Saturday, January 21, 2012

Battle of the Blonde

This is a story of warning...

SO every once in a while I get a touch bored with my hair and decide to do something drastic.  Last September I got the idea in my head to dye my hair a nice, medium brown.  Easy enough, right?  Well, anywho... my "medium brown" turned out to be a dark brown, with nearly black tips framing my face.  It looked really pretty and I loved it until winter happened, I lost my nice sun kissed glow, and my Swedish skin turned a shade of albino...

Long story short, I got the urge to work my way, gradually to my natural state of blonde.  And got impatient.

Last week, during a stint of sickness, boredom overcame me and I headed on over to my local drugstore and picked up a one-step lightening kit.  *Tip: The kit says 45 minutes for a reason.*  I left it on for 30, started to feel some burning and in a moment of panic... washed the bleaching mixture out before it had a chance to fully lift past the orange and yellow stage.
(The stages go as follows: Red-Brown. Red. Red-Orange. Orange-Yellow. Yellow -Orange.Yellow.Pale Yellow)

One heart attack later my hair was a delightful carrot orange... a shade that would make that girl from Paramour jealous.  It was NOT CUTE.

When it comes to hair "disasters"... and important thing to remember is DO NOT PANIC.  Easier said than done. 

So I deep conditioned and assured myself that in the morning I would use that bottle of Salon "L'oreal Preference Mega Blondes" (MB1 ultra light natural) that I'd purchased and it would make everything all better.

Well even though it didn't completely fix the problem, it did help.  L'Oreal's Salon Mega Blondes is a high lift, promising to lift up to four levels.  The lift got my hair to that, slightly more friendly, yellow stage, but since it was a neutral shade, it lacked the violet/blue (*think the color wheel) base that would bring an end the brassiness. 

If you know your basic color wheel blue is on the opposite side of yellow. It cancels each out, leaving a neutral shade

After several hours of research, several washes in "purple" based shampoo (a great way to keep blonde hair brass-free) and not enough money in my pocket to go to a salon, I put on a hat and decided to head over to Sallys and ask for help.

Because of all the yellow and gold tones, the girl sent me on my way I with 20 V (regular lift) developer and Clairol Professional Liquidcolor HiLift Ultra Cool Blonde, (ARCTIC blonde, ironic name given the weather outside my window) which has blue and violet bases to neutralize all the brassiness and enough "lift" to break through that final phase of yellow.

Here is my result:
It's a little warmer than I would normally go, but overall I am thankful this ordeal has come to an end.  I'm a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and WAY smarter.  This was quite the learning experience and I don't regret it.

Here's what I learned:
  • when the directions say 45 minutes, there is a reason.
  • drugstore lightening kits are usually not strong enough for "bold" changes like my own
  • the color wheel is amazingly useful in correcting hair color blunders.
  • If you can, just go to a professional for this sort of endeavor, it'll save you a lot of time, effort, and heartache.
Hopefully my story will either a) stop someone from taking the same journey I did or b) offer some solutions to correct a mess.

Remember, don't panic, it's just hair, and if you can't afford a salon (although that is ideal) there are things you can do to make it better.  Put a hat on and have someone assess the damage you've done and see if there's measures you can take at home.  I suggest a lot of deep conditioning and argan oil to give your hair a little tlc throughout the ordeal.

Some products to help you on your way:
Salma Hayak Black Currant Intense Hydration Hair Mask

* This conditioner contains Black Currant, which has a high amount of gamma lineolic acid. GLA is an essential fatty acid known for helping hair, skin, and nails. Papaya Fruit Extract is used in many Latin American cultures for restoring hair health because of it's vitamin content. This product also contains Wheat & Amaranth proteins that promote strong hair and this is paraben free.

Organix Argan Oil

* This rare formula has a centuries-old history of providing natural vitamin E and antioxidants while renewing your hair's cell structure, sealing in shine, and creating lush softness. A precious blend of Moroccan argan oil which instantly penetrates the hair shaft restoring shine and softness while strengthening. Derived from the southwest region of Morocco, argan oil protects from styling heat and UV damage while creating soft, seductive, silky perfection.

John Frieda Go Blonder Shampoo and Conditioner

* Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo gradually lightens blonde hair for a year-round sun-kissed look.  The formula, containing a natural Lightening Complex, gently reduces the color pigments in the hair.  Gentle enough for daily use.  Ammonia and peroxide-free.

Addition 1/22/12:  TONERS
I forgot about toners!!  Toners can be used depending on the results after hair is lightened.  Once you know what you're working with, a decision can be made as to what toner to use in order to neutralize any unwanted tones like yellow or orange.  Toners are ammonia free colors and will give your hair shine and color vibrant.  Ask someone at Sally's, your local beauty supply store or a Salon, about what base toner you need.  If you know what you're doing, you can even mix some in with a color-safe conditioner to keep your color fresh.  As always, follow the directions on a bottle!  Even toners can result in haircolor mishaps if used incorrectly.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Essie Spring 2012

I have an unhealthy Essie addiction...

SO excited for this collection launch, it's absolutely FAB, bold, and chic.
I LOVE color!! <3

Also... I managed to get my hands on  bottle of Navigate Her, the gorgeous, green namesake of the line.  It's a unique, creamy, easter-egg green that just makes me think of sunshine and flower shoots... despite the snow and ice outside my window.  Sigh.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Battle of the tinted lipbalms

After having loved Covergirl's Natureluxe Gloss Balm, I was excited to hear about the launch of L'Oreal's Colour Riche Balm with SPF 15 and Revlon's Colorburst Lip Butter.  To be totally honest, when I finally got to try them I wasn't totally impressed, but I didn't hate them either.  I found them both to be middle of the road products.  Here's my take:

L'Oreal Colour Riche Balm SPF 15

Of the two lip colors, I definitely prefer this one.  This balm has no really noticeable scent or taste, just a super light formula that is highly moisturizing.  It has just a hint of tint, nothing too dramatic, but it definitely does enhance your natural lip color.  The staying power isn't great, but after all it is a balm, but the SPF 15 is a great added bonus.  I do love the packaging, very chic and posh.  It's available in eight shades and retails for about $8 at drugstores.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter
I wanted to really like this product.  I waited for the shade that Emma Stone was wearing in the ad, which is Peach Parfait.  Initially, the product went on a like a dream, a smooth, buttery texture, but I just was not impressed with its production over time.  First of all, the formula does not sink into your lips, it just sits there creating a nice barrier, which is okay when you first apply.  However, over time without continuous application the formula dries and gets sticky, which isn't exactly comfortable.  The packaging is okay, a translucent, "quilted" case, but I felt like it looked a little cheesy.  It's available in a whopping twenty shades and retails for $7.49.

Overall, although I prefer L'Oreals balm, they both fell below my expectation and I wouldn't buy either one again. 

As far as tinted balms go, my picks go to some old reliables (yes that's right, tinted lip balms are not a new concept, Revlon and L'Oreal just happen to be jumping on the bandwagon late!):

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm: light and fruity, highly moisturizing, great color and 100% natural
Covergirl Natureluxe Glossbalm: Light and nourishing, non-sticky formula that delivers a flash of beautiful sheer color (SPF 15)

and the Splurge:
Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Color Balm: Ultra hydrating, with a sheer hint of color for irresistibly soft lips

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fake it Don't Bake it

My new recent obsession:



I'm really crazy about this stuff.  Truly high quality, perfect for day-to-day use and because it contains fewer toxic ingredients [and less CRAP] than other makeup companies, it's something I can feel good about putting on my face.

So here's the deal:

Thanks to some Swedish ancestry, I'm pretty fair skinned.  I can fool the world into thinking I'm not see-through in the summer months, but come January, it's a battle to warm up the whole "Casper" look.  Sometimes it can be a little difficult to find the right products that will give me a little glow without some phoney-baloney color or that infamous "dirty" bronzer look. 

However!  I'm really pleased with a set that I found at TJ Maxx called "Fake it Don't Bake it" by theBalm.  Inside it was:

Betty-Lou Manizer Bronzer, Shimmer, and Eyeshadow
Frat Boy Shadow/Blush
Balm Shelter SPF 17 lip gloss in Valley Girl

<3. This. Set.

I'll start with Betty-Lou Manizer. 

What it is:
A silk smooth pressed powder that can be used a bronzer, eye shadow, and all-over shimmer.

What it does:
This all-in-one bronzer, shadow, and shimmer uses mica to diffuse light so your skin looks softer and younger while adding subtle warmth.  The oil-free formula can be layered on your lids for a luxe look, swept on your cheeks for a radiant glow, or used as an all-over finish before heading out for the night.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
Synthetic Fragrances
Synthetic Dyes

This silky smooth bronzer/luminzer has just a hint of shimmer and lives in an adorable little tin.  I'm not sure how I feel about putting it on my lids but it sure does look pretty on my cheeks.  The right amount of this product will give your face a healthy glow, but like any bronzer, it can be a little dangerous.  Less is more with this little gem.  Tap that brush ladies!  I can see this tin lasting a really long time... lots of product and minimal application.

Next we have: Frat Boy Shadow/Blush!

What it is:
A powder that works as both eye shadow and blush.

What it does:
This velvety smooth, peachy-apricot shadow/blush adds the perfect amount of color for a foxy flush so you look stellar around the clock. Frat Boy™ leaves you with a face that's pretty and polished. When you can't keep the boys away, blame it on the blush.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Sulfates
- Synthetic Fragrances
- Synthetic Dyes
- Phthalates
- GMOs
- Triclosan

What else you need to know:
This product does not contain talc. 

Frat Boy is my new favorite blush.  This beautiful soft peachy/pink/apricot blush has a nice, smooth texture.  It delivers just a hint of warm color but is absolutely buildable if you desire a bit more color.  It's a great everyday blush with GREAT staying power.  This would absolutely flatter a wide variety of skin tones... something that I can use now, but also use in the summer when I have a bit more color.  I love a peach blush and I have quite a few already, but this really is a unique peach and will give you a fresh, glowy look.

To finish: Balm Shelter SPF 17 lip gloss in Valley Girl.  I won't bore you with the details, I already did that here:  But seriously, this sheer peach gloss is just fab.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Merino Cool

This season I've really been digging more of a creamy/milky/beige-y nail polish.  There's something totally chic and versatile about these muted tones.  I found Essie's Merino Cool on a Winter 2011 Holiday/Luxe Effect display and decided I needed it.

This color is pretty, but not one of my favs.  It's kind of a heathered lavender taupe with the glassy finish that I've come to expect from Essie.  It looks fab on short nails.  Like many of Essie's colors, all the tones give it a sort of... color morphing quality, giving to shades of lavender (in good lighting, my fav), to gray, to even a sort of muddiness in darker lighting.  I feel like its a good shade for autumn or winter, but I'm not so sure that I was crazy enough about it that I would choose it over some of my other neutral shades.

One thing to note is that the formula for Merino Cool is a tad on the thin side.  I probably could've settled for 2 coats, but why stettle for less?  In order to achieve the milky, opaque look I was going for I needed 3.  With this being said, it really struggled to set on my nails, even with "Good to Go" Essie's fast drying topcoat.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this shade is going to be one I prefer on my toes.  It may be just right for classing up my tootsies for yoga.  :)

My lipgloss is cool, my lipgloss is poppin'. Total nerd title.

theBalm Balm Shelter Girl Next Door... What a great gloss!  I <3 this, times like... a thousand.

*Tip:I am wearing theBalm BalmShelter
gloss in shade "Girl Next Door" OVER
Staniac a layer of lip/cheek stain, it
gives the color a little more kick.

Day or night, summer or winter, every glam girl needs protection from the elements - so treat those lips to one of these strawberry-banana scented, sunscreen-enriched, paraben-free, tinted glosses.

What it is formulated to do:

These long-wearing jojoba-based shades soothe, moisturize, and protect your pucker from damaging UV rays while keeping you looking sexy. Whether you're dipping your toes in the surf or shakin' it on the dance floor BalmShelter's got you covered!

This gloss has the perfect flash of light color, it's super moisturizing and long wearing.  It has a totally unique texture, more like a balm than a gloss... super moisturizing and soft, and unlike a lot of glosses, this is completely un-sticky and you don't even really have to worry about getting your hair stuck to your lips.

Usually I can't handle the stickiness of a gloss, I'm more of a lipstick girl, but this is just fab.  Then there's the added SPF bonus (SPF17, whaaaaaat?) and the irresistible Strawberry Banana smell.  The only total downer?  The price point: 18 dolla'.  ouch.  But sometimes... you have to dig deep and treat yourself.  :)  Check out TJ Maxx and Marshalls, I've been theBalm products for a more affordable price point.