because I’m nosey.  What you don’t expect to be asked is anything about the state of your mental health, however through the years I have been party to many conversations regarding mental health issues with my clients.

During your training in the hair and beauty industry you are told to be polite, ask open questions and stay away from any inflammatory subjects such as politics.  Those are the rules to get you through the test but you really learn how to communicate with people when you are faced with the first client that falls to pieces on you. In my experience I have learned the best way to deal with these situations is to simply put the job to one side for a few minutes and listen.

At first, I was surprised about how many people were suffering with mental health issues, whereas now I am more surprised when people aren’t.

As a qualified beauty therapist and hairdresser there was a huge difference in how people communicated with me depending on where they are.  Out in the hair salon the client could be laughing and joking but as soon as I closed the beauty treatment room door I could be met with a completely different emotional state.  Now I work one on one in a home setting the same rules apply.  I have been cried on more times than I can remember. Never feel bad about that, if it makes you feel better, I will be crying along with you.

This isn’t a post to give myself a pat on the back for attempting to help people because I know some of my clients have been as supportive of me and I have tried to be for them.  The point is a very simple message and it is this.

If your hairdresser or beauty therapist is the only person you feel like you can talk to then please do. 

We are in a very privileged position to know you but we are not in your main circle, we are not part of you’re A-list group of friends, we are impartial.

Obviously, we are not therapists and cannot help on that level but we can listen.  I have witnessed many people talk themselves through a perceived burden only to come out the other side of the appointment feeling much better. The other side to this mental health coin is perhaps once you have opened up to someone it may give you the boost you need to seek further help

That said I have had clients that have shared a lot and I have never seen them again.  I imagine that perhaps they felt like they had overshared and didn’t then want to return and that’s OK so long as you talk.  Promise me.

Long story short, along with the need to learn how to communicate with people I feel there is a duty of care in the hair and beauty industry and to my clients to understand how to effectively and actively listen to those who need talk about their mental health. In the beginning it would have been helpful to know what to say and perhaps more importantly, what to avoid saying. How to keep people talking if you know they want to but are feeling too exposed.  How to tell if they want to keep talking or want to stop.  I’m sure like many I’ve learned on the job, I still don’t know if my approach is correct but I am open and ready to listen.

Kim

p.s don’t suffer alone, you are never a burden.

The Wonderful Wizard of O…laplex

So, your hair has been through a bleach tornado and you’re now in a wonderful world of trouble. Well click those heels Dorothy because you need to go see the wonderful Wizard of Olaplex.

As we have already got brains (OK not enough to refrain from bleaching, don’t look at me with those judging eyes, Toto) we need some answers from the Wizard that is chemistry.  How does this golden nectar work? Do you have the courage to ask? (nope, not sorry)

Let’s have a chemistry lesson!  Said no sane person wanting to keep a reader engaged ever but I think we can all agree you are not dealing with a sane person here, so I shall continue.  *attaches elbow patches to jacket*

Your hair is made up of keratin, the bricks to your yellow brick road, if you will.  Just like actual bricks keratin can only stay strong if another substance bonds them together.  So, the ‘cement’ that holds keratin together are protein bonds called disulphide bonds.

Unfortunately, when we do fun things to our hair it has an effect on the disulphide bonds, in that it changes its chemical properties turning it into cysteic acid, which if I am correct is the substance that dissolved the Wicked Witch*.  The more you expose your hair to oxidising chemicals the more cysteic acid will be produced and increased cysteic acid is thought it be a major cause of hair damage.

Here is where Olaplex comes in, with some magical wizardry (that is a bit of a secret therefore must be metaphysical) Olaplex seems to swoop in and restore the broken-down disulphide bonds. Not all heroes wear capes.

Scruffy bottle of Olaplex to prove I actually use it

Here is my Olaplex story.

Once upon a time I did a stupid thing, I had brown hair and I didn’t want brown hair anymore so I bleached it.  Although it was still attached to my hair the quality of my hair was not only massively compromised to the point that I couldn’t wear it down it was also, you guessed it, light orange.  I didn’t mind this but on hearing about Olaplex I decided it was worth a try just to see if I could push it to blonde.  I then bleached it again with the addition of Olaplex 1 and 2 and it was like someone had given me a whole new head of hair.  Afterwards it was blonde and the condition had improved, it was soft and shiny again….yes way!

However, I currently still have one section of really damaged hair which nothing seems to be able to restore. So as usual with me a word of warning: Do not to push your hair to the point of no return.  That’s MY thing quit coping me.

Kim

p.s *I am not correct.

Curly Hair Don’t Care

Today in ‘Not News’ curls are back! Big ones, small ones, some are just a hint of a wave if you’re like, super kewl. I for one am LOVING this. Being the naturally straight haired creature I am, I know, I know, I am such a bitch, how dare I flaunt my non frizzy mane. We let me tell you something, you know when you rub hair against a balloon and it sticks to it with static. Well imagine the balloon is your own head and your flat lifeless hair sticks to it at all times, like the tiniest amount of body gives it anxiety and it must cling to your head for safety. That’s reality and its BORING.

Remember when hair had to be super straight? When the ends had to be sharp enough to slice through your M&S Colin the Catepillar birthday cake? When one hint of a kink would have you sprinting to your GHD’s like an explosion was about to go off behind you?

Regardless of the abuse you subjected your hair too you looked glossy, on trend, in control, it didn’t even matter you had ghost brows the shine from your hair blurred out your face any way.

As with all things trendy, they have a shelf life, people get bored, hair get singed. Things have to change. We seem now to be in a bohemian/bombshell era, beachy/voluptuous phase. People are embracing their bodies and curves and their hair is emulating the movement.

What I love is that unlike the ‘Straight hair movement’ this new curly phase has diversity. The look isn’t just one type of curl (althought GHD are doing their thang again and the DNA curl is gaining momentum) we have beach waves, 40’s style waves, pin curls, flat iron curls…pretty much any style will work. SO you can pick the style that suits you. You don’t have to go along with a trend that sucks all the life out of your hair and makes you look like a five year old static balloon head…I am not bitter, stop making me want to cry.

If you are thinking about curling your hair think about the type of hair you have, the texture, length, the time you have to do it and what equipment you have at home. Curls don’t come easy to most of us and it will take practise. If you are really not sure check back for my post on curls and hair types…..but for now I must go curl my dull lifeless hair.

Kim

p.s if you have not sworn at your GHD’s whilst practising flat iron curls are you even trying ??

A Cunning Plan

Having a policy of full disclosure with my clients means I can be brutally honest about the things that scare me about my role as your hairdresser. I don’t mind telling you there is one phrase that makes me uneasy. I mean it’s not a deal breaker but what I’m saying is, I don’t hate the idea of feigning a medical emergency when I hear this…

‘I really don’t know what I want, just do what you like.’ *insert horror movie scream* Unless, of course, I know you well and in which case this can be a lot of fun. For the sake of proving a point let’s pretend I don’t know you at all.

Before I get stuck in to the meat of this, I understand fully that we have all known a scissor happy hairdresser with a very, shall we say, ‘male’ understanding of how much an inch actually is. These people are a whole other problem.

In short the reason why this is terrifying is that what I like for you and what you like for yourself will often be completely different things. The official statistics of failure rates aren’t in but I’m guessing unless I have some solid information to go on I will most likely not meet your expectations. There will be tears, probably mine.

Here’s the thing, you may not know what you like but sure as an inch should actually be an inch, you will know what you don’t like. If you have nothing else to share have a mental list of these things.

Here is what we do as hairdressers. We look at your face shape, your hair colour, tone and depth, your hair texture, your skin colour and tone, your current lifestyle and budget. From that we form a plan of what would suit you.

The things we don’t know.

  • Hair styles that remind you of your of a geography teacher that had a body odour problem
  • The random colour you instantly regretted dying your hair after nasty break up
  • The horrifically short hair cut your mum gave you when you were thirteen that has made you fearful of haircuts, scissors and desert bowls.

However, from a technical point of view you may genuinely suit all of those things that life experiences have made you dislike. So if I, as your hairdresser suggest them based on technical knowledge only, there’s likely to be a you shaped hole in my wall. Byeeeee.

Hair is entangled in so much emotion and a regrettable history of scrunchies. In order for a consultation to work the conversation needs to be a two way process where by both the hairdresser and the client communicate and most importantly hear each other. As a client you don’t have to worry about what will suit you just come armed with ideas of things you definitely want to avoid and if you can lots pictures of things you like. Your hairdresser will figure out what will work, what won’t and what may work with some time.

Your life experiences + my technical knowledge = No one goes home crying

Kim

p.s Don’t make a decision unless you are 100% sure.

The Grey-t Debate

I’ll let you into a secret, when a client says they want silver hair my soul wraps itself up in a blankie and shuffles off to gently weep in the corner of the room.

OK that might be a little dramatic but believe me when I say this trend has been the bane of my life for five whole years now. Why? Because we use tones such as grey to neutralise yellow. Which means if you have a hint of yellow in your hair these grey colours just do not work. When they finally do work after muchos bleachings and you have the perfect grey tone it disappears down the drain in one wash. Your drain pipes are like, so on point though.

However perhaps off the back of this trend something rather wonderful has occurred. More people who are naturally grey are embracing and celebrating their (MUCH EASIER TO ACHIEVE…*breathes* I’m OK, I’m OK) silver tones.

Men have been silver foxes for years and now its our turn #embracethegrey

At this stage I just have to point out that there is actually no such thing as grey hair. Hair looses its pigment and turns white and the reflection off your pigmented hair gives the whole ensemble the appearance of grey. Unless you are a red head and you will have the appearance of blonde.

So from a technical point of view what’s the difference between artificial and natural grey hair?

Two things seem to crop up again and again

  1. How we naturally turn grey. As white hairs come through for most of us they do so in random patches and it takes ages for it to took visually soft light all over. Most people I’ve spoken too find the ‘salt and pepper’ look too harsh
  2. The texture. Anyone that’s experienced white hair knows it can feel like horse hair, especially in the in-between stage before the white hair starts to win the battle and the texture evens out. Or it just sticks straight up from the top of your head. (just like that thick chin hair no one tells you about…I swear those surprise chin and white hairs are in cahoots just to ruin your day.)

I digress, in short, pigmented, natural hair should be soft and shiny. Hence why adverts for hair colour rattle on about the shine their colours give. That, along with those fake grey-ers seems to prove that it doesn’t matter what the colour of the hair is if it appears, or is, in good condition.

So grab your hair masks and we shall rebel at dawn !! And perhaps have a keratin blow dry or maybe a really good serum. Huzzah!!

Kim

p.s If you can’t be bothered with the hair mask thing still rebel, rebel with even more gusto. I got you.

TIGI or Not TIGI That is the Question

Once upon a time a young hairdresser used TIGI products in a picturesque little salon because they were all the rage. They were bright, new and exciting. Some even looked quite phallic, which gave everyone an inappropriate giggle. They were a hit.

TIGI’s design and marketing department were good, they knew exactly what the market needed and that was a big injection of humour but were they any good? The young hairdresser, being new to the business didn’t have a whole lot of experience to measure TIGI against. SPOILER ALERT that was me (insert insincere, sarcastic gasp here) and here’s why I am still a fan of TIGI.

Behold the relic above. TIGI no longer make this it’s so old and yet its still in my kit. I am loathed to replace it as its still a good product. I think it goes without saying that you don’t need to use much.

Same story with one of the original products Bed Head Headrush, shine spray (although I have bought many of these since my original one). I’m not spraying it right now but I can still smell it, those who have used it will know. For me it’s the very scent of a prom.

Also, I still love the Maniputlator for texture on short hair styles. After Party for shine and control the fly-a-ways. Do any oldies remember it used to neutralise the smell of cigarette smoke when people used to be able to smoke indoors? Nope, just me then.

Finally my bridal bestie Maxxed Out non areosol hairspray. Once I had a client who’s hair I put up on a Saturday, she finally gave up and took it out on the following Tuesday just because it needed a wash. This. Is. Serious. Spray.

Having started this blog I realised I’ve not deviated from my favourites ever so it gave me a really good excuse to go buy some more. Go on then, if I MUST.

Here are the impressive beasts

So far so good, although the texture of Joyride is going to take a bit of getting used to. Its a powder balm..a what now?…I might have to go against type and read the instructions on that one. It starts to roll when you work it in your hands so you can’t play around with it too much. But you can use it on both wet (to smooth) and dry hair (to texturise). I do love a multi functional product.

Straighten Out definitely reduced the frizz on one of my clients easily by half. That client has relatively fine hair so my next client with a mane will be trying this out for me.

Motor Mouth, although a cream is light, has a good amount of hold at the root on mid length hair without leaving any residue. I’ve ear marked some clients with short hair to try this one.

Long story short-ish I am still really impressed with TIGI, perhaps the biggest selling point is simply how long they last. Please refer back to my thousand year old shine drops above.

So, I shall endeavor to play around with these some more and feed back.

Kim

P.S OK, OK, I’ll buy some more too, jeeze quit nagging.