Monday, June 25, 2012

Believe Creates Multidimensional Hair

Life needs a little shaking up now and again and our hair is no different. But instead of a new color or a drastic cut for summer, why not try one of the hottest hair trends to sweep Hollywood? Actually you have your choice of two: Ombre and Balayage.

Remember the highlights you got as a child playing in the summer sunshine? That is pretty much the look these techniques replicate.

Ombre, French for “shading,” is when the hair strand is gradually lightened, starting with dark roots growing lighter near the ends. This lightening can be dramatic or very subtle. Drew Barrymore was an early pioneer of this look.

Balayage means “to paint” in French. A master colorist, like Believe's own Lisa, paints color vertically on the hair strand, using the tip of a brush, and only on the front of the hair—giving those sun-kissed highlights.

Both these techniques can be combined, of course, and Hollywood beauties from Jennifer Beal and Sarah Jessica Parker to Lauren Conrad and Giselle have all been spotted experimenting with the trend.
Before you decide which is right for you, ask yourself some questions:
  • Do you like the look of your roots growing out?
  • How many shades lighter are you willing to go?
  • Do you wear your hair curly or straight?

If you are okay with “roots” and wear your hair curly, Ombre may be for you. (Straight hair would have too definite a line of demarcation showing. Waves or curls look better). Talk to your Believe stylist about how dramatic you want the lightening to be so there are no surprises (and you may want to get your ends cut before lightening them, to avoid drying them out). Afterwards, get a deep conditioning treatment at Believe, too, to keep your new look healthy and glossy.

If you wear your hair straight or are searching for a more subtle look, Balayage is probably for you. Depending on how light you and your Believe stylist want to go, you may not even need to use bleach on your hair (for the more natural look of Balayage, you really want to only go two or three shades lighter than your natural color anyway.) Since the hair is painted vertically in Balayage, you will avoid that really clear line of demarcation where the color changes, meaning less trips to the salon (we'll miss you). You can go out and play in the actual sun (wear a hat!) and look like you hair has been sun-kissed without those damaging UV rays.

Both techniques take a little more time in one of our comfy Believe chairs (you can't rush artistry) so make your appointment when you have a little time to sit and chat (we'll provide the herb tea) and get ready to show the world there's more to you than one dimension. Then go out and enjoy all the fun you can pack into one summer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Protecting Your Scalp From Skin Cancer

Summer is here and the media has blasted enough (we hope) warnings about skin cancer to have you slathering lotions and creams (SPF 15 or higher) all over your exposed skin.  But have you thought of your risk of exposure via your scalp?

We are all taught to say our ABC's when checking for moles elsewhere (Asymmetry, Border Irregularity and uneven Color) but how many of us actually check our scalps?

The stylists at Believe aren't trained medical professionals nor do we hold a degree in Dermatology, but we would certainly let you know if we see anything that looks dangerous to us when you come in for haircuts or treatments, but what can you do for yourself to keep safe from the dreaded melanoma?

First, know that skin cancer of the scalp isn't as common as on other areas of your body, but it can occur there and, as it can be hidden by your hair, it can sometimes be there a while without being detected.

Those of you with thicker hair have less to worry about because hair acts as a barrier to the sun’s harmful rays and protects the scalp. But if your hair is thinning or you are going bald (or if you husband has actually gone bald) there is a greater danger.

Light skinned people have less melanin in their skin to block UV rays and bald people will have less hair to block those same rays, so they are more exposed to their damaging effects.
Use of a zinc oxide or titanium oxide sunblock or a sunscreen that absorbs both UV-A and UV-B rays can reduce sun exposure and reduce risk for balding people. (Make sure to reapply it every few hours.)

But what to do to protect yourself if you have hair? Just get it lank and greasy?

Pick a hair product that offers protection from the sun, like Chromastics Sulfate-free Shampoo, Leave-in Conditioner and Spray Gel or Repair Light and Repair Extreme Molding Cream; White Tea Daily Conditioner or Aestalance After Swim Shampoo. Also Iden Bee Propolis products contain Sunflower oil, which is a natural sun protectant.  We carry all these products at Believe.
You may also consider using a light sunscreen spray product for the skin (with high SPF) and spray only at the roots of hair and smoothing over the scalp. What you are trying to do is rub the product into the scalp itself so it doesn’t just absorb into the hair follicle, leaving the hair greasy and offering little protection to the scalp.
Also, change your part often so one area of the scalp is not consistently exposed to the sun. Look for changes or discolorations where your hair is parted or near any cowlicks.
When you are at the beach, you can use heavier cream Kingsley Swim Cap Cream (which he developed for the 1984 Olympic synchronized swimming team). Slather the cream over hair and into scalp, then style hair back into a slick ponytail.
Zinc oxide, an effective sunblock, is also sold in powder form that can be sprinkled on hair and used as a dry shampoo, but tests are still underway to discover its degree of protection in powder form.
Hats are the best way to protect your scalp, however. Remember to pick a hat for more than its fashion statement alone.  The tighter the weave of a hat, the less exposure your scalp has to damaging UV-A and UV-B rays.
Tightly woven hats will also be hotter than more open weave hats, so why not take advantage of the heat, cover your hair with a heavy conditioner like Chromastics Leave-In Conditioner, wrap your hair in a bandana and use the sun as a heat generator to help the conditioning treatment go deep into your hair shaft, repairing damage while preventing sunburn?
There are hats manufactured with additional ultraviolet protection such as Coolibar hats made out of Suntect fabric and rated as UPF of 50+. These hats are recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation and can be found at:
One last thing, why not make a pact with your partner or good friend to (on a regular basis) check each others scalps and other hard-t0-see yourself places, like the back of neck and ears, for any strange growths or discolorations? Helping each other in such ways is a true mark of love, we Believe.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nature's Defense

A castle from a fairy tale has nothing on us. Our hair comes with its own strong stone walls and battlements—called the cuticle—and though modern life will lay siege to it, nothing will breach our defenses if we learn how to care for it.

The cuticle, or outer layer of our hair, is what keeps our hair healthy, shiny and moving fluidly (like you see in all those slow motion commercials). But if we don't take special care of it, our damaged cuticle will have our hair looking dull, lifeless, brittle or stringy. Here's some ways to keep your hair cuticle healthy:
What goes in, must come out: Remember, hair grows from the inside out—so watch your diet. Fruits (organic if possible as pesticides can stay stored in your hair's cuticle—for years!), veggies, lean protein, carbs will help the condition of the cuticle. And don't forget the oil, Keeping a daily dose of olive or sunflower oil (as well as fish oils) in our diet will ensure our cuticle is healthy (and help our skin from drying up.) Make sure to get biotin and vitamin B every day as well, as they can actually help hair grow thicker.

Don't be a roughneck: Your hair's cuticle can't take the rough stuff. Don't yank a brush or comb through your hair—wet or dry--and choose a brush that is gentle on your hair. Watch also when you take clips out of your hair and always use covered elastics and a gentle touch. A rough hair cuticle will make you hair less than smooth, affecting the shine and the way it lays.

You're a sponge: Or at least your hair cuticle is, taking in smoke, air pollution, chlorine, hot tub chemicals. If it is in the atmosphere around you, your hair cuticle will take it in and be weaker for it. Limit your exposure to these toxins and don't forget to
rinse your hair with clear water after you've been swimming in fresh or saltwater. 

Taking the heat: Blow dryers, curling irons, electric curlers and flat irons can damage hair's cuticle with excessive heat. Air dry your hair and use hot implements for the least amount of time possible. Always use a conditioner (like AESTALANCE PROTEIN) if you notice your hair drying out and again, don't pull too hard when brushing, drying, curling or straightening. 

Baby your cuticle: If you hair is colored or straightened, be sure to use a good shampoo and conditioner formulated specifically for your hair. Deep condition often (remember to make an appointment at Believe for a monthly deep conditioning to keep your cuticle in tip-top shape). Also, don't believe the hype that you need to wash your hair daily. You don't. Rinse it out and apply conditioner. That regime will keep your cuticle healthier.
A word about your “other” cuticle: The cuticles on your nails can get ragged and dry, too. A little Aestelance body butter rubbed in them daily can keep them moisturized and healthy.
Let the season with its hot sun and baking heat try to take your cuticles' battlements by storm. With a little care (and some help from Believe) you can withstand the siege.