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How Strong Is Your Hair?

Would you consider your hair to be strong? You may have found yourself wondering if your hair is strong enough to withstand certain products, hairstyles, or even certain activities without breaking. Who doesn’t want strong hair that looks and feel great?

One thing to recognize is that your hair is limited based on its tensile strength. So, what is tensile strength? Hair Tensile strength tells how much your hair can stretch before it breaks. Think of it as a test of your hair’s ability to “bounce back.”  The more elastic your hair is the more ability it has to stretch without breaking when wet, brushing, combing or handling. Hair with high tensile strength actually acts similar to a rubber band when stretched returning back to its shape.

However, when hair’s tensile strength is weak, it can very easily break with the same pull. Being able to evaluate your hair’s tensile strength is essential to achieving and maintaining the healthy hair.

Tensile strength can be affected several factors including damage from heat, harsh chemicals such as relaxers, perms, and dyes, or even sun damage. Such damage can leave the hair’s cortex weak and unable to bounce back.

What’s wrong with a little heat? The problem with this thinking is that most times heat is applied in unsafe temperatures that contribute to damaged tresses. Heat from blow dryers, curling irons and flatirons can spell disaster for hair whether it is chemically treated or not. When heat is directly applied to hair, you risk damage to the hair shaft and can permanently alter protein bonds. The strength and elasticity of the hair strands have been impaired from this process as a result. This is when you start to see little hairs on the counter from breakage.  It is advised to use heat sparingly and at safe temperatures in order to maintain strong and healthy locks.

The sun provides what we need naturally, right? Not in this case. The sun, when there is too much exposure, is not kind to hair. The sun’s harsh rays actually contribute to hair becoming brittle and less resilient. The sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays can cause damage to the hair shaft resulting in brittle strands leading to breakage. This is why the hair should not be exposed to the sun’s rays for extended periods of time. So be mindful of those locks while sun bathing at the beach.

Does processing hair affect how strong it is? It actually does adversely affect hair’s tensile strength. A very critical factor for hair strength can be determined by the products that you use on your hair. We seem to take for granted that our hair may have seemingly remained strong despite the use of harsh chemicals such as relaxers and dyes. The fact of the matter is that over time, the hair starts to show signs of damage and results in weak and brittle strands. Consider the processes of relaxing or bleaching the hair using chemicals which permanently breaks down or alter the protein bonds that give hair its strength.

When hair is handled when wet and chemically processed, the results are even more damaging. Handling wet chemically processed hair should be done with care to avoid breakage. Tearing through the strands carelessly will only result in breakage. It is also recommended to keep a good balance of protein and moisture to keep hair as strong and vital as possible.

Exactly how does wet hair affect the tensile strength? When the hair is wet, tensile strength is actually temporarily altered. It’s probably not a big surprise to most that when your hair is wet it is more vulnerable, making it more prone to breakage. When hair strands are wet, the keratin is affected, which allows for less elasticity. The keratin, or protein, is what makes the hair strong, however it cannot be dissolved in water. Since the hair is made up of keratin, it makes sense that it’s ability to remain strong is negatively effected.

So after examining the factors that contribute to your hair’s tensile strength, you have an idea of how to achieve stronger and healthier strands. Protecting your hair from outside factors play a huge role in the overall health of your hair. Keep in mind that taking daily steps to combat damage can mean a world of difference, and eventually your hair’s appearance will serve as your reward!

Want to know your hair’s tensile strength? Hairfinity offers several tests that can help you evaluate the condition of your hair, including a Tensile Strength Test.  How does it work? After ordering the Tensile Strength Test, expect a kit to arrive with instructions on how to send in your hair sample. Once the sample is received, your hair will be tested, and a report on the condition of your hair will be created along with a customized plan of action to address your hair concerns. Test results and hair care plan are detailed, easy to read, and include hair care tips and product recommendations.

 

Want a full evaluation of your hair’s health?  Our Complete Microscopic Hair Analysis is for you. This test provides the following:

  • Identifies damage to the hair’s cuticle and cortex
  • Identifies split / fibrillated shaft and ends
  • Identifies hair shape and pattern
  • Determines how much tension your hair can handle before it breaks.
  • Determines the hair diameter (thickness/thinness) so you know how to properly care for your hair.

We also take it several steps further with products that are proven to reduce breakage by up to 95%.  Hairfinity’s “Pure and Proven” Advanced hair care system replenishes your hair to bring it back to life while leaving out common ingredients that are known to cause hair damage.

 

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Edges Not Growing? Here is the Reason Why

If your once thick, luxurious hairline has disappeared, then you are probably wondering what happened. Men and women alike agonize over edges that have broken, leaving them with an undesirable missing or thinning hairline. If you are experiencing broken or thinning edges, it is imperative to examine the causes for this issue so that you can know what needs to be done to restore your hairline.

A major cause of broken edges is tension from braids and other types of protective styles such as weaves. Tension from tight braids and weaves wreak havoc to your hairline. Consider the constant stress and strain on your strands from being braided for sometimes months at a time. Simply put, tension causes damage, and damage causes breakage and hair loss. These practices contribute to a condition called Traction Alopecia. This condition is a direct result of consistent tension that damages the hair cuticle.

Upon deciding to wear a protective style, whether it be a ponytail, box braids, or weave your first priority is the health of your own hair (not the appearance of the style and/or extensions). How long are you wearing the weave? How tight are the braids? Is your ponytail holder tightly pulled? These questions need to be addressed to determine whether or not you are wearing a protective style that is killing your hairline. Wearing a weave for too long can be detrimental as the tugging of braids and added hair whether sewn in or glued in, only perpetuates more loss. Weaves should be taken out after about 2 months, and hair should be given a rest period to restore. When wearing a ponytail or bun, the holder should be loosely wrapped and not worn for extended periods of time. Keep in mind that a protective style is not serving its purpose if it is causing damage.

Did you know that products applied to your hair can lead to broken edges? You probably already assume that dyes and relaxers contain harsh chemicals that over time contribute to breakage at the edges. But did you know that even gels and “edge controls” products used to give hair a sleek and polished look can cause major damage due to the drying nature of these products.

Because they contain sulfates, and drying alcohols, gels are the culprit to our edges and need to be either eliminated from the styling process or used on a very minimal basis. Consider using natural products that compare to harsh commercial gels such as aloe vera gel. Aloe vera gel even promotes hair growth, which of course can help to restore broken edges.

How do you protect your hair at night when you sleep? Chances are if you are sleeping on a cotton pillowcase and wearing no hair bonnet or scarf, your edges are suffering! Friction from sheets and pillowcases can tear edges out. Hair can be greatly damaged at night if you do not have a haircare regimen that protects your edges. Be sure to sleep with a silk (not satin) bonnet or scarf.

What can be done to restore your edges so that you can enjoy a fuller hairline again? Infinite Edges Serum works to restore and revitalize your edges using 83% natural ingredients. Infinite Edges is not a styling product or tamer, but does improve smoothness over time. Some of the benefits of Infinite Edges include adding hydration to overworked or delicate areas of hair, such as the hairline, working to improve smoothness for stronger, shinier hair, and fortifying and protecting with vitamins and active botanicals. The great news is that Infinite Edges contains no sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, mineral oil or petroleum. Infinite Edges can be used daily in your haircare regimen. This is a very concentrated serum and only a small amount is needed to achieve results.

It is not impossible to see your edges bloom and thrive again! Your broken hairline does
not have to be what it has in the past if you take steps to restore it today!

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6 Ways to Get a Thicker Ponytail

If your hair lacks natural volume, getting a thicker ponytail might seem out of reach.

But a regular old ponytail is guaranteed to fall flat. (Not exactly the easy, breezy style you were hoping for – we know.) Don’t let fine, thin hair stop you from learning how to rock a classic updo.

From styling tips to hair care basics, we’ve uncovered 6 ways to get a thicker ponytail. Now you can feel cool and confident all summer long:

Prep Your Ponytail

Styling fine hair takes some prep work – but it’s easy to master once you know the tricks of the trade.

According to beauty editor Aubrey Almanza, it’s all about getting the right texture, so your ponytail has a good base.

“First, make sure your hair is dry and that it’s been a day or two since it was washed,” advises Almanza at Prevention.

“Skip your usual shampoo and conditioner routine, and use a dry shampoo…to remove grease and add much-needed texture,” she adds.

From there you can tease your hair at the roots to add more height, or sweep it up into your summer ‘do.

Need even more help with mastering volume? When you step out of the shower, nix the vigorous towel rub, suggest the experts at Matrix hair care.

“Instead, gently blot your hair with your towel when you step out of the shower,” write the editors.

“Use a water-absorbing microfiber towel to avoid roughing up the cuticle,” they add.  “Doing so will make blowouts easier, will diminish frizz and is a gentler drying solution for fine, thin hair overall.”

Since fine hair also needs a little bit of extra help with lift at the roots, consider massaging your scalp once a week with an exfoliating scrub.

“Treating your scalp to a weekly massage clears pores of follicle-blocking sebum,” explains Ally-Marie Corliss at Birchbox. “Using your fingertips, apply gentle pressure to your scalp and mimic the motion of squeezing a lime.”

Not only will a regular massage feel amazing, it also helps stimulate blood flow to the scalp, which will encourage new growth.

Now that you’ve prepped for your ponytail, here are six flawless styles for giving your hair instant oomph.

1. Double Ponytail

If you’re looking for volume and lift, the double ponytail is where it’s at.

“Not only does this make you look like your hair has grown inches overnight, it also adds crazy volume and thickness to even the finest hair,” assures beauty editor Alle Connell at StyleCaster.

By pulling back your hair not once but twice, you’ll create a gorgeous, thick mane in the classic silhouette.

Need a quick tutorial? StyleCaster has got you covered.

2. Bring It, Bobby

Have you ever tried to whip your hair into a pony only to watch it deflate minutes later?

Fine hair loses its volume when you pull it back – often because there wasn’t enough lift at the roots to begin with.

“Everyone thinks mousse is so ’80s, but it actually works,” stylist Jen Atkin told Glamour.
“Dispense it in the hands, put it on the wet or dry roots, and do a light blow-dry using your fingers.”

Now that you’ve put a little swing back in your step, don’t let your ponytail get droopy. Use two bobby pins – in an “X” pattern – at the base of the ponytail for instant lift, so you can show off your ‘do.

3. Big Tease

If you have a big night out on the town, you may want to opt for this tame version of an ‘80s hair tease.

“A lot of times women put their hair in a ponytail and then they tease only the ponytail,” stylist Orlando Pita explained to Glamour. “You want the volume all throughout. You want your hair to look thick and rich from root to tip. The trick is to tease all of the hair before you tie it back with an elastic.”

Be sure you have the right tools when you tease, or backcomb, your hair. Use a bristle brush designed for the job and tease one section of your hair at a time.

But if you overdo it, warns stylist Ben Cooke, you could cause damage.

“Take the arm-work out of creating volume by learning how to backcomb properly,” Cooke explained to Marie Claire. “You don’t have to be vigorously back-brushing the hair for hours on end as this is only going to lead to damage.”

Need some guidance on how to give your hair some oomph without looking like you walked off the set of Showgirls? The editors at Byrdie take you through the tease.

4. Half Pony

Create the illusion of more volume by pulling half of your hair back and securing with a clip or ponytail holder.

“Putting your hair in a half-up, half-down style will give the appearance of fuller locks by separating the hair into two sections,” suggests Molly Carroll at StyleCaster.

“Keep it loose and simple and make sure to keep some volume at the roots,” she adds.

Remember, it’s all about building up your ponytail base. Create volume where you need it – and fake the rest.

5. Side Pony with Fishtail

Admittedly a fishtail is a braid – but it has the added benefit of making your hair look both fuller and classy as all get out.

Once you’ve created plenty of volume with mousse, a rough dry, and a blast of heat at the roots of your hair for extra lift, pull your hair to the side in a loose pony.

Now it’s time to get fishy. Braid the remaining hair in the four-stranded fishtail style, then secure with a hair tie. (You can take the first ponytail holder out once you’re done, for a long, loose braid.)

You can even “pancake” the individual plats of your braid, poofing them out a bit to give you even more volume.

6. Extensions

Sometimes we all just lust after a style we can’t have. When you want to go longer, sleeker, straighter and fuller all at once, extensions will give you the flexibility.

“Hair pieces had an iffy reputation for a while, but now they’re more common and the newer versions are fantastic,” hairstylist Matt Fugate told Refinery29. “The clip-in ponytail works well because you can add thickness to your own, or you can incorporate a ponytail hair piece into a chignon to make it thicker.”

Want to learn more about what kinds of extensions will work best with your budget and hair type?

Our post on keeping your hair healthy with extensions has everything you need to know about adding extensions for fuller, thicker hair.

Styling fine hair can be a challenge. It never seems to do what you want, and when it comes to updos, it’s almost easier to say, “Forget it.”

Don’t give up on your hair so easily! These 6 tips for thicker ponytails will give you the va-va-voom you’ve been missing and help give you the textured base you need for a killer casual style.

With a little bit of prep and plenty of texturizing spray, you can achieve maximum volume for your hair – and rock a full ponytail all summer long.

How do you style fine hair? Tell us about your go-to products for pulling off a ponytail in the comments below:

Images: Unsplash, Unsplash, Unsplash, Unsplash

8 Care Tips for Naturally Straight Hair

Just because you have the naturally straight hair other women lust after, doesn’t mean your hair care routines are a walk in the park.

In fact, your hair may even require a little more day-to-day maintenance, since straight hair is more susceptible to oil, dirt, and moisture.

Here are 8 of our care tips for ladies with naturally straight hair – and how you can get the shiny strands of your dreams:

1. You Need Regular Shampoos

Perhaps more than any other texture, straight-haired mavens need to stick to a regular shampoo schedule.

“Curlier, thicker hair tends to be drier and therefore does best with fewer washes and benefits from the buildup of natural oils,” explains Huffington Post’s beauty editor Ellie Krupnick. “But the minute my fine hair gets oily, it gets weighed down and screams out for a wash. More grease makes it limper.”

Wash every other day with a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo to keep from drying out your strands, and use a clarifying shampoo once a week to keep your hair from getting weighed down by product build-up.

You should feel squeaky clean and ready to style.

2. Try Dry Shampoo Between Shower Sessions

Because your hair and scalp may be on the oily side, use dry shampoo between your showering sessions or after a workout to cut down on sweat, dirt, and product buildup.

“Use your fingers to loosely lift and section the hair, and focus on spraying the root area,” hair stylist John D. told Glamour. “Keep the can six to 10 inches away from the scalp when applying. This way, you distribute it not just on but also around the roots.”

Once the dry shampoo has worked its magic sucking up dirt and oil, you should be able to massage your scalp, run your fingers through your hair, and sail out the door.

A word of caution: dry shampoo shouldn’t take the place of your regular shampoo.

It’s great in a pinch, especially for creating volume, but it builds up over time on your scalp – just like any other product!

3. Create Volume

Especially if you have fine, thin hair, you may be in need of a volume boost. Create lift by using a texturizing spray, then blow drying your hair upwards from the roots.

But be careful about which type of products you use, beauty editor Jada Wong advises.

“Naturally, volumizing products that promise lift and height sound like an easy solution, but…certain types of these products can be too heavy and will only weigh down hair,” writes Wong at Refinery29.

“Instead, try a dry texturizing spray,” she suggests. “Since these sprays add thickness all over, they won’t create unnecessary weight at the root, which is a recipe for limp strands later on.”

4. Be Careful With Conditioner

While women with coarse or curly hair can use the extra boost in moisture, some straight-haired women can easily overdo it when it comes to applying conditioner.

This is especially true if you have fine or thin hair, and you should be extra careful of the formula you purchase, says beauty editor Rachel Krause.

“Steer clear of thick, creamy formulas and opt instead for a lighter approach,” she writes at StyleCaster. “[The] best lightweight conditioners will give just the right amount of nourishment your hair needs without weighing it down or exacerbating oil production.”

Apply conditioner to the ends of your hair first, combing upward with your fingers. Never apply conditioner directly to your roots or scalp – unless you want to wind up with a greasy mess on your hands.

5. Give Your Blow Dryer’s Heat Settings a Workout

No – we don’t mean crank up the temperature. While you will need heat to get your volumizing sprays to do their thing, cool air can also help tame breakage or frizz.

First, says hairstylist Mark Townsend, rough dry your hair with your fingers, then apply a little bit of heat at your roots.

“Almost all volumizers you need to use a blow dryer with heat to activate them,” Townsend explained to Self.

Since too much heat can damage your hair, causing breakage or frizz, always finish your blow dry with a blast of cool air.

The cool air should help to set your style and add a healthy sheen to your locks.

6. Learn How to Battle Frizz

While curly-haired gals have to fight this battle, too, you’re not unfamiliar with frizz – especially when there’s humidity in the air.

Make your hair behave with a little dry oil, advises Cosmopolitan beauty editor Carly Cardellino.

“Keep straight hair from getting frizzy by brushing dry oil through it with a mixed bristle brush,” suggests Cardellino.

“While your hair is still wet, apply a moisture-locking dry oil…from your ends to midway up your hair shaft; oil acts as a barrier, keeping liquids from penetrating,” she explains.

Frizz halos, be gone!

7. Get the Right Brush

To prevent breakage, you’ll need the right brush at the right time. And for straight-haired ladies, that tool is a paddle brush.

“The flat surface makes this a great tool for smoothing, frizz, and static-fighting,” explains Sable Yong at StyleCaster.

“Plus, with its wide flat shape, it can fit more bristles on it and detangle your hair quicker and with less passes—so less shedding for you,” she adds.

But remember: never brush thick, straight hair with a paddle brush right out of the shower. You could wind up pulling, tangling, or breaking hair when it’s at its most fragile.

“To prevent shower-induced snarls, give your hair a brush before hopping in,” advises Renee Loux at Women’s Health. “If you like to comb in the shower, apply conditioner, untangle strands with your fingers, then use a wide-toothed comb before rinsing.”

Your hair will be happier, healthier, and shinier ever after.

8. See Your Stylist

Straight hair comes in all textures and densities, and it’s important to remember that your straight hair isn’t the same as someone else’s.

A good stylist will understand this, and give you a cut that caters to your particular texture. Your texture will also affect how often you head to the salon to keep your ends trimmed and your hair healthy.

While ladies with heavy, straight hair may be able to push their salon appointments to 8 weeks or more, women with fine hair aren’t so lucky.

“The challenge with fine hair is the need to constantly reshape it without cutting too much off,” stylist Nathaniel Hawkins told Allure.

According to Hawkins, you should wait at least 4 weeks to trim fine hair, but at 6 weeks, your hair will start to misbehave.

While your stylist can help you define – and tackle – your texture, you can learn more about your hair type at home by reading up on PopSugar’s natural hair type check list.

Which kind of texture do you have?

Don’t let straight hair fool you – it may look simple and straightforward to style, but naturally straight hair takes plenty of care and upkeep.

From mastering your shampoo and conditioner routine to zapping frizz during styling, there’s plenty you can do to make your naturally straight hair happy and healthy.

Have you discovered how to tame your naturally straight hair? Tell us what routines and products work for you in the comments below:

Images: Pexels, Pexels, Pexels, Pexels

Haircut Regret: How to Avoid It (And What To Do If It’s Too Late)

It’s happened to everyone. Your stylist turns you around in the chair, and you hate what you see in the mirror – you have haircut regret.

With a few simple steps, you can avoid haircut regret and the pain of an awkward growing out phase.

Too late? Sporting a haircut you hate? No problem – we have steps for working around a bad styling sesh, too:

How to Avoid Haircut Regret

1. Ask for a Consultation

Taking a chance on a brand new stylist is one of the most common ways people wind up with a hateable haircut.

When you call to set up an appointment with a new stylist, describe the kind of hair you have and ask to work with someone who has plenty of experience with your style and texture, suggests hairstylist Richard Mannah.

“If you’re specific enough with your hair type and your needs, they’ll think of someone who is experienced in say, curly hair or color, and pair you with them,” Mannah explained to InStyle.

Be sure to follow up with online reviews or ask friends about their experiences at a particular salon, too.

Nervous about sitting in the chair with someone new? A consultation can help you clarify what you’re looking for.

“The consultation is when we can see the hair texture when it’s dry, how you wear it, and when you can explain all of the little details of what you want done,” Mannah continued.

Use this time to make sure you and your new stylist are on the same page – and to come clean about your hair’s history.

“A client once told me her hair wasn’t chemically straightened, even though I specifically asked,” writes colorist Kyle White at Refinery29. “I used a strong bleach on what I thought was very coarse, heavy, thick, virgin hair. She had lied — and the ends of her hair melted off.”

Your new stylist won’t judge you for what you’ve done to your hair in the past – but they definitely need to know the whole story to make the right decision for you.

2. Bring a Picture

When it comes to describing hairstyles, words can only take you so far. Avoid hating your haircut by bringing a picture of the style you envision.

“With a visual, the stylist can provide expertise, like whether or not the hairstyle in question works with your face shape,” stylist Oscar Blandi told Glamour.

A photo is especially important if you’re trying to nail down a particular color, or you’re completely changing direction with your style to try something new.

Stylists may not be mind readers, but good ones will know what works well for your hair texture, shape, and color – a picture is just the starting point of the discussion!

3. Talk the Look Through

Not all hair textures will produce the kinds of styles you lust over in celeb magazine photos – but a good stylist will know what your texture is capable of.

“A lot of hairstylists don’t know how to deal with density or even texture,” hairstylist Jon Reyman warned Refinery29.

“Most hairdressers learn how to deal with length — the surface of the hair, the layers, and the perimeter — but they don’t know how to soften up the interior,” he added. “That’s a very specific skill.”

Your consultation is a great time to work out these first-time kinks.

Ask your new stylist to talk to you about the texture of your hair and their plan for the cut. A good stylist will be able to walk you through the whole thing before a strand is snipped.

4. Speak Up

As far as your new style goes, remember: you’re in the driver’s seat. If your stylist gets a gleam in her eye and starts making suggestions that sound way off base – speak up!

According to Reyman, a killer stylist should be able to help educate you about the decisions he or she is making.

“A client might say, ‘Don’t use a razor; that’s not good for my hair,’” Reyman explained to Refinery29. “Instead of just agreeing with them, a good hairstylist will ask what happened to them to make them think that’s not good. Then I can deduce if it was the technique or if that razor really didn’t work on their hair type.”

A back-and-forth with your stylist should help put you at ease and make you feel like you’re in capable hands.

What to Do If You Hate Your Haircut

1. Work Around It

Not all bad haircuts are created equal. With a bit of clever styling, you may be able to work around your cut until it grows in, or you have time to get used to your new ‘do.

“Incorporating chic hair accessories or exposed bobby pins into your style helps lessen the look of a cut gone wrong,” suggests Cosmopolitan beauty editor Carly Cardellino.

From hair clips and bobby pins to heated styling tools, play around to see what your new hair is capable of.

Playing around can also help you feel more comfortable with your new look.

2. Try New Products

One reason women wind up hating cuts? They aren’t prepared for how the new style changes their routine.

Whether you add in a new texturizing spray, play around with putty, or have to schedule an extra hour in the morning to futz with a flat iron, it may just be that this style requires more maintenance and upkeep than you were bargaining for.

If that’s the case – all it takes from here is time.

3. Opt for Extensions

If your haircut is truly awful and you can’t wait through the awkward growth phase you know is coming, extensions might be an option.

“Whether it’s clip-ins or a more permanent solution, if you find yourself feeling like you need a serious solution fast, you can cover up your true length while giving your locks time to grow,” advises Aly Walansky at StyleCaster.

Need to learn more about which extensions will work for you? Check out our post on how to wear and care for extensions.

4. Give It Time – But Be Proactive

All new cuts take some getting used to – and there’s good reason.

“Freshly cut hair ‘freaks out a bit,’ according to [celebrity stylist Lorean] Cairns, because new levels of the cuticle are exposed, so if your hair seems like a totally different beast, give it (and yourself) a week to calm down,” writes beauty editor Rachel Nussbaum at Allure.

Sometimes getting used to a new cut is really all about the waiting game, but it may be worth going back to the salon and voicing your unhappiness.

Be aware there’s an art to navigating this conversation, says stylist Devin Toth.

“Just like any other complaint, it always makes sense to have a positive dialogue that moves everyone forward towards a cut color that works,” Toth told Good Housekeeping.

“And be specific – if all you’re saying is that you dislike it, you aren’t giving your stylist any useful feedback to help you achieve your hair goals,” he added.

If you assume your stylist has good intentions, it’s easier to move forward, have a productive dialogue, and fix that cut for good.

Now that you know how to navigate your next styling sesh, hop into that seat without fear. The more you speak openly with your stylist about your hair’s history and what kind of style you’re after, the easier it will be to love your new ‘do.

Have you ever suffered from haircut regret? Tell us how you got over your bad chop in the comments below:

Images: Unsplash, Unsplash, Unsplash, Unsplash

Selfie Love: 8 Tips for Taking Your Best Hairstyle Photos Yet – and How One Stylist is Killing It on Instagram

Selfies – love ‘em or hate ‘em, you know you want to learn how to take ‘em.

Inspired by the creations of French hairstylist Frédéric Mennetrier, we wanted to find out what makes a good selfie great – especially when you have a new style to show off.

Here are 8 pro tips for taking your best hairstyle photos ever – and a look at how Mennetrier is killing it on Instagram:

1. Spotlight, Please!

Since we don’t walk around backlit by our own inner glow (unlike Béyonce, #blessed), it’s important to find strong natural light for your photo, says lighting expert Bentley Meeker.

“Until about 150 years ago, we saw each other only in daylight or firelight,” Meeker told InStyle, “and both are full-spectrum sources of light.”

An added bonus? Natural light will make your hair look soft, shiny, and healthy.

If you take a peek at Mennetrier’s Instagram account, you’ll notice he posts a mix of natural and salon-lit photos.

And, according to Meeker, there’s nothing wrong with beauty lights – they can even showcase your naturally rosy cheeks.

“Halogen brings out the rosier tones in the skin,” Meeker explained. Just be sure to do your makeup in that particular light, he cautions.

“I’ve had women show up [to events] and once they’re under the lights, I can see the differences in their face and neck color from foundation,” Meeker said.

Ouch.

2. Bare your Shoulders

You don’t have to go full Kim Kardashian. But, according to the styling experts at Madison Reed, showing a little skin can actually help direct the eye upward, to your hairstyle.

“A bare neckline – think tank top or wide-neck top – offers a great contrast to your hair,” writes stylist Cheryl Locke.

“Also, your hair will pop when you style yourself in a different color top from that of your hair.”

Mennetrier’s models might not be baring it all, but many of them are wearing neutral palettes: black, white, and even olive or taupe.

Your eye immediately zeroes in on their hairstyle, rather than their outfit – which means Mennetrier’s work shines bright.

3. Work Your Good Side

All feelings about duckface aside, there’s a reason you see people angling their phones when trying to take a selfie.

There really is a trick to capturing the most flattering photo, says beauty editor Lauren Valenti. And who knows the value of a flattering selfie angle better than the queen of selfies, Kim Kardashian?

“Kardashian has said in countless interviews that when it comes to finding her best angles for a selfie, it’s all about 1) Keeping her chin down and 2) Holding the camera up a bit higher than face level, which ensures her features appear more streamlined,” writes Valenti at Marie Claire.

While Mennetrier’s account doesn’t deal in selfies, per se, the photos are taken from flattering angles – and aren’t selfies more fun when they’re us-ies, anyway?

4. Master the Flip

Want to look like you sailed off the runway? Then you should master the hair flip, says stylist Riawna Capri, who has worked with Selena Gomez.

“I like to tell my clients to do a hair toss before taking a picture,” Capri told InStyle. “It adds lift.”

If you’re having trouble creating volume naturally, you may need to recharge your hair’s batteries with a good shampoo.

“It’s true – volume starts at the root,” celebrity stylist Jen Atkin told Glamour. “And it really does matter what you wash with. You want something that’s super cleansing.”

Make sure you look for a clarifying shampoo with plenty of nutrients – that way you can get rid of product buildup without drying out your hair.

Before starting your photo shoot, dry carefully with an ion hairdryer – diffusing if necessary and brushing hair out and away from the roots to create a little lift.

5. Create Movement

All’s fair in love and war…and fashion. According to beauty editor Jelani Addams Rosa, ladies with serious selfie ambitions should steal an age-old trick from photo shoots: use a fan.

“A fan…create[s] glamorous movement in your hair,” writes Rosa at Seventeen. “Just make sure to set it up a couple of feet away from you (think: light breeze, not tornado).”

While Mennetrier doesn’t seem to put his clients under a ceiling fan during their photo shoots, his cuts and styling emphasize texture and movement.

If your hair’s feeling a little blah in the summer heat, try a little dry shampoo, suggests Victoria Moorhouse at StyleCaster.

“While dry shampoo absorbs the oils that collect near your scalp, it also works to give straight hair movement and texture,” writes Moorhouse.

“To get the look, spray in dry shampoo throughout your hair. Wind strands around your fingers and scrunch it up to work in the product. This simple movement will give straight hair a windswept, ‘woke up like this’ texture.”

Maybe we can be like Queen Bey after all!

6. Get Creative

Mennetrier’s work is fun because it’s whimsical, which helps him highlight his personality and his clients’ killer styles.

Don’t be afraid to branch out and get creative in your own staging – think about how your environment might highlight your style.

And, says beauty editor Sarah Walter, there’s nothing wrong with doing a little “life edit” before you start taking pics.

“You want your clicks to capture the real you, but nobody needs to see your dirty laundry, old Starbucks cups, or unmade bed,” advises Walter at InStyle.

You want to look ah-mazing, so make sure your background helps you put your best foot forward.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Edit

Let’s face it: when we roll out of bed in the morning, we’re not about to #nofilter our way through an Instagram style-a-thon.

Even the great Kim Kardashian uses filters and cropping to highlight her best features on Insta.

“A lot has to do with how your crop it,” Kardashian told Jimmy Kimmel, according to Marie Claire. “If you don’t like something on your body, you just crop it.”

Other good selfie tools include Perfect365 (Kardashian’s app of choice) and PhotoWonder. For more ideas, check out this great list from StyleCaster.

8. Before & After

Are you trading in your natural color for pastels or an ash blonde? Nothing says transformation quite like a killer “before and after” shot.

The key to taking a good one is to set yourself up in front of the same background for both photos – no matter how many days, or weeks, later you happen to shoot.

Try not to take your “big reveal” shot in a brand new location – like when you’re on vacation or visiting friends from three states over. (Save those pics for something else!)

Keeping your background the same in each photo will help you show off your amazing transformation – and help your audience focus on your killer new ‘do.

Whether you take pics every day or simply want to master the hairstyle selfie, there’s an art to making yourself look good on your phone.

Follow these styling tips to make sure you find your light, give your hair lots of volume and texture, and strike the pose guaranteed to bring in those likes.

Do you take selfies to keep track of your good hair days? Tell us what makes you feel like snapping a pic in the comments below:

Images: Pexels, Instagram, Instagram, Pexels

The Ugly Truth About Your Hair Products … Kicking Silicone to the Curb


Taking the time to get to know your hair care products may make you cringe if you’re not familiar with reading the ingredient names on the labels. Typical products may make your hair look and feel really great, but the truth is that many hair products contain ingredients that can actually damage your hair. The long term effects of these types of ingredients can eventually lead to hair that is dull, limp, and breaks. Specifically, the culprit here is a popular ingredient called Silicone.

Silicone is like plastic. It acts as as a sealant against water and air, preventing moisture from penetrating the hair shaft. This unnatural ingredient can give your hair the illusion of shine, but it is anything but healthy for your hair. Not only will it weigh your hair down, but the lack of moisture will cause your hair to become brittle and eventually break over time. And don’t even think of getting any benefits from the other ingredients in a silicone-based product. The “plastic” layer you just added with the silicone prevents any nutrients from penetrating the hair shaft as well.

Silicones are also hydrophobic, which means that they are difficult to wash out. This will cause the hair to look and feel heavy and greasy. This will likely make you to want to wash and style your hair more than necessary leading to even more damage.

So, what makes silicones so popular, and why are they used? Silicones, on the surface, give the hair the look we want. In essence, silicones smooth the cuticles, get rid of the frizzies, and give the hair a temporary shine. It makes detangling wet hair easy because of the added slip and can make hair that is damaged or dry look healthy instantly. Because of this, manufacturers can’t get enough of adding this product to their formulas. Mostly you’ll find silicones in your conditioners, detanglers, and some “oil” products. Be careful, some of these “oil” products contain less than 1% oil and are really just pure silicone.

Silicones provide a quick fix, but long lasting damage. Healthy hair actually shines because the cuticle layer is sealed and light reflects off the hair. This only happens when hair is properly hydrated and kept as healthy as possible. Healthy hair is also easy to detangle because of the sealed cuticle.

If your hair is dry and brittle, coating it with “plastic-y” ingredients like silicone will actually just make matters worse. The deposits that silicones leave behind deposits that will lead to limp and dull strands. If you’ve ever wondered why your hair is so dry even though you use “moisture” products, you can likely contribute it to the consistent use of silicone based products. Does your hair ever appear flat and lackluster? This is yet another effect of silicones on the hair.

So, how can you spot silicones in your hair products? Look for anything that ends in “cone.” Common names include Dimethicone, Methicone, Cyclomethicone, Amodimethicone, Dimethiconol, Cyclomethicone/Cyclopentasiloxane…and the list goes on. Also, ingredients are listed in order of the hightest to lowest concentration. That means that the closer an ingredient is to the top of the list, the more of it is in the product.

This is one of the things that makes Hairfinity SO different from other hair care brands.  ALL Hairfinity hair care products are free of silicones and other damaging ingredients. Our “Pure and Proven” hair care system will give your hair an instant makeover that only gets better with time. You will notice your hair getting healthier and you will not need to use as much styling products to get the look you want. You will also notice that you don’t need as much shampoo and conditioner (which means your hair products last longer). This is because your hair will actually become healthier overtime.

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Goodbye, Heavy Contouring: How New Natural Makeup Trends Can Affect Your Hairstyle

Tired of heavy contouring? Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, who helped make contouring one of fashion’s most-buzzed about trends, is over it, too, and is all about natural makeup trends.

“I think it’s great that [women] know how to do heavy makeup and they know how to contour, but I think it’s so important for them to also feel comfortable doing natural looks,” Dedivanovic told Glamour in January.

For ladies who don’t want to spend hours in front of the mirror, a return to natural makeup trends feels like it’s been a long time coming.

Here’s everything you need to know about new trends in natural makeup – and how you can switch up your hairstyle to match:

Leave Contouring Behind for the Summer

Just because contouring looks good on the runway or in a fashion shoot doesn’t mean it’s a good look when you’re headed out to the pool.

In fact, Dedivanovic told Grazie, an Italian magazine, that he’s trying to get women to understand contouring isn’t the only tool you should have in your makeup kit.

“A defined brow, a simple bit of liner, a little pop of color in the lips and natural skin is really great and it’s the way I would go if I was a woman and had to wear makeup everyday,” Dedivanovic said.

Even if you’re having fun playing around with contouring, wearing heavy makeup in the summer can be a disaster, says beauty editor Marianne Mychaskiw.

“Too much makeup in peak heat and humidity can clog your pores and trigger a breakout,” writes Mychaskiw at InStyle, “so we recommend swapping your weighty products for a lightweight tinted moisturizer, and applying concealer only in areas where your skin needs a little extra love.”

And at the end of the day, it’s more important than ever to remember to take all that makeup off before you hit the hay.

Forgetting to wash your face before bed is actually “one of the biggest mistakes” you can make, according to dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross.

“Doing so can block pores, leaving oil trapped inside,” Gross explained to Refinery29. “This leads to bacteria build up, breakouts, and enlarged pores – which are many of the reasons women wear makeup in the first place.”

Use makeup remover, cleansing oil, or micellar water to take off most of your makeup for the evening, then follow up with your regular cleanser and a night cream for hydration.

The result? Perfectly clean, moisturized skin that makes the perfect base for a natural look.

How to Rock the Natural Makeup Trend

Ever wonder how celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Alicia Keyes manage to look polished and put together once the weather gets hotter?

Strategy. And we’re not just talking “no-makeup makeup,” which can be incredibly time- and product-intensive.

Instead, try out tinted moisturizer, a small swipe of color on the cheeks, and mascara for the ultimate pared-back natural look.

“Creme blushes work well because you can rub them in as much as you like for a dramatic or subtle look,” advises Taylor Post at StyleCaster. “Depending on your skin color, blush colors will vary – but peaches tend to look great on everyone.”

For Dedivanovic, pulling off a more natural look is all about a strategically-placed pop of color – like the sheer red eyeshadow he used to style Naomie Harris at this year’s Oscars.

The other key? A nude lip.

“To me, it’s the sexiest kind of lip,” Dedivanovic told People. “It’s usually a really natural lip liner and a mixture of 3 or 4 lipsticks that I always mix on my hand.”

Need some ideas for natural looks for the summer? Check out this post from Natural Healthy Concepts.

How to Wear Your Hair with Natural Makeup

Ready to embrace the natural makeup trend but need hair to match? We’ve got you covered. Here are 5 ways to wear your hair when everything else is pared back:

1. Beachy Waves

Nothing says calm, cool, and comfy quite like beach-inspired waves. While this style takes a bit of prep work to pull off, you’ve saved time on your makeup, so it all balances out.

The key to a good beachy wave is to use product – like a salt spray – on damp hair first, before letting hair air dry or diffusing.

“Salt sprays are terrific for creating texture in even the finest hair, thereby recreating the tousled waves of a beach day,” advises Annie Crawford at Bustle.

To learn more about summer hair care, check out our post on How to Keep Your Hair Healthy All Season Long.

2. Natural Textures

Why not pair a natural face with the natural texture of your hair?

Whether you twist it up, puff it out, or just grab a head wrap, the point of wearing your natural hair in the summer is to go with the flow – no sense in fighting heat and humidity!

If you’re looking for natural hairstyles that will help you cool off, check out this incredible list of styling suggestions from the team at BuzzFeed.

3. Shaggy Bob

Want to show off your features without using makeup? A shaggy bob – with more graphic features like bangs or face-framing layers – can help define your cheekbones and eyes.

This was the look hairstylist Guido Palau embraced for the spring/summer 2017 runway, explains fashion editor Lisa Niven at Vogue.

“Surfer-style beauty was finished off with choppy blonde shags at Alexander Wang, where he convinced almost half of the models to let him bleach their hair,” writes Niven, “longer styles were lopped into bobs backstage at Prada, [and] fringes cut at Gucci.”

While you don’t have to bleach your hair, you can ask for a flattering, face-framing style to showcase your new natural look.

4. Braids Galore

Braids are pretty much the ultimate summer styling weapon. And not only do they keep you cool, but they’re all over the runways this year, too.

“Anyone who’s ever had bangs shellacked against their forehead or hair stuck to the back of their neck… knows that braids are the hair equivalent of a portable A/C unit,” writes Jenna Rosenstein at Allure.

Whether you pull your long hair back in a loose braid or go for a whole headful of hair extensions, braids look down-to-earth and as pretty as your pared-back makeup palette.

Need a few styling tips? Glamour has got you covered.

5. Pony Up

Classic and chic, the ponytail was all over the 2017 fashion week runways. It was especially a knockout at Monique Lhuillier, says fashion editor Jenna Rosenstein.

“Hairstylist Bob Recine pulled the hair back into a ponytail right in the middle of the head,” reports Rosenstein at Harper’s Bazaar. “The hair was loosely gathered, giving the appearance that the girls might have just quickly pulled back their hair themselves.”

It’s a girl-next-door look that pairs perfectly with natural makeup – plus, you can dress it up or down by adding a pop of color on the lip.

Now that we’re so over contouring, it’s time to embrace au natural looks for summer. As Dedivanovic reminded his fans, it’s all about feeling cool and comfortable in your own skin.

Once you have your natural palette picked out for the face, be sure to try one of these complementary hairstyles for pared-back chic.

Have you tried a natural makeup trend that seems like the perfect solution for summer? Tell us about it in the comments below:

Images: Pexels, Pexels, Pexels, Unsplash

Eyebrow Trends: Crazy or Cool? Here are 5 to Try

If you’re an Instagram fiend, you’ve probably taken notice of the wild eyebrow trends taking over social media.

From feathered brows to sculpted looks, stylists are taking more liberties than ever with eyebrows – just as they would with hair.

Here are 5 eyebrow trends you can totally try – but you’ll have to decide for yourself if they’re crazy or cool!

1. Feather Brows

According to Marie Claire, the stylist who posted this offbeat look was just joking around.

“As part of her April Fool’s prank this year, makeup artist Stella Sironen declared that she would be starting a new eyebrow shape that looks like an actual bird feather,” reports beauty editor Clara Siew. “But when Instagram decided to take her seriously, she decided to just go with the flow.”

Still, if these feathered friends look appealing, they’re within reach – as long as you have some styling time and glue.

Check out beauty editor Carly Cardellino’s experiments with the feather brow – and other trends – at Cosmo.

2. Barbed Wire Brows

Not to be outdone, makeup artist Athena Paginton responded to feathered brows with her own twist: barbed wire brows.

(You heard that right.)

With a little gel – and a lot of coaxing – Paginton twisted her brows into the classic barbed wire shape.

This punk-inspired trend will make you look ferocious – but it may not be for all eyebrow types, cautions Cardellino.

The look was difficult to recreate because “…my brows were fighting against their normal growth pattern in a major way,” Cardellino writes at Cosmo. She ended up using tons of spray on them to keep them in place.

You’ve been warned!

3. Dragon Brows

Dragon brows aren’t for the faint of heart. This look requires quite a lot of glue, gel, and coaxing, too. The idea is to shape your brow into a pointed ridge – much like a dragon’s back.

“I wanted to embrace the opportunity to move away from the cookie-cutter brows that are so common and try to have more fun with my expression-caterpillars,” the 23-year-old creator of the look told Allure.

That’s one way of putting it!

As with feather brows and barbed wire brows, the young makeup artist who created dragon brows was playing around on Instagram – but that doesn’t make her sculpting abilities any less impressive.

4. Sculpted Brows

Feeling brave? Try calling attention to your eye makeup – and your brows – by sculpting out the negative space around them with makeup or paint.

“This, perhaps, is the most unwearable [trend] of all,” writes Rachel Krause at Refinery29. “It looks like a racing stripe, or a Nike swoosh, and while it’s an interesting look, it also begs the question: Have ‘brow trends’ gone too far?”

(They really might have.)

If you want to play around with negative space along the brow, it may be easier to experiment with eyeshadow instead.

“The trick is to leave a section of your eyelid totally makeup free,” explains beauty editor Kelsey Stiegman at Seventeen, “and apply shadow around the empty space.”

Love it or hate it, experimenting with space seems very 2017.

5. Thick & Defined

Okay, we couldn’t leave you hanging without showcasing one of the most popular – and wearable – trends from the runways. Think thick, defined brows à la Cara Delevingne or Emilia Clarke.

Getting the look is all about creating volume and definition. Grab your brow brush and a brow pencil that matches your haircolor to start filling in your natural brow line.

“Begin filling the center of the brow using light pressure and a short back-and-forth motion; work outward,” brow artist Maribeth Madron explained to Glamour. “Finish by penciling in the inner corner.”

Once this is all blended, you should have a thick and defined brow that any celebrity would envy. But, according to brow artist Sania Vucetaj, it’s easy to go overboard.

“I love that people are finally embracing bold brows but I also warn people that there is a difference between heavy and full,” Vucetaj explained to Bustle. “Brows should always frame the eyes and face.”

Need some more tips on grooming your brows? Read on for more expert styling advice.

Brow Grooming 101

Whether you stay on trend for 2017 or just need a refresher course, grooming your brows is just as important as styling your hair.

Since eyebrows are such distinctive face-framing features, it’s important to take it easy between appointments. Most brows take about 6 to 8 weeks to grow in, which can make overplucking a disaster.

That’s why you should carefully space out your appointments, suggests makeup artist Sebastian Latiolais.

“The standard amount of time for brow maintenance is three to four weeks,” Latiolais told Teen Vogue.

Because brows grow so slowly, leave those tweezers alone when you’re between appointments, too. Not only can it disrupt how your new shape grows in, but you could cause more permanent damage to your brows.

“When I start working with a client, it’s typical that their brows are too thin and uneven [due to over-tweezing],” Latiolais explained. “It’s important to become aware of this habit and to stop, because before you know it, your brows will be gone.”

That’s right, tweezer fiends – back off before it’s too late.

When it comes to defining your brows for a night out on the town, a little makeup goes a long way. Most makeup artists depend on three primary tools when defining a brow – but they use a light touch.

“Pencil for structure, powder for color, and then a gel to settle the hairs and keep them in place,” brow expert Maribeth Madron told Refinery29.

Before you start filling in your brows, though, it’s important to find the shape of your natural arch with a brush, advises Krause.

“Combing to the side will keep hairs tamed, but it won’t actually show you where your arch is,” writes Krause at StyleCaster. “[Pushing] those hairs upward will help you get a better idea of the way your brows are naturally shaped, so you’ll know where you need to sketch out and fill in rather than approaching it arbitrarily.”

Once you’ve established the shape of your brows, try these expert tips from Mario Dedivanovic, Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist, for natural-looking definition:

“I usually start by brushing the brows up or down [with a spoolie], and then I lightly fill them in anywhere they need it with a brow pencil—mainly along the outer corners,” explains Dedivanovic at Cosmopolitan.

“Next, I define the shape by taking a brow brush and shadow—I use one that’s one shade lighter than the pencil I used beforehand, which softens the look and adds dimension—to set everything,” he adds.

Set your look with a little bit of eyebrow gel, and you’re ready to rock.

A dramatic chop or cut and color tend to get plenty of attention – but don’t our brows deserve a little bit of love, too? Brows help anchor our features and can define a look, as anyone who’s brave enough to try feather brows or dragon brows well knows.

But you don’t have to embrace the crazy eyebrow trends of 2017 to feel put together. Styling your brows as an extension of your look is simply another way to embrace self care.

Take a healthy approach to tweezing and sculpting your arches, in order to prevent damage a brow expert won’t be able to undo. As long as you’re tweezing with care, the sky’s the limit when it comes to flaunting your on-trend look.

Have you tried an Instagram eyebrow trend IRL? Tell us how it went in the comments below:

Images: Pexels, Instagram, Instagram, Pexels

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