Sunday, April 24, 2011

Short Hairstyles

What very few people realize is that the 40-year-old actress, who first became a recognizable face when she played hospital clerk Cynthia Hooper on ER during the 1994 season, is the daughter of legendary 1950s blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield, who died tragically in a car accident in 1967. (Mariska and her brother were in the backseat.) Place pictures of Mariska and her mom side by side, and the resemblance is uncanny.

Just married to actor Peter Hermann (who occasionally guests as an attorney on his wife’s show), Mariska (pronounced Ma-rish-ka) has a progressively shorter haircut since her L&O debut in 1999. Preferring short, layered cuts, with both red and gold highlights to augment her medium-brown hairstyle, Mariska has been seen lately with her short hairstyles pushed back, styled away from her face, with the ends flipped up. To duplicate her sleek look, apply a styling cream to wet hair, blow-dry hair away from the face, use a round brush to flip the ends, and clip side and back tendrils to the back of the head with a designer clip.

A great cut is the secret to exquisitely coiffed short hair. For many celebrities, like Oscar-winning Dames Judi Dench and Julie Andrews, the “short crop” has never gone out of style. In fact, it’s their trademark ’do. And while both actresses are among Hollywood’s more mature elite, age—long blamed for the dearth of roles for female actresses—hasn’t slowed their careers. Dame Judi continues to play “M” to Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond, chews the scenery in this year’s The Chronicles of Riddick, and has already signed on for Bond 21, to be released in 2005. Dame Julie is charming audiences of all ages this year in Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement and Shrek 2, in which she gives voice to the animated Queen. Don’t let the short crop fool you. It’s ideal for women of every age, according to Joey Battisti, artistic director for Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa in New York City.

“This style works for almost all face shapes,” he tells “I feel it works best for people who have softer facial structures. It is very short, which means it will enhance any flaws or protruding facial and head shapes. For example, someone with a longer face may need to keep the edges around the hairline longer to soften the look a bit.”

When Joey creates a short crop, he relies on his razor for precision cutting.

“The razor is an amazing tool,” he explains, “but it has to be used carefully. The blade has to be replaced very often to make sure it is properly texturizing the hair. The razor helps add a soft, deconstructed finish—rather than the bluntness you receive from scissors. You can use it on all hair types—though not necessarily on thicker, curly or wavy hair because of the natural texture these hair types already have. It works best on fine to medium textures that lack movement.”

While Joey agrees that women of all ages—does the name Halle Berry ring a bell?—can wear this look, he thinks short hairstyles are the ideal style for older women.

“On someone like Judi, it is quite extraordinary,” he says. “More mature women like it for its easy, carefree style, yet it is very modern and sophisticated.”

He also believes it’s a winning style for clients who lack the time to fuss with or pamper their short hairstyles: the wash-and-go set. He advises them to use a volumizing shampoo, towel-dry hair, apply a spray-on conditioner for detangling, and dab a touch of pomade on select chunks of hair. If there’s no time for blow-drying, simply let hair air-dry.

“Pomade is usually made of wax or a silicone/dimithicone base,” Joey says. “This is not good for naturally oily hair types. It works best for definition, separating hair, and adding shine, texture and movement.”

He adores one of his salon’s own products, Paul Labrecque's Shea Butter, because it “shapes the style while conditioning the hair at the same time. It can be applied to wet or dry hair. The shea butter helps protect, moisturize and nourish the hair, while bringing out the natural shine.”

Makeup and Hair Tips

Actress Salma Hayek has come a long way from the small town of Coatszacoalcos, located in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. Born on Sept. 2, 1966, she is part Spanish and part Lebanese—a pedigree that undeniably accounts for her exotic beauty.

Salma launched her acting career in her early 20s, appearing in a number of Mexican tele-novelas (soap operas). She first found an international audience when she landed a small part in Mi Vida Loca (“My Crazy Life”), a 1993 film about Latina girls growing up in a poor Los Angeles neighborhood. She eventually garnered supporting roles in Desperado, Road Racers, Four Rooms and Fair Game, before achieving superstardom with When Fools Rush In, Traffic, Once Upon a Time in Mexico and her Oscar-nominated tour de force, Frida.

The length of Salma’s hair allows her great versatility: long (either sleekly straight, curled, or adorned with accent braids); shoulder length, with sexy flipped ends, embellished with hair jewelry or the occasional flower; pulled back into a graceful topknot or chignon, defined by a center part; or slicked back to accentuate the symmetry of her refined bone structure.
Salma’s hair is one of the most luxurious shades of brown. Colorist Jaime Abraham of Looks Salon in Naperville, Illinois, believes such deep, natural tones are one of the hottest trends this year. “I don't know if you've seen Salma Hayek’s hair recently, but a lot of the stars have really rich, dark hair,” she told The Chicago Tribune in July, noting that stars like Salma tend to set the stage for the rest of us.

Perhaps Salma is the best judge of her own style, which may account for her fascination with the iconoclastic Frida Kahlo. The 1920s were sexy “because they were a time of experimentation and self-expression,” she told In Style magazine in September 2003. “All of a sudden, women were independent and speaking up. They were flying airplanes, directing and painting. The ’20s were also a time of sexual freedom; even the makeup and hairstyles had romance and glamour. Clothing was chic, and makeup highlighted the eyes, which are the windows to your soul."

Many beauty experts have dissected Salma’s look in their upscale books. In Latina Beauty, Belén Aranda-Alvarado, a former beauty editor for Latina magazine, describes Salma’s makeup as a palette of shimmery neutrals:

  • For the face, begin with foundation and concealer to even skin tones and cover any blemishes. Avoid using powder (unless your skin is oily). Mix dark contour powder with blush, and apply to cheeks.

  • Eyeshadow should be a neutral pink or pearl, with a slight frost, applied from the eyelid to the top of the brow bone. Blend in a touch of silver shadow for contour, as well as a shimmery white shadow on the outer two-thirds of the brow bone to play up the eyes.

  • Curl lashes and apply mascara.

  • Brows should be tamed, but retain their thick, natural arch.

  • Lips are also neutral—a brownish-pink, without the severe penciled-in outline to which so many women seem addicted. Add a clear gloss for shine.

In The Mane Thing, celebrity hairstylist Kevin Mancuso teaches readers how Salma’s thick and curly hair can be sensually straightened. The cut is one length, with layers around the face. After shampooing, conditioning and towel-drying hair, you’ll find that the process couldn’t be easier:

  • Apply straightening gel to damp hair, and comb it through. Detangle, as necessary.
  • Section the hair, pinning it atop the head. Blow-dry from the bottom layers inward, gently pulling on each section with your brush to straighten it.
  • Repeat for all sections of hair, saving the top for last.
  • After hair is dry, apply a small amount of silicone, and brush hair to enhance shine.
  • Use a flat iron for finishing.

With the Frida prosthetic unibrow long gone, Salma is now the face of Avon, appearing in the global beauty company’s new My Lip Miracle television commercial. She will be featured in numerous print and TV ads for cosmetics and fragrances, also partnering with the nonprofit Avon Foundation to publicize its domestic violence initiative.
“Salma's personal story and values are a perfect fit for us, and we have a shared commitment to the empowerment and well-being of women,” says Avon Chair and CEO Andrea Jung.

“I’m very optimistic that in joining forces with Avon, we can truly make a difference to the important cause of domestic violence and bring hope and empowerment to women around the world,” Salma adds.

Hair Care Product Advice

Bored kids read cereal boxes. Smart women read shampoo bottles.

While products like hair color and styling gels command greater attention, choosing the wrong shampoo can have a serious impact on how your hair looks. You’ll never achieve the result you want if you buy the wrong shampoo—or use the right one incorrectly.

It all starts with shampooing frequency. And with a penchant for cleanliness, Americans tend to overwash their hair.

"The hair and scalp should be cleaned, on average, every other day," says Dr. Andrea Lynn Cambio, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.

But women with exceptionally dry hair, such as African-Americans, need to reduce shampoo frequency. Conversely, if you have incredibly oily hair, daily shampooing may be required to cut the grease.

"The consequence of overdoing it is stripping the hair of sebum [oil]," Dr. Cambio tells "This causes the hair to look dull, feel coarse, be prone to static electricity and be a styling nuisance."

Shampoo & Your ’do

By definition, shampoo is designed to remove dirt and excess sebum from the scalp and hair. Sebum is necessary for hair health. It is secreted by sebaceous glands, found in skin all over our bodies, including the scalp. These glands provide healthy lubrication to our skin and hair. Scientists estimate that the average woman produces approximately 1 ounce of sebum every 100 days, so it’s a substance worth protecting!

If you have oily hair, your sebaceous glands secrete too much sebum, and you’ll want to select a shampoo designed to control it. If you have dry hair, your glands secrete too little sebum, and you’ll want to choose a shampoo that provides extra moisture. If you have “normal” hair, sebum production is how Goldilocks described her final bowl of porridge: “Just right!”

While Goldilocks may have been a porridge expert, it’s hard to say whether she knew how to choose the right shampoo for her specific hair type. Gentle shampoos, like baby shampoo, remove the bare minimum. Harsher shampoos, like dandruff shampoos and those made for oily hair, are manufactured to cleanse more thoroughly and remove more sebum. Problems typically occur when, for example, a woman with oily hair accidentally buys a shampoo intended for dry hair. She may not discover why her scalp has become an oil slick until she checks the shampoo bottle.

Understanding Labels

As with food products, ingredients in shampoos are listed by the amounts contained in the bottle, in descending order of weight. The higher up on the list, the more of the ingredient in the shampoo.

Normally, the first ingredient in shampoo is water. If it, alone, could cleanse the hair, we wouldn’t need shampoo. Water, however, cannot remove oil, sebum or product buildup, so manufacturers must add detergent agents known as “surfactants.”

Surfactants cleanse the hair and create lather. Manufacturers can choose from inexpensive or pricey surfactants, and these generally determine the quality of your shampoo. Cheap surfactants, such as sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate, are popular among manufacturers because they keep down costs. You’ll find these particular surfactants in generic, supermarket, drugstore and certain mass-market brands. (They’re also the chemicals most commonly associated with eye irritation.) The problem, however, is that these surfactants are harsh on hair, stripping it of oil and causing hair color to fade more quickly.

The more expensive “designer” or salon brands contain more expensive surfactants, such as sodium cocoyl isethionate and methyl cocoyl taurate (sometimes labeled simply as “coconut oil” or “fatty acids”), cocamidopropyl betaine and cocamidopropylamine oxide. Yes, they’re certainly a mouthful, but they are nondrying, much more gentle on the hair and tend to work well regardless of whether you have hard or soft water. They’re also more expensive for manufacturers to use, so that’s why you’ll pay more for a bottle of shampoo. (Many manufacturers compromise, mixing low-cost sodium lauryl sulfate with a coconut-oil surfactant. This can work well.)

Some shampoos contain detanglers and anti-static agents, which function exactly as their names imply. A common agent to look for is “quaternary ammonium.”

“Humectants” behave like tiny sponges, attracting and holding water. You’ll find them in shampoos for dry, damaged or color-treated hair. Commonly used humectants include glycerin, sorbitol, sodium lactate and hyaluronic acid.

“Conditioning agents” help soften hair and allow it to retain moisture. Look for amino acids, collagen, panthenol, elastin and proteins on ingredient lists.

“Thickening” or “volumizing” shampoos increase bulk and improve manageability. They contain ingredients like hydroxyethyl cellulose, gum arabic, guar, xanthan and chitin. One of the newest products on the market is Aveda’s Pure Abundance Volumizing Shampoo, which contains coco/babassu sulfate—a substance derived from organic coconut and babassu oils. Shane Wolf, Aveda’s executive director of global hair care marketing, recommends it for the “one-third of American women who describe their hair as naturally fine or limp."

“Preservatives,” such as methylparaben quatern-15, methylisothiazolino propylparab, help prevent shampoo from becoming contaminated by mold or bacteria. “All-natural” shampoos that contain no preservatives have a tendency to “spoil” if not used within their designated shelf life.

Never buy a shampoo based on its fragrance, which is no reflection of a shampoo’s quality. It’s only one more ingredient manufacturers use to convince you to buy their products. (Who doesn’t open the cap and sniff before buying a shampoo?)

What’s Best for You?

Since each of us has individual needs, experiment with different shampoos to determine which ones make your hair most manageable.

Many women fail to take their hairstylists’ recommendations on shampoo, assuming the stylist is “ripping them off” or “trying to sell them something” so the salon can make more money. In reality, stylists know that salon-quality shampoos are generally superior to their drugstore counterparts. If you trust your stylist, it’s worth taking her advice. The worst-case scenario: You won’t like the product, and you can express your disappoint to her.

If budget is a problem and you simply cannot bear the thought of spending $10 to $15 for a single bottle of shampoo, dilute the $3 brand you’re currently buying (one part water to two parts shampoo). This will reduce the harshness.

Hair Highlighting Tips

Remember when you had the spare time to lounge on the beach, spraying lemon juice from a mist bottle into your hair to create natural highlights?

If you’re like most women, those days are gone. But while your schedule is incredibly hectic, you can still get the look without basking in the sun (which, as we all know, is bad for you, anyway).

Ride the wave of light with highlights or lowlights—two techniques to create stripes of contrast throughout your hair. They can be subtle (reddish tones on brown hair) or dramatic (blonde highlights on brunette hair). You can have thick chunks of color, which continue to be popular, or a carefully selected number of thin highlighted strands for a more restrained look.

Highlights are easier to maintain than all-over, or single-process, color. They require minimal maintenance (every eight to 16 weeks), which can be desirable for women who have trouble booking long salon appointments due to time constraints.

By definition, highlights lighten and brighten your hair. Lowlights, by contrast, darken and deepen hair color. Many salons are using multi-tonal color, not limiting their palette to a single color when highlighting or lowlighting. Blending colors provides a more natural look.

Of course, other stylists use today’s technology to create much bolder statements. Joico, a Darien, Connecticut-based professional product line, teaches stylists how to create color creations like the “UV”—an abbreviation for ultraviolet light. The UV color concept features four super-dramatic highlighting colors, with vibrant shades of lavender and purple. It sounds extreme—and it definitely is daring—but it’s also a gorgeous mélange strong shadows that blend fluidly together.

For more mainstream highlighting, the process is relatively simple: Hair is sectioned by an experienced stylist, who applies color from the roots down to the selected strands. While there are many application techniques, many stylists rely on foils, folding color-treated strands into foil sheets to prevent dye from spreading. The stylist sets the timer for a designated period (depending on your natural color and the shades chosen for highlighting or lowlighting), and the strands are allowed to “process.”

Using a professional stylist is advisable, as she can mix colors, understands coloring chemistry and knows how to avoid overprocessing your hair. While stylists recommend having highlights or lowlights applied in the salon setting, there are new consumer lines that allow women to apply highlights at home. If you’re on a budget, you can try a product like L’Orea Couleur Experte, which consists of two steps:

  1. Application of all-over color, for a translucent base, using a permanent gel crème. Color is applied to dry, unwashed hair, over the full head, with an applicator bottle and left on for 25 minutes. (If you have resistant gray hairs, color should be left on for about 10 additional minutes.) When the color is set, rinse it out and towel-dry hair.

  2. Once the first step is completed, you add illuminating highlights with a special wand. For hair of one length, choose strands that frame your face (but don’t forget the back of your head). For layered hair, follow the layers’ angles, paying special attention to top layers. If you have bangs, apply highlights to wispy strands, and vary the spacing to keep the look natural. If you have curly hair, you can use the wand or even your fingertips to apply color to curls; the texture of your hair requires a bit less precision.

Always read all directions before using any highlighting or lowlighting products. Experts recommend wearing an old button-down shirt when coloring, which protects your neck and shoulders from any color drips.

To help you choose the right shade, L’Orea offers an online questionnaire, as well as instructional videos that demonstrate product application.

Clairol offers a similar product, Herbal Essences Highlights, but it does not include the base color—only the highlighting agent. The product is applied to dry hair with a highlighting comb.

If you have any concerns about home highlighting, or if you’ve never colored your hair before, take the safe road and book an appointment with a colorist.