Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ant in your pants? It could be itchy skin!

Unless you are truly tough (or the owner of lots of fleece or flannel shirts), you probably have been toying with turning on your home's heat. (Maybe you already gave in to temptation some cold morning.) If you haven't turned that dial yet, you soon will as November chilly winds start blowing. And you know what that means (besides the smell of burning dust in your ducts and a heating bill that will cross your eyes)...dry skin.

As the moisture leaves your epidermis, it causes little cracks and eventually you start getting itchy. Besides keeping a long-handled back scratcher beside your bed and favorite chair (find one here www.backscratcherworld.com) what can you do about that itch?
Here's a few tips:
Buy a humidifier: Either go for a whole-house one (expensive, but it helps your whole family) or at least one by your bedside that will run quietly for eight-hours or more. Most importantly, buy one that is highly-rated for being mold resistant. A great selection can be found at www.allergybuyersclub.com.
Keep fats in your diet: Smart fats with omega-3 oils like those in walnuts, salmon, sardines, soy, flax and eggs can help keep you hydrated.
Water yourself like a thirsty plant: Oils and creams can't produce moisture, only help it stick around. Drink water constantly. It's not only good for your moisture levels, but helps flush toxins out of your body and every part of you benefits from that.
Stop parboiling yourself: Cut down on those great-feeling-but-tough-on-your skin steamy showers and long hot baths. You are stripping your skin of oils each time. Make the water less hot and the showers or baths shorter. Use soap only on the truly necessary areas and just warm water wash the others. If you are a bath lover, soak a few minutes before you add bath oil to the water. You need some moisture to be absorbed before you seal off your pores.
Use moisturizing soap: ZUM's Dragon's Blood is a perfect choice. It breathes life into scaly skin with the restorative resin of the Dracaena tree,and infused olive, coconut, palm and castor oils, in a goat's milk base. With pure essential oils, it even smells earthy and sweet while it's slaking your dry skin's thirst. (Yes, we sell it at Believe.)
Slather yourself with moisturizer: Don't let more than a few minutes pass after that bath or shower before you fill all those open pores with delightful moisture. For your body or face, we recommend ZUM Organic Body Lotion with essential oils.
Exfoliate weekly: Get rid of the little pieces of skin (often invisible) that keep any moisturizer you apply from soaking into your skin. Slough it off with Zum Sea Salt Soap. Invest in a long-handled loofah to scrub your back (just make sure to dry it thoroughly between uses.)
Take menopause into account: If you're a “woman of a certain age,”menopause may be part of your dryness problem. As estrogen diminishes and the ratio of hormones change, not only does your body's oil production slow down, so does its ability to retain moisture. (You'll probably see this first on your elbows or the T-zone of your face—but it may show up on your legs, scalp and nails.) Talk to your doctor about HRT therapy if the problem gets bad or consider natural alternatives like adding Black Cohosh to your diet.
Don't forget the sunscreen: Just because its getting colder and the sky looks overcast, don't think those harmful rays went away. Put an ounce of broad spectrum sunblock SPF 15 or higher on all exposed skin.
Start now and get a jump on those winter winds. You'll be able to face the season silky, smooth and much-less itchy (and we all need a little more comfort.) See you soon at Believe.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Curls Are Cool (Really!)

You know the drill—the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. If you were born with stick-straight hair, you've spent half your life in rollers or connected to a curling iron. But for those of you with natural ringlets --who don't always love what nature gave you—here's a few tips to help you love (or tame) those curls of yours:

Frizz Is Not Pre-Ordained: Curly hair is often dry and nature abhors a vacuum. Not enough moisture in your hair? The humidity in the air thinks your curly hair is the perfect sponge to soak up its moisture and dives right in. Your hair cuticle expands and—voila!—frizz central. What you have to do, Curly Head, is get there before the humidity does and keep your hair full of good moisture. Wash with a moisturizing shampoo like AGADIR made with argan oil, deep condition with AGADIR moisture mask regularly and style with RICCI fortified with keratin to keep your hair plumped up and full of moisture. When humidity (and frizz ) come a' calling, your hair can say, “Sorry, no room at the inn...”

You've Gotta Be You: Ok, truth time. If the weather is humid, you hair is going to curl. No need to spend hours straightening it. Sometimes you just can't fight City Hall. Why not try accepting what you cannot change and let it curl, let it curl, let it curl? It works for Bernadette Peters, Melina Kanakaredes and Taylor Swift. Why not give it a shot? Let the real you out to play (at least every now and again.) Flat-haired women will envy you as you stroll by with those bouncy curls.

Want To Be A Straight Shooter: I didn't convince you to let your curls fly free? Ok, you can straight out those ringlets—it's just going to take some doing. Consider a La Brasiliana Keratin Treatment (one of the services we provide at Believe) and you'll have months of gorgeous straight hair. Give us a call and we will tell you all about it and make an appointment for you. Or you may want to invest in a ceramic flat iron (we at Believe can also help you learn how to use it properly.) You'll get straight hair with no risk of burning,

Make Friends With Your Drier: Remember, sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder. Let your hair air-dry as long as possible and only use the blow dry when you must (and then only with a diffuser). Cup your curls in the palm of your hand and dry from underneath.

Don't Stop Brushing: Yes, we know you look like a poodle after you brush, but you do want to distribute the natural oils from your scalp down the hair shaft. Try brushing your curly hair with a natural bristle brush for two minutes at night before bed and rinse it in the morning. The condition of your hair will improve, I promise.

Did I Mention Conditioning? It's worth mentioning again. Deep condition at least once a week with a hair mask like TREATMENT and every now and then rub a little olive oil on your scalp and down the hair shaft. Brush through, put a shower cap on, and sleep in the oil. Wash it out in the morning.

Headbands Hide All Manner of Sins: If you've got to run, put a headband over your damp hair. It'll make the crown flat, and the curls stick out the ends, like you actually meant to do it. You could start a signature headband collection. (It used to work for Hilary Clinton.)

Keep Curly Hair Well Cut: Make an appointment at for a good haircut. Our stylists understand curly hair (and the frustrations of it) and will help you come to love—and not loathe—those curls. Call us today!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Which hairbrush is right for you?

Brushing your hair is a ritual that's not only good for you as it helps circulation and brings blood to the hair roots, but relaxing, too. (Don't overdo it, though. The 100-strokes-a -night from our grandmother's day is an old wives tale that can lead to breakage and hair loss.) But you need the right tool—the perfect hairbrush.

Here's how to choose (and you don't have to be a stylist to keep several different kinds in your arsenal):

  • Round Brush—This has 360-degrees of bristles in a circular shape and is a must-have since it suits so many purposes. This brush will help straighten (or curl) hair and give fine hair volume. A smaller version gives tighter curls and a larger version can curl just the ends. Or you can hold your hair straight while you blow. Make sure you can wind your hair all the way around the circle at least once—that way you will get the right size brush for your hair.
  • Paddle Brush—This is a flat brush with a cushion surface and ball pins at every bristle's end. It is perfect for thick straight hair since it smooths out the hair shaft and makes it “longer” (or appear so) without pulling. This brush also helps massage the scalp. It's not the brush for short or fine hair (it doesn’t add volume and is no help in detangling.)
  • Cushion Brush--This is a smaller version of a paddle brush and good for all lengths of hair. It helps distributes your hair's natural oils, which makes for shiny, healthy hair.
  • Vent Brush—This brush has holes at its base (either only up the middle or all over the surface) which lets air pass right through the brush, speeding up blow drying. With bristles that are widely spaced, it also adds volume and helps shape the hair.
  • Styling Brush--This one is super thin with just a few rows of bristles—it's like a rat tail comb --and helps shape lots of different styles.
  • Ceramic Brush--This is a speciality brush and best to stay away from if your hair is treated with chemicals or damaged, as the metal center of the brush heats up, using the heat from your blow dryer. While this can add volume, it can also damage fragile hair. Best to talk to your stylist here at Believe before you buy it (and maybe have a quick lesson in its use.)
Classic Brush—These brushes have a half-round head with five, seven or nine rows of stiff nylon bristles. The head of the brush has a slightly round shape to create a slight bend in the hair—and it is good for creating sleek (but not perfectly straight) hairstyles.

What about bristles?
  • Boar bristles--Are made from the hair of a hog and are great because they close the cuticle layer of your hair (helping up the shine factor.) Boar bristles are used on soft flexible brushes (good for kids) but are weak and are therefore sometimes mixed with nylon bristles to last longer.
  • Nylon bristles—These can actually be made of rubber or plastic, too. The stiffer and more closely placed together the bristles are, the more control you can have of your hair.
  • Porcupine bristles—No, they aren't made from a hedgehog, but tufted bristles are grouped together (usually boar and nylon bristles combined) making these bristles great both for pulling through thick hair and controlling fine hair.
  • Metal bristles--Unless you are wearing a wig, you don't need metal bristles. Even if they have soft rubber tips, they are too hard on human hair (good for dogs, though).
  • We've got a great selection of brushes at Believe. Come on in and we will be happy to help you select which brushes will be perfect for your hair. (And, while you are here, be sure to pick up your last-minute tickets to the “Dancing With Our Stars” fundraiser for the Hillside Food Outreach to be held October 15th. Our own owner, Lisa, is one of the “stars” and bruised and broken though she is after weeks of rehearsal, she is ready to shine! Come cheer her on...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dance! Get Your Blood Pumping For Healthy Hair

As you may know, Lisa, the owner of Believe, has strapped her dancing shoes on for charity and will be one of the featured dancers at “Dancing With Our Stars”, October 15 at the Matrix Center in Danbury, CT (tickets are still on sale: $65 buys you dinner, drinks and the show, ($100 and you can attend the after-party fun)—who we hope is Lisa! All money raised goes to Hillside Food Outreach, so stop by Believe to get your tickets now! Or visit www.hillsidefoodoutreach.org or call Westchester 914-747-0095, Putnam 845-225-3393 or Fairfield 203-702-4881 for tickets.)

Despite some aches, pains and even a sprain or two, Lisa is not only getting her body in better shape, but keeping her hair in good condition, too. There is a direct correlation between increased circulation and hair health. Poor circulation, especially to the scalp, can actually starve your hair and speed up hair loss (guys that have thinning near their temples usually suffer from poor circulation—sometimes a hereditary condition.) Age is a culprit too. Like everything else as we get older, our circulation slows down. Arthritis is another catalyst. If you have arthritis, have regular shoulder and neck massages to increase blood flow to the head.

High cholesterol may also be to blame (it thickens our blood and keeps it from reaching the smallest capillaries at the roots of our hair.) Sebum, too (the oil our scalp produces) can clog pores and choke off hair growth. Use cider vinegar as a hair rinse after shampooing to break through the sebum “crystals” that form.

 Poor circulation makes its presence known if a few ways—tingling in your feet, muscle cramps, wounds or sores that are slow to heal, a blue-ish tinge to the fingernails—even a low sex drive. If you have any of these symptoms you should talk to your medical practitioner, since good blood flow is vital to good health.

Once you get the go-ahead from your doctor, you can up your exercise to get the blood pumping. Not only will your body get more shapely and strong, you will notice a difference in your hair. It will get shinier, with more bounce (your skin will appear clearer, with better color, too.) Whether its dance, like Lisa (even just in front of your Wii) or running around your neighborhood or even yoga (inverted positions make blood flow to your scalp), increased circulation is one way to ensure healthy hair. Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart muscle and improves its pumping efficiency.

Some foods and herbs are believed to increase blood circulation, too. Give them a try and track if you notice a difference:
Garlic and onions may help prevent plaque buildup on the walls of your arteries (and lower cholesterol.) Garlic has, for centuries, been considered a blood purifier.
Dark Chocolate contains flavonoids that reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also may improve blood flow (and it even ups the serotonin in your brain—the chemical that makes you feel good.)
Olive oil not only helps lower cholesterol, but has antioxidants helping reduce the risk of heart attack and increasing blood flow.
Ginkgo is well known for helping to improve the circulation for the whole body.
Nuts (and sunflower and pumpkin seeds) help protect the heart from cardiovascular disease and help blood vessels to dilate—keeping the blood circulation flowing.
Chili peppers contain capsaicin and there is a whole school of thought that this chemical protects the heart, helps unblock any blockages and increases blood flow.
Hawthorn Berry is a well known herb for improving heart function and blood circulation. One good type of hawthorn to buy is as Hawthorn drops.

Other things you can do to improve circulation:
Get rid of stress—just like your muscles tense up when you are stressed, so does the tissue on your scalp. This squeezes capillaries and lets less blood through to the roots.
Use the right products on your hair. We do pile tons of products on our hair and sometimes we need to stop and clarify our scalp. Switch off between your regular products and use GL Shampoo and MUD MASQUE conditioner to keep the roots of your hair unclogged and your scalp free of sebum and debris.
Scalp massage is invaluable. To keep proper blood circulation for a healthy scalp, massage your scalp 5-10 times a day (Bonus: this will help with stress too.) Come into Believe for an evaluation of your scalp's health and we'll be happy to treat you to (and teach you how to give yourself) a perfect scalp massage.

While you are at Believe, don't forget to buy your ticket to “Dancing With Our Stars.” It's going to be a night to remember. See you soon!