May 27, 2015

SF Salon Deal: Keratin Complex Express Blowout

Johnny in his Union Square salon

When a Brazilian Blowout is too time-consuming or too expensive, the Keratin Complex Express Blowout may be exactly what you’re looking for. Luckily for SF Indie Fashion readers, Johnny Bueno is offering this new-to-his-salon treatment at a discount.

Ringing in at about half the price and requiring half the time of a Brazilian Blowout, the one-hour service is similar in its ability to smooth, de-frizz and reduce curl, but requires much less in the way of commitment. The results of the treatment last anywhere from a month to six weeks.

It’s a summer-friendly hair strategy that cuts frizz and reduces the need for styling right when added humidity, beach trips and it’s-too-hot-to-blowdry moments take over.

So here’s the deal: book a color appointment with Johnny Bueno Color Studio this month, and you’ll save 20 percent on a Keratin Complex Express Blowout (reg. $145-$165). Another perk for readers: Tell ‘em we sent ya, and you’ll score a super-soft Johnny Bueno logo tee for $5 (reg. $25).

More San Francisco beauty

Robert James: Our New Summer Hair Guru

Robert James at work in his salon

Inside Robert James Color

We dare say hair color done right is among the best accessories a person can add to her personal style arsenal. It can instantly update a look, make skin appear fresher and help eye color pop. As you might expect, we prefer to take our hair advice from local experts. For that, we turn to expert San Francisco colorist Robert James.

A veteran of Vidal Sassoon Beverly Hills, James brings his Hollywood know-how and experience treating the tresses of such stars as Gwen Stefani to San Francisco, where his eponymous studio re-opened in February in a new, 1,600-foot Sutter Street space decked out with hardwood floors, avocado-hued walls and paintings by LA-based pop artist Nelson De La Nuez. Along with color and natural hair extensions by James, the salon offers hair cuts and services such as Brazilian blow-outs and shine treatments for men and women by stylists Debra Fallon, Jason Lund and Keller Sechrest.

We recently caught up with James to get the lowdown on achieving stylish summer hair, Hollywood-worthy locks and, perhaps most importantly, making our color last as long as humanly possible. Read on for his tips:

When we’re sick of the same old highlights we’ve been getting for years, what are some more adventurous ways we can brighten our hair up for summer?

o   Baliage is a great alternative to foil highlights. This process is done by painting on highlights and allows the colorist more creative freedom in placement. It will look like you’ve been vacationing on the beach.

o   If you want to stick with foil highlights, ask your colorist to add some brighter pieces around the face for more of a pop of brightness.

What do you think of the whole ombre trend? Is that something you do in your salon? If so, anything we should know before trying it out?

o   Ombre (otherwise known as baliage) is a fantastic look for ladies who don’t want to commit to the upkeep of traditional highlights. Baliage is a great natural look that only commits you to coming into the salon every 6 months. But be aware – the two tone trend is on its way out as the recession ends. Recently, Drew Barrymore traded in her ombre look for allover red. Still, Baliage is always a great choice for a more natural look.

o   Before trying the ombre trend be realistic about the look. You will only get the two tone look if you have previously been doing foil highlights and have a build up of color on the end. Also, know that it will look like you have roots because that is what the whole look is about.

You’ve worked with some serious stars, such as Gwen Stefani, Alyssa Milano and Kelly Osborne. What’s the best way to add a little Hollywood glam to our look these days?

o   Try a feather in the hair like Jessica Biel. It is a quick way to add some glamour to your look.

o   Another great option is to come into the salon for a cellophane shine treatment, which will instantly make your hair shiny like a Hollywood starlet. The treatment last 6 weeks. Gwen Stefani and Alyssa Milano always have super shiny locks.

o   Come into the salon to get your hair colored. Your colorist can formulate the perfect color to bring out your beauty. No starlet would ever do her hair at home.

o   If you have a special occasion or just want to glam it up for the night, come in for a blowout or curl set. You will look red carpet-ready and not have to lift a finger.

What’s new in the world of hair color (or hair in general) that you find really exciting today? Any killer new products, tools, processes or treatments out there that we should know about?

o   I am loving the new Wella Professional line. It is great for all hair types, especially colored hair. The price point is great, so you can mix and match to achieve your desired look.

o   We also love the new feather trend that is going on. For $40, you can put a feather in your hair that you can wash and style however you like. It’s a super fun way to add a new dynamic to your hair.

If we could, we’d color our hair every four to six weeks like clockwork. But sometimes life (and our wallets) get in the way. Any tips for making color last longer? And are there different tips depending on the color process we’ve used?

o   To make your color last longer use a color safe shampoo and conditioner such as Wella Professional Brilliance line. It moisturizes while protecting your color. Also, use a color protecting spray. Try to only wash your hair twice a week. Shampooing dulls the color. If you feel like you need to wash your hair, do a rinse and just use conditioner through the ends.

o   Be sure to wear a hat when outdoors because the sun can fade your color and damage your hair. These rules apply to all color services, but especially for single processes.

o    To make your haircolor last longer, do a color close to your natural so that you won’t see a line as it grows out.

When we’re ready for a change, do you have any advice for choosing a new hair color before we take the plunge?

o   Flip through magazines and find pictures of hair colors you like. Be realistic about what you are wanting. The color in the picture is not always achievable. It may take several visits to the salon to get the end result you are looking for.  Also, really think about the color. Are you willing to commit to this color? Once you go dark it is hard to go back to blonde, so make sure this is what you want to do.

More San Francisco beauty

Fur-Out: Fur Hair Extensions

The author receiving her fur-out new hair accessory

I walked into X*  with a black and white feather hair extension, a trend that has swept San Francisco and has been responsible for many compliments sent my way. But I was ready to take the next step in wild hair embellishments and try something new: fur.

For that, I met with Hair Stylist Y**, who alone is bringing fur extensions ($15 for two pieces) onto the local hair scene. When I arrived at the salon, Y sat me down in her black leather chair and opened a case filled with hair goodies such as feathers, gems and, of course, the fur, which is the same chinchilla rabbit used to make fishing flies.

“Everyone loves it. I open this box and everyone’s like, ‘Oh my god!’” says Y.

And it’s no wonder, as the case is filled with a wide selection of colors, from neutral browns and grays for a more conservative adornment to purple and olive for the Burning Man-bound wild child.

If you feel overwhelmed by the selection, like I did, Y will place several options in your hair and throw in her feedback. I opted for the neutral brown with dark horizontal stripes, and Y whipped out her tools.

The pain-free process involves Y taking a strand of hair located above the neckline and pulling it and the fur through two circular beads and next clamps. It’s all done in a matter of 15 minutes or less.

Ever since, the fur has survived hot showers, blow drys, brushing and even a cut and color appointment. And according to Y, the fur can be curled and flat-ironed and should last about a month on average. For me, managing the fur has been so minimal that I even forget it’s there…until of course that inevitable compliment is again sent my way.

Fur extensions in a variety of colors

* and ** Editor’s Note: The SF Indie Fashion editorial team has removed identifying information for the salon and its stylist due to threats made against the business. The salon has since stopped offering the service. While it is against our editorial policy to remove content after publication, this post has been amended due to safety concerns for those originally mentioned in the post. Comments for this post have also been closed, and others that originally appeared have been removed due to their inappropriate content. We hope that SF Indie Fashion’s loyal readers understand our decision. We do not condone threats made against others for any reason and hope those who disagree with content on this site can find a more constructive method for communicating their views in the future.


Full disclosure: extensions were gifted to us for use in this post. Though we don’t think that biases our judgment, we think it’s only good, fair reporting to let you know.

Give Good Face: Party-Perfect Makeup Tips

Nikol (right) preps a model at a recent event in San Francisco

Only slightly worse than being tardy for the party is a pre-departure makeup meltdown courtesy of overly aggressive attempts to glam up during the holidays. To avoid common holiday-time hazards with glitter, eyelash falsies and smoky shadow, read on for tips from Bay Area makeup artist Nikol Elaine.

A former MAC gal, the now out-on-her-own makeup artist currently brings her skills to the faces of models during commercial shoots and at local fashion events (we most recently witnessed her work during the SFFMA’s White Christmas Party), as well as to brides and women seeking to beautify before their next special event.

How can we wear sparkly shadow or add a little holiday glimmer to our makeup without accidentally falling into disco ball territory?

Glitter can multiply on its own, so when the event calls for some extra reflection try this: add a silver or gold glitter to just the inner corner of your eye, near the tear duct for instant brightness. Find a creamy eye shadow base to apply to the eye lid first (I love MAC paint pots). This will act as a glue. While the base is still wet, apply your glitter or glitter shadow just on the eye lid.

Do you have any tips for applying false eyelashes, something that many women turn to this time of year to amp up their looks?

False lashes are key to enhancing even your day makeup. Here are my favorite tips when attempting this task alone:

- Apply only a small amount of adhesive (I love Duo) to the lash.
- Give the glue time to set, try counting to 20, before even thinking of putting it near your eye. This will ensure that the glue will be tacky and less likely to come undone later on.
- With a steady hand, I like to use tweezers to help act as mini fingers and ensure that both ends are securely stuck to the skin just above my natural lashes.
- If nothing else, cut your false lash in half and add to just outer corner. Wink!

What are some key things we should keep in mind for creating the perfect smoky eye?

Ahhh the smoky eye, and all the variations that come with these two words!

- Try to think of the smoky eye without specific colors, but see it as a light color and a dark color to create contrast.
- My favorite smoky eye will consist of a lighter-than-skin matte color on the lid, and a darker matte color towards the outer corner. This could be brown, gray, green, etc. I like to use matte for a more dramatic look. A bonus, matte eye shadows tend to stay on longer.

We’re ready for the limelight. What can we do with makeup to up our chances of looking good on camera?

If you know the camera will be on you at your next event, try the following:

- Line just the top or just the bottom of your lash line. When you line the entire eye, it tends to make them look smaller.
- Add some blush. Color on the cheeks helps give the face dimension, and if you already wear blush, try a different color and apply it on the apple of your cheeks.
- Trendy this season is a light eye (less work for you!) and a great matte lip. Afraid of dark lip color? Use a lip pencil over the entire lip and blot, no need for gloss.

Photography courtesy of Gene Kosoy

Festoon Salon’s Tips for Stretching Your Salon Budget

Festoon Salon in downtown San Francisco

Hair today, (budget) gone tomorrow. That kinda sums up what can happen when you throw down for frequent visits to the salon (which we’ve been known to do). But there are things you can do to make your coiffure cash stash last longer. For that, we checked in with Festoon Salon owners John and Melissa Ryan.

With salons in Berkeley and San Francisco, the Ryans have treated the tresses of many a Bay Area beauty fan during their 23 years in business. Notably, their salon happens to hold the unique distinction of being the first to carry the Oribe product line from the famed stylist-to-the-stars of the same name.

To save big on cuts and services, you could always opt to offer up your locks in the name of education as a hair model at one of their locations. But for those with less tolerance for risk, there are, thankfully, other ways.

Read on for John and Melissa’s favorite tips for stretching your beauty budget at the hair salon:

Invest in quality hair care products to extend the life of your salon services at home:  It might seem like an additional expense you can’t afford at the time – purchasing costly product at the counter in addition to paying for your salon services – but spending the money up front for great hair care really is an investment that saves you money in the long run. Our top choices for product investments, and why:

*Weekly deep conditioners keep split ends at bay which lengthens the time between cuts. Once those ends start to go, the damage spreads quickly. If you condition at home once a week, the hair remains healthy, pliable and shiny. Deep conditioners also protect the luster and longevity of your hair color.

Product tip: We highly recommend the EX Conditioner from Caretrico, an exclusive Japanese line that we carry at Festoon.

*Color-preserving shampoo and conditioners with UV filters prevent the sun’s damaging rays from taking their toll on your hair…and your hair color.  Healthier hair means hair that styles better – with less help from your stylist.

Product Tip: All Oribe shampoos and conditioners have UV protectors in them along with no parabens and only natural surfactants. Water and parabens are the main ingredients for most products. Oribe products are highly concentrated; a small amount goes a long way.

*Use hair texturizing spray or dry shampoo for a day or two between washes instead of daily washing. Shampoos strip the natural moisture and emollients that nature has designed to protect the hair. Hair needs a rest from the chemical process of cleaning for optimum health and shine.  Hair color also lasts much longer with less-frequent shampooing. If you are going to invest in color, protect it from fading or getting brassy.

Product Tip:  One of our favorite products is Oribe’s Dry Texture Spray, which is also great for putting hair up – a brilliant styling idea for the second and third day of no shampooing.

Find products that do double duty: Use a product that can be used wet and dry, for example, or products that condition while styling. By investing in a styling balm that gives body, shape and hold during your blowout, it can also add sheen and moisture to the ends of your hair due to the product’s formulation.

Product Tip:  Gel Serum, a gel that is a serum for conditioning the hair. Makes hair lustrous and shiny.

Talk to your stylist about a more low-maintenance coloring regime: We know you love your platinum highlights or your deep, mink-colored tresses, but you could save yourself money by choosing less dramatic color. It doesn’t have to be a huge shift away from what you love, but a simple, tiny nudge in a more natural direction could lengthen the time between color visits by 1-4 weeks. Over a year, this adds up. If you’d like to lengthen your time between color services, here are a few things to try:

*Choose dimensional color over single-process color. This minimizes the contrast of your regrowth which buys you more time out of the salon chair. Use highlights and lowlights – strands of lighter and darker hair – this has a natural appearance since hair is a complex blend of many shades naturally.

*Ask your stylist to use a technique that shades your roots and places lighter pieces at the ends. This creates the appearance of hair that is lighter all over but blends the line of demarcation at your scalp when the natural hair grows in.

*Cut down on weekly blow outs. They are a nice treat, but maybe not necessary, especially if you invest in a Keratin relaxer or Brazilian blowout. Both of these treatments fundamentally change the hair texture, allowing you to get great results from your own blow dryer and styling products at home. The hair is improved, so clients can grow their hair longer than before. These hair treatments cost more up front, but they last for 3-5 months instead of a few days.

*Consider a new hair cut.  Specific cuts grow out better than others, razor cuts generally grow out better than more geometric styles (razor cuts generally last at least 7-8 weeks). If you are absolutely married to your signature look, a good stylist can often achieve a similar overall look and feel even when they use a different technique.

Ask if your Salon offers complimentary services. Festoon often offers a complimentary bang trim a month into your haircut.

John and Melissa Ryan

Photography courtesy of Festoon Salon