Most individuals have a night time ritual. Typically this involves personal hygiene including activities like brushing teeth, showering and face washing. Many people however also have a bedtime routine for hair care. This is especially important for individuals who wear dreadlocks as lint from blankets and sheets can easily become entangled in the hair. If locks are really long, they can become somewhat itchy to the neck and lower back making it more difficult to sleep.
Throughout the day, locks (as well as unlocked hair) can take in and hold odors like cigarette smoke. They can also pick up airborne allergens like pollen and dust mites which can adversely affect the health of many individuals, especially those with allergies or breathing disorders. Following this simple and quick night time ritual for dreadlocks can aid greatly in the condition of locks as well as helping one to achieve a good night sleep.
Supplies Needed for Dreadlock Bedtime Routine:
1 Lint-Free Face Cloth or Hand Towel
Lavender Oil (or other favorite essential oil)
1 Large Scrunchy
1 Satin/Silk Scarf or Sleep Cap
Steps and the Dreadlock Bedtime Routine:
- Fill si
nk basin with very hot water.
- Put in 3-4 drops of lavender oil.
- Soak towel in sink.
- Ring dry. This is an important step as locks should not get really wet.
- Bend head forward.
- Work towel over locks from nape of neck to end of hair. Throw hair back and repeat steps 3 and 4. Work towel over locks from forehead down. This should feel very good and is quite relaxing.
- If needed, dry locks with a lint free towel.
- Bend head forward again. While bent forward braid locks (very loosely) going over or atop, not under.
- Continue to the end of hair, or until hair is no longer even. Tie ends together with a large scrunchy. Hair will now be very high on top of head.
- Finish by securing locks and cover using hair scarf.
Any type of fragrant oil including lemon or myrrh can be used in lieu of lavender oil. Nonetheless, lavender is a wonderful choice as it is believed to aid in rest and relaxation, and therefore great for use at bedtime. Other good options include tea tree oil and rosemary (said to be good for dandruff), or peppermint (providing a cool sensation and good for alleviating odors).
If done nightly, this routine will help to keep locks looking clean and healthy. It will also aid in a wonderful and peaceful night of rest.
I thought I’d do something a little different for this month’s column. Instead of reviewing new products and dispensing haircare advice, I’d like to talk about some of my experiences in the world of hairdressing. There have been so many wonderful memories and there have been moments so touching that remembering them brings a lump to my throat and warmth to my heart. Some people drag themselves to work every morning completely devoid of enthusiasm, but I feel lucky to have a career that I am passionate about. I don’t watch the clock at work, counting down the hours until I get to come home; I sit at home watching the clock, counting down the hours until I get to go to work again.
How did it all start? You have to go back to when I was a little boy. When I was in third grade, my teachers discovered that I had a streak of creativity. I became interested in creating things. Painting and drawing fascinated me; so much so that at the end of high school I had decided to go to art school. Sadly, I became aware of the scarcity of jobs in the art world, and by the time graduation rolled around I had abandoned the thought of college.
Hair itself I never gave much thought to, it was never something that entered my mind until much later. I was, however, fascinated by the local barbershops. I felt like I was part of a fraternal order, when I, as a boy, sat in the barbershop among the old men. They would talk politics, and discuss things that I was too young to understand. I loved the smell of the lotions and potions that the barber dabbed on his customers, I loved the smell of the barbicide that was used to clean the combs, and I loved the Clubman talc that would be applied to the neck duster after the haircut.
There was one man in particular who lives in my mind as a hero. His name was Roy the Barber, and he had a small shop down in the basement of a building in downtown Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. I remember sitting in his barber chair, that regal throne of my childhood, watching the feet of the passersby through the window that was at street level. Roy the Barber did more than cut hair; he was a fountain of knowledge. He was an Oracle, and all the men in town would congregate in the barbershop to hear his opinions on the world. He was also a very funny man, he always said things to you in the middle of the haircut that would make you smile and the rest of your day was always brighter after having met him. If there was a seven-year old boy in his chair, he would say after the haircut, “There you go, you look ten years younger!” Even to a fifteen year old high school student, he would say the same thing, just changing it to, “You look twenty years younger!”, or he’d say, “You’re wife won’t even recognize you when you go home.” I always loved that one, and despite hearing it every four weeks for several years, it never got old. And Roy himself never seemed to get old. I always thought the barber and his shop would be there forever. After high school I moved away and spent several years away from Mount Carmel. I had recently gone through the long-hair phase, and looking back I think the only reason I had let my hair grow was because I knew Roy the Barber couldn’t cut it. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I returned to Mount Carmel after seven years away. I couldn’t find Roy the Barber or his shop; perhaps I wasn’t even looking on the right street. But small-town life had changed, and the changes seemed to come overnight. I visited the old high school, and for the first time I had been stopped at the entrance by a security guard and was ordered to show identification. They told me there had been bomb threats, and they told me that the doors had been taken off the bathroom stalls because kids were taking drugs. The day I was there, the police were doing locker searches. They even had a drug-sniffing dog at work. Suddenly, my old school seemed as alien to me as a lunar moonscape.
There are many ways to blowdry the hair, and there is a wide variety of brushes you can use when drying the hair. Most people use a vent brush, which is a brush with vents between the rows of bristles. The vents allow the air to flow through the brush itself. I sometimes use vent brushes, but one of my secrets to drying hair is to replace the vent brush with a paddle brush. Paddle brushes have solid backs to them. This keeps the heat directly on the hair, drying it faster than a conventional vent brush. The biggest change I’ve made in my drying technique has been switching to a paddle brush when blowing the hair dry. This works especially well with short hair. You’ll find paddle brushes add more volume than vent brushes. I’ve even gone farther by finding a paddle brush with a very short handle…the kind they sell in accessory shops in the mall for women to throw in their purse. They only cost about $2.00 and are just wonderful. I call it my secret weapon, and once you become proficient with using one, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
I like when women blowdry their hair straight. However, most women have some breakage, usually caused by pulling the hair up in a ponytail. this breakage ofter occurs around the hairline. To remedy this, I use Aveda’s Self-Control hairstyling stick. It looks like a bar of deodorant. Use it to make flyaways or breakage lay down, and use it on cowlicks or unruly hair. I suppose you can use it under your arms too, if your underarm hair gets unruly…..
I just wrapped up a little experiment I conducted, testing over a dozen professional products used to add shine to the hair. Some products looked a little greasy, some smelled funky. Others were really terrific. So here are the results of my little survey…
Best Shine Product: Shinesque by Nexxus. This product comes in a small aerosol spray can. Most other shine products are either spritzes or thick liquid drops. The small can can be taken anywhere, and the results are very impressive. It’s easy to use and doesnt make it look as if you just combed your hair with a pork chop.
Honorable Mentions: Rusk Shining. This comes in a pump spray, is virtually odorless and looks very natural on the hair. One pump is all you need for even long hair. I currently use this one on my clients. Rusk also makes Sheer Brilliance polisher, which comes in a lotion form. Also a very nice product. Matrix Biolage Shine Renewal is a very fine product, it is a pump spray and comes in a small easy to carry bottle. This has been a great seller in the salon, it practically flies off the shelf. Artec PureHair Neroli Reflecting SprayShine is a high quality product, made with plant extracts, and has a wonderful smell to it. It is one of my favorites out of all that I tested.
Dear readers, I’m afraid the time has finally come to bring this column to a close. Writing has always been, and forever will be, a passion of mine. Unfortunately, there is only so much one can write about when it comes to hairstyling. I’ve covered all there is to cover, and hopefully I’ve imparted some knowledge along the way. I am not saying by any means that I’ve learned all there is to learn within my profession; only that the well has run dry when it comes to ideas.
Hopefully, someone will be able to pick up where I left off and breathe some fresh air into a topic that has become stale. I appreciate all the positive comments I have received along the way, and am grateful that I had the chance to share my columns with you.
There are some final words of advice that I’d like to share; I guess you can say it’s a summary of everything I have learned in the hairstyling profession.
I’ve learned that beauty does not exist. It is only something that lives in our minds, and our idea of beauty will change as time goes by. One day, years from now, you will go through a photo album and see a picture of yourself and wonder, “What was I thinking when I had that hairstyle?”. Everyone’s ideal of beauty is different, and no matter how hard you try, no matter how much money you invest, you cannot live up to everyone’s expectations. There are some people who will look at a famous supermodel and not find them attractive. There are people who will look at an “ugly” person and think they are the most perfect person God has ever created.
Since there is no point wasting time trying to live up to an ideal of beauty that may or may not exist, you must learn to look in the mirror and see the beauty that exists within yourself. Never color your hair because your husband likes redheads. Never cut your hair because your wife prefers short hair. Don’t try to live up to someone else’s idea of beautiful; instead, be yourself. You are already beautiful.
Alot of people spend an obscene amount of time and money chasing after the elusive dream of perfection. I’ve seen women cry over bad haircuts. In some people’s minds, being beautiful is all that matters. That is a shame. There are so many more important things in life besides hair. Family. Friendships. Happiness. You cannot be happy if you look in the mirror all day judging yourself. It doesn’t matter. A hundred years from now, you will look no better than any of your contemporaries. Even if you spend a million dollars on improving your image, you will still find something about your appearance you’d like to change.
One of the most fascinating facets of the beauty industry is aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is mysterious, an age-old remedy for everything from headaches to arthritis. It utilizes a diverse array of tools from candles, oils, lotions, to incense. Aromatherapy is steeped in an air of mystery, which may account for its allure. People are captivated by things that seem foreign and exotic.
Whether you realize it or not, you probably have used aromatherapy in your everyday life without even realizing it. Scents are everywhere, and each particular aroma has a certain physical or psychological effect on the person who is smelling it. If a certain fragrance has ever made you feel a certain way, then you have essentially utilized aromatherapy. Some scents remind you of forgotten places or long-lost loves. Some fill you with energy, while other sooth an relax you. Identifying the fragrances that have an effect on you can help you lead a healthier and less-stressful life.
The basis of aromatherapy is essential oils. Essential oils are what gives a particular plant its characteristic odor and flavor. Each plant, tree, or flower has one essential oil that is unique to that particular plant, tree, or flower. It’s what makes mint smell like mint, and what makes basil smell like basil. Each essential oil has a specific effect on a person’s body or mind. Some effects are physical; for instance, tea tree oil increases circulation when applied topically to the skin. Other effects are mental. Bergamot can be used to alleviate depression, while other aromas can decrease appetite and calm jittery nerves. Aromas are highly individualized. What may relieve nausea for some people may cause nausea for other people. Aromatherapy should be used to enhance a person’s health, and it should never take the place of emergency medical treatment. There are those who claim aromatherapy can cure everything from colds to cancer, but these are the type of people you should avoid. Aromatherapy is an aid that can enhance medical treatment, but it should never take the place of medical treatment.
The methods essential oils are diffused vary greatly. Incense is a popular method, but the smoke generated may irritate people who are sensitive to smoke. Oils and lotions are very popular as well, but they might cause irritation to people with sensitive skin. The key is to use the method that best suits the client. I prefer to use diffusers, which are electrical appliances that dispense the oil’s molecules through the air. Diffusers are also easier to clean up after than oils, creams, candles, or incense.
The lazy, hazy days of summer may be gone, but fall is the hot time of the year when it comes to new and exciting haircare products. Manufacturers want to make sure their products hit the shelves in time for the holiday shopping season, so just about every professional haircare company will offer something new for the fall.
Aveda has revealed their new Scalp Benefits Balancing Shampoo and Conditioner, which is designed to create a healthy moisture balance for the scalp and to increase blood circulation, which is a common factor in male and female hair loss. These products are gentle enough for everyday use, and are recommended for anyone who suffers from dry scalp or for those who are experiencing hair loss. As with all Aveda products, the Scalp Benefits line contains flower and plant essences and are never animal-tested.
TIGI has expanded its ever-popular Catwalk line of products to include Fashionista Color-Safe shampoo and conditioner. While there are hundreds of color-care products on the market, Fashionista is the only one I know of that has a grape scent, very reminiscent of the grape Bubble Yum I used to chew as a kid. These products also contain an anti-static ingredient for smoother and sleeker hair. Okay, so it’s not “brand spankin’ new”, but it’s been a slow year and it has taken me a few months to compile a list of noteworthy new products, since just about everything that came out this year is just a re-vamped re-packaged newer version of crap that’s been around for years….
Paul Mitchell introduces Super Skinny Daily Shampoo and Super Skinny Daily Treatment, which promises to smooth and soften the hair via an exclusive “smoothing complex” that penetrates the hairshaft to displace water and constrict the hair, resulting in reduced drying time. These products are geared towards those who possess unruly hair that is in desperate need of taming.
A similar line of products promising smoother hair is Silky Sexy Hair, by Sexy Hair Concepts. The line consists of Silky Shampoo, Silky Conditioner, Frizz Eliminator (a styling aid which repels humidity), Drench (a leave-in conditioner for dry hair), and Remedy (a leave-in treatment for chemically-abused and over-processed hair). These products contain silk protein, silicones, and other various nutrients that will leave hair with a silky feel and increased shine.
Alterna, famous for its collection of hemp-based products, recently came out with Hemp Seed Damage Control, which will strengthen the hair (which means reduced breakage), minimize split ends, control frizz and add shine. Alterna gets my vote for all-time favorite professional haircare. line, because every single product they have ever came out with has given me amazing results. Hemp Seed Damage Control is no exception.
I’d like to think that I’ve seen everything one could see in the world of hairstyling, but just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes something that totally blows your mind. When people get into serious hair trouble, I’m the one they come to. And I mean that quite literally…it seems there are days when my co-workers get all the easy and low-maintainence clients, and I’m inundated with people who’ve attempted to cut, color, or perm their own hair and in the process have turned it funky colors or have made it fall out, break off, or turn to mush. And yes, I have seen hair turn to mush. This month, I dedicate this column to all you daring and courageous do-it-yourself hairstylists who keep me in business and make my day interesting. This is your survival guide for overcoming hair disasters of Hindenburg proportions.
PROBLEM: Bubblegum stuck in hair
CAUSE: Most likely happens to people who fall asleep with gum in their mouths, or the gum gets stuck in the hair when attempting to spit the gum out. Most victims are children, although I have witnessed this happening to adults.
SOLUTION: Solidify the gum by gently rubbing an ice cube over it. Then, using small household scissors, cut away as much of the gum as possible without cutting off any hair. Use an oil (mineral oil seems to work best) to loosen the remaining gum and slide the loosened chunks down the hairshaft to the ends. Do not shampoo until all the gum is out, otherwise hair will knot. Apply a leave-in conditioner or detangler and gently comb out remaining tangles with a wide-tooth comb. Peanut butter, mayonnaise, and bacon grease have all been used in the removal of gum, due to their high oil content, but they are not recommended because food products may attract insects.
PROBLEM: Child takes chunk out of hair with scissors.
CAUSE: Your child finds the scissors and attempts to play hairstylist; usually the day before school pictures.
SOLUTION: If the chunk missing is in the back or near the ends of the hair, a hairstylist can easily fix the situation with minimal loss of hair. But more likey, your child took out a big chunk in the front hairline close to the scalp. The stylist may have to fix this by giving him/her a style with bangs, in order to cover the missing chunk. For boys, I would suggest a cut in which the hair is worn forward, such as a Caesar cut, which consists of closely cropped or faded sides blending up to a scissor-cut top which is left longer in the front.
Every now and then, a person should toot his own horn, it’s good for the ego. I spend alot of time analyzing and forecasting trends, and its quite a thrill to see your forecast come true. I wonder if weather forecasters get the same satisfaction….In 2015, I had written in one of my columns that choppy, wispy, and uneven bangs were on the way out. I even went so far as to prophetize that by this year, the trend would lean towards a long solid bang. Many readers wrote back scoffing the heavy-bang prediction, saying that it would never come true. I was happy to see the return of the blunt bang on the cover of the American Salon magazine. Several articles in other May issues of fashion magazines raved about the appearance of the blunt bangs that had graced the Spring runway shows. While other stylists are satisfied following trends, I find my satisfaction in creating them.
This installment of Hairdressing Diary focuses on a photoshoot I conducted in 2015. I was preparing for that year’s NAHA (North American hairstyling Awards), and I had a few ideas I had been throwing around in my head that I wanted to try out. I decided to enter the Avant-Garde category, which consists of hairstyles that border on the eccentric and sometimes bizarre.
I had worked out my ideas on paper a few months prior to the shoot. I made a list of the supplies I would need, and then tried to construct a budget. My original idea involved elaborate underwater lighting and costumes that revolved around a mermaid theme. It soon became clear that there would be no way to finance such an undertaking. I was a “starving artist”, so to speak, so I had to come up with a new idea that would not put me in a financial mudhole. I found my inspiration in an old cemetery, of all places, in the form of a large statue of an angel. I knew I had to recreate that sculpture, but at the time I had no clue as to how I would go about it. Later that evening, I began constructing the wings that would later be used in the shoot. They had to look like stone, but at the same time be light enough for the model to wear for several hours of shooting. I stayed up the entire night making the wings out of papier-mache, which I painted gray using acrylic paint. I found that the paint looked authentic on the wings, so I tested it on my skin, and it looked very convincing. The only question was, could I use this paint to cover an entire body? I dismissed the idea of using theatrical make-up, because it always appeared moist on the skin. I needed something that looked like a statue, and acrylic paint was just what I was looking for. I bought six tubes of paint, estimating that it would take at least that much to cover a person.