Taming Winter Static Woes

One of the most annoying things that happens to your hair in the winter months is static.  You can spend hours styling, but five minutes later, each strand of hair seems to have a mind of its own and a desperate desire to get as far away from your head as possible.  You can brush and brush, but without these simple tips from the Health and Style Institute, you run the risk of spending your night on the town with the Einstein style.

 Go natural!

Stop running plastic bristles through your hair, they only make the situation worse.  Instead, buy a wooden or animal hair brush.  They don’t hold static charge, so can’t spread it to your hair.

Remove static that’s already there

If you already have a head full of static, there are some simple tricks to getting it out.  First, realize that static is actually a form of electricity.  And what conducts electricity?  Metal.  Grab a wire clothes hanger and run it over the static-y sections of your hair.  The static should just jump to the wire, leaving your style alone.  You can also try lighting brushing a dryer sheet through your hair.  They’re designed to get static out of clothes, but they can work wonders on hair as well.

Moisturize

Locking moisture in is the best way to keep static out.  This means using a shampoo and conditioner that is made to moisturize, then treating your hair when you step out of the shower.  Sprays that contain silicone will coat your hair, making it impossible (or at least much much harder) for those static-causing ions to reach your locks.  You can also use a drop or two of hand lotion in a static emergency.  Just rub the lotion on your fingertips, then run your fingers through your hair.

Know the Hair You Have

If you have thick, wavy locks, your hair can handle a lot of product.  Think of it as fair payback for all those times as a child your mother would comb your hair and it would hurt like h-e-double hockey stick.  You can use a rich conditioning spray to keep moisture locked in.  Because hair dryers are designed to pull water away from your hair, use the conditioning spray before you dry.  If you have fine hair, use a cream rather than a spray, and apply it just to the tips of your hair to avoid the greaser look.  That combined with a dryer sheet tucked in your purse should keep your hair static free throughout the day.

For more tips on how to keep your hair looking its best this winter, contact the stylists at the Health and Style Institute.  They have worked with all hair types, and can help you get and keep the look you want.

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Winter Hair…and How to Beat it

Winter means snow storms, freezing cold, and hoods.  All of these forces seem to conspire to make your perfectly done hair look like you just rolled out of bed.  However, there are things you can do all winter long that will help you keep your style despite the chill.

Moisturize the Frizz Away

Frizz is caused by a lack of moisture.  Making sure your hair is never thirsty will take away that unkempt look and leave you feeling in control of your locks.

This should be done on several levels.  First, make regular trips to your hair salon for deep-conditioning treatments.  If going once a week is going to break the bank, consider going to a school like The Health and Style Institute.  You get better deals and quality stylists.  The deep-conditioning will keep your hair healthy and looking great.

While you’re there, pick up some leave-in conditioners and protective oils.  All the primping you put your hair through has worse effects in winter months than any other time.  Daily moisturizing is a great way to keep your hair healthy between salon visits.

Give your Hair a Break

Every time you wash your hair, you lose moisture and natural oils.  Try washing less frequently – maybe every other or every third day.  When you do wash it, think about how much stress your towel puts on it.  Rubbing your towel through your hair is asking for trouble.  Instead, take the gentler approach by just patting or scrunching your hair with the towel.

You already know the cold gives you chapped lips and dry skin – but did you know it does the same to your hair?  If you’re going out in the cold, wear a hat or scarf that covers your hair so it’s not as exposed to the harsh elements.  But beware of wool hats.  They actually dry out your hair, undoing all the good work you’re putting in.

Embrace the Chill

The more heat you expose your hair to, the less moisture your hair retains from the shampoo and conditioner.  Try to get around this by washing your hair in lukewarm water and reducing the amount you use your hair dryer.  By letting your hair at least partially air dry, you give the moisturizer in your products a chance to do its job.

If you do have to blow dry, consider investing in an ionizing hairdryer.  These use negative ions to interact with water molecules, lowering the necessary heat of vaporization.  In short, they let your hair dry faster.  Less time using dry heat means less damage to your hair.

 

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Happy Winter Hands

 

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Due to the hands’ thin skin, they bear the brunt of winter weather — more than any other part of the body. The drier and colder air of the upcoming winter months can certainly be merciless to your hands. So too can be the more frequent washings to avoid cold and flu bugs.

And with all of the cooking, cleaning, crafting and wrapping that come with the holiday season,  your hands will be doing a lot more work than usual.  Chapped, sore and flaky hands certainly won’t go well with your holiday party attire, now will they?!

The most important element for happy hands?  Moisture…. humidity.  Plugging in some small humidifiers around the house can add some much-needed moisture to the air, your hands, face and more.  And don’t forget your sunscreen; it’s not just a summer time staple.  Even in the winter, exposure to the sun’s rays speeds up the aging process. This exposure increases the risk of developing dry skin, wrinkles, age spots and spider veins.  Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on all skin that will be exposed, especially the hands.

The main goal of moisturizing your hands is to protect the body’s own built-in humectant system.  The skin’s outer layer contains a collection of compounds that doctors refer to as the “natural moisturizing factor” (NMF).  Components in the NMF actually absorb moisture from the atmosphere to keep skin supple even when exposed to harsh elements.

The bad news?  The NMF is water soluble, meaning the more you wash your hands — a common wintertime illness-avoiding tactic — the more you remove your body’s natural defense against dryness.

Some of the top active ingredients you should look for when shopping for hand soaps, moisturizers and treatments:

• Dimethicone and glycerin help draw water to the skin and keep it there. Products that contain lactic acid and urea help relieve dry skin, even severe cases. Lanolin, mineral oil and petrolatum (petroleum jelly) effectively trap water in the skin.

• Consider a hand cream with skin brighteners like vitamin C, licorice or bearberry extract, or with alpha-hydroxy acids (for gentle exfoliation), and/or with hyaluronic acid (for extra moisturizing). Neem oil oral supplements help improve skin texture all over the body, including the hands.

• Calendula has demonstrated healing properties, and studies have been conducted specifically in the winter that have demonstrated argan oil’s beneficial effect on regulating sebum production resulting in improved skin condition. Sea buckthorn oil is an excellent agent for the process of cellular rejuvenation.

The number-one factor that contributes to dry hands is soap and water, especially hot water. Antibacterial soaps are especially harsh and drying, so avoid them.  Minimizing contact with soap and water can help preserve the moisture of the hands, and moisturizing immediately after washing is crucial.

It’s also essential to avoid certain products.  Hand sanitizers that contain alcohol are especially drying and should only be used in a pinch — say, if you are out to eat, have soiled hands and can’t get to a sink to wash with soap and water.  Also, look for a hand wash without sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate; this ingredient is too harsh, especially on winter-ravaged hands.  When cleaning up, say experts, avoid deodorant soaps and those with added fragrance.

Preventative care goes a long way.  Make certain to wear gloves when you venture out into the cold.  And inside, though it may conjure up images of your grandmother, wearing good old-fashioned rubber gloves when washing dishes or doing other water-based housecleaning can go a long way toward preserving your hands, especially in winter.

Proper nail care is also imperative in the winter months.  Strong nails will protect your fingertips from injury.  Keep nails clean, at an appropriate length, and make sure to hydrate the cuticles — use essential oil or cuticle cream.  If you wear nail polish, apply nail oil every other night to help polish last longer and to reduce dryness from the chemicals in polish.

Pamper your hands a little more than usual… treat yourself to an affordable and relaxing manicure at Health and Style Institute!

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Your First Date… With a New Hairdresser!

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First time consultations with a new hairdresser are much like a first date… unpredictable, but going into it with the right preparation and attitude can lead to a long, happy relationship.  As in all relationships, communication is key.  It’s often joked about that people share just about EVERYTHING with their hairdresser… but to get off in the right groove together, there are a few key things that are important to share initially.

Let your hairdresser know what you love about your hair and what about your hair makes you want to run screaming into traffic.  If you adore the natural red highlights in your blonde hair, a good hairdresser can suggest options that may enhance it.  On the other hand, if the skinny, lifeless braid you’re sporting has always had you yearning for thicker, more voluminous hair, by all means, speak up.  There’s a lot a great hairdresser can do with cut and texturizing to add volume and body.  However, be realistic; if you’ve tresses like Gwyneth Paltrow, you won’t leave with hair to rival Kim Kardashian’s thick locks.

Be clear about the things that you vehemently dislike.  If short hair isn’t your thing, no matter how much it might flatter your face, or how fabulous a short cut you’d get, you’ll probably never like it.  Don’t mince words about your “no-way, never”s.  But also be willing to listen to suggestions and know what you’d be open to considering, even if it’s something entirely new for you.

You’ll love your hair more if it really suits your lifestyle and schedule.  If there already aren’t enough hours in your day, a wash and go style, or one that requires very little time to look good is ideal.  Let your hairdresser know how much or how little daily time you have – or care — to spend on your hair.  As well as what tools and products you already have.  They can work with you to teach you how to emulate the look you leave the salon with, often using the tools you already have.

Follow these tips and you may find it’s the start of a beautiful relationship!

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Taming Your Natural Curls

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Often, the “grass always seems greener on the other side o’the fence”… true with hair types too! Those with beautiful natural curls to die for lament the woes of dealing with curls.  Those sans curls would often trade their straight tresses in a heartbeat!  For you natural curl-headed beauties, we have answers and a guiding light to help you see your curls as beautiful.

First, curly hair is different from straight. There are hard and fast rules.  Some are just our opinion, some have been passed down from generation to generation of curlmeisters. First one: never brush curly hair. This is true. Unless, of course, you love that big, bushy, frizzy, ‘Roseanne Roseannadanna’ look. The only time you should EVER brush curly hair is before you wash it. And be sure to use a brush with rounded tips, and get tips right on the scalp. Curly folks don’t get much scalp stimulation, so you need to brush down on it to loosen the old skin and bring blood up to the surface of the scalp, which feeds the follicles to continue to grow a healthy crop of curls.

Once in the shower, wash and condition with products designed for curly hair, which usually provide lots of moisture to drier-than-average hair. Use a wide tooth comb to get the tangles out during the conditioning.

Leave the conditioner in for a minute or two, or even five.  Then rinse for a minute.  Now here’s where this gets interesting.  Keep some light gel curl prep product and leave-in conditioner on the floor of your shower or on the ledge of your tub, where you can reach it easily.  Bend from the waist, flipping your hair upside down.  Use two or three pumps of the curl-prep, and add a quarter-size puddle of the conditioner, mix in your hand.  Now, apply from ends to roots.  Yes, that is backwards from what you usually do, but you want most of the goodies on the ends.  Now squish it through, closing your fists on the curls, and squeeze out the excess.  Wrap your hair in a towel and jump out of the shower.  Let some of the water absorb into the towel.  When you’re ready to dry your hair, unwrap the towel and get your blow dryer and diffuser attachment on and ready, and start from the back and work your way to the top.  Again, flipping your hair over is a good way to access the top.  You’ll need some practice to find the way that works best for you, but this technique will keep your curls from frizzing and they will also stay intact and spiral beautifully.

Most curly folks already know that natural curls are not too consistent.  Some go north, some go west.  So if you want to change direction of some of your wayward ringlets, wrap it around your finger the way you want it to go, and aim the diffuser at it on a high heat, low air velocity setting for a few seconds, then take away the dryer and let it cool down on your finger.  Unwrap and there you have it:  bouncing and behaving curls.

Curly hair doesn’t like mornings.  It tends to be quite tangly and while you slept, it got involved with your pillowcase’s cotton threads and turned into a cotton ball.  Here are some tips to avoid this phenomenon: Prior to hitting the hay (sorry, that’s an unfortunate pun in a curly hair article), gently pull your hair into a loose ponytail on top of your head.  Even if your hair is bob-length, the longest parts will reach into the soft elastic, and you’ll avoid most of that pillowcase involvement.  Then in the morning, just mist your hair with a curl activator spray, or add some of the curl-prep to a spray bottle of water and use that.

Washing every other day is a good idea, since the negotiation process tends to be a bit lengthy.  It’s funny how people associate curls with ‘wash and wear’ hair.  There is nothing easy about most curly hair… many need four products and fifteen minutes to wrangle it down to a dull roar instead of the lion’s mane it wants to be.

Hopefully this gives you some illumination on how to deal with your own curls.

Source: Adapted from Karie Bennett

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Naturally Beautiful Skin

 

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We often spend our attention – and money – on a fabulous new wardrobe piece or an awesome accessory, but we neglect the one thing that everyone notices, and looks directly at in any interaction: our face, or more specifically, our skin.

No cosmetic will ever do as much for flawless beautiful skin, as good consistent skin care will. And as one’s skin become healthier, you’ll find you rely less and less on cosmetics.  A step towards that stunning skin is to make it a priority in your schedule and budget to get regular facials. It’s one of the best investments you can make for your skin.

Another step towards great skin is to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it is also the last to get any nutrients from the foods you eat.  So make sure the nutrients it does get are healthy ones.

Lastly, we’ve all become accustomed to a higher-stress, faster paced way of life, but we also pay a price for it. It’s important to engage in relaxing activities to reduce the stressor hormones in the body.  When you come to Health and Style Institute for a facial, you get a double benefit: great skin care, and some relaxing “me-time”.

Call us today (336.885.3452) to schedule some time for yourself to relax and take that first step towards naturally beautiful skin!

 

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Choosing Hairbrushes

When you get your hair professionally styled at Health and Style Institute or a salon, you might have noticed that your stylist uses different types of hairbrushes.  Hairbrushes come in thousands of styles, materials, and designs. A low-end plastic brush costs as little as $1 and a hand-tied boar brush as much as $100+. The average price for a decent brush is from $5 to $25. Knowing what brushes to buy begins with understanding the difference in bristles (boar, nylon, porcupine, and metal) as well as the four basic categories of brushes (vented, cushioned, round, and classic). Other than that, choosing a particular design really depends on your style of doing hair.

Natural boar bristle cares for the hair and helps make it really soft and smooth because the bristles are the same material as the hair itself.  Boar bristles are considered ideal because they close the cuticle layer — the outside armor of your hair — and create shiny hair. Because boar bristles tend to be weak, manufacturers often mix them with nylon bristles, so they don’t collapse while you’re brushing through the hair.

Brushes made of wood or plastic usually have nylon or metal bristles.  Nylon bristles can be soft and flexible or stiff and firm. Nylon bristles offer little to maximum control, depending on how closely the bristles are placed and how flexible the material. Their aim is to massage the scalp in order to improve the circulation and help make the hair grow healthy and beautiful.  As a rule, the stiffer and more closely spaced the bristle, the more control you have over the hair. Metal bristles are best left for styling wigs and hair pieces.  Even with soft plastic tips they are too inflexible on the human scalp.

Another type of bristle is Porcupine, a term used for a tufted bristle — multiple bristles grouped together — that usually includes a combination of boar and nylon bristles. It’s gentle, but it exerts a good hold on the hair.

No matter the type of brush you choose, most hair stylists generally recommend you buy a new hairbrush at least once a year. While your brush may still appear to be in good condition, once the bristles become worn down they can actually cause damage to the hair. A brush in poor condition can even break or pull out your hair at the follicle. The majority of hair brushes have round tips at the end of the bristles. These are referred to as epoxy ball tips. They help the brush move through your hair easier without pulling on it. If the epoxy ball tips become damaged or break off, they can cause injury to the scalp by scratching it. The life of your hairbrush will also depend on other factors such as how often you brush your hair, your hair length and texture, and the type of hair brush you purchase.

Your hairbrush not only styles your hair but is needed to stimulate your scalp as well. This is important to ensure that hair contains enough natural oils to keep it looking healthy. As a person ages, the amount of natural oil in their hair tends to decrease and can leave hair looking dull. When the hair is brushed, a natural oil called sebum is released. Sebum both protects the hair and acts as a natural moisturizer. By brushing your hair daily with the proper hair brush, you can keep it healthy and shiny.

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