Undergoing Renovations...

Hey all! Brown Bombshell Beauty is currently going through a major makeover! The site will be down for the next few days, but check back later in the week for a new and improved Brown Bombshell Beauty! Thanks for your patience!

Phyto Friends and Family Sale

It's that time of year! Time for the annual Phyto Friends and Family Sale! The sale starts today at 9am EST and runs through Wednesday at 5pm EST.

You can can crazy good deals on TONS of luxurious Phyto products. Last year I went Phyto crazy and stocked up on PhytoSpecific Hair Relaxer, which is nearly 50% off again this year!

My other top Phyto picks include Phytonectar Oil Treatment, $18, Phytolaque Soie Hairspray, $10.80 and PhytoSpecific Intense Nutrition Mask, $16.80.

Be sure to head over to the sale and pick up your goodies because supplies won't last!

Product Love: L'Oreal Elnett Hair Spray

For me, L'Oreal Elnett Hairspray, $15 was one of those cult products I'd heard about for years but never had the chance to use. And not because I didn't try! This coveted spray didn't become available in the US until this year, and now I see what all the hype was about. This stuff is amazing!

My short hair needs hairspray to keep my curls from falling, and Elnett does the job without being stiff or crunchy. I can comb through my hair with no problem, and my curls still stay put!

This is definitely one of the better hairsprays out there, and I'll be keeping it in beauty stash from now on. Right now, Elnett is only available at Target stores and at Target.com, but I hear that it will be available soon in other stores. So keep an eye out!

Bargain Beauty: GVP Silk Remedy vs. CHI Silk Infusion

I recently have come to the realization that my beauty spending is way out of control. Like, way out of control. So, I've been pinching pennies where I can, and have made some great beauty discoveries along the way. So, I'll be sharing these with you in a new series called Bargain Beauty!

My first Bargain Beauty discovery was found at Sally Beauty Supply (I have a feeling that I'm going to find a lot of great things there!). My friend and hairstylist Monica swears by CHI Silk Infusion, and with good reason. It protects the hair from heat, and gives great shine.

So imagine my surprise and delight to find a less expensive equally effective alternative! GVP Silk Remedy has the same exact ingredients, and gives me the same glossy hair when flat ironing. And a little goes a long way so I'll have this bottle for a long time! GVP Silk Remedy has become a staple in my hairstyling routine. Try a little dab of this before you flat iron, and you'll love the results!

Want me to help you find a Bargain Beauty steal? Email me at brownbombshellbeauty@gmail.com, and I'll find you a cheaper alternative. You could be featured on the site!

The Bombshell Files: Brow Guru Rashida B.

Hey beauties! Welcome to another installment of The Bombshell Files! I had the extreme pleasure of meeting brow guru Rashida B. at The Artist Summit in Chicago last month, and I knew I just had to feature her on Brown Bombshell Beauty!

Not only has Rashida B. has been featured in Vogue, In Style, Lucky, Allure and tons more publications, but she opened Chicago's first (and still only) eyebrow studio. A licensed esthetician and certified makeup artist, Rashida was also the first to bring lush lash extensions to the Windy City.

Despite all her many accomplishments, Rashida was one of the nicest, humblest people I'd ever met (pic coming soon!), and was nice enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for Brown Bombshell Beauty readers! Check it out!

When and how did you decide to begin a career in the beauty industry?

I've always wanted to be in the beauty industry, for as long as I can remember but my parents wanted me to attend college first so it took me a little while to get here.

How did you develop a specialty in eyebrows?

I went to aesthetics school because I really loved makeup and skincare, but halfway through the program I realized that they didn't really the in-depth makeup education that I had expected so I enrolled in Columbia College's makeup artistry program where I discovered if the brows were "off" it took away from the makeup. My instructor Lori Neapolitan was also a brow "fiend" and she fed into my need to to sculpt the perfect arches. It was she that suggested I pursue it. I study faces all the time, I practiced like crazy doing tons and tons of girl's night out events too.

Tell us about your brow salon.

I only have a brow studio The B Spot Chicago, it's a private by appointment only studio. I like to take my time with my client and give them that one on one attention a lot of times they'll have beauty questions beyond just their brows. In Miami I rent a space when I go down, and I do house calls but it's also by appointment only. The person that just walks into any old place off the street to have their brows down is not my client. My clients would never, they value their brows much more than that. They realize how important the perfect brow shape is to their over all appearance.

Is there any difference in the brow needs of your celeb clients and your bridal/everyday clients? How about your clients in Chicago vs. your clients in Miami?

Just the types of brows they request. Chicagoans prefer a more "natural" brow, while my in-the-media clients and those in Miami of for a "sculpted" or glamour brow. They also have their brows done much more often.

You've also been noted for your expertise in lash extensions. Tell us what we should know about this increasingly popular service!

Don't shop for the cheapest price, you truly get what you pay for. I can't tell you how many clients who have come in after going to a bargain salon with adhesive on their eyelids or lashes glued and clumped together. Find out if your technician is certified ask them what brand they use then check that brands website to see if they are listed. Request some before and after photos. I had my photos on my digital camera so the clients knew they were my photos and not some that I downloaded from the web.

Many thanks to Rashida B. for her time! For more on Rashida B. and her services visit her at RashidaB.com!

Hot Beauty Brand: Inglot Cosmetics

Hey beauty lovers! If you haven't already heard, a super-hot European cosmetics company has just hit the U.S. and it's primed to yank MAC out of it's spot. What is this brand, you ask? Why, it's Inglot Cosmetics!

Inglot may be new to most Americans, but it is THE hottest brand in Europe.The Polish-based brand has over 250 stores in Australia, Europe, Canada, Dubai and Asia.
A flagship Inglot store was recently opened in Times Square in NYC. To give you an idea of how serious Inglot's plans are to takeover Times Sqaure and the beauty game, they signed on for a 10 year lease. Whoa.

One of the most innovative things about Inglot is their Freedom System. The Freedom System allows you to create a customized palette of eyeshadows, blushes and more, in a variety of palette sizes from small to large. While at the Artist Summit in Chicago last month, I was able to pick up a customized Freedom System from the Inglot booth.

I decided to focus on eyeshadows, and went for a range of colors, from neutrals to brights. The case is seriously sturdy and the lid is magnetically attached, so it can withstand being tossed in a purse or beauty bag. Plus, the palettes are stackable, so you can carry more than one at a time! The colors are pigment-rich and have great color payoff. I'm not sure what the regular retail of a Freedom System is, but I believe I purchased mine at a special rate of about $40 or so, which is a lot less than what I would pay for a palette of 10 MAC eyeshadows!

Inglot's American website isn't up and running yet, but there are plans to open several stores in the US, so be on the lookout for an Inglot near you! In the mean time, check out these pics of the Times Square Inglot Flagship store!

For more fabulous pics, click here!

Store Photos: Yelp

Product Love: Mizani AM/PM Duo

Ok, so Mizani is totally my new favorite hair care brand for daily maintenance products, and I've found two more products to love!

While in Beauty Brands I came across this Mizani moisturizing duo at the awesome price of of $22. I've been curious about the Rose H2O Conditioning Hairdress and H2O Nigh-Time Treatment for the longest, and I figured this package deal was the best way to try them out. 40% off? Sign me up!

Both of these creams are super light and have an slightly whipped texture, which is great because it never leaves my hair feeling weighed down. H2O Intense can be used a couple of times a week, and I always wake up with hair that is softer than the night before. When I need a little shine with my moisture, I use the Rose H2O in the morning before styling.

If you'd like to give these a try, look for the pre-packaged duo at your local Beauty Brands!

Beauty Find: Yankee Candle Lip Balm

Over the weekend I came across my latest beauty discovery in the most unlikely place: Yankee Candle. I was at the register paying for my candles, when I spotted what looked like teeny, tiny candles. Upon closer inspection I realized that they were the most delicious, adorable looking lip balms I'd ever seen!

Yankee Candle Lip Balm, $4 comes in the same popular scents as their candle counterparts, and they actually taste like them too! I picked up Black Cherry, but they're also available in Sweet Strawberry, Vanilla Cupcake, Buttercream and Vanilla Lime. I smelled all of the flavors, and I want them all!

These luscious balms are chock full of ultra nourishing palm oil, olive oil, hemp oil, Vitamin E and rosemary extract. And it has a sunscreen of SPF 15! Could these things be any better for the cold winter months? I think not!

Not only should you pick up a couple for yourself, but these teeny little gems would make great, affordable stocking stuffers for the upcoming holiday season. So get thyself over to Yankee Candle to pick up the deliciousness that is these lip balms! Your lips will thank you!

Face Saver: Acne Free Sensitive Terminator

I woke up the other day with a huge pimple on my chin. And not one of those run-of-the-mill pimples either. I had a hard, cystic pimple that I knew was going to take forever to get rid of.

Luckily, while perusing the beauty isle of Bed Bath & Beyond, I came across Acne Free Sensitive Terminator, $5. This gentle but effective blemish cream gel targets both pimples and blackheads. Which is a major plus in my book!

After the first night of using this my pimple had gone down significantly and my blackheads had disappeared too. It's been about 3 days and my pimple is the size of a tiny whitehead. And even better, there's no dark spot! Yay!!!

I'll definitely be keeping this in my beauty stash for those time-of-the-month blemishes that always seem to pop up. If you're dealing with blemishes and need something that will work fast without tearing your face up, give this a try!

Cover Girl Blast Pre-Sale Today!

Hey Bombshells! I've got great beauty news! Cover Girl will begin an exclusive online preview of the new Blast Collection featuring Smoky ShadowBlast, ShineBlast Lip Gloss and LashBlast Length Mascara.

The line was created under the direction of uber-makeup artist and Brown Bombshell, Pat McGrath. Which comes as no surprise, as I LOVE Lash Blast volumizing mascara, and only a beauty genius could give me such lush lashes!

Now for the fab part! My fabulous Brown Bombshell Beauty readers can be some of the first to try the new products! Just log-on to covergirl.com/blastpresale to order these exclusive new products before they're released in January!

Check out the new Blast collection!

ShineBlast Lipgloss

  • The patented ShineSculpt™ is a uniquely shaped applicator that delivers more shine in a single swipe than the leading gloss
  • Flexible scoop applicator with built in product wells designed to hug the contours of lips to help deliver a fuller, more sculpted look
  • Lip hugging applicator for 4X more noticeable shine vs bare lips
  • Tapered tip enables precise shaping and control
  • Polymer- and oil-rich formula delivers high shine with a lightweight feel
  • Luminescent droplets of pearlized pigment form a perfect amount of shimmer behind the shine
  • Embedded pools of shine add brilliant depth
  • Non-tacky formula removes “high-shine vs. sticky” trade-off, typical of traditional lip glosses.

Smokey ShadowBlast

It’s a smoky eye tool plus makeup artist all in one shadow stick! Available in six expertly coordinated shade duos with uniquely desgined ends, Smoky ShadowBlast lets you create a traditional or colorful smoky eye in two easy steps.

The new, double-ended stick features expertly coordinated shades and two precision applicator tips – one for base, one for liner/crease – so you can easily apply, smudge and blend shadow to a smoky perfection.

We all love the dramatic, smoky eye look that makeup artists create for celebrities, but getting it right without expert help requires a lot of technique and practice.

I love the the fact that these eyeshadows come in so many different and unique colors. Who needs a boring black smokey eye with these!

Sounds pretty fab, right? These items aren't available until January, so head over to
covergirl.com/blastpresale to create a custom look and order these exclusive products now!

Halloween Makeup Tutorials

Hey Bombshells! Halloween is tomorrow, and if you're like most people, you've yet to come up with a fab costume for all those parties you'll be hitting. No worries! I've got some great ideas, courtesy of Total Beauty and some of my fave beauty YouTube-ers. It'll only take a bit of makeup and some know-how. I'll be Dorothy Dandridge as Carmen, and I found a great video demonstrating an old Hollywood look. Check out what else I found!

Old Hollywood Diva

Egyptian Queen


Leopard Mask

Dark Angel

Mally Beauty Fragrance On QVC Tonight

Mally Roncal, beauty guru and makeup artist to Beyoncè, is releasing her first fragrance today on QVC! I was lucky enough to receive a complimentary bottle of Mally Beauty Fragrance, $59 from QVC and found it to be a bright, citrusy scent. If you love a good citrus, floral fragrance, then Mally is definitely for you! Trust me, my citrus loving mother got a whiff and has claimed my bottle for herself!

Here's some more info from the press release:

Mally Beauty (www.mallybeauty.com) plans to introduce the newest addition to its widening collection and it’s unlike any other product Mally Roncal has created. On October 29th, she will officially launch the eponymous Mally’s Signature Fragrance, a modern, floral, citrus scent with a captivating tropical twist, to QVC. Core to the fragrance is the Sampaguita flower – the national flower of the Philippines – which is similar to the clean scent of jasmine, but with a more tropical and intoxicating impression.

  • Top Note: Sampaguita, Mandarin, Red Currant, Bamboo, Palm Leaf
  • Middle Note: Freesia, Jasmine, Muguet, Peony
  • Base Note: Peach, Coconut, Sandalwood, Musks

Mally's fragrance will be debuting tonight on QVC at 8pm EST during Mally Beauty-Color Cosmetics. So tune in to see Mally and order a bottle!

Sephora Friends and Family Save 20%

Hey Bombshells! Don't forget to take advantage of Sephora's Friends & Family sale! You can take 20% off online orders until November 2nd using code FF2009, so use this opportunity to try something new or stock up on old favorites! Happy shopping!

Fragrance Love: Narciso Rodriguez Musc Collection Limited Edition

Narciso Rodriguez For Her EDT, $65 is by far, hands down, my absolute favorite fragrance of all time. It's sensual, sexy and sophisticated, and I never cease to receive compliments when I wear it. Make that wore it. I accidentally broke my bottle and have yet to replace it. I was planning to do just that during Sephora's Friends and Family sale (code FF2009 for 20% off until Nov. 2nd!). So, imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that Narciso was releasing a new limited edition collection of musc fragrances for women and men!

I have always loved For Her Musc, but could never stomach the $150 price tag. When Narciso released For Him Musc, I was equally smitten, and couldn't believe how good this men's fragrance smelled on me. It was love at first sniff, but again, that $150 wasn't getting it! But now there are two new musc fragrances available at a fraction of the cost!

Right now For Her Musc Collection Eau De Parfum Intense, $85 is available online at Sephora, and I strongly urge you to purchase it while Friends and Family is taking place. I have yet to see special edition For Him Musc on sale online, but I've heard that Saks stores have it in stock, and other stores will have it in November.

Here's some more info on these scents:

Narciso Rodriguez has launched a limited edition duo of fragrances, the For Her and For Him Musc Collection, intended as “a tribute to musk”.

More captivating than ever. Narciso Rodriguez presents two exclusive limited editions: for her and for him musc collection.

A tribute to musk, for her eau de parfum intense and for him eau de parfum, are a pair of new and most distinctive fragrances contained within equally distinctive bottles.

A sense of mystery and intrigue that’s singular. Narciso Rodriguez’s musc collection. A powerful sensuality that lingers.

Narciso Rodriguez For Her Eau de Parfum Intense (shown above) features notes of musk, ylang-ylang, jasmine and orange blossom.

Narciso Rodriguez For Him Eau de Parfum includes note of musk, iris and pink berries.

Narciso Rodriguez For Her Eau de Parfum Intense and For Him Eau de Parfum are available in 50 ml; For Her is also available in 100 ml.

Source: NSTPerfume.com

After owning two of Narciso Rodriguez's fragrances (I also own Essence, another smell good), I don't even need to sniff these to know that I want them! As soon as I get my hands (or nose!) on them I'll let you know what I think!

Beauty Discovery: WilaVerde Nail Polish Remover

Wal-Mart has really been upping their beauty game lately, especially when it comes to "green" beauty. Not only do they carry well know earth-friendly brands like Burt's Bee's and Giovanni, but they are increasingly carrying smaller brands too.

On my last Wal-Mart run I made a quick dash through the beauty section to pick up some nail polish remover and discovered WilaVerde Nail Polish Remover, $3. I was a little skeptical of this 100% biodegradable polish remover and it's efficacy. I mean, I was going to be majorly ticked if the stuff didn't remove a lick of polish and I had to go shopping again for something better.

Luckily, I found out that there is nothing better than this polish remover! It is SUPER gentle and feels more like a cuticle oil than a traditional nail polish remover product. It removed all my polish with ease and left my nails and cuticles moisturized. Best of all there was no stinky smell! I haven't tried it on my super dark polishes yet, but I suspect that it won't be a problem. I bought the Fragrance Free formula, but it also comes in Clean & Fresh, Lavender and Papaya Mango fragrances. Yummy, right?

Ladies, this is a major beauty find. I haven't been able to find this for sale online, and the WilaVerde website has no info on the product. Like I said, I found mine at Wal-Mart, so head over there now to pick up your WilaVerde polish remover. You'll love it!

Budget Beauty News: Hard Candy & e.l.f

Hey Bombshells! I've been trying my hardest to pinch my beauty pennies lately, which is no small feat for a beauty junkie like me! Luckily, two fab beauty brands are hitting store shelves soon that will will keep me looking fab on a dime!

When I heard the news that Hard Candy was making a comeback, I was beyond excited! I remember this cult favorite brand from the mid 90s, with its candy-colored polishes and matching rings. It was THE hottest thing in beauty during the Clueless era. At the time, it was too pricey for my middle school-aged budget ($18 bucks a bottle to a 13 year old is a fortune!), but the revamped line is debuting at Wal-Mart for only $5 a bottle, in tons of juicy, bright colors! The collection will also include eye shadows, lip balms, lip glosses and more. I'll be scoping out my neighborhood Wal-Mart for these little gems!

I'm super excited to announce that fave budget beauty brand e.l.f will be available in all Target stores in November 1st! This brand is awesome because the bulk of the products start at only $1! And the quality is just as fab as the low prices. Plus, e.l.f will be upgrading to sleek black packaging for their Target store debut, and will be offering lots of affordable sets and palettes in the collection (and I love a good palette!). You must RUN to Target November 1st to snag some of these goodies!

Not only are these items from Hard Candy and e.l.f great for the budget conscious beauty, but they would make great gifts and stocking stuffers. I can't wait to hit the stores for the fabulous beauty finds!

Hair Rules Salon NYC Parent & Child Event

It’s a Family Affahair at Hair Rules NY Salon

For parents and children who have battled with a difficult and time consuming hair styling regimen (or worse, one that could lead to a lifetime of negative good hair/ bad hair experiences), Dickey wants to teach parents an easy approach to their children’s hair.

The goal of this unique event is to help children have a more positive experience and to love their curly or kinky hair. Dickey and team will assist parents with hands-on styling and help parents find new ways to style their child’s hair.

Saturday November 7th

3:00 pm – 6:00 pm

$50 per child

Light refreshments included

RSVP by November 3rd

Limited space available

Hair Rules NY * 828 Ninth Avenue * 2nd Floor * between 54th & 55th * 212.315.2929

Beauty Obsession: Sam Fine's The Basics of Beauty DVD

I finally got my hands on a copy of celeb makeup artist Sam Fine's new beauty DVD, Fine: The Basics of Beauty, $25!

I first heard about the DVD last spring and have been waiting with baited breath to get a copy, so I'm super glad to let my beauty babes know that it's finally available for purchase.

In case you didn't know, Sam Fine is THE source on all things Black beauty. He's who Black celebs turn to when they want to look their most fab. Heck, even Vogue turns to him for beauty advice for women of color! He has a gorgeous signature beauty look that can be seen on his regular clients Iman, Vanessa Williams, Mo'Nique and tons more.

For me, Sam's signature striking brows, defined lips, cheek contouring and subtly smokey eye stand out in the most beautiful way (as you can see from the DVD cover), so I can always tell when an actress has had her makeup done by Sam. And that's what so great about this DVD. Sam spills all his beauty secrets to help you achieve that Sam Fine look!

Whether you're a makeup novice or a beauty pro, this video is a great tool to have in your beauty arsenal. You'll learn all of Sam's tips and tricks, and will be inspired and empowered to up your beauty game. Not only is this a great instructional DVD, but it has great bonus features as well, including an interview with Sam, a behind the scenes look at the making of the DVD, and exclusive footage of Sam working on Iman.

I love this DVD! The production value was top-notch (a rareity in instructional videos), Sam was fab and it was fun to watch. Definitely race over to Amazon to get your copy!

Check out some footage from the DVD:

Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Concealer

I have seen the beauty light, and it is Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Concealer, $28! Unless you've been living under a rock for the last year or so, you know that high definition makeup is all the rage in beauty. Though it was created to give actresses flawless coverage under the intense scrutiny of HD cameras, I've found that it gives everyday women beautiful results as well.

I've used Make Up For Ever HD foundations on clients before and was always impressed with the results. But leave it to MUFE to one-up themselves and come out with such an amazing HD concealer!

I picked up a few shades at The Artist Summit for my kit and had been waiting for the opportunity to whip them out. Last night my friend Monica and I were offered tickets at the last minute to see Alvin Ailey II (which was fab, by the way!), and needless to say we were not looking our best after a long day at work!

Seizing the opportunity, I decided to try out one of my new HD concealers on Monica. I dabbed a little under her eyes and on a blemish or two, then dusted on a little pressed powder. No exaggeration, the results were astounding. Her skin was instantly even toned and flawless, and didn't have that heavy makeup look or feel. The Make Up For Ever HD concealer had given her perfect, natural looking skin. Color me impressed!

Monica kept getting compliments all night on her makeup, and one woman even pulled her aside in the ladies room to ask her if her makeup was airbrushed! I am SO running out to by one of these for myself in my shade! In my opinion, Make Up For Ever makes the best HD makeup out there, and I can't wait to add more of their products to my beauty arsenal!

Hair Helper: MoroccanOil Restorative Hair Mask

Hey beauties! I am having the best luck with hair care products lately! First I find the perfect shampoo and conditioner for my hair, and now I've found the perfect treatment product in MoroccanOil Restorative Hair Mask, $33!

I've been going through drama with my hair lately trying to grow out some hair color I had when I was natural. And let me tell you, relaxer and hair color do not mix. At least not on my head! The parts of my hair that are colored have been dry and frizzy because the color is old and kinda stripped, so I've been looking for a deep treatment product to smooth the cuticle and repair any damage. This hair mask did that and then some!

First, this mask us SUPER thick and concentrated. I could barely get my fingers through my hair with the mask on because it's so thick and rich. I left it on for about 10 minutes while I was in the shower and continued with my routine. One of the things I love about this mask it that you don't need any extra heat, so if you're pressed for time you don't have to worry about sitting under a heat cap.

When I rinsed the mask out my hair didn't have much slip, but my hair felt completely smooth and even textured. Since there is protein in this, I decided to put on a little of my Mizani conditioner for about 2 minutes to add a little moisture. After towel drying my hair, I put on a little MoroccanOil Treatment serum and let my hair air dry. My hair turned out smooth, soft and shiny. Truly, I don't know the last time my hair looked this healthy! It's been a couple of days and my shiny, healthy hair is still going strong!

I plan to use this mask once a week until my hair color grows out completely, and I'm sure the results will get even better with time. MoroccanOil has turned out to be like magic for my hair and I'll continue to try more of their products. I'll keep you posted!

Beauty Review: Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar

I had the good fortune to receive some Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar, $12.50 while at The Artist Summit the other weekend, and I'm super hyped to share them with you! I've been hearing about Lip Tar for months now and my curiosity was seriously piqued.

Lip Tar is minty fresh and SUPER pigmented, so you can wear them in various finishes. Right out of the tube, they are super opaque and shiny, like the glossiest, richest lipstick ever. If you blot your lips you can attain a matte or a stain finish, depending on how much you blot. One word of advice: use a lip brush! A lip brush is the only way to keep the color from going everywhere, and will give you the best application.

Now, on to the swatches!

Lip Tar in Plum. A really pretty lavender shade. I like this for a more natural look with just a hint of trendy color.

Lip Tar in Pageant. This color is HOT! Not for the shy, this color is perfect for a wild night out with the girls!

The great thing about Lip Tar is that you can easily mix and match colors to create new ones. Here I mixed Plum and Pageant to create a mauve color.

Lip Tar in NSFW (Not Safe For Work) has got to be one of the sexiest lip colors I've ever worn! This bright, sexy red is sure to bring you attention. Love it!

I'll be wearing Lip Tar in Vintage all season! This is also a very sexy color, and I love how vampy it is. Very film noir!

This is a great wine color I created by mixing NSFW and Vintage. Very sophisticated, no?

I think I'll be picking up the other colors in the collection for my kit, because I think my clients will love these as much as I do! Give these sexy little Lip Tars a try, your lips will thank you!

Guest Blogger: Monica's Top 5 Hair Tips

By now you all know that I love spilling the beans on my fave beauty tips. I've got the scoop on skincare, makeup, and nails for days. But when I've got a major hair problem (like growing out this tired hair color...), I turn to my good friend and personal hair expert Monica. In all the years that I've known her, she's always had gorge hair, and today Monica will be sharing her top 5 tips to keep your hair healthy this winter. Enjoy!

Monica’s Top Five Hair Tips

People are always asking me how I maintain such a luxurious mane. I don’t have any magic powers, nor do I spend countless hours a day working on my hair. I just have some secrets with products and technique that make for a good hair regimen that’s maintainable and gets results.

With winter approaching, it’s important to pay extra special attention to your hair. If you live in a cold climate, you will definitely want to employ some hair care strategies to ensure your hair doesn’t dry out and fall out.

Here are my top five tips to build strength, and maintain or build the overall health and appearance of your hair.

  1. 100 strokes, three times per week will help build your hair’s muscles, so to speak. If you’ve ever seen The Brady Bunch: The Movie, Marsha brushed her hair 100 strokes every day. Brushing your hair builds strength just like lifting weights does for the biceps. Brushing not only makes your hair stronger, but over time, will reduce breakage and add natural shine. Ever notice how shiny a horse’s coat is? It’s because they are brushed with a soft bristled brush at least once a week.

How to: Part hair into four quadrants. Start with a soft boar bristled brush and swiftly brush from root to ends about 15-25 times per quadrant. Make sure your brush doesn’t have broken or split bristles. You should replace your brush about every 90 days along with your toothbrush. Brushes with split or missing bristles will cause stress to the hair and extra breakage.

  1. Always secure your hair with a silk/satin head wrap/bonnet at night to keep the hair from drying out and rubbing against your bed linens. Never use cotton scarves or other synthetic materials on your hair at night; they will only dry the hair and cause breakage. With winter approaching, you will want to make sure your hat/scarf set is not wool, polyester or acrylic. These fibers dry the hair and literally rub it out from the hair line. If you choose to wear a wool coat, make sure you have a silk fibered scarf around the collar. You should also limit wearing turtle neck sweaters made of wool or acrylic.

How to: Make sure you moisturize your hair with a silk fibered lotion before applying your head wrap. Try Chi’s Silk Infusion if you don’t already have a silk moisturizer you like to use. Not a fan of head wraps? Buy silk/satin pillow cases.

  1. Add a cap full of vodka to your shampoo if your hair lacks luster. If you feel like your hair just doesn’t shine, adding a little of your favorite top shelf vodka to your shampoo will coat the hair and give it a little shine boost.

How to: Pour a cap full of vodka into your shampoo bottle and shake it for about 2 minutes to make sure it mixes well. Use shampoo, followed by conditioner as directed.

  1. Make sure you are using the right foundation products for your hair type and processes. If you have color or any other chemical process, be sure you are using product for color treated/chemically processed hair. Try to avoid mixing processes. For example, if you have a relaxer, avoid lifting your hair more than three levels. Once you get into lighter shades of blondes, you will stress your hair. Proper setting lotions and moisturizers are imperative to the finishing of your styling. If you have the right foundation, you won’t need to use so many finishing products when you style.

How to: Always wash your hair in warm water and shampoo at least two times. You should consider using a deep conditioner for about 10 minutes once per week and a leave-in conditioner on the other washes in the week. If you feel your hair is dry and lifeless, try some cholesterol (Proclaim makes a cholesterol formula available at Sally Beauty for less than $5). You can also beat a couple eggs, as if you were about to scramble them and use the batter as a conditioner for your hair. Make sure you wash it out in lukewarm water…or else you’ll cook the eggs!

  1. Always blow dry on medium or low heat. Excessive heat will dry your hair out and strip the moisturizers your shampoo and conditioner have set in the hair shaft. You should also make sure you are using a ceramic blow dryer with a cool shot (Ion makes a fabulous blow dryer for around $60 available at Sally Beauty). If you have medium to course hair, you should consider using a hooded dryer to avoid stripping the hair’s moisture. It will also allow the hair to set straighter with less frizz.

Use of ceramic styling tools is a must. Flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers should be ceramic plated with infrared technology. Ceramic tools prevent your hair from burning while styling (FHI makes a fabulous ceramic flat iron for around $85).

How to: After shampoo and conditioning, start with the blow dryer on low or medium heat and allow the hair to free flow to release most of the water. Hair is weakest when it’s wet, so avoid pulling with styling tools until the hair is at least 80% dry. Once hair is mostly dry, use a round or paddle brush to straighten the hair. Once your hair is completely dry, use the cool shot to seal in moisture before using styling tools.

Want more Monica? Catch her on her open letter blog at ThisMayConcernYou.com.

MAC Posessed by Pink Lip Kit

I opened my inbox this morning to see a email from MAC, debuting their much anticipated holiday collection.

What stood out for me were all the palettes MAC is offering this holiday season. Palettes for the face, eyes and lips fill the collection, but I was most excited to see the Possesed by Pink Lip Kit, $22.50.

These luscious berry shades were made to be worn on deeper skin tones! From caramel to cocoa, I guarantee that any brown skinned babe will look amazing in these fabulous colors! I can't wait to get my hands on this adorable kit. I'll be wearing it out with the girls, to holiday parties, and everywhere in between!

Photos: MAC.com and Temptalia.com

Mizani Botanifying Shampoo & Moisturefuse Conditioner

Um, where have I been? My dream shampoo and conditioner have been sitting under my nose for years and I never bothered to try them out! What was my problem?!

At the insistence of my friend and personal hair guru Monica (check out her fab open letter blog here), I decided to give Mizani a try after all these years. I mean, I had nothing to lose. My current shampoo and conditioner weren't hitting it, and my dry, color-treated hair was starting to look a mess.

Mizani has quite an extensive line-up, so I went for the Botanifying Conditioning Shampoo, $8.80 and the Moisturefuse Moisturizing Conditioner, $9.99. The Botanifying shampoo got my hair really clean without stripping it of its natural moisture. My hair had lots of slip and actually felt moisturized! I followed up with the Moisturefuse conditioner and was equally impressed. After leaving it on for just a few minutes my hair felt like it had received a deep conditioning treatment. My hair is now shiny, soft and healthy and I couldn't be more pleased! Who knew all this could come from a shampoo and conditioner?

I also love the affordability of these items, plus they're easy to find at your local salon or beauty supply store. Definitely give these a whirl when your hair is craving moisture. You'll thank me for it!

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Life-long beauty junkie. There's no 12-step program for this!