Category Archives: Hair

Yarok Feed Your Hair, a Hip Apotheca Future Favorite

Stark Skincare Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate Balm, Jouer Glistening Powder and Tacha Aburatorigami Blotting Papers are a few of my favorite products. Of course, there was a point in time where they were new to me. The discovery and testing of products that will eventually be the ones we can’t live without is what makes the trial and error of being a beauty addict so fun. Channeling this very concept is my new online obsession, Hip Apotheca. It’s an online eco-apothecary that sells some of my existing favorite brands, like One Love Organics and TAY, and others that I am just starting to get to know, like John Masters Organics and Yarok.

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AG Hair Firewall: Your Defense Against Fried Ends

As school was coming to an end and finals approached, I never did my hair. Ever. I’m talking straight out of bed and out the door. So it’s safe to say my hair’s much healthier and really should be thanking me for the two week vacation from my flat iron. But as soon as school ended, I found myself using heat again and not wanting to damage my nurtured ends, I stuck with a routine of using heat protectant.

Now I’m typically skeptical about heat protectants (bad, bad experiences) but I gave it a go with AG Hair’s Firewall having high hopes. It’s infused with argan and I think that’s what drew me to it the most, considering argan oil has done wonders to my hair in the past. I gave it bonus points for being in an aerosol can, spray bottles tend to use too much product and leave my hair wet.

When I use Firewall, I spray some product from about my ears down, but mainly on my ends. Then I just go about my routine with straightening my hair. Unlike other protectants I’ve tried, this doesn’t leave my hair feeling dry or sticky, but instead silky and smooth. My hair stays straighter, longer, and even helps combat the undeniable frizz that comes with living in Seattle.

Shiny Happy Hair: the How-to Guide

In the ongoing saga that is my hair (I’m truly happy with it at the moment), I have reached another major breakthrough. For as long as I can remember, I blow-dried my hair every day. Then I discovered that weaning it off of sulfates and only washing every few days meant I didn’t have to blow dry as often. And, now, I think I’ve weaned myself off of the blow dryer (save for the occasional Blowtique blowouts, of course!)

I get my hair trimmed very infrequently — to the horror of hair stylists everywhere. But, I find that with the right products and treatments, my hair does not damage easily. I tested my theory during my visit to Blowtique. I asked Rhona, “How long do you think it has been since my last trim?” It’s been about five months, so I was actually nervous to hear her opinion but to my surprise she said in her adorable Irish accent, “I’d say about four weeks.” She pretended not to hear me when I revealed the truth.

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Beauty Black Book: Blowtique Chicago

All I have to say is FINALLY, Chicago has a proper blow dry bar. I’ve mastered the DIY mani and prefer to save my pennies for other things. Now those pennies will undoubtedly be going to Blowtique, located at the corner of State and Huron in Chicago. Blowtique is all blow-outs, all the time, for $35 (regardless of hair length/style). The salon was founded by Ireland native Fiona Mcentee (who has amazing hair and an even more covetable accent!) The Blowtique menu, featuring styles like “the Magnificent” (classic smooth blow-out with light-weight body), the “Deep Ellum” (big body curls and dramatic bounce) and “the Sunset” (tousled waves), was crafted by creative director Rhona Kane, also of Ireland.

The wall of Oribe

I’ve got Irish roots (my maiden name is Murphy, after all), so I was thrilled to sit in Rhona’s chair last week on the eve of Blowtique’s grand opening. It’s clear that she is a styling genius, and I was enthralled by her skills with a round brush. The salon uses Oribe products (always an attraction!) and each appointment starts with a shampoo and conditioning. I opted for “the Sunset” and was in love with the results, which lasted nearly four days (with some dry shampoo and Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray on days three and four to help revive).

"the Sunset" blow-out

One visit and I’m already hooked.

If you’re in Chi-town, you must visit. And if you visit Chi-town, you must make this a stop in your trip. Good hair days are good for the soul.

Save your Strands with Living Proof Restore

Just because its beach weather, doesn’t mean your hair has to suffer. Sun, heat, salt and chlorine all are cuticle killers. Just examine your strands after a day at the beach or pool and you will see the stress in your hair. Especially if you try to work a brush or comb through it in the moment (I’ve learned my lesson doing that – DON’T!) Adding to the summer stressors, I’ve also been giving my hair a lot of heat lately with various curling wands and my newest obsession, the Beachwaver.  Great waves, but my ends are thirsty. Luckily, there is a secret weapon in my arsenal that women everywhere NEED on standby. From none other than Living Proof, of course. They’ve taken their nourishing Restore line, previously Shampoo, Conditioner and Mask Treatment, and added three products to save your hair from stress and bring it back to health.

Restore Revitalizing Spray with Heat and UV Defense ($26) – Perfect for dry + damaged hair, defends against heat and UV damage. Just spray on wet or dry hair to protect your strands from the sun.

Restore Targeted Repair Cream ($28) Fights breakage and helps seal split ends while restructuring and reinforcing weakened hair strands. Think of this as a protein shake for your strands.

Restore Recovery Regimen ($38) This is for intensive hair repair — strengthening the most damaged hair (a.k.a. over-processed). Living Proof claims this regimen will make your hair 20x stronger.

The science behind Restore is Living Proof’s “miracle molecule” which creates a weightless shield around each strand of hair to protect compromised cuticles and regulate moisture levels. The 20x stronger comes in after just 14 days. They promise it will do the trick, and even launched a fun 14-day “Restore the Love” challenge on Facebook. Check it out, maybe win a Canyon Ranch Vacation, and of course, make your plan to save your strands this summer!

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!

I'm Obsessed with Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo & Conditioner

moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner

I don’t know about you but I have what I can a “special occasion” shampoo and conditioner. When I really love a shampoo and conditioner and it is on the price side of things, I only reach for it on special occasions. This is my way of making those bottles last awhile. I adored this one particular brand’s shampoo and conditioner because it smelled like Chanel no. 5 and made me feel like I spent all day at the salon but with each bottle costing upwards of $25 each, it didn’t get a lot of play. Now I’ve gotten over my shampoo and conditioner rationing  thanks to MoroccanOil’s Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner.

I’ve done a lot of damage to my hair during the last year going from brunette to red, back to brunette and then back to a reddish-brunette. I worried that my hair would only be fit for lining stables after the last time I had color lifted but I’ve been good to my hair and have been pampering it as much as I can. This pampering has involved using MoroccanOil’s Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner more regularly. Normally this would be a “special occasion” shampoo and conditioner for me but it is so so good and much more affordable that I’ve decided I cannot be without it and have worked it into my regular rotation. At a starting price of $15 for an 8oz. bottle, I’ve decided that my hair is worth that much to me. 🙂

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Part Jewelry + Hair Accessory = Goody Double Wear

I’m a minimalist with accessories. Occasionally, I’ll wear a statement necklace or fun cocktail ring, but most days it’s a watch and hairtie around the wrist. Always a hairtie around the wrist. Which is why I’m absolutely loving the neck and wrist accessories from  Goody Double Wear that moonlight as jewelry. Part ponytail holder and/or headband depending on product and part accessory with a textured metal band. Did I fool you? They look like bracelets, right? I love piling them on, and of course, I still have my trusty Twistband on my wrist as well. You can never really have enough hair options on your wrist as a female. It’s like my security blanket!

What’s even more fun is the Goody Double Wear Headwrap Necklaces. They come as a duo, one silver and gold, and I wear these constantly. When my hair is tied back or when its down, too. And a lot of times, I have no intention of wearing them as anything but jewelry. In fact, I’m wearing them in this Revlon video that way.

These are a must on your next trip to Target! 

P.S. The orange bracelet in the wrist shot is from Sasha Rhett. We are really excited about her line of bracelets and watches that come with interchangeable straps in varied textures and colors. Review to come soon!

To Curl or Not To Bedhead Curlipops Curl?

Sometimes we want things that aren’t necessarily in our best interests. An extra glass of wine when we’ve had enough. An extra bite of dessert when we’re beyond full. Hitting the snooze button when we’re already running late. But we do it anyway, right? That’s sort of how I feel about the new Bed Head® Curlipops™ curling irons. They are so enticing, like candy (minus the calories, thankfully), and their unique barrel shapes help create fun texture, loose curls and waves.

First, the options.

  1” Tourmaline Ceramic Reverse Conical Styling Iron (blue raspberry color) – Creates tight curls at the roots and looser curls towards the bottom.

   1” Tourmaline Ceramic Hourglass Styling Iron (candy apple red color) With this you can have both with loose curls and the ends and tight curls in the middle. Lots of volume!

   1” Tourmaline Ceramic Styling Iron ((tangerine color) This wand is a more “traditional” shape — loose or tight curls, your choice!

I like these. But here’s the thing. I’m scared of them. These are not what you would call for beginners with clipless irons. I’m actually questioning it as an “experienced” clipless curler. I know….because I’m currently sporting a perfect circular burn on my inner arm. There is no protective tip at the end — it’s HOT. There is a glove, yes. But my accident occurred because I bumped the iron with my hip while reaching for something and it pivoted left and hit the arm that was reaching. But, you guys. Imagine if I did that to my face or neck or hand?! Ahh!

For what it is worth, the Curlipops do create some amazing curls. I used the Hourglass wand and aside from this wicked burn, I really like the waves. Just know what you’re getting yourself into with these and BE careful.

Beauty VIP of the Week: Dry Shampoo

The longer my hair gets, the less I want to wash it. Not only to protect the ends and keep it healthy, but goodness, to save time! It takes some serious work to get it cleansed, dried and styled. I wear it as a badge of honor how long I can go between washes. I’m currently at about 2-3, but hoping to get it to 3-4. I might actually be a little too excited about it, as my husband keeps telling to stop bragging about how “dirty” my hair is. Whatever, I think it’s awesome.

3 days (unwashed!) and going strong

All of this unwashed glory would not be possible without dry shampoo. I can’t be without it. I’ve been testing them religiously, and have become quite selective. I found some that only seem to reinforce the fact that my hair is unwashed and others that magically infuse new life into my strands for days. I wanted to share my VIP picks, in hopes you can start living the dirty hair life, too. It’s a life that involves cool shower caps and more sleep in the morning!

The scent of Lulu Organics Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Powder ($30) is unbeatable. Very herbal and soothing — I actually think in the process of absorbing excess scalp oil it also manages to relax me. It also gives my hair a nice texture. Rub a dab of this between your fingers and then massage into your scalp and brush hair. Easy and done!

This brand is new to my radar, but they seem to do it all, including hair. Acure Organics Argan Stem Cell + CoQ10 Dry Shampoo ($12.99) is another powder formula that, in addition to Argan and CoQ10, uses corn starch, white clay and essential oils of lavender and chamomile to cleanse hair. It has a very fine, almost silky, texture. I like this one on clean, “first day” hair sometimes as I think it seems to work invisibly. There is no trace of this in your hair, but it does a great job of absorbing oil.

I’ve reviewed Lush No Drought ($12.95) before, and it’s still a favorite. I have a thing for powder dry shampoos, obviously. I love how citrusy this one is, with lime and grapefruit.

If I’m going aerosol, it’s Batiste ($8.99) all the way. I really like the Blush version, but this Brit can is adorable, no? This gives me serious volume and is super convenient on the go. I stock up on this when it’s on sale at Ulta! It’s practically the only aerosol dry shampoo I will use. No weird texture issues to be had with this one, which makes it a standout.

Perfecting the Blow Dry


After nearly three years of growth, my hair is finally really long. It thrills me to no end, but it doesn’t come without its own set of challenges. Primarily, the blow dry.  If I had the luxury of getting a blowout 3-4 times a week, I’d do it in a second. It takes so much more work to get my hair ready to be dried, and then of course, the actual drying. It’s a total chore. But there is an art to it, so I wanted to share some of the tools, tricks and products I attribute to helping me conquer this necessary evil.  

It starts in the shower. I alternate hair cleansers, but right now, I am really into Peter Lamas Rice Protein Volumizing Shampoo & Conditioner. It’s a 100% vegan and I feel like this protects and nourishes my hair. It’s 2012 — there’s no reason to use sulfates and stripping agents in your shampoo. None. This shampoo/conditioner duo is fortified with carrot seed, chamomile, enriched with aloe and avocado and contains Panthenol (a.k.a. vitamin B-5) to help strengthen hair. Oh, and the rice proteins work to plump up the hair shaft and create a thicker look.

I use a few different brushes/combs during the blow dry. The wide-toothed comb to detangle wet hair as a first step, for example. But this Spornette #955 from the brand’s Italian collection, is my go-to for creating volume at the roots. I’m obsessed with using it, and it makes me feel like a pro. I use it when my hair is more than halfway dry and past the tangle stage and use it to dry sections of my hair, from the crown on down. It gives serious lift at the roots!

If I’m looking to shave some time off my dry, I use Blow Ready Set Blow Express Blow Dry Lotion. Without using alcohol (a “drying agent”), this cream is made from a protein blend that minimizes stress on hair and boosts heat conductivity. I work this throughout my strands and comb it out with a wide-toothed comb. Beyond just speeding up the dry process, it also locks out humidity during the day.

I might be addicted to the lovely scent of Paul Mitchell’s Ginger Awapuhi Hydromist Blowout Spray. It also happens to work quite well. Natural awapuhi and honey extract help eliminate frizz and lightweight conditioners protect hair from damage. It also gives my hair some grit (without a gritty feel).