Tip #1 you should’ve gotten a level 2 instead of 3 spray tan: you wake up a new ethnicity.
Um, yeah, that’s definitely happened… and of course it was right before a big important event that I’d rather not look like Snooki at… But the last time I got a level 2 Mystic Spray tan, it wasn’t dark enough. The last time I got a spray tan at a salon, the woman had me get completely nude to do it (super awkward and I’d never do that again). My only other options were tanning creams, which leave me streaky, and tanning beds, which scare me! But I just learned about a new option: the “Buff ‘n’ Tan” treatment at Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa. So, I just had to try it out.
First of all, let me just say this was the BEST artificial tanning experience of my life. Not only was it relaxing to have done, but it didn’t have that awful smell (it smelled a little like self-tanner but not half as bad as the Mystic), and it lasted the longest of anything else I’ve ever tried.
They start you off with a therapeutic scrub (kind of like a 10-minute body massage but with a scrub). Then, they wipe you down with a glycolic wipe to remove all the dead skin cells. This not only is relaxing and opening up your pores, but it’s also getting to the freshest layer of skin so your tan is even and lasts longer.
Then they put on the tanner. An actual trained professional is putting this on you, so they’ll be able to determine the right level for you and use their expert eye to avoid any streaks. Mind you, you have a towel on your top and bottom, which keeps you covered just enough to keep even the most modest person (like me!) comfortable, but not show tan lines.
I didn’t have a single streak on my entire body and the tan lasted about 10 days before it started to fade away. The service at Mitchell’s costs $55-70 depending on the level of technician. Some things my gal told me to make it last longer is to: not wear tight fitting clothes right after you have it done – wear dark loose fitting clothes. Also, ideally wait 24 hours to shower after the treatment. In addition, don’t use a loofa or scrub (lightly use your hands and soap in the shower and don’t scrub), and don’t soak in a tub.
I definitely recommend the Buff ‘n’ Tan. Especially if you want to bring in the new year with a new glow. It’ll be the perfect thing to make you shine as the ball drops at your NYE party. Speaking of… Happy New Year! See you again “next year”! 🙂
So, I’ve been doing a lot of heavy lifting lately. In the course of one month, my hubby & I moved into a new house, I moved our Cincy Chic office (we have a TV studio now! WOOHOO improved video quality!!) and we had Bras with Flair last Thursday, which involved erecting a 40-ft display onto Fountain Square covered in bedazzled bras.
Needless to say, it took a toll on my body. I had aches and pains in parts of my body I didn’t even know I had. So, after each big heavy lifting event, I scheduled a different kind of massage with my friends at Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa to nurse my poor body back to health.
Before getting these different kinds of massages, I would have said a massage is a massage is a massage. But I now know that’s not true. Each massage was so different, and helped me in different ways, so I thought I’d write a review on them so you know which one is best for what you need.
The first massage I got was a hot stone massage. I’m glad I started with this one because this was right after the first big move. So, I had just used muscles I hadn’t used in a very long time. They were stretched, pulled and all knotted up. The heat from the stones helped my muscles relax, which allowed my massage therapist to manipulate my deep tissues more effectively. My therapist said overly tense muscles can hinder the massage procedure. So, the heated stones provide the extra relaxation you need for the massage to be beneficial in releasing tension and easing sore muscles. Also, my therapist said the stones are placed on key points of your body to help increase circulation to quicken the healing process. Translation: get this if you have a pull or strain you need to recover quickly from.
The second massage I got was a bamboo massage. This was the one I was afraid of. I had heard of them before, but hadn’t ever ventured out of my comfort zone to get one. But I booked it with my FAVORITE massage therapist EVER (Elana J at the Kenwood Mitchell’s Salon & Spa location). She had helped me last year when I had a bad case of lock jaw. I was apparently grinding my teeth in my sleep, and she helped to loosen my jaw muscles so I could function again (if you know how talkative I am, you know that me having lock jaw was a nightmare!).
So, like I said, I felt comfortable with Elana J, and knew she would take care of me. I had some serious knots after the office move and hadn’t been drinking much water. So, my muscles were what she called “crunchy.” I know that sounds gross, but that’s apparently what happens when we don’t eat/drink properly AND we put stress on our muscles.
Having the bamboo rods gave Elana J leverage to work through the crunchy knots (again, gross, I know). The bamboo helped to flush out the muscles, too. Elana J said the bamboo is used to put pressure on trigger points that cleanse and flush out your lymphatic system. That promotes fresh blood flow, which is full of nutrients and oxygen, to help repair and rejuvenate your muscles. This one, I have to say was my favorite. I felt like the bamboo worked through those big knots, and felt the effects of the “flushing” immediately.
My third and final massage was an aromatherapy massage. This one was more mental for me because it not only calmed my flaring muscles, but it also calmed my mind after the stressful month. The therapist let me choose my aroma. It was between spearmint, peppermint, lavender, and another one that was more of a light earthy scent. I picked lavender because I have a soft spot for it (I grow it in my garden each year and have a pouch of it under my pillow to help me sleep).
She mixed lavender oil in the unscented massage oil she used for my massage. It was heavenly. This therapist didn’t do as much deep tissue work as the other two had. She did a lot of calming, gentle motions. Oh, and she also massaged my scalp for an eternity… I think I drooled a little bit it felt so good. : )
I have to tell you, I’ve never felt more mentally relaxed than I did after this massage. Even though I had just experienced one of the most insane months of my entire life, I just had this sense of calm and peace as I sat “coming to” in the relaxation room after my massage. Granted, the craziness of life eventually set back in later that day, but to have that moment of clarity and peacefulness was SO nice.
I did get a chance to talk with the therapist about how exactly aromatherapy works. She said that the nostrils are attached to a part of the brain called the limbic system, which controls emotions and influences the nervous system and hormones. Apparently, when you inhale essential oil molecules, messages are transmitted to the limbic system and affect heart rate, stress level, blood pressure, breathing, memory, digestion, and the immune system.
So, there you go. Three very different massages. All beneficial for very different reasons. And speaking of benefits of massages, I just noticed that the “Find out Friday” on Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa Facebook page today is about the benefits of massage. So, below is the video from that! Enjoy!
Ok, I admit it, I’m envious of Kim Kardashian. Not because of her new $2M engagement ring or the “asset” that made her famous. I long for her lashes.
So, for the past year, I’ve been on a personal quest to make my lashes longer and fuller. I’ve tried Latisse, but you have to get it through a doctor, it’s about $120 a bottle (which lasts a month), and the warnings about “possible brown spots” appearing (and permanently staying) on my eyes scared me. Also, you have to apply it daily for it to work right, and of course, I always forgot.
Then I tried Beauty Society’s knock-off version of Latisse called Enormous Lash, and it worked pretty well. You can get at Nordstrom and it’s about $100 a bottle (month’s supply). But it stung a little when I applied it (which scared me), and again, I kept forgetting to apply it every day.
I eventually decided chemically altering my lashes wasn’t for me. So, I sought out the best mascara (ended up being DiorShow) to wear everyday. And, for fancy affairs, I go to Nancy at Brideface/FACEing for her to apply individual false lashes, which look dramatic but natural.
But then, Nancy made a new friend, Tracey Wells, who does permanent makeup and eyelash extensions. They now share space at the Bridal Studio in Mainstrasse. I had heard of eyelash extensions before, but didn’t know that anyone offered them here locally. So, as part of the quest for Kim’s luscious lashes, I gave it a whirl.
She asked me how I normally wear my makeup and which lashes I wanted. I could do just the long lashes on the outer edge, a dome effect so the longer lashes are on the inside, shorter lashes overall just to add some thickness or long dramatic lashes with a natural curl overall. Guess what this drama mama chose? Go big or go home! Give me long dramatic lashes, baby!
She laid me down, turned on the tunes, had me close my eyes and she went to work! It took about 90 minutes for her to put a full set on (it’s only about 30min for a refill), but I have to tell you it was the most relaxing 90 minutes of my life! It didn’t hurt at all… I was comfortable… enjoying the music… clearing my mind… and then she was done and voila I was the blonde Kim! Seriously, so amazing.
I’m so thrilled with the result. And I didn’t realize this before I got them done, but you don’t have to wear mascara (they actually suggest you don’t wear mascara because it breaks down the glue) when you have these lash extensions in. So, it’s great for vacations when you’ll be swimming, or if you’re a bride-to-be and you don’t want mascara smearing when the water works start on your happy tears.
How does it work? Well, Tracey told me she put a special polymer-based “super glue” on individual fake lashes to adhere to my individual real lashes. The life of a real lash is about 30 days, so when a lash falls out, so does the fake lash. So, she recommends coming in every three weeks for a refill. Your initial set is about $200, and refills are about $50. FYI – I’m definitely going back for a refill before my 4th of July beach getaway! Yay for not looking like a drowned raccoon when I get out of the ocean this year! haha! : )
A friend of mine, Alison Wenstrup, told me her initial set lasted 5 weeks. Tracey said that’s possible, and it’s all in how well you take care of the lashes. Rubbing/touching the lashes, or using products with oils/emollients will break down the glue. So stay away from that and they’ll last longer. Also, she recommended using baby shampoo to wash around the eye, and not using eye makeup remover.
I was super happy with the experience and with my new lovely long lashes. I think the buck stopped at Tracey on my quest for Kim’s lashes!
A few months ago I saw these pretty tweezers for sale at the counter at Mitchell’s Salon. Then, I was just at Salon Beck getting permanent polish on my toes (yes, they do that now!) and I saw the same pretty tweezers again.
I had to ask about them. They had a swarovski crystal for an on/off button for pete’s sake! Too gorgeous to not ask about them. The woman at Salon Beck told me they’re basically the best things since sliced bread… so I had to have them.
They’re called La-Tweez. What makes them special? Well, for starters, the aforementioned blinged up on/off button, as well as its lipstick shaped carrying case and LED light.
I was pretty intrigued with this LED light feature. Because it never fails that I’ll think I tweezed really well, and then catch a glimpse of myself in natural light and see some gnarly, impossible to miss hair…. usually right before an important meeting with a salon client where a random facial hair will be frowned upon. : )
I’m really excited to have this handy tweezer in its cute lipstick-looking case. Helps to get anything I didn’t get at home when I’m on the go. I use my La-Tweeze on the go vs. at home because it has a mirror in the case, so it’s a lot more convenient.
In terms of grip and accuracy, I will say, the La-Tweez tweezers ($22) are very good, but they’re not the very best. The best I’ve used are my Mr. Tweezerman tweezers ($22). But, like I said, I miss the fine hairs with my Tweezermans because they don’t have the LED light. So, in the perfect world, I’d combine the Tweezerman grip with the La-Tweez light, mirror and cute case.
But I guess if it was a perfect world, I wouldn’t have any stray hairs, now would I? : )
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with manicures. I love the way they look, but hate that they take so much time to do and last for such a short time. Well, ladies, I think I might have just discovered the holy nail grail…
A few weeks ago I was walking downtown and saw a sign in front of Salon Beck that said something about “permanent polish.” I ended up going in the next day and talking to a friend of mine, Randi, who works there. She told me that it only takes about an hour to do, is completely dry when you leave, lasts for 2+ weeks, never chips and costs just a little more than a regular manicure.
I told her I’d give it a shot, but my expectations weren’t really high. Running Cincy Chic for the past four years, I’ve heard every claim in the book. Products promise the world, but very, very few deliver. Plus, I’m pretty rough on my hands. I garden, do yard work, clean the house without gloves, etc. So, I honestly didn’t think it would last that long because of my non-nail-friendly lifestyle. (For the abridged version of this blog, scroll down to the bold “So if you want my honest opinion” sorry, I got a little wordy…)
I went in two Wednesdays ago and saw Bopha, Salon Beck’s nail tech who specializes in permanent polish. She was the first nail tech I’ve ever gone to who has well-manicured nails. You know, the cobbler never has shoes scenario… nail techs are always buffing nails and removing polish, so they never bother to do their own. Well, Bopha said the permanent polish holds up to all of that so she gets to have pretty nails, too. Sign #1 this stuff might actually live up to the hype.
Even though they had tons of colors to choose from, I selected to get the french manicure polish. Bopha said there are a few brands that salon/spas use for permanent polish (i.e., OPI or Shellac), but they use Bio Sculpture at Salon Beck because they offered more color varieties.
They didn’t have to buff my natural nail with any machinery like they do for acrylic. There’s no dust or fumes at all actually. And it looked just like polish. It wasn’t thick like acrylic or gel nails.
Each layer of polish had to cure under a UV light. Bopha said this is what makes the polish stay on so long, and makes your nails completely dry when you leave the salon (good to keep in mind for the winter when you’re wearing gloves and boots!).
It took about an hour from start to finish. They were completely dry when I left, as they promised. So far, so good. Things seemed like a normal manicure pretty much at this point. But this is when my “Permanent Polish Project” began.
My project was to take a photo of my nails every day until they officially needed a polish change. I wanted to see how long they’d last and if they really did resist chips as well as their marketing claimed they did. As you’ll see in the slideshow below, they held up for 15 days. And when I say “held up,” they truly did. They looked brand new for two full weeks. Then, on the 16th day, it’s like they all retired at the same time. The polish started to weaken and crack off on four nails within 15 minutes of each other!
I was so thrilled they lasted 15 days, though. I didn’t change my lifestyle for these nails. If this manicure was something I was going to keep up, I didn’t want to turn into that whining girl who couldn’t do things because she didn’t want to break a nail. I wasn’t going to live with these nails… they had to live with me!
I was so proud of them. They lasted through me digging weeds out of my flower bed, moving rocks for a fire pit, cleaning the house, scrubbing the floors, doing dishes, bathing the dog, and a lot of other not-so-chic-things that I do when I’m not out buying new shoes. : )
So, if you want my honest opinion of this permanent polish, here it is: It is, by far, the best product I’ve ever tested. It lived up to its claims. It didn’t take an obnoxious amount of time to apply, it wasn’t that expensive (about $35) and it lasted for more than two weeks. Considering that any other manicure I’ve gotten or applied myself takes just as much time to apply but only lasts two or three days, it’s worth it.
Check out the day-by-day photo slideshow of my permanent polish project! (Dino my dog made a cameo in Day 13! haha!)
A few weeks ago, we did a swimsuit fashion show. Perfections Salon did the hair and makeup for all the models. My event planner, Libby Hodapp, said something to the stylist (Sarah Caudill) about the models’ hair holding up so well to the heat and humidity. Which was surprising because it seriously felt like it was 200 degrees that day and the humidity was so thick it was tough to breathe!
Turns out Sarah did keratin treatments on a lot of the models’ hair, which is why their lovely locks were behaving so well. One of the models in particular, Maria Swafford, had the keratin service done on her extremely curly, coarse and frizzy hair. Maria vouched for the treatment and told Libby that the treatment changed her life.
Libby really worked hard on that swimsuit fashion show, and hinted to me that she was curious to try out this keratin treatment … which, who knew, had life-changing potential! haha! Sooooo… what’s a boss to do? Of course, I treated her to her first treatment!
The only trade-off is that I got to follow her process for my blog! I knew other people had probably heard of this keratin stuff before, but didn’t try it because of the cost (can range $300 to $500, depending on length and density of the hair being treated). So, here are all the deets about the process and Libby’s results…
THE TREATMENT DAY
Right off the bat Libby got a drycut from Kenneth. They cut it first to give it the perfect style. Kenneth said without this step, any imperfections would be really visible once the hair is smoothed. (Think of keratin as laminating a piece of paper. Any wonkiness will show even more once the keratin is on)
I love love love her new haircut! Libby was a little freaked out that he took off so much, but I think it frames her face well and looks polished and professional.
After that, Sarah washed Libby’s hair with clarifying shampoo to remove any product/chemical build-up. Then she applied the keratin smoothing treatment. I learned a lot about keratin in this process. I thought this was interesting… Since the product is not a chemical, there aren’t timing or over-processing concerns (being a brunette-gone-blonde, I know oh too much about over-processing!).
When they put it on hair, it adds strength, elasticity and moisture back into dried up and frizzy hair. The smaller keratin molecules get inside the hair and work from the inside out. The larger molecules coat the hair, preventing damage from environmental bad guys like UV rays/water/heat. My dad is a science teacher… he’ll be so proud that I just talked about molecules! haha!
Something else I should mention to keep an eye out for: not all keratin treatments are alike. Some keratin products out there contain formaldehyde or the cosmetic-grade formalin. So, make sure that where ever you go, ask if their keratin product contains any of these ingredients because they’re carcinogens. I made sure Perfections doesn’t have any of those things in their formula, so I don’t need to worry about any lawsuits from Libby being exposed to toxins. : )
Ok, enough science talk. Next step was to blow dry Libby’s hair to about 70%. Then, Sarah started a flat-ironing process. They had a special flat iron designed specifically for keratin treatments, and that sealed the treatment into the hair. And voila! Libby had beautiful, smooth, soft, sleek and shiny hair!
After a week, I asked Libby how things were holding up. She said it’s awesome. Her blow-dry time was cut in half, and she barely, if ever, needs to use a straightening iron now. The only bad thing is that was wasn’t allowed to wash or wet her hair for 72 hours after the service, and she had planned to be at the pool with her kids that entire weekend. So, keep that in mind if you do get this treatment… block your schedule for a few days. You can’t get in pools, or wet your hair in showers for a few days.
But she said it was worth it to have more manageable hair. She works full time – and has a baby and a toddler – so every saved second counts!
As a bystander, I can tell you that her hair doesn’t look dry or coarse. It looks really shiny and healthy. I keep waiting for her to do that Pantene hair swish every time she walks by now. haha!
I hope this gives you a little insight into a keratin treatment! Perfections Salon is actually a client of ours at Cincy Chic, so I’m sure they’d love for you to call them (513.984.2555) if you want to get a keratin treatment for yourself. But no matter where you go, remember to ask about those ingredients I mentioned so it’s a happy and healthy keratin experience! And ask about the down-time too, I hear that can vary. Feel free to email me at astorer at cincychic dot com and tell me about your keratin experience where ever you go. I’d be interested to hear how other people like it!
*After I posted this, I got a question from a friend asking how long it lasts. According to this site, it softens curls/waves for up to three months, and keeps it conditioned for about six months.
Four months later, she’s now certifiably addicted to extensions. Before, she just got extensions in the front for an angled bob – just to give her a little length around the face. Now, she wants Rapunzel-rivaling long hair.
I wasn’t sure about this. I remember I tried on Jessica Simpson clip-in extensions a year ago and I looked like a blonde hillbilly. But there was no talking Renie out of it. She wanted long hair.
So, last week, we went back up to Perfections Salon in Montgomery to get them put in and I documented the process (see video below). We were there for several hours, and here’s the breakdown:
First, she had to get a straightening treatment for her real hair. She has a ton of curl naturally, so they needed that out so it could match the texture and curl of the extensions. Then they colored her real hair to match the extensions. Then they put in more than $1,000 worth of extensions (to give you an idea of how much hair they put in, each extension is $7). Then they did a “Balayage” treatment (hand painted highlights) to add a little dimension to the color and match the various colors of extensions they put in. Then they did a dry cut. The salon owner Kenneth said drycutting is important because it doesn’t split the ends of the hair. The extensions are only cut once (when you get them installed) so it’s important they aren’t damaged before you even walk out the door.
This particular salon uses “DreamCatchers by Paris Hilton” extensions. With these, they put your real hair and the extension in a tiny cylinder together and then clamp it at your scalp. Then, when your hair grows out a little, they unclamp the cylinder, move it up and reclamp. That way, it doesn’t ruin your natural hair and you can keep the extensions in as long as you want (up to seven or eight months, after which they start to get a little wonky looking I hear).
All in all, this was a $1,200 process, but I have honestly never seen Renie look better or be more confident. She’s the Samantha of our girlfriend group, so I won’t go into details. But Renie definitely has her sexy back thanks to these extensions. ; – )
Watch the video below to see the transformation take place!
I’m going to tell you a little story about my friend, Renie. She’s known as the chameleon of the crowd because she whimsically adapts and changes her look on a weekly if not daily basis.
I’m not talking just going curly versus straight. She goes curly, straight, long, short, wig, red, blonde, brunette… and my personal favorite… the phony pony.
Well, in the Fall last year she fell victim to a very very bad hair cut. Her bangs were literally little spikes, and it looked like a 4-year-old with scissors took to the back of her hair. It was baaaad.
Hair has always been very important to Renie. So this devastated her. She’s been trying like heck to grow her hair back, but it’s been growing slower than molasses. Lately, she would either just wear hats, a wig, her phony pony (clip-on pony tail), or slick it all back. I could tell that none of these made her feel 100% and it was really affecting her self esteem.
Well, about a month ago, I went to Perfections in Montgomery to a hair extension 101 event where people could learn about extensions, how they’re applied and maintained. I went to learn about it for me (I decided I would look best with short hair). But the whole time I kept thinking how perfect it would be for Renie!
I suggested she get the extensions so she doesn’t have to wait for her hair to grow out to get her confidence back. So, she went and checked it out, learned more about them and decided to get them. Angie, the stylist that applies the extensions, suggested that she do an angled bob cut so she gets a few extra inches in front to give her the length around the face she’s used to, but she doesn’t have to pay to have a full head of extensions put on.
So, they put on about 50 strands (versus the 100 they would put on someone who wanted a full head of extensions). After they put in her extensions, it looked so funny – kind of like a reverse mullet. But Kenneth, the owner, is famous for his dry cutting. He quickly turned that mullet into one marvelous angled bob cut.
He was going blow it out and straighten it, but Renie said she usually wets her hair, scrunches and goes to work, so he did that instead. The extensions are made of real hair from Europe and you can choose from curly, “beach wave,” or straight hair. Renie picked the beach wave so she can have the flexibility to straighten or scrunch without having to fight to make it work.
These extensions will help give the allusion of longer hair until Renie grows her own hair to this length. Kenneth suggested a couple ways to help grow hair faster: Prenatal vitamins and massaging the scalp with dry hair every day. See the video below for a demonstration.
The extensions were $11 per strand and she got 50 strands in. Plus, she got color and a glossing, and Kenneth’s dry cut is $65. This all ended up being about $700 total. And the maintenance, which she’ll need in about 5 weeks will be $120. But, as Renie said, it’s a small price to pay to get her confidence back.
Renie said she is so glad she did it and loves her new hair. She said it looks and feels like real hair and she’s already gotten lots of compliments on her new look. People have no clue they’re extensions. She said next time when she goes in, she wants to get a few strands of blonde and maybe even a little purple for a streaking effect.
There are a few things anyone with extensions needs to be careful about:
No brushing your hair from scalp to tip. Because the hair is attached at the scalp, you could accidentally rip out your real hair and extension if you brush it like you would normal hair. What you need to do is hold your hair in a pony tail and brush the ends.
No Redken products. Angie said there’s too much protein in this particular product and it will ruin the extensions.
Don’t go to bed with wet hair. Angie said this is bad for your hair regardless of if you have extensions, but it’s especially bad for anyone with them.
I’ll be going with Renie to document her first maintenance appointment in five weeks to see how that’s done. So, stay tuned for that. And in a few months when her hair has grown out, I’ll be checking in with her to see if she will be taking them out! Who knows with this chameleon cutie what she’ll want to do next! : )
Check out the video below to see the entire process unfold from start to finish!