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A shampoo is just a shampoo. Or is it? All shampoos work the same way; they all clean your hair. Or do they? What is the difference between professional salon products and generic brands sold at your grocery store? Is there one? Some will say ‘No’, but yes, there is a difference!
The simple answer is that salon products are for the most part much better than the products sold at your local grocer, but that is only the simple answer to a rather complex question. What makes salon products better than over the counter products? Ingredients.
The ingredients of shampoo will be listed on the bottle by order of the amount in the product. For example, the first ingredient is frequently water and the last ingredient is often a dye. Another common ingredient is ammonium laurel sulfate, sodium laurel sulfate, or sodium laureth sulfate.
These are surfactants. Surfactants or cleaning agents are much gentler in a salon shampoo than in those found at retail stores. Surfactants are incorporated to increase the lather capability of the product. Consumers relate clean hair to the amount of lather and bubbles the product produces. In truth, lather has no beneficial affect and contributes little toward good cleaning. Many salon products use sodium laureth sulfate as a surfactant, as it is a much gentler alternative to ammonium laurel sulfate or sodium laurel sulfate. Consumers who value healthier alternatives to ammonium based products don’t mind paying extra for salon products containing the safer sodium laureth sulfate.
In addition, moisturizers and conditioners found in a salon shampoo have higher concentrations of protein. This enables the conditioner to penetrate deeper into the hair shaft and lock in moisture. These quality ingredients contribute to the higher cost of the salon products and are not typically found in store line products. Because of these concentration levels, fewer products are required for each shampoo application. Over the long term this makes salon products a more affordable option.
Part of the lure of salon products is that they are known for being specially formulated with large concentrations of high-quality ingredients. Hair care items purchased at grocery and retail stores have reputations for using cheaper ingredients so that they can maintain affordability to a mass market. The creators of professional products develop their lines with a sense of luxury and quality to improve the hair care experience and final outcome.
Finally, a huge advantage of buying salon products is that it provides the consumer with the opportunity to consult with a hair care professional directly about what products work best for them.
The bottom line- products purchased at a salon have better quality formulations, with the best mixtures of surfactants, moisturizers, and conditioners. However, the best options for an individual should depend on the consultation with a professional hairstylist, cost of the product and environmental and health considerations.
So, let’s just cut through the lather………..a shampoo is not just another shampoo!
In other words, what’s the difference between a $15 haircut and a $60 haircut?
Other than the obvious price difference, there are several variances. The old saying is accurate here, “you do get what you pay for.”
An expensive hair cut should take about an hour of your time, certainly no less than forty-five minutes. The reason for this is accuracy. In order to achieve precise accuracy, certain systems and techniques need to be in place; for example, accurate sectioning, positioning, stylist stance and good hand and arm control. A master stylist works systematically around the client, adjusting and controlling hair placement and natural fall, checking and cross checking on wet hair.
The blow-dry follows which generally can take ten to twenty minutes, depending on the density and length of hair. Blow-drying itself is a skill many stylists have yet to master. Once dry, the experienced professional can examine exactly how the hair falls, how movement and hair growth patterns effect the desired shape and flow.
Approximately 30% of the cutting is done when the hair is styled. Adding texture to the cut, personalizing the shape, blending and softening can only be executed accurately during the final moments on dry, styled hair. Dry hair allows for perimeters to be made precise (if that is the requirement for the style). An example of this can be seen with the A-line bob haircut. This classic style is the hardest cut to do well, as it should show blunt lines and blended graduated layers through the interior of the haircut.
Talent can come from natural ability, but much of it is also taught. Only ten percent of stylists maintain and continue their education, a statistic that should concern anyone who takes pride in the appearance of their hair. Education is key to growth and development. Keeping up with industry standards and improving techniques and skill should be at the forefront of any good stylist.
Experience is another key factor. A stylist who has been in the industry for 20+ years and meeting the requirements outlined above simply cannot afford to charge $15 for a haircut. When a client makes an investment in a pricier haircut, they are paying for the numerous years of education and experience for a service that is more than worthy of the time and financial investment offered by both the client and the stylist.
Just ask anyone who’s ever had a bad haircut. For women, this can be particularly horrifying, as it can often take months — even years — to correct. Who wants to have 250 bad hair days, all because of trying to cut costs in an area where actually more money should be invested? Receiving an amazing cut that is versatile, easy to manage and looks stunning is the result everyone wants. A perfect haircut is what causes complete strangers to approach you and remark favorably about your hair. That kind of result simply isn’t likely at a discount salon cut. If you adore your hair (or wish you did) and believe you’re worth it, it makes sense to invest in a detailed cut by an experienced, master stylist.
Pregnant women sacrifice many of life's simple pleasures — caffeine, sushi, a glass of wine — in the hope that their baby will be born healthy. During this special time in a woman’s life, she also wants to look as beautiful as she feels; so it is often asked whether hair color is safe for pregnant women. It's important for women to feel good about themselves during pregnancy. Whether coloring your hair will make you feel good or cause you to worry needlessly for nine months is something to think about. If you do choose to color your hair, here is the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to hiding your roots while you’re expecting. The Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS), which provides information on potential reproductive risks, says their studies are reassuring and that there are no reports of hair color causing changes in human pregnancies. OTIS also points out that very little of the chemicals in hair color are actually absorbed into your system. Their research suggests that it's probably safe to color your hair during pregnancy, aside from the fact that pregnant women have been coloring their hair for decades. While the absorption through the skin is minimal, another concern is that breathing fumes during the process could be harmful to the developing baby. Permanent hair color contains ammonia which carries a strong chemical fume. Their recommendation is to use hair color that contains little to no ammonia. As your baby continues to grow, so too does the natural colorant category. An increasing number of natural or non-ammonia hair colors are coming onto the market and more and more companies are now removing ammonia and a few other toxic ingredients from their hair color altogether.
Recently, safer alternatives containing ingredients such as soy, wheat, aloe, grapefruit and natural pigments extracted from a wide range of plants have become increasingly popular. However, it is still important to be cautious, so if you're still concerned, consider waiting to color your hair until the second trimester or consider choosing a highlight or lowlight procedure instead of an all-over application. These procedures keep the product inside of the foils, protecting the scalp from coming in contact with the hair color. Although sometimes there is a scientific basis underpinning many of the warnings and wives’ tales, nowhere do our fear-culture roots come out in a greater show of force than when we’re wagging a finger at the mothers of tomorrow. Pregnant women have enough to cope with when considering all of the changes a new baby will bring into their lives. My advice- Do your own research, speak with your physician and take advice with a grain of salt – and maybe even a splash of color.
Some women have bad hair days; others have bad hair years. Although most of us go through various incarnations in our lives — daughter, mother, career woman, retiree — we sometimes carry the same old haircut along from season to season and year after year. Ask yourself the following questions:
Am I still a part of the Bon Jovi Big Hair Brigade? Is my signature style incorporating a Jheri curl? A Mullet? The Mall Claw? Did the world keep turning, but you stopped turning heads when Jennifer Aniston ditched her "Rachel" while you clung to each flip for dear life? If you answered “yes”, it's official: You're in a hair rut
If you’ve been rocking the same signature look since your high school yearbook photo or you’re finally ready to take the plunge into the 20th century, the new year is the perfect time to try out a fresh cut or color; and all you have to do is look to the stars for inspiration.
It's no secret that we're in a celebrity-obsessed culture, so it should come as no surprise that many change their look to copy their favorite celebrity, with Julia Roberts, Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow being favorite style icons. While most women would consider a bang trim and a change of nail color a makeover, Madonna is the queen of reinvention. Love her or hate her if you’re not respecting Madonna’s ability to morph herself in new and exciting ways, then you just haven’t been paying attention. Madonna will change her religion, swap cultures and switch gender roles to get a new look. From screen siren to hippy chic, glam gothic to lady of the manor – this woman is no one-look wonder. Unfortunately, not all of her reinventions have panned out as well as others, however she has my vote for always changing it up and always taking risks.
If cone bra’s and lace gloves are not your cup of tea, here are a few “so-right-now” updates to help you start off 2014 looking like a whole new gorgeous you.
For short hair, try a polished pixie like Anne Hathaway’s or Rihanna’s. Bang-like pieces that fall over the forehead help soften this look and make it ultra-feminine and flattering.
For medium hair lengths, look to the new, softer bob, which hits somewhere between the jaw and the shoulders. The look, as seen on Kelly Rippa, Sandra Bullock and Ciara, is all about flowing texture and movement.
For longer hairstyles, you might find that blunt-cut ends make long hair look healthy and full. Try a style like Katie Holmes or Kate Middleton’s that incorporates a few thick, face-framing pieces with lengths that aren’t too shaggy or layered.
If you’re still resistant to change, remember that a subtle transformation can yield as much impact as a total makeover—or at least warm you up for more dramatic changes in the future. Start with baby steps, such as face-framing highlights and soft, eye-grazing bangs. Change is always fun — but that doesn't mean you need a complete overhaul just to get a new look. The key is to update your cut and color enough so that you (and others) notice the difference, but not so much that you don't recognize yourself. And remember, if it’s been a while since you’ve received a compliment, it could be your stylist who’s in a rut, not you.
Twice a year, as the new fashion seasons begin, each of us has the perfect excuse to freshen our personal sense of style. But while we all tend to focus on discovering, considering and sampling the latest clothing and accessories, it’s our hair that will be making a statement every day. For the fans of keeping up with hair trends, Spring 2013 is a dream. Rather than a season of unachievable looks, this spring’s hair trends are totally within reach.
The tidy knot, the low-pony, the messy braid, and the Sicilian headscarf are a few trends you need to know, and will want to wear this spring. Try one or wear them all! Read on to find out how to DIY and what products will help you to get the look just right.
Rather than a whimsical ballerina bun this style is more severe and knotted, less round. The finish is high-shine and tied very tightly, ultimately resembling a Spanish flamenco dancer’s ‘do.
Tools: Smoothing cream, a high-shine finishing spray and a skinny hair elastic.
Apply smoothing cream to damp hair, and part down the center of your crown using a fine-toothed comb. Secure hair into a ponytail at the nape of your neck with a skinny elastic. Twist the ponytail into a tight coil while wrapping it around the elastic. Hold in place with a bobby pin and finish with a spritz of high-shine spray.
This pony is slightly different than your average low pony because the hair is gathered into a wide and flat panel, rather than skinny and round as in most ponies. Separate hair into two sections, top and bottom, and tie the bottom section into two small ponytails. Let the top section fall flat overtop, and wrap all three sections of hair with a hair bungee. Finish with a firm-hold hairspray.
This season there will be braids of all kinds from braided up-do’s to skinny plaits wrapped around ponytails. An easy one to try at home is a “distressed braid”.
I recommend washing your hair and letting it air-dry before beginning. Then, spritz hair from root to tip with a salt spray, or light texturizer. Gather hair into the middle of your crown and simply braid the length. Secure the ends with a skinny elastic. Voila!
The Sicilian Headscarf
Hair accessories are going to be a prominent feature this spring- but the silk headscarf will be one of the most popular. Start off by applying a controlling mousse to damp hair and blow-dry it straight back, omitting the presence of a part. After placing a silk scarf (go for something colorful!) two inches from your forehead and tying at the nape of your neck, twist your hair into a knot at the base of your crown. Use your fingers to fan the hair on top your crown and create some body. That’s it!
So while you remember to change your clock this spring, don’t forget to spring your hair forward as well and try one of this season’s most stylish looks.