The Beard Challenge.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 11.42.37 AMHi Babes. Last week at Vain I took on the challenge of fully bleaching and dying a man’s facial hair in a quest for a steel-y platinum ala King Triton from The Little Mermaid.

When he first called asking if we would dye his facial hair, the message got sent straight to yours truly. I seemed to have earned myself a bit of a reputation for being shameless when it comes to body hair coloring. And, I just can’t turn down a challenging hair experiment. FYI, I especially love inspired experiments. Give me a flower, a disney character, a graphic novel. Let’s make this shit happen.

I immediately liked Dwayne when I met him. He was excited, open-minded, and fearless about this major hair change. He was wanting to try something new, and wanted to do something a bit unusual.

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I also liked him because he told me he was from Butte Montana which if you don’t know, is the strangest town in Montana and has a poisoned water supply due to a gigantic copper mine in the middle of the town, with a 20 year old dread-locked dog living in it. He said that he and his friends call Butte ‘butt’ because it is a town with a dirty hole in the middle of it. I unapologetically love this sort of humor. Also, the fact that this dog survived in a poisoned hole living off of dog-knows-what makes me think ‘what a strangely awesome world we live in.’ and I appreciate things that make me think that.

Anyhow, I told him that I would do my very best to get his hair and beard where he wants them to be, color-wise but that I couldn’t guarantee anything because this was new territory for me. Then I paced for 10 minutes, chewing on my nails and praying to the gods of hair to make me not poison his face and make him die. Here were my biggest fears: That I would burn his face off. And that his beard hair wouldn’t lighten past a muddy orange color. And that he would pass out from the fumes. Facial bleaching is not for the faint.

beardymanHere’s what I had to work with. Super dark coarse beard and mustache hair, with head hair the same color but much finer. I did some major consulting with my hair comrades in the back room at Vain. It is times like these that I really appreciate working in a non-judgemental saon environment with talented people who are very happy to share their experiences and advice.

I mixed up Blondor Bleach with Brocado 20v creme developer. I added 5 drops of Loma Organics Fortifying Repairative Tonic because it is amazing for protecting skin and hair while bleaching, and just as a repairative hair product in general. Then, I added 2 packs of sweet n low from the tea bar into the mixture, because it helps ease the discomfort of chemical sensitivity on the skin. Why? I don’t know but it works.IMG_2107

He plugged up his nose with cotton. Breathing out of his mouth seemed like the best option. I brushed the bleach first through the short hair on his head. Then, I dove into his beard with bleach and brush, appyling thick and swift to every single hair on his face, discounting brows and lashes. For the next 20 minutes, I used slight feather strokes on that beard and ‘stache, in every direction to make sure it processed consistently and evenly. I got quite intimate with his facial hair for a while there.

I asked him constantly if he was doing okay, and he flashed me enthusiastic thumbs up. Then, I pulled a trick I learned from my 7 year old daughter out of my back pocket. I like to call it the tear-n-tape method. Marley, my 7 year old, can repair anything with scotch tape, and create anything by tearing it out of paper. The world truly is her oyster. IMG_2110

IMG_2108I grabbed some foils and a roll of scotch tape, and I created a robot mask for his entire hair and beard and mustache, in an effort to cover it and trap in heat to help that bleach do it’s magic. I let this sit for 20 minutes, checking the color every 5. His beard hair appeared to be processing at the same rate as his head hair! It all looked yellow.This was great news. He flashed me more thumbs up.

After 20 minutes, I took off his mask, and re-applied the bleach mixture (This time with 30 v developer) just to his beard. I re-masked him and he sat for another 20. I  removed the mask to an astonishingly pale yellow almost-white beard and head. I shampoo-ed him out, first his head, then quite awkwardly his beard. He knelt at the shampoo bowl, with his head forward in the bowl, like a guillotine. Ya do what ya gotta do.

IMG_2112I blow-dried his hair and beard, and re-consulted one of our in-house color wizards. We agreed that instead of using a chemical toner to tone the yellow out, I would use a gentle veggie dye to color him without aggravating his skin. I went straight for Pravana Silver, diluted just a bit with conditioner. I brushed it on thick and thorough.IMG_2113

Let it sit for 20 minutes. Rinsed it, dried it, trimmed and pomade-ed it. IMG_2118

We were both quite giddy with the results. Beard color=Totally Do-able!

Holley and Savina: Dip dye and sign language.

7U6A1018Holley is one of my closest friends. She is a magnetic and magical woman and I consider her a sister, a confidant, partner in crime, and a muse. She is the mother of 2 beautiful and captivating daughters Loretta and Savina, both with completely different special needs.

Holley stole my heart with her beautiful Roma eyes and her knee length black hair at first sight, and she has been a force in my life ever since. Please read this post about Holley, the Roma people and their hair.

7U6A1010 I am endlessly fascinated by Roma people, or “gypsies’ as they have been historically called.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting fact here though……Calling a Roma person a gypsy is like any other derogatory racial slur. But in our culture, the word gypsy has taken on some kind of positive mystical archetype. The gypsy moniker has become so normalized that non-Roma women all over the place are calling themselves gypsies without realizing any cultural implications. The origin of the word has been buried in one of our worlds biggest cultural misunderstandings.

My Roma love story began for me when I was a 3 year old America born little girl living on a Fava bean farm in Portugal. I would sneak out of bed at night and watch the families in the Roma camp dancing to wonderful music late into the night out my little bedroom window, wishing I could be there and wondering why the Portuguese people around me seemed to dislike these amazing people so much. It was so hard to understand. It was my first little picture of massive cultural predjudice. Read about it, so that you understand.

7U6A0913Holley’s daughter Savina is almost 4 years old. She was born strong, bright, and completely deaf. As you can see, her lack of hearing does not in impair her ability to express herself! Ah the beauty of visual communication. Savina gets it.

I had the pleasure of coloring Savina’s hair for the first time last week. She wanted pink ends, so I used the last ounce of my Manic Panic Cleo Rose and did some easy pink dip-dye.

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I didn’t have to bleach her ends first because like most little kids, her ends were naturally lighter from being a kid in the Summer sun for the last 3 months. It worked perfectly.

IMG_1662I put her hair in a high ponytail, and then just worked through it applying the pink piece by piece in the ends and laying it on foil. Want to try this on yourself or your kid? It is stupidly easy to DIY, here is the tutorial:)

Savina was so proud sitting there in the chair, trying to contain her excitement. She checked her little self out from all angles in the mirror from all angles.

After we rinsed her color out and it was time to take some pictures, I saw this awesome side of Savina that I hadn’t yet witnessed. She came alive in front of a camera……A completely fierce and independent spirit. Just like her mama.

After that, the kids played together for a while in their own awesome way. My girls never play quietly under any circumstances, but with Savina I witnessed this lovely quiet play that shocked me. The three girls sat on the floor together building with blocks independantly but with collaboration and sharing. It was so peaceful and sweet. In the other room, Loretta laid contentedly for a while in a nest that the girls had made for her. Loretta is a wonderful story for a different day. I will try to get my hands in her hair soon so you all can meet her, too.

As a mother, watching my children adapt to play without a common language is really cool. They don’t skip a beat. Playing is universal. Children seem to understand each other in a certain way that transcends language or experience.

I am looking forward to learning more signs with my kids in the future.

Among many of the amazing things that Holley does in life, pioneering an effort to change deaf public school policy in our city which has notoriously neglected the rights of deaf children and families is just one of them. Want to donate to a great cause or get involved with deaf policy? Check this out.

xo, HTHG

Dustbowl Purple. Low commitment-high impact color!

IMG_1295IMG_1292Hey babes. Do you like those smokey dusty shades of purple and pink hair that you are seeing lately? Are you afraid to try it because of the level of commitment it takes to make it happen and to keep it up? Me too. So I did the scared-y cat version and created a lovely dusty purple on my hair that lasted all of 4 washes. And now I am ready to do it again!

I have been asked this question many times…..“Can I dye my hair blue/purple/pink/red without bleaching it first?”

I’d like to answer that question with a metaphor. Can you draw with a blue crayon on brown paper? Or a red crayon on black paper? a pink crayon on yellow paper? The answer is yes. But your crayon colors will be muted.

The reason is that when using a veggie dye like Manic Panic, Special Effects, or Pravana, you are just covering the hair with a reflective coat of color molecules. Your true hair color will still be there, lurking underneath like the paper with crayon marks on it.

If we all had white paper for our crayons, our pictures would be bright and bold. But as I learned as a child, you can create different moods by using crayons on different colored paper;)

This is why people often have their hair bleached prior to a veggie dye. To create that blank white slate….But as we all know, bleaching our hair is costly, high maintenance and damaging.

IMG_1273So, applying this rule to my hair, I decided to put veggie dye over it without bleaching it first. I mixed up some Special Effects Virgin Rose with Pravana Violet and Pravana silver and applied it to my mostly natural hair (I have a light ombre-highlight that I do on myself occasionally.) The results were great!7U6A73107U6A7467

Things to consider when coloring your natural hair with veggie dye

The lighter the hair, the more you will see the color. With darker hair, your color may only show as a cast in certain lights, which can still look super cool.

Highlighted hair, either natural or pre-colored, looks super cool when you put bright colors over it, because you get that mix of dusty and bright, and it fades out nicely.

Veggie dye will not last long in your natural hair. The darker and brighter the color you use, the longer it will stay.

Apply the color very thick! trust me on this one. If you are afraid you don’t have quite enough color to cover all of your hair, mix in some conditioner. Apply it to your dry hair and follow the directions on the package!

The great thing about veggie dye is that you can’t over-process it. It has no chemical process…..Just adds color!

For more DIY hair color, check out the do’s and don’ts of DIY coloring!

 

 

My Little Pony Hair Secret Recipes

My little ponyScreen Shot 2014-06-01 at 10.21.38 PMLately, my dears, my work days have been sparkled with My Little Pony Hair.

If someone would have told me 25 years ago that I would spend my days making people’s hair look like my little pony hair and getting paid for it, I would have sprouted pegasus wings and flown straight to pony land, where banana juice is always on tap and the clouds are soft and bouncy.

Today, I am sharing with you my special pony hair recipes! There is one hair representative from each pony family featured exclusively here on HTHG……Flutter Ponies, Breezies, Sea Ponies/ Baby Sea Ponies, and Crystal Ponies. Enjoy!

 

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The key to good lookin pony hair, if you ask me, is to not be afraid to mix lots of colors into a cocktail to create the perfect shade, mix in lots of cheap conditioner to lighten the color to the perfect pastel, and ALWAYS tone bleached hair before coloring to cool down the brassiness. It really helps to start off with a soft, muted tone cool instead of a harsh yellow one. Toning before you apply color makes ALL the difference. Also, mixing up way more color than you think and applying it SUPER THICK all over the hair in small sectionshelps with even color distribution.

Can you DIY pony hair? Yep. But it is not easy at all. Should you have a pro do it? Probably. If you want it to look really good. Do Is support you either way in your decision? Absolutely. But first read up on DIY bleaching.

xoxo, HTHG

 

Kimchi and the quest for the perfect pink.

IMG_7005Nikki and I have always had fun together when it comes to hair. Lately, we have been playing with light pinks. A couple months back we bleached, toned with 9v Shades, and mixed the perfect Pravana cocktail with light pink, light purple, and silver. The end result was pretty seashell pink.

It was rediculously cute on her. And she traded me a gorgeous NJ crystal pendant necklace for it. So I was more than down with that.

IMG_8362This time, we opted for something a little more melonistic. We decided to go with Pretty Flamingo by Manic Panic as our base, with a hint of Cotton Candy. I muted both shades slightly with a dash of Pravana SIlver. ( Here is more on DIY hair coloring)

 

IMG_8372First, we bleached her roots. Then, we shampooed, no conditioner! Then, blow dried. Next, I worked my way through her roots with the Pretty Flamingo, pulling the color down the hair about 3 inches. I followed up by applying the Cotton Candy over the last inch of the Flamingo, and pulling it down another 3 inches. We let that sit for 20, then combed all the color from her roots through her ends to blend it and to get just a tiny bit of color into her ends.

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While she processed, she made herself a snack of Kimchi and rice with a fried egg on top. We both love this simple and delicious meal. I got to thinking.IMG_8377

Kimchi is a staple of my diet. I love the taste and the instant pow of health benefits that come along with fermented foods. This is my favorite book on fermenting food at home.

My friends often ask me how I make my Kimchi. I watched Nikki eat her Kimchi and marveled at how similar the color of the Kimchi was to the colors on her head. I decided to write a post about how to make Kimchi and how to make your hair look like Kimchi.

7U6A9376Nikki rinsed and conditioned her hair. We blow dried it. It looked marvelous. Then we took the kids across the street to jump in my neighbors trampoline and I got to watch her Kimchi hair in action. It was marvelous.7U6A9422

 

 

 

My Kimchi Recipe

 

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You will need….

2 heads of chinese cabbage

1 purple cabbage

3 carrots

1 daikon radish

1 head of garlic

red chile flakes

1 chunk of ginger

1/4 cup of sea salt

1/2 cup of water

1 large bowl

1 blender

1 large jar

1 small narrow jar

1 dishtowel

Directions

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 11.56.32 AMChop cabbage as finely as you can.

Grate the carrots and radish into a pile.

Put everything in a huge bowl. Hugest one you have. Toss with your hands to blend.

In the blender, blend up 5 cloves of garlic, one nice small handful sized chunk of ginger, and 2 tablespoons of red chile flakes with 1/2 cup of water till smooth. Set aside.

Prepare

Slowly stir in 1/4 of sea salt with your veggies. Make sure it is evenly distributed.

Stir in your blended sauce with your veggies using a spoon ( It will burn your skin a little so do use a spoon.)

Now, stuff your large jar with veggies. Tamp it down and really pack it tight. If there is extra veggies, pack the rest into a smaller jar.

IMG_8396 IMG_8395Fill your small narrow jar with water and place it inside your big jar, directly on top of Kimchi.

Push the jar down as far as you can to crush that Kimchi further down. The Kimchi should be almost totally submerged in its own brine. This is how it ferments. In the next couple of days, the brine will increase.

IMG_8394Cover the Kimchi with a cloth and put a rubber band around it to seal it.

Place it in your back room, somewhere where the smell of fermenting cabbage won’t offend:) IT does smell super strong, folks. That is part of the magic.

Let your Kimchi ferment for a week on the counter. Then, refrigerate. Enjoy a scoop of Kimchi on basically anything. Sometimes I eat a bowl of it on it’s own and then I feel like superwoman.

 

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