Beauty, Hair Care, health and wellness, Uncategorized

Save your shoulder checks for changing lanes…

Dandruff. The enemy of the little black dress and the tuxedo jacket. The bully to our self esteem. No longer will you have to check your shoulders each time a greek god or goddess approaches you, no longer will you be referred to as a human snow globe or asked if it is snowing outside. Sad but true – these nasty phrases are uttered by children masking themselves as adults.

There are many reasons for dandruff. Sometimes it is hormonal changes, sometimes seasonal changes. It can be a cruel genetic joke that runs in your family. There is hope, I promise you. The products of which I speak are professional Salon quality products and they only cost about $2 more than the department/drug store brands. The active ingredient in the following products is Zinc Pyrithione, which helps reduce itching and flaking. It has antibacterial properties which can help reduce dandruff and scalp conditions that cause dandruff.

KMS Head Remedy – Dandruff Shampoo – gentle cleansing and color safe.

AG Control Dandruff  Shampoo – Gentle cleansing, Canadian made & cruelty free, color safe.

JOICO – Daily Care Treatment Shampoo – * this baby is created for any scalp problem – not truly a dandruff shampoo, many clients have had luck if their dandruff was due to hormone/seasonal changes. Color Safe.

If you suffer from severe dandruff, psoriasis or seborrhea try the following (you can hug me later)

SMART SOLUTIONS Problem Hair & Scalp Shampoo – ***AWESOME RESULTS*** This little gem is paraben free, sulfate free, sodium chloride free and color safe. It also helps reduce frizz. This product relieves dryness, controls the oil on the scalp and hair and eliminates flaking.

Steer clear of the cheaper brands – they mask the problem. Sure, no flakes as you use it but once you stop flakes come back. The products I have listed for you are formulated to treat the dandruff/scalp condition and in many circumstances, the dandruff becomes a thing of the past.

Beauty, health and wellness, Uncategorized

I didn’t pay for that…

It happened again. How many of these tales begin with this phrase? To my dismay, many of them. The reason for this blog.  I heard the door chime and looked up to see a woman hobbling into the salon, wincing with every step. I knew something was up for it was a chilly morning and although she had on a winter coat she was wearing sandals. She came up to me, a mixture of pain, despair and anger in her eyes – the same look I have seen at Christmas when a parent NEEDS THAT TOY. She pleaded for my help, “I can’t go back there! What can I do? Do you sell anything I can use to fix this?” she cried. I came out from behind the counter and silently reminded myself “do not look horrified – keep it together” & “where is my hand sanitizer”. As I turned the corner I saw it. The results of a poor pedicure. I’m not talkin’ poor polish placement people. I am speaking of infection. Fungal infection. The results of an unsanitary Salon, poor cleaning and sanitizing of tools and pedicure implements.

Now, I know how great pedicures feel and how pretty your hard working tootsie’s look with a diamond or flower on your big toe and the bonus of the pedicure costing only $15.00! I cannot stress this point enough – more often than not – you get what you pay for! Yes, there are some Nail Salon’s that are affordable and do great work. There are many more that do not. When going to your next nail appointment, remember to look for or ask about the following;

– When you sit down – make sure the manicure table / pedicure chair is clean – not being cleaned as you sit there.

– Make sure it is new water in the pedicure basin

– For a manicure/gel removal – if you see a bowl of acetone – don’t put your hand in it (refer to blog – put my hand…where?) Ask for the proper removal system.

– All tools should be clean – all Nail Salon’s should have the proper cleaning solutions. Ask to see what they are using to clean the tools – if it is Windex and paper towel – RUN. Most Salon’s will keep your personal nail files/emery boards in a separate container for you and use them only on you at each visit.

– Visiting a Nail Salon for the first time? Make sure the nail files/emery boards are new – fresh out of a new package. Look at the tools they are using – if the nail tech blows on the credo knife or wipes it on her pant leg before she begins….not a good sign.

– This is a BIGGIE! – if you see something that looks like white powder on any tools they are using – it’s not powder – that is someone else’s skin or nail. Yeah – I said it. The jig is up. Ask for another tool to be used.

-Another BIGGIE! – those brown marks on the stainless steel tool or nail bit – not rust my friends – potentially dry blood.

Clean tools and implements and a sanitary environment will protect you from fungal infections, but more importantly from blood born diseases, such as forms of hepatitis.

I know, you think I sound like a raving lunatic. So be it – call me crazy. I can take it. What I cannot take is seeing women and men being mistreated by unprofessional shoddy work. Just because someone says they are an Nail Tech or Esthetician does not mean they are one. Esthetician’s and Nail Tech’s should have a diploma to prove they have had formal training – not only in services but in sanitizing and disinfecting their tools, and protecting their clients and themselves.  ( * If the diploma has rainbows and stars on it… may want to reconsider the chair you are sitting in)

If you are at a restaurant and there is a water mark on your fork and you are able to ask for a new fork or if there is food stuck on your plate and you will ask for your dinner to be complimentary,  I think you are able to do the above.

The only fungus coming home with you should be the mushroom’s on the pizza you picked up on your way home.

Beauty, communication, Hair Care, Uncategorized

Mind your manners…

“Mind your manners”. Remember that phrase? I know you all remember where the beef is and not to squeeze the Charmin. Whatever happened to remembering to mind your manners? Today’s tale is for all the hair stylists and esthetician’s out there, to shed some light on what they have to deal with on a weekly and sometimes even on a daily basis. Yes, they offer a service, that does not mean they are your servant.  Salon etiquette exists – it is not an urban legend. When visiting your doctor’s office or your dentist, I am sure you don’t throw your purse on the ground or interrupt them when they are with another patient. The same goes for the Salon. If your stylist is with another client, remember what your kindergarten teacher said, wait your turn. As for throwing your purse on the ground, come on, do I really have to explain?

The following is a list I have compiled that should help make your next Salon visit pleasurable for all parties involved;

– Brush your teeth. You would think it was common sense. Well, common sense ain’t so common.

– Brush your hair. No one wants to see a hair ball at the Salon.

– Coming for a pedicure? Wash your feet. Even the Savior himself wouldn’t want to wash some of the feet that walk through the Salon door.

– If you are sick, re-book your appointment. Salon’s are to spread happiness and self esteem, not the plague.

– When offered a beverage, say please and thank you, or no thank you – which ever works. “Nah” with a hand wave…not so nice.

– When asked what you want done with your hair, try to refrain from “whatever” or “I’m texting”…again… not so nice.

– Want a spray cut? Please make sure your hair is clean. Imagine the smell of old mop water. Enough said.

– When your child is with you, be the parent. It is a little difficult to babysit while applying foil highlights or nail art to your fresh pedi.

– When you make an appointment and cannot keep it – call the Salon. Not only is a “no show” rude, it takes an appointment away from another client. Most importantly it affects the stylist/esthetician’s income for that day.

It’s pretty simple. Be nice. Be polite. Treat other’s as you want to be treated. Remember to mind your manners. If you need to, imagine your mother slapping you on the back of the head.



Beauty, health and wellness, Uncategorized

Nailed it!

As a follow up to “Put my hand ….where?” here is a tale of recovery. I know there are many nail products on the market. The one I am familiar with and have seen the results first hand (and nail) is OPI Nail Envy. If you suffer from weak, brittle or damaged nails, OPI has an answer for your every need. Nail Envy by OPI.

OPI offers 6 solutions to your nail ailments.

Nail Envy Soft & Thin – fortifies soft, thin nails with a boost of extra calcium (if your nails bend but not break – this baby is for you)

Nail Envy Sensitive & Peeling – for post acetone abuse – a formaldehyde free formula that soothes sensitive nails with aloe vera and protects against peeling with vitamin E

Nail Envy Dry & Brittle – moisturizing formula that helps maintain flexibility with vitamins E & C (if your nails break instead of bend – this is the ticket)

Nail Envy Maintenance – great to use once nails are in optimum condition. Not recommended if you are using Nail Envy Sensitive & Peeling (nails may still be too weak from prior damage)

Nail Envy Original – Maximum strength formula -helps nails grow stronger, longer and harder. (recovering from poor gel removal – stick with Sensitive & Peeling until peeling stops)

Nail Envy Matte – Same formula as Nail Envy Original but has a natural matte finish. * Perfect for men (yes gents, the jig is up….we know about the manicures).

A great addition to this recovery process is a cuticle oil. OPI Avoplex cuticle oil hydrates and replenishes the cuticle which in turn helps promote healthy nail growth.

I know, you are thinking who has time? You do! Do it while you watch T.V., or check your Facebook or even while you read my blog.

Beauty, Business, Hair Care

My morning Coffey

The following is a personal salon tale, it is about how I came to be that girl in the red coat. A few years ago, I found myself loathing my job. I had wandered off the beauty biz path and into another industry. I knew something was wrong when I found myself hoping the next phone call would be my daughter’s school stating she was sick, so I could go home for the day. I have always been known for my strong opinions, to tell it like it is. I am a firm believer in leading by example and not painting everyone with the same brush. That being said, my manager’s and I didn’t always see eye to eye.

I remember the day I came home, feeling like maybe it was me that was the problem. I was the only one speaking up and more or less being told to shut it. Working my butt off without a thank you while others texted and stood around looking busy and got a coffee “on the boss”.  After homework was checked and dishes were done I flopped into the couch, put on my best pout, turned on the television and there she was. Tabatha. Tabatha Coffey.  She wasn’t afraid to speak the truth, to lead by example, to show her integrity all while in the most awesome heels and great clothes. As I watched the first of many “Salon Takeovers” I felt the little flame ignite again. It was then and there I quietly promised myself somehow, someway I would get back to my beloved industry, I would return to the beauty biz, to my home away from home – and that I would meet Tabatha.

Now, remember, I am not a stylist nor an aesthetician.  In the past I had managed a Beauty Supply and Salon. I know, you are wondering how will she get back in the biz? Well, here’s how. I always kept in touch with my contacts from the biz, kept in contact with my old employer and stylists, kept up with all the newest products (thank you In Style ,Google and Tabatha.). I never stopped believing, as a child believes in the tooth fairy, that one day I would be back in the biz.

It happened. The powers that be, the universe, the Smurfs – take your pick – opened a door and I ran through it. My previous employer was selling her Beauty Supply/Salon. The new owner/head stylist and I met in passing one day as I went into the store to buy my hairspray. Long story short, the new owner offered me my old management position. I will be forever grateful to her. I was finally coming home. Oh yes, and I got to meet  Tabatha. Yes I did!!  I had bought her book – “It’s not really about the hair” and when I bought it I told my daughter I would meet her one day and she would sign my book. In 2011, Tabatha was at the ABA in Toronto and my new boss bought me a ticket to the show. I heard Tabatha speak, waited in line, and had my picture taken and book signed. I thanked her for inspiring me to get back in the biz, and she told me she loved the hue of my red coat.



This past year I had the privilege of hearing her speak at the 2012 ABA in Toronto. Once again, she reinforced the fire in me and my belief in true customer service, professionalism, educating yourself and keeping your head in the game.

Tabatha Coffey is a true professional. She has poise, intelligence, creativity and above all else, balls. Yes ladies and gentlemen and feminists alike, I said it. Balls. She reminded me that it’s okay to have an educated opinion, to have pride in yourself and your work and not to care what people think. Tabatha helped me to be brave once more and to stop hiding my abilities.

Thank you Tabatha Coffey.

Yours truly, That girl in the red coat.


Beauty, Fashion

Put my hand….where?!?!

We all love a manicure. Our hands look so dainty and pretty as the sun catches the glimmer of the freshly painted top coat. Sometimes we opt for the danger and taboo of a design, sometimes candy apple red. Of course I am speaking of the nail polish color being candy apple red – not the cuticle and surrounding nail bed and skin.

This week alone I have met two women in extreme pain. The culprit of said pain – poor removal of shellac and gel nails. Shellac is an awesome product when applied and removed PROPERLY. Shellac will keep your nails chip proof for a 2 – 4 weeks. They have an acrylic base – that is why your nails must be cured under a U.V. light (cured as in hardened – not cured as in healed…sorry, had to clarify, you would be surprised how many times I have had to clarify that point). Gel nails – well we have all heard of those. The majority of gel nail systems are acrylic based, so unless applied and removed properly, damage to your nail may occur. Now – back to the red.

After question upon question posed to these poor souls who could hardly pick up their keys because their fingers were so sore and raw it came down to one common factor – acetone. Acetone remover is what one can use to remove shellac and gel nails – there is one way and there is a proper way. To be clear, I am not a nail tech nor aesthetician. In the training that I have been fortunate enough to sit in on and the demonstrations that I have seen, the better way to remove shellac or gel nails is this;

– soak a cotton pad with acetone

– place it on the nail

– wrap the nail with foil (there are now little finger sleeves available)

– leave on for 5 -10 minutes

– remove foil and cotton and gently remove the remaining shellac/gel with an orange wood stick – gently scraping so you do not damage the nail bed.

* Some systems have their own remover – placed on the nail and then under U.V. to remove

Unfortunately for the two women I met and for countless others, the above method is not used. The preferred method to my horror is;

– put your HAND in this bowl of acetone.

Question – at home, would you pour acetone into a bowl and put your hand in it for 10 minutes? So why are you paying someone to do this to you?  Some use this method because they don’t know any better, some because it is quicker. The downside to this method – besides not being able to pick up anything from money to men and hands and fingers as red as a drunk’s nose is there is a possibility of contact dermatitis. The skin around your nails, your cuticle and the pads of your fingers can become flaky and easily irritated and you may become more prone to infection and hang nails – depending on how much the nail bed was damaged.

I know you are looking down at your nails right now, it is alright. Now you know. Take a breath. Knowledge is power my friends.

Remember – Madge had people soaking – but it was Palmolive.


Beauty, communication, Hair Care

Do you see what I see?

The silent killer of stylist/clientele relationships. Symptoms  – puffy eyes, red face, tissue lint stuck on the end of nose, hands clasped together in prayer standing in front of the hair color swatches or the thinning shears. Diagnosis – hair tragedy. Prognosis – with professional help and proper communication the hair and your self image will be survive.

This is more common than you know. We have all been there. We float into the salon with the dream of looking like Kate Middleton and leave looking like Peg Bundy. We buy the lightener to use at home because our “friend” said it was so easy and everyone she used it on went “so blonde” (of course “everyone” was already blonde and you are a brunette) – we start to see ourselves running on the beach like the baywatch girls – blonde tresses blowing in the wind and end up having a hair color that even a lifeguard couldn’t save. Why did this happen? To be honest, more times than not as the Captain in Cool Hand Luke put it so well – what we have here is a failure to communicate.

Believe it or not, most stylists want you to be happy. Most are heartbroken if you are not pleased with their work – they want you to have a good hair day everyday until you see them at your next appointment. Unless you have the ultimate trust and have had your stylist for many years and you know her as well as she knows you – NEVER say, “oh do what you like.”. Guess what – what you see and what she see’s are two different things. You may say “I want to a redhead” and picture Molly Ringwald – she pictures Jessica Rabbit. You may say “I want a pixie cut” – you picture Michelle Williams – she pictures Tinkerbell. Bring in a photo of what you want, google the image on your phone while you are sitting in her chair. Now remember… you can achieve the hair cut you like – you will not leave looking like the person in the photo – sorry to squash the dream – the hair we can help with – the face – that’s the office down the road.

As for the “at home” blunders – when all is said and done – don’t be hatin’ the friend – you decided to let her do it. To fix the horror that is now your hair – DO NOT TOUCH! Go to your stylist, tell her what happened and ask for her help. Don’t call and try to describe the color – half ripened banana color doesn’t mean a thing. We need to see your hair – to see the porosity of the hair, look for any breakage etc… Sometimes the dream of being a blonde bombshell may still be possible. Sometimes not.

If you can order a cheeseburger and ask them to hold the pickles, add just a drop of mustard, add more ketchup and only add 2 3/4 onions to the burger, I am sure you can figure out a way to tell your stylist what is it you want.


Beauty, Hair Care

Sulfates, Alcohol and Parabens ….Oh my!

Three little words. On their own, not so scary. Put them all together and place them in a bottle and your trembling hand reaches up to your freshly colored tresses. For some, all three together causes sneezes, itchy scalp or sends some people running out to hug the nearest tree.  SOMA Hair Care. Use these products and save yourself from running out of tissue, scratching your scalp raw or being the front page photo of your local newspaper with the caption “Crazed woman apologizes to a tree”.

SOMA Hair Care is a Sulfate free, Alcohol free, Paraben free, Formaldehyde free, 100% Biodegradable, Hypo allergenic hair care line. All their products are color safe, and the majority of their styling products offer thermal protection. The product line offers more than 20 products. Here are a few of their hidden gems.

SOMA Solace – A cuticle sealer. AWESOME! Adds shine without hold, stops frizz in it’s tracks.

SOMA Prism – A shine spray. Puts an end to nasty static flyaways, non greasy and humidity resistant

SOMA Gravity – A smoothing product – great for thick/coarse hair. Eliminates frizz and is humidity resistant.

SOMA Blonde Silver Shampoo – A MUST for blondes! One of the only purple shampoo’s on the market that add moisture and strength while eliminating those nasty brassy tones.

SOMA Clarifying Shampoo – Color safe. Gentle to hair yet strong enough to remove chlorine stains from the hair. Smells like childhood memories (the good ones).

SOMA Concrete Gel – STRONG hold without the flakes. Humidity resistant

SOMA Leave in – an awesome leave in conditioner – can be used on all hair types – even the finest of hair. Great detangler – no more screams from the children when they see you with a comb.

Check out their website –

This SOMA may not help you achieve hangover free holidays like in George Orwell’s 1984 – but your hair is going to look great no matter how you feel.

Beauty, Business

Beauty and brains? Yes…it is possible

So, it happened again. Some poor soul made the common mistake that because they saw that I was rockin’ a great hairstyle and had some lipstick and eyeliner on that I must not be very bright. SURPRISE! Yes, it’s true, a woman can be attractive and be intelligent at the same time.

I know many people think, “oh, it’s just hair products, how hard can it be?”. As in any profession, product knowledge is key. In my store/salon, we have over 30 different hair care lines, so approximately 1000 products. Let us not forget the nail care and foot care products which equal out to approximately 200 products. Quite a bit of product knowledge to retain, don’t you think? Now, because this is a business there is payroll, accounting, staff meetings, inventory, orders, meeting with Sales Reps, keeping up with the latest trends and newest products, advertising to take care of and all the while servicing our customer’s and clientele with the best customer service we can provide.(Yes, it’s true….hairstylists and beauty professionals alike actually run a business….we are not playing beauty shop all day).

I know, you are reading this thinking “Hey! I thought this was a blog about salon tales”. Well my friends, everyone has a tale to tell and this tale is for all the salon owners, stylists and for professional business women everywhere or the stay at home mom who enjoys beauty products. Getting excited over hair extensions or squealing with delight over the newest polish collection does not lower your I.Q.. Wanting to have your hair done before you go to the grocery store doesn’t make you a bad mother. Taking pride in your appearance doesn’t make you vain. Stop worrying about what others will say. Sorry to break it to you – they are probably already talking about you so why not (in the words of Bonnie Raitt) – give ’em something to talk about.

Think of all the fun you will have when you get to take them all by surprise. Trust me… is glorious.


Seeking treatment

In need of psycho analysis? This isn’t your kind of blog. Your hair is brittle and resembles that of the friendly scare crow in the Wizard of Oz? Read on my friends, read on. Treatments are important, for the health of your hair and the vibrancy of your hair color. Also, to keep silent the screams of the neighbourhood children every time you leave your house.

Treatments. You have your conditioning treatments, your oil treatments, your protein treatments, weekly treatments and so on. Before you go and start rocking back and forth wailing, get a hold of yourself. It is not that complicated. The purpose for each treatment is written on the packaging. No description? Put it down and walk away. All conditioning treatments are not the same, nor are they for all hair types. Just because the word “treatment” appears on the bottle doesn’t mean it is one. (come on…we have all heard of and been victim to “one size fits all”).

The following are treatments that are cream based treatments that can be used once to twice a week. (* all hair types = fine,thick, curly etc..)

JOICO – Kpak RevitaLuxe – the newest addition to the Kpak family. This award winning treatment is in a word, miraculous. It corrects damage that has been done and prevents further damage. Each time you use it your hair becomes stronger, softer and more moisturized. This gem can be used on all hair types. * Awesome for blondes

UANS Crema – great for dry hair and split ends – all hair types * great detangler and for maintaining wigs & extensions

REDKEN All Soft Heavy Cream – for dry brittle hair – rebuilds surface protection – all hair types

MIXED CHICKS Deep Conditioner – reconstructs damaged areas, makes curls manageable and a great detangler – for curly,unruly hair, thick or fine

GOLDWELL Rich Repair 60 Second Treatment – adds softness and moisture to dried out hair – for all hair types * can be a bit heavy for fine hair

SOMA Reconstruct – Rebuilds your hair cuticle back to a healthy state – for all hair types *Vegan and Cruelty free (loves bunnies)

A treatment takes 2 – 15 minutes. If you have time to sing in the shower or ponder how to remove the ring around your tub while you lather your tushie – do it with a treatment on your hair – you are there anyway.