Fabulous Natural Frizz Fighters

A few days ago, I was at an event with a few beauty editor friends of mine, and I commented that my hair was naturally very curly and frizzy. No one believed me…and that made me ridiculously happy.

For as long as I remember, I hate frizz. I hate my curls. And I do all I can to make them as much a well-hidden secret as possible.

Sometimes, I succeed – other times I fail miserably, and for many of us, it’s a constant uphill battle against fuzz, frizz, and bad hair days.

In an effort to assist us all, I consulted Mahisha Dellinger. She’s a curly-haired expert and creator of the CURLS organic hair collection. She commiserated with our plight – big-time – and fabulous frizz fighting tips we can all take advantage of. Mahisha points out that those of us with curly hair are actually more frizz-prone – it goes down to our hair molecules, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight it!

This oddly made me feel better. It’s nothing I’m doing wrong, per se. Nature just decided to mess with my head. Literally. But you wouldn’t believe the ingredients Mahisha recommended to fight the good frizz fight!


Yes! A distilled white vinegar rinse is a great in the shower frizz fighting technique all hair types can add to their regime to banish frizz.

Here’s what to do:

Rinse hair with warm water to remove product, but don’t shampoo. Then apply vinegar directly to hair and scalp. I like to use a bottle with spout top for easy distribution. Gently massage. Rinse. Condition as usual. Not only is vinegar great at reducing frizz by sealing the cuticle by restoring it to its natural ph balance, but it also removes build up and adds sheen, leaving your hair super-soft.

Don’t do this too often though – once a week should be perfect – more than that can dry your hair out!

A Bit of Honey
We all love sweetening with honey, and so does our hair. Honey, when mixed with a little conditioner (for fine hair) or applied directly to your hair, after shampooing and before conditioning, for medium to densely textured hair; will have great smoothing/defrizzing effects!

Mahisha’s At-Home Recipe
1 can of pure coconut milk
1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons of pure honey
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Gather all your goodies together and put in blender. Mix at high speed until a smoothie consistency. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You can warm up your hair smoothie in the microwave before next application…just enough do de-chill. Then, apply to your hair!

Section hair into 4 segments.
Generously apply evenly to hair, from root to ends concentrating on ends, as they are the most prone to frizz.
Smooth hair into a protective style (e.g. braided ponytail, or bun).
I’m trying this at home, and it’s working fabulously – I can’t wait to see the results you get!

By Aly Walansky

Get Glamorous Holiday Hair: Style Tips from Celebrity Stylist Ursula Stephen

It’s that time of year again and you’ve got a non-stop schedule of holiday parties where you have to look your glamorous best. Love the styles you see on the red carpet but no idea how to pull off those fabulous looks? Never fear! We went straight to celebrity stylist, Ursula Stephen, to get the 411 on red carpet hair. Stephen, who has worked on stars like Paula Patton, Alicia Keys and the woman who gave Rihanna her iconic cut, gives her top three picks for Hollywood-worthy hair and how to get the look:

Paula Patton
KCA Black Ball, October 2009
First, apply Motions Light Styling Foam all over hair and blow dry in an upward direction for volume. Using a 1 1/4” curling iron, create waves throughout hair, then tease the entire head with a fine-toothed comb with an emphasis on the crown. Using your fingers, gently pull hair into a twist while keeping sides smooth and without losing volume at the crown. Secure the twist with small hair pins and finish with Motions Light Hold Working Spritz for flexible hold.




 Alicia Keys
2009 American Music Awards, November 2009
You’ll want to create a cocktail of Motions Light-Styling Foam and Motions Foaming Wrap Lotion (Setting lotion isn’t as widely available) in your hands, then work it all over your hair. Blow your hair out as straight as it will get, then using a medium curling iron, curl your hair to create a base for the style. Apply Motions Light Hold Working Spritz to hold the curls, then separate the top portion of hair at the crown. Take the remaining portion and brush out your curls, then pin up into a twist. Return to the top section of your hair and mold it into individual pin curls (you can use Motions Shine Enhancing Pomade to help with flyaways,) using hair pins to create  design and shape. Finish the look with Motions Light Hold Working Spritz for a long lasting look

Rihanna’s “Rated R” Album Release Party, November 2009
Blow dry your hair in a forward motion to create volume and shape at the front. Then, using a flat iron, straighten hair toward the front of your head making sure to add a slight bend to the hair in order to create a slight curl at the end.Style your hair away from your face and finish the look with Motions Light Hold Working Spritz to keep the style looking hot all night long.

Santa Claus in Dreadlocks: Rachel Isadora’s Textured Children’s Books

Princesses with braids, princes with shaved heads donning Kufi hats, and Santa Claus in dreadlocks: this is the textured world of Rachel Isadora’s children’s books.

During a decade of living in Africa, Rachel Isadora was inspired to create fairytales retold in African settings. She has received the famed Caldecott Honor for her stunning illustrations that bring familiar classics to life in new ways. She doesn’t write children’s books specifically about black hair and black identity like Nappy Hair, I Love My Hair, or An Enchanted Hair Tale. Her multiple retellings of classic fairytales, however, help to address the lack of presence of cultural and racial difference in publications of children’s fairytales. And, my daughter absolutely loves them!

Isadora’s latest undertaking is a timely The Night Before Christmas, a retelling of Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Like Isadora’s other books, this Christmas favorite is recast in an African setting and features a slightly darker skinned Santa Claus rocking dreadlocks. The words to the classic Christmas poem remain the same, but the new setting and the refashioned Santa adds a new layer to the old, well-loved poem.

More interested in fairytales? Then check out Isadora’s retelling of The Princess and the Pea. In the story, the Prince greets three princesses in three different African languages: “Selam” (Ethiopia); “Iska Waran” (Somalia); and “Jambo, Habari” (Kenya). These exchanges offer wonderfully subtle lessons in language, geography, and customs.

For a more hair-related story, check out Isadora’s artful retelling of Rapunzel. This version features a dread-locked Rapunzel who, like the original Rapunzel, has incredibly long hair that is strong enough to support a human’s weight (she probably used shea butter! More on that in an upcoming blog).

These books are destined to become classics, much like the stories they creatively and vibrantly recount.

By Nicole L.B. Furlonge

Is Your Flat Iron Too Hot?

Most of you flat irons owners turn on your iron and pump it up to the highest temperature.  This could result in major damage to your hair.  I just got the 411 on a fantastic tip to assure your locks stay healthy under the heat.  How you ask? Turn on your iron to your desired temperature.  Take a simple piece of white paper.  Clasp the iron plates on to the white paper (almost like you are straightening your hair) and hold for a few seconds.  If the paper turns a slight or darker yellow you know your iron is too hot.  Lower the temperature and try again.

Tea Tree Oil the Itchy Away

Seasonal changes make me itch. Especially the change from Autumn to winter. As the crisp air chills outside, and the heated air dries out inside, my skin dries, too. I get itchy eczema patches on my arms and legs. My scalp tightens and begins to itch. My hair gets extra dry. I used to run for the dandruff shampoo. But those shampoos only solved my problem in the short term. They stripped essential oils from my scalp, and created a cycle of flaking and itching that was uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing. Plus, because I have sensitive skin, the dandruff shampoo that would get on my skin when I’d wash and rinse my hair in the shower made my skin raw, bumpy, and irritable.

Three years ago, I learned about the antibacterial, antifungal cleansing power of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is an essential oil that comes from the Melaleuca altemfolia, a plant native to Australia. Australian aboriginals used the oil to heal cuts and burns, much like we use aloe vera. You can find tea tree oil in Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Special Shampoo. I love this product! This shampoo does what it promises: it cleanses my scalp, leaves it feeling refreshed, and makes my hair feel soft as well. When I shampoo, I let the lather sit on my hair for a few minutes to give the suds extra time to cleanse my scalp and dissolve flakes. Not only does Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Special Shampoo contain tea tree oil, but it also has wonderfully moisturizing oils and soothing botanicals like henna, aloe vera, and awapuhi. And, unlike most products I’ve used, it doesn’t irritate my skin.

Looking for tea tree without the parabens? Then check out Jason’s Tea Tree Scalp Normalizing Shampoo and Conditioner. In my trials, I found that, like Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Special Shampoo, Jason’s Scalp Normalizing Shampoo also cleans my scalp well and softens my hair. Plus it contains no lauryl or laureth sulfates that can irritate your skin. Both product lines are safe for relaxed, color treated, and otherwise processed hair.

By Nicole Furlonge

Hot Hat Hair: Stop the Hate!

Seasonal hats are very much a mixed bag for many of us. They keep us warm and cozy but when the wool comes off, make us look … anything but.

The key to success with hats is to work with the style rather than against it. Hats can be super hot, and if we wear our hair in ways that complement the hats on our head, we will amp up the heat, in more ways than one!

We consulted celebrity hairstylist, Philip Pelusi and he shared some tips on how to make the hottest hat styles of the season work.

This is a fairly “manly” style of hat, so it works best with the contrast of a softer style, like loose feminine waves.
Create the Look: This type of hair style works best on medium to longer length hair.  If hair has a natural wave, try curl enhancing products to boost waves and a texturizer, and then let hair dry or dry with a diffuser attachment on your blow dyer.  If hair is straight, use a big barrel curling iron to add curls, some facing towards and some facing away from the face.
Newsboy cap
Newsboy caps are another menswear-inspired look; so again, it’s a great idea to achieve sexy contrast by going very feminine. For this style, Philip recommends a ballerina-esque bun at the nape of your neck. Remember that the cap is usually worn low on the forehead and this tends to cover most of the entire forehead.  Wearing a ballerina bun pulls the hair back off the face opening to face up! Hot.
Create the Look:  Part hair in the center and smooth hair back into a low ponytail at the middle of the nape.  Use a hair-smoothing bore bristle brush and a hair smoothing product.  Apply product to the ponytail also and brush smooth.  Twist ponytail in one direction and wind around ponytail and secure with a few hair pins.  Put on Newsboy and you are ready to go!

A sideswept pony is super hot with a bohemian beret. A beret has a French romantic look and this feminine ponytail really compliments that.  Tuck the hair back into a side pony so that soft strands peek out to make the look extra sexy.
Create the Look: Phillip says this look works best with straight or smooth hair.  Create a side part and use a bore bristle paddle brush and a hair smoothing product and brush into a low side ponytail at the nape on the opposite side of the part.  Secure ponytail and put on Beret.  Remember, the back of the beret should slouch to the opposite side of the ponytail!

By Aly Walansky

StyleBell Deal Day! CHI Organics only $12 & $14

StyleBell Deal Day!  StyleBell is having an incredible Deal Day on the new CHI Organics!  CHI Organics brings the ancient philosophies of using olive oil to the forefront for an organic, rejuvenating beauty regimen. Olive oil restores moisture to dry, parched hair while providing conditioning and protection from the heat it encounters from daily styling. Twelve key organic nutrients found in herbs and essential oils such as basil, chamomile, geranium, lemongrass, marjoram, peppermint, tamanu oil, black cumin seed (nigella sativa), nettle, thyme, watercress and fenugreek have been infused with olive oil to provide a natural and pure appeal to this line.CHI Organics Shampoo Only $14

 CHI Organics Conditioner Only $14

CHI Organics Silk Therapy Only $12

Formal Hair: The Messy Chignon

My work involves a large amount of formal events, travel, and cocktail parties – sometimes a combination of all of the above.

It’s hard to look pretty and poised when you’ve likely been on an 18-hour flight just an hour before, or are coming off a day of six appointments. Essentially, the easier the hairstyle the better – but it has to LOOK like a million bucks.

To help me with this conundrum, I consulted Eugene Toye, Ryan Cunningham and Eddie Ngai  – master hair stylists from the Rita Hazan Salon.

They said one great style to try is chignon – but in a very messy, modern take, and it can easily be done from home – or your hotel room!

Step 1:  To give hair just the right amount of movement and keep it from being too close to the head, use a volumizing cream and apply to freshly washed and well-towel-dried hair.
Comb product through hair and put a deep side part in hair.
Step 2:  Blow dry hair with a medium round brush for added body.
Step 3:  Then, brush hair back into a low ponytail and fasten just above the nape of the neck.
Step 4:  Begin winding the hair around the base of the ponytail, securing it underneath and on top with bobby pins as you go. Leaving the ends out.
Step 5:  It’s more modern to have pieces out for a look that’s slightly undone. Use gold or colored bobby pins to spice it up! (And that gives the added benefit of seductively REMOVING your pins at the end of the night!)

So, there we have it! As we are getting closer to the holidays, I’m sure that we all have more events than ever coming up. I’ll keep these style how-to’s coming!

By Aly Walansky