Posts Tagged ‘hair’


2 braids 3 ways START


Long hair lovers, this one’s for you! We took 2 simple dutch braids and turned it into 3 quick hairstyles. They’re so easy and you can pretty much match 1 of these 3 hairstyles with any outfit. You could also wear one to work and seamlessly switch to a different one before heading out to a dinner or event. Once the two dutch braids were in, we never took them out when switching to the other hairstyles. Below you’ll see the looks that we came up with but first we’ve gotta prep the hair!

  • Optional: add in a track or two of CLIP-IN EXTENSIONS for extra length!
  • Curl your hair using THIS METHOD from our previous post. We alternated between the GHD CURVE 1 1/4 CURLING IRON and the HOT TOOLS WAND this time.
  • After the curls were added we sprayed on some BLOPRO DRY TEXTURE SPRAY and lightly scrunched it in, breaking up the waves.
  • If you feel like your hair is still too fine/soft and you need a little extra “grip” at the base, sprinkle a little SEXY HAIR TEXTURE POWDER at the root!
  • Create two dutch braids going from the temple area to the back of your crown and secure the ends with a tiny clear elastic or lightly tease the ends to keep the braids from unraveling (that’s what we did here).

BRAIDED HALF UP: This is the easiest one. After your dutch braids are in, cross the two dutch braids over each other at the center/top/back of your head. Use a large bobby pin to secure. Cross them over in an X shape for extra support!

2 braids 3 ways ONE

BRAIDED “X” PONY: Cross the tails of your dutch braids over each other at the occipital bone (that little bone you can feel in the back of your head). Gather the rest of the hair that’s down and wrap it all together in an elastic. Make sure the braids stay crossed over each other. Once the elastic is in, use a strand of hair to wrap around the ponytail holder. Next we shook and sprayed the pony using R + Co. STRONG HOLD FLEXIBLE HAIRSPRAY to give it the volume it deserves!

2 braids 3 ways TWO

BRAIDED CHIGNON: Last but certainly not least, the chignon! This is actually just that ponytail wrapped up! We took the tail of the pony above and twisted it into a bun shape. We made sure the braids stayed on the outside. We added a little more SEXY HAIR TEXTURE POWDER before gently pulling the bun apart. Use large bobby pins (often called “roller pins”) to secure, especially if you have a lot of hair! You can find my favorite ones HERE.

2 braids 3 ways THREE


crystal crown the beauty department free people

We’re going to creep into fall soon so we had to do a little online shopping for the upcoming season change! The second I laid my eyes on this CRYSTAL CROWN I knew I had to have it. It’s just gorgeous and will make a fun accessory for an outdoor event or maybe I’ll use it for a shoot, who knows. Either way– gimme all the sparkly things!!!!

thebeautydepartment stone headbands free people

If the crystal crown is a little too much for you, peep these  STONE HEADBANDS as an alternative. They’re a little more subtle and not too overpowering but still gives earthy goddess vibes.

glitter spray messy hair spray urban outfitters the beauty department

Most of us aren’t ready to give up those beachy summer waves just yet. MESSY HAIR TEXTURIZING SPRAY is pretty rad. I like it because it has both argan and coconut oils and doesn’t leave my hair feeling dry AT ALL. I go through these bottles very quickly in summer and fall.

Not really my norm to say use GLITTER SPRAY, but I really like this one. The glitter is so fine that it sort of disappears into the hair and you get this subtle sparkle when you’re in the sun. It’s nothing like those chunky glitter hairsprays of the 90’s. But… it’s still glitter, so you’ll have to deal with that for like, what? A month?

bow hair tie the beauty department urban free people

I know, I know, I know… you could make this. That was my immediate thought too. But then I realized by the time I buy the stuff to make this and put gas in my car to go get it, I could have just sprung for this $6 PONY BOW. This feels like a good thing to have in your purse at all times in case you need to pull a look together quick.

heavy metal bobbypins the beauty dept

Calling all cool girls. These little METALLIC BOBBIES are on sale right now actually. I think the ridges + colors make them feel a little more bad ass. They’re ideal for anyone growing out their bangs or wanting to accessorize a bob/lob.

summer fall hair accessories the beauty department

These 4 miscellaneous fall finds are going with me in my suitcase as I’m about to do a lot of traveling. Using this dried flower TIARA in my client’s desert wedding this October. You can never have too many quick METAL COMB accessories to slip behind the ear with wavy hair! Last but not least, I got this INDIGO WRAP + yellow TURBAN WRAP for those days when I just don’t wanna deal!




Because makeup looks much better on a smooth and clear surface, I spend a lot of time researching anything and everything that I can get my hands on in the world of skincare. And I mean everything! After trying it all, the biggest advances I’ve found so far are these. Why? Because how many times have you had an amazing facial and wished you could do the same at home? When you do something weekly instead of monthly in the case of microdermabrasion, or nightly instead of monthly in the case of blue or red LED light therapy, the results are exponentially bigger! Not to mention the money you save. Let’s walk through each one:


  • This handheld device ($138, used on Rachel above) is my favorite because it comes with four interchangeable diamond tips (delicate, standard, firm and bold) that really tackle fine lines and wrinkles and exfoliate off dead skin cells. I’ve also heard good things about this one ($199) but haven’t personally tried it.
  • To use it, gently pull the skin so it’s taut then trace the device over it in lines and patterns illustrated in the booklet.
  • I use mine once a week and can really see the cell turnover and feel the baby soft skin.
  • I notice my serums and creams absorb better when the skin has been exfoliated.
  • If you aren’t ready to invest in the real thing yet, try this at-home system ($15.99) that really helps boost circulation while it exfoliates.
  • If you aren’t feeling handhelds and want a really powerful microscrub that won’t damage your skin, this one ($$) and this one ($) are my favorites.



  • Since LED lights have been used on skin (blue lights for anti-acne and red lights for anti-aging) for over a decade now, there have been enough studies done that show they really do work. Earlier this year I created tutorials on blue-light handhelds and red-light handhelds, and now I’m excited to share my latest discovery, LED masks! So you don’t have to hold something up to your skin. I’ve had both kind of facials, one where the facialist placed a red light mask over my face and left the room for 20 minutes and another where she traced a red light handheld all over my skin for twenty minutes. Both times I left with amazing results!
  • I used this anti-acne light therapy mask ($29.99) on Rachel above because it’s affordable (comes with a 30-use cartridge) and I love there’s a slit for your eyes to stay open and stay connected on your phone the whole time! If acne isn’t an issue for you but you want to fight fine lines and wrinkles, try the anti-aging light therapy mask ($29.99). This one doesn’t have the eye slit so that you can use that time to disconnect from the world instead.
  • Either with a handheld LED device or a mask, trace it over skin or wear it until they automatically shut off.
  • I’ve used my anti-acne mask nightly for 30 days to give it a fair chance and my skin started clearing up after 3 days! I feel like it really calmed everything down so much. Now I wear it every other night or so but it’s up to you!
  • Before you ask about the lips sticker above, I put it there (it came with lots of fun stickers to decorate it with) but you don’t have to!



  • Remember our series with Dr. Jessica Wu about how much what we eat affects our skin, hair and nails? It’s half of the battle! But unfortunately I have the taste buds of a six year old (don’t ask!) and don’t like a lot of vegetables and can always taste them when I try to disguise them in juices! So beauty powders are a must for me and have come a long way.
  • This iconic one ($$$) shown above is my personal favorite because it has peptides, collagen, hyaluronic acid and lipids in it that are proven to make hair shinier, nails stronger and skin more hydrated. I noticed a difference in my skin in three weeks when people started complimenting me how glowy it was. This is a more budget-friendly option ($) but I can’t vouch for the results (let me know if you try it and see a difference).
  • I mix the powder with 4-8 ounces of Whole 5 Puree anti-oxidant juice but you can use whichever is your favorite.
  • I drink a glass daily and actually look forward to it!


the beauty dept photogenic braid


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!