Highlights vs. Lowlights

Highlights are meant to compliment your hairstyle, and face.  They can be any tone or shade you desire; they are lighter than you original hair color. Generally they are placed at the crown and around your face for optimum effect. The thicker the highlights (thick highlights are also known as chunky highlights), the less natural they look. The thinner the better. Want to mix them beautifully? Go for contrast, with highlights that are even, thin and natural looking.

hair highlights
Image by Torley via Flickr

For a general idea of shades to use, look at the following:

  • If you have dark hair, go no more than three shades lighter than your natural color.
  • If you have black hair, red highlights enhance the contrast and cut of your hairstyle; blonde or caramel highlights blend well, so they are the most popular highlights; purple highlights soften dark hair color and add subtlety, highlighting your bangs. Feeling quirky and fun, by trying multicolor highlights.
  • If you have brown hair, it has shades of red to go through first. If done incorrectly, it will turn brassy. Some shades of platinum blonde are fine on brown hair; do not use platinum blonde on dark brown hair, or it will turn your hair green.
  • For light brown hair, try a color two shades lighter than your original hair color; copper highlights look great; try copper and gold highlights for a gorgeous look.

Lowlights are meant to add definition and depth to your hairstyle. Adding lowlights the third time you get your hair highlighted, will blend your highlights with your natural color which looks fabulous and prevents salon trips every six weeks to cover dark roots. Tones of blended copper and gold are often the best lowlights to use. As always, consult your stylist.

Anastasia is a salon hair stylist in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Out of town appointments welcome.

Managing Hair Extensions

Catherine Bach

Source: modernsalon.com

Managing hair extensions presents even more responsibilities than your natural hair. You need to be a little more gentle with your extensions to extend the life and to keep them looking their best.

Your natural hair goes through a ton of abuse every day of the year and it can really withstand a good amount of damage over time. But extensions do not gain nutrients from your scalp so they are at least three times more susceptible to irreparable damage. While this may not seem like a big deal, because hair extensions are not with you forever, it does mean that they could fall out prematurely or need to be replaced.

Be sure to always wash your hair every day if you have hair extensions. Unwashed hair accumulates your body oils and it could compromise your extensions. All too often extensions fall out because of oily hair, and it’s a shame to have to have all new ones put back in because of a little negligence.

If you are considering human hair extensions, be sure to ask your stylist if it is possible to safely dye the brand they will be using. It is not possible to dye synthetics, but it is possible to dye human hair extensions. Some brands are pre-dyed, so if you happen to dye them it could severely damage the hair. If you forget to ask before having the extensions put it, it might be a good idea just to stick with your natural color for the time being.

It is completely possible to use heated styling tools on human extensions, but most synthetics will melt if subjected to high levels of heat. There are brands available these days that are safe to get hot, but their heat resistance is usually reflected in the price. A simple curling iron twist on zero resistance synthetic hair can melt a whole area of your extensions, and force you to get them completely redone.

It’s important to know both what kind of extensions you have and what brand they are. Brands can mean as much as the material, so get the full scoop on your extensions before having them attached and possibly making a mistake.

Anastasia is a salon hair stylist in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Out of town appointments welcome.
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Brazilian Keratin Summary

cotton and keratin
Image by lanuiop via Flickr
Back Story: The Brazilian Keratin Treatment has been offered in salons for $300 – $600, sometimes as high as $800. The treatment was said to have originated in rural Brazil 10 years ago where it is said that someone discovered a preservative that can bind keratin to hair to remove frizziness, and keep hair straight for months. The mythology (who knows if it’s true) goes that stylists in the city heard of the discovery and experimented and formulated their own treatment.

Process: The treatment, known as BKT for short, is a chemical treatment aimed to smooth curly frizzy hair. It includes the application of a liquid solution in the hair, allowing it to be absorbed, and then heating the hair up to 450 degrees to bond the keratin to hair. The process takes as little as 90 minutes while others take up to two hours depending on the length and condition of the hair. This hair treatment is geared toward damaged, frizzy, permed, colored hair. Unlike Japanese Hair Treatments, it is practically semi-permanent and may fade through repeated use of chloride-containing shampoos (so avoid those).

Carcinogenic Concerns: The solution uses formalin as a keratin binder for the hair. As the hair and mixture is heated, the chemical reaction produces formaldehyde – a documented carcinogenic. It is recommended for professionals and their customers to wear masks while going through this procedure, and also to make sure they operate in a well ventilated area to reduce the risks of inhalation of high doses of the harmful fumes.  It is important to note that despite the keratin, it is the formalin that makes the solution work. Inform yourself about everything that is involved in the procedure before undergoing it, and remember, safety first! Make sure that the salon has proper ventilation, that they have a qualified staff, as well as a material safety data sheet on their product available for scrutiny. If you finally decide to get the treatment, try to relax and have fun.
Keep in mind, other straightening treatments exist.
Japanese straightening or Korean magic straight (Asian straightening) can be effective for months with proper care. Just ask your stylist for a consultation to determine what works best for you.
Anastasia is a salon hair stylist in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Out of town appointments welcome.