Somewhere between the beginning of stay-at-home orders and that first sign of actual summer weather, I decided to let my hair just be. You know–cutting myself off from an abundance of products, letting the curls live their best lives without gel, and putting more intention into my routine, which inevitably shrunk in size. This ultimately led me down a very long rabbit hole of rice water hair products and rice water challenge YouTube videos, because Sunday afternoons are just like that sometimes.
When lockdown was announced in March in the UK, I, along with every other beauty fanatic I know, felt a wave of panic as hairdressers, nail salons, and skin clinics closed. My relationships with my colorist, hairstylist, dermatologist, nail technician, and eyebrow lady were all put on hold, and I started to worry that I would end up resembling something out of Teen Wolf. That said, lockdown has been the perfect catalyst for switching up my look. I didn’t have to worry about The Outside World for a while, so in April I gave myself a big chop. It ended up being a defining moment for me. Finally — yes, finally! — I was at peace with my curls. Over the last few months I have tended to my tresses like a precious garden, watering daily, massaging my scalp, coating my curls with deep conditioner and butters, and giving myself a trim every six weeks. While my hair has grown considerably as a result of hiding my straighteners and tongs (goodbye, heat damage), I still felt that my crown was missing some va va voom.Naturally, like everyone seems to be during the summer, I decided to bleach my hair. Before you gasp in horror (because yes, bleaching at home can be hit or miss), I did my research. I watched countless “How To Bleach Hair At Home” and “How To Bleach Afro Curly Hair At Home” videos on YouTube. I flooded various WhatsApp groups with questions. One of my friends suggested I try BLEACH London Plex Bleach, which is specially formulated for Afro hair. I purchased the bundle, which included the Plex Bleach and an Ice White Toner. I’ll be honest, though: I was terrified. I’ve never bleached my hair at home before, let alone used a toner to get to my desired shade. I had no idea what to do, and the bundle sat in the corner of my room for weeks. Then one day, I took the plunge. I decided to give myself DIY balayage.Balayage is a French freehand hair-painting technique where lighter pieces, generally two or three shades lighter than the rest of your hair, are blended in among natural strands without harsh lines. The method is designed to mimic the way hair naturally lightens in the sun for a believable, subtle highlight. Think of it as similar to using Sun In as a teen but without burning your ends off, so it won’t look horrendous in a few months’ time when it grows out. I spent hours googling balayage looks, taking inspiration from hundreds of curly-haired beauties and celebrities, from Jessica Alba and Elaine Welteroth to Halle Berry, in order to understand how the light would hit each curl — it’s very different from straight hair. I decided that I would paint the bleach onto each curl individually and focus on highlighting the strands around my face to brighten and lift.BLEACH London’s process was pretty straightforward to use. The bundle included the bleach powder, developing lotion, and a small sample of the Reincarnation Mask to condition at the end. Using a tint brush, I mixed the bleach powder and developing lotion in a mixing bowl to create a grainy white paste before sectioning my hair into four parts. I chose to start at the front of my hair as I wanted that area to be lighter, and applied the bleach freehand to the curls around my hairline and fringe. I started halfway up the strands and coated the ends, pinning them back with butterfly clips as I went. Thankfully my bathroom has two mirrors, one in front and one behind, so I was able to apply the bleach and see every section. I made sure that all of my ends were coated.I used around half of the bleach mixture before putting on my shower cap and letting the product develop, checking my hair every five minutes. I left the bleach on for a total of 30 minutes (including application time) before adding some more to the top strands of my hair for extra brightness. At this point I was winging it because I felt I had nothing to lose. I thought that if it went wrong, I could always dye it brown again with my foolproof Moroccanoil Oil Color Depositing Mask in Cocoa. This is always a great fallback option for hair blunders.After I rinsed out the bleach, I dried my hair to check the color. At first I was alarmed by the brassiness, partly because I’ve been so used to being brunette — change is always going to be a shock. I opted to use the toner and applied it exactly how I would a conditioner: I lathered it all over my head, ensuring every strand was covered so it would be even, before covering my hair with a shower cap and letting it work its magic for 30 minutes. I rinsed it out and applied Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector to repair any brittleness from the bleach. After that, I washed and conditioned my hair with purple shampoo and conditioner to get rid of any remaining brassiness.Here’s some advice: If you’re hoping to achieve DIY balayage at home, don’t be alarmed by the immediate result, especially if it’s a huge color change. It’s been a few weeks since I bleached my hair and the color has settled nicely into my strands; it’s less brassy and the sun has naturally lightened the ends. When it comes to bleach, I’d suggest using little and often. Start on your mid-lengths and work your way down to the ends. Also, freehand paint the solution onto the top layers of your hair to create a natural highlight. Once I diffused my hair, I was able to see the real results, and I was over the moon. I had expected my hair to become drier and perhaps see the ends split or break. I’d mentally prepared myself to sob all evening, but my hair was in perfect condition and the color was just what I had hoped for. Most of all, this experience has highlighted just how easy the DIY balayage technique is, especially as you can do it in the comfort of your own bathroom. Of course, I do miss the salon experience, and I’m looking forward to supporting my local. However, £17.50 for a pretty seamless at-home balayage is an undeniable bargain compared to my £170 salon job. Minus the head massages, tea and biscuits, and salon gossip (sob!), it’s a great option should we find ourselves back under lockdown (perhaps inevitable) or if I’m low on cash (often). Now I know how kind Plex Bleach is to my fine 3C hair, maybe I’ll decide to go lighter. Maybe.At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. This story was originally published on Refinery29 UK.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
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It's cilantro-lime flavored and *way* healthier than white rice.
"We want to be a brand that helps to redefine what 'aspirational' means for textured hair, and that includes normalizing certain styles of hair and building up all kinds of textures of hair as aspirational."
Wait a second — you haven't heard of hair sunscreen? Yep, it's a real product — and an über-important one too. How often do you remember to protect your scalp when you're lathering up with SPF? Not only do the sun's rays damage your skin, but they can also do a number on your hair […]
"It’ll be a long term challenge for us to really flip that narrative and say that there’s nothing wrong with frizz."
- Meredith Videos
Revamp your wash day routine.
I can't wait to put this in my burrito bowl.
If you're wishing for thick, healthy hair with no luck, you may be sabotaging your shampoo-commercial dreams without even knowing it. Even things that seem to be good choices - like conditioning and brushing - may be hurting your chances at an Ariana Grande-level ponytail. Or, perhaps you're like me (and many others) and your hair grows in very full . . . but has a tendency to break off at the edges, or has thinned from chemical processes. Whether you're trying to get your hair to grow or trying to get it not to thin, know that you're not alone. Plenty of Sephora shoppers have faced these same problems and discovered helpful solutions. Ahead, find the top-rated products for hair growth (and healthier scalps), including serums, shampoos, and sprays.
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Summer can wreak havoc on your hair, but it doesn’t have to. From Women's Health
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This jack-of-all-trades Comfee rice cooker also makes stews, soups and oatmeal—it can even handle a whole chicken.
- HuffPost Life
Check out their favorite conditioning, cleansing and styling products for textured hair that they use on their clients and themselves.
After a six-hour flight from New York to Colorado in 2016, Maeva Heim opened her suitcase only to be greeted by an exploded kit of hair relaxer leaking all over her stuff. Heim, a beauty marketing professional, was visiting the United States from Australia, which she calls home. Far up in the Colorado mountains, there was nowhere for Heim to replace her ruptured relaxer. In that moment, she decided to give up chemically altering her hair after 20 years — for good. “I grew up only ever using products designed for straight hair,” Heim tells me over the phone. “So when I set out to find products designed for my textured hair, I was shocked.” Walking through the multi-cultural aisle to shop for natural hair care was daunting for Heim, who wanted to look past the endless varieties of sprays, gels, and mousses for essential items to care for her 4C strands in their natural state. “I felt like I was in a time machine back to 1995,” she says. “That frustration sparked the idea for a contemporary, simplified brand that meets mine and many others’ needs.”Heim’s eureka moment made her pay more careful attention to her work in the marketing space. Her growing frustration with brands and their lack of authentic connection to Black women became the inspiration for BREAD, a collection of natural hair essentials set to disrupt the hair-care aisle in a big way. “I was fed up with the hair market, so I quit my job and set out to create a brand that would serve us how other brands weren’t,” she explains. “At the time, I had no idea what that would be, but my mission was to create a better product and brand experience for women like me.”From the start, Heim began to form a “wishlist” for the future of BREAD. At the very top of that list was the goal of seeing her brand on shelves at Sephora. “I wanted the woman who was shopping for her makeup and skin care at Sephora to have an option in hair that she could relate to, which truly services her,” she says. Heim was accepted to the 2017 Sephora Accelerate program, a six-month process that provides mentorship, grants, and other funding to small business founders.Changing the narrative around Black hair was also high up on Heim’s list of priorities for BREAD. “Growing up in Australia, ‘beachy and effortless’ is the beauty ideal,” she says. “It certainly not the mold that I, or any other Black women I know, fit into.” BREAD’s messaging goes against the idea that Black hair is challenging, difficult, or needs to be controlled. Instead, the brand embraces normalizing whatever a Black woman chooses to do with her hair. “I’d like to change that narrative, and lean into the idea that ‘lazy girl’ can be for Black women too,” Heim says. “I want bushy afros, frizzy puffs, and whatever casual styling she wants to do for her hair to be normalized as aspirational.”Part of reshaping the Black-hair dialogue with BREAD is paring natural hair care down to the basics. To achieve this, BREAD — the name of which was inspired by the simplicity and versatility of everyone’s favorite starchy staple — is launching at Sephora with four essential products: shampoo, a hair mask, hair oil, and a large scrunchie fittingly called the “BREAD Puff,” all to edit down your wash day.The BREAD Gentle Milky Cleanser is “like skin care for your scalp,” Heim says. The cream cleanser is where sulfate-free shampoo meets co-wash, designed to gently rid your scalp and strands of product buildup without leaving your curls feeling dry or wiry thanks to argan oil, aloe vera juice, and lemon tea tree oil. The best part? After massaging it in for a few minutes, your bathroom will have the faint, delicious aroma of Fruit Loops milk that’ll take you back to Sunday morning cartoons.Inside of the BREAD Creamy Deep Conditioner packet is Australian beauty standout Kakadu plum, which contains collagen and elastin to keep curls plump, plus starflower oil to help strengthen hair and prevent excessive shedding. I left the formula on my curls for about 15 minutes in the shower and was impressed with the thorough slip, which left my hair defined and detangled.More impressive still are the hefty pouches each product is packaged in, for sustainability and usability purposes. “I wanted to provide our product in a large format to best suit our needs, so we went with spout pouches as our hero form,” Heim explains. “It also meant that we would be using about 60 to 70% less plastic than a standard plastic bottle, which is a huge win.”The Everyday Gloss, the sole styling product in the BREAD lineup, might just be my favorite part of the collection: In a sleek glass bottle with a mauve-pink top comes a hydrating oil for all hair textures. Comparable to lip gloss, but for your hair, the Everyday Gloss leaves the driest of curls (like mine) with a soft sheen that isn’t heavy or greasy. The rectangular bottle is also a chic addition to any top-shelf set-up in your bedroom or bathroom. While Heim’s dream for BREAD is a “bakery” full of dope products, her mission is a consistent recipe of empowering women to do whatever they want, however they want, with their hair. “Ultimately, I’d like for Black women, or any woman with textured hair, to walk into the boardroom wearing Bantu knots, a large Afro, or whatever style she wants, and for not a single person to bat an eye,” she says. “That’s the new normal that I want BREAD to be a part of shaping.”At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
- Best Products
All the more reason to go multiple times a week.
Natural ingredients work together to nourish and support your scalp for optimal re-growth.
- Who What Wear
We were blown away.
Consider this your guide to getting the perfect shade.
Check the snack aisle STAT.
- Who What Wear
They spilled all their secrets to us.
- Who What Wear
His tips are so easy.
- Hello Giggles
UV rays, saltwater, and chlorine have nothing on you!
- Yahoo Life Videos
This woman woke up from surgery to see that her black doctor had perfectly braided her natural hair away from her incisions
India Marshall woke up from surgery to see that her black doctor had perfectly braided her natural hair away from her incisions.
If there's ever a time during which you deserve to treat yourself, it's summer 2020. With travel bans, social distancing orders, and a generally distorted sense of time all hanging over our heads, this season just won't be the same. So why not use some of the money you would've spent on vacation to invest in upgrading your beauty arsenal? It's the perfect opportunity to indulge in self-care with hair masks, get a press-on manicure amid salon closures, or try out new makeup looks for those FaceTime dates. We're here for that treat-yourself energy, and more than happy to divulge the products we're personally loving right now. From a trendy hair accessory to lip gloss galore, these are the beauty buys helping us cope with the fact that we're not basking in the warm weather like we used to. Find our summer favorites, ahead. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
If there’s one thing in the world we’ll never escape, it’s screens. Television screens, computer screens, phone screens. We’ve found ourselves surrounded — especially since we’ve been spending a lot more time indoors, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Many of us need screens for work, and beyond that, entertainment, communication, and pretty much anything else you can think of. And while all this tech can offer us a glimpse into a world outside of our own, it can also can cause quite a bit of strain on our eyes.Because most of us spend an insurmountable amount of time glued to screens all day — whether your job requires you to, or you find yourself falling into a TikTok rabbit hole every night — and science has started to catch onto the fact that all that staring isn’t the best for our eye health, we’re often trying to find ways to protect our eyes against the glare. Enter: blue light glasses.Let’s start with the basics: Digital screens emit a type of ray that’s been nicknamed “blue light.” “It has a short wavelength, which means it produces higher amounts of energy than other light,” Jennifer Wademan, OD, a VSP-network eye doctor currently practicing at Bidwell Optometry in Folsom, CA, tells Refinery29. “As blue light enters the eye, the light scatters and is perceived as glare that your eyes have to work overtime to process.” Prolonged exposure can cause eye strain, fatigue, and headaches, symptoms of what’s called computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain, according to William T. Reynolds, OD, president of the American Optometric Association. Getting a ton of it — especially at night — can also mess up our circadian rhythm. According to a study completed at the University of Haifa and published in the Chronobiology International, exposure to blue light with wave lengths of 450-500 nanometers (which most devices emit) can significantly suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone secreted at night that helps regulate our body cycles and sleep.Blue light-blocking glasses use coated lenses that claim to block blue light, stopping the harsh side effects we experience when looking at screens for too long (although most of them are used to filter blue light, not entirely block). They often have a slightly yellow or orange tint to them, which helps reflect the blue light away from your eyes, but more brands are creating fully transparent lenses so you don’t have to feel like you’re an extra in Star Trek. Just check out the blue light glasses brand Felix Gray. They offer three types of lenses: transparent ones that are made to filter out digital blue light, yellowish lenses to filter out blue light before sleep, and darker lenses to filter out blue light from the sun.But blue light lenses themselves are fairly new, and as such the research backing them up isn’t all that comprehensive. One study published in Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics found “a lack of high quality evidence to support using [Blue-blocking] spectacle lenses for the general population to improve visual performance or sleep quality, alleviate eye fatigue or conserve macular health.”These lenses do appear to have some perks when used specifically at night, though. According to a study published in Chronobiology International, the use of blue-light blocking glasses in the evening resulted in a significant improvement in sleep quality. Another study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found similar results, stating that these types of glasses could “potentially impede the negative effects modern lighting imposes on circadian physiology in the evening.”“While there is still a lot of research being done about the effects of blue light, wearing glasses with blue light absorbing lenses certainly doesn’t hurt,” Dr. Wademan points out. There are other ways to prevent excessive blue light exposure that aren’t a pair of new glasses, though. Both Dr. Wademan and Dr. Reynolds back the the “20-20-20” rule: Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. It may sound strange, but a study published by the Nepalese Journal of Ophthalmology found that looking at far objects in-between screen time was significantly lessened computer vision syndrome symptoms.It’s also smart to maintain a comfortable distance from your devices (around 20-40 inches away and five inches below eye level), dim the brightness as low as you can while still being able to read your device without squinting, and in the evening, to utilize your device’s night mode.So, why not — go ahead and try a pair of these glasses out to see if they help with any headaches, eye strain, or sleep patterns. You could also, of course, take some time away from your screens. But right now, they’re the only way many of us have to stay connected. If blue light glasses can possibly let us hold two hour Zoom calls more comfortably — and look chic while doing it — then there’s no harm in grabbing a pair for yourself.Like what you see? 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Hulu's new satirical series The Great is not your average period piece. The hit dramedy, set in 18th-century Russia, is loosely based on factual information surrounding Catherine the Great's rise to power - taking liberties in everything from the shoddy politics to the quips about sex with a horse to the hair. (Especially the hair.) The show's head hairstylist, Louise Coles, told POPSUGAR that the team did a lot of research into the royal era - "looking at portraits, going to galleries, reading historical literature to find as much authentic imagery as possible" - then injected a bit of modern flair to each beauty look. "Because you're obviously in a world that is very satirical and there's a lot of playing around with the facts, we were able to tailor each character in a way that wasn't completely defined by the historical research that we did," she said. "We were able to bring in some modern textures and slightly different shapes to the hair so that we could individualize each character and make them as rich as they're written. It was quite fun to not be completely chained to being historically accurate to their imagery at the time." "It was quite fun to not be completely chained to being historically accurate to their imagery at the time." Of course, the extravagant nature of the monarchy is well-documented, seeing people in and out of the court in lavish wigs and makeup. That much is true, and it's a reality Coles and the hair department came prepared to re-create. "Everyone on set wore a wig," she said. "Actually, in order to make the schedules work, everyone had more than one. Artistically, some of the ladies could afford to have more than one anyway, depending on what they wanted to do and how it went with their outfits, so they had two to three. Principal-wise, we must have had about 150 to 200 wigs. And then with crowd, we had about 300 if not more. I've never counted the exact number, but we think it was probably around 500 wigs in total that we had throughout the series, maybe more." And that's not even the crowning glory of behind-the-scenes beauty secrets that went into making the Hulu's The Great, as Coles so delightfully demonstrates ahead - to which we say: huzzah, indeed.
- Who What Wear
And where to buy them in the States.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, phased reopenings are now underway in all 50 states. While governors manage restrictions in their respective states, mandates and safety precautions get as granular as individual cities and counties, too. The earliest states to reopen included Georgia and Alaska, soon followed by Texas, and Florida. In many cases, businesses in the beauty service industry were among the first to reopen their doors - but not without several new precautions to follow. From required masks to social distancing when possible to, in some cases, not using blow dryers, the structure of hair appointments is going to look a little different for the time being. Still, you may wonder if and when it's truly safe to get back in the chair. Ahead, we tapped two pros, Matrix stylists Michelle O'Connor in south Florida and Eric Vaughn in Houston, to find out.
Aside from adding a sweet creaminess to any recipe (or a cup of coffee), coconut milk is a great ingredient for nourishing dry skin and hair.“Coconut...
It looks like even Kate Middleton, a natural brunette, is trying out a lighter hair color for summer. The Duchess of Cambridge was recently photographed with a fresh, new auburn color with strawberry blond highlights.
How many of these have you watched?
A deep dive into exactly *why* fast fashion thrives.
"If I'm fly and Daddy's fly, then so is the kid."
Kardashian opens up about her pain and—finally—her relief.