Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vegas Spa Show 2010

Shows are kind of a big deal in the beauty industry. They are where we all get together in one big conference hall to network, see the latest trends, buy products from brands that we don't usually get to buy from, get tons of education and generally get excited about being a beauty professional.

I had never even heard of beauty shows until I started at Wella 5 years ago. Then I had to work them, traveling to Chicago for the big annual hair show or going down to Long Beach for a smaller hair show. Exciting yes, but also exhausting. Standing on your feet for 8 hours a day for three days straight, smiling and selling the heck out of your brand. I also had a pretty fun job of going around and documenting what all of our competitors were doing so I ended up walking the show floor snapping pictures, writing notes and enjoying the energy of the show from a participant perspective.

The past two years I've been able to attend shows from the other side, first as a beauty student, then as an esthetician. I went to Vegas last year for the big yearly spa show when I didn't even know the difference between hard wax and soft. This year was a totally different experience. I shopped for specific products and went to education classes that are going to help me in my business. But my favorite part was walking the show floor thinking about all the things I was going to share on my blog about the show.

The three big trends that I saw were about health & wellness getting big, lash/brow conditioners and glamour entering the spa.

Health and wellness gets cool and goes big I spotted a brand of vegan skin care products called SpaRitual that looked yummy, Eminence (Hungarian brand that is all about natural fruity ingredients) was mobbed and a company was pushing nutraceuticals (drinks that are tasty and good for you). The general sense I had was that health and wellness brands were ready for prime-time. Up until now, the only natural brands that made a big splash in my mind on a national level were Aveda. If anyone has any favorite natural brands that you think are poised to go big, let me know!

Lash and brow conditioning everywhere! Last year all I saw was Revitalash in the lash and brow conditioner space. This year, there seemed to be plenty of competitors, including a brand that was pushing lash/brow conditioners as more of a beauty product than a cosmeceutical called Enormous Lash. Revitalash had a big banner at the entrance to the show so they seem to be in the lead amongst lash/brow conditioners. Also check back here over the next couple of months where I will be posting a progression of Lacey's (owner of Frenchy's) brow transformation since I purchased some Revitabrow for her. I'm  thinking of trying Enormous Lash on my lashes although I'm kicking myself that I didn't get "Draw The Line" from Beauty Society. It's a liquid liner that functions as a lash conditioner. That was my biggest problem using Revitalash, actually remembering to use it at night. I think I would have a much better success rate if I could use it during the day as my black liquid liner. If anyone has another lash/brow conditioner that they love let me know!

Glamtastic comes into the spa: It wasn't a huge part of the show but since I love the glamour I found a couple of fun products such as a 24 carat gold facial mask and body glitter tattoos. Also spray tanning and teeth whitening manufacturers were everywhere. I think it's interesting that Spas are moving towards full-service beauty operators, expanding their services to include not just facial & body treatments but also beautification. What do you think? Would you go to your local spa for a spray tan or make-up? Or do you prefer to go to a specialist?

I ended up buying a high frequency machine, a Clarsonic Pro to incorporate into my facial services as well as test out to see if it works on those bumps on the back of my arm and also post-waxing bumpies, a  glitter tattoo kit, some post-wax oil and my favorite purchase, tiny eyebrow wax sticks. I think I'm going to use the tiny eyebrow wax sticks to help with vajayjay stenciling as well as eyebrow shaping.

I also took a great class from Lori Nestore, the wax queen, on brazilians and guyzilians. She is really the coolest, all tatted up, with bright red hair and a super easy going personality. She's got that no-fear attitude that all us waxing gals need to copy! She lectured for over an hour on client consultation, product retailing, proper brazilian and guyzilian techniques, all while ripping hair off of a guy's and a girl's crotch (my new favorite way to talk about the neither regions). Plus I randomly bumped into Cindy, the owner of Pink Cheeks, at one of the booths. She has that same no-fear attitude that everyone wants from their favorite waxer. All in all the show was a great day of inspiration and shopping!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Awesome Product Alert: Dry Shampoo

I'll admit it. I'm an over-shampooer. I've felt guilt about this forever. My stylists always look at me with a frown on their face. "Why?" they ask. "Don't you know you don't need to wash everyday? Don't you know that you are ruining all of my hard work? Don't you know that you are fading your color?" I know. I totally know. And I don't care. I hate how my hair feels 24 hours after shampooing. Greasy, heavy, dirty and yucky, to use just a couple of Y-words. I've been told several times that it looks great on that second day but I don't care. It just feels awful.

At least I didn't care. Until I was a test model for the Brazilian Keratin Treatment. They told me not to wash my hair for four days (my personal hell!) after getting the treatment. And then after that I should try to wash my hair as little as possible since the treatment faded out with repeat washing. I loved how straight and glossy my hair looked after the BKT so I was determined to figure out a solution to break my daily washing addiction.

Dry shampoo. I knew about it in theory and I'd always meant to try it. I mentioned my daily washing problem to a friend and she gave me my first can of dry shampoo. Yup the stuff comes in an aerosol spray can (brings back memories of the 80s whenever I use it). She is pregnant so she decided to avoid as many strange chemicals as possible. And dry shampoos are filled with plenty of strange chemicals. Truth be told most of the dry shampoos are filled primarily with corn/rice starch and powder. You could totally try baby powder first before investing in dry shampoos. I did that a couple of times but I didn't work at all on my hair. Just made my hair powdery and oily at the same time. Other natural and cheap alternatives are corn meal, talcum powder and corn starch.

After that first can of dry shampoo (Furterer) I decided to test out as many dry shampoos as possible. That's my thing, searching for the ellusive best beauty product. I tested 5 shampoos before I ran out of steam, mostly because I found one that I really liked. Here are my thoughts on the 5 that I road tested. The max that anyone could get is 5 stars and 5 dollar signs. And just a quick note, I put the price per oz because everyone has a different size so it's only fair to compare on a price per oz level!

6.3oz - $20 ($3.17 per oz)
I love this product. It worked the best of all the dry shampoos that I've tried. Absorbed the oil at the roots didn't dry out my hair, gave me body, smelled great, lasts long. I've read other reviews that say the can is defective but mine is working great. This is my top choice. PS Did I mention the smell is great? It's so funny how important smell is to me. Second only to performance since I'm very smell sensitive. And the price per oz is great too. That's me in a nutshell, how I judge products. Performance, then smell, then price.

Bumble and bumble Hair Powder
4.4oz - $39 ($8.86 per oz)
I just started using this product because I'm working in a Bumble and bumble salon called Frenchy's Beauty Parlor in Burbank. It smells delicious and works great. The best part about it is that it is one of the few dry shampoos that comes customized in colors (brown for brunettes, red for red heads). This doesn't sound that amazing until you try other dry shampoos and they leave your hair a grey powdery mess. And the owner of Frenchy's, Lacey, shared a neat tip with me. If you have serious roots going on and haven't made it to the salon you can use a little dry shampoo to blend the line of demarcation. It's pricey but that might be worth it for the dual action (dry shampoo and root hider).
Full disclosure: I have been a huge fan of Bumble and bumble for years, ever since I got my first tub of Sumotech. I'm excited to be at a Bumble and bumble salon... but... if there is a product I love from them, of course I'm going to talk about it and if there is something that I don't like, I'm going to talk about it too! 
Too early to tell but so far I really like it **** If it changes I'll re-post!

5.3oz - $17 ($3.20 per oz)
My friend James just got a job at KMS in their education department. I had never looked twice at this brand before he worked there but now I decided to give it a try. I was surprised at how much I like it. It smells great, it does the job and it doesn't leave my hair too powdery. The only downside is that it tends to really dry out your hair. I know that's the purpose of a dry shampoo but I found that the dryness extended way beyond my roots to the ends of my hair. 

3.4oz - $24 ($7.05 per oz)
This is the original dry shampoo that my friend gave me. I liked it a lot but I used it up quickly. Then when I saw the price I was shocked. I would go through a bottle of this in a month. So I'm not sure that the price is worth the performance. And when I started using other dry shampoos I realized that there were better products out there for my hair type. My friend loves this stuff and she has wildly different hair than mine (baby fine and super straight vs. my hair which is fine but there is tons of it and it's wavy). So it's important to note that products that I love or hate might just be because of my hair type.

Salon Grafix
4oz - $7 ($1.75 per oz)
I had seen this in Target several times and thought about buying it. But now that I was on a dry shampoo quest I thought I would give it a try. It totally sucked. Didn't do anything for my hair. I was super bummed since it was invisible dry shampoo and super cheap. The Furterer had left a powdery residue on my hair and was super expensive but at least it did what it said it was supposed to do.

Let me know if you have any dry shampoo favorites. There are of course plenty of other brands for me to try. Ojon, Fekkai, Blandi, Sexy Hair to name a few. That's what happens when you are a beauty addict. There's always something else out there. Also let me know about the natural alternatives. I feel like I should have worked harder on those and not just given up after the baby powder fiasco.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The perfectly defined brow

As some of you know, I'm absolutely eyebrow obsessed. This comes mostly from my crazy Russian eyebrows (courtesy of my father) that makes me look like Groucho Marx if I don't take care of them. And it's also from the fact that once I did start to take care of my eyebrows, I realized how much of a difference shaping your eyebrows makes. By just removing the stray hairs in your arch, you can open up your eye and give yourself a mini-face lift. My favorite trick if you have unruly brows is to trim them on a regular basis using mustache scissors, plus a bit of wax or pomade to put them in their place.

Since I've don't have a problem with thin brows, I never got to play with eyebrow shading and definition. Now that I'm working as an eyebrow/make-up artist I'm starting to learn the magic of shading to help define eyebrows. I'm not a huge fan of pencils since they tend to give a harder line and look. So I'd recommend investing in a small angled brow brush. MAC makes a great one - 208.

You can use your favorite brown shadow with the brush or invest in a brow shadow palette. Smashbox makes one called "Brow Tech" which includes wax to help with brow flyaways.  I recently discovered MakeupByCheri tutorials on YouTube where she has a great one outlining the steps to creating the perfect brow shape. Also for everyone who gets a brow shaping by me, I'll finish the session with a complementary mini-class on eyebrow shading!