Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How To Get Heatless Beachy Waves Quick Tip

Happy Sparkle-Wednesday Shine and Sparkle Report Readers!

Spring/Summer is here (at least in the Bay Area)! This means a lot of girls striving for soft beachy waves. It's that gorgeous "effortless" wave look that seems (to those without naturally wavy hair) to be anything but effortless.  I know my hair doesn't look like "beachy waves" after a day at the beach!  Without committing to a new surfing hobby, consider getting these waves without constant heat damaging.  Plus, it seems silly to bust out a curling iron in order for your hair to have messy/tousled waves.  Since my hair loves to be straight, the way I get hold and piecey beach waves without heat is as follows:

Like all my images, I'll gladly give someone credit for their image or take it down if whoever owns it throws a hissy fit.  Does anyone know if I have added the image to Squiggles if it counts as a new image so I'm not violating anybody's rights?  Hum...

How To Get Heatless Beach Waves: Start by taking your shower in the evening.  When your hair is barely damp/almost dry, put it up in 2 ballet buns (see someone else explain that because I'm lazy here) on the top of your head. Go to sleep.  In the morning you will have great waves.  To get the beachy texture, spray a bit of sea salt spray, then work the waves around your fingers.  If you are like me and have very stubbornly straight hair, you might want to add an extra spritz of hair spray after the sea salt spray has made your hair perfectly separated and the hair spray will help it hold.  Don't worry if the waves seem pretty extreme at first, they will relax throughout the day.

The sea salt spray I'm currently using is the Healthy Sexy Hair: Soy Renewal Beach Spray* which retails for about $20.  My current Hair Spray love is the Sebastian: Shaper Plus retailing about $17. Both leave your hair soft.  You can still run your fingers through it without getting ugly powdery white flakes, but still have pretty good hold.

Hope this quick tip lets you rock beach waves all spring and summer long.

Shine & Sparkle!

*I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my honest feelings and opinions.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Silicones in Hair Care 101

Full report this Wednesday Shine & Sparkle Report readers!

After my hair highlighting experience last week, it inspired me to encourage you all to put on your science hats.  Today, we are going to talk about Silicones in hair products*.  Put on your lab coats, grab a beaker (or graduated cylinder) and lets get started learning about silicone!

Like all my images, I'll gladly give someone credit for their image or take it down if someone throws a hissy fit.

What are Silicones? Silicones are ingredients in many hair care products.This includes shampoos, conditioners, leave-in detanglers, and serums. They are not all bad.  They are considered safe for the human body (breast implants anyone?) They make hair look shiny and soft.  They prevent tangles and protect your hair from the elements and heat styling (all of those fancy kitchen gadgets are made out of silicone for a reason).  I often describe them as "putting plastic wrap around each strand of hair".  Basically they coat each strand and take the brunt of heat damage, repel moisture/humidity that causes friz, and generally make your hair look great!  You can typically determine if one of these super hard to pronounce ingredients is a silicone if it ends in "cone", "col", "conol" or "zane". 

What is bad about Silicones? If you apply silicones before adding moisture to your hair or do not remove the "plastic wrap" every once in a while, it will prevent moisture and oils from getting into the hair.  The silicone can build up and create multiple layers of plastic around the hair which look great as long as you keep adding layers, but once removed, the underlying hair is dried out, brittle and damaged.  So at least weekly removal of silicones and infusion of moisture and oil at this time is important if you want the healthiest hair possible. 

How do you removed Silicones?  It depends if the silicones you are using are water soluable or not.  Not to scare you with basic chemistry, but basically, some silicones will disolve and wash away just with water in the shower.  Others, need sulfates of some kind to break them down.  You do not need to use super harsh clarifying shampoos, just ones that contain some kind of sulfate once a week (most drugstore shampoos unless they say "sulfate-free"--see my first post on sulfate free shampoos and second post involving sulfate-free shampoos). I have heard of apple cider vinegar rinses, baking soda, and other DIY methods for removing silicones once a week, but I find it faster and easier to just expose myself to sulfates once a week.  If you rather go completely chemical free, consider looking into those DIYs.

What are the different types of Silicones?  Different products have different amounts and types of silicones.  Depending on your hair type and condition, different levels and combinations might work better for your hair.  The below lists of silicones can help you find what you are looking for in a product.

These silicones need Sulfates to remove them and are likely to build up on your hair:

  1. Dimethicone (probably the most commonly seen are versions of Dimethicone)
  2. Cetyl Dimethicone
  3. Cetearyl Methicone
  4. Dimethiconol
  5. Stearyl Dimethicone
Also, there are some silicones that slow down the build-up process and mean you have to use a sulfate containing shampoo less often:
  1. Trimethylsilylamodimethicone
  2. Amodimethicone
  3. Cyclopentasiloxane
  4. Cyclomethicone
Lastly, there are a few totally water soluble silicones:
  1. Stearoxy Dimethicone 
  2. Behenoxy Dimethicone
  3. Also, if "PPG" or "PEG" is in front of the silicone, this means that it was specially developed to be water-soluble and will not leave a build-up like other silicones.
Final Gripe/Warning: Do NOT use pure oils as a heat protectant!  If your product has oils AND silicones, that is fine.  The silicone is protecting from heat while the oil is absorbed into your hair.  But a pure oil alone (like coconut, 100% argan, almond, etc..) will basically deep fry your hair.  Eek!  Think about it, would you stick your hair in a vat of oil heated to 450 degrees?!  I don't think you would.  That is essentially what using pure oil then flat ironing/curling your hair is.  Heat + Silicone is your friend!  That is the end of my public service announcement.  Deep fry your hair at your own risk.

 Shine & Sparkle! (without deep fried hair)

*Special shout out to CurlyNikki's Blog for compiling a lot (but not all) of the information seen in this post!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My Hair Highlighting Experience: Part 1

Hi Shine and Sparkle Report Readers!

I have started my hair lightening journey!  If you follow me on facebook, twitter, or instagram, you will know that I had my first major highlight appointment to get lighter brown hair yesterday (just in time for my weekly post)!  I had previously gone a dark chocolate brown for my base color, but now the highlights are starting to make my look much softer.  One more highlighting appointment and I think my hair with be the perfect light brown for me.  I know you are super excited for pictures, so here you go:

What is that  alien device on my head in the "before" image?  It's a...a....uh...heat generating thingie-ma-bob.  Hair color processes better in a warmer environment.  Thus, I look like a science experiment.  --Insert tangent about being selected to participate in new superhero power technology studies here.---

My Stylist and Salon:

I went to see the beautiful Ms. Krystin Collins at Groove Salon* in San Francisco.  She is by far my favorite favorite colorist I have ever met (yes I know I just said "favorite favorite").  She has a wonderful bubbly personality.  She also gives great consultations and really listens.  She also has your best hair interests at heart and really cares about you looking the best you can be (and not letting you do anything stupid!) She takes great pride in her work. I also love that she really spends the time to make sure you are her #1 focus and feel very pampered.  If you are in San Francisco, I 100% recommend her!

The Process:
  1. Base Color: This is a single process of putting color all over my head.  Mine is a dark chocolate brown.  If you did not know, "color" is actually mixing 2 products.  The actual color and a developer which contains different percentages of peroxide.  The developer is what makes the hair follicle open and change your hair color.  The percentage of peroxide determines how fast/strong/damaging the developer is.
  2. Bleach:   A very low percentage of peroxide developer was mixed with bleach and applied to specific areas of my hair to lighten them.  This is the picture in my "before" picture with all the papers on my head.  These paper versions of "foils" are packets of hair with product on them.  Ms. Krystin said that she always uses less than 10% peroxide.  Developer typically comes in 10,20, 30, and 40 percent in beauty supply stores.  Krystin mixed water with a 10% to make my bleach mixture only 5%.  She stressed that it is better to go "low and slow" rather than "fast and frying" your hair.  Doing high percentage peroxide bleach fast also gives the stylist a lot less control over the color because it might process too fast to ensure even color.  I'm all about healthier hair that doesn't look crappy!
  3. Toner:  This step adds a veil of color over my hair to make the lighter sections the color I want.  After the bleach, it was really orangey. To avoid looking like a pumpkin, Ms. Krystin added the toner to "tone down" the orange and make it a pretty light brown.  We did it twice, since I still thought the first toner was too pumpkin-esque.
  4. Reconstructing Conditioner:  Ms. Krystin used a conditioner that contained both protein and moisture to heal my hair after it's change.  I will definitely be purchasing it and doing a review after I make it through some of my conditioner stock-pile.  Yes, I'm a beauty blogger.  I have a conditioner stock-pile.  I did love the conditioner made my hair very soft, silky and smooth.  Check out my original healthy hair care routine and updated hair care routine to see how I maintain salon shine and healthy hair, even after coloring!  Let me know if you want another hair care routine specifically on maintaining my new light brown hair!

Why lightening in multiple sessions?

No, it's not my stylist trying to get more money!  Ms. Krystin explained it as follows: 
  • Color does not lift color.  Day one, she said that my previous red-brown color was not just going to go light brown with a single process because coloring it lighter over my red-brown wasn't going to do anything. Therefore, she has to use bleach to lighten my hair. So that first session, she adjusted my red-brown base color to a dark chocolate brown and did my grown out roots.  
  • Bleach Moderately.  In order to maintain the integrity of my hair, Krystin said 2 highlighting sessions is gentler for my hair.  It also gives me the opportunity to see how I feel about the current level of lightness.  She did a lot of highlighting on the upper half of my hair and just a bit towards the bottom.  The very bottom layer is still chocolate brown.  This gives my hair a lot of dimension and makes the lightness look a lot more natural since the sun would naturally bleach the lower layers less.

What is going to happen in My Hair Highlighting Experience: Part 2?

I think I'm interested in a bit more lightening in all of my hair so has an overall lighter appearance.  But I will always trust Ms. Krystin from letting me do anything that wont look gorgeous!

Thank you all for coming along with me on my hair lightning journey.  I hope this helped you learn something new or help you decide if getting highlights is right for you!

As usual,

Shine & Sparkle!

*I am not paid or sponsored by any of the products or entities mentioned in this post.  All were payed for with my own money.  These are my personal thoughts/opinions and recounting of events.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Best Dry Shampoos (and DIY Dry Shampoo Options)

Hi Shine and Sparkle Report Readers!

I love dry shampoo.  It really makes life so much easier! I adore dry shampoo because:
  • De-greases hair so you can go more days without washing it (which strips your hair of natural oils, fades color, and can stress/break hair because it is weaker when wet.)
  • Adds volume and texture to your hair because it's adding product around each strand making it take up a bit more space--thus looking fuller.

Squiggles is making a full come back into this blog.  He looks so cute in Microsoft Paint outfits (despite his protests).

How do you use dry shampoo?
For spay dry shampoos, I section my hair off into about 2-3 inch sections and spray it at my roots.  Then I massage it with my fingers and brush out any extra.  For non-spray dry shampoo, I put some powder on my hands, pat my hands together a bit, then massage it into my roots.  Again, brush to get out any extra powder.

My Top Dry Shampoos:

Batiste Dry Shampoo*:  This is my #1 favorite dry shampoo.  The spray is very convenient.  It comes in many scents as well as colored versions (blonde and brunette) if you worried about it leaving a white cast on your hair (though I never find this to be a problem and I have dark hair).  It is also very affordable at around $7.  My favorite scent is "Blush" which is very floral.  Spray shampoos are the most convenient but they do contain varying levels of alcohol that can dry out your hair.  I find that this does not have as much alcohol and doesn't leave my hair dry.

Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo:  I like this one because sometimes I don't want to use a spray.  I typically use this when I have just colored my hair and it is weaker/dryer than normal. I find it easiest to squirt a small amount of this into my hands, pat my hands together gently, then massage this into my hair in small amounts until all of the oil disappears.  Squirting this directly on my scalp yields patchy results and too much product in certain places.  The product has a light citrus scent that my bf loves.  This is a bit pricier side at around $12 for a bottle.  However, I think it lasts much longer than the Batiste.

DYI Dry Shampoos:

Corn Starch or Baby Powder
While these do work, use them sparingly!  Too much is very heavy and leaves a very white cast to your hair.  This is pretty undesirable unless you are bringing white powder wigs back (see Squiggles above).  Then this is perfect! I do not think they work nearly as well as the more modern versions.  That being said, if you are super into not using chemicals, these are great options to check out!

I hope this guide to dry shampoo is helpful!  Thank you so much for reading.

Shine & Sparkle!

*I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my honest feelings and opinions. Also, like all my images, I'll gladly give someone credit for their image or take it down if someone throws a hissy fit.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Excited to Chat about S&SR Business Cards!

Shine and Sparkle Readers,

I'm so excited to announce that I'm getting business cards for our little blog!  So excited I posted on my facebook, instagram, and twitter about it ages ago.  A good reason to follow me on social media right?  Anyway, I'm moving up in the world! How cool!  I thought I would share the new design with you all because it's just so exciting!  They are going to be a clsasy matte finish on premium stock paper.  Ooooh ahhh....  Are we excited?! We are excited!!!  Are we over using exclamation points?!  You bet!!!  Do I need a better adjectives than "excited"?!  Yes!!!

This totally counts as this Wednesday's post right? No, it doesn't, there will be another for you tomorrow.  So keep an eye out!

These are my business cards that I designed on Vista Print.  You could copy them, but why would you want to do that?  If you want to take this image, go right ahead!  More publicity for me, woohoo!

One last little update, I have been slaving away getting together posts to make sure I have a post every Wednesday.  It's hard work but worth it.  I'm really glad I have Squiggles to cheer me on.  I'm really enthusiastic (see what I did there?  Synonyms FTW) for all the nifty content coming soon!  It's so hard not to post it all at once!

Shine & Sparkle

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Soy Nail Polish Remover Review

Welcome to my first of many Wednesday posts Shine and Sparkle Report Readers!

For the last 4+ years, I have rarely seen my natural nails.  I LOVE painting my nails.  I find that working at a desk in front of a computer, I type a lot.  And looking and pretty colors on my hands makes doing my job just a tad more enjoyable.  I'm also slightly weirded out by feet (mine included...I know I'm strange) and painting my toe nails some how makes them much less weird to me.  My odd views about my nails aside, it means that chemicals are always on my nails.  I make sure to have nail polish that is free of 3 or 5 of the major bad chemicals.  This includes OPI, Essie, Wet n' Wild (see my love of their polishes here!).  But I have always used acetone nail polish remover works.  Fast.

Fast forward to giving myself a manicure/pedicure at home (see how I do that here!)  and after studying the weakness of my nails, I googled "weak nails from polish".  Several horrifying google images later, I determined that continued use of acetone was a major culprit to my weaker-than-I-would-like nails.  But how to get off polish without acetone quickly, easily, and without drying out my nails?

This image is copyright of ManiPure.  Squiggles is taking a break this report.   Like all the images I steal from the internet, I'll gladly give someone credit for their image or take it down if someone throws a hissy fit.

SOY OIL NAIL POLISH REMOVER!  Yes, you heard me.  I'm sure you are thinking, no way can that stuff work.  I know you are thinking that because I thought the same thing as I shrugged and spent $14 on only 4oz of ManiPure: Soy Power! Soy Nail Polish Remover * on Amazon.  But believe it or not kiddo's, it is equivalent to 100% pure acetone and way better than acetone nail polish removers.

How do you use it?
It is very very concentrated, so put a cotton ball over the top, flip it over and back up right.  Let the remover on the cotton ball sit on your nail for about 30 seconds (this is key!), then start easily rubbing away the polish!  One cotton ball with remover and you have plenty for both hands.  I'd use another cotton ball for toes.  For any light colors, you wont deal too much with the color bleeding onto your skin form the cotton ball once a nail of polish is removed.  However, for dark colors of formulas that do bleed off of the cotton ball, just use an extra one to clean up your skin after the majority of polish is removed. It is such a joyful thing to not struggle to remove nail polish!  

Do you have that awful dry/cancer feeling you have after using/breathing normal nail polish remover?  
No!  Not with amazing-magical-unicorn soy nail polish remover!  You nails feel hydrated and strong from the soy oil.  And the smell is a mild lavender essential oil scent.  My nail painting life is revolutionized.  I see no reason why this is not strictly superior to regular nail polish remover.

What about that steep $14 price tag?
Well, I have to say that since you need so little of this product, the 4oz should last you quite a while.  I used way more 100% acetone.  And I used gobs more regular nail polish remover.  Gobs.  Also, $14 gets you barely one cheap professional manicure (if you include tip) and does not get you a fancy spa manicure at all.  So just by skipping the professional treatment, you are saving tons.  I think this is an essential addition to your home mani/pedi routine.  Heck, I'll probably bring it to the nail salon (since it is such a portable bottle) and make them use that instead!  Trust me, google nail damage from acetone on google and you will be racing to pick some of this stuff up trust me!

Does it remove all nail polish? What about gel nail polish/gel nails/acrylics?
I tested my Wet n' Wild Mega Last, Revlon Color Stay, OPI (with a Glitter layer then top coat), L'Oreal (in a navy-almost-black shade), and Essie.  Soy nail polish remover took all of them off without any issues.  Note: I like to do at least 2 coats over my base coat then have a top coat.  If it isn't opaque enough, I've been known to do 3 coats of color.  I like it looking like gels, without being gels *wink*.  So I'm a prime candidate to see if soy nail polish remover has the power to remove all kinds of polish.  HOWEVER, it does NOT remove gel nail polish, gel nails or acrylics.  That being said, if you are doing any of these three nail processes, you probably are going to a nail salon to have it done.  They will remove them as gently as possible, but soy nail polish remover doesn't have the proper solvents to handle the superglue or UV treated gel.

Shine & Sparkle!

*I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my honest feelings and opinions.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I'm Accepted into Her Campus Blogger Network!

Hi Shine and Sparkle Report Readers!

Quick St Patty's Day announcement (which you probably know from the title and badge in the right side bar)!  I have been accepted into Her Campus Blogger Network!  I'm so excited to be networking with so many amazing young women!  I can't wait to share everything about being part of this great network with all of you! (Is that enough sentences ending with an exclamation point?)

Another benefit to you is I will be now posting at least once a week (I'm thinking at least by Wednesday)! How exciting is that?  I will still be writing detailed reports for all of you, but you might see a few more "quick tips" and slightly shorter reviews as well (I always get carried away chatting, so how short will they ever really be anyway...)

This image is copyright of Her Campus. Like all my images, I'll gladly give someone credit for their image or take it down if someone throws a hissy fit.
In keeping with my 100% honesty and transparency with all of you wonderful readers, I will share that according to Her Campus, "As a member of the HCBN, I'll be a part of a robust network of bloggers with influential blogs on everything from fashion to food to fitness and much, much more.  Plus, I'll receive both editorial and paid advertorial opportunities from Her Campus for special blog features and promotions.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg!" This is super exciting for me, and hopefully will inspire lots more great blog content for you all.

That being said:
  1. I will ALWAYS let you know upfront (not in tiny print at the bottom) if I received a product as a promotion, sponsorship, or anything of that nature.  
  2. I will ALWAYS give you my honest opinions about a product, and I really hope that you will continue reading and sharing my blogging journey with me.
  3. I will ALWAYS put you wonderful readers first.  This blog would mean nothing without you!!! Thank you so much for reading and helping propel my blog to it's new HCBN status!!!

Shine & Sparkle!