My First Balayage Experience: Everything you need to know and expect!

Ok let me start off by saying this. I made a huge blogger mistake. I did not take before pictures or pictures during my balayage experience. In my defense I was so nervous my palms were sweating. Some of you may say OMG Vanessa dramatic lol! However I have never dyed my hair. Years back I did a semi permanent with my stylist to go darker and it was only for a year. Washouts in my opinion don’t count lol my natural hair color came back with no issues. This time I was going permanent and lighter! Can we say huge step?!! HA! When I was a teen the striped highlighting craze was sooo in and I was never interested. I consider my style very natural and plain Jane in a way. Going bold with highlights didn’t excite me.

In recent years I have found myself needing a change. As I have gotten older and with the balayage trend still going strong I was ready to take a leap of faith. I will go into detail on what balayage is, what to expect and how to maintain it!

I pulled a picture from my amazing experience with Alex Brown (see that post HERE) to show you a before shot of my hair. Oh and my after pictures are from Instagram stories, not nicely focused pictures. Again I failed but I wanted to write this post because I am in love with my hair!

Before Balayage:

balayage
Hair Cut and Style by Alex Brown

After Balayage:

balayage
Balayage, Hair Cut and Style by Christine Miller

What is Balayage?

Balayage is a french word meaning sweeping. It is a technique for highlighting hair in which the stylist will free hand the dye on in such a way to create a natural lightness towards the end of your hair. You want to go to someone you know and trust. Someone who understands your style, how you frame your hair to your face. For an in depth read on this technique and know the differences between balayage, highlighting and ombre go here. I did a ton of research before I decided on this and talked with my stylist. My stylist and I have been together since I was 21. That is 17 years! I knew she would be the only person I would trust to dye my hair in this way. I showed her this inspiration picture and we discussed options.

Balayage
My Inspiration for Balayage. Image from Pinterest: was not able to locate direct source

I explained I wanted it subtle but noticeable. She suggested to use caramel and not blonde since my hair is brown and she wanted it to look as natural as possible. As you can see above she NAILED IT! It was very noticeable to all my friends and family because they never saw me with lighter hair. However it was perfect. It was like I have been on vacation and I felt amazing! I felt like I looked fresh and younger dare I say. My mom said that too so it counts lol I absolutely love that she framed my face with the lighter shade a bit so its was not just light more towards to bottom. The balayage looks seamless and that is exactly the look you want!

So what should you expect?

After talking about how I part my hair and going over again how I style my hair (which side do a part it ect) she went to get all the mixing in. She used two different shades of caramel. One was lighter that she used for the bottom and for framing my face and one that was darker (I had some grey hair she covered). I do not have grey hair at my roots just yet Thank God so I did not have to do any initial root dye. Every hair stylist will have their own methods but the basics will remain the same. Balayage is a free style technique where your hair stylist will paint on the color. See a video of the technique here. It is is done on dry hair, then its washed, blow dried, cut and styled! She used some foils in my hair towards the top and then wrapped it with a balayage specific plastic clear wrap. I waited for about 15-20 minutes until the color started to lighten. She also had me sit under those cool looking chairs at the salon to speed up the process a bit.

Here is when I truly started to sweat lol As I was sitting a piece of hair by my eye was getting lighter and seeing it freaked me out. I thought omg what if I hate this? What if I look unnatural? It was all just so new to me I had no clue what to expect. Once it was washed (she added a glaze and toner in this process to help make the color pop and to keep it shining) we went the chair for my trim, blow out and style. The more and more I saw it coming to life I was falling in love.

Carmel Balayage
Balayage Hair by Christine Miller
Balayage Hair
Carmel Balayage by Christine Miller
balayage hair

How to maintain Balayage:

This is by far the most low maintenance way to dye your hair. This is another reason I went with Balayage. The price can be a bit costly up front however you can do it once every 9-12 months. WIN!!!! However you have some maintenance to do! First in order to maintain your color you want to go with a sulfate & paraben free shampoo and conditioner. Sulfates can dry out your hair and strip away the colors. You all know I love a good drugstore beauty product so I am using The Signature Shampoo and Conditioner by Kristen Ess. Find them for $10 at Target.

You will read or hear a lot about toning or your hair turning brassy looking. Sometimes your color can turn brassy and will need some maintenance. There are products on the market called Purple Shampoo. This will help turn those blonde / caramel shades back to life! However my stylist said she can glaze and tone it anytime! I have not purchased a purple shampoo at this time because I plan to go back for a trim, glaze and tone at the end of May before we have a big family wedding. However if I see my shade going a bit hay wire I will try a purple shampoo.

Another thing suggested for maintenance is to not wash your hair everyday. So you will want to test out those dry shampoos! I love this one from Dove and Amika! You will want to take care of your hair with some good hair masks (love this one from Amika) and scalp products! I really want to try this scalp purifying shampoo. Its on my next target order list!

I hope this helps if you have been thinking about trying balayage! Again I am sorry for my blogger fail with more pictures lol but I think the pictures although not perfect 100% showcase the beauty of my caramel balayage. I feel naturally sun kissed and feel like a whole new person! After having my kids I have really felt the need for a change and my hair has given me more motivation to keep working on my self care on my levels!!! If you have balayage or decide to do it please tag me on Instagram! BPAMC wants to see it!!!

Wavy Hairstyle Techniques with Alex Brown

When it comes to all things beauty makeup is my lane. I try to style my hair and keep it fresh and in style. Sometimes it can feel impossible to get that perfect wavy hairstyle we see all over Pinterest.  However after my time with Alex Brown impossible is no longer in my vocabulary. Alex Brown comes from a 3 year stint with Jen Atkin Celebrity Hairstylist and founder of OUAI Haircare. I will admit I was a bit nervous going to her studio considering  her experience with traveling around the world, she had just gotten back from Paris Fashion week and with her list of celebrity clients such as Kendal Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Bella Hadid and the list goes on and on.

I read she was from Minnesota and trained at Mario Tricocci University near my house where I grew up and still live today, it was comforting to be honest.  The minute I walked into the studio her and her assistant made me feel comfortable and at home! I was ready to have fun!

Wavy Hairstyle
Alex Brown Studio

Wavy Hairstyle
Alex Brown Studio

 

The Process – Wavy Hairstyle

Alex sat me down in the chair and discussed what I was looking for with my hair. I explained how I love that effortless wavy hairstyle look (showed her pics I saw on her Instagram HERE) and she knew right away what look I was going for. She explained some of my layers looked heavy and it probably was from my hair growing out. 2 years ago after my son was born I went really short.  Her assistant Kelsey (Find Her on Instagram HERE) took me over to the sink and used the Ouai Repair Shampoo and Condition I immediately felt relaxed and the scent from the shampoo and conditioner didn’t make it hard either.

Wavy Hairstyle
Alex Brown Studio

Wavy Hairstyle
Before

Wavy Hairstyle Alex Brown
Alex Brown with Beauty Blogger Beauty Products Are My Cardio – Photo Credit: Kelsey Morgan

As you can see we started to have fun right off the bat! She started to work her magic by giving me a trim and giving my hair some life back that I didn’t even realize it needed.  As soon as she finished trimming my hair , thinning out some of the layers and blow drying my hair I saw the difference instantly. A key product she used before she dried my hair was the OUAI  Wave spray. I have used this spray before and loved it however I never sprayed it in my hair wet! It has rice protein in it that adds hold for that undone hair look we all want! Needless to say I use it on my hair now when its wet.

Alex Brown
Alex Brown with Beauty Blogger Beauty Products Are My Cardio – Photo Credit Kelsey Morgan

Wavy Hairstyle
Photo Credit: Kelsey Morgan

That Perfect Wavy Hairstyle

Alex started out by drying my hair with a large roller brush and then started the wavy hairstyle process with a GHD 1.25 Inch Curling Iron. You can find it HERE. She showed me that wrapping your hair just around the barrel will work or if you can just wrap the top part of the hair and bring the curling iron down to straighten the ends. That is key. The ends are to  never be curled. One tip that gave me that Ah Ha moment to perfecting the wavy hairstyle is if you curled a piece too much to go over it with a flat iron!!! Genius right?! How did I not know of this or figure this out lol. The straightener she used is from the Kardashian Beauty Hair Collection. You can find it HERE

Wavy Hairstyle Alex Brown
Photo Credit: Kelsey Morgan

OUAI HAIRCARE

The other two Ouai products she used is the Texturizing Hair Spray which combines the best of dry shampoo and hair spray for amazing volume and texture. My hair had a lot of static so she applied the Finishing Cream that acted like a lotion for my hair. It tames frizz and gives a gorgeous shine. I really wish I took video of the process to be honest but she has a fabulous video on her Facebook Page you can find HERE 

Wavy Hairstyle Alex Brown
Finished Look with Alex Brown – Photo Credit: Kelsey Morgan

I felt not only refreshed but educated and confident I could do this at home. Maybe not as good lol but that I could achieve the perfect undone wavy hairstyle I want. I didn’t leave empty handed. I made sure to grab all three OUAI styling products she used on me. With the wall filled with products, the product junkie in me knew I just had to have them. I have been using them ever since!

OUAI wave spray

I pride myself in finding products that are worth the investment when you need to spend a little bit more. That goes for beauty services as well. Her hair cut is $150.00 and I can say 100% it is worth every single penny. This will not be my only visit with Alex. Like I said I did not just walk away refreshed and feeling great but educated and confident this is something I can achieve at home.

For more information on booking with Alex at her studio here in Chicago’s West Loop please email bookings@alexbrownhair.com / www.alexbrownhair.com 

 

DISCLAIMER: BPAMC was invited to Alex Brown’s studio for a cut and style with Alex Brown. All opinions are my own. Links associated with BPAMC are affiliate links. Thank You for your constant love and support to Beauty Products Are My Cardio

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Beauty Routine: 5 Must Have Products

With all of us being so busy these days we all want beauty products that will be quick, easy to use, effective and reliable. Now I know there are probably way more products out there that can make for an easy beauty routine but I have found these 5 to work for me and my lifestyle. In case you are newer to my blog I am a mother of two and I work a  full time job in downtown Chicago. I travel into the city everyday by train and with two kids in the morning there are beauty products I must use to make life easier.  Often I have 5 minutes left for my makeup or will do my makeup on the train. So many women do this. Crazy right?!? I love watching what others are doing to learn some new time saving tips from them lol!! I truly enjoy taking my time to do my makeup and hair but most days that is not my reality. Over the years I have found these 5 products will indeed create a quick and easy beauty routine or at least help you out when you just don’t have the time!

1. DRY SHAMPOO: I honestly wish I was one of those women who can use dry shampoo for 3-5 days to take that step out of my routine but I cant without my hair looking like an oily mess. However I can do it for one day and I will take that over no days. Using dry shampoo is your perfect way to save time from 1 day to up to even 5 days to make for an easy beauty routine in the morning. One I am loving right now is:

  • Eva NYC  Freshen Up Dry Shampoo: Its affordable for one and you all know I love affordable products. Its sold at Ulta Beauty and CVS Pharmacy  so that makes it accessible to many women which I appreciate because here I am taking about easy beauty routines so the products should be easy to find too. Most importantly it works, has a fabulous smell and does not leave any sort of residue on your hair. It has Vitamin C in it that enhances shine, moisturizes and strengthens the hair!! WIN!!! Another important ingredient is the Natural Rice Starch. This ingredient is a gentle yet effective alternative to talc or aluminum. So by using Eva NYC in the morning even if its every other day for me it helps save time and makes getting ready that much easier for me.

2. POTTED EYE SHADOW: This type of product is  perfect for that one sweep of color you need to look awake or to finish off a look. I prefer bronze and chocolate colors but grab whatever potted eyeshadow color that works for you. I love to buy shades perfect for everyday. Remember I said I do my makeup on the train sometimes? Well using my finger for applying products makes things easy for me.  A couple I use a ton are:

3. TINTED MOISTURIZER / BB – CC Creams:  There are so many options out there from sheer coverage, bb creams, cc creams, fuller coverage, aging benefits ect ….. I am just starting to really dig into this portion of the beauty world because I have absolutely fallen in LOVE with this type of product.  I do my morning skin care routine, take the product squeeze onto my fingers and slather it all over my face. NO TOOLS REQUIRED. Now are there days I use a small stippling brush or my beauty sponge to apply? Of course but the texture of this type of product just makes it that much easy to skip that step and slap it onto my face. No fuss no muss.  Here are three I am using non stop in my rotation:

4. 2 IN 1 PRODUCTS: Ok who does not love a good multi -tasker, space saver and all around hero product to make life easier?!!? I love simplifying life and when I can get more bang for my buck its a win win!!! You wont go wrong with these:

5. STICK CONCEALERS: I LOVE concealers. LOVE THEM!!  I have become quite obsessed with eye products in the last few months and stick concealers are just so easy they are a must have for your collection. This product is an important part in my train makeup routine because there is no mess and no fuss. I can apply the ones I own with my finger and or brush. Of course I love using a beauty sponge to apply any concealer but these will blend for you and apply easy with your finger or brush. The brush I have been using is the Elf Cosmetics $3.00 Concealer Brush. Yes you read that correct $3!!! Here are some stick concealers I have in rotation

 

What products are your go to for an easy beauty routine or just to make your life easier? Have you tried any of these products? I am always on the look out for new ones to try. Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by EVA NYC. Thoughts and opinions are my own and always honest. Some links associated with BPAMC are affiliate links. Thank You so much for your constant love and support to Beauty Products Are My Cardio. 

 

Easy Beauty Routine

Target Exclusive: DESSANGE PARIS

“Jacques Dessange established the house of DESSANGE 60 years ago, in 1954 in the heart of Paris on the prestigious Champs-Elysées, instantly becoming a symbol of French luxury…Today, DESSANGE remains the number one luxury hair care brand in the world with a unique network of 400-plus salons in over 40 coun­tries, and seven training centers. DESSANGE is the long-standing Hair partner of the Cannes Film Festival and a salon choice for a wide array of glamorous A-list celebrities. In late 2014, DESSANGE entered new territory with the launch of its premium mass brand, DESSANGE Paris, in the US, bringing the luxury salon techniques to the homes of wo­men everywhere”

Product Information:

Five Collections: Purifying Clay, Oleo Miracle, Solar Blonde Naturale, California Blonde and Salon Color Restore.

Price: $9.99 – $11.99, and are available exclusively at Target.

Review:

I had the pleasure to review the Oleo Miracle line and let me just say my hair has its shine back and feels incredibly soft and smooth.  All the products in the line have three oils: argan, camellia and pracaxi which bring out your hairs natural beauty along with protecting it. The Oleo Miracle line was created to bring over-processed and damaged hair back to life! Sounds amazing right?!!??

Let me start with the replenishing oil because its my favorite from the three products. I have been using it a few times a week for 3 weeks and I saw results immediately. I apply one pump to my wet/damp hair more towards the middle to the ends of my hair because my roots tend to get oily if I use too much product. On days I just dry my hair and do not style it, my hair still has that softness and shine to it. When I style my hair whether it be with a curling or flat iron the over all appearance looks more polished and healthy. I adore hair oils and serums for that exact reason and this one does not disappoint.  The smell can be strong.  Its not bad but it has a perfume type of odor to it. So this may not be the ideal for some.

DESSANGE PARIS
Oleo Miracle Replenishing Oil

The Shampoo and Conditioner have the same perfume smell but because I saw such fabulous results it was something I was able to look past. The shampoo lathers well allowing you to feel like your hair is actually getting very clean.  The conditioner does not leave film or a heavy feeling to your hair at all. So not only are you getting the repairs your hair needs, it feels clean (even with three oils). The packaging gives off a luxury feel with the gold design and writing while the product bottles are very sturdy. Overall I have been enjoying all three products but the oil stood out for me as the winner.

Would you like to win this line to try these fabulous products for yourself?  See below for rules.

DESSANGE PARIS
Oleo Miracle Shampoo & Conditioner

Giveaway Rules:

  • Must be following me on Instagram
  • Must tag a friend on my Instagram picture announcing this giveaway
  • Write in the comments below on this blog post why you would like to try this product line out
  • Giveaway will run 10/7 -10/9 and winner will be notified by 10/10

That’s it! Good Luck everyone!!!

*This is a sponsored post however BPAMC opinions and review are my own and 100% honest. 

Renpure Biotin & Collagen Collection: Review and Product Info

Renpure is a family owned company that creates hair care products without sodium chloride, sulfates, dyes, harsh salts, parabens, and gluten. Renpure Biotin & Colleagen Shampoo and Conditioner “formulas are meant to help deliver vital thickening and volumizing properties with our exclusive blend of Vitamin B7 Biotin, Collagen and Keratin that are known for being imperative to thicken, maintain and enhance your hairs volume, health, strength and shine!”

Price:

$4.99 (USD) per bottle -160z (size shown in picture) or $7.99(USD) per bottle – 32oz

Where to buy:

This brand can be found at Ulta, Walmart, CVS, Walgreen’s, Amazon and Target. Currently Target is running a buy 1 get 1 25% off offer till 11/5.  Shop here.

Review:

Does my hair look or feel thicker?? Yes! Just like my skin my hair changed after my kids. It lost its shine, bounce and overall healthy look. Unlike my skin I use multiple products on my hair all the time. I change things often because I can tell right away if its working or not. Since using the Renpure thickening Shampoo and Conditioner I can see overall results. My hair is shiner, appears thicker and looks much healthier.

The consistency is on the thicker side and is white in color. It lathers nicely and after rising my hair feels clean without a residue feeling. One thing that may throw some people off is the smell. Although I personally am ok with the smell it can be a bit overwhelming. The smell stays in my hair and I LOVE that! Even as the hours have gone by in the day my hair still smells pretty and that is a personal preference that excites me because it does not happen often with most hair products.

Would I recommend this shampoo and conditioner? Yes! These are most certainly #10orlesstuesday worthy as I say on my Instagram.  If your hair has been needing a pick me as of late, for the price and easy accessibility you cant go wrong with trying them out. There are quite a few different lines from this brand (see them here) so I would love to hear if you have tried them before and your thoughts!!

 

Worth It? Allure Beauty Box

When I received my August  Allure Beauty Box  it got me thinking. Is it worth the $15 monthly price tag? I am here to give you the pros and cons and will also go into detail of what came inside the August Box.  This way you get a closer look into this monthly subscription.

The Pros:

  • The only Editor curated subscription box: I am a very loyal Allure Magazine reader so to have their editors pick out products makes me feel like I am apart of Allure.
  • 5-6 products each month. Usually are true deluxe size samples and they have included full size as well
  • The Mini Magazine that is included goes into great detail about each product in the box (What the product is, What is does, Ingredients, How it feels/looks, Why the editors like it, the price and where to buy it!)
  • Able to try out different products for a fraction of the cost
  • The packaging: It comes in a glossy red box that gives this subscription a luxurious feeling
  • New Beauty Blogger? This is a great way to start a blog on a budget while testing and reviewing some of the hottest products on the market!

The Cons:

  • $15 monthly price tag where other boxes that are a bit similar are $10
  • End up with a stash of sample size products that never get used: This is my biggest issue right now. Allure offers a good amount of skincare samples. As most of you know I am going through a revamp of my skin care routine so I can not just try something out in the middle of trying to figure out current triggers ect.
  • Sensitive Skin? Probably not the best option since there are so many skincare options each month.
  • Expensive Full Price Products: Although I love beauty products when I see a sample of La Mer Soft cream that retails on the low end for $85.00 for .5 oz I know I will not try this because if I fall in love I can not justify this price point. I am all for beauty investments when the quality and performance is there but I am a very practical person as well. Case in point: $10 OR LESS TUESDAY on my Instagram.
Product details for the August Allure Beauty Box:  All information provided below is from the Mini Mag that comes with the box for product reference.

Allure Beauty Box

Supergoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50: Mattifying makeup-setting spray that will keep makeup in place, minimize shine and SPF. $28 Supergoop.com
Freeze 24-7 Anti Aging Eye Serum: Line Smoothing eye cream that makes skin look smoother and tighter for a few hours. $115  Freeze247.com
Pur – Lisse Blue Lotus Balancing Moisturizer: Lightweight hydrating lotion for normal, dry and sensitive skin. $55  Purlisse.com

Allure Beauty Box

 

Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base in Nude Radiance: Lightweight luminizing lotion that is champagne colored with a slight cooling effect on the skin. $48 Sephora.com

Allure Beauty Box

Cargo Swimmables Eye Pencil in Pebble Beach: A black brown color that glides over lids that is waterproof $18 Cargocosmetics.com

Allure Beauty Box

Wet Brush Midi Brush: Cushion Brush with long, flexible plastic brisles $8.99 Thewetbrush.com
Garnier New Whole Blends Honey Treasures Shampoo and Conditioner: $4.99 Garnier.com

Allure Beauty Box

I hope this helps you decide if you want to join in on this Subscription box. I will continue with this subscription for now as I look forward to it every month.  My biggest con is the skincare concerns so some products are being pushed aside for the moment. What subscription boxes do you have? I would love to hear about them in the comments.