Aside
3

It was a quiet day at the shop today. It’s January and mother nature couldn’t make up her mind  which outfit to wear…Parka? Winter boots? Rubber boots? Trench coat?…so she went with all four.Today went from snow to freezing rain to rain to imminent thunderstorms. It seems that mother nature wasn’t the only one today who couldn’t make up her mind or the only one in a mood for that matter. I was going to make today’s tale another installment of the ever popular “tales of truth” series as my first few customers were so generous as to give me some awesome material, but it was the last customer I served that changed my mind. She belittled her husband. She made fun of him. She went on and on about his feet and their cracks and calluses and ended her monologue with “Hhmmppt. Men. No personal hygiene…what do you expect.”.

I am always hearing women complain about men and their lack of personal hygiene. First things first ladies, lets get one thing straight.There is a difference between personal hygiene and personal maintenance, so maybe, just maybe you need to ease up a little. Here is a little list to help clarify;

Brushing teeth = Personal hygiene. Manscaping = Personal maintenance.

Washing hair & all 2000 parts = Personal hygiene. Keeping side burns the exact shape = Personal maintenance.

Washing hands = Personal hygiene. Getting a manicure  = Personal maintenance.

The reason for today’s tale is to help out our gents. Too many of you are out right mean to the men in your lives. Yeah…I said it. I know, I know, I can hear some of you now, “She’s always sticking up for the men!”. Correction. Not to sound all “Norma  Rae”, I am standing up for beauty, in all forms , for all people. My tales may from time to time reflect the issues of our gents because in the business of beauty, they are either being neglected or ridiculed. It’s true. Think about it. How many times have you heard or said “Isn’t that cute?!?” when you hear a man has gotten a pedicure….and women wonder why men don’t keep up with their personal maintenance. If that is how you treat him, you are lucky it is only his feet he has let go.

After my customer had finished what she thought was a witty and well thought sentence, I let her know that many men come into my shop for help. I told her “They come into my shop because we make them feel comfortable. We understand that they have faced ridicule and that is not what we are about. We also know that, for the most part, men don’t know about personal maintenance because no one ever taught them.”. Then we had a staring contest, her and I. After about 10 seconds, she said “Never thought about that.”. I gave her a few samples and wrote down the instructions on how to use the products she purchased. (by the way…a foot paddle to exfoliate the callus and Gehwol Lipidro cream are an  AWESOME combination….OH! and for cracked heels the Gehwol Salve for Cracked Skin is terrific!).

Guess what?! Men, just like us, want to look good, and feel good. Just like us, they want to look desirable to their better half, be it a man or a woman. Just like us, getting a second glance from a stranger puts a spring in their step. Did you ever stop to think that maybe your gent wants to get his back waxed so he can feel comfortable walking with you hand in hand on the beach – not because he has a mistress. Sure, there are some real asses out there, it doesn’t mean that when your gent starts taking pride in his appearance he has a bit on the side – would you want him to think that of you every time you applied lipstick?

Seriously ladies. Be nice. It is really that simple. Treat your gents as you want to be treated.  As women, we are always preaching about equality. Well ladies, careful what you wish for, because if you are one of those women who mock and ridicule the men in your lives, guess what is coming your way.

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Whatever floats your boat

Something has been playing on my mind as of late, and being me I gotta talk about it, I gotta. Working at a Salon, I hear lots of tales, of happiness, of despair, of births and deaths and everything in between. The tales that I find the most upsetting are those of shame. Grown women being ashamed of their bodies, their body image or lack there of and of their sex life. Unless you were in a convent or in a coma, I am sure you have heard of or read 50 shades of grey.  I know that most of our clientele has read it or heard about it. I read the trilogy.Twice. Yeah…I said it. Some of the women spoke openly about it and we shared some cackles and blushes. Some of the women whispered about it, afraid that if they spoke openly and loudly about their book club choice that they would be judged. Some women hid the fact they were reading it because they didn’t want their husbands or best friends judging them, they didn’t want people thinking they were a slut. One woman I know was ashamed that she liked what she read and this is why I am writing this today.

When we are young, we are always being told to be a “good girl” and “nice girls” don’t behave like that – be it wearing too much lipstick, a low cut blouse, teasing our hair, kicking boys in the shin or kissing them in the back seat. What I have come to realize is this. Grown  women forget that they are grown women now, not little girls under the ever watchful judgmental eye of society. If what you wear or how you choose to live your life makes you happy and is YOUR CHOICE, there is no shame to be had.

Forgive me ladies for what I am about to say. We prejudge our husbands/partners and don’t give them the benefit of the doubt. Yeah…I said it. You know it’s true. We are all guilty of it. So many women I know that read 50 shades said “there is no way I am telling my husband I liked that book! He’ll think I am  a freak!” to which I always answered “He probably will and he will be over the moon!”. Some ladies laughed, others just stared and I could see their wheels of judgement begin to turn, to which I began to sing to myself…Big wheel keep on turnin’, Proud Mary keep on burnin’.

Too many women let the opinions (or what they think are the opinions) of the general public decide their fate. Some things you must realize. There will always be someone who will point a finger in judgement. You know the people I am talking about, the ones who would have judged Christ himself “How could the son of GOD make water into wine?!?!”. Get used to it and try your best not to let it get to you. If you want to wear thigh high boots and mini skirts because it makes you feel beautiful, do it. If having platinum blonde hair extensions makes you feel sexy and attractive, wear them. If you like how your eyes look while wearing false eyelashes, apply them and bat away. If you like to read erotica and it helps you and your better half have a more intimate relationship in and out of the bedroom, read away. If judging others floats your boat, row away. Far, far away.

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Saving the planet with great hair

At least once a week I am asked if there are any products that are either vegan, cruelty free or environmentally friendly. The answer is yes, and yes, anyone can use them. You do not have to own a poncho or have a rescue dog as a pet to purchase these products. (trust me…I had to clarify in writing because I have had to clarify said fact verbally to a woman sporting a complete ensemble of fur and leather…really…I wish I made this shit up…you have no idea).

Many professional hair care lines have jumped onto the environmentally friendly, cruelty free, vegan train. Yes, they care about our drinking water and they love bunnies. Their products are low in sulfates or sulfate free, alcohol free, gluten free and paraben free…Al Gore will be so proud. The following are lines that I am familiar with and sell in our shop.

SOMA – This line is organic, 100% Vegan, 100% Biodegradable (making Mr. Gore so happy!), paraben and formaldehyde free. Their products contain wheat/keratin proteins and all their packaging is recyclable.The SOMA line has a product for every hair type and every hair issue. If you want a sleek look or a spiked mohawk – SOMA will deliver the goods. Oh…and they love bunnies too.

JOICO Structure – The newest addition to the Joico family that has 3 products that are vegan – Structure Cleanse, Structure Condition and Structure Renovate. * An important piece of information about Joico – Joico cares about the environment, investing in alternative energy sources to better the environment, they are committed to eliminating their carbon footprint and leading sustainable business practices & they have also joined forces with Verus Carbon Neutral. 

Bain de Terre Purite – The newest addition to the Bain de Terre family. The Purite line is sulfate free, paraben free, gluten free and is free of colorants and formaldehyde. They love bunnies too.

Alterna Bamboo – A lovely collection that consists of a volumizing, frizz control, shine and color line. All the products are free of parabens, gluten, sodium chloride, Phthalates and synthetic colors. They love bunnies too.

So there you have it. You can have great hair and still love the environment. You can have a rockin’ look without the guilt of leaving baby bunnies motherless. When standing in the shower you no longer have to feel guilt of possibly mutating a fish with the shampoo that is going down the drain. 

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Who knew Qtips could do so much?

“If you talked to your friends the way you talk to your body, you’d have no friends left” – Marcia Hutchinson. I came across this quote a few months ago, and over the past few days it keeps popping up around me, be it on Facebook, Pinterest or over hearing conversations in the Salon. Funny tale to tell today…well, funny in a “okay, I get it” kind of way.

Confession. I haven’t always been this confident woman you read before you. I was that girl, the one who acted confident but went home everyday thinking she was fat, stupid, dumb, ugly…take your pick of any negative description of a person and that was what I thought I was. Over the past few weeks, I have heard the same phrases coming out of the mouths of the women coming into the shop, and I have let it get to me. You know what they say…what you surround yourself with you become. I started to bring it home with me, which is never a good thing, nothing worse than letting someone get in your head and reside there rent free. The constant negativity compounded with a few personal exclusions over the past few days were the perfect ingredients for a recipe for emotional disaster. Yes, I am 40 but it stills stings me a bit when I am excluded…I’m working on it.

Last night, as I was sitting and pouting, on my twitter feed I came across the above quote and literally right after came across this little gem from @simonsinek “If you want to achieve anything in this world, you have to get used to the idea that not everyone will like you”. (told you this was an “okay I get it” kind of tale). He is right. I know that. I blog about it all the time. I had forgotten. I had let myself wander off my path because it was getting lonely at times. Funny thing is, when you stop being true to yourself, you become more miserable and lonely than you thought you were to begin with.

This morning, I was still a little glum, couldn’t seem to shake my melancholy, then I went into the bathroom and saw that my hubby had refilled the Qtip jar and everything fell into place. Yep, I am that easy to please. In that instant I realized that all the negative thoughts floating around in my head were not mine, they belonged to the woman who yelled at me because the hairspray I had introduced her to that she loves is on back order…until Monday, and to the woman who didn’t understand why exchanging her flat iron was so easy to do and disappointed that the process didn’t take 20 minutes like she had planned it would. (seriously folks…I WISH I was making this up). All the anger I had towards my family was not my own, it belonged to the woman who’s husband had found a new love and to the gentleman who was angry at his wife because he had to pick up her hair color and she “never” does anything herself. I do like my hair, and I do think I look good and am proud of it. I don’t down play myself because I am now 40 and as the lovely woman in jogging pants and rubber boots so lovingly pointed out “putting on jewelry and doing your hair when you are over 35 is stupid”.( I got to meet this gem in the 1-8 item line at the grocery store…she had 9 items by the way).

It is so important to be kind, not just to others, but to ourselves. We teach people how to treat us (thank you Maya Angelou) and, although I hate to admit my faults, over the past few days I have been responsible for the negativity coming my way. I was letting it get to me and become the lesson I was teaching to all who crossed my path. With a little help from my Twitter feed and  a jar of Qtips, I have a new lesson plan.

1

Divert your attention

As you know, I manage a retail shop/salon. The shop carries over 25 professional hair care lines. Yes, the same products that stylists use in salons. So, I am sure you can understand my frustration, not just for myself but for every consumer out there, that our products are showing up on department and drugstore shelves. In the beauty biz we refer to these products as “diverted stock”. For instance, when you see Joico at your local supermarket, Joico did not sell it to the local grocer. I don’t know who nor how it ended up on their shelves, all I know is it doesn’t belong there. You cannot be guaranteed what is in those bottles…why do you think the disclaimer “only guaranteed when purchased at a salon and or from a professional stylist” is written on every professional hair care product? For that exact reason.

At least 3 times a week I hear someone tell me that they saw Matrix Biolage or KMS Silk Sheen at a discount department store (won’t name names…you know who they are) for a lower price than mine. I explain that it may be old stock and tell them what I have just explained to you and tell them they cannot be guaranteed the quality of the product. What I really want to say is “better go get it then if it is such a hot deal!”, but I behave myself and remember to practice what I preach (see…told you I wasn’t perfect) and ask them “If it was such a great deal why didn’t you buy it?” to which the usual answer is “I opened it and it smelled funny”. Mmhhmm. 

Ladies and gents, when purchasing any professional hair product, look left, then look right, look up and then look down…if you don’t see a Salon, you may want to rethink your purchase and here is why; (you know me…gotta make a list) 

– the product may be professional but may not be right for your hair type or scalp condition. A cashier can’t tell you that. A stylist or a manager extraordinaire (like me) can.

– you don’t know what is in that bottle. It may look the same, it may even smell the same, maybe you could get lucky and it’s the real deal. If you have just spent $150.00 on your color – is it worth the risk?

– if you have an allergic reaction, the company will not help you out. Now you are out your $2.50 savings off suggested retail price and you have a rash.

– any electric appliance from a curling iron to a flat iron to a blow dryer has a warranty against defect, when purchased at a Salon. Purchased any where else…your warranty is now in question and may very well be void.

When making your purchase at your Salon, not only are you supporting your stylist and the local business’s in your area, you are supporting yourself as well. You are protecting your biggest investment, yourself. ( I’d say You’re worth it…but L’oreal …you know).

9

Age appropriate?

I am a manager of a retail shop/salon. I am a wife. I am a mother. I, like you, are busy and from time to time may miss a news headline or two. Being in the beauty biz I try to keep up with all the latest trends. There is one trend that has baffled me since the first time my eyes gazed upon it and I am in search of it’s conception. I saw it again this morning as I was displaying the Joico Ltr. duo’s…Louis Vuitton bag, Dior sunglasses and ….pajama pants. Seriously?! When and where did this begin? Who thought this was a good idea? Sure, if you are 20 and living on campus and need mommy to do your laundry on your next trip home I guess I can understand, but when you are 40 and running your daily errands?!?! Come on…take a minute and put on some pants. I know you have a minute because you took the time to put on your false eyelashes and Lip Venom to pout up your lips.

As my eyesight struggled to return to normal, I found myself thinking of all the other trends that are not multi-generational. (I don’t know if that is a word…I like it…it fits). The following are trends that women over a certain age should ponder for a minute or two.

– Feathers. Yes they are a cool hair accessory. One strategically placed to add a bit of flare to your ‘do is great. Channeling Steven Tyler is a whole other ball game…unless you are a rockin’ mom, you won’t be able to pull it off. You won’t. You won’t. (by the way…just because you know who Steven Tyler is doesn’t mean you are a “rockin'” mom.).

– When you see a new hair trend on a child under the age of 14 and think it is neat, stop and think about that…you think what a 14 year old is doing is neat, a 14 year old. Wait for it…there you go.

– Hair extensions. An awesome invention…until it falls into the wrong hands. They are an investment, not just of money but of your time. You must maintain them. Nothing sadder than a woman in a designer outfit and a rats nest on her head. Thinking of extensions? Invest in the clip-in extensions. If you know how to use a bobby pin, you can use a clip-in extension. Put ’em in at the beginning of the day, take ’em out at the end. Make sure they are Human Hair or when you go to apply your flat iron or curling iron you could have a melting mess. Come to think of it, go rent “Good Hair” Chris Rock’s documentary.

– False eyelashes. Another terrific accessory when used properly. Take a minute and place them properly. Nothing more scary to the child behind you in the check out line than when you wave at him saying “Hi honey” and it looks like your eye is falling out of your head. Also, unless you are Cher, try leaving the rainbow lashes for a special occasion.

– Hello Kitty.Enough said.

– Tights and belly shirts. Ladies, unless you are a fitness instructor who is at this moment teaching a class…leave ’em in the locker room. There is a reason why she said “oops, I did it again”.

As women we all look back on our youth and feel we missed out on something because parents wouldn’t let us try the newest trend in body piercing or we thought we were too fat or too ugly. That was when we were children. We are now women and know how awesome we are.

What I am getting at is this. If you want to follow the latest trends because it makes you happy and feel beautiful…knock yourself out. If your doing it to be hip, or so your kids will think your cool or to get back at your mother for not letting you get a tattoo when you were 16, take a breath and take a moment to ponder…and please, when you leave the house…put on some pants.

2

Different but the same

Over the past few days I have had many salon tales come into my mind. So many tales to tell but how do I choose which one? I began this blog with the soul purpose of educating and enlightening the masses about the world of beauty and professional hair care products with easy to follow tips and opening doors that seemed to be locked and letting you join the club. I also wanted to wake up stylists and salon owners from their nightmare of what they thought was good customer service.

My primary goal is and will always be the same, to educate and enlighten. Over the past few months my tales have begun to travel down different roads, from customer service to product knowledge to how to be kind, not just at the Salon but where ever one may roam. You see, I am finding more and more, everyday, that beauty isn’t just the visual. It’s the emotional, the physical and the spiritual….maybe it’s because it is Sunday and I am missing my grandmother…who knows. Yeah, yeah…I know…you’ve watched Oprah and read “The Secret” so this isn’t news to you…or is it? Funny thing is, most Oprah and Secret die hards that have a library of all the #1 New York Times best sellers about self help and self love and loving your fellow man are the same people who mock their teenage daughter’s in public about their oily scalp and acne prone skin, or call their sons “tinkerbell” because he wants his hair style done just so and can’t live without KMS Molding Paste. Don’t get me wrong, I slip up all the time, did it last week when my daughter and I were out and I exclaimed and pointed at a sale item (I love a good deal). The item was Always overnight pads. Oops. I apologized on the spot. I am sure there is a doll with a pin in it in her room somewhere.

Being me, I have to clarify. Drives my husband CRAZY. I wanted to let you all know that I will always give you the newest product knowledge and information I get my hands on. I will give the tips you need for a great cut or Salon experience. I promise to continue with tales of my daily adventures in the Salon and all the tales of flying flat irons and mumblers and screamers. I will also keep telling the tales of kindness, the tales of inner and outer beauty. There is so much beauty around us, from the sound of our children giggling to the sound of our loved one sleeping beside us, the way the sun casts a shadow, the way the wind feels blowing through your hair while driving, the beauty of seeing someone, really seeing them and raising them up from such a simple act.

Want to change your perspective? Want to be more kind and stop being an ass? Just like being an ass, kindness is practiced. It takes effort, an effort with a great reward. You cannot just say you are going to be kind and then it happens. That’s like saying you are Jewish just because you attended a Bar Mitzvah.

What ever you put in, you get out. Plain and simple.