August 30, 2013

My hair disasters, or how I became my own hairdresser

The other day I was thinking about how did it happen that now I only want to cut and color my hair on my own? When I was a student on a tight budget and couldn't really afford visits to a salon, I was dreaming about times when I'll have a job and will be able to pamper myself in the best salons getting top service at any price. Guess what? The time for me to get a job has come, but the thing about top service has never really lived up to my expectations. I changed many salons, many of which are considered the best in Paris, consulted many hairdressers trying to find the right one, but only to come to a conclusion that rather than being pampered in a SPA-like environment, I get stressed and disappointed. I don't get neither cut nor color that I want, my hair is being damaged by people who don't really care about it, and I'm actually paying $$$ for all of that. I realized I had to learn how to cut and color my hair on my own, because even if I wouldn't do a perfect job, whilst I'm careful, it still couldn't get much worse than what I was getting in salons. I'd eventually learn everything I need to know and finally have a cut and color of my dreams. In the meanwhile, I'd save time and money :) And so far I was right!

I won't be describing every experience that made me want to become my own hairdresser, here are just some highlights...
  • After chopping off 6''(15cm) of my hair, a hairdresser replies to my:
- But didn't we say it's going to be 1''(2-3cm)?!
- Darling, your hair really needed it! I chopped off whatever looked really horrible, so you should be happy about it.

Happened more than once. I wonder why I never felt that happy... at all! I actually felt like mourning... RIP my hair... Plus I never asked them what they thought about my hair. I just came to pay for a certain service and get it done, so using words like "horrible" was really uncalled for. It's something nail technicians also like to say a lot. Whenever I used to change nail technicians (now I do my nails on my own as well), they'd always say "Who's this terrible person who did your nails? They look horrible!" [Yeah, right! like your work is going to look any better in 3 weeks time. So far I tried ~20 nail technicians  (I moved countries and places quite a lot and had to find new salons nearby) and only 2 were really awesome].

Anyway, this is what it made me think of:

and  also this one

Having been violated this way more than once, I decided I could no longer take the risks to loose all the precious hair that took me a year to grow in a single ends trimming session. So I assigned my mother to be my hairdresser ;) For a couple of years she's been doing a great job trimming my ends, but eventually one of my friends taught me how to trim you ends on your own and that's what I've been doing ever since. By now it's been 2 years and I have never been happier with my trims :)
  • After coloring my hair, a hairdresser replies to my: 
- But I wanted *this* hair color! [showing a photo that I brought along and asked to match]
- It IS this hair color!

Now this one, I heard it so many times from different hairdressers, that it's not even funny anymore. I still don't get how do they have the nerve to say it to my face, when the color looks totally different! Both in lightness and in tonality... Gosh... This reply is so ridiculous that every time I hear it, I seriously doubt I'm dealing with a mentally stable person and for my own sake, I just leave without saying another word...  Or no, on my way to the exit, I actually do say "How much do I pay?" Though I heard of people who wouldn't pay for such a service and I think they are doing the right thing. I'm just not confrontational enough for that lol

Dear hairdressers,
 (1) If you're unable to reproduce a particular color (which is totally understandable), please, be honest about it, tell it to your client *before* you commit to coloring their hair.
(2) If something went wrong (sh*t happens! we're all human and your job can be very challenging at times), just have the courage and dignity to accept it and analyze your mistakes to do a better job next time ...or just refer to (1).
  • A hairdresser in reply to
- With all this bleaching, my hair has gotten so sensitive, it keeps on breaking! [my ends are visibly much thinner than my roots]
- No, it's not! [grabs a section of hair dissolving toward the ends and pretends he doesn't notice anything] Where do you see breakage? [wtf! all along the hair strand!!!] Most girls who have their hair bleached have to cut it short, but you actually managed to grow it till your shoulders! That's really rare, you should be happy about it!"

Wait, as an Eastern European, I know hundreds of girls who bleach their hair and still have it down to their waist... Thick and gorgeous! So what's the point to insult my intelligence and tell me things which are obviously not true... I know for a fact that the condition of my hair has worsened a lot! Is it just to justify his work and avoid taking responsibility for the condition of my hair?..  But I'm there not to point fingers! I just want to find a solution, while his attitude is something that makes any further conversation meaningless and his professional skills doubtful.
  • A hairdresser in reply to
- My hair is very thin, and with all this bleaching it has gotten even thinner [my ponytail is the size of my thumb totally dissolving toward the ends].
- No, it's not thin. This other client of mine, you can see most of her scalp through her hair. That's thin!

Here I have to take a deep breath. If I were not quite as polite as I am, I'd say that this client of his needs to see a doctor, there's obviously a health issue that needs to be addressed. Just because you cannot see my scalp, doesn't mean my hair is "not thin" or something! It's so obvious that I can't believe I'm even writing it, it should be in "NO COMMENT" section lol
  • In reply to "I think bleaching is bad for my hair. Perhaps instead of bleaching, we could try coloring my regrowth a slightly darker blonde and then adding some highlights every couple of months?" 
Hairdresser A (never met me before, never will see me again):
-  If you're so smart and know everything, why do you even ask me about my opinion?

When I heard that, I really thought I was dreaming... Believe me, I'm a very polite person and put a lot of efforts into phrasing my words in a way that sounds respectful. But this person got so offended by the fact I was coming to her with my own ideas rather than quietly entrusting my hair into her professional hands... And unfortunately, 90% of hairdressers I've spoken to so far tend to get annoyed when I suggest what's that I'd like to be done with my hair. And God forbid me getting technical and telling them what developer and hair dye/toner number I'd like to have used. That's something they seem to consider borderline insulting.

And that's such a pity!!! I wish I could find someone I could bring my money to for doing what I want. After all, as a hair model, I went through so many hairdressers and participated in so many trainings, that even though I don't have much technical experience, I get to see more theoretical novelties than some hairdressers.  I get to have them applied to my hair and have a good idea of how they work for me. And since it's my hair, I do have a right to suggest things. There's nothing insulting about it! Sigh...

 Hairdresser B:
- No, it's going to be ugly. You'd need to add some dark lowlights to the rest of your hair"
- But since my hair is so light, won't these lowlights wash off after 2 weeks?
- Yes, they will.

And this is something that pisses me off. Forget "What's the point to suggest something that's not going to last?" and will turn to "Ugly" in a matter of weeks. What I'm really annoyed with is that so many times I asked for a color, got something vaguely similar, just to discover that in 2 weeks time it will be totally gone!

Dear hairdressers, please inform your un-hair-educated clients about longevity of a certain hair color and tell them what their hair is going to look like in a week, month and so on. Tell them what sort of maintenance commitment is there to make. Tell them what kind of damage can they expect. If I knew that bleached hair needs to be toned every 2 weeks to maintain that Hollywood pearl blonde, I'd never ever have it bleached at first place! Same thing about pink/red/blue hair washing off to yellow/orange. Once my best friend asked for purple highlights in her "virgin" black hair and she got them. But surprise surprise! After 2 weeks her purple strands have gotten orange! Needless to say, she didn't see it coming and was rather upset with the entire experience.

Some other things that turned me off hair salons in general is that

  • In my experience, hairdressers try to receive more clients than they physically can. Forget 20 to 45 minutes that I usually have to wait for them after the time of my appointment, the worst thing is that way too often there's  no one available to wash the bleach out of my hair since everyone's already busy with new clients. Very often I had to wait for another 20 minutes after 50 minutes of the *maximal* recommended product development time. No wonder that over time my hair has gotten more and more fragile and started to break off.  
  • A very poor choice of hair dyes and toners. Every salon seems to work with only one brand of hair products and when it comes to blondes, there's hardly anything to choose from. Especially here in France where blondes are not popular and girls generally do not dye their hair unless they want to cover their grey hair. So recently I decided to tone my hair on my own with toners I buy online. I use ammonia-free products that are super easy to use and instantly give that Hollywood blonde shades that I was always dreaming about. They do wash off after a couple of weeks, but since they are quite cheap (5-10 times cheaper than what they charge for toners in salons), I can reapply them as often as I need to. 
  • Even though there are dozens of ways to highlight one's hair, every hairdresser I met so far seems to be super attached to one particular technique that they like most. Not only technique, but also placement and thickness of highlights. Basically, once I ask for highlights, they consider our conversation over and get really annoyed when I try to explain what particular type of highlights I'd like to have. Then they say it's not a good idea and insist on doing what they want, the way they want. Or say they got my point, but still do it their way. Oh well, they left me no choice but to learn how to do highlights on my own. I've already done it once and got very nice results :)

The following things I experiences/heard from people I was modeling for. I do realize that at work I cannot expect to be treated like a princess, but wait, how ridiculous is that?!

  • No  comment.

A renown stylist was taking his time to crimp my hair for an hour, burning it alive over a generous amount of hairspray strand by strand. I was cringing for the entire hour to the point my muscles started to hurt and I got a headache. But as a model, you're expected to stay quiet, so I did. Then he started to tease my hair for another hour. He was going for that crazy Marge Simpson-like volume (haute couture hair styling, you know!). I could see my crispy hair breaking and falling on the floor every time he vigorously moved his comb probably assuming that my hair was made of some flexible iron. Another model sitting next to me (a much more lucky one since her stylist had a more "hair friendly" hairstyle in mind for her appearance in the show) could also see it and asked my stylist "Isn't it damaging for her hair?!?!" to which he replied "Look at her. She's bleached the f*** out of her hair. Now that's MUCH more damaging for her hair than what I'm doing here!"

  •  Broken hair disaster.
A colorist was preparing my hair for a show. She had to bleach my roots, but whatever she did to my hair made it break to the extent that when I touched (!) a strand of wet hair at the back of my head, it stayed in my hands!!! And that was a really thick strand!

Just look at the photo below, taken several months after the disaster. That's just one strand, later on all top layers of my hair have gradually fallen off and I had to cut my hair quite short. Don't worry, it's not a recent photo, but it took me 2 years to grow my hair back... and imagine that I had to model in the meanwhile! Thanks God I discovered hair extensions by then! 

I'm generally quite a polite person, what's done is done and shouting wouldn't fix anything, so despite all sorts of names that were going through my mind at that moment, I didn't say anything. I just couldn't help tears coming out of my eyes (for like 7 days in a row). Guess what this colorist told me?

 - My darling, but what's that you do to your hair that it reacts this way to our quality products?! You should have really taken better care of your hair, condition it sometimes or something!

That time I was modeling for Wella Professional and the ironic thing was that for many months I was using Wella Professional masks to deep condition my hair every single time I was washing it. And the condition of my hair was very good. Afterwards, I found out that she used an unnecessarily strong developer and has put me under heat for way too long. She also overlapped her bleach over previously bleached areas and my hair just broke in those places. She's never apologized and kept on blaming *me* for whatever has happened. Well, my hair was bleached for many months before and many years after that horrible experience with her, but nothing of that kind has *ever* happened to me. And I can't believe that people like this actually work for such big companies - she even teaches other professionals how to use Wella's products during paid trainings...
  • Burned scalp disaster.
A colorist was preparing my hair for a show (also in Wella Professional, Paris) and she had to bleach my roots. After she has applied her product, instead of usual tingling, I felt a real pain. I told her that, but she said it was normal. After 50 minutes she has finally washed the bleach out of my hair, but to my horror, the pain was still there. My scalp kept on hurting 5, 10 and even 30 minutes later. I just couldn't stand that pain anymore, so I told her that my scalp was really hurting me. She replied "Well, in that case I could perhaps use this special bleach neutralizing shampoo". In my mind, I was thinking "Why is the world didn't you use it at first place?!?!" So she has shampooed my hair once again and I finally felt a relief, but when I was touching my scalp, it felt as if it was bruised. For many days, I had difficulties brushing and styling my hair. After a week, my skin started to peel off in huge 1''(2cm) wide flakes as if it was sunburned...That was really scary and I can only imagine what kind of potentially permanent damage it has caused my hair bulbs. I noticed that the hair at the sides of my head never grows that long ever since :(

Gosh, thinking about those things made me cringe once again. Hope you've been more lucky than me, but if you also have a story to share, please post it in the comments down below. Hopefully some hairdressers would read this post and find out how not to treat their clients lol

With all that said, I still secretly dream about having my hair pampered by the right person - after all, doing your own hair is quite a workout ;) Why why why awesome hairdressers are so rare? I'd love to know heros by their names! :)

August 14, 2013

New hair color: pink highlights

OK guys, I just could not resist my color temptation anymore...and here are the results of my first experiment to color my own hair :) This time I added some pink highlights just on top of my head to see what it would look like... and actually I'm very pleased with my results! :)

Why did I color my hair pink? Well, ever since I saw Gwen Stefani in "Simple Kind of Life" I've been mildly obsessed with pink hair... But then the trend was gone... and now it's back! ;)
 So I really felt like trying it out before it's gone again lol 

Another somewhat practical reason is that in the near future I also plan to start highlighting my hair on my own since I had enough of having it done by other people. Every hairdresser I met so far has their own way of doing highlights which is never the way I want them to be: they are either too thin or too thick, too many or too few. Sometimes they also pull them through my previously highlighted hair and this just ruins it. So I decided to learn how to do it by myself! :) 

Since bleach used for highlighting can cause unfixable damage and you cannot really undo your highlights once they are done, I decided to practice with semi-permanent toners... 
And pink one sounded like a perfect one! ;) 

This time I played around only with my top layers and left quite a gap near the roots to make sure I wouldn't have any spots (I didn't - yay! - so next time I'll do it even better!). But soon I'll be adding color to my bottom layers as well so that I could also put my hair up. 

In the video below on quick messy curls with a flat iron you can see what my hair looks like curled.

And what about you guys? Have you ever tried any crazy hair color? 
And what color would you like to try? 


August 10, 2013

Vacation hairstyles for medium to long hair: week in Portugal

Hey guys! Hope you're all enjoying summer time :)

I recently got back from a wonderful 1 week vacation in Porto - one of my favorites cities in Europe. I've already been there several times and will be definitely coming back :) It's just too beautiful and has everything that I love - river, ocean, beach, hills, stunning architecture, amazing food (especially bread! yumm...) and friendly people.

I went there with my boyfriend and the first 3 days we spent in the Yeatman hotel overlooking breathtaking sights of Porto. It was so beautiful that most of the time we spent chilling out on the terrace enjoying sun, food and drinks. After busy life in Paris, it's such a bliss to relax and just do nothing :)

Day 1: Rolled half up half down hairstyle with curls 

Everything felt really special, so I went for an elegant hairstyle that I finally had an occasion to wear :) No one likes spending hours to do their hair, especially on vacation. And I'm not an exception :) So I just attached my hair extensions (to get an effect of lowlights, I used two sets of extensions in different colors like I've shown in this tutorial) and quickly curled the ends with a flat iron. Then I just rolled my top layers upward like I've shown in this video. Didn't take me more than 10 minutes! Another 10 minutes for makeup, and I was ready to take loads of photos on the terrace :)

Then we went for a walk around the beautifully decorated hotel and found...the biggest cork in the world :) Now that's when I feel like Thumbelina!

This huge chair also made me feel like a tiny fairy :) I wish there were more chairs that size around so that tall girls like myself could also feel small and fragile sometimes haha

Day 2: Knotted half up half down hairstyle with curls

For the second day I decided to go for a romantic look with a trendy messy touch to it. Just as before, I wanted something quick and easy to do, so that I would't have to steal much time from my beautiful vacation. So I grabbed my flat iron, added some more curls and then used the technique from this tutorial.

And of course, I had to take some more photos :)

We had a dinner on the terrace of our suite, and even though it was really warm, I couldn't resist the temptation to light a fireplace that we had in our sitting room :) I just looooove fireplaces, so whenever I find one, I just have to see it in action :) 

Day 3: Upside down french braid with a messy bun 

Even though I'm not a big fan of pools and generally prefer real sea/ocean water, I just could not miss the opportunity to go for a swim in the Yeatman's pool with such a fantastic view. The water was freezing, but it was still worth it :) I thought an upside down french braid from this tutorial will do a better job taming my shortest hair than any normal bun, and it did!
As I said, the water was really freezing, so a flock of seagulls came to cheer me on :)

In the afternoon I decided to spice up my hairstyle adding some twists to the front.

We went for a walk by the Atlantic ocean at Foz do Douro and watched one of the most beautiful sunsets ever.

Day 4 - Dutch braided updo 

Finally I decided to go to the beach and get some sun (covered with a sunscreen head to toes...for some reason, as long as I use it, I do not get *any* tan... did any of you ever succeeded to get a tan while wearing a sunscreen? :/ )

To keep my hair away from my face and neck, I've chosen a stylish dutch braided updo from this video. Check out this post for more ideas on hairstyles for the beach.

Day 5: Cute hair bow updo

Thinking about what hairstyle to wear, I realized it's been a while since I wore a cute hair bow from this tutorial - a perfect hairstyle for the second day hair.

Day 6: Elegant rolled bun

It was just another very hot day, so keeping my hair up seemed like the best option. As usual, I did not feel like spending much time on my hair, so I went for an elegant rolled bun from this video. It creates an awesome illusion of thickness even in hair as thin as mine.

Day 7:  Unique side swept braid

By the end of the week I started to miss my extensions lol I was in a mood for a side swept braid and picked the one from this tutorial. I love the eye catching combo of a regular braid with twisted elements.

And how about you? Where did you go or plan to go this summer? And what hairstyles do you like to wear most on vacation? Let me know in the comments down below! :)


August 03, 2013

Cute summer hairstyles for the beach and pool

Many of you asked me to suggest some cute and easy summer hairstyles that work for the beach and pool, so here comes a selection of looks that I like to wear most. These hairstyles will keep your hair away from your face and neck allowing you to get a nice tan while staying glamorous.

This Greek goddess inspired hairstyle is one of my favorite go to looks in summer. Once you get a hold of it, it will only take you a couple of minutes to recreate. You can also pair this look with a headband.

Dutch crown braid is perhaps the most practical and secure solution when you plan to stay very active through the day (play sports etc). And once you release your hair in the evening, you'll get beautiful beach waves perfect for a party!

The following braided updo was initially supposed to be a formal look, but recently I started to rock it on a daily basis. It's super comfortable on hot summer days and it also creates very nice waves.

This French braided updo works best for medium length hair. It takes only a couple of minutes to do and looks very flattering from any angle.

Rolled buns with braided accents are really in fashion these days.
The hairstyle from my tutorial works equally well for medium and long hair.

Trendy dutch braided updo from the next tutorial is a perfect solution to spice up thin medium length hair (though it works perfectly fine for long and thick hair as well). If your hair is shoulder length (not long enough to create a bun), you can tie the ends into a cute side ponytail.

Cute hair bow hairstyle from the following video is a hairstyle for medium long hair. It's versatile enough to be worn day through to night - just skip the accessory, or pick one suitable for the occasion ;) This hairstyle rather wouldn't survive any diving, so you can wear it as long as you plan to keep your head above the water ;)

The following circle crown braid requires rather advanced braiding skills if you want to do it on your own, but technically it's still very easy to do. So the best thing would be to get your mother/sister/friend to give you a hand with it ...perhaps in exchange for a hairstyle you'd do for them? ;)

Without fancy accessories, this otherwise formal updo can also work for casual wear.

Leave me a comment and let me know what kind of hairstyles you like to wear most in summer!

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