Monday, 21 June 2010

Building Your Hair Accessories Wardrobe, Step 7

The Final Step to a Hair Accessories Collection You'll Love to Wear

Have you got a basket or drawer of hair clips you really just don't wear? There may be a hundred reasons why you are hanging on to these clips, but if you only do one thing this week, do this: if you've not worn a clip in a year throw it away.

Step 6 to building a great wardrobe of hair clips was about getting the colour balance right between neutrals and "extras".

Today I want to write about throwing your clips in the bin. This is Step 7: Remove and Replace.

Review your hair accessories collection regularly

Nothing says out of date more than something chipped, scratched or dirty. You spend a lot of money looking after your hair and having it styled, so why put an old clip in it?

At least once a year, go through your hair clip box and throw things away. Put it on your list of something to replace if it was a real treasure. As I mentioned in my post about Shopping to a Schedule, you should have a plan to be looking out for good new hair accessories a few times during the year. If you can do this, it will remove your fear about throwing away old clips.

Replacing favourite hair clips

If you have a clip or headband that really is super, make a mental note to buy a replacement before your favourite breaks. Don't assume a great design will be around forever. Us hair clip companies, we move on and come up with new designs twice a year, so a brilliant clip from 2005 may not be in production any more.

Review your colour mix

As I discussed in Step 6, three-quarters of your collection should be in what you consider to be your "neutrals", appropriate for your clothing wardrobe. However, neutrals do change with fashion and also as our skin and hair colour change over time. You might start wearing less black or find that tortoiseshell doesn't look as attractive once your hair takes on an ashy tone.

When you do your review of your collection, think carefully about the colour mix of accessories you have now and whether or not your collection needs updating.

Throwing Clips Away Makes Room For Great New Clips

Hanging on to old hair clips that don't get worn just creates clutter and makes it hard to choose hair accessories in the morning that will make your hair look great.

Throw those old clips out. Go on. Then you'll have room to treat yourself to a new classic!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Building a Great Hair Accessories Wardrobe, Step 6 ...

How to Have a Collection of Hair Accessories You'll Love to Wear

In my last post about building a great wardrobe of hair accessories , I wrote about Step 5, Shopping the Trends.

Step 6 is Get the Colour Balance Right.

Colours versus Tortoiseshell and Black

In putting together a wardrobe of clothes, you want to have your balance of staples and "extras" in colours and prints to make your choice of clothes interesting. In hair accessories, or any fashion accessories, you need a selection of staples and extras to play the same role. Having this sort of variety in your collection makes putting outfits together more fun.

Staple Colours are Your Neutrals

Staples are in colours that pretty much go with at least half of your wardrobe. This usually means tortoiseshell or black. It also includes colours you consider to be neutral in your clothing wardrobe. This could be navy blue, cream or grey but also includes all the metallics like gold, bronze, copper or silver. About three-quarters of your hair accessories collection should be in your staple colours.

All Other Colours and Patterns are "Extra"

Another quarter of your hair accessories wardrobe should be in colours that coordinate with your clothing wardrobe. So, these should be your eye-catching pieces that you might wear with an all black outfit, for example, or maybe jeans and a white oxford shirt. Then you can go for a floral print barrette or patterned silk scarf hair band.

Investment Buying and Hair Clips

Patterns and colours date as fashion moves on, so the life of your coloured designs may be about three to five years. Buying great quality fashion hair clips means they really will last three to five years and not break after a few months.

Your staple colours will not date themselves as readily and and well chosen hair clip or hair band can last from five to twenty years, depending on the style. Choosing really good quality hair claws, barrettes or hair bands means you might actually get five or more years wear out of them, provided you aren't wearing the same single clip every single day. Having a good selection of clips to choose from will prolong the life of all your favourites and it having the variety will make getting your hair ready each day more fun.

Next, look out for the final step in building a really great hair accessories wardrobe, Step 7: Remove and Replace.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Building the Perfect Hair Accessories Wardrobe, Step 5

How to Choose Hair Clips You'll Actually Love to Wear

In my last post I wrote about Step 4 to building a great collection of hair accessories that you really will love wearing, which is to Shop Regularly and Systematically.

Step 5 is about Shopping the Trends.

Fashion or Style?

There are two schools of thought on buying fashion. Some believe you need to pay attention to trends because otherwise your whole look will leave you looking tired and outdated. Others believe that once a woman is over 25, fashion is irrelevant and knowing what looks good on you translates into a personal style that transcends the shifting sands of fashion.

Both are right and both are wrong in my book. In my world, talking to women who feel time passing and can see that their bodies and hair are changing, you cannot carry your personal style that you honed in your twenties and thirties seamlessly into your forties and beyond. The fashion "tribe" that you identified with as a younger woman doesn't exist, and if it does, then it's gone underground or evolved.

You can carry artifacts, though, of this identity through your life and shopping fashion trends is a way to bring your look up to date. Before you can do this effectively, though, you need to know what styles are most flattering for you.

Hair Clips Can Easily Update Your Overall Look

Hair accessories can work into this strategy very well. You can either update your look by buying a small number of inexpensive fashion accessories (which you really should throw away at the end of the season), or you can look for one or two good quality items that fit with your personal style that will last and wear well for several years.

Either strategy works and in reality you will end up spending the same amount of money. The way to tell which way is for you is whether or not you have fun with it. Getting dressed should be fun, after all.

As I wrote about in Step 4, you should have a plan to take a look at what sort of hair clips are available several times during the year. You might not see anything you want to buy, which is fine. But it is valuable to take stock of where trends lie. Also, fashion will periodically swing your way in terms of colours and styles that will work for you and you don't want to miss a favourable tide!

Stone Bridge Will Help Your Hair Look Good

At Stone Bridge, we look for trends that we think will make you look good. This is always our priority. You will never look like you fell into a basket of haberdashery or forgot to take your hairdressing clips out before leaving the house. And if by some terrible accident you do, you can send the nasty clip back to us and get a refund. Guaranteed.

In my next post, Step 6 for building a great hair accessories collection is about getting the right colour balance.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Adding To Your Hair Accessories Wardrobe, Step 4

How to Choose Hair Clips You'll Actually Love to Wear

In my last post, Step 3 to building your dream hair accessories wardrobe was about Knowing What Works For You

Step 4 is to Shop Systematically

When you have a favourite hair clip that you know holds your hair reliably and properly, reaching for the same clip every day can make you blind to the fact that your old stand-by is getting worn around the edges.

Like a brilliant coat or your dream shoes, all elements of your wardrobe need to be replaced and updated so that you don’t end up looking like you’re stuck in a rut.

Shop for Your Everyday Classics Twice a Year

The solution – both for clothes and for hair accessories – is to shop regularly to make sure your basics are replaced in a timely way. Don’t wait until they’re so old they break. French handmade hair accessories can last decades. So if you wait that long, you really won’t be able to replace it as odds are your favourite hair clip won’t be in production any more.

When I say shop, by the way, I don't necessarily mean buy. Only buy a clip if it will do the job for you. The idea is to keep your eyes open and to shop with a plan. That way when you see a design that is perfect for you, you are buying on purpose rather than on impulse. Over the long term, this will keep your hair clip basket from getting cluttered with unworn designs.

My advice is to look for good, classic hair accessories twice a year, usually January and June. If you can shop when you don’t need a new clip, it takes the pressure off your buying decision, meaning you’ll end up with a new clip that really will work well for you and in a style that is up to date.

When is the best time to pick up Seasonal Designs?

For more seasonal or fashion focused hair accessories, it’s best to shop at the beginning of each season so you’ll have the pick of all the best colours. Most of our designs are produced in small runs, and popular colours and styles do just sell out. Signing up for my weekly emails is the best way to make sure you get an early look at our newest products.

We start to introduce spring colours the last week of February, Summer colours come in at mid-May. The best selection of our Autumn collection is the first week of September, while our winter designs are best shopped for the last week of October and the week right before Christmas (something for you to look forward to after doing all that shopping for other people!).

Shopping To a Plan Means A Collection That Really Works For You

By shopping for accessories little and often, and to a schedule you will gradually build a working wardrobe of hair clips that will mean your hair is prepared all year, whatever the occasion.

The next step to building a hair accessories collection you love, is Step 5, Know How to Shop the Trends.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Building the Perfect Hair Accessories Wardrobe, Step 3

How to Choose Hair Clips You'll Actually Love to Wear

Step 2 to building your hair accessories wardrobe was to plan ahead, particularly for hair accessories to wear to black tie events.

Step 3 is all about Knowing What Works For You

Buying hair accessories is like shopping for a dress

Shopping for hair clips is just like shopping for a dress. There are a lot of fantastic dresses out there, but they aren’t all going to look great on you. You need to know your body shape and what styles, colours and patterns work best for you to make dress shopping easier.

The same is true for hair accessories. Alice bands, for example vary in width from a super skinny 3 mm up to several inches wide. They can be very simple or extremely ornate in their design. Whether they look chic on you or not is completely down to your face shape and which width and style is most flattering for you. Come watch my video for just a few pointers on how to tell if a wide or skinny hair band is right for you.

The same applies for hair claws and barrettes. Getting the right size, balanced with the needs of your hair and in scale with your profile takes experimentation. Not all hair clips are the same. Not by a long stretch. Here is just one video I made with a few ideas on choosing the right length hair claw for your hair.

Stone Bridge Can Find the Right Hair Clip for Your Hair

At Stone Bridge, we have over 1000 different hair clips in stock and we can help match you with the right size and style of clip so that you get not only the hold you like, but a look that is flattering and grown up.

We also have a 28 Day Satisfaction Guarantee so you can try different styles to truly learn what suits your hair best.

Just because a hair band or clip is “in style” doesn’t mean it will make you or your hair look good. You will always look better with hair clips that suit your hair and personal style than you will with a clip that is merely fashionable.

Knowing which clips and hair bands flatter your face will save you buying useless hair accessories that just sit in your drawer unused and unloved. Learning how to style your hair on a day-to-day basis in a way that is comfortable and that also makes your hair look great makes getting ready in the morning fun.

Step 4 to building a great hair accessories collection is about Shopping Methodically ...

Monday, 14 June 2010

Building Your Hair Accessories Wardrobe, Step 2 ...

How to Choose Hair Clips You'll Actually Love to Wear

Step 1 in building a wardrobe of hair accessories you'll use and love was about thinking before buying. Step 2 is about planning ahead, particularly for special events.

Your hair and your face shape do not generally change dramatically from one year to the next. And usually the best time to buy formal wear is when you don't need it. That way you aren't desperately scrabbling around the shops, praying to find something both appropriate and flattering.

The same is true in choosing hair accessories for a black tie event. You can have a relatively small collection of alice bands and clips which you know will hold your hair properly and comfortably, making the question of how to wear your hair on the day not only simple, but fun.

Choose Hair Accessories You Know Work For You

Start with styles you know will hold your hair. For most events, adapting the way you like to put up your hair on a day-to-day basis will mean you'll have more success creating a dressy style for a formal event. Ponytails, half-up styles and pleats can all be elevated simply by using dressier hair accessories than you use every day.

Sticking with the size claw or barrette clasp you normally wear means you will have the hold you are used to, making your hair feel comfortable. This will allow you to relax and actually enjoy the event, rather than nipping off to the ladies' all evening to check how your hair looks.

Pick Classic Colours

Unless you have a bold personal style with colour, don't choose hair accessories the same colour as your dress. Choosing an eye catching hair clip will limit your jewellery choices as your clip will draw a lot of attention. A good half-way point between show-stopping and conservative is to pick a clip in either white or topaz crystal. The crystal will give your hair impressive glitter, but won't be over the top in the colour department.

You will also get more value out of such a clip as it will work with any formal outfit you might buy over the years. Plus you don't grow out of hair clips the same way you might grow out of a dress!

Buy Formal Accessories Before You Need Them

Shopping for formal accessories when you don't need them means you have time to try them properly at home and return or exchange them if they aren't appropriate.

This is the time to try different widths of headbands, for example, to see which is most flattering for your face and head shape. Dressy combs can be worn in a huge number of ways, so having one ready and waiting in your wardrobe will give you the opportunity to experiment and find new ways of using your comb.

Buy Your Accessories First, The Dress Last

I love accessorising and you can get much more wear out of a Little Black Dress by having a collection of accessories to mix and match. The summer version of this is to have a Little White Dress always waiting in your cupboard which you know fits and looks nice on you.

By having a strategy to always be on the lookout for hair clips that work for your hair and buying them before you need them, you will always be ready for any formal event and avoid panic purchases which end up staying in your drawer, unworn.

The next step to building a great hair accessories collection is Step 3, Know What Works For You ...

Classic Stone Bridge Hair Accessories for Formal Events

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Building a Wardrobe of Hair Accessories, Step 1

How to Choose Hair Clips You'll Actually Love to Wear

Do you ever look in your closet and see loads of clothes, but nothing you actually want to wear? This is very common. Most of us have a lot of clothes to choose from but we're still frustrated every morning when it's time to get ready for the day.

The same problem can apply to accessories, and hair accessories in particular. Because accessories are often a last thought when putting an outfit together, you can find you are always reaching for the same conservative hair clips you wear every day in black or tortoiseshell, just because it "goes with everything." And the more interesting accessories you own are left in the drawer again, unworn.

By thinking a little bit about how you like to dress when you buy your hair clips, you can over time build a wardrobe of hair accessories that work with your existing clothes and better reflect your personal style.

Step 1: Purchase with care.

Before you buy, think about how you will style your hair with your new clip. Is it a style you are comfortable with already? Most of us like to wear our hair up the same way every day because it gives us confidence that we can predict that our hair will "look okay" like that, and we like the way it feels for us in that style. Choosing a clip that is very different from your normal habit may end up unworn.

Think about how the design works with the clothes you already own. Is it a colour and style that you can wear with at least three outfits you have? If so, then it will be a successful addition to your collection that you will have plenty of opportunities to wear and enjoy.

The next post is about Step 2: Plan Ahead ...

Friday, 11 June 2010

Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion hair care products review

Cassia and Pantene's Nature Fusion line.
Does it do anything? Read to find out...
You know I've got this nerdy streak that makes me unnaturally interested in shampoo formulas (not to mention hair accessories)?

I was troubled not too long ago by repeatedly coming across marketing information from Procter and Gamble about Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion with Cassia flower extract.

The marketing proclaims the new formulas are a perfect combination of nature and technology, the best of both worlds.

My favourite line is that this shampoo that gives you beautiful hair just as nature intended.

That comment threw me for some time and I had difficulty taking this product at all seriously.

After spending several weeks trying to get to the bottom of this exciting new development and not getting any help at all from P and G’s “explanations” I at last uncovered research done by the company a few years back on how Cassia based extracts could improve on current shampoo formulas.

What is a "Conditioning" Shampoo?

In the 1970’s cosmetic scientists discovered cationic polymers that could be added to shampoo which helped protect wet hair from incurring damage during shampooing and wet-styling (also known as "combing").

These polymers introduced a few problems, namely they can interfere with the shampoo lathering (but not cleaning, note) as well as introduce some aesthetic issues in appearance and feel of the shampoo.

About four years ago, P and G isolated an extract of the galactomannan part of the Cassia flower and tested it against currently available cationic polymers used in shampoo.

The cassia formula outperformed traditional conditioning shampoos as a carrier of conditioning ingredients and in reducing friction damage in the hair.

More interestingly, the cassia extract formed a lasting protective film over the hair that did not immediately wash out.

Does this Mean Cassia is Good For Your Hair?

What does this mean to you and me? It means if you want to abuse your hair, this new Pantene Pro-V Cassia formula may be the magic in a bottle you’ve been looking for.

It will not repair damaged hair, but it may be a more agreeable alternative to all the silicone-based “repair and protect” formulas available on the market now.

While I do not have complete information on all the products in this new range, my personal suspicion is that if you are already pretty careful in how you treat your hair when it is wet and most vulnerable to damage, the conditioner may be the only product worth adding to your hair styling arsenal.

If you use and abuse your hair, actively heat styling from damp, the shampoo might help protect your hair a bit better than your existing shampoo.

If you have fine, straight hair, skip the conditioner and have a go with just the shampoo, but you might find it weighs your hair down.

Now that’s nice, isn’t it? A real scientific improvement. How about that.

If you're interested, you can read more articles here about shampoo and what it does.


Enjoying yourself? Don't stop now!

More posts you'll like reading:

Barrettes Perfect For Fine Hair  Tutorial Video
"Why Don't You Have More Pictures With Hair Clips In The Hair?"
Business, Politics, Sex and Science: 5 Fresh Ideas For Your Hair

All done reading?

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories for the UK's largest selection of French handmade hair clips you'll love.

Accessorising with Hair Accessories

Brillant Hair Clips Are Best Worn On Their Own

A salesperson phoned me this morning and made me v. angry so I finished off a Polyvore set I had started yesterday to calm myself down. I actually wore a very similar outfit to this last night (my shoes are much nicer than these, but you get the idea). Now I feel much better. There's nothing like choosing accessories to focus the mind.

One thing you might notice in the outfits I put together is that if I choose an outstanding hair clip or hair band, I don't pair it with any jewellery. As a rule of thumb, you should only choose two accessories to go anywhere near your head. Any more than that and you start looking like a Christmas tree.

So if you're going for hair clips, you should choose either earrings or a necklace, but not both. If your jewellery needs to be centre of attention, then the hair clip should be small or subtle, toning in with your hair colour if possible.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Slippery Hair? How to make your hair clips grip better ...

Give your favourite hair clips and hair bands a better hold

I had a chat yesterday with one of our customers. She loves our silk scarf style headbands, but was finding that some hair bands were too slippery on her head. Did I have any suggestions?

Now, I've not done this myself, but a few customers have given their hair claws and hair slides a better grip by lining the inside edge with a strip of felt. Just cut a little pad for the place that feels slippy on your head, glue it along the inside edge, and that's it.

The felt is gentle on your hair and it will either grip your hair better than the smooth surface you normally get on many hair clips, or it will fill in the excess space if you simply have a clip that is slightly too large for the amount of hair you have.

The Cause of Slippery Hair

Slippery hair is often caused by using too much conditioner or by using styling products containing silicone. You can reduce the slip in your hair (and often improve the texture and volume of your hair) by conditioning less often. You can read much more about this by subscribing to my Free Healthy Hair Advice articles, where I go into what conditioner is and what it's really for in great detail.

Click here to sign up and learn more about hair care and styling products. You can unsubscribe from these articles any time by just clicking the link at the bottom of the email, no problem.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Using Your Ficcare Maximas for a Ponytail Style ...

Last week I showed you how to use a Ficcare Maximas hair clip to make a French pleat style with your hair.

As you probably know by now, the Ficcare Maximas is one of my favourite hair clips. You can also use the small size to make a smart looking ponytail. It's a great alternative to using hair elastics, and much gentler on your hair. But they don't work so well if you have slippery or fine hair. But if you've got medium to thick hair with a bit of texture, here's a video for you showing you how.

As always, a little bit of the right gets a bit cut off here on the blog. If this is too annoying for you, you can go to the Stone Bridge website to see both of my videos about using the Maximas clip.

How to Use the Ficcare Maximas hair clip to make a Ponytail

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Another French Pleat Style, Using Ficcare Maximas hair clips

Melissa Shows You How to Use a Ficcare Maximas Hair Clip to Make a French Twist or Pleat

Ficcare is such a cool company. In general, we have a bias towards hair clips made in France, but these Americans really know how to make great hair accessories .

My personal favourite is the Ficcare Maximas clip and I've had bazillions of questions about how you use them.

So I made a little video for you showing you how to use a Ficcare Maximas to make a French pleat style.

As usual, the video is a little skew-wiff here on the blog, and if this bugs you, you can click here to watch the video on the Stone Bridge website , or you can visit us on YouTube to see all my hair styling and advice videos.

What's So Great About the Maximas Clip?

If you've heard me go on and on about the Maximas before and thought "That's a lot of money for just one clip" I wish you could see some of the thank you letters we've received from customers who finally decided to try one (knowing they could return them to us if the Maximas was not 100% perfect for their hair). We've received odes to the Maximas, songs and artwork all about how amazing and comfortable the Maximas is.

We just think they're awesome and really hope you'll give one a try for yourself to see if they work for you. Remember, you're totally covered by our Satisfaction Guarantee - Love your hair or your money back.

In the words on one recent customer, "It's just a clip, but oh, what a hair clip!"

Watch the video, and if you've struggled to find a clip that will hold all your hair properly, come take a look at our full range of Ficcare clips.