Fall Favorites +

I’m always trying out new products so I really wanted to put together a post featuring some of my random current favorite things!

girl

book: Girl, Wash Your Face

purchase here!

I had seen so many people post about this book, I finally had to read it myself to see what all the hype was about. Let me tell you, it totally blew my expectations away! It’s extremely relatable and honest- two important factors I consider for me to give a book recommendation.

protein

protein: Arbonne Chocolate

Guys this is LITERALLY the best protein I’ve tried and its 100% vegan. I’ve bought endless amounts of protein brands and flavors- loved some/hated some, but this one by a LONG SHOT is the most delicious. I realized again how much better it is when i tried finishing my tub of old protein + took one sip and dumped it out. I promise. This is it.*

purchase here!

chips

snack: Korean BBQ Chips

My boyfriend Kevin is obsessed with KBBQ, so I found these and bought them for him. While its not my favorite dish, the chips are super yummy…I almost ate his whole bag myself!

purchase here!

mind

supplement: Mind Health

When I’m at work I do my best to focus and give my guests 100% of me, but sometimes it’s just hard. I add my packet of Mind Health to my drink every morning + I’m able to see a significant improvement in mental clarity!*

purchase here!

towel

hair product: DevaCurl Towel

I love this towel because the microfibers prevent your hair from frizzing…and DevaCurl tried 15 different materials until they found the PERFECT one! It’s also hug, which is perfect for girls with long and thick hair.

purchase here!

oil

essential oil: Arbonne Focus Blend

Ahhh this oil scent is so grounding and truly gives me a sense of focus. I pair it with my Mind Health in the AM, putting it on my wrists and behind my ears. I also use it before the gym to help with mind-muscle connection.*

purchase here!

adidas

shoes: Adidas NMDs

The comfiest shoes EVER! They changed the game for me when I wear them doing cardio or leg day. There’s so much support it feels like you’re walking on a cloud. The price tag is 100% justified! These are simple black but with cute pink detailing.

purchase similar here!

eye mask

face mask: Arbonne Gel Eye Masks

These babies are golddddd. Literally. They’re gold masks. I like to keep them in the fridge and pop them under my eyes either first thing in the morning or before I go to sleep. They allow my skin to look fresh and bright instead of showing how sleepy I actually am!*

*I recommend becoming a preferred customer from Arbonne to get a huge discount

purchase here!

bra

sports bra: Nike Seamless

When I was at the store I only grabbed one of these and have been regretting it since! This is the comfiest sports bra ever and even though it says “light”, I’d still say it gives medium support. I’m normally a small, but I had to size up and get a medium- they run somewhat small!

purchase here!

Yay I can’t wait for you guys to try out these products and I hope you love them as much as I do. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment!

salon letter board ideas, no bad hair days

Studio Salon Hacks +

If you’re in a private studio, salon loft, or even just beginning as a salon owner, I’m sure you’re trying to do everything as efficiently as possible. Maximizing space is essential while working in a smaller area, but keeping a workspace organized and clean when it gets easily messy is crucial.

Here are some easy ideas I’ve implemented throughout my career as a stylist that make my job go a little more smoothly:

1. Two words: Rubber. Broom.

Let’s face it- we sweep multiple times a day and no matter how thoroughly we do, THERE IS STILL HAIR.

The hands-down best purchase you will make for your salon is this broom. The hair is completely up the first time you sweep over an area. It makes cleaning the salon 1000x faster!

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2. It’s 2018. Get an Eye-Vac.

Ditch the dustpan and quit working harder than you have to. Eye Vac quietly sits in the corner until you sweep your pile of hair in front of it. Then VRROOOOM. The hair is gone. I recommend the larger size so you’re not stuck emptying it too often. Buy my vacuum here.

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3. Voila- Framar Foil Dispenser.

Framar creates many a wonderful tool for the modern everyday stylist- but the one I just can’t live without is my foil dispenser. You can create whatever size foil you need to customize your client’s hair. I started off purchasing the small one but after a couple years, I upgraded to the larger. The large dispenser holds more foil – so less hassle of replacing the empty roll regularly. Here’s the dispenser and this is my favorite fun foil to use.

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4. Get more organized by LABELING.

If you use Redken Shades EQ, Joico Lumishine Demi, PM Shines, or any gel toner in a 2 oz bottle, the best way to organize them is to get at least 3 small bins like these and separate them into warm, neutral, and cool tones. Then to get even fancier, get a metallic Sharpie like these, and write the shade on top. Once you throw them in the bin it’s easier to find what you’re looking for and they don’t topple over.

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5. Shears are expensive- why not decorate with them?

Instead of throwing your expensive tools in a drawer, utilize your wall space. I like to hang mine up with a magnetic knife strip.  This way they’re proudly on display and easily accessible.

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6. You can never market too much.

I like to create a positive atmosphere in my loft by putting quirky, funny, or motivating quotes on a letter board. This is perfect for advertising any specials or discounts your business is offering!

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7. Keepin it cohesive.

Backbar gets messy. Real messy. If you have shampoo bottles from a light colored brand it’s hard not to notice the color stains all over them. I replaced mine with these amber glass bottles. The 32oz holds most shampoo and conditioners. I also like to use 16oz bottles for my deep conditioner and Olaplex no. 2. Here are the smaller bottles. They’re quick and easy to wipe down at the end of the day.

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8. Make your own magic.

Keeping a few Magic Erasers in the salon will definitely come in handy. When color gets virtually everywhere, it helps to remove the stains!

Have any other useful ideas you want to share? Leave a comment below!

Want more info about my private studio? Check out my website here.

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My Curly Hair Routine Products +

If you haven’t already seen my tutorial on how I style my curly hair, it’s definitely worth a watch! I go through all of my long-term favorite curly hair products & how I personally use them.

The link to that video is riiiiight HERE.

If you don’t have time to watch it all the way through, here’s a quick recap of my natural curly hair routine products.

 

1. Moroccan Oil Moisture Repair shampoo + conditioner.

Purchase here.

 

serum

2. Moroccan Oil Treatment Serum.

Purchase here.

 

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3. Moroccan Oil Curl Defining Cream.

Purchase here.

 

diffuser

4. Silicone Diffuser attachment. (Works on most blowdryers)

Purchase here.

 

 

curllockspray

5. Tresemme Curl Locking Spray.

Purchase here.

 

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6. Kenra Curl Refresher. (For day 2-48288439 hair)

Purchase here.

 

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If you’re wondering how I use all of these products, then you’ll definitely want to check out my youtube tutorial. I completely walk you through the steps and explain why I love these products!

The links will take you to the product that is being distributed by Amazon. They are directly from the manufacturer & can only be guaranteed when purchased from the manufacturer or a professional salon.

 

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How I Got Started in My Industry+

People always ask me if I always knew I wanted to do hair…..THIS ONE

The answer to that is absolutely not. I had NO idea what I wanted to do, or what I cared about- much less found passion in.

I took classes at a community college after high school & cried my way through a math class that wasn’t even worth a college credit. I have ZERO patience for things I’m not 100% dedicated to. I felt like what I was doing was useless- I had no end goal, so disciplining myself to school was impossible to do. & the stress from my impatience wasn’t worth it. So I just quit. I dropped all my classes. I felt like it was a waste of time to study aimlessly when I knew I would never be capable of working a 9-5 and taking orders from someone. It just isn’t in the cards for me.

img_1566After working at Ulta as a cashier and drowning in hair, makeup, skin and nail products, I started trying EVERYTHING. I loved experimenting with new makeup and finding hair products that worked the best. The more I played with all these toys, the more I learned. The more people who came into the store with their own experiences with different items, the more I learned. I talked to my coworkers in the salon there, and also started learning about their side of the industry.

It took me a few months to really decide what direction I wanted to take with my life. (I can be super indecisive, to say the least) Looking back, it was hard to commit to a long-term decision at the time. Present Day Kristen would just tell myself to stop hesitating and go do it.

“Time will pass anyway, you may as well start now.”

img_1948I finally signed up for cosmetology school. I had no intentions of doing hair. None whatsoever. I wanted to focus on makeup. My mom and teacher talked me into going to get my entire cosmo license instead of just doing the shorter program (to be an esthetician). Okay, okay.

“I’m never going to work in a salon though” was my exact response. (LOL)

 

img_2246To be honest, I thought hairstylists didn’t make much money. Because that’s the reputation society gives us. People spend 4 years working hard in college & make $100,000 a year, and then all us hairstylists do is stand on our feet miserably for 10 hours & make minimum wage.

Halfway through school, I realized I LOVED this job. I loved meeting and educating others, developing countless relationships with people from every walk of life, and having an endless outlet to express my creativity.

It didn’t occur to me that not every choice I made had to be permanent. But if you at least dive in and give it your best shot, you give yourself a chance to love something- and be good at it.

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And I think that’s what’s so great. No matter what path you choose, you will reap the results of your efforts. If you put your heart into your job, it won’t be a job anymore. If you find something in life that you are enthusiastic about, find a way to build off of it and earn your income that way. If you love what you do, you will naturally work towards perfecting it, with your own individuality, and success will come to you.

I can’t tell you if hair or makeup is right for you, but I encourage you to try!

I am so thankful to all of my clients who continually show me your loyalty and support by making appointments with me! I am so motivated by the encouragement I get and the positive feedback through social media and in real life. Blessings to you all ❤️

To see more of my work or to schedule an appointment, please visit my Instagram!

Client do and don’t+

Whether it’s your first time visiting a salon or your thousandth, there are a few things you should know. Some are common sense, but as we all know…. common sense isn’t so common. From booking your appointment to checking out, these little things will make your salon experience all the better. I’ll keep this list as straightforward as possible!

Client do’s

  • Confirm your appointment. Whether by text, phone call, or online- we need your confirmation so we know we can expect you!
  • Come prepared with a couple photos as inspiration for your hair. (Make sure you’re visualizing the HAIR in the picture on YOU. Trust me, we all wish we looked as sexy as Lauren Conrad or JLo)
  • Allow your stylist to offer suggestions outside of your ideas & comfort zone. (You did come to us for our personal opinions and expertise, right? Let us help you live up to your fullest, most beautiful potential!)
  • Ask questions. If you want to know how your stylist is getting your hair from A to B, just ask. It’s our job to know the chemistry behind our products and formulas.
  • TRUST your stylist. We know how valuable your hair is to you- our’s is valuable to us too! We do want you to love your hair as much as we love our job. Trust us. & if you really hate something, it can always be adjusted! So no worries.
  • Tip your girl or guy! Just like in any service industry, hair artist’s accept tips. Thank them for making you obsessed with your hair again!
  • Refer your friends (or randoms!) to us by handing out our business cards. A referral truly is the greatest compliment to any stylist. Make sure they give us your name! Many stylists offer reward programs once you refer a certain number of people. Plus we want to thank you!

Client don’ts

  • Never no show your appointment. Not only is it insanely disrespectful, but it’s a complete waste of our time. We could have spent the 3 hours we booked for your balayage on somebody else- a paying customer who would actually show up.
  • Don’t ask a stylist for their opinion or direction, then run it to another stylist to create. A second opinion is always great, but if you have no intention of booking an appointment while discussing your hair, then it’s rude and shady…and a waste of our time.
  • Don’t tell us how to do our job. We love to hear what you like and hate- that’s how we’re gonna learn your preferences- but sometimes clients think that just because they saw a youtube tutorial or have always done it themselves, they know best. Not always the case. If we listened to your exact instruction, you might end up hating your hair. Let us do what we’ve spent so much time learning to do! (We love it even more when you give us full creative reins)
  • Many stylists are flexible but don’t try to make them feel bad for not being able to “squeeze you in” when you decided last minute to try to book an appointment. Many of us schedule months out in advance. If your hair is important to you, then schedule on your day off, or leave work a little earlier. We’re all working and we all have lives outside of work, so make your appointment within your salon’s operating hours.
  • Don’t bash other stylists (or anyone) to us! Sometimes those people are our friends, and we know every hair artist isn’t perfect. And we don’t think we are! If you dislike something your stylist did, TELL THEM! We are always happy to adjust your tone, tweak your cut, or add a couple lowlights. Nothing is irreversible, so there’s no need to be negative about it! Just be kindly upfront to your hair guru. We don’t want you to hate your hair- or us! Give us a chance to make you love us again!

 

These are a few of the things we take seriously as hair artist’s in our industry. We are passionate about our jobs, and we want you to feel passionate about your beauty! Every stylist is different and we all have our own personal touch of doing things, but I think most of us can agree to these do and don’ts. If you have any questions or concerns before, during, or after your appointment, don’t hesitate to be open with your hairdresser. Contact them!

How To Have Healthy Hair+

Have you ever been to the point where you’re in total distress because your hair is damaged, and you’re just ready to chop it off entirely? I have and I feel your pain. Trust me. Sometimes a good cut is absolutely necessary (and when I say ‘cut’, I mean more than one measly little inch), but I know how painful it is to go in for a major chop when your length is your security blanket. As a stylist, hair health is my biggest priority. I burnt my hair to a crisp in junior high (literally, it just sizzled off onto the floor from my flat iron) and from that moment I learned that there are some boundaries to coloring and heat usage.

On the bright side though, there are many things you can do to start growing a healthy luscious mane. First and foremost:

Use a PROFESSIONAL shampoo and conditioner.

Tresseme is not professional….anything that can be purchased at a drugstore, Walmart, Target, etc. is not professional, and essentially it will strip the color from your hair fast as hell. On top of that, so many of them are packed with silicones and waxes- I’ve watched stylists actually scrape it off the surface of the hair. Salon retail products are specifically formulated to be more gentle and are tailored to individual hair types/needs. But really, the question you should ask yourself is, “Why spend so much money on great quality when I get my hair professionally colored, if I’m going to go home and not use products that will maintain that same quality?” Spend a few extra dollars on better products that you are using in your hair on a day to day basis. It will pay off in the long run.

Get a leave-in conditioner.

Once you’ve washed your hair with your great shampoo and conditioner, spray in some leave-in conditioner before you style it (or don’t style it). A leave-in conditioner is going to truly protect your hair from most things that are damaging (sun damage, heat damage, breakage), plus it doubles as a fabulous detangler. My favorite is It’s a 10 plus Keratin. It’s a heavier formula which is good for thick, curly, or even just dry hair. They have a light version you can opt for if you have finer locks, to prevent any type of oiliness or keep from weighing your hair down. A good trick is to spray a few pumps in your hand and run through your mids to ends, to keep off your scalp and ensure you get every hair covered.

One word: OLAPLEX.

Olaplex has blown the industry off of it’s feet in the last few years. It’s a salon exclusive product, but you have a couple options on how to utilize it. First, and most common- getting the Olaplex ingredient added into your lightener or color at the salon. It works while your hair processes (when the cuticle is open). It gets in there and binds the broken bonds in your hair back together. When you have destroyed disulfide bonds, your hair is weak, dry, and brittle. Olaplex is permanent- it doesn’t sit on top of the hair, or coat it. It works within the hair strand. Your second option (if you prefer not to highlight or color you hair) is to get an Olaplex repair treatment. It’s a clear glaze + Olaplex, and will help repair your hair and give you a ton of shine. If you are still curious, you can read more about it here.

Buy a deep conditioning hair mask.

Occasionally, you should use a heavier conditioner that penetrates deeper into your hair. This is important, especially if you have very dry hair.  My recommendation is once a week- slather a deep conditioner alllll over, put your hair in a shower cap, (or if you’re feeling resourceful, use a plastic bag) and sleep in it. Wake up and rinse it out. I promise, your heart will melt when you run your fingers through it and style it afterward! My favorite is the Moroccan Oil Restorative Hair Mask. It’s also infused with protein and argan oil, and will encourage hair elasticity. Curly hair girls, you will LOVE this!

These are the best steps you can take to maximize healthy hair growth. Also, minimize heat usage; turn the heat setting down if you must use a hot tool. It really doesn’t need to be as hot as you think it does, you’re just creating excess damage. And most importantly, cut your damn hair. Avoiding hair cuts and trims will increase split ends and breakage. When your ends are bad, the damage travels up the hair strand, essentially getting shorter and shorter. Your hair may be growing from your scalp, but it’s breaking off at your ends, thus seeming to never grow. So trim your hair and just nip the issue in the bud.

If you have any questions about what products are right for you specifically, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!

6 Things Your Hairstylist Wants You to Know+

First off, I am soooo fortunate to have clients that I love. I get to work with so many different customers from every walk of life, with all kinds of personalities, that basically just don’t make me hate going into work every day. Dreading waking up every morning, hating my job, and getting burnt out is like one of my biggest fears. Luckily, I almost never experience clients who make me feel that way.

That being said, I do wish for anyone who goes into a salon to be as informed as possible about what they’re getting into. I’ve had a lot of first-time, virgin hair clients, as well as clients who get their hair done every 4-6 weeks for maintenance, but I find myself explaining the same things again and again, or even cringing over things that I want people to know better.

1. You’re not going from black hair to blonde hair without damage.

I’ll start with this because I know people struggle wrapping their mind around this one. The way us hairstylists determine your hair color is by using two systems. The first being on a scale of 1-10. Darkest blue-black hair is a level 1. Lightest white blonde hair is a level 10. Most people are not usually a natural level 1 or 10. The second is determining what hue your hair is. (ash, gold, warm, neutral, beige, etc). Going lighter takes DEDICATION and PATIENCE. Multiple sessions of lightening (that you will pay for individually) will most likely be necessary. I personally will never risk the integrity of your hair because you insist on being platinum blonde immediately when you’re naturally a level 3, or have box black color on your hair. It’s not happening. I truly cringe every time I explain this.

2. Stop moving in my damn chair when I’m cutting your hair.

Biggest pet peeve ever! I want your hair to be perfect. If you’re moving a ton because you’re an excited talker, your haircut is not going to be even. Especially when it comes to precision cuts, it’s soooo important to remain still. If this means not talking for 10 minutes, then don’t talk. Tough love, but it’s just because we care about you and your hair.

3. Don’t try haggling with your stylist.

Honestly, this is more offensive than people realize, and I am speaking on behalf of every stylist out there. This is my life. My career. I wake up and get out of bed to serve YOU. I have to make money to survive just like you and this is how I chose to do so. When you have LONG, THICK hair, it’s extremely time-consuming and it takes a lot more product. Aside from the obvious, though, we go to school specifically for this and truly dedicate ourselves to constantly improving our craft. I can’t begin to tell you the hundreds, to probably thousands of dollars I’ve spent on high-end products and tools because I want the best experience and results for my clients. If you don’t want to drop that kind of cash on a stylist who prioritizes the health of your hair, then go somewhere else. Don’t try bargaining. It’s just frustrating. More often than not, the salon’s control the prices anyways.

4. Communication is essential to any good relationship.

If you book a salon appointment, and for any reason need to cancel or reschedule, it is normal human decency to contact your stylist in advance. Friends or first-time clients. Many hairdressers won’t even think of rebooking a no-show client. I’ve even been to salons who won’t rebook you until you pay for the services you didn’t show up for, in addition to your next appointment. Time is money. Someone else could have been scheduled to get their hair done had you given advance notice. Emergencies are understandable, but blatantly not showing up is disrespectful. Good communication is also 100% essential during a consultation. Make it clear what you want and don’t want. If you’re indecisive, but trust your stylist to do what they think is best, tell them that. But say what you mean. The outcome of your hair totally depends on it.

5. It’s probably Photoshop.

More often than not and usually when it comes to fun unnatural colors, people show me pictures of the hair color they want, and it’s photoshopped. It’s 2016. There are millions of images that have been altered circulating the web. With today’s options for hair color products, it’s probably possible to achieve the color you want anyways, but still having realistic expectations for you hair is important. Another thing to note is that many fashion colors require very light blonde hair to show their true pigment. That requires a lot of going blonde. In which case, refer to #1.

6. Leave box dye on the shelf where it belongs.

I could give you a million reasons to advise you against box coloring your hair at home, but number 1 is it’s not healthy for your hair. “Why?” may you ask. The ultimate difference between having a pro color your hair vs doing it yourself is that box dye is not specially formulated for your individual hair type. It’s meant to drive full force into your hair cuticle, with no regard for the condition your hair is in. It’s formulated at its maximum. If you have fine hair, this could mean serious breakage because of the harshness of the product. If you’ve colored and highlighted your hair numerous times, it’s also at the risk of breaking and becoming extremely dry and brittle. When you go to a salon, we tailor our formulations to be 1. exact color to get where you want to be 2. gentle or strong depending on what’s needed and what we believe you hair can handle and 3. with better quality ingredients in our professional color. If that’s not enough to deter you from “the box”, you should know that it probably won’t come out the color you’re expecting anyways. If you’ve previously colored your hair, every strand now contains artificial pigment. Coloring on top of that (adding pigment to pigment) only creates darker pigment. Not the true color. That’s why your hair went black when you tried to do a light brown. Before you try to do anything wild and end up hating it afterward, my advice is to see a professional to begin with. “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.” AKA a color correction is time consuming and expensive. Trust me, I’ve been there and I have done them many times on my clients.

 

These are just a few things I wanted everyone to be aware of, from my perspective as a hair artist. Also, everyone’s hair is different and reacts differently. Hair can be unpredictable. Please remember this when you set your hair goals and see your stylist!