Does your hair need Hydrolyzed Protein…?

I’ve always struggled with hydrating my dry hair, because it always seems to be dry and stringy…and although it is long, it is often feeling weighed down by more than it’s own weight. I have always used my coconut oil hair salve daily and it has helped hydrate my hair to shine, de-tangling and smooth, but over use of a good thing can be bad too. Over moisturized hair from oils can leave hair feeling greasy, thin and rough. Hair color doesn’t shine as much, even if it is a fresh dye job when too much of an oil/silicone coating has taken over. But is there another way to add softness and hair vitality? I recently discovered that an ingredient called hydrolyzed protein (wheat, oat, silk, keratin) can do wonders for dull rough hair in ways that oil hydration alone can’t. Hydrolyzed protein fills in some of the gaps and roughness in your hair with an organic material that will feel kinda like new hair…when paired with a hydrating routine of conditioners/oils it’s a complete package of shine and softness.

Notice how stringy my ends are and how they seem to thin out near the bottom? They are moisturized, but not soft for some reason…it’s missing protein…
This is when I was lightening and coloring my hair a lot, and the chemical dyes saturated the shaft, but since it was missing protein, it’s not shiny, but rough in texture…

How did I find this out? While traveling during March Break and visiting Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada, I stayed at a hotel there with spa quality toiletries. I tried their shampoo and instantly I felt a difference in my hair vitality; my hair was less wiry when damp, and the next day the strands felt plumper, reminding me of how it had been in my younger days. I knew it was not my conditioner that provoked the change since I had packed that from Toronto. It was the hotel’s shampoo. I then scoured the ingredient list on the hotel shampoo and found out the main ingredient that I didn’t have in my shampoo at home was hydrolyzed wheat protein. An ingredient that would prove to make the difference.

Havin’ a “good hair day” in this vacation photo from Halifax at the Nautical Museum. After using the hotel’s shampoo the night before, it felt softer, silkier than before. Can you see this in the photo?

Back in Toronto now and using a shampoo with a hydrolyzed wheat protein. And am really liking it. But I only have protein in my shampoo, since I hear that using too much protein can cause hair to be brittle! Everything in moderation it seems!  My main tip for true hair health though is to rely less on hair care products and just treat your hair well. Do you really need to have the unicorn hair color that requires bleaching it to white, or do you need your hair to be heat styled all the time? There is no ingredient, chemical or natural that can reverse hair damage. New fangled and expensive heal-all chemicals such as Olaplex have drawbacks too, as the beauty industry has discovered (although I won’t go into detail about it this time around). Bottom line: no product or oil can substitute minimizing hair damage in the first place, so treat your hair and body well.


My current Hair Color: “Bronde” and how to get it…

(**Disclaimer! I’m not a hair professional, but have just done my research and worked with my own hair to get results I’m happy with. But whenever dying your own hair at home, please follow manufacturer’s directions and consult with a professional when possible or in doubt)

As you all know…I’ve been lightening and coloring my hair since late last year, in an attempt to get a lighter color that is neither brassy, or too harsh/dark for my complexion. Check out my articles on hair coloring and soap capping. And recently I’ve been rocking a hair color that I found out was called “bronde”; too light to be a solid brunette, and too dark to be a blonde. Kind of a caramel color in between two opposites. A nice neither region that I would like to reside in for the next little while. Why? It’s not as high maintenance as a light blonde, and it’s not as brassy as that rust color dark hairs get when they lift too little color. It’s just peachy. Check out this Vogue article about this hair color to get some inspiration. But for how, here are some famous “brondes”:

Jessica Alba: at the tonight show with just the perfect balance of light and dark caramels and soft, bouncy waves.
Amber Heard on GQ? As a darker blonde than she normally is, I think she’s got a lot more mystery and allure…
Beyonce is Bey-youtiful with a hair colour that compliments and warms her complexion. 

Okay, so you get the idea…how the color should look, but now how to achieve this neutral tone, middle level “bronde”color…Go to an expert hair stylist who does great hair color, or try it at home with these tips!**

For Brunettes want to go Bronde:

Step 1: Lighten enough: Believe it or not, us brunettes (black or brown hair) have to lift a level or two above middle lightness to achieve ‘bronde”. It’s not fair, but it’s just the way it is. For those doing this at home, you need to get to a level 7 lightness, at least. Check out swatches on how light a 7 level is.

Step 2. Tone/Glaze: This is so important as it adds the finishing shine and touches to a lighter hair color. Lightening dark hair always brings out warmth. And warmth is the enemy when trying to achieve a gentle tone in hair. Use a demi permanent hair dye with a low peroxide developer to add ash (blue/green) pigment to your strands. Use a lighter level than your hair is. So as a level 7, get a level 8/9 ash tone color. Toning with an dedicated hair “toner” only works for hair that has been lifted past a level 8.

A bit on the warm side, but I will be toning/glazing with a demi in the next week or so.

For blondes wanting to go darker to Bronde:

I’m not the most experienced in this matter, since I am a brunette, but here’s what I do know:

  • Use a demi-permanent hair color, since you are depositing only and not lifting levels. It’s gentler and from what I hear, shinier!
  • Stay away from ash tones. Ash upsets the darkening process by getting too dark/green too fast and then you’re stuck with it.
  • Always use a demi color one or two levels lighter than you want to achieve. So if I were a light blonde, I would do a 7 or 8 with warm/golden tones to get to caramel. Depending on the intensity of bronde you want, diluting the hair color formula with a clear gloss demi would be smart for avoiding over saturation and it looking flat and fake whenever dying darker.

Hope these tips help for all that want this hair color. I find it suits all skin tones and ages and just looks really healthy. Try it today.

**DISCLAIMER: all advice I give is based on my own personal experience with hair color. I’m not a professional hair stylist, so use my advice with a bit of caution and never hesitate to consult to a professional! Thanks!


Spring DIY: 4 ways to uniquely transform your T-shirts

Yay. It’s spring. So…ya…but it’s still cold here in Toronto. *sigh. In anticipation of warmer days, I wanted to keep busy with a few t-shirt DIY’s to get me through the last of the cold gloomy winter, as these days summer only feels far away…but it’s coming! And a great summer basic is the T-Shirt, and knowing that distressed cut up tees are still in, why buy when I can DIY? What I love about transforming these clothings is that it’s super easy, no sewing and wearing them just has got a crafty cool, edgy vibe to them. And when I saw Forever 21 recently had a buy 1 get 1 free sale on all sale items, I wanted to take advantage. Buying really cheap sale clothes to cut up makes sense, since the sale stuff are often pretty boring, they are left over stock after all…and asking for transformation via distressing/cutting! Here are the 4 shirts/shifts that I bought from there and will be cutting up:

My “buy 1 get 1” haul from Forever 21. Let’s start cutting and distressing!
  1. Long Beige T-shirt dress with cuffed sleeves:

For this DIY, I wanted to use this shirt as a sleep shirt, long and comfy, no shorts or pants needed to lounge in around the house! But with the thick cuffed sleeves it was not that comfy, or cool looking. So first I cut out the cuffs, for an unfinished sleeve look, and then, cut vertical slits 1 cm wide in the front upper portion and got this:

I like it a lot more now. It’s airy with the slits and so comfy to sleep in. Long enough to wear without sleep pants and not be scandalous!

2. Black tank dress with lace trim:

This dress had all kinds of wrong things going on. It was a thick stiff cotton shift material, the lace trim was too long and not delicate, and the way it hung on me originally was just not flattering. After cutting it up, and doing a “bow tie” tee cut up on the the back, I liked the way it hung a lot more, and it looks more like a party dress now, don’t you think?

“Bow tie” cut up at the back consists of two horizontal cuts and then cinching the material together with another frabric. Super easy and shows off the back…

3. Plain White tee with Pink Trim

I loved the open neck line and soft material of this tee even before I DIYed it. But this tee was still a bit on the boring side, and the big side. I figured that a back weave and side weavings might make it smaller if not more interesting. If you really like this look, it’s easy to find instructions on line on how to do it. It’s actually as easy as braiding hair.

I thought the back/side view of this tee was more interesting, but I did keep the pink collar v-neck trim more visible from the front.

4. Super plain blue pocket tee:

So this t-shirt reminded me of a shirt that an artist/painter might wear in her studio. Loose, flowy, and distressed beyond recognition. But as a new tee, this  shirt wasn’t going to tell that story. So, after sandpapering holes, cutting holes and just destroying the colour of the shirt with bleach, I got a more raggedy worn-in look. Now the shirt tells the story that I might be a struggling artist and this shirt has been destroyed since I use it for art making and everything else the imagination will allow. Kind of cool…

Faded, and with tons of holes, this shirt is just asking to be replaced…but loving that worn in, and careless look.

So after 4 T-shirt transformations, I’m not sure which is my favorite look. Do you have a favorite? Just a note about why I didn’t post instructions on how to do these looks; I wanted this article to be more about being inspired to transform your own clothes in easy effortless ways, but not as a tutorial. But I learned all these techniques online via articles and youtube, so just type in “DIY shirt cut up” and you’ll find all you need to do this too! And other tutorials would probably explain it better than me anyways. Happy Spring DIY-ing!