Let's face the facts: You know that using heat to style your hair can cause dryness, breakage, and split ends. Specifically, heat damages your strands by causing hair’s naturally smooth coating to become rough—rippling instead of sitting flat on the cuticle, as it should.
Yet, like nickel shot night or an all-you-can-eat carb buffet (a girl can dream, right?), we keep coming back for more—despite the danger of damage.
Does that mean you need to swear off hot tools forever?
Not quite! With a few straightforward steps, you can learn to be lovely towards your locks while maintaining the looks you love.
1. Apply a Heat Protectant Before Styling
Every time you pick up that hot tool or blow dryer, always, always, always, make sure you have a heat protectant in your hair—it’s as important as sunscreen on your skin.
We love H-Line’s Elixir 11 for its heat protecting properties, formulated with key ingredients that really coat the strand, it makes a seal that helps reduce damage to the cuticle. Another way Elixir 11 helps you beat the heat? It acts as a detangler, so you're not stretching or breaking the hair when you run hot tools through it.
Whether you’re using an all-in-one product or a single-purpose heat protectant, just remember that no amount of product can guard your hair against excessive heat—so be cautious of allowing your hot tools to sit for too long on a single area.
2. Learn What High-Tech Tools Can Help Reduce Damage
Heat styling tools don’t have to cost a fortune, but they do need some basic features. Look for tools that have more than one temperature setting. Extra points if it displays temperatures on a screen since some tools can range from 175℉ all the way up to 400℉.
Additional options to look for include:
3. Know The Right Temperature For Your Hair
The finer the hair, the lower the temperature on your tools should be. So, if you’re styling baby-fine strands, there’s zero reason to turn that dial up to high.
However, that doesn’t mean that those with thicker hair strands should crank it all the way up—temperatures over 400℉ should rarely be used by anyone who isn’t a professional. Instead, follow this rough temperature guide:
If you find that those temperatures aren’t getting the desired results, try to take smaller sections instead of turning up the heat.
4. Wipe Down Your Tools To Eliminate Grime
When was the last time you wiped down your flat iron? How about your curling wand?
If they haven’t been working as well as they used to, the answer is probably eons ago. The product buildup may not be visible, but it’s doing some serious damage to your tools—and your hair.
That’s because the buildup of the polymers in many styling products is essentially melted plastic material that can adhere to your hair. That residue not only encourages split ends, but also creates a barrier of gunk that makes it harder for your tools to create polished curls or a smooth, straight finish.
How to clean your hot tools correctly?
The best method is to plug in your tool and let it warm up, and then unplug it and let it cool for a few minutes. Then dampen a washcloth with some rubbing alcohol, and wipe the plates or wand clean while the tool is still warm—the heat will make it easier to clean, so you’re not picking and scraping at buildup that has cooled and hardened.
5. Don’t Forget To Deep Condition
If you style your hair with heat on the regular, it's important to use a hair mask that includes protein. While your heat-damaged hair may look dry and thirsty, just a moisture or oil-based product alone won't work because you need to replenish the protein, the main component of our hair, and you need both protein and moisture in conjunction.
Has heat styling damage your hair beyond the help of at-home treatments? Get some professional help! At Shades Color Bar, we offer a keratin mask that imitates hair’s original structure with proteins, helping to fill in damaged areas for amazing strength and shine.
Every summer, soon-to-be blondes hit the bottle to get perfectly sun-kissed tresses. And each year come fall, just when it’s about time to swap jean shorts for flared denim and crop tops for knitted sweaters, salon-goers with every hue of hair start dreaming about different colors.
But, do autumn’s traditionally deeper shades mean giving up the blonde? And, how to ensure fair hair retains its radiance—even after months of swimming and fun?
Here are our tips just for blondes on how to embrace your fall style transition while keeping locks looking (and feeling!) fresh.
Transitioning To Fall Blonde: Tone It
“Summer-blonde” is bleached, tousled, fun, and a little faded. But, as temps cool and that golden, sun-kissed glow leaves your skin, so does your complexion’s ability to carry the shade you may have started the season with—or some of the brassiness that invariably pops up after long days spent outdoors.
To avoid looking washed out, consider a seasonal hair makeover. Your first step in transitioning from summer-blonde to fall-blonde is selecting the right toner.
Most of you who already color or highlight your hair blonde will be familiar with toners—usually, colorists apply them all over as the final step in the process in order to tone down brassiness and sort of help all of the tones in your hair to harmonize together. They're gentler (semi-permanent instead of permanent color) and deposit pigment instead of lighten, so you don't need to worry about damaging already-colored hair.
Are you a blonde who tends to get white and ashy after lots of time in the sun? Consider asking for a light-golden-blonde toner. It’ll help to produce a beautiful, buttery appearance that also restores richness and shine.
Very light blondes who are also fair-skinned with pink undertones in their complexion would be better off skipping the golden hues (which could make rosy skin look flushed) and going straight for lowlights. Consider asking your colorist to do a subtle dark-blonde lowlight on the top layer of your hair, which is where the sun usually does the most damage.
The result? A sandy blonde shade with tonality and depth that creates contrast between your skin and hair—while the deeper shade simultaneously enhances light eyes even more.
How else can you protect a good blonde from going brassy? Go forth and get yourself some purple shampoo (and conditioner), stat!
When hair is colored or lightened, a little rainbow of color molecules (red, yellow, blue) are deposited in the hair cuticle. Because they're the smallest, it's the blue ones that go MIA first— leaving you with mostly red and yellow.
And you know what those shades produce? Orange!
Being the opposite of orange, purple shampoos and conditioners are literally a color saver for blondes. Their violet pigments shut that brassiness down, keeping your color at its fresh-from-the-salon glory.
Keep Your Blonde Healthy: Treat It
Maybe you were the victim of overzealous heat styling (it's happened to us all); maybe you tried to DIY with home colour and failed (also been there!); or maybe a summer of sun has simply taken its toll.
Whether for prevention or repair—here are a few tricks we keep up our sleeves to ensure your blonde locks stay looking extra healthy.
Clarifying: Crystal Gel Treatment by Malibu
Chlorine, minerals, and hard water add buildup that can affect how well your hair takes to lightening.
Enter Crystal Gel Treatment by Malibu! This one-time treatment rids hair of minerals, medications, and other color-blockers so that bleach doesn’t have to stay on as long to get your desired lift. Available as a pre-color service for optimal results, or just as a detox for your hair and scalp, Crystal Gel Treatment will leave your hair easier to style and softer to the touch.
Repairing: Protein Treatment
Are your ends breaking up? Try a protein treatment! Applied to hair after your color is washed out, (while you’re still in the shampoo bowl), protein treatments are similar to a deep conditioner—strengthening your hair without changing the color.
Rebuilding: Wellaplex Strengthening Treatment
Going blonde damages hair by eating away at the bonds and amino acids that keep strands intact. But Wellaplex—a two-step process to rebuild and perfect the hair’s structure—lightens hair with less damage, and is quickly becoming known as the single salon treatment all color addicts need.
“Blow out before you go out”
A great blowout, great hair, can really change your day and make your feel good about yourself. Whether you’re a connoisseur of blowouts or you’ve never had one in your life, Shades’ stylists will wow you with their super-styling capabilities that are sure to put pep in your step.
Our stylists are masters of the round brush, queens of the blow dryer, and their mission is to leave you feeling like you’re ready to hit the red carpet at a Hollywood premiere.
Of course, we are the obvious first stop on a girls’ night out—at least one worth talking about in the morning. But, we know life isn’t just about the occasional gala event, your stylist can walk you through different looks that range from va-va-volume to sleek and pretty. Go ahead, come in before a coffee date, a work meeting, or just to start your week off right.
Don’t Forget To Spread The Love With Our Referral Program
Speaking of slaying with style, did you know that if you refer a friend to Shades, it’ll cut the cost of your next service by $10?
And, to make it extra convenient, you don’t even have to make your appointments a double date to enjoy savings! Just ask whomever to refer to mention your name when they drop by and we’ll mark you down for a credit.
So, the next time your bestie bemoans her locks, or someone stops to ask just how on earth your curls fall oh-so-perfectly or where they can get your stellar cut, just drop your fave stylist’s name and we’ll do the rest.
P.S. - We’re hiring!
Do you know any stylists who might be a great fit for our team here at Shades Color Bar? Pass the word along that we’re looking for local talent!
If you’ve ever tried to color over your gray hair at home, you know how tricky those silvered strands can be. From their stubborn ability to reject pigment to the extra difficulty matching shades, it’s easy to feel at your wit’s end when trying to cover grays.
It’s not just your imagination either! The reason for gray hair’s stubbornness is two-fold:
Hair Color with a Neutral Base Works Best to Cover Gray Hair
To get full, strong coverage on all your gray hair, consider talking to your stylist about choosing a hair dye with a neutral base.
These dyes can add solidity to your hair’s tone by first coating gray strands with a neutral base, before adding the desired color on top. The result will be an even shade across your whole head--as opposed to gray strands turning up a shocking shade of cherry or gold.
If you’re naturally blonde, ask for a neutral color by using the terms “sandy” or “medium” blonde. And, if you’re naturally brunette, ask for a neutral color by using the terms “espresso” or “chocolate” brown.
For brunettes, it’s worth noting that darker brown shades of hair color generally have more pigment than those in the spectrum of blonde. This means that they can offer greater coverage in the short-term.
However, just beware that the darkest brunette hair colors are also a big commitment, since they’ll create an obvious line of gray as your roots grow out.
For those hoping to reach a shade of red and get gray coverage, it’s extra important to confirm with your stylist that the hair color they choose for you is fortified with a neutral undertone, or else you could end up with bright pink streaks wherever grays appeared! Try asking for a neutral auburn or chestnut to reach your desired shade.
No Matter Your Color, Stay Away From Ash Tones to Cover Gray
Stay away from ash-toned hair color when asking your stylist to cover your gray. That’s because these hair dyes tend to be more translucent, meaning that they provide weaker gray coverage due to their limited base tones.
Which Hair Color Covers Grays With the Least Commitment?
Finally, if you want to achieve optimal gray coverage with minimal time commitment, ask your stylist to help you choose a shade of hair dye that’s slightly lighter than your natural color. This way, when the gray roots grow in, the color blends better and you won’t need to touch it up as soon.
Love the look of your freshly blown-out style, but aren’t so sure about keeping up your appointments the next month of unpredictable weather? Don’t fret! There’s no need to avoid wearing your hair down until the weather clears up.
Here are a few tips to help you keep your blowout looking bouncy all spring long:
1. Choose a Textured and Slightly Messy Blowout Style
Especially your hair is prone to frizz, your best bet is a blowout style that’s chock-full of texture and waves in lieu of straighter options. Ask for something that’s tousled, has tons of movement, and very loose waves throughout.
The deconstructed style will camouflage any frizz that starts to appear from moisture and humidity in the air, while tousling gives straight-haired girls desired volume that doesn’t look destroyed should the wind kick up.
2. Have a Looser-Fitting Hat on Hand
When the weather forecast could go either way, it’s always a good idea to have a hat on hand! Choose a looser fitting style, like a wide brim cloche or woven Panama hat, to prevent the inner brim from crushing your waves.
Should you need to protect your blowout from a potential downpour, gently scrunch (not twist!) and pile your locks on top of your head, and secure under your hat. Then, once you’re inside, flip your head upside down and massage your roots before twisting and tousling pieces back into place.
3. Avoid the Urge To Touch
Unless you’re reconstructing your style after letting locks down, resist running your hands through your hair. Not only does touching add oils from your fingers which can, in turn, make your scalp look more oily, even the moisture and heat from your hands can instigate unwanted frizz.
4. Break Out Your Rollers
Once you’re home, it’s easy to just toss your blown-out style into a bun and hope that it lasts into tomorrow. However, we’ve got a frizz-fighting, volume-boosting solution that’s far more effective at making sure you don’t blow your blow-out.
Here’s what to do: Section off bigger pieces of your hair and loosely wrap them up in velcro curlers. Use bobby pins to secure any loose strands.
Then, once all of the curlers are placed in their hair, we suggest keeping them secured in a terry cloth shower cap. Unlike plastic, the cotton allows your scalp to “breathe”—meaning that moisture won’t be trapped next to your head.
Not only do curlers provide an extra boost of body, but the heat from your scalp helps to create a gentle “set” that keeps your locks smooth from root to end.