Should You Go Sulfate-Free?


Would you wash a beautiful silk blouse with a cheap powder detergent? Probably not. You would be left with a faded, rough, and worn looking garment and be regretting the money you spent on it. The same goes for how you treat your color treated hair. I use high quality color on your hair and the products you use at home to maintain directly effects how you hair will look and feel.

So what exactly are Sulfates?

Sulfates (or sodium laurel) are surfactants. Surfactants are a detergent, wetting ingredient and emulsifier. It creates the suds in many beauty and household products like dish washing liquid. It’s an inexpensive foaming agent made by mixing sulfuric acid, monododecyl ester, and sodium salt. Sulfates attract dirt and oils and then break them down. The problem with this ingredient in shampoos are that they are harsh and strip your scalps natural oils and has also been associated with eczema.

But what about Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate? If you look at the ingredient list on the back of many sulfate-free shampoos you will see this ingredient listed. It sounds identical to sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and at first I thought it was a big scam that companies were calling their products sulfate free when they included sodium lauryl sulfoacetate. I did some extensive research and found that sodium lauryl sulfoacetate is also used to create the suds and bubbles in shampoos but is derived from coconut and palm oil. This makes it a less harsh product to use on your hair and scalp. Below is a helpful chart on the difference between the two.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate VS. Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
Sulfate free

Another ingredient with a lot of buzz around it is Parabens.

Parabens are chemicals found in many cosmetics that are used to preserve the products and prolong their shelf life. They prevent bacteria from growing in the bottle of the product. About 85% of beauty products have them. In the late 90’s a study showed parabens in breast cancer tissue and it was further looked into. It was found that parabens mimic estrogen in the body. As a result many countries put paraben limits in products. Since they can disrupt the hormone levels in the body it is safer to avoid them.

I don’t feel it is a serious choice. The fact is brands have to use some ingredient to preserve your product with to last on your shelf for months at a time. So if not parabens it will be substituted with most commonly glycol to preserve.  I choose to use as many oil based body lotions and face creams as possible that do not use preservatives since it’s a larger area of skin contact. Most sulfate free shampoos are also paraben free,  so it’s a win win.

What brands to buy:

I get asked by many of my clients what products I recommend. My first list would be salon quality sulfate free shampoos and conditioners by Framesi Color Lover (sold at Say Lula salon), Kevin Murphy, O&M, and L’Oreal professional.

If you find yourself not able to purchase these brands I would try L’Oreal Paris Sulfate-Free line at the drugstore. It has a lot of surfactants in it but uses more oils than any other drug store product I have seen.

I hope you have found this information helpful, let me know what sulfate free products you have tried and love!

Also if you are like me and want to know what those long and foreign sounding ingredients are on the back of your product bottles I recommend picking up a copy of A Consumers Dictionary Of Cosmetic Ingredients.


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate chart


Keratin Hair Smoothing Treatment 101

shiny hair 1

What is a Keratin Hair Treatment?
Keratin is a family of fibrous structural proteins. It is the key structure that makes up your hair and makes it strong. Heat styling, environmental elements and age are all factors in breaking down our natural keratin. A Keratin Hair Smoothing treatment infuses natural Keratin protein into your hair with heat to restore and rebuild each strand. The most noticeable benefits being smoother, frizz free hair. The treatment builds stronger hair strands to repair damage, smooth frizz, and create shinier, healthier hair.

Would it be good for my hair?
A keratin hair treatment is designed to make your hair routine easier. It cuts down frizz and curl and blow drying times. The keratin hair treatment is perfect for anyone looking to tame curl and frizz and lesson their styling routines. Some of the most rewarding benefits of the treatment have been on damaged and frizzy hair. A consultation is recommended to determine if the treatment is right for you.

Will it make my hair stick straight?
No, it is not like the Japanese straightening treatments. Keratin treatments smooth curly and wavy hair and cut down on frizz.

How long does it last?
Keratin smoothing treatments last between 3-5 months. How you care for you treatment effects how long it will last. It slowly breaks down leaving no dramatic line when it grows out.

What kind of maintenance does it require?
The keratin treatments I offer neutralizes in the hair for the next 2 days after treatment. In that time you do not want to wash or use hair bands or tuck hair behind your ears. I recommend saving sweaty workouts till after the 48 hours and using dry shampoo to refresh your style.

Is it damaging to my hair or health?
Your hair benefits greatly from the treatment and it is safer than previous chemical hair straightening services. Since coming on the market they have improved to be safe to use in the salon. Most brands contain 2-4% of formaldehyde to aid in the Keratin bond. Your stylist should provide the service in a large space with adequate air flow and venting.

Can I use my regular hair products after?
It is important that your shampoos and conditioners are sodium chloride free. Sodium breaks down the Keratin bond. Including salt styling sprays and chlorine pools. To prolong your keratin treatment avoid sodium chloride all together. Coppola, Kevin Murphy, Alterna, and L’Oreal professional all make sodium chloride free products.

How do I make my Keratin last longer?
Since the keratin treatment makes your hair smoother, less styling is needed. Avoid over washing or heat styling your hair. Use sulfate and sodium chloride free products. Try to wash every other day and air dry whenever possible. Use a moisturizing or repairing hair mask once a week to lock in moisture.

Will it help make my hair grow?
Absolutely! That is one of the best benefits I have seen. The keratin bond creates stronger hair aiding in it’s growth.

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Ombre vs Balayage?


Have you been hearing these terms and wondering what they are all about? Or if you should give them a try? Neither of these techniques are new but they are the latest hair trend.

*I do want to mention that you should do your research on a qualified hairstylist when getting either of these techniques done. Bad ombre has been the number one thing walking through the salon door to be fixed and it can be a costly color correction. Make sure you ask your stylist if they have done the technique before and if they have some examples of their work.

OMBRE – Is defined by a graduation of color – dark to light. On your hair it means having a dark root that gradually gets lighter towards the ends. It can be done subtle or more noticeable by the difference of contrast from roots to ends. A traditional ombre is more like an all over color than highlights. Some of my favorites are done on already lightened hair where I add a dark root and blend through the midshaft of the hair.  Ombre is perfect for the person who wants a lower maintenance coloring schedule and likes the “rooty” look. You can get touch ups between 3-5 months depending how often you cut.


BALAYAGE – One of my favorites – Is a French hair painting technique. Lightener is used in a thicker form and hand painted on strands to give a soft highlighting pattern. It is the most natural looking highlight with a much softer grow out. It can look a bit different while getting it done since plastic wrap and/or cotton are typically used instead of foil. The highlights come out more natural since the stylist paints the strand just off the scalp. Mostly concentrating around the face where you would naturally lighten from the sun. Most clients that sit in my chair with pictures of “ombre” looks they want to do are actually showing me balayage. I use balayage on my clients who are wanting that melted color effect and brightness to their ends.  It gives a beautiful soft darker root to lighter through the mid shaft and ends. With no harsh graduation of color. I also use this technique on myself  when I want a strawberry sun-kissed look over my red.

hair trends balayage


…and while we are talking about highlights we can’t leave out foiling.

FOILING – The most common form of highlighting. Perfect for the person wanting to be significantly lighter than their natural. Or have multiple colors applied. Foils can be applied in a multitude of ways from dramatic to subtle. It also allows the stylist the most control when going lighter.


I hope that clarifies our stylist tricks to creating fabulously lightened hair. Maybe one of these will be something new for you to try at your next appointment!?


Photo Credit // Beautyhivestudios.comkate beckinsale, balayage, blake lively, my pinterest, my pinterest, olsen

Combat Winter Skin


Anyone else’s skin feeling dry, flaky and all around parched? This time of year the weather robs all the moisture out of the air and our skin, hair and nails can really suffer.

Josie Maran makes some great products with the little miracle worker that is Argan oil. The lip treatment has saved my lips from cracking and the whipped Argan oil feels smooth as butter on my skin.

I use Kendi oil on my clients and myself to add moisture back into the hair and it feels great left on your hands. Try a little extra when your hair starts to frizz.

Laura Mercier mega moisturizer is a great night cream for any dry patches of skin. With it having SPF 15 it’s a bonus to use in the daytime.

What’s your favorite dry skin healer?

Josie Maran Argan Luscious Lips

Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter

Laura Mercier Mega Moisturizer SPF 15

Bamboo Kendi Oil – available inside Say Lula Salon


Image Source // Tumblr

High bun elopement

J+B elopement2

I am so excited to share with you some pictures from when we eloped! Over the years of styling for weddings I have got to see some pretty amazing wedding days and how I would want my own. I always knew it would be small and intimate. One thing that always stuck out to me was no matter what pick a great photographer, it makes all the difference. The lovely ladies of Joie Lala photographie were dream photographers…so extremely talented.

We wanted a simple day but one to remember. With our families all being out of town having something simple with everyone there would have been a challenge. So an elopement was right for us. We decided it had to be everyone or no one. Our parents and close family all knew and were more than excited for the way we wanted to get married. It turned out perfectly.

We got ready at the Hotel Salomar downtown (the grandious mirror in the room was so worth it). Then we headed to the Spreckles Organ Pavillion in Balboa park. I love that place. We read our vows and danced a first dance and were officially married! After that we went down to the harbor and met our captain and boat and sailed the bay. San Diego lights look pretty nice from the water. I could not have asked for better weather as it was a perfect August night that you can be on the water without being even the slight bit cold.

The fabulous Vicky Larsen from Clean Slate did my make-up. My flowers, veil, and hair I took care of myself. Curious how does a hairstylist wears their hair on their wedding day? I’m somewhat embarrassed to say…a hair donut! Believe it or not it was a last minute change to what I had originally planned, but I woke up that morning and was feeling a high bun and no fuss hair so it won over.

Enjoy a glimpse from our day!

View more from our elopement on

Summer Hair Care

summer hair

Summer is my favorite time of year! It brings beach hikes ending in the ocean, bbq’s with friends and endless bike rides along the boardwalk. With all this fun my hair can suffer from the sun, heat and water.

I’ve found a few tricks that combat the damage my hair ensues.






With my red hair, fading is a given but it’s a perfect reason to stock up on cute summer hats. If I’m going to be in the sun for long periods of time I absolutely always have one on hand. My current favorite is a big floppy sun hat, great for lounging by the water.







Since I’m a big fan of the water, I’m bound to get in eventually. I like to load up on a UV protecting spray. It makes sure the pool or ocean water doesn’t absorb and gives light sun protection while splashing around.







By now you know how much I enjoy braids. One of my favorite for this time of year is a high ponytail rope braid. I load up the conditioner on my strands and sweep it up and off my neck and out of my face.






Lastly, for the end of the day when I can barely run a brush through my summer tangles, I look to the wet brush. It looks like an ordinary cheapo brush but this thing gets the job done! The flexible bristles glide through hair and make brushing a breeze!


Happy Summer and be good to your hair!

Image Source // Feature image courtesy of my trip boating through the bahamas / floppy hat / rope braid

7 tips to frizz free hair

big hair

Summer months can bring on frizzy hair. Here’s some of my favorite tips to manage that pouf!


1. Heat –

Heat is one of the best de frizzers. Even if you let your hair air dry adding a few curls with the curling iron or  smoothing with a flat iron will combat unruly frizz. Have naturally curly hair?  Use a diffuser and blast with a cool shot at the last few minutes for an all day frizz free look.

2. Control –

Determine weather your frizz is caused by humidity, a common problem. Now look for a humidity resistant spray, serum or cream that works for you. Formulas come in light and heavy to blend with your hair texture. For fine hair I recommend Moroccan Oil Light. Coarse or curly hair try the Moroccan Oil Cream.

3. Keratin –

You’ve heard all about the Brazilian Blowouts and the good and the bad. Truth is the  Keratin Complex treatment really is one of the best options when plagued with frizzy hair. During the treatment natural keratin in bonded to each strand creating a stronger and smoother finish. The first treatment will give you frizz free hair for 3 months and every Keratin after can last as long as 5 months!

4. Go Dirty –

Not washing your hair everyday allows natural oils to spread through the hair. This is the reason why I love my naturally wavy hair the best the next day after washing it. It naturally starts to fall into place without the poufy-ness!

5. Cold Rinse –

Rinse your hair with cold water. It’s only for the last second so give it a shot! Cool water seals your hairs cuticle and promotes shine!

6. Moisturize –

Dry hair screams frizz. So get yourself a good mask or leave in conditioner to moisturize dry hair. I’m loving the Privana leave in at the moment. It has added protein to restore the hair from the inside out.

7. Comb, Don’t brush –

Hair is much more fragile when wet. Heavy brushing can cause breakage which leads to frizz. Use a wide tooth comb through wet hair and brush less often.

Image Source //

The passing of a Legend


Beauty industry legend and icon Vidal Sassoon has died at age 84 at his California home. Sassoon was best known for revolutionizing the salon industry and hair fashion with his ready-to-wear cuts and his innovative approach to education. – Modern Salon


Vidal Sassoon created some of the most timeless looks the hair industry has ever seen. He perfected his craft and left a legacy of well structured haircuts and styles that are still used today. Probably one of his most amazing talents was as a savvy businessman. Sassoon was an innovator in the world of hairstyling. He made a name for himself. With his line of hair products and hair academies he became one of the most well known hairdressers ever.

I remember having images of his recognizable cuts with me during beauty school. He created inspirational hairstyles that every willing student wanted to learn. When I think of a classic bob, Vidal Sassoon is the first image that comes to mind and always will be.  He will be missed in the world of beauty but has contributed so much.



Source //Classic BobSassoon

Met Gala 2012 – hair in review

gisele and tom

The Meat Gala is THE fashion event of the year nicknamed the “Oscars of the East Coast.”  An event organized by Vogue you can guarantee to see the red carpet full of celebrities dressed to impress. I saw some really beautiful looks and of course there are always some really bad ones, but that’s what makes it fun!

I love events like these for hair and make-up inspiration to use for events and wedding styling. It shows how it really takes all the elements of hair, make-up, and a dress to pull a great look together.

My faves of the evening…

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wore the ever popular high bun and Gweneth Paltrow looked stunning as always in a low bun…does she ever go wrong?


Dianna Agron looked adorable in vintage inspired loose waves and even though I thought Carey Mulligan’s dress was a bit too much her hair was perfectly quiffed and looked great on her.


Katherine McPhee looked lovely in this color with a swept up hairstyle.


Power couple Gisele and Tom Brady looked stunning as usual. I loved Tom sporting his dapper new haircut. Although from the front view he looked more like he had a a situation with his gel, creating a lopsided faux hawk. He needed my help  😉



My NOT so faves….



I was disappointed with Scarjos look. You usually see her with thick full hair, this half wave look fits more for the beach but fell way flat for the red carpet.



WOW is all I could say when I saw this…is she serious!? Granny gone wrong. The wigged out hair, over bronzed make-up it was all just so bad!



You know I love you Emma Stone, but this was a little too prom updo for my liking. Did you really need the big sparkly  hair bow?

Source // Images

Welcome to the new site!

beauty blog

Well, as a New Year goal for my business I wanted to create a new blogsite! A site that would not only be easy to use and book an appointment but also a place to get useful beauty information.

Some features I’m excited about are..

Easy to navigate menus – No opening of new windows

Beauty Blog – Tips and trends with new post weekly

Local Love page – Some of my most recommended businesses here in San Diego

Large Book Now tab – Located at the top of the page and on the contact menu

Hair Inspirations – My Pinterest collections

Twitter updates


You will notice as you hover over the menu tabs they automatically open for you without a delay or extra windows. This makes your browsing experience quick and easy. This is phase one so a few more things to come but I hope you enjoy it so far!

I would love to hear your feedback!

Image Source: lengthxwidth/

Featured on NBC News

Picture 2

Well I had an eventful week! First off I got engaged!! My amazing boyfriend surprised me last Sunday up at La Costa Spa and Resort with not only a spa day but he popped the question. I was completely stunned that I had no idea it was coming. I guess that’s the point, right!?

As if that wasn’t enough NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams aired a segment I was part of on Friday evening. I had about 30 minutes to tell everyone to watch it live. Of course my mom called me immediately all confused by time zones and what not and missed it. Luckily it popped up on the internet within minutes of airing on the east coast. Whew, crisis adverted for my mother.

So a little back story as to how it came about. In January I started a group on called The Pinterest Social. It came from the want to meet and interact with local creative people. Pinterest was defining a good amount of my free time and I realized of  many others. I thought it would be a great way to meet like minded people by associating it with the group. So the Pinterest Social was born with the idea in mind to meet up and DO what we pin. Our first few meet ups went AMAZING! The people I met were so inspiring and have so many creative skills and ideas. We book projects and finish them in a social setting. I hosted a braid social as our 3rd meet up. It was a huge hit since Pinterest was trending so many braids at the moment. I thought it would be a great opportunity to show how to re create them on yourself.

About a month into The Pinterest Social’s existence I got a call from a producer in Burbank for NBC . She was doing a piece on Pinterest and had come across me and the group. After a phone interview I was game for her and a correspondent to come down to get an interview and film one of our socials in action. They loved the idea of Pinterest users getting off the internet to create friendships and pin projects they do. I had no idea it was a national news story till it aired!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

>>> In the fast-moving world of social networking , there is a new place to be, pinterest has become the third biggest site behind facebook and twitter and growing seemingly out of nowhere. our report tonight from Kristen Dahlgren.

>> Jennie Jackson could be a poster child for pinterest.

>> it became an obsession.

>> she used the pinboard for everything from recipes to decorating ideas.

>> i think a good way to describe it is it’s folders of things you collect and do and want to do, inspirations.

>> she was recently inspired to form a group with other fanatics to try out their pinned projects.

>> that looks great. i’m going to take a picture. pinned.

>> the growth has been phenomenal. from 3.3 million users to almost 19 million in just six months. making it one of the fastest growing internet companies ever.

>> with millions of visitors and all of those images, you might expect pinterest to have a huge high-tech headquarters. you would be wrong. this is it, a small, quiet room in paulo alto with about 30 employees.

>> as a kid, i was really into nature and really into science.

>> ben silverman was a bug collector as a child with an idea to take collecting online. it paid off. forbes recently estimated the two-year-old company could be worth over $7 billion.

>> Pinterest has the women and the buyers. they have the money, right? and they have them in huge numbers. and these people are addicted.

>> the perfect target for companies. 85% of pinterest page views are from women, most between the age of 21 and 34. from the midwest, and households that earn more than $74,000 a year. everyone wants a piece of the pinning. osku oscuker derulenta pinned his life show, and so does “nightly news.”

>> we want something we were really proud of, something that was beautiful and useful.

>> it looks awesome.

>> in doing that, the new internet darling with a funny name may have just hit the bull’s eye. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, pallo alto, california.

I have to say I feel strongly about Pinterest turning into another way for companies to sell to me. I understand there is a major opportunity given the demographic. With all the other social media avenues I felt Pinterest was the one I cherished for myself. Not worried about having to relate to my business at all times. My hope is for it to continue to be a place to bookmark ideas and if it organically turns into a purchase I make I’m ok with that.


Dapper Man

Mens classic hairstyle trend

Trends for men don’t change as often as they do for women. Yet when they do, they sure make a statement!

I like to call this one The Dapper Man…
It’s the comeback of classic and tailored looks. Take yourself back to a 1930s barber shop. Clean cut sides, perfect quiff on top and plenty of pomade and shine.

I personally am swooning over this look. It may stem from my ongoing love for a man in suspenders but hey, I’m on board and bringing out the clippers.

Since this trend is a throwback to classic and vintage styles it’s good to know if it can be adopted into your look.

How to make this trend work for you (or your guy):

1) Determine if it’s right for you – With any new trend you have to look at  your personal style. Do you dress the part? If you are a board shorts and flip flops type of guy this haircut may not fit into your personal style.

Do you have the right hair texture? Since new trends are usually a variation of old, this haircut can be adapted to work for any hair texture. Men with wave or curl I suggest a medium to long top and fuller styling to emphasize the wave and texture.

For straight hair a longer slicked back look can serve you well.

2) Commit and start a plan –  Most of my clients adapting this style have had to grow out the top. So work into the steps of getting there. Usually within two haircuts of taking the sides down to a #2 or #3 clipper your new style starts to be defined.

3) Tools to get the job done – If you are going for a more slicked style use a light weight gel and comb to get your desired look.

For a full quiff – Because this is a more involved style it does require some heat! Time to introduce the blow dryer to your routine. Start with a sea salt spray to prep the hair, then blow dry on a low setting using your fingers to shape your hair in the direction you want it to go. (This style can be worn curly as well). Finish the look with a shine free gel. If you want to define a part, do so with a comb and concentrate the product along the part to create a defined line.


Goodbye Layers, Hello Spring


I have been giving more and more haircuts that are about defining shape and creating texture. This spring it’s less about the layers and more about the shape.
Now I know you are probably thinking less layers means flat hair! Not always the case.
I’m loving this trend because it has a fun and flirty feel.

Short to medium lengths with little to no layers can be a complete minimalist haircut. Which means less blow drying if any at all.

For straight locks go with a medium to shoulder length cut with light texturing on the ends. You can wash and go or add a few quick curls in after it’s dry.

For you wavy gals try a shorter length with more textured ends. Use a sea salt texture spray for the beachy look.  This cut makes for a cute ponytail too!

Image Source AlexaChung/OliviaPalermo

DREAM Wedding Event

Pow Wow Vintage Furniture Rentals

There was a great event held last night that I stumbled upon last minute. Alchemy Fine Events put together a Wedding Vendor showcase. I met some talented wedding business vendors and want to share with you who and what I saw!

It was held at an amazing space in Downtown San Diego called Luce Loft. It’s a raw and open space with a 2nd floor balcony overlooking the main area. I could see a swanky wedding or party held here. For rental information email

Pow Wow Vintage had a beautiful set up of classic and vintage light fixtures and furniture. I love the wedding trend of incorporating a cozy seating area for guests. Melissa has collected the perfect pieces for that from lovely chairs to vintage sofas and benches. View her lists of items on hand at


I also met the creative minds behind Luna Photo. Mike and Paula were both so sweet and super talented. I was looking forward to meeting them and checking out more of their portfolio in person.

They take stunning images and document weddings all over California and amazing destinations like Costa Rica and Bali!

I love meeting uber talented photographers I can recommend to my clients, it is in my opinion the most important piece of your wedding day!


Other vendors worth checking out The Grunion Run groomsmen shop, Toast Catering, and Sweetcheeks baking company

Visit here to see the full list of vendors from the DREAM event

Secret to a good braid

waterfall braid

Braiding is one of my most favorite forms of hairstyling! I am ecstatic to see they are in full force for spring and summer trends once again. The key to a perfect braid is having “grip” and patience!

What is “Grip” you ask?

It’s what makes your hair hold. Some of you may be familiar with braiding your hair wet, this creates hold and helps your braid stay in place. While this is an option most of us want to start from dry hair and you most certainly can. Start your braid on dirty to just about dirty hair. While I wouldn’t recommend attempting a braid on squeaky clean hair there are products out there that create grip if you don’t have it. Two of my favorites are the Osis Dust It Powder or Kevin Murphy Gritty Business.

Now that your hair is prepped and ready the next step is patience! It takes practice to master braiding on yourself. Start with a simple three strand braid around your hairline.  Find braid inspirations and give it a go!

To wash or not wash before your color appointment?


There’s this MYTH going around that it’s best to go to the salon with dirty hair. We need to chat….

Just how you would never apply paint over a dirty wall the same goes for color. From rich browns to vibrant reds these shades consist of molecules that bond to the hair. Natural oils, silicones, pomades, gels and the biggest culprit of them all Moroccan Oils can block your color from doing just that.

This is not your grandmothers hair color. Not washing your hair so the color will “stick” better is completely false. Hair color today is made to preserve color and be gentle on the hair while doing it. To get the most out of your color service go in with clean, dry, and product free hair.

For highlighting services clean hair is not as crucial unless you are going be be getting lowlights. It is still best to have your hair styled the way you normally do before going in so the stylist can see where the best possible placement for your highlights should be.

/Image source Pinterest by © Jake Bailey/Corbis Outline