JUST ADD WATER

PHOTOS/POST: KRISTIN ESS

PHOTOS/POST: KRISTIN ESS

We tend to have braids on the brain 24/7 during these hot summer months in California. Best part is that braiding can often save us from excess heat styling with blowdryers + curling irons, which is very helpful when dealing with dryness or trying to nurse damaged hair back to a softer state. Recently we were introduced to Pantene Pro-V’s Daily Moisture Renewal Conditioner and because it’s so moisture-packed we immediately thought of using it as a braid aid! This is a really simple way to braid + moisturize at one time so you’re getting a double dose of healthy hair (conditioning + saving on heat styling) while sporting your favorite braided look. We’re essentially creating our own leave-in conditioner and turning it into a styling product! Here’s how we did it…

pantene moisture renewal hack the beauty department

pantene the beauty department braid aid

  • Shake well.

the beauty department pantene

  • Apply to wet or dry hair.
  • Braid as desired!

beauty dept pantene moisture

TIP: I love using this trick before heading to the gym in the morning. I shower, shave, wash my hair, get out, apply this spray and braid. Then when I’m done at the gym I can just do a quick rinse in the shower and go instead of a taking a full “normal” shower.

braidaid the beauty department pantene

You can do this on dry hair too, of course! I tend to focus more from middle to ends and only use a tiny bit toward the root. Focus on dryness and places where your hair gets the least amount of natural oils: middle to ends.

pantene braid aid the beauty department

Once you apply spray and braid your hair, wait about 10 minutes for it to absorb and dry a little, then gently pull at your braid to loosen it up. The conditioner serves as a great texturizer because as it dries it feels a little more like a styling cream.

When you go to rinse the conditioner out, you’ll feel the benefits and as your hair dries, you’ll see them! Now we really wonder how many “conditioner hacks” there are out there. Do you have one? If so we’d love to hear it in the comments below!

(this post was created in partnership with our friends at Pantene)

TORTOISESHELL HAIR COLOR TREND

PHOTOS + POST: KRISTIN ESS

PHOTOS + POST: KRISTIN ESS

We’ve had a lot of inquiries on the tortoiseshell hair color trend and we’re about to break it down. In my opinion, the E True Hollywood Story on tortiseshell hair is that it focuses on warmth and has 3+ colors. There’s typically a warmed up darker color at the root which bleeds through the middle for some dimension, a warm mid-light and then a light golden highlight. Your colorist will know what you’re looking for if you show them this round up of photos. It would be nearly impossible to achieve this at home so basically don’t even try it. You can however maintain the look at home by using some very important things which I’ll list below…

tortiseshell hair color the beauty department

Tortoiseshell really revolves around golden tones and warmth so if you’re trying to avoid having gold tones, this is not an ideal color for you. This is for those who want those “brazilian brown and blonde” tones that really sparkle and look sun-kissed, as opposed to the cool, neutral or muted tones you get when maintaining with violet-based toners and purple shampoos.

thebeautydepartment tortise shell hair

 

To keep your golden tones fresh and from fading, you’ll want to use a color depositing shampoo and conditioner to keep the warmth from fading. Here are my favorite golden blonde depositing shampoos (click link for more info and pricing)

tortise shell hair the beauty department

 

As far as gold depositing conditioners, these two are my faves…

tortiseshell blonde hair the beauty department

 

There’s a fine line between brassy and gold, so be careful not to get into the wrong zone. Your hair colorist should be able to tell you when you need a gloss or toning but for the most part, you should be able to just go with the gold.

the beauty dept tortiseshell hair color

PASTEL HAIR GUIDE

photos/caption: Kristin Ess

photos/caption: Kristin Ess

Pastels are having yet another magical moment right now (insert shooting star and unicorn racing over a rainbow over Debby Ryan’s new hair for her summer TOUR). Everywhere you look someone is going some shade of candy-coated, but it’s summer here in the US so it’s not hard to get the bug! If you have an interest in dipping into the pastel pool this summer there’s a couple of things I think you should know…

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  1. To get your hair a soft shade of pastel, you must have pre-lightened it. There’s just no way around that. Pastels just pick up best of hairs when they’re super light blonde so talk to your hair colorist and don’t attempt the prelightening at home please.
  2. It’s best to do some sort of variation of color to avoid looking like you’re wearing wig (i love a wig for the record, just don’t want to look like you’re wearing one if you’re not). I prefer to add some dimension or a second color. In all of the shades on this post, you’ll see that. Up top we’ve got the two tone which is really cool and fun when you’re going to be sporting braids and buns all summer. Next we have my friend Bri from designlovefest.com! She wanted to incorporate pinks and purples (but not go all-over with it) so we did an all over lightening and then I painted a mix of pink and purple on her roots. When she sets her hair down it’s more of a subtle shade seeping through. SO fun and will look epic with a braid! Then we have Debby again right below with her lavender hair. Some strands I painted lavender and some I painted with conditioner to keep them lighter in order to break up the purple. And at the bottom, we have Emily who had a full highlight prior to her seafoam green. We didn’t bleach her whole head unlike the other two, instead we just added the blue/green mix over her previously highlighted hair, allowing the dimension to stay!
  3. My MOST IMPORTANT pastel for going pastel is to overshoot. All of these photos were taken the first day the hair was colored so it’s going to fade from here. I want that. I always make the hair one full shade more intense/more vibrant to allow for fading. It usually settles at a good place if you go just a little more intense. People always tell me or comment that they get bummed when they finally get the pastel shade they want but then wash it down the drain almost immediately. If you go a tiny bit richer, you’ll fade out to the perfect spot and it should stay for a little extra time. Also, talk to your colorist about this because it depends on the condition of your hair, but the whiter your hair is to start, the longer the pastel typically stays, unless the hair is too damaged.
  4. Look for color locking shampoos like THIS , THIS or THIS and use a good COLOR CONDITIONER or MASK but get it on and off quickly. When I had pastel hair years ago I would try to wash and condition my hair as quickly as possible in the shower to avoid giving excess time for the pigment to rinse out. It was just my weird thing. I always thought the pink faded quicker when I stayed in the shower longer.

thebeautydepartmentpastel

The truth is, pastel is going to fade quicker than a full-intensity color so don’t have unrealistic expectations, ya know? Also next week I have a good pastel hair hack coming up for you… So stay tuned for that! tbdpastelhair

A MORE PHOTOGENIC BRAID

the beauty dept photogenic braid

A MORE PHOTOGENIC BRAID // POST + PHOTOS: KRISTIN ESS

PIC OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. In this wild world of social media, braids have become a serious must on every fashion and beauty instagram, facebook, pinterest and twitter feed. If you don’t have photos of braids + flowers, you’re probably missing out on a whole lot of follwers and likes. While I can’t help you in the floral department, I can definitely help you in the braid department! Here are some of my favorite ways to prep and style a braid for a great photo.

photographing braids the beauty dept

  • For this particular post + tutorial, forget about the classic french braid (as seen above) for photos. Yes, it’s gorgeous, we know that, but most of it’s texture potential is hidden on the inside. The bulk of your braid gets tucked in when you do a regular french braid, so stick to inverted French braids (aka: Dutch braids) when it comes to photos because inverted braids put the bulk of the braid on the outside where you can see it (see next photo).

a more photogenic braid the beauty department

  •  See the difference? The thickest parts of the braid lay on top of the hair instead of being tucked inside. If you prefer the classic version, knock yourself out! I don’t discourage that! The only downside is that it can’t get as “fat” as an inverted braid, and bigger badder braids for photos is what this post is all about!
  • To get a great braid, wash your hair with something that will give it a little texture. I like THIS SHAMPOO and THIS CONDITIONER for building a good braid foundation! Sometimes when I used those, I don’t even need to add much product!
  • If you don’t want to change shampoos, then prep the hair with a product like this LIGHT HOLDING MOUSSE or a light OCEAN SPRAY before blow drying or air drying. You never want to prep with something too sticky or it will be very hard to braid.

phtogenic braid the beauty department

  • Everyone must learn how to “pancake” or gently pull a braid apart. This will help fatten it up. When you do this on an inside-out-braid/inverted braid, the fullness you can achieve is amazing. I like to take each loop, one by one, tugging first from the inside and moving to the outside of the loop.
  • Always have plenty of TEXTURE POWDER on hand. Sprinkle a little on top of the braid before you pull it apart. I’ve talked about this in nearly every braid tutorial I’ve ever done. It’s my favorite. The powder has a lot of grit to it and really helps to keep that braid from falling apart when you’re tugging at it. It also helps anyone with lots of layers because if there’s texture powder on the pieces that go rogue, you can just tuck them right back in and they pretty much stay put.

photogenic braids the beauty department

  • Don’t be afraid to pull the braid out to the max! If a couple little pieces fall out of the braid, let them or tuck them back into the braid! Messy braids are awesome!
  • Always have THIS TEXTURE TOOL to get that extra texture-y glow. You may remember it from THIS POST! If not, you must read up!

braid placement for photos the beauty department

  •  Another thing you should always remember is that placement is important! Look at this before and after example. The braid up top is the same as the braid on the bottom, the one on the bottom just runs closer to the ear and the hairline. If you’re trying to get a good photo of a braid without turning full profile, braid a little closer to the front or the hairline. Otherwise, the braid seems to kind of disappear. If you’re photographing a braid from the back, then focus the majority of it back there.

beauty social media tips the beauty dept

  • The fact of the matter is that braids just photograph better on dark hair with highlights or lighter hair with hightlights because you see more depth. Am I saying braids are not gorgeous on darker hair? Not at all. In person I think braids on darker hair colors are classic and beautiful and chic, but sadly we all know that texture-wise, they just don’t read as well in a photograph. You tend to lose the look in a photo because you don’t see all the twists and turns and dimensions of a textured braid as well on solid or darker hair colors unless you find some epic lighting. I’m not telling you that you should run out and color your hair, I’m just saying adding in a couple lighter extension pieces temporarily like we did back in THIS POST (braids for brunettes + redheads). It can help you get a stronger braid photo for your beauty blog or social media feed!
  • Lighting is important as well. A skylight or natural lighting is your best friend when snapping a braid photo. You always want to see the curves and texture clearly when you photograph a braid so the more light, the better. Taking photos of your braids in the bathroom at night just doesn’t quite cut it anymore! Photo quality is important so shoot during the day and make sure your background doesn’t distract or take away from the braid. Solid backgrounds are always a good idea.
  • Have fun with it! After you get the photo you want, add a funny accessory or pull the braid apart to the point where it’s disheveled! Sometimes those are the photos I end up using and liking the most!