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!