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Tag Archives : curly hair

Interview With Christophe Robin

I have always had thick, curly hair. Growing up in New York City in the 90s when stick straight hair was en vogue, I always felt like the odd woman out. Make no mistake, when dealing with thick, curly hair, curating the right product selection is a process and finding a hair care expert that is intimately familiar with cutting curls and how they behave is an imperative.

Just as important is finding the right products which can be akin to a science experiment. You have to be patient and willing to try different combinations of products to see how they interact with each other and your hair. I have experimented with many different products in so many categories.

Today, on the precipice of 41, I have learned to appreciate my curly situation. Every day is a little different and even if you have the best products – you’ll always have a day where a little frizz infiltrates the system…until now.

Enter Christophe Robin, colorist of choice to the world’s most celebrated actresses and top models including Natalie Portman, Catherine Deneuve, Tilda Swinton, Kylie Minogue, Kristin Scott Thomas – you get the picture. While working with his clientele to transform their hair color for fashion shows and on the sets of film and television, he began to understand what hair needed to look and feel healthy and beautiful. Robin launched his own hair care line, designed to nourish, strengthen and protect color-treated and sensitive hair and scalps from root to tip.

All Christophe Robin products are formulated with powerful, rare ingredients and inspired by traditional recipes to address the needs of men and women with all hair types, textures and conditions. In addition to restoring hair health, these innovative products are free of parabens, silicone, harsh sulfates, oxidants and ammonia. Best of all, they make hair look outstanding! They are the best I have come across.

Until recently, I had to travel to France or St. Barths to purchase these hair care gems. Lucky for all of us, it can now be found in The US. I can’t say enough good things about these products. It keeps my hair in line, even on the most humid of days. I have also seen it work wonders on friends with fine or even thinning hair. The Volumizing line is bar none, the best I have seen.

I sat down with Christophe to interview the man behind the line.

AW: How did you choose your current career path?

CR: Growing up in the French countryside, I remember spending weekends with my mother and her friends while they coiffed their hair. I started coloring hair when I was 14 years old as an apprentice. The lady who trained me told me that you can’t have a beautiful result if you don’t take good care of the hair. I was passionate about hair color and the craftsmanship that it involved. At the age of 17 I arrived in Paris to work on my first big shoot! Things started to snowball. Everything happened very quickly!

AW: What is your philosophy?

CR: Beautiful hair color cannot exist without good care! A healthy and balanced scalp leads to healthy and beautiful hair!

AW: What do you love most about what you do?

CR: I have always been passionate about enhancing a woman’s natural beauty through hair color. It’s usually very subtle changes, but I love how it can unveil her eye color and enhance her complexion. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to do what I love and meet people along the way!

AW: What is the most important piece of hair care advice you give?

CR: Take great care of your hair! It’s the little things that count, brushing your hair before washing it with a gentle hairbrush, protecting your hair with a plant oil before washing it and, once a week, doing a deeply nourishing treatment for your hair (think Cleansing Mask with Lemon or Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil).

AW: What is your process for creating the very best in hair and scalp care?

CR: I listen to what people have to say! In my salon, on movie sets or photo shoots, I always listen to what people have to say, it’s incredibly valuable. My Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt was created for women who experience itchy scalp due to color residue buildup. It’s quite common, and sea salt is known to soothe the irritation!

The same is true for for my Cleansing Mask with Lemon and Moisturizing Hair Oil with Lavender. These were the first products I created. I used to work with models changing their color 4 to 5 times a week. Imagine the damage! I needed something to protect their hair and wash it gently.

AW: Has there been a single defining moment in your career?

CR: The day Catherine Deneuve called me in my salon to make her first appointment!

Pro tip for curly, dry or color damaged hair: Once a week apply, on dry hair, Hair Oil with Lavender through lengths and then apply Cleansing Mask with Lemon right over it. Leave it in for as long as possible. I leave it in all day or sleep with it in my hair overnight. An hour will do the trick as well but the longer the better. Results are astonishing! For more on this moisturizing treatment, see the how-to video below.

By: Alyssa Barrie Weiss, Twitter: @AlyssaBarrie

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A Curly Encounter at The Yves Durif Salon

I was recently introduced to Yves Durif, the founder of The Yves Durif Salon at The Carlyle Hotel. Yves was born in Grenoble, France and by the age of 17 had already begun his hair dressing career at the legendary Jacque Dessange Coiffure in Paris. By 21 he was working in Montreal where he mostly cut and styled hair on the set of films and television. At the age of 30, Yves moved to New York City expressly to work with the legendary Bruno Pittini at the Bruno Dessange Salon. In the mid 80s and early 90s Dessange was ground zero, turning out what was akin to the brat pack of celebrity hairdressers. These included Frederic Fekkai, Michel Aleman, Odile Gilbert, Serge Normant and many of the other coiffeurs that subsequently became the most sought after hairstylists of their time.

The Yves Durif Salon

The space is extremely luxurious and welcoming. The entrance has a distinctly old world European sophistication and warmth about it while the cutting room itself is bright and modern. I encountered a number of television personalities during my visit.

The consultation

First thing, I was whisked away for a brief consultation with Yves. He insists on meeting his clients, sans a salon robe, so he can assess their style and energy. He does this all in minutes. Yves explained that facial geometry is perhaps one of the most important details. Is the face oval? Round? An upside down triangle? Yes – those exist! If one has a perfectly oval shaped face, no hair is needed to complete a beautiful look. Yves remarked that many Ethiopians, for example, have characteristically oval shaped faces and so these women can easily pull off a short buzz cut or completely bald look gracefully. If the head is any other shape, the hair must be manipulated to form an oval in tandem with the face. A long face, like mine, needs volume on the sides to create an oval, whereas a round or upside down triangular shaped face requires volume at the top.

Instead of asking the client what she has in mind style-wise, Yves will first tell you what he thinks. Yves remarked:

“Many people come in with a strong sense of what they want,  but often what they want is not well suited to their features and lifestyle. Let me tell you what I see… There is nothing wrong when people come in with a picture of a style they like. It is my job to interpret that style and adapt it for them.”

When looking at my hair, Yves asserted “curly hair is typically the last texture that professionals master. It can be difficult to gage because it is unpredictable. You don’t know where it is going to land. I know curly hair.” Lucky for me, Yves does know curly hair!

Yves’ signature shampoo technique

After the consultation I was dressed in a robe and lead to a sink where my hair was washed using Yves’ signature shampoo technique adapted for thick, curly hair like mine. As basic as it might sound, the majority of people do not know how to shampoo their hair properly. The most important part of any shampoo regimen is cleansing the scalp and roots properly. Typically, too much emphasis is placed on sudsing up the lengths of the hair and not enough on the scalp and roots which need the most attention as this is where the sebaceous glands are producing toxins and oils that can affect hair adversely. The washer started by running a pre-shampooing hair oil through my hair and then brushed it through with The Yves Durif Vented Brush ends first and then gradually brushing down the lengths of my hair. She let it sit for 5 minutes and then rinsed.

She then mixed two pumps of shampoo with water in Yves’ signature applicator bottle, shook the mixture and applied it directly to my scalp in sections. This process keeps the shampoo concentrated on the scalp and roots where it is needed. She then massaged the entire scalp thoroughly for a full five minutes. This stimulates circulation and hair growth. She then ran The Yves Durif Comb from my scalp to ends - once again applying pressure at the scalp to stimulate circulation and then combing through the hair to distribute the shampoo evenly through the length of my hair, gently cleaning the tips without causing abrasion. Next, she applied a walnut sized amount of conditioner, avoiding the roots and scalp, distributing the conditioner through the lengths of my hair. She once again, used Yves’ Comb to distribute and rinse the conditioner. She finished with a cold water rinse to seal the cuticle.

Yves’ realm

Yves Durif Salon Carlyle HotelI was escorted back to Yves where he asked me to stand and turn my head upside down. From there he cut some strategic layers. Though my hair is curly, it is straight underneath in certain sections. Yves took those pieces and texturized them with a razor so that they would blend in to match the other 97% of my mane. I was impressed because though I was keenly aware of these rebellious straight patches, no one else had ever mentioned them. After applying some styling products – one of which is a new staple in my hair care regimen, Shu Uemura Touch Of Gloss, Yves twisted the bottom straight strands in small hair clips to dry to further assist in texturizing them to match the rest of my curly locks.

No cell phone please

Yves is a big believer of being in the moment and brings this philosophy to his work. Though early in his career, he would see up to 42 clients a day, devoting 15 minutes to each, his practice has evolved. Today he is dedicated to creating a mindful space. Cutting hair is an art form and Yves strives to create a safe space to be creative. Yves also believes that the client has his part to play too. “The experience is an exchange” Yves noted. And so Yves has one rule. When you sit in his chair –  no cell phone! If you brought a picture to show a style you want on your phone, that is fine but Yves believes in creating the conditions necessary to produce great results requires mindfulness on both sides. Yves desires his clients to be present with him while he is cutting. He needs them to be in the moment, otherwise the connection between Yves and his client is severed.

It’s all in the hands

One last detail that I found charmingly haunting was a visual symbol of how much Yves’ work is quite literally etched into his body physically. The hand that he holds his shears in has permanently taken on the shape of his hand grasping them, whether he has them in hand or not. Very telling. As for me, this was quite possibly the best haircut I’ve ever had.

By: Alyssa Barrie Weiss, Twitter: @AlyssaBarrie

Photo credit: Alexander Berg

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Best Hair Products For Curly Hair

I have always had thick, curly hair. Growing up in New York City in the 90s when stick straight hair was en vogue, I always felt like the odd woman out.

Strong anti-curly cues

Many women of the curly persuasion seem to feel societal pressure to straighten their hair or even worse, pull it back in an effort to hide it. It’s as if a message has been communicated that straight hair is preferable. Is curly hair not good enough? I have observed this phenomenon in all types of woman: Caucasian, Afro-Caribbean, Asian, Hispanic…the list goes on. This message is so strong that demand has created not only straightening balms, industrial strength blow dryers and flat irons, but also more permanent solutions, like hair straightening processes – some taking 6-7 hours.

Today, on the precipice of 40

I have learned to appreciate my curly situation. Every day is a little different and even if you have the best products – you’ll always have a day where a little frizz infiltrates the system. That said, there is very little maintenance involved. I never have to blow out my hair; just wash, scrunch and go. Make no mistake, when dealing with thick, curly hair, curating the right product selection is a process and finding a hair care expert that is intimately familiar with cutting curls and how they behave is an imperative. At the end of the day my curls are never a surprise.

Let your hair be

The best way to care for any type of hair is to let it do what it does naturally – if you are forever straightening your hair, it will never look as good straight as it would if you let it do its thing. Commit to who you are naturally and let your hair be. As soon as you start going with the flow of your hair texture, working with it instead of against it, your hair will look superb. Finding the right products is a huge piece of the puzzle, especially as we move into summer.

It’s all about the products

Finding the right products for curls can be akin to a science experiment. You have to be patient and willing to try different combinations of products to see how they work together with your hair. I have tried so many different products in so many different categories. To some extent, I tweak my regimen depending on the weather or season and recently due to new product finds.

I’ve just revamped my regimen and wanted to share.

Shampoo daily

I typically use Caretrico’s Type H Shampoo. Give your scalp most of the attention in this step. Do let the shampoo run down the length of your hair though and give your scalp a 5 second massage. Twice a week I alternate with Christophe Robin’s Cleansing Mask with Lemon. This line has been around for years. Christophe Robin is a world renowned, Paris based, hair colorist to the stars. His client roster includes Natalie Portman, Catherine Deneuve, Tilda Swinton, Kylie Minogue, Kristin Scott Thomas and my mother. I stumbled upon this particular product last month while in St. Barths. I have not changed any part of my hair regimen in 7 years – so this is a monumental occasion. I leave this in for at least 15 minutes before I get into the shower and use it as a shampoo. Once in the shower, apply a little bit of water and mush it around your scalp and hair. Carry on with your shower routine and then add a little more water to the hair, scrub it around and rinse. This product leaves hair silky and smooth, which any curly cue will tell you, is an oxymoron.

Use a leave-in conditioner or leave your conditioner in

Du-Boa Scalp MassagerThis particular step is one that many hair care professionals will not advise. But if this is wrong, I don’t want to be right. My favorite absolutely can’t live without hair product is Caretrico Privy Treatment Slim Through. If your hair is on the medium to finer side, try Caretrico Treatment Moist Sleek. Ishi introduced this line to me. It is meant to be used as a conditioner or 10-20 minute hair treatment. Since there is not enough moisture for my hair, I leave it in, and once applied, run a Du-Boa Scalp Massager through my hair to distribute the product and rid my scalp of any excess product residue that may have built up.

Priming products

Start with a quick spritz of Vine’s Care Water. This boosts the efficacy of all the styling products that you use subsequently. It also adds moisture, defrizzes and adds volume to fine hair! If it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for me! Next I apply 3 – 4 pumps of Caretrico After Treatment Enrich Milk. This is a leave in conditioner that is light enough for even fine hair. It contains hyaluronic acid and infuses the extra dose of moisture that dry, curly, bleached hair needs. This can be used as a styling product for men or those with short hair.

Styling products

Another Christophe Robin must have for thick and/or curly hair is the Intense Regenerating Balm with with Rare Prickly Pear Oil. It’s magic! It is almost the texture of a thick facial cleansing balm with a little more of a pomade feel yet not so vaseliney. It is all natural and is meant to be used as a hair, body, cuticle, feet and lip balm. I use it as a styling and moisturizing product. Take a quarter size dollop (use less if if your hair is medium thick), warm it up between your hands and scrunch it in your hair while standing upright and then repeat with your head flipped. I follow this with a nickel size of Ouidad Climate Control Heat and Humidity Drops. Just scrunch that on right on top.

Believe it or not, this is the paired down version – I’ve cut out a number of steps.

By: Alyssa Barrie Weiss, Twitter @AlyssaBarrie

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Best Hair Lengths for Different Hair Types

Deciding on the right hair length is something that many of us struggle with. Sometimes we need to turn to a professional to help us settle on the right length for us. We are all different and factors such as hair texture, face shape and personal style all play roles in determining what works best for each of us. Ishi, of Salon Ishi, doles out some expert advice on the topic.

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The texture of your hair determines the best length for your hair, while your face and body proportions are still the most important factors in getting a style that helps you look your best. Though having long hair may be a style choice, you have to let the quality of your hair rule.

Fine Hair

If you have baby fine, thin hair letting it grow long only draws attention to its quality. The ends get even thinner looking because the volume of space you are filling with your hair is greater. Shorter hair brings out the best quality in fine hair. Many people are disappointed with this type of hair, but from the hairdresser’s perspective it’s great hair to work with. You can do all sorts of things with it that thicker hair just doesn’t allow: It styles easily, and you can get it to move in the style direction you desire. A little holding product is all you will need to keep that style. The finer the hair the shorter the length is a good rule of thumb. Caretrico Treatment Moist Sleek is a great conditioner for fine hair.

Medium Hair

If you have medium texture hair, curly or straight, body proportion and of course your face determine the length that’s best for you. Your hair needs to be trimmed regularly to keep it looking healthy. Just a slight trim to remove dead ends helps in the growing process. And like all textures, your overall hair condition determines the length you can grow your hair.

Thick & Curly

For thick curly hair, longer length adds weight to your hair. The length keeps it from puffing up and makes it more manageable. You need to add styling products to keep the curl in control. Let it dry naturally. Don’t brush or comb through it, as this disturbs the curl pattern and makes it get bigger. Curly hair is the most delicate. It breaks easily so getting to a longer length takes commitment. Proper conditioning is absolutely essential. Caretrico Treatment Slim Through  works wonders on thick curly hair.

The longer you grow your hair the more you have to condition it. Exposure to the elements over time depletes hair’s moisture, making it dry and fly away. The texture of your hair could make it dry and brittle. The more you shampoo the more damage you could do. Rinse, rinse, rinse and conditioning in most cases is the best way to keep your hair in its best condition. Let’s face it, long hair is older hair. If you don’t keep the condition good, you’ll need to trim to get rid of the hair that is not in good condition. Sometimes this will be a dramatic trim, but long, healthy smooth and shiny hair is the only long hair to have.

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Curly Hair Styling Regimen

Most women with curly hair seem to feel societal pressure to straighten it. It’s as if a message has been communicated – if only subtly – that straight hair is preferable. Is curly hair not good enough? I have observed this phenomenon in all types of woman: Caucasian, Afro-Caribbean, Asian, Hispanic…the list goes on.

Strong Anti-curly Cues

This message is so strong that demand has created not only straightening balms, industrial strength blow dryers and flat irons, but also more permanent solutions, like hair straightening processes – some taking 6-7 hours.

I’m OK, You’re OK

As a curly cue myself, it took me a long time to accept my curly situation. I realized I needed to commit to who I was and let my hair be. The truth is that soon as I started going with the flow of my hair texture, working with it instead of against it, my hair looked much better. Finding the right products is a huge piece of the puzzle, especially as we move into summer.

It’s All About the Products

Finding the right products for curls can be akin to a science experiment. You have to be patient and willing to try different combinations of products to see how they work together with your hair. I have tried so many different products in so many different categories! To some extent, I tweak my regimen depending on the weather or season and occasionally due to new product finds.

Here’s my current regimen:

Shampoo Daily

I either use Caretrico’s Type H Shampoo or Philip Kingsley’s Re-moisturising Shampoo. This shampoo can be found in Philip Kingsley’s Smooth & Shiny Jet Set. Make sure to shampoo your scalp ONLY and give yourself a 5 second scalp massage. (or 3 if you have zero patience like me) I recommend trying both for a period of 4 weeks each to see if one is better for your hair. If you like them both, rotate seasonally. You may find that one works better for you in colder weather, etc. Also, depending on where you live, one may react better with your water supply. Here in New York City we have hard water, which is tough on dry, curly hair. In the Caribbean, or other parts of the world where the water is soft, you may find that your hair dries nicer, softer and/or shinier.

Use a Leave-in Conditioner or Leave Your Conditioner In

This particular step is one that many hair care professionals will not advise. But if this is wrong, I don’t want to be right. It works! My favorite, absolutely can’t live without hair product is Caretrico Privy Treatment Slim Through. Ishi introduced this product to me. It is meant to be used as a conditioner or 10-20 minute hair treatment. Since there is not enough moisture for my hair (my hair is coarse, curly and bleached), I actually leave it in, and once applied, run my Du-Boa Scalp Massager through my hair to distribute the product.

Use a Scalp Toner

Right out of the shower, use Philip Kingsley’s Scalp Toner. Healthy shiny hair, starts with a clean scalp.

“Priming” Products

Start with a quick spritz of Vine’s Care Water. This boosts the efficacy of all the styling products that you use subsequently. It also adds moisture, defrizzes and adds volume to fine hair! If its good enough for NASA, its good enough for me!

  • Spring & Summer Hair Primers: Arimino’s Bamboo Moisture Veil .
  • After Coloring or Going to the Beach: If you have just colored your hair, or plan on going to the beach, use Arimino’s Aqua Moisture for this step. It’s super moisturizing and will get you through the 3 days after color application that tend to leave hair looking its driest. This product will also sand guard your hair at the beach.  (Yes, I am completely OCD about this entire process.)

Styling Products

I use Philip Kingsley’s Curl Activator followed by Ouidad Climate Control Heat and Humidity Drops.

What About Killer Humidity?

If it’s humid out, even with all of the above steps, I always seem to accumulate frizz close to the strands that frame my face. When your hair is almost completely dry (never use a hair dryer) take 5 drops of Cosmetics 27 Huile 27 and scrunch it around the dry areas. I also wrap it around particularly fuzzy curls.

On Hair Masks

Use Philip Kingsley Elasticizer treatment 2 x per week. It makes such a difference. For those with finer hair, and Claire has talked about this before, once a week should do the trick.

Uber Important Note

All these steps should be done separately and you must flip your head over and scrunch to make sure you coat every hair with product.

By: Alyssa Barrie Weiss, Twitter @AlyssaBarrie

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