Blondes have more fun with purple shampoo

If you’ll notice on my blog, my reviews skew heavily towards skincare products.  There’s minimal mentions of haircare.  Why is that?  Well because I’ve been blessed with hair that doesn’t need a ton of attention – until I started lightening it. And then my mind was blown.  And I’m still getting acclimated. There is a whole other world (and routine) for blondes. And when you’re a redhead, getting there and that routine is not so straightforward.

Balayage, ombre, babylights and platinum blonde tones are all the rage.  The process alone of a cut and color can cost you $150-$300+ for one visit, plus the cost of upkeep. Not to mention the dreaded “it’s going to take a few visits to get you there” which in all fairness can be true, but feels like buying new Jordans and then not getting picked for the basketball team.

You have dreams of becoming a blonde bombshell but here’s the other bombshell –  to do it right, it’s going to cost you. 

And that’s what ReadHead is here for, to show you how you can love your blonde and know what you’re getting into.

Post-blonde care – banishing the brass

Ever since balayaging my hair a few years ago I have been on the hunt for products that don’t let me down.  Different than brunettes or black-haired beauties, red hair immediately starts to pull brassy.  Any regrowth looks brassy.  It’s like we’re born with sass – and brass.  Nothing is as disheartening as giving up a whole day in the salon, gifting a kidney and then SASSBRASSIFRASS  starts to creep in. I loathe it as much as those who watch one of my favorite TV shows – Antiques Roadshow (nerd alert) – and think they have something plated gold and OH NO! It’s brass.

I know my dark-haired friends will attest to this.  That yellow has got. to. go.

Why the brass?

I won’t even begin to pretend like an expert on coloring.  But, I’ve appreciated going to the smaller salons and seeing the work in progress.  There’s letters and numbers galore.  It reminds me of my recent chemistry course.  Ladies and gents, hair styling expertise is no joke.  And it’s easy to see how it goes wrong all too often.

Lifting hair, whether using a high-lift color or bleach, uses ammonia and other chemicals to open up the hair cuticle and remove the color.  It’s a precise and potentially very damaging process left in the hands of someone untrained, or not familiar with lifting your type and color of hair. *Pro tip – I suggest when you call to make an appointment with someone new that you mention/ask for someone who has experience in your hair type and ask for an in-person consultation.

When the hair is lifted, it is then toned with other colors or glazes, to give it that fresh-out-of-the-salon look.  Over time, washing, mineral deposits, sun damage and environmental free radicals can strip, dull and even turn hair in shades of yellow or orange.  Before you go running to the salon for another touch-up, here’s some tips to help you keep that blonde, or silver for you mature foxes, bright.

Prolonging your investment

Use a purple shampoo.  Purple is on the opposite end of the color wheel from yellow, and will help to cancel out those brassy tones.  It won’t effect other colors, for example if you darken your roots.  It does, however only target blonde so your blonde pieces will get brighter, not your whole head.  Some of my favorites are:

  • Kevin Murphy Blonde Angel (higher end) – smells great, works well, is gentle and what a cool package.  However, it is prone to leaking. But it just looks sleek in your shower. You’ll need to find a salon that carries this unless you trust Amazon.
  • Pravana’s The Perfect Blonde (mid range) – smells divine, salt/sulfate/paraben free and highly pigmented.  Check out my review on their line here. Available at Ulta and other retailers.
  • Clairol Shimmer Lights (economical) – this stuff is a powerhouse worker and an OG to blondes and stylists.  It doesn’t have the best smell (almost like old lady perfume) and it does tend to really dry you out, but if you’ve made a terrible oops and need something that will whip you into shape without spending all your money, this one’s it!

Fall in love with dry shampoo. Typically as you go blonde, your hair gets roughed up and is drier.  The more you wash it, the more you’re also apt to dull your blonde color.  Dry shampoo will allow you to extend time between washes, thus protecting your locks. Some that I’ve liked:

  • Suave (economical) – this is my go-to.  Smells nice, does the job, and doesn’t break the bank.  You can get this anywhere!
  • Not Your Mother’s (economical) – this one has a cult following and is cheap to boot.  While I liked this one, it isn’t as easy to find as my Suave favorite, so it doesn’t make the top of my list. It also has no scent for those who prefer something more natural.
  • Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo (higher end) – you can get this one from Sephora.  Smells great, gives fantastic volume, and works really well.  More expensive than the others, and does have a powerful smell which may be too much for those with sensitive noses.  It can also look a little powdery if you spray it too targeted/close to your head.

Protect your locks with hats and sunscreen – although the sun can naturally lighten hair, it doesn’t do so with your perfect golden hue customized just for you in mind.  You have to keep in mind that your hair has been altered from what it was when you were a young kid running care free around the neighborhood.  Blonde is an investment, protect it.

Fortify it with strengtheners – options like Olaplex Hair Perfector #3 is a life-saver for blondes and those with hair that is prone to breakage.  Not a conditioner, these strengthening treatments use proteins and other amino acids to strengthen the hair cuticle which protects it from damage, fallout and breakage.  As a side effect, it does make hair softer, but shouldn’t replace conditioners.

Invest in a deep conditioning mask and leave-in conditioning products – the lighter you go, the more you need to quench your hair’s thirst. Use a deep conditioning mask once a week to keep your hair silky, and finish it off with a great leave-in which can act as a heat protectant to do double duty.

Use a cool rinse when leaving the shower – just like your pores, heat and steam open up the hair cuticle.  Using a cool rinse to seal down your hair cuticle before leaving the shower will keep your products in (including any toners on your hair) and give it some extra shine in the process.

ReadHead’s thoughts on going blonde

So is going blonde worth it?  Yes! I happen to love it because it is versatile for my wardrobe, and cuts down on the pinkness of the slight rosacea in my skin. I love the lift it gives my hair and that it air-dries wonderfully into a faux “I spent time on this” Cali-vibe wave.

But before you walk in with that toe-head bright blonde picture of yourself when you were four, talk to your stylist about what the cost to get you there AND KEEP IT will be.

Taking a few of these steps, even by interjecting a little purple shampoo into your routine, will bring new life to your blonde and leave you feeling like that beachy beauty or ring-the-alarm Aphrodite that you are.

Have a product you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

Five tips you should start today if you want to look younger

Google “tips to look younger” and you’ll see a million different tips and tricks. 75% of them will follow the same mantra – drink water, use SPF, get sleep, don’t smoke, don’t sunbathe…the list goes on and on.  Those are absolutely things that you should be doing that will certainly aid in at least preserving what you have.  I’ll take it a step further to talk about some other ideas you might not have thought of.

  1. Take 3 minutes to look at the sky (or ceiling) per day.

A weird little suggestion, eh?  No, it’s nothing philosophical although taking a break throughout the day can have it’s benefits.  Too often we are sitting staring down at things – our computer, phones and tablets. There is actually a thing called “smartphone face” or “tech-neck.” Doctors and experts (which I am not!) are saying that due to our constant frowning, looking down and faces stern with concentration, we are giving ourselves wrinkles and a sagging lower face faster than ever before.

Try it for yourself.  Put your finger under your chin and look at your phone.  You’re smashing your face and chin by constantly looking down.  You’re also causing your neck muscles and ligaments to shorten, which can pull your lower cheeks and neck down and loosen elasticity at an accelerated rate.  Scary?  Absolutely.  The fix? Make sure you take a break and stretch your neck muscles throughout the day.  Taking a break will also pull you away from constantly squinting of frowning at your computer.

2. Invest in a good razor….for your face

The secret, unspoken “s” word.  Shaving your face. I may have just ruined the mental image for men everywhere who believe that women are born like a hairless cat in all the places we choose to be.  Not the case. Call it dermaplaning or whatever fancy name you want so as to not let on that you are, infact, shaving your face, but it can do wonders for your skin.

A professional dermatologist or esthetician will take a little scalpel-like razor to your whole face to remove dead skin cells.  In the process, it also removes peach fuzz and leaves a bright, glowing and smooth canvas.  I say to save your money and talk to a guy friend who won’t spill your secret (or just check out reviews) and invest in a run-of-the-mill razor.  By regularly shaving your face, you remove the top layer of dead skin and encourage skin cell turnover while removing any peach fuzz that can impede on a great foundation finish.

As we age, hormones change which can create more of those whiskers than we care to admit, and our skin gets drier while shedding itself less.  This type of exfoliation will help give you a smooth, bright complexion and will help your skincare products get deeper into the dermis. Make sure to use a base so that you aren’t tugging or causing irritation to your skin, and follow up with a good BHA to get into the pore to keep from ingrown hairs or infections.

3. Ditch the eyeliner under your eyes

As we age, we develop fine lines around our eyes and a general lacking of elasticity in our skin.  The skin around the eye is one of the most delicate of the body, and generally is the first area to see the signs of aging.  This also means that eyelids can start to become hooded when once we had big, round, youthful eyes. Knowing this, we can use optical illusions to help stave off the look of aging as much as we can.  Lining your eyes underneath draws the visual down, and especially if you’re also lining at the top, closes in your eyes emphasizing sagging, circles or puffiness.

The goal is to make the eyes feel lifted and wide.  If you like to line your eyes, stick to the top with a sultry smudge at the outter corners to give some dimension or a cute flick of a winged cat eye. If you absolutely can’t forego it, try a light eye shadow that gives you some lining capability but is soft and reflects light.  Be careful to choose a neutral color with light relecting properties but steer clear of metallics or glitter which can have the opposite effect. Applying these products to the top-only also applies to mascara.  Unless you’re going for a specific dramatic look, adding mascara to your bottom lashes creates the opportunity for black smudges throughout the day which make you look tired and can settle into fine lines.  Using a white pencil to tight line your eyes can also help brighten the whites of your eyes and make them look more open, awake and youthful.

4. Invest in a good hair stylist

I love people watching at the airport because I see some of the most stylish women roll through.  Two things I notice about a really well put-together woman of any age is a trendy yet age-appropriate hair style and clothes that reflect a classic style with a flavor of trendiness – meaning that it’s not trying too hard .

There are so many amazing choices these days with color and products and my favorite…the tools. It’s worth spending the $10-20 more for a hair cut or color for someone who really knows what they’re doing and for your type of hair.  If someone doesn’t break out a pair of thinning shears on me, I wonder how they graduated hair school.  I’m still paying for an ill-fated cut from 8 months ago. You just cannot cut my hair properly without them. Someone who can give you texture and a playfulness that fits your personality, while looking refined just has that extra set of confident polish to them.

Don’t underestimate a good stylist.  They are not all created equal, NOR do they cut all types of hair with the same expertise.  If you like someone’s hair that is like yours, snatch ’em up.

5. Lotion & lip balm are like American Express.  Don’t leave home without it

This one is where I should listen to my own advice.  I cannot stress how important lotion is and yet I despise the whole process so much it’s laughable. As we grow older our weight tends to fluctuate.  Our skin stops shedding and rejuvenating itself. All of our past sins are starting to show themselves.  This is when fine lines around the lips reveal their evil ways all of a sudden when your lipstick bleeds for the first time, or you ate too much turkey on Thanksgiving and your love handle starts to itch.  It’s because…it’s dry skin…stretching.  Which can cause stretch marks and skin that’s just flat out tired of bouncing back.  You can read about my rubber band analogy here.

This is where the ounce of prevention quote comes into play.  Ladies and gents in your late teens and 20s?  Fall in love with moisturizing your whole body.  Hands, feet, lips, you name it.  A good workout routine, some leafy greens and fruits, and a healthy obsession with your favorite moisturizer and you’ll maintain beautiful skin well past your peers.

Find something that was interesting or have a tip of your own? Drop us a line in the comments.

Product Review: SignatureBlonde Violet Shampoo

I have been highlighting my hair for the past 12 years.  I like the dimension that it adds to my hair and the volume it gives me.

It’s difficult to lighten red hair, as you’ll read in my blog post about bayalaging my hair, and even more difficult is keeping the color you’ve achieved due to all the things that want to brassy-up blonde color.

I picked up SignatureBlonde shampoo from my salon at the recommendation of my stylist.  It was recommended for a few reasons: sulfate and salt free, which meant it would be gentle on my hair, ultra violet pigment to banish brassiness, and would be less likely to irritate my scalp which tends to freak out with shampoos or hair products full of things I can’t pronounce.

Here’s the benefits from the company website:

  • Proprietary sulfate-free, salt-free blend of 11 surfactants provides extra gentle cleansing with 96% color retention*
  • Pure violet pigment instantly neutralizes brassy and yellow tones
  • Brightens, illuminates and adds luminous, glossy shine
  • Dramatically increases tensile strength and elasticity while nourishing and smoothing
  • Provides unsurpassed color and heat protection up to 450°

Application: was just like any other shampoo.  If you’ve never used a violet shampoo before, this definitely will shock you as it’s a deep, dark pearly purple.  It suds up fairly well and smells nice.  I wouldn’t say it’s a shampoo I would choose based on the fragrance, but it definitely out performs my other harsher favorite, Clairol’s Shimmer Lights, that smells like old lady perfume.

Packaging: the shampoo comes in a nice purple stand-up plastic bottle, wider at the base and tapered  the top with the opening being one of those pop tops.  One gripe is that it’s actually somewhat hard to squeeze the bottle appropriately to get product out.  I have a lot of hair, and the packaging isn’t flexible.  It’s like an arm wrestle every time I use it which is highly annoying to me.

End Result: my hair felt clean, smelled nice, and best of all my scalp didn’t feel like it was being attacked a few hours later.  I would say that my blonde pieces did look brighter.  I’ve been told that violet shampoos can be used on your whole head and won’t effect darker color, but I don’t know that I buy that.  Perhaps because I’m a redhead it doesn’t hold, but it seems to fade my darker color faster.  At a price point around $40 for the standard bottle, it’s also pretty pricey. This is a good option if sulfate-free is what you’re looking for, but otherwise I think you can find products that work just as well for cheaper.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Packaging: 2/5

Price: $$$$$

Have a violet shampoo you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

 

 

ReadHead’s redhead quest for perfect hair.

For anyone who is  (blessed. blessed? blessed!) with naturally red or some other color of hair that “people pay good money to get at the salon,” this is for you.  Born a natural redhead, I have lived through the carrot top jokes, the “you’ll love your hair when you’re older” on repeat while boys turned their nose up to anyone who was described as being a redhead, and the stylist who just CANNOT BELIEVE I would dye my hair as if it’s a sin to touch it. I balayage my hair blonde because I want to.

I believe that I have now made my way onto the “no” list for a few stylists.  I have learned over the years that before I set an appointment, I tell the nice receptionist my stipulations which almost immediately puts me in the what in the… category. “I have long and thick hair, and want someone who is experienced with red hair.  It takes a long time to do and this is the style I want which includes two processes.” I show up at my appointment, sit in the chair and get a frown from the stylist who realizes that I’m incorrectly booked on time, I have A LOT of hair to deal with and they aren’t really sure which colors to pick.  Sigh.  My picture with the deep brown root and the bright ash blonde turns out as expected – slightly darker red root and warm blonde. Palm to the face.

If you’re a redhead who is planning to go a lifted blonde or balayage, here’s some tips.

  • Red hair is proven to be tougher to dye, is stubborn and fades faster.
  • It requires more time to process and will always have a brassy undertone unless you have multiple processes to get it to where you want. If you want a bright blonde, talk to your stylist about going with an ash blonde to combat the brass.
  • Go to someone who is experienced in red hair.  You’ll thank yourself.
  • A violet shampoo is essential to keeping your hair from getting brassy.  However, if you have a sensitive scalp like me, you may have to alternate with a gentler, sulfate-free option.  My favorite, albeit harsh with a old flowery smell that makes me pay for a few days with a dry scalp is Clairol’s Shimmer Lights. I have yet to find a better toning shampoo.
  • Accept yourself the way you are.  I may need to take my own advice on this one.  There are colors we just aren’t meant to achieve.  Perhaps I should save my money and go with that au natural color everyone pays top dollar for.

Have a suggestion on how to get the best color at the salon? Drop us a line in the comments.