March 19, 2012
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In a talk given to students at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Mother Dolores Hart (the Benedictine Nun who left Hollywood and a prominent movie career to follow God in a cloistered convent) said the following:

“Every woman loves her hair – that is her tribute, it is the sign of her life.” 

And isn’t it true?  (It's surprising when these words comes from a nun - but it's just as true for nuns as it is for the laity).  Most of my girlfriends have nothing but negative things to say about their 'crowning glory', but at the same time spend a good amount of time and money to make it look presentable.  I spent a large portion of my teenage years pining for hair that wasn’t mine – the aux natural curls of my friends, or the thick, full-body locks that were the opposite of my own.  But at the same time, I spent oodles of time on my hair, primping, cutting, curling, perming (I’m embarrassed to say), fluffing, spraying, and the list goes on.

I had a friend in high school in the mid-90’s who went back to her locker between every class and re-sprayed her 4 inch high bangs.  I once watched her do her hair ‘from scratch’ was amazing how she carefully and lovingly curled half her bangs skyward, and the other half to rest just above her eyes and then spray the ever-loving crap out of them.  A veritable cloud of ozone-depleting fumes followed her wherever she went, but I could tell she loved her hair! 

And so it happened as I was chatting the other night with my sister who is just finishing her apprenticeship in hair design, and we cottoned onto one of our favourite subjects – PRODUCT! 

Hi.  I’m Sarah. 

And I use at least 6 hair products just about every day, and my hair is only about 5 inches at it’s longest. 

I didn’t start out this way, it just happened. 

I’m sure that the 2 unmarried guys who are reading this post have probably choked on their coffee and fallen off their chairs at the moment.  I realize that 6 products every morning is quite…excessive.  But my sister…you remember she’s in hair design, right?  Meaning, I get products for way cheap and sometimes free?

Anyways, I thought I would give you all the rundown on my morning hair routine. 

Shampoo & Conditioner

To start at the beginning, my hair is short, and surprises most hairdressers.  It is pretty thin, but I have a lot of it, which weighs it down when it is longer than a few inches. So I end up looking like this when it grows anywhere past my chin!
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The solution to this in my childhood was for my mom and grandmother (a hairdresser) to keep it as long as possible, but perm it…every few months I looked more like this.

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I’m quite surprised I still have hair left I’ve done so much damage to it.  My natural colour is a mousy, dirty blond, but thanks to my sister, has been coloured and highlighted to a better shade.

Anyways, back to the shampoo and conditioner.   I have tried myriads of shampoos and conditioners in my 35 years.  Recently, I have been experimenting with natural types, which have included baking soda and apple cider vinegar or plain glycerin soap but these things didn’t really work for me.  Currently I use the salon exclusive Joico Body Luxe Thickening shampoo and conditioner (sister…free products…remember?).  It is a “luxuriously rich shampoo containing Oat Protein Complex” (sounds really natural to me) to “thicken each hair fiber while cleansing gently.”  This stuff works for me, and since conditioner would usually weigh my hair down exceedingly, I’m rather thrilled to find this product doesn’t, but adds some sorely needed body to my roots.  Makes me happy.


Before blowdrying, I will usually add a volumizer to the mix.  I have been using KMS California’s Add Volume Root Lift.  It does a great job when sprayed at the roots and doesn’t cause stickiness when dried.  I also really like a ShortSexy product called “Blow it up, gel foam”.  Also works well for my hair-with-no-body and doesn’t cause stickiness either. 

Thermal Protection

After blow drying and before flat ironing, I usually spritz on a thermal protective agent.  Sounds like a CIA/FBI/Secret Service-type something, but it’s not.  It’s a serum for a “silky straight look that lasts” and that “speeds up the straightening process” which I get from Goldwell Sleek Perfection thermal spray serum, which by the way smells pleasant and adds a really sweet shine.  I’m also going to be trying Paul Mitchell Hot off the Press thermal protection spray and Joico Smooth Cure thermal styling protectant only because they’re sitting in the linen closet at the moment so we shall see.

Hair wax/molding paste

Next, to combat the frizzies that come from drying and flat ironing, I use a little bit of KMS California’s hair play molding paste.  I have tried many other hair waxes and pastes and the key is to use a very small amount – or you’ll be due for another wash in 20 minutes.  KMS makes a great product that offers “exceptional texture, incredible pliability and a modern, natural finish” – which actually, is true for me.  Again, I don’t find the product too sticky (if used sparingly), and I still get a piece-y look. 

Hair spray

With all that junk in my hair already, you would think I wouldn’t want hairspray.  But I find, with my short hair, I need a little extra hold and the KMS California medium hold spray does just that for me.  It is probably, hands down, the best hairspray I’ve ever used because it doesn’t leave your hair sticky or crunchy, yet it still has a decent hold.  The wind can blow my hair all over, and yet it rests back into 'hairsprayed' place.

My sister and I 
And there you have it.  I wouldn’t suggest you run out and buy any of these products before trying them.  Many salons carry them, but each hairdresser has their favourites, which can vary depending on the individual Salon’s product lines, or the individual hairdresser’s schooling and preferences.  Next time you’re in for a haircut, you could ask to try something new and then figure out what you like.  I have bought many a dud hair product in the past, and it can be very costly if you’re not careful.

Also, if I could give any advice, I would say read the labels and buy according to your hair colour and texture.  If you have fine hair, buy products advertised for fine hair - or for hair thickening or volumizing.  If your hair is crazy beautiful curly, you want to stay away from anything that adds body, but you rather want to tame your locks a bit.  

So your turn ladies – don’t be shy.  Share your favourite routine or products.  My sister and I are always on the lookout for other great additions, including completely natural products!  What makes you look and feel your best?


  1. Argh! If you haven't hit a woman where she lives! I think of Little Women when Jo sells her hair, and one of her sisters says something about it being her one beauty. (It was probably Amy, wasn't it? Brat.)

    My hair is thick and there is lots of it. It's nearly curly when wet, but dries straight - and stiff. Every snip of the scissors is visible in it until it's grown out about a month after a cut. It takes forever to blowdry and refuses to hold a curl so I tend to resort to clips, pins, elastics, bandanas... I might have more luck if I resorted to product, but it takes sooo long my arms get tired.

    The best thing for me is a really good cut (this last one was most decidedly NOT) and a good shampoo (currently I like Garnier Fructus - a lasting clean that doesn't leave residue). I use a detangling spray instead of a conditioner.

    Greys are starting to be a problem - a blow to my ego - so I'm looking into colour options. Was it God's kindness to women that He ordained we would go grey right around the time our eyesight begins to fail? If I hold off on the bifocals, those greys that stand straight up will no longer bother me... because I can't see them.

    I was thinking of asking your sister to help me during my visit, but it seemed rude.

  2. I have an appointment to get my hair done by your sister this Thursday! Yay, so excited! It's been about a year since I've had my hair cut (er, don't tell her that.
    But she'll probably figure it out herself, anyway).

  3. Oh Tess - you should have asked her opinion. Hair is her second favourite subject to discuss, music being her first. And I always wanted thick hair...instead of my thin stuff, lucky! But if you can find something that works for you - I thought you looked marvelous last weekend.

    And Christine, have fun! I really like hair appointment days...nothing like a new 'do to make you feel good.

  4. I went to a new hair stylist the other day, because it was convenient (happened to be in the city, so forth). Bad move. I obviously didn't communicate what I wanted. She says, "Your hair is so thick!" (half-admiringly, half-annoyed) then proceeded to vigorously render the statement null and void. It was the worst job of butchery. Ever. I was so traumatized, I had to post about it on my blog. I honestly don't know what to do. I've got really ugly choppy top layers, and stringy rat's tails now. I can still pin it up with a claw clip, but do I do that for the next 3 months? Class reunion only 2 months away... :(

  5. EEks Mrs. P - we've all been there, I know I have. That is the WORST - when you pay so much money for a good haircut and it is the opposite of what you want. So sorry...I think the only thing I would try and do if it's as bad as you say is go to someone you trust to fix it. (or...go back to the place that did it and have them fix it - if it's any place worth it's salt they do it for free!!) You might have to deal with a shorter style - but at least it might be something you can live with.

    I once went to a hairstylist to chop all my hair off (I knew I wanted a short cut) and I ended up paying $80 for pretty much a trim. THe hairdresser all but refused to give me a short haircut saying that "you have such lovely hair, you wouldn't want to cut it off". Maybe you're new hair stylist should have been more like that one...

  6. Mrs. P, how wretched! Maybe its hair envy that makes some of them remove half of your hair... maybe its fear because they just don't know what to do with it.

    The women's mags all advise you insist on a consultation before anything begins - even the shampoo, because your stylist should see and handle your hair while it's dry. I wish I'd done so this last time because now I'm left with blunt ends where 'layers' (ie blunt force trauma) were inflicted, which are now frizzing up quite nicely in our unseasonally warm weather.

  7. I'm happy to report that Marie did a fabulous job. On top of giving me a lovely hairstyle, she introduced me to Moroccan oil, which makes my hair soft and supple. Three cheers!

  8. Yay Christine!! Enjoy that Moroccan oil...

  9. Thanks for the sympathy! I'm working up my courage to try a shorter cut. But it will be with a trusted stylist closer to home--I just can't bring myself to face that girl again, and tell her I HATE my hair. At least that's one lesson learned.

  10. I don't blame you for not going back. Sometimes trusted hairstylists will fix your hair for free too...I guess it depends on the extent of the hack job. ;)



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