Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Dos and Dont’s of Hair

It’s been said that a woman’s hair is her crowning glory. If it’s true, then why are so many of us guilty of subjecting our crowns to dime-store products and do-it-yourself dye jobs? As a hairdresser, I’ve seen it all. Here are some of the things that I, and every other hairdresser, wish you knew about caring for your mane:

  When over-the-counter color says “not permanent,” it doesn’t mean that all the affects wash out with just a shampoo. The intensity of the color may wash away but the process inevitably alters your natural hair for the worst.
  Overlapping color is hard to avoid, and virtually impossible if you’re doing it yourself. As hair grows out, you should only apply color to the roots. Otherwise, you’re stacking ammonia-based products on top of each other ultimately damaging your hair.
  Overlapping color applications on the hair can also cause the hair to turn out too dark. So be careful.
  When you make an at-home color mistake, and the hair turns out too dark, it’s tempting to “correct” it yourself by lightening the color. The result is that you will end up with lighter roots that stand out against the rest of your still-dark hair.
  Always be truthful with your hairdresser about your color history. Omitting what you’ve done can result in your hair not reacting to a treatment the way it should.
  If you are going to be your own colorist, be savvy, and keep track of what you are using.  Keep the box, lid, or write it down.

  Let’s face it...we’ve all taken the scissors to our bangs at one time or another. The mistake people make is going too short. This is especially true if you have curly hair which never lays the same way twice. I tell people to avoid cutting curly bangs shorter than the tip of the nose. Regardless of your hair texture, make sure the hair is relaxed and don’t pull on it when cutting.
  Don’t marry yourself to a cut or style just because it looked good on you in high school. In time we all change. I’ve seen women with curly hair go poker-straight and vice versa. Age, medications, grey...they all have an impact so go with a cut that looks good on the hair you have today.
  Face shape is key when picking a cut. Let’s face, it not everyone can wear a pixie cut.
  Not all hairdressers are identical. You can no more expect everyone with a smock and a pair of scissors to cut the same as you can expect the same artwork from everyone with paints and a brush.

•Pony tails cause breakage at your neckline. Try pulling your hair through the hole in the back of a cap or, if you must, wear your hair elastic in a different place each time and remove it as soon as you’re done working out.
•When you move to a different climate, your hair will change. If it doesn’t do what you expect, try adding a new service, product or style.
•The biggest mistake people make in styling their hair is not letting it dry fully before styling. When it begins to feel dry, your hair still has humidity and frizz. You have to keep going past this point until it feels silky.
•Just like you need steam to get wrinkles out of a shirt, you need water or you’ll scorch your hair when flat-ironing. Always begin by washing your hair, then blow dry it to get most of the “wrinkles” out before using a hot iron.

  Not all shampoos are created equal. Now I have to admit, I was a Breck girl growing up and I doubted this; but there is, in fact, a huge difference. You can’t expect your hair to act and look the same as it does at the salon if you’re washing it with the hair and body wash from your gym!
  Watch out for chlorine. I know this all too well. Your hair is like a sponge, it soaks up whatever it gets wet with first. If you jump in a pool with dry hair, it soaks up chlorine. That’s why you should always wet your hair and put conditioner in it to block the absorption of the pool water before diving in.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Lesson in Boldness: The distance from my barstool to possibility

Years ago I was in a bar with a friend when I noticed a particularly handsome man across the room. (“OMG!,” I said. “This guy is hot.”) After doing a double-take, I saw that he was watching me too. Throughout the evening we took turns glancing at each other, locking eyes for a moment before looking away. At one point I went to the bathroom and returned to find him still looking at me.

Now this is where most women would keep making subtle glances and wait for him to come over. But when it became apparent that for whatever reason -- nerves, fear of rejection, bad passed experiences -- he was not going to cover the distance between us, I had a choice. I could stay on that barstool and pretend nothing was happening, or I could stand up, gather my courage and take a chance based on nothing more than a gut feeling. (At that moment, I finally understood how hard it can be to be a man.)

“Hi,” I said as I approached him. “I noticed you’ve been staring at me for quite a while so I figured I’d come over and introduce myself.” That was the beginning of a four-year relationship. A relationship that began with one bold moment.

The words I used were honest and to the point, something I think he really appreciated. You see, more times than not, we’re not truthful with our words. We use sarcasm, we ramble out of nervous energy or we say something that is not even a true reflection of who we are. I think that’s because being truthful requires being vulnerable and that’s hard. You risk rejection or embarrassment when you put yourself out there. But, you also give yourself the chance to experience something great.

Women are notorious for not saying what we feel but letting others draw conclusions. We do it with friends when we let them make assumptions about our intentions because we are unable to voice them. We do it in job situations when we hesitate to ask for the sale or speak up for that promotion. And more than anything, we do it with men when we chose to be subtle over choosing to be real.

So here’s what I’ve learned from my experience. First, life’s too short not to take a chance. Allow yourself to create moments of happiness whenever you can. When you do, be prepared to risk being yourself -- it’s what opens the door for the other person to truly appreciate you for who you really are. And finally, be honest with your words. It’s the only way to have anything that’s true.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Intentional Kindness

Years ago I was rushing into work, coffee cup in hand and a million things on my mind. I breezed past a co-worker who wished me a good morning. Lost in my thoughts and too pre-occupied with my world, I failed to acknowledge her or, to be honest, to even take notice of her.

Hours later, we were sitting in the break room eating lunch when I was struck by how truly talented I thought this person was. Totally out of character for me, at the time, I blurted out a compliment: “I think you’re one of the best hairdressers I’ve ever worked with. You are truly exceptional.” I was taken aback when her eyes filled with tears and she said to me, “I didn’t even think you liked me.”

Did I hurt her feelings? It seems my curt responses, lack of attention and general self-absorption had given her the impression that she didn’t matter. Or worse, that I actively disliked her. Ouch! I learned that day the importance of being in the present, the power of looking someone in the eye, hearing what they are trying to say and paying a compliment.

From that event, I have taken away three lessons that I try to apply to my own situation -- three ways that I can live a more intentional life.

1.  Look for the truth of the situation. My friend had bought into a lie -- the lie that said because I didn’t give her my attention I must not like her. That was her truth. Now this is no excuse for bad behavior. But let’s be honest, there are plenty of reasons why someone might not respond to you -- maybe it’s a problem they’re preoccupied with, maybe they just got some devastating news or maybe it’s as simple as a lack of hearing. The take-away here...don’t interpret others’ intentions until you’ve given them a chance to voice them for themselves.
2.      A compliment goes a long way. Today I try to live with purpose. When I think something kind of someone, I don’t let it go unsaid. I pay the compliment, I look for ways to encourage and I try to be in the moment.

3.  The simple act of giving someone your attention tells them that they matter to you. I make a conscious effort now to notice my surroundings and to take note of others.

Today, decide you’ll tell three people what good you see in them. Make sure your compliments are sincere and thoughtful. I have no doubt, the results will not only be a blessing to those three people; they will also enrich your life as well. Take it from me.