Sunday, 30 December 2012

Stone Bridge Best Hair Accessories of the Year

Before you start your New Year shopping, you might want to check this list…

Over the course of 2012, we followed your choices, evaluated your feedback, listened to every comment…

To make it onto the list of Best Hair Accessories, a Stone Bridge hair clip really had to get appreciation, kudos and lots of love from you.

Here, at Stone Bridge, we take the word "best" very seriously.

After analyzing and reviewing we present you these beautiful hair clips that you fell in love with this year:

 Barrette of the Year: Arc Oval Barrette 





What you see is what you get. It's a shortcut to a perfect ponytail.

You told us you in particular love the rich shine and classic colours of this barrette.

Check out what one fan had to say:

"Since the barrette arrived, I've been really enjoying experimenting with different updos. The barrette is really comfy, great quality and the caramel horn looks great with my dark blonde hair."


Claw of the Year: Rectangle Large Claw 



It was love at first hold that turned into a lasting relationship.

But don't take our word for it ...

"I have a huge amount of hair and trash cheap clips and clamps in no time either by bursting the springs or dropping them and shattering the plastic. The Stonebridge ones are in a different league. Beautifully made, with top quality springs and hand finishing. I suspect in the end, I will spend less by buying these gorgeous long lasting version let alone how much better they look and work in my hair."

Hair Band of the Year: Super Comfy Half Inch Classic Headband




You can't always judge a headband by its look.

You were so pleased with its comfort that you ordered this one for your sisters, mothers and friends.

As one happy customer wrote:

"The reason I purchased a hairband was the promise that I would have no discomfort behind my ears when wearing it. I wore it for a few days and it molded to my head shape and I now can wear it anytime knowing it will never hurt me. I know I can buy hairbands much cheaper but I have no comfort wearing them so I do think yours are worth the money."


We are happy as Larry with everyone who are enjoying their beautiful Stone Bridge hair clips and sharing the feedback with us to make them even better.


Want to share your own favourites? Click to write your review now.

New Year is coming up quick and dare I say... Whether you have Fine hair or Thick hair, the future is bright. And very exciting.

Visit Stone Bridge for more elegant hair clips and headbands

Monday, 17 December 2012

What Diet Is Optimal For Growing Longer Hair?

Chances are, you're doing all the right things already!

Fact: You cannot grow longer hair
by taking dietary supplements.
Last week you learned a bit about how important it is to protect the cuticle of your hair, as an intact cuticle makes your hair look better and easier to style on a day to day basis.

Have you had a chance to look at the hair accessories you use?

Could they use upgrading?

At Stone Bridge, we are a bit fanatical about the quality of clips we carry.

We do carry some less expensive clips because sometimes you don’t want to wear a nice clip to the gym or to muck out the horses.

But on the whole I do feel you should plump for the best clip you can afford.

They are often more gentle on your hair and they last longer.

Good For Pigs. Good For You?


Anyway, I wanted to talk to you today about diet and vitamins and how hair grows on us humans.

I mention I’m interested in how hair grows on humans because the most promising research demonstrating hair growth following a regime of increased niacin and biotin was conducted on commercially reared pigs fed a soy and corn diet.

The fact that pigfeed supplemented with vitamins resulted in longer and stronger hooves has not been shown to be of the slightest bit of use to humans (and not just because we don’t have hooves).

All clinical trials attempting to repeat this miracle for pigs on humans has shown no effect at all.

Deficiencies in iron and zinc, two other popularly cited cure-alls for hair loss, show most promise if you suffer from hair loss and happen in particular to be under the age of 8 months, more or less.

The hard facts are that unless you are clinically undernourished at the moment, you cannot grow longer, thicker, stronger or shinier hair by taking vitamins.

So put your money away.

The density or number of hairs on your head and the thickness of the individual hairs is genetically determined.


Aim For A Generally Balanced Diet


Where diet has shown a little effectiveness in clinical trials is in when the hair is thinning, with age or very poor health.

Ensuring you have a nutritionally adequate diet can help a little to preserve the number of active follicles on your head.

If you experience rapid weight loss, this can cause your hair to thin, but it may be tied again to your overall nutrition.

However, if you already have a reasonable diet, taking vitamins or herbal supplements is honestly not going to improve your hair.


Follicle Activity Is Hormonally Driven


Your follicles can begin to become inactive if you have a sudden change in hormones such as in pregnancy, the onset of menopause, during periods of extraordinary or prolonged stress, or by taking medication that effects hormone production.

While a number of different types of therapies are still being tested, there remains really only one treatment, Minoxidil marketed most commonly under the brand Regaine, that have been reliably clinically proven to show some ability to wake up otherwise inactive follicles.

Minoxidil works, in theory, by stimulating the growth of blood vessels which support individual follicles, allowing an increased flow of oxygen and nutrients to the follicle.

There is no form of diet or nutritional supplement which will encourage your body to grow these specific blood vessels in this particular way.

Ultimately, if you have a fundamentally good diet and are in average health, you will be taking in all the nutrients you need to grow healthy hair.

It really is as simple as that. There are a small number of health conditions that can cause your hair to thin, and if your hair loss is noticeable then you should consult your GP.

But vitamin supplements aimed at hair and nail growth are well and truly a waste of money.


This is the last of my Free Hair Styling Help articles and I hope you found this information helpful.

Remember, if you ever want to talk in detail about your hair, get in touch.

Drop us a line anytime. We love talking about hair, and we’d love to hear from you.

***

Enjoying yourself? Here are more posts you'll like reading:

A Rolled Under Half Back Style  Video Tutorial
How To Use Banana Clips  Video Tutorial
Herbal Treatments for Dandruff  More Natural Remedy Myth-Busting

All done reading? Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories for some good, honest hair clips that don't fool around.



Thursday, 13 December 2012

How To Stop Hair Damage

Get Healthy, Manageable Hair By Doing Less

Hair like old rope? The solution is easier than you think.
In the last article I sent you, you learned about the ingredients that the shampoo companies hype up in their products that are not really doing anything for your hair.

Have you changed over your brand of shampoo and conditioner yet?

Have you noticed how long that bottle of shampoo is lasting you now?

I hope the information I’ve shared so far has been helpful to you.

Today, though, is a really important article.

Here we get to the crux of how to grow healthy hair.

For the vast majority of women, your hair follicles are probably doing a pretty good job on their end, growing hair.

So your job is just to look after your hair as it lengthens, keep it conditioned and protect it from damage.

How does hair get damaged?

Cross section of a strand of hair.
Our hair, generally speaking, consists of two parts: the cortex (and in some women, also the medulla) at the centre, and the cuticle.

The cortex is a very fragile structure made of long stringy proteins, porous like a sponge, that contains the elements that give your hair most of the qualities that are unique to you: colour, elasticity, strength, and texture.

This delicate material needs protecting, and that is the job of the cuticle.

Split ends are actually where the cuticle has completely broken away, uncovering the unravelling end of your cortex!

No product in the world is going to glue your split ends permanently back together.

This is why the only cure for split ends is a hair cut, followed by a good hair care routine that maintains and protects the cuticle.

The cuticle is a series of layers (usually about seven) of scales made of the protein keratin, which overlap like roof tiles. This arrangement allows the hair to swell and shrink with moisture content.

These scales are there to take a beating, and when we talk about damaging your hair, we are talking about damage to these cuticle scales.

These scales, as I’ve mentioned, are not living.

They cannot grow back or repair themselves.

Once you have blown through all the layers of the cuticle, there is nothing left to protect the cortex, the damage is irreversible and the hair breaks.

As far as you and I are concerned, care of the cuticle is the very foundation of maintaining healthy hair.


The Four Most Common Causes of Damage




Chemicals.


Colouring and perming chemicals do the most damage, as the way they work is by swelling the hair to such an extent that the cortex can be altered, either by changing the pigment when you colour it, or by chemically destroying the sulphur bonds that give your hair its naturally curly or straight texture.

This process roughs up the edges of all the scales right through the entire cuticle, not just the outside.

For this reason, in my opinion, all hair colouring, relaxing and perming should be done by a trained stylist and not at home.

You only want to subject your hair to this process once, and thereafter only touch up from the roots.

If you have fine hair, you should only do one process or the other, either a perm or colour, but not both. A good professional hairstylist will never agree to do both procedures to fine hair.

Ideally, for really healthy hair, you should not subject your hair to any chemical treatment at all.

But it’s fun and a lot of women don’t like their hair going grey, so there are good reasons to colour and perm your hair, too. And if you decide you’ve had enough with the chemicals, you can just grow your hair out and start again.

So don’t believe any company that tells you they have a gentle colouring or perming product. There is no such thing. And conditioning afterwards will not reverse the damage.


Friction.


Even if you are quite saintly and never colour or perm your hair, most of the damage to your cuticle is caused by the hairs rubbing against each other. This is where your good conditioning habits will pay dividends. Friction includes wearing your hair down loose, especially on a windy day, brushing, back combing or teasing and just ‘messing’ with your hair too frequently during the day.

If your hair tangles or knots easily, this is a classic symptom of damage to the cuticle. The scales are literally ruffled up and catching on each other, causing your hair to snarl.

To minimise damage while getting the tangles out of your hair, never brush your hair when it is wet, even with conditioner in it.

Use your fingers and waggle them as you very gently comb them through your hair. Your hands are the best grooming tool you possess, as the skin on your hands cannot damage your cuticle.

To further protect your hair during the day, the best thing you can do is (now I would say this, wouldn’t I?) to use very good quality hair accessories to wear your hair up.

The kindest type of accessories to use are the ones that do not bind your hair at all, such as combs, forks and hair sticks.

Tucking your hair up into a hat is also a great way to protect it when you are outside. The next best alternative, if your hair is too slippery, are either very fat hair elastics or hair claws which have smoothed and polished edges.

Finally, barrettes and slides can cut into the cuticle, so I recommend using barrettes that have only the best clasps, which are still only made in France using sprung steel with hand finished and smoothed edges.

The good news is that very good quality French hair accessories, while expensive, should last for several years, so are actually good value as well as kind on your hair.


Heat.


Styling using straighteners, curling tongs and blow driers causes quite a lot of damage.

Hair driers can actually strengthen hair, but only when used on a medium or low heat and held at least six inches away from your hair.

Most people use driers as a way to straighten their hair, though, and this causes a lot of damage.

What happens when using these tools on wet or damp hair is that the water in the cortex of the hair can start to boil and the steam will actually blow holes in the cuticle.

There are products that claim to “heat protect” your hair.

They can do a bit, but the way most women use irons and driers, along with pulling the hair straight with styling brushes, is more abuse than these “heat protecting” products can stand up to.

My recommendation is to learn to work with your natural hair texture. This can be a steep learning curve.

It sure was for me.

When I decided to stop fighting my hair every morning I was shocked to find my hair springing into long loose ringlets.

I literally never knew I had curly hair until I stopped wrestling it into shape. Now I love my hair and I receive complements on my curls all the time.

All hair textures have their own unique advantages, the most valuable of which is that when you respect your hair’s natural tendencies and ensure that it is kept healthy and undamaged, you spend almost no time styling it in the morning.


Sun.


UV rays affect your hair in two ways. UVA rays break down pigment molecules in your hair which turns them a pale sludgy colour, which is why sun faded hair can look brassy or, in the case of silver or ash hair tones, unattractively yellow.

UVB rays, after a lot of exposure, break down the sulphur bonds in your hair, which eventually affects the strength and texture of your hair.

However, this is really only relevant if you spend a lot of time outdoors when the sun is most intense, use sunbeds very frequently or live in a very sunny country.

Hair styling products containing sunblock are not effective.

They either wash out or fall out of your hair very easily.

You only really need to be concerned about sun damage if you colour your hair, have naturally white or grey hair, or if you have longer than shoulder-length hair.

To protect your hair colour, the only effective solution is a hat or scarf. For long hair, it is helpful to wear your hair up in a chignon, pleat or twist style so that the ends of your hair are covered and secure.



Protecting your hair from damage is the single best way to have healthy looking hair. Fortunately this is completely free.

The more disciplined you are about looking after your hair, your hair will reward you by not only behaving more often on a day to day basis, but by also responding well to more extreme styling when you need it for those formal occasions.

In the final article which I'll be posting next week, I'll deal with one of the biggest scams the industry is trying to pull over women wishing for longer, stronger hair.

Next week you will learn the shocking *real deal* on diet and vitamins and their relationship to hair growth.


***

Enjoying yourself? Don't stop now ...

Here are some more posts you'll enjoy:

Grow Your Hair Longer, Faster? Well, Don't Buy This
Hair Clips And Men  What Men Really Think?

All done reading? Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories and check out our range of hair clips that won't damage your hair.

***


Monday, 10 December 2012

Weird And Wonderful Shampoo Ingredients That Provide Little To No Benefit To Your Hair

Read This And You, Like Me, Can Stand In The Haircare Aisle And Laugh At Shampoo Bottles

Nice to eat, but good for hair?
You know how lots of teenagers find their parents embarrassing in public?

Well, I probably win the prize.

Yes, I think I am more embarrassing to my children than you are to yours.

When I go to the chemists, my favourite pasttime is to stand in the shampoo aisle, read the ingredients labels and laugh like hyena.

You can imagine my daughters' discomfort as they try to shove me along singing out, "Time to take you back to the Home, Mother."

Last week I shared with you the reality about conditioner and how it is an important part of protecting your hair from damage.

But there are limits.

The shampoo companies won’t tell you that.

They won’t say, "Our product is pretty good but it won’t do everything."

They figure you want to hear that they've got the answer to whatever grieves you most about your hair and they put it in a bottle for you (even though it is possible their products caused the problem in the first place).

They will tell you what they think you want to hear and then charge you more for the privilege of listening to their half-truths.

Which do *you* want? Half truths or the whole truth?


Here is the real truth. Are you ready for it?

The only way to have healthy hair is to protect it from damage.

Once the damage is done, the only cure is to have a haircut and start again, taking better care of your hair this time as you grow it out.

But I’ll explain more about how hair gets damaged, and how you can prevent it (and it doesn’t involve anything you can buy in a bottle – except maybe a normal conditioner) in another article.

This week, I want to tell you some of the thrilling scientific discoveries the beauty industry has made and how these are of practically no benefit whatsoever to the health of your hair. This is the truth.

Proteins that feed your hair.

First, I need to deal with the idea that you can "feed" your hair with "proteins."

This drives me nuts every time I hear it.

The premise is that because hair is constructed from protein, we need to rub protein or amino acids (the building blocks that make proteins) on our hair to "rebuild" or "feed" it.

The only benefit that protein has in taking care of our hair is one of mildly conditioning it.

This means that the protein molecules deposit themselves along the length of the hair and form a temporary protective film around it.

Proteins that are included in shampoos do not bind effectively to the cuticle and just get washed away as soon as you rinse out the shampoo.

There may be a minor reduction in your hair tangling while the shampoo is actually in your hair, which might help if you have long hair and you pile it onto the top of your head while you scrub away building up a big lather.

But hopefully now you know that this method of washing your hair is not effective anyway.

Most women do not need to wash their hair to the ends – unless your hair fell into your plate at lunchtime – merely the hair closest to their scalp.

If you have dry or damaged hair, these “advanced formula” shampoos will not give you any benefit.

None. They will not solve your problem in the slightest.

Any reasonable normal conditioner left on your hair for as long as possible will do much more for you than shampoos like these. This applies to all the fancy proteins these companies dream up: silk proteins, rice protein, wheat germ, soya based protein...

The list goes on and on.

All of it is hooey.

The only reason in my book to buy one of these products is because it smells really, really nice.

I think that is a good thing to pay for, and at least you know what it is doing for you – smelling nice!

Plant and vegetable extracts.

There are plant extracts that do have medical benefits, but generally you have to apply them to your skin or eat them.

In a shampoo or conditioner they are washed away and they will have very little chance to do their magic.

Shampoo companies know this, so they include the legal minimum amount in their formula that still allows them to brag about it on the label.

Then they charge you more. Simple.

Plant extracts don’t tend to cling very well to the hair cuticle so they don’t even stay on your hair very long if they do manage to survive washing and styling, plus many are unstable when exposed to light so they break down and stop working.

There are a limited number of exceptions to this rule, with the introduction for example of a formula using a type of cassia extract which I reviewed in 2010. But they are few and far in between.

Finally, just because something comes from a plant doesn’t stop it from being toxic.

I’m sure you know this, but its always worth reminding people that lots of poisons are derived from plants.

And plenty of plant extracts can cause an allergic or irritating reaction or sun sensitivity in your skin.

There are fancy hair care products on the market, completely legally, that contain some of these ingredients.

Most main brand shampoos and conditioners do not because they don’t want trouble from their customers.

Vitamins.

Your hair, once it leaves the follicle in your scalp, is dead material.

No amount of vitamins in a shampoo or conditioner or styling gel is going to do the slightest bit of good.

There has been no research showing their effectiveness for hair, because the shampoo companies know that any clinical test will show absolutely nothing.

Panthenol and biotin, which are B vitamins, provide a conditioning benefit that is similar to how proteins coat the hair.

But there is absolutely no nutritional benefit to vitamins in your hair styling products.

Again, companies include these ingredients in the smallest legally allowed quantities that still let them promote their presence on the packaging.

UV Protection.

This is a big topic in itself, but I shall be brief and say that yes, the sun fades and can cause damage to the structure of your hair.

Unfortunately the sun block put into shampoos and styling products offer little to no protection because, like most other additives, these ingredients do not bond well to the cuticle and just fall or wash out of your hair.

If you have curly or very long hair, the best way to protect your hair from intense sun (so this is really only if you are a tennis player, spend a lot of time on sunbeds, or live in a very sunny place) is to wear a hat.

The next best alternative is to wear your hair up in a chignon, pleat or twist style so that the ends of your hair are protected.

Clarifying shampoos.

This one cracks me up.

A clarifying shampoo is one that just cleans your hair and hasn’t been mucked up with silicone, plant extracts, exotic proteins, waxes or any other useless additive that probably doesn’t need to be in there anyway.

And best of all, because these are “clarifying” your hair, they’ll charge you more for the job they should be doing anyway.

The theory goes, you should alternate your clarifying shampoo with your moisturising/volumising/ice-gleaming/soul destroying shampoo so that you don’t get too much build up on your hair.

The crazy thing, of course, is that if you just use a normal shampoo in a very dilute form very occasionally in the first place, you don’t need to be clarified.

It’s a genius way to get you to buy two bottles of shampoo to keep in your shower rather than just the one.

I sound a bit anti big business, but I’m not really.

I just believe in being informed and knowing what you are paying for. The fact is that you can take really good care of your hair at home for really very little money.

The shampoo companies don’t want you to know this. However, there are situations and added ingredients that really can improve and help protect your hair, but again only to a point.

In next week's article, I explain how hair gets damaged and how you can minimise this with ridiculously easy changes to your daily hair care routine.

***

Enjoying yourself? Don't stop now ...

Here are some more posts you'll enjoy:

Product Review: Tangle Teezer Styler
Scarf Headbands Right For Your Hair  Tutorial Video
Can You Believe Your Eyes? Not Always.  Beauty Industry Scandal

All done reading? Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories for some lovely quality hair clips you probably can't live without.

***



Thursday, 6 December 2012

Conditioner: Miracle or Waste Of Time?

How To Ride The Fine Line Between Frizz Management And Flyaways

Conditioner: "Is This Really Necessary?"
In my last post we talked about two very common complaints women have about their hair.

It either goes frizzy or limp.

In either case it makes us feel like our hair is not healthy.

We looked at shampoo and how its job is pretty limited and that it really is not the magic bullet that will give us healthy hair. In fact, used inappropriately, shampoo may be at best, a waste of money, and at worst, actually contributing to the damage.

 Have you experimented yet with using less (or even no) shampoo? It’s a scary step to take. It goes against generations of advertising efforts telling us how glorious our hair will look.

For a first step, try your experiment on a day you don’t plan to go out, so if you aren’t impressed with the results you won’t feel like a scarecrow.

For a longer experiment, try it during, say, a camping trip or some time when how your hair looks won’t completely stress you out.

It will take time for both you and your hair to get used to the new routine, so I do encourage you to persist with the experiment.

Be brave! It’s worth it!

The next product that makes lots of promises (though less than shampoo, interestingly) is conditioner.

In this article I will explain to you what conditioner really does for your hair, and what it really does not do.

Conditioner is a crucial part of your hair care routine.


For our two hair type problems, frizziness and limpness, conditioner is a critical part of your hair care routine – more important than shampoo, in my opinion.

If you have hair that frizzes you probably need MORE conditioner, more often.

You might even want to try using a leave in conditioner, depending on how frizzy or damaged your hair is. For limp hair, you need LESS conditioner, LESS often.

Look for the lightest conditioner you can find. After shampooing your hair, first run your fingers very gently through your hair. If you can run your hands through easily, you don’t need any conditioner that day. If you encounter some snarls, only apply a tiny amount of conditioner to the very ends of your hair (or the location where your hair tends to tangle, usually the nape of the neck).

You only need conditioner to help the tangles slip out of your hair and prevent damage. Do not apply conditioner to the whole of your head.

You don’t need it and it is contributing to the limpness and slippery texture of your hair, which makes it very hard to style or clip up.

Again, my favourite main brands are TreSemme and Pantene, which I recommend because the price is great, you can find them in pretty much any shop, and the formulas are just the basic minimum that your hair requires. No messing about with funny added extras that are a waste of money.

There are other perfectly good brands, but these two are, in my opinion, the best for the price.

What is conditioner and what is it supposed to be doing?


Conditioners are fundamentally made from protein molecules that cling to and coat the hair cuticle.

This makes your hair feel smoother and softer. It also builds a temporary protective film over the cuticle of your hair, which is great and it helps bolster the natural sebum from your scalp.

If you are prone to damaged, dry hair, you need conditioner to maintain the health of your hair. 

However, generally speaking conditioner will not ‘feed’, fix, mend, repair or restructure your hair.

A very recent exception to this rule of thumb are the new "split end" formulas. These are chemically pretty amazing, and they do work. But there are some very real drawbacks.

Read my review of TRESemme's Split Remedy Conditioner (where we went from ecstatic to impressed to not-so-much over a 12 month period).

"Colour Protect" type formulas can, in a limited way, help slow fading if you use a permanent hair colour, as it will slow the pigment molecules from falling out of your hair.

But conditioner is not a miracle.

It does its simple but valuable job of coating the hair for about a day or two.

For hair that tends to frizz, to get the maximum benefit from conditioner apply a generous amount to your hair and leave it in as long as possible before rinsing.

It is worth experimenting with leave-in conditioners as well, to see if this makes a difference for you.

 If you suffer from split ends, your conditioner may ‘glue’ the ends back together again for a few hours, but it is not a long-term solution and it won’t stop the damage from migrating up the length of your hair.

I will tell you more about split ends in a later article.

Does conditioner "penetrate the hair?"


Can conditioner penetrate the hair? Some ingredients can, but as your hair is porous, the molecules tend to fall out as easily as they went into the core of your hair. So your hair is not being ‘fed’.

To maintain the strength of your hair, you need to do what you can to preserve the cuticle.

Once the cuticle has been damaged, there is nothing you can do to help the core, except to get a hair cut.

Most conditioners are pretty much the same, so I really recommend you go for one of the cheapest main brand products, but don't be lured down to the very bottom shelf which is the land of the super value products. They are pretty crummy and are only suitable for you if you have short hair and shampoo infrequently.

Like shampoo, some formulas add exciting sounding ingredients, but the benefits are limited and many are unproven.

So in my view, it isn’t worth paying for (unless it smells really good – I can’t argue with that) and it isn’t really going to improve the health of your hair.

In the next article I’m posting Monday next week, I’ll cover a few of the amazing and thrilling added ingredients that shampoo companies promote that sound like they might actually do something for your hair... but don’t.

*~*~*~*

Enjoying yourself? Don't stop now.

Here are some more posts you'll enjoy:

French Pleat Combs and Forks for Fine Hair
Pantene Pro-V's new Aqua Light Shampoo Review
Why There's Sodium Chloride (Yes, Salt) In Your Shampoo

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK

Monday, 3 December 2012

Shampoo: Is It Working For Or Against You?

Try Some Of These Techniques And You'll Have Happier, Healthier Hair

Shampoo: When Less Is Definitely More
For The Health Of Your Hair
The two most common problems we hear from women is that their hair is either frizzy and “has a mind of its own,” or it is great right after a shampoo but by the evening or next morning it is completely limp and hangs like a curtain that has seen better days.

The first problem of frizzy hair is often due to the ends of the hair being dry and damaged and, between you and me, shampoo is doing more harm than good.

And don’t go read to me what’s on the label of your shampoo bottle about how it is feeding your hair lovely protein or some other baldfaced lie.

Your shampoo is doing nothing of the sort.

The problem of limp hair is often associated with straight hair, usually fine in weight. In this case, your shampoo may be okay (I say, MAY be okay) and I would suspect the culprit is your conditioner.

Both of these problems can begin to be solved by using LESS shampoo or conditioner, LESS often.

This doesn’t mean you can’t necessarily wet your hair everyday to make it easier to style, if you find that helpful.

But it is worth experimenting with not washing and conditioning your hair every time you step into the shower and seeing how your hair responds.

In this article you will learn a little about shampoo.


What is shampoo for and what is it really doing to your hair?


What is shampoo actually for and what does it really do to your hair?

First of all, shampoo and soap are two different products. Just because I say shampoo might be damaging your hair (or merely not helping the situation) does not mean you have been duped and you could have been using a good old bar of soap all these years.

The biology of hair is well known and it is really pretty simple. And if we all wore our hair short, it would need as much care as your fingernails do – that is to say, not too much care at all.

The cuticle or outside layer of your hair, as you probably know, is made up of scales that lie more or less tightly on top of each other like roof tiles.

These scales shift around as the hair swells when it is wet and then shrinks back when the hair has dried. This is one reason why rainy or humid days can make some hair develop its own plan for the day – usually not in line with your plan!

These scales slide back into place harder and smoother when they have had a slightly acidic bath and all major brand shampoos have the correct acidity levels to achieve this positive effect.

This is where the old fashioned advice to rinse your hair in diluted lemon juice or beer comes from. And it really does work, but it seems like a waste of beer to me.

Soap is slightly alkaline, the opposite of acid, which leaves your hair, if you could look under a microscope, a bit spongy and stretchy. The cuticle is left not so hard and more likely to flake and break.

Plus, soap has the added disadvantage of clinging to minerals in the water, basically making soap scum, which is not doing anything good for your hair. So don’t abandon your shampoo for soap.

Shampoo’s main job, of course, is to remove dirt, oil and all the hair styling products you put on your hair.

Now we don’t like dirt, but unless you work in a fish tinning factory or a coal mine, I have news for you, your hair is probably not as dirty as you think.


But what about oil from your scalp? 


What about the oil from your scalp? If you suffer from frizzy hair, the problem is that the oil (the scientific word for it is “sebum”) is actually your own body producing the conditioner your hair needs to stay healthy.

And the more you shampoo, you wash this sebum away and make it almost impossible for your body to do its natural job!

The old wives’ advice to brush your hair 50 or 100 times a day was how women in the past helped distribute the sebum more evenly down the entire length of the hair.

This isn’t entirely necessary and brushing damaged hair is not really a good idea (and if you have curly hair, you probably already know that you should not be brushing your hair at all. Not ever.)

But if you want to help your hair along, combing your hair when it is dry with your fingers is absolutely the most gentle way to work out snarls, groom out loose hair and spread that natural (and FREE) sebum down to the ends of your hair.

Your skin on your fingers cannot catch on the scales of your cuticle the way brush bristles do, making this the absolute kindest way you can treat your hair.

You do end up with fingers full of old hair, which doesn’t feel that nice, but your hands are easier to clean than your brush.

Should you use shampoo at all? 

Is it necessary to even use shampoo at all? You can certainly experiment with going shampoo-free. Indeed many women with curly hair use shampoo maybe once or twice a year.

This is true. And their hair isn’t stinky or full of spiders or some other horror story. Their hair is really healthy. Their natural sebum is doing all the work for them.

If you don’t get on with the no-shampoo method, try using the tiniest pearl of shampoo it is possible to squeeze out of the bottle.

Rub your hands together and only use this diluted shampoo where your scalp feels it could use a scrub.

You won’t get a lot of soap suds with this method but this actually means that your shampoo is dealing with dirt.

If you are shampooing and you get a nice head full of bubbly lather, your hair was actually pretty clean, so you were just using shampoo for the heck of it.

Soap lathers first, because it is just simply formulated to make bubbles (some soap formulas, such as olive oil based soap, have almost no lather but clean just as effectively), and second, because it isn’t actually encountering any dirt.

How about a really good, expensive shampoo full of protein and peptides and sunscreen?

This is a big topic – one of my favourites – and it is in my opinion the biggest rip off that the shampoo companies are putting over on the general public. I’ll talk about that in another article.


If you have hair that goes  limp, you have the opposite problem. 


If you have hair that goes completely limp, then we're talking about the opposite sebum distribution problem.

It isn’t necessarily that your scalp is very oily, but that your hair is probably very smooth, so the oil travels down the length of your hair very easily – too easily!

In your case you usually need a normal shampoo, with no silicone added, because this coats your hair and makes it shiny but ultimately really weighs it down.

Further, silicone does not wash out easily with shampoo and it just builds and builds with every wash.

Along the same lines are volumising shampoos. All these products do is add a film of styling product along the length of each hair.

This film may feel fine first thing in the morning, but it will ultimately weigh your hair down. These filming products are also difficult to wash out and can build up if you use this type of shampoo repeatedly.

So if you suffer from limp hair, shampooing is a good thing using a basic shampoo for fine or normal hair, but even you may not need to wash your hair every day.

Your issue very possibly is with your conditioner.

In the next article, I’ll explain what conditioner actually is, what it does (and doesn’t do) for your hair and how much of it you need.

*~*~*~*

Enjoying yourself? Don't stop now.

Here are some more posts you'll enjoy:

Struggling With Styling Slippery Hair? Tutorial Video
Living Dangerously So You Don't Have To  Tutorial Video
Hair Clips For Fine Hair: Melissa's Top Picks  5 Video Series

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK for some top quality hair clips you'll simply adore.

Don't take my word for it. Check out what our customers are saying about us ...

Monday, 26 November 2012

TRESemme Split Remedy Review Update

Find Out Why My Daughter's Going Back To Normal Conditioner Now

TRESemme Split Remedy: Cure or Curse?
Back in June, with much excitement, I reviewed the TRESemme Split Remedy conditioner.

You might recall I had worked myself up into a nerdy state of agitation over new developments in the world of hair care formulations back in 2011.

With huge anticipation, I invested in Split Remedy conditioner, handed it to my oldest daughter (with mid-back length hair who suffers from split ends) and held my breath until I could see this guy in action.

You can read the full review here, if you like.

Or, to make a long story short, the stuff works.

Definitely.

So why, you are asking yourself, does Daughter decide to give this elixir up for some old-school conditioner?

What happened is my greatest fear came true.

The way the product works is through magnetic fields, the two sides of your split end are drawn together as your hair dries.

The risk is that the product can't tell the difference between two sides of a single split, and different strands of hair generally, even though the field is pretty weak.

The fact is the effect is strong enough for longer hair to get snarled during the day.

Daughter noted that her hair became troublesome to brush even a few hours after her hair dried. By teatime, her hair was making her mental.

I am a big believer in not letting your hair dominate your mental health.

It's not worth it.

Do It Old Skool Stylie


So, she's gone back to the old fashioned method of dealing with split ends: regular trims and better daily hair care.

Fortunately for her, at Stone Bridge we've got just the thing for old fashioned conditioner and better hair care.

It's called the wide tooth dressing comb, and we've got a small selection of beautiful ones in your favourite French handmade materials on the website now.

Brilliant as a stocking filler and guaranteed to not damage your hair.

Function *and* beauty in one perfect product. What could be better than that?

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK


Enjoying yourself? More posts you might like:

Damaging Hair "Advice" From Around The Internet
Style Your Hair Like The First Lady Does
Are You Suddenly Getting Frizzier Hair?



Thursday, 22 November 2012

Struggling With Styling Slippery Hair?

Melissa's Top Tips Just For You

I'm fresh back from our Christmas Shopping event at the beautiful Oriental Club in London.

I, Libby and Aiste got to meet a whole bunch of our customers. If you were one of them, we certainly had a fabulous evening. I hope you did too!

One customer in particular was determined to conquer the hair stick.

But ... bad news.

She has super slippery hair.

Click my video to find out my tippy top tips for how to get your slippery hair to stay put!



Hair Accessories Shown In This Video


Allure Chunky Hair Stick (Sold Out!) See our *new* Vrille Classic French Hair Stick
French Pleat Medium Comb
Moana French Beak Clip

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories for more really pretty hair clips that will make you smile ... ;)


Want more? Here are some posts you might like:

Styling Shoulder Length Hair With Hair Clips
Using A Hair Fork For A French Pleat Style
The Latest Celebrity Hair Care Craze: Magic Or Scam?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A Plea From Melissa's Husband To Women At Christmas Time

Do You Know What You'd REALLY Like This Christmas? Your Husband Would Like To Know Too

Look out guys. It's Christmas time again.
Visit Stone Bridge for great gifts your wife will love!
Generally, men who need to "surprise" their wives or girlfriends on Christmas day with something delightful regard the run up to the Big Day with something approaching terror.

Some men love buying presents for the women in their lives. Most do not.

Melissa interviewed her husband and received some advice he wanted to share with our Stone Bridge friends like you on how to help your gift-buying man make great choices.


SB: Do you look forward to Christmas?

Husband: No. I like the family bit, but not the present buying. I find that stressful.

SB: Have you always found it stressful? Or only since adulthood?

Husband: It has always been stressful. Buying for my mother, my sister ... it doesn't matter.

Organising things that people will like is just impossible. You don't know until it's too late whether people will like what you've chosen and they make such a big deal about it.

I'm much more relaxed when people tell me what they'd like. Or if I'm buying for someone who I know truly doesn't care what they get. But there aren't many people like that, unfortunately.

SB: How do you view budgeting when someone tells you what they'd like to receive?

Husband: If I know they're going to like something, budget doesn't matter. Within reason, of course. But if it's affordable and it will make them happy, the price isn't important for me.

SB: Do you think a lot of men find Christmas stressful?

Husband: Yes, definitely. Everyone is different, of course, and people like the fun parts like the cooking and putting up the tree. It's just when expectations are high and the risk of disappointment is up there that it gets tense.

SB: If someone has told you what they want, how much leeway do you like in making decisions about specifics of the gift, like choosing the colour for example?

Husband: Unless I see something that I think is perfect for that person, I prefer to know the exact thing they'd like.

Just tell me exactly what you want.

Buying something and then not quite hitting the mark is just senseless.

SB: So the opportunity to "participate" in the selection process of buying the gift isn't important to you?

Husband: Again, people are different in what they like. But for me, it doesn't do anything for me. Making these choices is still stressful as even these little details can end up a total disaster.

SB: What should women do who've maybe not received the best gifts from their partners in the past?

Husband: Having a wish list that you can give to a man, ideally in November sometime, with a list of specific items you want is the best place to start. If you can mark things off in a catalog, like a choice of 6 things you'd like. Then he knows who to call and what to ask for.

If you just say, "get me something from Stone Bridge," I mean we're talking about all sorts of hair clips. Goodness knows what you'll end up with!



Tell your partner to ring Libby on 01732 883820 for excellent guidance on choosing a beautiful gift you'll be thrilled to receive. Or just send him a few links from Stone-Bridge.co.uk. We'll do the rest!

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Joy Of New Discoveries

Personal Recommendations Rock, and Melissa Shares Her Cebollitas With You

Discovering goodness in my mother's kitchen.
 All thanks to a recommendation.
I've recently returned from a flying visit to my parents in San Diego.

Normally when I travel I like to Discover New Things.

If you're at all like me, you'll agree there is nothing quite so much fun as finding treasures serendipitously.

But on this trip, my time was short  and I felt it was Very Important that every meal in particular be completely delicious.

So I asked my mother for recommendations.


What Do You Want? Margaritas. Naturally.


"Well, what do you want?" she asked, mentally riffling through her encyclopaedic list of great San Diego restaurants.

"Mexican," I said.

"There are a lot of good ones, but my favourite is El Callejon. The margaritas are excellent."

If my mother says a margarita is excellent, then there is no point arguing that it isn't. Because you would be wrong. And you'd also miss out on a great margarita, which would be silly.

"El Callejon it is," my husband said.

"And you must try the cebollitas. They are so good. You wouldn't even know they're on the menu, they're hidden away in a corner with the side dishes. But I really recommend them."

So Husband and I duly make our way to El Callejon. We order our (very nice) margaritas. And we of course order a side of cebollitas.

They were heavenly.

And, best of all, I think I know how to make them.

The next morning I leapt from my jetlagged bed at 5am, desperate for the supermarket to open so I can go buy my ingredients.

Make Life Better. Make Recommendations.


When you think about it, recommending your discoveries actually makes the world a better place.

Our business at Stone Bridge, probably like El Callejon's, relies on our customers enjoying their experience with us so much that they tell all their friends and family about us.

Like one of our lovely new customers, Alice, who wrote:

"I originally went on the Stonebridge website to order something for my Mum's birthday as she has raved about them. Well, that was dangerous!!"

Alice now has a nice little collection of Stone Bridge hair clips even her mother (a long-time customer in her own right) might envy.

If you've had a great experience with our hair clips, or even if you've learned a cool trick from our blog, please share Stone Bridge with the people in your life.

It will help them love their hair more and it helps us thrive as a business.


Make Life Better. Eat Nice Food.


Now, if you can't get yourself to El Callejon, you can whip yourself up a tasty Mexican snack in no time.

Couple this with a lovely margarita over ice (with a salted glass and a slice of lime, natch) and you'll have the makings of a perfect evening.

Cebollitas

Serves 2-4, depending how hungry people are!

4 bunches spring onions
Vegetable oil for frying
1 Tablespoon beef bouillon paste
100 ml water
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

First, prepare the sauce. Bring to a boil the water and bouillon paste, then lower to a simmer. Add lemon juice, increasing or decreasing to taste. If too watery, continue boiling to reduce and concentrate flavour.

Wash and trim the roots from the ends of the spring onions. In a very hot pan, fry off the the spring onions in the vegetable oil in batches until tips are crispy and the interior is soft, about 2-3 minutes. Don't crowd the pan to help maintain the heat.

Pour sauce over the spring onions and serve hot.

Enjoy!


More posts you might like:

Damaging Hair "Advice" From Around The Internet
Living Dangerously So You Don't Have To
Are You A Hair Claw Addict? This Video Is For You
Cute Curly Hairstyles For Fall

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK







Style Your Hair Like The First Lady Does

It's not long till we find out who the next President of United States will be.

Big name, big responsibilities.

I'm not not going to be drawn on politics.

But I'll happily argue all day about hair.

Today, waiting for the election results, I thought of the recent hairstyles of the First Lady Michelle Obama and the First Lady in Waiting Ann Romney.

Whoever gets to be First Lady for the next four years, we approve of the hair.


Get Michelle's Cool Half-Back Hair


First Lady Michelle Obama meeting the Queen, 2009


Hey, if it's good enough for a meeting with the Queen, it's probably good enough for you too.

Check out my styling video and you too can look as effortlessly elegant as the First Lady Michelle Obama:




Hair Accessories Used In This Video

Small Oval Stick Barrette
The X Slide


Create Ann Romney's Classic French Pleat

Ann shows up about 1:18 minutes into this clip, but it shows her hair at this recent rally quite well.

In this candid video, you might think "Hey, her hair's all messed up. Why are you showing me this?"

What I think is rather cool about this clip is earlier this very day she was on the beach in her actual swimsuit hanging out and talking to people.

So she's taken her hair from the beach to a massive rally and the French pleat has carried her through.

A wise woman.



Frankly, when you need to be impressing millions, you can't go wrong with a French pleat style.


Learn how to create this simple style just using a barrette.




Hair Accessories Used In This Video
Marcotte Layered Large Barrette (Sold Out!) See our Rectangle Large Barrette
Double Scroll Large Barrette (Sold Out!) See our Orleans Large Barrette 
Classic Long Barrette
Classic Wide Barrette (Sold Out!) See our Classic French Oval Barrette

Enjoy and let me know which style you liked more!



Having fun? Why stop now? More posts you might like:

TRESemme Split Remedy - Does It Work?
Hair and Happiness: Melissa Gets Motivational and Stuff
Fine Hair "But A Lot Of It?" This Series Is For You

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK

Monday, 8 October 2012

Shiny 5-Star Hair Clips

You send us so many lovely comments every day which keeps us inspired to do more and better.

Of course we love our hair clips. But what do you think?

The independent review sites across the internet have produced some great feedback, and today we’re sharing a few of our highest rated and most talked about products.

Here comes the 5 star hair clips:


 



Fantastic quality - no cheap plastic from them. The combs work very well... 








Super Comfy Classic Skinny Headband, £26.50


They really are incredible, comfortable and mould to the shape of your head. I am so pleased with them. The colours are lovely...








Arc Oval Barrette, £35


Lovely, high quality accessories which I will treasure. They are really robust and will last well (and I'll not be sharing with my 7 year old daughter!)



Portofino Crystal Barrette, £62


Beautiful, I have had many comments on them and I have passed your name to many of my friends. I would absolutely recommend Stone Bridge.




Skinny Silk Hair Band, £34


Finally found a hair band that has no teeth, soft fabric and is comfortable behind the ears! Wrapped with a touch of style, i would recommend it as a gift for anyone...



Read more beautiful feedback from Stone Bridge customers on FreeIndex and Review Center.

It might help you decide on your next purchase.

If you are still unsure what's best for your hair, our hair consultant Libby is ready to help and clear all your doubts. Just email her at libby@stone-bridge.co.uk or ring on 01732 883820.

Enjoy!

P.S. Have you got that special Stone Bridge hair clip and want to rate it with your 5 stars? Tell us about it by posting it in the comments below, or emailing me! I'd love to hear from you...

Click to browse all Stone Bridge Hair Accessories


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Styling Shoulder Length Hair With Hair Clips

Melissa cut her hair! Here are 3 Simple Styles for shoulder-length hair.

Beware boredom at the weekends.

That's what happened to me. And look what happened to my hair ...

Enjoy!

(Psst ... See if you can spot my sneaky dog Chester!)

Styling Shoulder Length Hair: 3 Hair Clips, 3 Styles


 

Hair Accessories Shown In This Video


Allure Chunky French Hair Stick (Sold Out!) See our *new* Vrille Classic French Hair Stick
French Handmade U Pin
Galaxy Crystal Large Barrette (Sold Out!) See our beautiful, Trientale Crystal Large Barrette

View all our new and happening hair clips at Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK

Having fun? Why stop now? More posts you might like:

Going Grey? Brighten Your Skin and Hair
Hair and Happiness: Melissa Gets Motivational and Stuff
Fine Hair "But A Lot Of It?" This Series Is For You

Going Grey? Brighten Your Skin and Hair


Catherine D'Arcy Gives Her Top Picks For Skin And Hair

None of us are getting any younger (if you are, please contact me ASAP).

While some may choose to grow old disgracefully (you can count me in that group), others decide to opt for an elegant aging, making the most of the changes in hair and skin tone that time brings.

Grey hair can look absolutely stunning, providing a fabulous backdrop for dark hair accessories and reflecting the light onto polished finishes. 

Here are a few hair accessories that can enhance hair tending towards silver and ash tones.

- Ficcare Maximas Border Clip


















- Ficcare Rock Star Hair Fork


















- Pur Silver Hair Stick

 


















Brightening Your Skin Tone


If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know that the right colour hair clip can actually brighten your hair, making it look healthier.

The same is true for your skin. Although I’m sure you started thinking about wrinkles, I will surprise you: new studies have revealed that it’s actually skin tone that gives away one’s age and not wrinkles alone.

As Dr. Matts, scientist at Procter and Gamble, says, “In a young, healthy face, the only contrast is due to the features – the mouth, nose and eyes – but as you age, you acquire concentrations of haemoglobin and melanin, and shadows due to lines and wrinkles, and it is this contrast that gives a major cue to our perception of age. Like it or not, if you walk into a room full of people, your eyes will focus on the face with the most even skin coloration.”

Do you know that adjusting jewellery to your skin tone can also help to take advantage of the changes in your skin?

It was noticed long time ago that silver and platinum are the best metals for older skin. Gold can look brassy unless you are blessed with dark skin in a warm tone.

The wonderful thing about silver is that it is relatively cheap, but extremely versatile, allowing designers to create an almost limitless variety of shapes, sizes and textures for you to choose from: whether you want to wear a simple silver chain, or stack silver bangles to your elbows, there will be something that is perfect for you.

The customers of Corazon Latino tend to be between 35 and 75, so I really know what works against more mature hair and skin.

These are my top 5 picks:

- Pandora silver bangle – a big, chunky statement piece that will look fabulous for years and works with any outfit.






















- Luna range bracelet, necklace, bangle and ring in a contemporary twist of a classic Russian wedding ring. No matter what type of jewellery you like, this lovely design works brilliantly.






















- Sylvia Liquid silver jewellery – our liquid silver is incredibly popular and with a range of lengths, styles and strands is designed to work for everyone.






















- Lutetia Bracelet and Necklace – this lovely design is extremely chic and contemporary but classic enough to work on any age.






















- Pan Necklace a lovely pendant on black cords. If you find black too harsh, you can swap the pendant onto any coloured ribbon or even a silver chain to create your own unique look.























About the Author: Catherine D'Arcy is a long-time Stone Bridge hair accessories collector and founder of Corazon Latino, a collection of fine quality silver, amber and pearl jewellery.

Why stop? More great posts for you to read:

How To Feel 30 Again (Without The Angst)
Oprah Magazine: Get The Best From Your Grey
Matching Hair Clips To Your Hair Colour: Brown Hair

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK