Posts Tagged ‘natural’


post + photos by amy nadine, graphic design by eunice chun

This is the last in our Which Brush Does What Series (if you missed them, revisit eye brushes here and face brushes here) and today’s walks you through the world of blush, highlighting and bronzing brushes. Here we go! (more…)


photos/post/design: Kristin Ess

For those of you who have curly hair but like to wear it either straight or wavy, you know how gold medal it feels when you manage to convince your blow out to stay smooth overnight. There are lots of tricks in the book– dry shampoo, shower caps, buns with scrunchies, etc… and all of these are awesome. But the one that I rely on the most is twisting your hair at night before bed. I’m that girl with red, shiny, slightly wavy or straight hair, but in real life my hair is a curly mess and I know how frustrating it can be to spend all that time on it and then wake up to “the poof” (particularly in the warmer months). Here’s my favorite way to avoid that:

  1. Apply whatever styling aid you like. I like to use this weightless leave-in conditioner by Sexy Hair because it promotes shine, restores ph balance and helps close the cuticle. Then it disappears completely.
  2. Always blow hair out using a nozzle and point it downward as much as possible in order to really smooth the cuticle. If you don’t have a good blowdryer, I strongly suggest you save up and invest. It makes ALL the difference in the world for a girl with curls. Once you’re done drying, you can add some simple waves to your hair if you want. Note: Some people may ask “Why would you blow out curls just to put them back in?” But girls with curls know there is a huge difference between natural curls and curling iron waves. If you’d rather wear it straight the next day, just continue these steps without curling.
  3. Find a good anti-humectant. I’ve always loved Brilliant Anti-Humectant by Aveda. It’s not too heavy and you just need a tiny bit to keep the moisture out.
  4. Warm it up in the palm of your hands and distribute through evenly, beginning with the area that tends to be the most unruly (aka: the part that usually gets curly again first.)
  5. Now twist the hair like a rope. The best way I can explain how to do this part is to divide the hair in two and hold one piece in place while you hand the other one over. The hair will automatically twist itself and you won’t have to worry about that part. Hold one piece still, pass the other one over. Hold one piece still, pass the other one over. Hold one piece still, pass the other one over…. keep going!
  6. Repeat on the other side.
  7. Your braids should look like this. Not too loose + not too tight. It’s totally fine if some of your layers fall out, just try and tuck them in if possible.
  8. Now sleep! ZzzzzZzzzZZzzzzZzzzzzzzz….

When you wake up in the morning, unravel the rope braids. You will find soft subtle waves. Either add a teeny bit more Aveda Anti-Humectant or try using a soft, shiny beach spray like Oribe’s Apres Beach if you want a more messy look. Add a little more curl if desired! If you’re looking to wear it pin-straight, you’ll definitely get a soft wave and have to go over it with the flat iron, but  the point of this is to minimize frizz in the day(s) after your blow out.

If you have super-fine curly hair and want to try this to minimize the poof, try just doing one rope twist.

Good luck, curly girls!


photos + post by amy nadine, graphic design by eunice chun

I didn’t invent this delicious lip stain from heaven, but thought with Labor Day weekend around the corner, what a perfect time to remind you of it! When you’re throwing your barbeque, don’t forget Kool-Aid’s REAL purpose… to stain your lips of course! It really does work and last. Here’s how: (more…)


photo: kristin ess/  post designed by kristin ess

This one’s for the pros, not for doing your hair at home. Trying this out at home could seriously end up damaging your hair, so please don’t even attempt it. I get emails every single day from fellow hair colorists wanting to know how to achieve super natural highlights that fade into a lighter color toward the ends. So this is for them. Also, we took these using my assistant’s iphone and the pictures aren’t exactly… stellar. In the future, we’ll be doing more color posts in studio, but I figured we should get this up now since this is the time of year when our clients want to start lightening things up!

1. You’ll need: foils, clips, lightener with 20 volume (I use Schwarzkopf Igora Vario Blonde Plus Dust-Free Powder), fine tooth highlighting comb, a regular comb and a color brush.

2. I start with air-dried hair so that I can see the natural wave pattern. If hair is blown out straight, mist it with water to get the natural wave back. I like to choose sections that would naturally lock together. I start at the back in the bottom and work my way to the front. This way it’s easier for me to rinse the foils as they reach the desired color. Lightener is progressive so your sections will be ready at different times.

3. Here I’m showing you a highlight toward the top of my client’s head because the light is better, but the technique is the same throughout. Back comb lightly about 2 inches away from the root (or where ever you and your client wants the highlight to start). Light teasing before applying lightener breaks up the more prominent line that’s typically created when using normal highlighting/foiling technique.

4. Apply lightener liberally about half way down the section. Make sure to saturate well to avoid inconsistencies in your color.

5. Now flip your brush from painting lightener horizontally to painting with your brush vertically. “Feather” up toward the back combed section and overlap into it just slightly. Be sure to stay on the foil so that it doesn’t bleed into the rest of the hair.

6. I always like to lightly smudge the very top of the lightener with my thumb to make sure the fading effect is soft. (Be smarter than I was! Use gloves when you do this.)

7. Fold your foil into vertical thirds, this way there is no crease in the middle of the foil. Creasing your foil can result in inconsistent color, skips or bands when doing this kind of highlight.

8. I usually put my clients under the dryer for 5-10 minutes on med-high heat for a little boost, but that’s it. Volume and dryer time are up to you as a professional.

**I always like to finish these highlights with a toning gloss in the appropriate shade, which is your call as a professional! I do this to seal down the cuticle and make the desired tone last longer.

This post is for professional colorists only and should never be attempted at home. It is intended to fulfill the inquiries made by professional colorists. Kristin Ess and/or are not responsible for any attempts or results of this or any other hair color tutorial.