Category Archives: hair

KIEHL’S // MAGIC ELIXIR

What are you supposed to do when you get the frizzies at the top of your head, and your roots feel dry? Everyone knows you’re only supposed to put conditioner on your ends, so how are you supposed to help the roots get smooth and healthy again?

Kiehl’s Magic Elixir not only hydrates those poor frizzies, but also your scalp. With winter coming, your scalp takes a beating (from the heating, ha!…and from the cold), often getting dry and itchy. Applied directly to the scalp with it’s handy nozzle, the aromatic, rosemary-fragranced oil will hydrate your hair and scalp once massaged it. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes before washing out. Since oils work with oil, it won’t overhydrate your scalp, but will balance it, making it great for those with oily scalps as well.

If you want healthy hair, you’ve gotta start at the roots, which means that the soil (your scalp) that’s feeding your stems (hair strands) better be healthy, right?

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WEAVING: PART TWO // INVERTED FRENCH BRAID

Class is in session! For todays lesson, we’re gonna take french braiding to the next step; the inverted french braid! Now don’t get your panties in a bunch, this isn’t rocket science. You now know how to french braid, so I know you are very well capable of pulling off this look–it’s literally the same procedure but you’re gonna weave under instead of over. Scratch that, I’ve probably already lost you. Just follow my lead.
Great hair starts with good tools. As always, I recommend a good paddle brush, some styling wax and a thin elastic, preferably either clear or matched to your hair colour.
Brush it out– tangles are a no-no when it comes to braiding, and really, just in general. It makes the whole process harder and you could end up with weird lumps and bumps. Now, warm some of the wax in your hands and comb through with your fingers, targeting those pesky baby hairs around your face.
Now, look straight on at your face, making two parts at the upper corners of your forehead, pulling the hair up and into a sort of triangular part (the point facing behind you). Split into three equal sections and pull backwards.
 
Let’s start braiding! Grab the rightmost piece and pull it under the centre piece, simultaneously pulling the original centre piece over to the right. Now with the leftmost piece, pull it under the now middle piece, pulling that middle piece over to the right. This is the basic pattern.
Now, as you continue pulling from the sides under into the middle, grab thin layers of hair, joining them along with the outermost pieces. This will keep the braid thick and secured to the head. I know your arms are tired at this point, but keep it going. Grab hair. Right under, centre over. Grab more hair. Left under, centre over.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the nape of your neck! Make sure that you’ve added the remainder of your hair to your inverted braid by now, and keep these weaves very tight to your head (it looks much nicer). Now, you’re ready to leave the nest (haha). You’re going solo. Keep with the inverted style braiding (ie. side pieces moving under instead of over) until you reach the desired end. Secure with an elastic and ta-da!

If you like the sleek look, use a little more hair wax to smooth down those baby hairs and any shorter layers that may have popped out. I prefer a looser look, so don’t be afraid to pull at a few pieces and let some loose. Recess time, class!

-Anna Raponi

P.S. Thanks to our lovely model Cassidy and her even lovelier hair.

BEAUTY WOES // AVEDA INVATI EXFOLIATING SHAMPOO FOR ITCHY, DRY SCALP

Well that summer bites the dust. And in comes the chilly weather– and while I can’t wait to bring back sweater weather, the cold weather takes quite a toll in the beauty department, something not really to look forward to. Dry lips and rosy cheeks aside, every time fall/winter rolls around, I get really itchy scalp. Now, a lot of things can cause this dilemma, however, I think the dryness just gives me more dandruff (the effectiveness of this product may differ if your itch is cause by psoriasis or a fungal disease, though I’d definitely give it a go). Anyone who has had itchy scalp knows how embarrassing it is, and well, I was putting my foot down. Actually, my mom was the brilliant one that thought of this one. Then, I knew I had to share my secret to the world of itchy scalp sufferer’s, or even just people with bad dandruff.

I guess this isn’t really a review of Aveda’s Invati Exfoliating Shampoo— although my mother swears by it for thinning hair. It’s really the weirdest texture ever– super runny and brown-coloured. It doesn’t really foam up like most shampoos either (Aveda shampoos don’t really foam up). Oh, and it smells kinda funny (they only use natural ingredients). All quirks aside, this stuff works because it’s an exfoliator (via salicylic acid, a common ingredient in acne products). Sounds weird, huh? Well, we use scrubs and acids to slough off the old skin on our faces, leaving us with smooth, new skin cells. And if dandruff is just flaking, old skin, wouldn’t exfoliating seem like the perfect option? It also aims to nourish dry scalps, further preventing dandruff and the itch. I use this once or twice a week, usually following with a normal shampoo after to get rid of any build up. So fear no longer, itchy scalpers, I have found the remedy.

Anna Raponi

WEAVING: PART ONE // FRENCH BRAID

Back to beauty school today! Braids have been on-trend for what seems like every season these days. They mask second day hair, and are super practical. Some of us grew up braiding our friends’ hair (ahem, that would be me), but some of us just never got the hang of it. No fear, I’m your girl. In today’s lesson, we’re gonna do the simple french braid. Feel free to take notes.Tools:

Start with a good brush. Detangling and smoothing out the strands will make the braid look cleaner and prevent those pesky bumps. Brush from front of the head to back, removing any part. Next, warm up the wax between your hands, and comb through with your fingers, concentrating the product at top half of your hair.

Now, kinda going by the upper corners of your forehand (this will look best if you tailor it specifically to your face shape), pick up a triangle of hair. Brush it out, then split it into three even chunks.

Choose one of the outer pieces. Actually, just for rookie’s sake, let’s go with the outermost right piece. Yah. That’ll do. So with the outermost right piece, were going to switch this piece with the middle piece. So now, that outermost right piece (this is becoming quite the mouthful) is now in the centre and the originally middle piece is under that right piece, now on the right side.  Now, we’re going to do this again, but with the leftmost piece of hair (don’t sweat it, I’ll walk you through it again). Take the untouched, left piece and cross it over into the middle, and moving the old centre piece under that left piece. Continue this method, alternating right and left, but pulling even chunks of hair from each side and adding them to the three braiding pieces before weaving.

Yada, yada yada. You’re still braiding. Make sure the chunks you’re adding are smooth, and keep the weaving tight and very close to the head. Now, once you’re nearing the nape of the neck, make sure you’ve added all the extra hair to the braid– it should be quite thick now. Once you’ve reached the end of your roots, you’re just going to resume normal braiding. Right over to centre, pull the centre piece under to the right. Left over to centre, pull the centre piece under to the right. You’ve got it now. Keep going, right left, right left, right until you get to your ‘desired’ end.

I prefer mine to have barely any tail, however it’s much easier to end a little early. To each their own. Tie up with your thin elastic (the clear plastic-y ones are my favourite, it you have those on hand). Congrats! Your now the owner of a sleek, beautiful french braid.

In my opinion, looser pieces and a bit of messiness is more flattering to my face. This doesn’t require much instruction– get your fingers in there, pull around, free a few face-framing pieces. I like to think it’s a little more mermaid-esque. If you’ve got major layers popping out, try pushing pieces into the braid to secure them, or use a bobby pin. That’s all there is to it. Remember, practice makes perfect.
P.S. My apologies for my lacklustre nail sitch, I promise I’ll try to vamp them up for next time.
–Anna Raponi

PANTENE // ULTIMATE 10 BB CREME

BB, CC, DD, all these stupid sounding names of different skin-toned creams that do this and that to our skin. It’s all too confusing nowadays and I need a breather, stat. So, when I saw a BB in the hair aisle at Shoppers rather than that of the makeup, I was not only confused, but intrigued. It’s not hair makeup, no. It’s a multipurpose styling cream that aims to knock out any other steps/ products you may have usually needed. As a 10 in 1, it promises:

1. Repair for rough hair
2. Strength against damage
3. Silky softness
4. Brilliant shine
5. Smoothing
6. Moisture
7. Frizz Control
8. Heat Protectant
9. Manageability
10. Tame fly-aways

…however a few of those mean exactly the same thing or I just have no idea what they mean. It’s definitely very hydrating, albeit by the use of silicones, but it’s nourishing nonetheless. It’s never made my curly hair frizzy, so checkmark there. I wouldn’t say ‘brilliant’ shine but definitely a sheen to my locks. And yes, my hair is certainly softer after using this productI wouldn’t think of it as extraordinary, but I’ve swapped this one in instead of using an anti-frizz, a curl cream and an oil. So, I guess it is a handy little all-in-one. And, who needs three pricey products when this one’s worth 10 big ones?

And the best part? It’s got that iconic Pantene smell that will take you back to when you were seven years old. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

–Anna Raponi

NUXE // HUILE PRODIGIEUSE

This “all-purpose” oil is a cult favourite, and was also one of my pharmacy grabs in Paris. I mean, when I saw the amazing price, how could I not pick it up?? Normally this oil is $50 in Canada, and I picked it up for 13 euro. That’s a steal if I ever saw one.

To be honest, once I was at home and looking at it, I wasn’t really totally sure what to do with it at. The bottle came with no instructions. I thought to myself, should I put it on my face? No, I don’t want to accidentally aggravate my chin pimples right now (though you can use it on your face). Should I put it in my hair? That could work. Should I use it instead of body lotion? Well, I am about to jump in the shower, so, why not!

After patting dry after showering, I sprayed this oil on (the spray nozzle is very handy), and was amazed by the texture. Huile Prodigieuse is classified as a dry oil, and it might sound like a weird concept, but once you spray this super-lightweight oil on, it has a dry touch to it. It is very hydrating, but not thick or greasy. It doesn’t feel like you’re covering yourself in Crisco. Just a luxurious almond-scented oil.

I’ve also sprayed this on my ends for a hydrating hair treatment. If your hair is suffering from second-day smell, this will refresh it and make you smell amazing. You can also use it as an after-sun treatment to restore moisture to the skin and hair.

I was told that I smelled like an angel after using this product. Can’t really sell it any better than that.

THE INFAMOUS SURF SPRAY

I knew this stuff was popular, like it’s been around for years and gets great reviews, but I’ve only recently noticed how iconic it is. At a friends birthday party a month ago, we were observing our post-swim (tangly and frizzy) wet hair as one friend suggested that she wanted to try “that surf spray at Sephora“. My best friend, who loves getting all done up but doesn’t really care for the brands and the hype etc, mentioned that she wanted to buy “that Bumble salt spray“. Even my youngest sister, who sort of hates wearing makeup in general and is a proud supporter of drugstore brands knew exactly what I was talking about when I came home on a Sunday, bragging giddily, “I got the Surf Spray!“. “That Bumble and bumble one or whatever?” she replied. Whatever. She knew exactly what she was talking about, for once, about this beauty product. But why? Why is it that EVERYONE knows and wants this stuff? The answer is simple. EVERYONE wants the natural-looking mermaid waves that replicate a dip in the ocean. I mean, who wouldn’t want to look like a mermaid?! Common sense here people.
Andreea Dianconu for Vogue Paris June/July 2013

So, on to the review I suppose. I guess what I’ve noticed is that this product has completely different results on everyone, based on your hair type. Not to brag, but I find it works very well with my curly hair, just because there’s already some wave to work with– it kinda Sky Ferreira’s my hair (that’s a verb, right?). Amanda gave this a somewhat half-assed try on her relatively straight hair and was disappointed in the lack of results– however she suggested that she try it on damp hair next time. I’ll speak from my experience from this point I suppose. For me, this product has became an instant staple to my routine. Why? because it instantly transforms my curly hair to a messy, wavy grown out bob that gives the impression that I just kind of woke up with awesome hair. I especially love applying the spray to my hands and twisting and crunching face-framing pieces for volume and knarly waves. From what I’ve seen, this stuff is like beach hair in a bottle. But what most of us tend to forget is how out hair feels after a swim in the sea. Not good. I don’t  know about you, but the mix of the salt water and the sun makes my hair dry and crunchy, much like this product does. You’re hair won’t feel soft or touchable with a few sprays of this stuff. It’s not the most pleasant but I kind of got used to it. I attempt to counteract the drying by using an argan oil in my wet hair before I use the spray on my dry hair. It doesn’t soften the waves but I figure it’s better for my hair. All in all, this product will give you the hair of a surfer, and, come on, we all wouldn’t mind that.

–Anna Raponi

BUMBLE AND BUMBLE // VOLUME SESSIONS

With their newly popular Hairdressers Invisible Oil, and their iconic Surf Spray (and matching Shampoo and Conditioner), Bumble and bumble makes effective and simple products to cater to all of your hairstyling needs. However, even for the experienced self-‘coiffeur’, it’s hard to know which products to pick and choose–and how to get the results we want while avoiding using too many and weighing the hair down. Oh, the struggles.
As I was scrolling through my Pinterest dashboard covered in “mason jar juice recipes” (it’s getting old people), I saw these ‘before and after’ shots of some, dare I say, really awesome hair. I clicked through, and discovered the ‘Volume Sessions’ on Bumble and bumble’s site. These super informative videos show you how to create these do’s, mainly using their Thickening line. Watching the products in action is really helpful but also makes me wanna dash to my nearest Sephora to buy them for myself. The tutorials are easy to follow and don’t require that much skill. So pop some popcorn and enjoy the show(s).
Full-Bodied Waves
Really big waves
Defined Waves
Also, a useful guide to backcombing from the site.

–Anna Raponi