Sunday, September 25, 2011

How Healthy Is Your Hair?

As we head into the cold winds and heated homes of Fall and Winter, now would be a great time our hair health a checkup. If you've got lots of damage, frizz, split ends or if that perfect sunny day on the beach dried the life right out of your mane, now is the time to get it in shape---before the leaves blow and the snows fly.

But first you have to know what's happening, so get a strong light and a good mirror and check out your hair:
  • Is it dry and flyaway? Stop by Believe for a deep-conditioning treatment right now (you should also schedule one a month until we get your hair in better shape. You should also use a leave-in conditioner like AEstelance's Butter.
  • Is it broken all along the length? Consider treating your hair with kid gloves for a while. Shampoo less often and then only with a conditioning shampoo like Semi De Lino Color Protect. Don't blow dry your hair. Instead pat it (don't rub) dry with a towel and let it air dry whenever possible. Use a wide tooth comb on wet hair, never pull with a brush. And about the brush—use a natural bristle brush that has widely-spaced bristles and is gentle on your hair.
  • Does it look fried or dry? Put away the hot rollers and flat-iron and use your hair dryer (only when necessary) on the coolest setting.
  • Are you sporting split ends? Come into Believe for a trim. We will save the length while getting rid of those tired old ends (their 15 minutes in the spotlight are over...)
  • Is your hair getting thin? If you see more of your scalp then you used to (or worse—find ever more hairs in your brush) you might be having a reaction to medications or suffering hormonal changes (for example, many women suffer hormonal hair loss when they are pregnant.) Make an appointment with your doctor if you think this may be the case. If you see an actual bald spot, it could be a sign of alopecia areata, a disease that causes such patches. Or maybe you started dieting (be careful and keep eating a balanced diet. Your skin, hair and nails will be the first to reflect it if you don't.) Also watch how tightly you pull your hair into a ponytail or braid. You can literally pull your own hair out over time—it's called traction hair loss.
  • Does your hair look dull with no shine? To get shiny healthy hair (like those women on the commercials, flipping their manes in slow motion) is largely an inside job. We at Believe can recommend some shine-filled products like the Chromastics line or even apply a clear semi-permanent glaze. But when it comes to dull lifeless hair, you are what you eat. Try salmon, packed with high-quality protein, vitamin B-12 , iron and essential omega-3 fatty acids to support a healthy scalp. If you are a vegan, you can add twp tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily to get the same omega-3 fats from a plant-based source. Spinach, broccoli and swiss chard add vitamins A and C, need to produce the oily substance known as sebum—your body's own hair conditioner. Walnuts, cashews, pecans, and almonds provide zinc, which helps keep hair from shedding. Poultry (with its protein) makes hair strong and less faded (eggs work, too.) Last, but never least, low fat dairy, particularly that all-important yogurt, are great sources of calcium which is very important for hair growth.
  • Does your hair have no bounce? Get the rest of your body bouncing. Exercise gets your blood pumping and that circulation goes right to your hair follicles, shaking them out of their summer slumbers. Take advantage of the cool weather to walk daily (or even run) and see the benefits in your hair (and skin.)
Now is the moment to make your change-of-season hair appointment at Believe (soon enough, you'll have to drive through slush...ugh!) so come in and see us and share a glass of cider while we come up with a strategy to get—and keep---your hair healthy. We are waiting for you here at Believe and can't wait to hear all about your summer.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Silver Is Sexy!

We have a lot of customers at Believe who qualify as Baby Boomers, and they are proud to have made it –healthier and fitter—than any other generation, into their late 50's and beyond. But no amount of vitamins, supplements or yoga classes can erase on of the most visible passages of time...gray hair. When you go gray, is mostly determined by genetics, but how you go gray is up to you. No need to have mousy, washed out helmet hair like the “old” ladies or gentlemen of the last generation. Silver is the new black, baby and gray is great (with a little help.)

One of the reasons for going gray we hear the most at Believe is that our customers find their hair needs dyeing every few weeks—say every three instead of every 6--and then roots show up. Since these are often gray roots, they look dull. Or silver roots which shine like beacons announcing “I need to be dyed.”

Maybe you are tired of the battle or maybe you just want to let your true—more mature—self out and the effort to constantly look younger be damned.

Whichever the reason, here are some things to consider before you take the plunge. (If you went silver or white young in life, read on for tips on keeping your shiny silver vibrant and consider not getting your hair colored. Silver hair framing a young face can be striking.) But if you are of an age where your hair is starting to turn due to normal aging...Consider this:
  • If you bristle when someone guesses your age as over 40 or sees you with a young child and assumes its your grandchild and that doesn't bring a smile to your face, you might not want to go gray. If you're still squeezing into miniskirts and dating 20-somethings, the fact that you might get treated differently with gray hair is probably not going to make you happy.
  • Are shiny silvers peeking through your do? Sometimes Mother Nature's color is prettier than any color we can apply at Believe. If you are gifted with shiny silver or snowy white locks, why fight it? Not sure? Come into Believe and talk it over. We'll give you an honest opinion.
  • Do you have wildly interesting streaks of grey or white now? If they are framing your face or giving you men an adorable Jon Stewart skunk streak, you might not want to mess with success. Let your hair alone until more has gone gray—then decide if we should color or not. The same goes with highlights. If you are used to lots of blonde (or even other color) streaks, letting your whole head go one color—even if it is silver—might not offer enough “drama” for you.

  • Are you confident enough to pull it off? Remember Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada'? Now there was a confident silver-haired woman. So is Jamie Lee Curtis in all those yogurt commercials. From Dame Helen Mirren to Richard Gere, confidence is the magic key to making gray magical instead of mousy.

  • Are you a “dirty blonde”? The problem is light hair going gray looks dirty, so either make it all gray/silver or color it all blonde. In this instance, hit 'em hard or go home.

  • Got six months? If your hair is long, no matter how good a job we do at blending your roots to hide the demarcation line it's going to take a while to let your gray grow in. (Your hair grows about a half an inch per month.) Consider a shorter style for this period and then, when its passed, you can grow long lovely silver hair like Emmy Lou Harris. 

  • Can't stand the wait? Get lowlights in the meantime to help blend in newly-emerging grays and come into Believe often for cuts to get rid of that old dyed hair.
  • Get tough. Silver hair can grow out coarse or wiry. We at Believe will show you how to use a flat iron to jeep the frizzies in check. Anti-frizz serum like Chromastices Repair will help too, Keeping your hair in great condition both by using a daily conditioner and occasional deep conditioning like Aestelance Protein or Mud Masque will help keep up the moisture content of aging hair.
  • Don't forget to drink gallons of water and take an age-appropriate vitamins. Water helps keep your hair from being dull and the vitamins help it grow more quickly.
  • Going for the gold...err silver: If you make the decision to cross that line into gray or silver, we're behind you 100%. We'll recommend shampoo (like Aestelance Clarifying), conditioner (like Scruples White Tea) and even a few tricks of the trade to bring out the gloss (A clear semi-permanent glaze).
Shine like you mean it, with some help from Believe.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Slicing and Dicing: Razor Styles Are Back

Whether they are called “chopped”, “shredded” or “shingled,” razor styles are back with a vengeance (and for men, they never left.)

Whether used on long locks to give your waves a bit more romantic flow or used as multi-lengths to sex up a long do, razors can be artistic tools in the hands of an expert (like us here at Believe) or a weapon when wielded by a neophyte hair stylist with no experience.

Working with scissors is taught in Hairstyling 101 but whisking away hair with a razor takes a cool hand. The three-inch blade adds texture by having a looping effect on the hair shaft. The razor can get rid of heaviness and bulkiness (you know those tufts of hair on the side that look like wings or that pile on top that weighs your style down like an invisible hat?) 

Razors are usually used on wet hair to keep things manageable and the blade will cut the ends so that you don't look like you stepped out of the chair a minute ago. 

The genius in a razor cut is that it removes bulk while building volume. How? Strands that are shortened help puff up the longer ones, but a razor cut isn't for everybody.

If your hair is thin, too short already or frizzy, the razor cut may not be for you and some stylists say a razor cut isn't for curly hair either.

Really the only way to tell is to come on in and let us look at (and feel) your hair and the way it grows. We will use our trained eye to tell you if the razor cut will make you feel beautiful or go batty.

Long hair can be less boring when cut with a razor or, if you are worried about having to grow out all that hair to one length again, ask if a triangular wedge will work for you—it makes regrowing hair much less visible. (Or perhaps just your bangs can be done to give a long style a sense of movement.) 

One word of caution about razor cuts: They tend to lose their shape sooner than hair cut with scissors, but for that wispy look, razor cuts really have no equal.

From bob to flowing waves a razor cut will make a big difference in your look, so come in for a consultation first! We won't go all Jack The Ripper on you and bring out the razor until we, together, have determined it will be the best technique to use on your hair. You are an individual and at Believe, you will get an individual cut. Call us at 914-747-0778 today to make an appoint at Believe.