Archive for May, 2016

How to Take Your Best Before & After Ever!

Friday, May 27th, 2016

db-blog-May-2016-before-after

Before & after photos are a big part of marketing hair extensions services. They show prospective clients what you’ve accomplished in the past, and give them some insight into what their hair could look like in the future. Needless to say, it’s important that your B&As look good! But if you’re sitting there thinking, “I’m a stylist, not a photographer–how am I going to take a professional-level photo?”–don’t you worry. Our photographer friend has shared some easy tips that will have you snapping Instagram-worthy shots in no time (no photo gadgets necessary).

Find the right light. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. What we mean by the “right light” is a diffused light. Consider this: portraits taken outside turn out better when the weather is slightly overcast, as opposed to your standard beautiful sunny day. That’s because direct sunlight is too harsh, highlighting imperfections and leaving clear-cut, high-contrast shadows that are better suited to edgy editorial pieces. Overcast/diffused light is more gentle and forgiving. Achieve diffused light in your salon by investing in some sheer curtains to put over your windows, or white lampshades to put over your lights.

Set up a formation. Ever wonder why you look so much better in your bathroom mirror or in the mirror backstage at a show? Even though the lights are shining directly at you (no filter or diffuser other than the glass) the effect is still gentle and soft. That’s most likely due to the arrangement of the lights. One of the most flattering lighting tools used in photo shoots and videos is the ring light–a light that’s shaped like a ring. The ring light casts light evenly around all sides of the subject, producing an ethereal glow. You can recreate a ring light in your salon by adding LED lights around your salon mirrors (which will also give your clients an optimal reflection of themselves to look at while you’re working).

Position your subject. The area you want to photograph should be facing your lighting arrangement, not facing away from it. That means that, if your lighting arrangement is around your mirror, your client should sit with her back facing the mirror. If you’d like to feature the added length or texture produced by your work, opt for a back-shot. If you’d like to showcase your blending work, take a photo from the back but toward one side, so you get a glimpse of the face frame. You should also direct your client to look just slightly downward, so that their silhouette appears more natural (not elongated). When you’re taking the photo, try to keep the camera level with the base of your client’s head, so that this area becomes the center of the photograph.

Position Yourself. If your client is positioned with her back facing a light source that is attached to a wall (mirror lights or window), you won’t be able to get on the other side of the lights for the picture. Instead of standing in-between the client and the light source for the picture (which would cast shadows over her hair), utilize either a selfie-stick to get the camera behind the client’s head, or the mirror itself by standing in front of your client and taking a picture of her hair’s reflection. Try to position yourself outside of the camera frame in these situations.

Check your camera settings. Whether you’re taking the photo with a camera or a cell phone. You’ll want to check the settings to make sure they’re ideal to your shooting environment. Check your zoom, aperture and shutter speed (if relevant), color balance and/or filter settings, at minimum.

Take multiples. Sometimes it’s hard to tell how well a photo turned out just by looking at a viewfinder or smartphone screen. Once you transfer that photo to a computer, though, all the details get blown up, and you can see clearly whether the focus is off, the lighting is flared, or the composition isn’t centered on the back of the head. Taking multiple photos from the beginning will prevent you from having to make do with the one photo you did take.

Have you got all of that down? As with anything else in life, achieving the perfect B&A will take practice, but we know you can do it! So go ahead and send those B&A photos our way. Please and thank you!

 

Tackling Spring Fever and Extension Burnout

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

db-blog-May-2016-burnout

The weather outside is nice, the salon is hot, and all you want to do is sit under a tree, soaking it all in. We get it. Spring fever is a real thing, whether it involves getting allergy-sick or just plain sluggish, and it can happen to stylists just as much as anyone else. It’s even worse if you’ve been working hard all winter (which we know you have) and you get a double dose of spring fever and burnout-related fatigue. So how do you fight off the lethargy and get back to your energetic self? We’ve got some tips:

Open all the blinds. If you want that glorious sunlight, let yourself have it. Open the blinds, dim the interior lights, and let the natural light fill your space unhindered. Sunshine is great for making you feel awake, and also for keeping your happiness hormones going. Crack a window while you’re at it, too, for some good old fresh air–unless someone is dealing with really bad allergies, in which case…

Install an air purifier. Allergies are no joke, and they can seriously put a damper on your spring and summer. If you’ve got the itchy-sneezy variety of spring fever–or someone who spends time in your salon does–try installing an air purifier. It’ll help to remove allergens from the inside air and keep your space feeling fresh as a springtime breeze.

Add a scent. Good smells can immediately boost your mood, and even increase your productivity. Plus, they add charm and character to a space and are just generally nice to have. Try something like candles, reed diffusers, or even potpourri, among many other things. Or you can invest in a plug-in scent diffuser like this.

Play some music. Whether it’s something upbeat to get you moving, or something a little slow and introspective to mirror your mood, music is a healing art that can help you deal with your emotions while you work. Plus, customers tend to love it, too.

Switch things up. If you haven’t performed your spring cleaning duties in your salon, you absolutely should. Spring is a time when everything feels new again, and if your working space doesn’t get an update to match the season, you might start to feel stuck. Make the place feel like it did when it was new, or reorganize the setup to create a different feel. Clear those cobwebs out of your mind, and from under your seat, too.

Take a break. Still feel a bit blue? Or, worse, are you legitimately under the weather? Stay home! It’s okay to take a break now and then, and spring/summer is typically a great time to do it. Give yourself permission to plan a day for yourself or your family. You can even take a break without taking a workday off! Invite some of your coworkers out after hours for some bonding and seasonal fun. The world is your oyster.

Reinvigorate your practice. Maybe you’re dealing with something a little more profound than just spring fever or a little burnout. Maybe you’re starting to feel tired with your work, or limited in your prospects. That’s normal, and, luckily, there are some easy fixes for it. Here at DB, we always offer stylists opportunities for professional development and continued education, and experiences with other stylists from around the country. Look into one of our Pro Series events, or catch us at a Trade Show to get to know the gang. They’re a lot of fun, and they’re designed to kick your career into the next level.

What’s your advice for beating spring fever? Did you try any of these tips? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

 

Donna Bella’s Summer Favorites!

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

db-blog-May-2016-summerfav

Ready to hit the sun, sand, and surf? Not without your hair-protective products, you’re not! Summer is just a month away, so now’s the time to get preparing. Here are our top picks for beautiful and healthy hair and hair extensions–all season long!

UV Protection. Always, always, always a must. We’re liking the feel of Aveda’s Sun Care Protective Hair Veil, which boasts 16 hours of water-resistant sun protection. No need to reapply throughout the day (like your sunscreen!), and no need to worry about your silky strands frizzing up. Just keep swimming without a care in the world.

Texturizing Spray. For those hat-wearing days, spritz some Living Proof Instant Texture Mist to your roots, then enjoy up to 48 hours of non-stop volume. This stuff is also great for recreating that classic beachy wave, whether you heat the beach or not.

Anti-Frizz. For you curly-types who need a little flyaway maintenance, try something like Bumble and bumble Defrizz–a frizz-fighting hair softener with a refreshingly short ingredients list. We especially love that whole “works in any weather” thing.

Hair Oil. Your summer hair can never get enough moisture, so help yourself to this super nourishing and gentle Donna Bella Argan Oil, made to correct dryness for smooth, silky hair.

Conditioning Mask. Kick the deep-conditioning up a notch with a luxurious conditioning mask like our Donna Bella KeraExtend™ Mask. Designed to add moisture back to sun-dried locks, it’s kind of like hitting the reset button after a long day outdoors.

What are your summer hair care picks? Have you stumbled upon any noteworthy hair mask recipes lately? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Getting to Know the Ingredients Label – Part 2!

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

db-blog-May-2016-labelpt2

Now that we’re all caught up on the chemicals we should be avoiding in our hair care products, let’s talk about ingredients that your hair will love! Some of these will depend on your hair type, but more than a few of them are universal favorites. So without further ado, here’s the bright side of the ingredients label.

Panthenol. Looking for moisture in the form of a good conditioning agent? This is the ingredient for you. According to EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, this little number is a variety of vitamin B5 that comes from animals or plants. Talk about keeping it natural.

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein. Here’s an ingredient that will condition your hair and form a protective film around the follicle to retain moisture, without all the garbage side-effects and hardcore buildup.

Lauryl Glucoside. This gentle surfactant will clear the dirt off your scalp without stripping your hair bare of its natural oils, since it also has some conditioning properties. Plant-based and biodegradable, the stuff is even sold directly from naturallythinking.com.

Cetearyl Alcohol. Still want to get that lathery foam from your cleansing products? Try cetearyl alcohol, the Lush-approved emulsifier free of the allergic side-effects of propylene glycol and the cancerous associations of ethanolamines.

Hydrolyzed Keratin. Keratin, the protein that makes up your hair and skin, is great for reinforcing the strength of your natural locks and mending breakage. Hydrolyzed Keratin is even moisture-binding, so you can strengthen and hydrate your hair at once.

Polyquaternium-55. Instead of relying on isopropyl alcohol for hold, try this ingredient. It scores a healthy 1 in EWG’s database.

p-Anisic Acid. Don’t like the sound of parabens? Opt for products with this preservative, instead. It’s a naturally-occurring germ killer that also promotes a pleasant smell.

Potassium Sorbate. Speaking of naturally-occurring preservatives, have you ever heard of potassium sorbate? Also repels microbes; also adds a nice scent.

Natural oils and butters. We think it’s safe to say that if it’s okay to eat, it’s okay to put in your hair. Natural ingredients are all the rage right now (as they should be), and there are lots of homemade recipes and boutique blends out there to choose from. Some good picks include: shea butter, coconut oil, aloe vera juice, jojoba oil, castor seed oil, tea tree oil, avocado oil, and vegetable glycerin. Check out this slideshow from Refinery29 to find the best picks for your hair type.

What are your favorite hair care products? What ingredients do they use? And what ingredients work best for you? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Getting to Know the Ingredients Label

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

db-blog-April-2016-label

There’s a big wide world of beauty products out there, and not all of them are your friends. In the last few weeks, we’ve talked about how to find products that complement your hair type. This week, we’re telling you about some ingredients in products that don’t complement anyone, least of all extension-wearers. So here are those chemical names, decoded, so you can start getting to know those ingredients labels a bit better.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate. You’ve definitely heard of this one before. Sulfates are the number one ingredient you should be avoiding if you’re wearing hair extensions because they dry out your hair like crazy. Ideally, though, everyone should avoid the stuff if they can help it. They strip the natural oils off of your head, preventing the healthy distribution of said oils to the lengths of your hair. NOT recommended if you want well-hydrated hair.

Isopropyl Alcohol. We’re looking at you, hairspray. Isopropyl alcohol (otherwise known as rubbing alcohol) is another ingredient that can seriously dry out hair, and it’s found in a disheartening number of products designed to keep your hair in place. In large quantities or concentrations, this ingredient can even dry hair out to the point of breaking off.

Propylene Glycol. Products that come out of the bottle as a foam or emulsion more likely than not contain this chemical. It’s an anti-freeze that contributes to the liquid state of a product, and opinion is divided on the relative toxicity of the chemical. In general, concentrations of propylene glycol used in cosmetics are considered safe, but we recommend that those of you with sensitive or damaged skin, eczema, or other skin conditions refrain from using products with this ingredient, as it can cause allergic reactions.

Petrolatum/Mineral Oil. These ingredients form a plastic-y film around your hair strands in order to seal in moisture, but the barrier is so effective that your hair basically can’t breathe through it. This can ultimately impair hair growth.

Ethanolamines (DEA/MEA/TEA). These guys are supposed to emulsify your products (make them foam) and help maintain a healthy pH level in your hair and scalp, but they have the unfortunate side-effect of drying your hair and skin out. More importantly, they’ve also been linked to cancer!

Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde-donors, and Parabens. We’re lumping all of these ingredients together, even though they definitely have some differences. Formaldehyde is supposed to temper the carcinogenic properties of other ingredients, formaldehyde-donors are chemicals like ureas and DMDM Hydantoin that act as preservatives in beauty products, and parabens are antimicrobial preservatives. What these guys all have in common is a potential link to cancer and immune-system problems. As much as we love beautiful hair, it’s not worth compromising your overall health to achieve it.

Fragrance. If you see “fragrance” or “perfume”/”parfum” on the label of a product, that’s basically code for “and many other chemicals we won’t list here.” Skip the ambiguity in favor of an unscented blend. If you really can’t deal without your signature hair scent, try to recreate it with essential oils.

Need help sorting out which hair (and skin) products are safe to use on your body? EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database has proven invaluable for us, and we think it can help you out, too. Try it out, and let us know what you think!