Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wonders of a Spa Day/Hair Salon Tips

Part of the serenity on your way to Tall Grass Aveda Spa and Salon in Evergreen, CO
(source: picture from TallGrass Aveda Spa and Salon Facebook page

I have to say that there is nothing quite like a day at the spa. Being greeted at the door, changing into a comfortable, plush robe, and then being pampered by wonderful service providers who want you to feel like a queen for a day...who doesn't want just want to live at a spa?

A few weeks ago I had the good fortune of being able to treat myself to a day at the most wonderful spa in Colorado and one of the best spas in the country. Tall Grass Spa and Salon quietly sits up in Evergreen and is surrounded by enchanting mountain scenery. On my drive up into the mountains I was greeted by deer, gracefully wandering around the trees next to the road, a beautiful, bubbling mountain stream that meandered through the pine trees and fields of grass, and snow capped mountain tops that seem to be strategically placed just for Tall Grass guests to marvel at on the huge comfy chairs while sipping a refreshing glass of cucumber water. Tall Grass is certainly worthy of many superlatives, but for me this particular spa is permeated with a healing energy that allows me to just focus on taking care of myself and leaving the rest of my worries behind. I believe that a day at the spa is much more than a luxury; it is a unique opportunity to heal your body, mind, and soul.

The properly entitled Great Room at Tall Grass
(source: picture from TallGrass Aveda Spa and Salon Facebook page)

**Check out the website for Tall Grass Spa and Salon:

My spa day included three services; an aromatherapy massage, a haircut and color, and a pedicure. My next two posts are going to focus on massage (stay tuned for a great guest post from an absolutely amazing massage therapist!) and nails, but for now I'd like to focus on hair salons and hair treatments. Everyone loves a day at the salon and a new haircut and color can really put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. However, it takes effort to maintain what a great stylist has done so here are a few tips and tricks to help you along the way!

Part of where the hair magic happens at Tall Grass
(source: picture from TallGrass Aveda Spa and Salon Facebook page)

When making an appointment:
1. Do some research! Many women have their favorite stylist that they have been going to for years, but at times, it's nice to have a change of pace and an injection of fresh ideas. When looking for a new hair stylist, talk to your friends, coworkers, or check out different salons and see if you like what's going on. It sounds a little weird to spy on a salon, but see if you like the set-up, the hairstyles, and the products.

2. Bring pictures!! Don't be shy about getting pictures of hair styles, cuts, and colors that you like and bringing them in as inspiration. Being direct with your hair stylist and giving them an idea of what you want will help them create a look that you love, as opposed to just giving them free reign of your hair and then being upset with the end result. The same goes when getting an updo for a special event. If you don't like what a stylist is doing, pause and let the hairstylist know what you like/don't like so you will be happy with the end result. I've spoken to many stylists who all concur that they would rather have a client be upfront and honest about what they want than one who keeps quiet and becomes unhappy. By the way, I've even used pictures of Miley Cyrus as inspiration for my hair-- have no shame :)

3. Don't be afraid to ask the stylist for tips on how to style or maintain your look. They are there to help you love your hair! Use their recommended products (ESPECIALLY when it comes to shampoos, conditioners, and hair treatments). Styling products are a personal choice and obviously no styling product is absolutely necessary to the health of your hair, but the shampoo, conditioners, and hair treatments that can help seal in color to newly color treated hair are worth the investment.

4. Check for deals for college students. Some salons around college campuses will have either a discount for college students or a special deal once a month or once every few months. Keep an eye out for flyers posted on campus, or ask around at different hair salons you might see.

Color Treatments:
Color treating your hair can be a lot fun, but it also comes with some extra responsibilities if you want to keep your hair healthy. When choosing a salon to color treat your hair, whether it's an all over color or just a few highlights, try an Aveda Salon (Aveda's colors are less damaging to hair) or one that offers some kind of healing hair treatment as well. Color treatments can damage and dry out your hair, so some kind of protein wash or intensive hydrating hair treatment is a good idea to help protect your locks.

To seal in your color, use a shampoo and conditioner specially formulated for color treated hair. Aveda's Color Conserve is great and I have seen the difference between women who use it and those who don't. It's meant to be used 14 times after your treatment and if you use it correctly, your color will be shiny, healthy, and vibrant! Be careful not to use a dandruff shampoo (like Selsun Blue or Head and Shoulders) right after a color treatment- the chemicals can dry out your hair and impact the coloring. They are ok to use sparingly with color treated hair as long as you make sure to wash them out really well.

Product to try: Argan Oil
Back in March I did a post about Argan Oil, which had been used as a post-color treatment/pre-styling product. It made my hair lusciously soft and silky smooth and ever since I've been on the search for a less expensive alternative. Most of the Argan Oils I have found run anywhere from $20 to $40, but I have found a fantastic drug-store alternative that is both natural and cruelty-free!

The product I found is called Hask Argan Oil Treatment. I happened to stumble upon it in Wal-Mart of all places. For $5, I got a package of 3 18 ml (less than an ounce) ampules. I am so excited about this product because it contains Moroccan Argan Oil that isn't tested on animals, is inexpensive, and has made my hair silky, shiny, and incredibly smooth for the last three weeks!! The product label reads, "Argan Oil Treatment: Silky Smooth Exotic Shine with Keratin enhancers to add strength and repair damaged hair". Keratin is the protein that makes up both our hair and nails (so if you are giving yourself an at home manicure, soak your nails in a mixture of water with a squirt of shampoo to soften them!).

The first time I used this product I used it as an intensive repair hair mask because I had just had my hair highlighted. Now I mix it with any of the style products I use to either straighten or curl my hair and it locks in shine and softness without being greasy. I absolutely love this product for both the price, cruelty-free aspect, and how I can already see a change in the texture of my hair. It is much softer and not as dry as usual, and my hair just feels healthier!

Try the Hask Oil! I promise you won't be sorry!

**Stay tuned for a special guest post on the benefits of massage therapy!!**

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