Hair Wars: Okura vs. Oscar

When my sister was planning her May 2012 wedding, she had lots of fun, creative, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THAT kind of ideas. She’s a designer and its just how her brain works. Before her hair and makeup trial, Lauren emailed me some of her ideas for updos and said she was thinking of wearing her hair in a big bun. Awesome. But not just a bun…a bun with colored extensions added to it. COLORED EXTENSIONS!

Photo: Laura Holmes, Hair & Makeup: Bridal Beauty Chicago

The contrast of a ladylike bun with bright streaks of color is just so cool. I don’t think I was that articulate when I told her I liked the idea, though. Nope. Here’s actually what I said in my email: “OOOOOHHH I love the hair color in the bun!!!!!!!” Seven exclamation points worth of excitement. Apparently, someone else felt the same way.

Oscar de la Renta SS13 show a few days ago, 9/11/12:

Photo: via OscarPRGirl on Pinterest

Back to my sister’s hair trial, exactly six months prior, 3/11/12: Granted, colored extensions would go along with Lauren’s wedding theme a little more than most. Her wedding was bright, bold and graphic with a CMYK wedding theme. (CMYK stands for the four fundamental colors in design: cyan, magenta, yellow, black). Photo: Angela Renee Photography

Lauren has played around with colored extensions in the past, so it really wasn’t SO out of the realm of possibility for her to have a blue streak of hair on her wedding day. In the end, she went with a more classic look and decided not to use them. It’s for the best–girl was ahead of her time. She’s still the raddest.

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Summer Solstice Scotch Tape Nails

Today was the first official day of summer, and because summer is everything I want and need in life, it called for a celebration. To soak up all the vitamin D possible,Todd and I went for walk to the park by us – which we do often and wouldn’t be all that interesting, except THIS time I had special summer solstice nails. Aw yeah.

I’m actually pretty amazed at how they turned out. Check out those crisp lines! The secret? Scotch tape. Not actually that big of a secret considering I’ve been seeing nail art done using Scotch tape all over Pinterest, but the REAL secret is that it actually WORKS! I thought for sure it would peel the nail polish off, but it doesn’t. Amazing. Pinterest, you win. Scotch tape is Style Alter approved. Or, generic Target brand invisible tape. #budget

TIP: Dull the stickiness of the tape by sticking to the palm of your hand a few times to assure it really won’t pull off your polish.

Start with the lightest color (nude, in my case).

Once that coat has dried, use a piece of tape to block off an area and paint a coat in a new color (tangerine). Peel the tape off right away, don’t wait for it to dry.

Repeat with the last coat (glittery gold). Glittery polishes should be saved for last so you don’t have to try and layer over them.

Around now you will start feeling like this whole thing is taking too long and there’s no way you’ll make it to the end without screwing up. Hang in there, it’s worth it!

Peel off the last layer of tape and…REJOICE!

Hope everyone else enjoyed their first day of summer!

Oscar Nails

 

Even though Pinterest regularly points out to me that nothing I’ve done in the past has been remotely creative, cool or interesting, I absolutely love it. As a Pinterest troller, I see the same trends pop up over and over – and one that’s been catching my eye lately? Nail art! What have I been thinking, walking around all this time with naked nails? My nails are a completely untapped accessory resource.

I decided to start simple, since I’ve never tried anything other than solid colors (which can be a feat in itself). I was inspired by this image on Miss Ladyfinger’s blog – easy enough and I liked the idea of transitioning from one color to another. In honor of the Oscars, I decided to go with black (-ish…OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark) and gold (OPI’s Glitzerland).

Thankfully, this little project was pretty simple. You could try painters tape to block off half of your ring finger, but free-handing it landed up being easier for me. (Painters tape tends to betray me, anyway). With a steady hand it wasn’t as hard as I was afraid it might be to paint the second half of the nail. Just make sure to paint the gold half first and use two coats. The black easily covers up the gold to ensure you get a clean, straight line.

The best thing about this design is that you only have to fully concentrate on the ring finger, since the rest of your nails are just painted as normal. I’m happy with how they turned out and am excited to try this out with different colors. I especially think this would look great with like colors – orange transitioning to red, nude transitioning to pink, etc.

Give it a try and send me aicture if you do! If you want more nail art inspiration, I love Miss Ladyfinger and Chalkboard Nails.

And speaking of Pinterest, I’ve been trying to add a button so that should you feel inclined, you can easily pin things from this blog. Hopefully that will be up soon. Happy pinning!

Have a Little Faith in Me

Hope everyone had a great holiday! Along with all of the amazing gifts I received this year, I got a lil something in my mailbox that I just had to share. My free eyelash curler refills came!

Yes, we’re talking about this again. May I remind you, these refill pads were completely free. Just fill out the form online and Japonesque sends you two free refill pads in the mail. No shipping charges! Faith in humanity just went up a couple notches.

Watts Up? Nothing, Just Blasting My Hair with Gemstones

For my next product in the “best in beauty” series, hair dryers were an easy choice because I have a very clear favorite: the Speed Freak 2000 Watt Ceramic and Tourmaline Dryer by Rusk. I’m not the only one—a stylist at Van Cleef Hair Studio (where Michelle Obama goes in Chicago) and I talked at length once about how much we love this dryer and I recently read it’s what Kate from The Small Things Blog uses (if you’re on Pinterest, you know her).

I’m now on my second after having my first Speed Freak for about five years (a respectable life for a dryer). It does dry my hair freakishly fast, as the name entails. With the combination of this hair dryer, the right brushes and the right technique, I no longer need to flat-iron my hair. That’s unheard of for me, so be impressed. Retail price is $135.95, but you can easily find it for less ($79 at Ulta).

When it comes to hair dryer technology, “ceramic,” “ionic” and “tourmaline” have been the stagnant buzz-words for the past few years. Ceramic materials heat fast and evenly, so this makes good sense. It’s the ionic claims that get a little questionable. If you’ve bought a dryer within the past several years, it’s likely ionic. They’re everywhere, at all price points. The gist is that when hair is wet, it has a positive charge. By blasting hair with a negative charge from an ionic dryer, hair is supposed to dry faster and sleeker.

Tourmaline is another material used in hair dryers, typically the more expensive models. This is the selling point of the famous $200 T3 Featherweight. Tourmaline is—get this—a gemstone. They crush these gemstones into a powder and incorporate them into the blow dryer. Really. There is some science behind this because tourmaline yields a charge, so in theory, this dryer will blast your hair with negative ions.

Maybe tourmaline is how Jem transformed their hair!

My Speed Freak is ceramic, ionic and contains tourmaline. All the bells, all the whistles. But I don’t really care about all that—what really makes the difference to me is the wattage. The Speed Freak has 2000 watts, one of the most powerful on the market. The T3 has 1800 watts, which is respectable, but it’s more expensive. I bought at CHI dryer with only 1300 watts once and it was so weak, I had to return it. Even though it was supposedly throwing those ions, it took forever to dry my hair and looked frizzy by the time I was done.

So in my opinion, ions and gemstones probably do help a little, but wattage is really where it’s at. I highly recommend the Rusk Speed Freak because of its power, especially if you have hard to manage hair. However, any dryer with 1800 watts or more should do the trick. Another good tip is to ask your hairstylist what he or she uses.

What I’d really love to do is test the Speed Freak vs. T3 Featherweight vs. Elchim 2001 Classic Hair Dryer (Lauren Conrad’s favorite hair dryer) so if anyone owns these dryers, let me know!