Love it or hate it? John Frieda Salon Shape Hot Air Brush

John Frieda Frizz Ease

John Frieda Salon Shape Hot Air Brush

*pr sample

Here at the BIZ we focus on products we love. There is enough negativity in the world as it is…if we don’t like something, we probably won’t even review it. So when I tried the John Frieda Salon Shape Hot Air Brush ($39.99) and hated it, I thought there was no way I could review this – and it was particularly ironic since since it’s one of Marcia’s favorite hair tools of all time!! Then I decided to try it out on my daughter’s hair…and guess what? Now I wouldn’t trade this baby for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

John Frieda Frizz Ease

John Frieda Salon Shape Hot Air Brush

At first, I assumed this was basically a curling iron with a brush attached. But it’s not a curling iron, it’s a blow dryer. Use it on towel-dried hair to smooth, dry, and de-frizz hair, all the while giving it the volume and slight curl that a round brush will give you. I have very long hair – mid-back, super long layers, and while my hair is fine I have tons of it. So…if your hair is similar, this is not the drying/styling device for you. My hair is too long to wrap up in the brush, which means I have to start at the root and slowly move through my hair to the bottom…so it takes forever to dry my hair. And then, while it certainly leaves my hair smooth, it doesn’t give it much volume or curl.  For the time and the so-so results, I felt the Salon Shape Hot Air Brush just wasn’t worth it.

Then I figured I would give it a shot on my daughter Annie’s hair. She has shoulder-length fine hair with bangs and layers. Honestly it is a pain in the butt to do her hair because she is such a wimp…everything hurts her; she fights every bit of product and every stroke of the brush. When I told her I wanted to test this on her she almost cried. Then a Christmas miracle happened….she LOVED it and her hair looked the best it has ever looked!

John Frieda Frizz Ease

John Frieda Frizz Ease

The 1 1/2 inch titanium ceramic hair brush barrel is easy to maneuver and the bristles are soft enough to be comfortable, but firm enough to hold hair. It has 500 watts of power, two heat settings, and a cold air option. It dries shorter, layered hair so quickly and painlessly I could not believe it. Now my daughter is always begging me to do her hair – or doing it herself – and then spending a half hour staring at the fabulousness of her hair style.

The bottom line is, if you have long, heavy hair there are better options for you. If you have shoulder length or shorter hair, or shorter layers, you will be thrilled with the John Frieda Salon Shape Hot Air Brush. I’m so glad I gave this a second chance!  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

Two great DIY books: Stunning Braids and Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

For someone who loves playing with makeup, I am not much of a do-it-yourselfer. I can’t get into scrapbooking, I’d rather buy a jar of tomato sauce than make my own and my Pinterest boards are full of projects I know I will never undertake. But I was sent two books that inspire me every day to do something with my hands, and my little projects always turn out great.

Stunning Braids

Stunning Braids

Stunning Braids:  Gorgeous Hairstyles for Any Occassion from Work to Weddings ($17.95) was written by Monae Everett, a fabulous hairstylist/blogger who has worked on lots of celebrities and has been featured in major publications like the Huffington Post and Redbook. Her book is fantastic for those just experimenting with braiding, although seasoned braiders will find lots of great styles to try as well.

Stunning Braids

Stunning Braids

The book starts with the basics, including specific product recommendations for everything from hair spray and serums to flat irons and hair dryers. Monae starts with braiding prep, and includes tips for creating styles like loose romantic waves and flat iron curls. Then she gets down to braiding business.

Each style has a large photo of the finished product, step by step photo instruction, plus additional tips and tricks. It starts with the basic three strand braid, ‘the mother of all braids’, and goes all the way through complicated knotted updos. It also has a great section for African-American hair.

This is one of the best braiding books I own. It’s amazing for working on someone else – my poor daughter is my guinea pig way more often than she would like – and it’s clear and simple enough for working on your own hair.  Stunning Braids is a great staple book to keep right on your vanity.

Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

Another super fun book that I don’t use daily but that makes for some awesome weekend fun is Homemade Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs ($14.95) by Kate Bello. This book has 300 recipes for luxurious soaks. While you might have some ingredients around the house like baking soda, coconut oil, and cornstarch, there are other ingredients to plan for like essential oils, Himalayan sea salt, rhassoul clay and flower petals.

Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

There aren’t pretty pictures inside, but there are tons of easy to make recipes that address ailments like fevers, asthma, and cystic fibrosis. There is a section of recipes for skin and beauty concerns like acne, oily skin, and sensitive skin; plus recipes to use for meditation, chakra cleansing, and aphrodisiac baths. There are even recipes for men and for pregnancy, plus a cool section with recipes for baths from ‘around the world’. Here is one that I have made several times that I just love:

Clary Sage Uplifting Salt Soak

2 cups Himalayan salts

1 cup of coarse sea salts

1/2 cup of baking soda

1 cup rhassoul clay

5 drops of clary sage essential oil

5 drops lemongrass essential oil

2 drops of benzoin essential oil

I get a lot of my ingredients, including essential oils, from Whole Foods. Another great online source is Mountain Rose Herbs. I tend to go for the bath salt mixtures, but there are also great recipes for bath bombs and scrubs in this book as well. All of the creations make terrific gifts and Kate has suggestions for packaging and storing your creations as well.

Both of these books are terrific fun and I highly recommend them! They are published by Ulysses Press and can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Pick them up for some DIY that you will actually enjoy!   – Lisa

*received for editorial consideration

Go beyond basic braids with The New Braiding Handbook

I have recently discovered the total awesomeness of braids. I am not great with hair…no talent in that area at all. However, my hair is on the long side and I get tired of the single ponytail or basic bun look.

The New Braiding Handbook

The New Braiding Handbook

Based on my overall lack of hand coordination when attempting anything more complicated than putting my hair up with a jaw hair clip, I was still skeptical when we were sent The New Braiding Handbook by Abby Smith. Color me incorrect, because this is a terrific collection of doable looks that anyone from the novice to the expert will appreciate.

Braiding Handbook 3

Braiding Handbook 2

There are 50 different looks in The New Braiding Handbook, each one with step by step instructions and photographs. The looks are as easy as a Basic French Braid, and as complicated as a French Braided Pompadour. It has excellent instructions that even a novice like me can follow and the pictures to go along with the instructions are clear and very helpful.

Braiding Handbook 6

Braiding Handbook 7

I love how right at the beginning of the book there are photos and page numbers for every single style so it’s easy to find exactly what you want quickly. Looks range from super casual to extremely elegant, like knots, twists, and double braids. Most surprising to me was the section on styles using a Topsy Tail.

Topsy Tail Messy Bun

Topsy Tail Messy Bun

There is also some insightful information and tips on hair care in general, like using dry shampoo and determining different hair types. I love the section on using hair tools like straighteners and curling irons for both braided and non-braided looks. Plus, there are instructions for fantastic easy looks that don’t even require braiding, like the Perfect Ponytail.

The Perfect Ponytail - this really works!

The Perfect Ponytail – this really works!

Ok, so I am not even close to being great at braiding my hair yet…but with this book, I am making progress and am able to do much more than just a basic braid on myself and on my daughters. I keep this book right by my mirror and keep trying new styles every single day. The New Braiding Handbook can be found at bookstores like Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, and even Walmart.

If you are at all interested in any sort of updo, you will definitely love this book!  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

The Christie Brinkley Collection Hair Wrap from Hair2Wear

Remember when hair pieces were a luxury that required lots of time and lots of money? All those combs meant you needed to have the piece put on by a professional or else risk looking completely ridiculous. Now, however, hair pieces are super easy to put on and are quite inexpensive. A perfect example is the Hair2Wear Christie Brinkley Collection Hair Wrap ($16) that was sent to us.

Hair2Wear Bun Wrap

Hair2Wear Natural Tone Hair Wrap

Christie models perfectly, as usual

Christie models perfectly, as usual

Christie Brinkley has a very cute collection of hair pieces including four different types of hair headbands. She also offers the Hair Wrap, which fills out a bun and makes it look beautiful. It could not be easier – put your hair in a bun, then slip this around and voila!  Instant elegance.

My shade is Medium Brown

My shade is Medium Brown

The shade I have is Medium Brown and it is very pretty. I love the golden highlights because they make the wrap look just like real hair.  I have long hair, but it’s quite fine so my bun can always use a little pizzaz. This wrap isn’t super smooth, it kind of fans out so it gives a slightly messy, but much more voluptuous bun. This would also be great for someone with shoulder length hair who wants to do a quick bun or chignon.

side view

side view

another side view

another side view

The Hair2Wear Hair Wrap

The Hair2Wear Hair Wrap

There is a quote from Christie on the box, it says, “I love this wrap — it’s both current and classic, and always so flattering. Wear it with bangs or without. My guilty secret? I don’t even have to blow dry my hair first for it to look great.” And by golly, she is right. The Hair Wrap is especially terrific for disguising less-than-clean hair.

Take a look at her collection HERE. The headbands are only $10 each and the Hair Wrap is just $16. It is definitely worth it!  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

Need hair inspiration? Get Braids, Buns, and Twists!

Braids, Buns and Twists! ($19.95) is a hair styling book by fellow blogger Christina Butcher ($19.95) who hails from Sydney, Australia. Check out her fabulous blog, www.hairromance.com for some serious hair inspiration.

Braids

Braids, Buns, and Twists!

Christina knows how to twist, braid, and shape hair to create interesting classic styles as well as unique contemporary styles. This how-to is organized by style:  Ponytails; Braids, Buns, Knots & Twists; and Bouffants. Each style is shown on a real-life model and is accompanied by step-by-step tutorials and how-to’s with excellent illustrations. I counted over 80 different tutorials – that’s a lot of twisting!!

I was able to create styles I never thought I could possibly do thanks to the incredible step by step instructions and illustrations. My first attempt at the Dutch Braid wasn’t perfect, but for someone who barely knows how to make a ponytail it wasn’t half bad.

Dutch

the Dutch Braid

Dutch

my attempt at the Dutch Braid

I wanted to try one of more complicated styles so I asked my daughter Marina for some help. This style required a few extra tools, all of which were clearly listed for us, including one of those hair donuts that I just happened to have bought a few weeks ago. It’s called the Upside Down Braid Bun.

Braids

the how-to page

Braids

the Upside Down Braid Bun

After about a ten minute hysterical laughing fit while we tried to figure out the best way for me to be ‘upside down’ so Marina could do the braid part, it only took about 10 minutes to complete this hairstyle. Here are the results:

Braids

My Upside Down Bun Braid

Braids

My Upside Down Bun Braid from the front

While this was waaay more complicated than my typical hairstyle, it was so pretty – pictures don’t do it much justice. I would absolutely wear this out on a date or even just to work.

My daughters and I ended up spending an evening just trying out different braids and styles on each other.

My girls

My girls doing hair and reading comics…a perfect night!

Here is the style Annie wanted, the Half Up Heart Braid.

the style

the Half Up Heart Braid

the result

the result

Annie was so thrilled she couldn't stop checking out her new look!

Annie was so thrilled she couldn’t stop checking out her new look!

Braids, Buns, and Twists! is an awesome book that is great for novices as well as for seasoned braiders. There is a perfect mix of simple, easy to create looks and more challenging to create looks. It will keep you entertained for hours and you will add many incredibly stylish hair looks to your repertoire. You can find a copy at Chronicle Books. Way to go Christina, this book is a total winner!  – Lisa

* pr sample

Seven tips for super sexy straightened hair

Photo by Glenn Weiner/ZUMA Press

Photo by Glenn Weiner/ZUMA Press

(This post is brought to you by Beauty Info Zone in conjunction with Argos)

It seems inevitable…those with straight hair want curls and those with waves want straight hair. If you want to create straight hair with volume and movement, this post is for you!
Here are seven tips for beautifully straightened hair that looks natural and flattering.
1.  Be sure to clean your flat iron! Styling products can collect on the iron and compromise the straightening efficacy of the plates.
2.  It may seem like common sense but make sure you hair is completely dry before flat ironing. Otherwise the heat will damage hair by drying it out or even scorching it.
3.  Divide your hair into sections first and then flat iron UP – go from as close to the root as you can get to the end of the section. Ironing up and out from the scalp will give you the absolute best body and volume.
4.  Use a great hair straightening tool! Argos carries some of the top flat irons available, here are a few options:
Babyliss Salon Control 235

Babyliss Salon Control 235

Babyliss Boutique Salon Control 235 Hair Straightener This one has a super fast heat up, as well as 12 different heat settings from which to choose.

Babyliss Pro 235

Babyliss Pro 235

Babyliss Pro 235 Smooth Hair Straightener This option has longer, tourmaline ceramic plates that are perfect for a frizz-free finish.

Babyliss Ceramic 235

Babyliss Ceramic 235

Babyliss Smooth Ceramic 235 Hair Straightener  This flat iron has rounded housing, which means you can straighten your hair OR create curls – pretty ingenious.

5.  Use the right size flat iron for your hair. Shorter or very fine hair does better with smaller irons that have shorter plates. Longer or very thick hair works best with larger irons that have longer plates.

6.  Use the right amount of heat. For very fine hair, you want about 250 degrees, no hotter than 300. Medium hair needs a temperature in the 300 – 350 range and you can go up to 400 degrees for very thick hair.

Gawjus bottle

Arganesse Hair Treatment is wonderful for heat styling

7.  Use the right styling products to protect your hair from heat damage. Some of my favorites include  ArganesseMoroccanoil, and  Unite U Luxury Oil.

Follow these seven tips and you will have beautiful, swingy, volumized straight hair.

And when you want to switch up the straight look, just go for some serious beach waves with the Babyliss Wave Envy Barrel Hair Waver!  – Lisa

Babyliss Wave Envy

Babyliss Wave Envy

Quick hair upgrade: HairuWear Hairdo French Braid Band

It’s Saturday night, and you want something cute for your hair but have no time.  What do you do?

 hairuwear french braid

Grab a French Braid Band from HairuWear!

the braid is like a headband

the braid is like a headband

This is the cutest thing.  You wear it like as headband, it takes seconds to put it in.

tiny velcro holds it in place

tiny velcro holds it in place

To really make your hairstyle pop, tease the crown behind the braid to give your hair a little more ‘lift’. 

It's adjustable so it will fit any size head

It’s adjustable so it will fit any size head

It’s sooo cute!!   And even someone who struggles with hair styling like me can put this on and look super chic.  It comes in six different shades, mine is in Chestnut/Light brown. 

Chestnut

Chestnut

 

Get one that matches your hair color and have instant, no-commitment glam whenever you want it!  – Lisa

My braid is on and I am ready to go party!!

My braid is on and I am ready to go party!!

*pr sample