Man with a beard looks over his left shoulder

4 Tips for Better Beard Care

At least half of the Earth’s population has the potential to grow a beard or moustache. You’d think with 50% of people capable of it, proper facial hair care would be common knowledge. Yet we often see folks come in with all manner of beard care practices — good, bad, and ugly. Whether you’ve got a lot or a little (and whether that’s by nature or by choice), here are Ross’s ultimate tips for keeping your facial hair healthy and happy.

  1. Invest in the tools

    Whether you’re trimming it or shaving it off, investing in the right tools will make a world of difference for your face fuzz. Cheap trimmers can pull or damage the hairs and skin, while dull or cheap razors can cause ingrown hairs or infections. Using poor quality shaving soap or foam will also give shoddy results. Get the best tools and products you can afford, and be sure to keep them in good repair. Clean them after every use, and don’t be afraid to replace them as soon as you notice them start to fail.

  2. Don’t fear the comb

    Never underestimate the benefit of daily grooming. Not only will a decent sort out make whatever you’re working with appear fuller and more orderly, you will also be helping to ‘train’ your hairs to grow in the direction you want them to. This means less styling time, a tash that stays out of your mouth, and eventually less ingrown hairs! Daily combing will also help distribute moisture and oils more evenly throughout your beard, which means a healthier, better conditioned beard.

  3. Good beard care is good skin care, too

    Speaking of oils, investing in a good quality beard oil will ensure that you have the most glorious beard around. Not only will it condition your beard hair, making it soft and pliable (but still manly), it will also keep the sensitive skin under your beard in good condition, while also acting as a styling product. And while we’re on the topic, you can’t expect to have a beautiful, healthy beard if your skin is spotty and scaly underneath. Avoid ingrown hairs and beard dandruff by exfoliating and moisturizing the skin around your beard (including your neck).

  4. Lather, rinse, repeat

    There is a bit of a debate about how and how often, you should be washing your beard. Some suggest daily (or every time you shower), while others say never use shampoo. Using a good shampoo and conditioner can improve a dry, hard-to-manage beard if that’s what you’re facing. If you’re wanting to try it, a good rule of thumb is to shampoo it 1-2 times per week, and condition it daily (or whenever you shower). It’s important to clear out all of the food, sweat, and products, but it’s just as vital to ensure it’s hydrated, so you will want to avoid over-cleansing.

Over a few weeks or months, you will notice your beard becoming more soft, pliable, and overall easier to manage. Don’t take your foot off the pedal! Keep going with the daily grooming and you will have great facial hair for life.

So there you have it — 4 tips for better beard care. Will you be trying some of these tips? What’s your top beard care tip? Be sure to let us know! xx

 

Jennifer Lawrence smiling with ice blonde hair

Hair Trend: Ice Blonde

The past few years have seen exciting and bold trends when it comes to hair colour. Now it’s more common than ever to see smoky grey, metallic pastels, emerald green, vivid rainbows, or even rock-inspired colours on all sorts of cuts and styles. And of course our favourite Hollywood stars are leading the charge, debuting their new looks left, right, and centre.

A great new trend we’re noticing is ice-blonde on shorter, edgier cuts. Pioneered by the likes of Miley Cyrus, Gwen Stefani, Pink, and Jennifer Lawrence, this cool trend is heating up for spring.

Recently, Cara Delevingne arrived at Paris Fashion Week with a new bold look to add to her history of bold looks — a bright, icy blonde bob. The actress, top model, activist, spokeswoman, and new novelist (!!) has become known as a trailblazer of ‘quirky beauty’. Many attribute the re-birth of the strong brow to Cara’s naturally striking brows. And she’s kept a naturally dark brow while rocking bright-to-the-point-of-white locks.

Cara Delevingne with ice blonde hair.

Cara Delevingne at Paris Fashion Week 2017 with a platinum bob. (Getty Images)

 

Actress Kristen Stewart has also embraced the short, bleach-blonde look. Her platinum buzz cut is reportedly part of her portrayal for a new role, and she has dubbed the new ‘do as ‘practical’ (fair enough). The buzz cut is just the latest in the star’s ever evolving beauty; from girl-next-door fresh, to glam-Goth, and now to platinum bad ass, no one can say that she sticks to a signature look.

Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart at the premier of her new film Personal Shopper with a blonde buzz cut. (Getty Images)

 

Whichever works best for you — long and flowing or short and cropped — achieving an ice blonde look can take quite a bit of time and prep work, especially if you want to preserve the quality and health of your hair. Be sure to book in for a free consultation with one of our colourists before you make your appointment for your next big change.

Merlin Guide: Intro to Merlin

Welcome to Part 1 in our Merlin Guide. Today we will be introducing you to our personal favourite hair care brand, Merlin by Curzon International. Stay tuned for next week’s post, where we will be teaching you how to wash your hair using these products.

Great hair is good science. You may not think of it, but in order to give a customer his or her best hair cut or colour, it is important to know the structure of hair, what angle to cut it at, the ratio of tint to peroxide, the salt content of hair, the pH level of your shampoos… and all of that is science.

Merlin is a UK-based brand created by a hairdresser for hairdressers who value the science of great hair. Each product in the Merlin range has been carefully crafted by owner and ‘International Hair Wizard’, John Curzon. They address your individual hair concerns, using the latest in science and art. Whether your hair is dry, weak, chemically damaged, limp, or you’re dealing with scalp issues, there is a Merlin product to help you re-build, re-strengthen, and repair your hair.

At Ross Charles we carry three types of products from the Merlin range: shampoos, treatments, and conditioners. Each bottle has been formulated for a specific purpose and intensity — to moisturize, to re-build, or to strengthen. But even though each bottle has its particular purpose, all ingredients are natural, organic, and low on the pH scale — all very important to maintain healthy feeling and looking hair.

Shampoos

Shampoos remove the dirt, oil, styling products, etc., that have built up on your scalp and hair since your last shampoo. During that process, it also opens the hair cuticle, the scaly outer layer of your hair that surrounds the core of your hair. When selecting a shampoo, it is important to find one that has a low pH, that is silicone-free and filler-free, and that is specially suited to your hair type.

Treatments

Treatments are an optional step used in between the shampoo and the conditioner that many people forget or don’t think that they need. The word ‘treatment’ can mean many different things, and has been used to describe everything from intense conditioners to the many oils, elixirs, and procedures designed to improve your hair. Merlin treatments work on the inside of your hair to repair any damage or deficiency — that is why they must be used after the shampoo but before the conditioner, when the cuticle is open to allow the treatment to enter the cortex.

Conditioners/Sealers

Conditioners (called sealers in the Merlin line) are the final step in your hair washing routine. It works by sealing those cuticle scales, leaving your hair protected and smooth, and is the final opportunity for you to add anything to your hair. If you skip the conditioner, your hair will become damaged and dry over time as the cortex is exposed and those cuticles are left open. If you colour your hair, an open cuticle can lead to the colour quickly fading.

We use the finest ingredients in their most concentrated form. We never compromise on our high quality standards, therefore always guaranteeing superior product performance. Our product delivers the results we promise, nothing more, nothing less. — John Curzon

So now hopefully you know a bit more about how important good, specially formulated products are to building and maintaining good hair. If you’re curious about the Merlin product range, or about your own hair’s needs, stop by the salon for a Hair Condition Analysis and book in for a 15-minute treatment before your next cut or colour. xx

Woman sitting beside the pool

How to Improve Your Hair Condition This Summer

As an industry, we understand that most people abuse their hair. That’s why it’s so important for us to give you the correct advice to fix or prevent the most common problems. Today we will be discussing a few points about your hair condition, specifically when it comes to the warmer weather, and the steps you can take to improve your hair this spring/summer and beyond!

If you missed Ross’s Spring/Summer 2017 Trend Report, take a read through that to get some tips about what you might see in magazines and social media in the next few months.

Hair Condition Vs. Your Holiday

In some cases the sun’s damage is irreversible. We all know the effects of the sun on our skin and how damaging it can be, but don’t neglect your hair on that fantastic holiday in the Med.

Colour will begin to fade in the bright sun, so be aware that if you don’t cover your head when it’s bright out, your amazing highlights may need redoing on your return. The sun will break down the colour molecules and make your hair appear faded and dull. The heat can also damage your scalp, drying it out or even burning it! So as much as you can, keep your head covered up with a hat or parasol, or stay in the shade when the sun is at its hottest and brightest.

Chlorine in the pool and salt in the ocean can also wreak havoc on your hair quality and colour, so be sure to saturate your hair in clean water before jumping in. If you will be spending a lot of time in the pool, dousing your hair in treatment before donning a waterproof cap is your best option for limiting the effects of the harsh chemicals in pools.

The must-have products to keep in your beach bag this summer are the Merlin Pistachio & Almond, Multiplex, or Pineapple & Lime treatment sprays. All three are leave-in hair treatments that help to maintain moisture, add support, and replenish vitamins and proteins — perfect for an easy beach holiday by the pool. Stop by the salon before your holiday so we can choose the best product for you.

If you’re looking for even more warm weather hair tips, be sure to watch our video here: https://youtu.be/UkclPTVpnmc

Hair Condition Analysis Service

If you would like a full, in-depth Hair Condition Analysis, this can be booked in with Ross himself, and he can put you on the right track towards healthy hair. He will perform all sorts of test like the strength check, silicone check, moisture check, and porosity check; he can get even more technical and organise a full microscopic analysis for the most serious of cases.

Ross has a real passion for helping people improve their hair. He uses a combination of family trade secrets and the latest in hair science, along with insights from over twenty year’s experience helping customers achieve great hair. Don’t hesitate to book for a consultation with him if you feel that you need extra help.

Just standing in the shampoo section of the super market and buying the nicest smelling product or the one with the most attractive bottle will not do! And please, certainly don’t buy from the bargain bin — they are there for a reason!

Intro to Washing Your Hair graphic

Merlin Guide: Intro to Hair Washing

Welcome to Part 2 in our Merlin Guide. This time we will be teaching you how to use your Merlin products to achieve the best possible results. Stay tuned for the next post, where we will be teaching you how the shampoos actually work. If you missed Part 1, where we gave an introduction to the Merlin brand, be sure to catch it here.

You may be looking at the length of this article and wondering who in the world has time for ALL THESE STEPS. But don’t worry, a lot of this stuff is stuff you are probably already doing, and have been doing since you were five years old. As you read, think about the small adjustments you can make to your hair washing routine so that you are maximizing your great hair, and minimizing damage and stress that can lead to ‘bad’ hair.

STEP 1: The First Cleanse

  • Pour your first shampoo into your hand — no larger than a 10p coin — and lather between your palms.
  • Apply to your scalp, paying attention to every part of your head. If you have long hair you may need to lift your hair to get the product onto your scalp.
  • Using your fingertips, gently but firmly rub the product around your whole scalp. Any lather that runs down your hair can be used to cleanse the lengths and ends. Keep your movements gentle but firm, as scratching or pulling may damage your scalp or hair. It is normal that you don’t see many (or any) bubbles as this first cleanse starts to lift the oils on your scalp (think of what an oily pot does to the bubbles in your kitchen sink).
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water.

STEP 2: The Second Cleanse

  • Repeat Step 1. You may notice more lather this time, since you have hopefully rinsed away a lot of the oils and dirt during the first cleanse.

STEP 4: The (Optional) Treatment

  • Use your towel or hands to squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Be careful not to wring or rub the hair too much.
  • Apply your treatment to your hair. Again, be sure to get the product through as much of your hair as you can.
    • Treatment sprays can be applied directly to the hair; make sure to use as many pumps as you need to saturate the hair.
    • Treatment in a tube or tub can be rubbed between the palms before applying; again be sure to use only a small 20-p coin-sized amount.
  • Leave for up to 15 minutes, or as long as prescribed; any longer will not necessarily give better results.
  • Rinse thoroughly.

STEP 5: The Sealing

  • Use your towel or hands to squeeze out the moisture.
  • Apply a 20-p coin-sized amount of conditioner to the lengths and ends of your hair, avoiding the root area.
  • Leave for 2-5 minutes.
  • Comb the conditioner through, starting at the roots and going down to the ends of the hair. This will help to deposit conditioner to the roots without over-conditioning your scalp and adding unnecessary weight.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
Some Other Things to Note
  • Historically, people were warned against washing their hair daily; they feared they were stripping away natural oils, drying out their hair. While using the wrong products in excess can certainly lead to damage, new research has revealed that daily washing or cleansing away a build-up of oil doesn’t necessarily lead to an unbalanced scalp. When in doubt, go with your what your hair says and clean it when it needs it.
  • It is important to shampoo your scalp more than once every time you wash your hair. The first cleanse lifts all of the oil, pollution, sweat, styling products, etc. that have built up over the day(s) since your last cleanse. Think of it like cleaning a floor covered with lots of mud, grease, and crumbs — you wouldn’t go right in with a mop and consider it clean, you would take the time to sweep up the debris before mopping, maybe even doing a second mop if needed.
  • If you don’t wash your hair daily, or your hair is exceptionally grimy that day, you may need a third (or fourth) additional cleanse in order to get your hair to its cleanest. You will know if your second cleanse has littler lather and you can still feel residue on your scalp.

The Importance of a Skin Test

A skin test is a must for every colour customer. Our customers’ health and comfort are our first priority; doing a colour service without a skin test would put our customers at risk, which we will never do.

This doesn’t mean that we use volatile products known to harm our customers — quite the opposite actually. However there is risk associated with any chemical service, and as members of the National Hairdressers’ Federation, we are committed to a code of practice that includes ensuring we are performing every service safely and within NHF guidelines.

What is a Skin Test?

The purpose of a skin test is to determine if a customer will have a reaction to the products or ingredients used during a colour appointment. A skin test is performed by a qualified hairdresser or colourist in the salon. It only takes 2-5 minutes, though most customers choose to do it as part of their colour consultation. It must be done at least 2 days before your first colour appointment.

The test consists of:

  • answering questions about the health and condition of your scalp and skin
  • answering questions about your hair colouring history
  • application of product to your skin the product must be left on your skin without interference for 48 hours. If you know you need to go swimming or wash the area in that time, please take this into consideration before planning a time for your skin test
  • filling out your NHF Colour Record Card

If you notice redness, rash, swelling, or pain, wash the area thoroughly with water and let us know. If you experience a severe reaction, such as blistering, bleeding, or swelling or itching in the throat, consult your GP straight away.

Do I Need a Skin Test?

Every customer who gets colour done needs a skin test; this must be performed at least 48 hours before your appointment, as any reactions may take up to 48 hours to appear.

Now saying that, there may be exceptions — perhaps if the colourist will be using bleach only — however we advise a skin test for all customers, just to be safe. Client records are not shared between salons, so unfortunately we won’t be able to call up your last hairdresser to request your last skin test results.

Do I Need One Every Time?

If you get your hair coloured regularly at the same salon with the same products, you probably won’t need to have a new test done each time. The results can be valid for up to a year, so we will keep your record card secure at our salon and let you know when it’s time to re-test.

If you’re already a colour customer, you may need an early skin test if:

  • it’s been more than 6 months since your last colour
  • you’ve taken certain medications since your last colour
  • you have had a tattoo, henna, or permanent makeup since your last colour
  • you are changing brand or colouring product

Sometimes companies reformulate their products, or we may change the brand we use. Even if it’s something you’ve been exposed to regularly, you may develop a sensitivity to it over time. Certain medications or procedures can increase the risk of developing an allergy to colourants, so we are always sure to ask about them before we start your next colour.

 

S/S Trends 2017 Cover Image

Ross Charles Spring/Summer 2017 Trends

Ross has his eye on the latest fashions and trends from the magazines, the runway, and his Instagram feed. Read on to hear what he’s forecasting for Spring/Summer 2017.

The Cut

Trend: Taylor Swift with a one-length bob at the 2017 Grammy Awards

Taylor Swift with a one-length bob at the 2017 Grammy Awards

The blunt bob has always been chic, but S/S 17 will see this trend boom.

The uniform length with no layering is super easy to work with at home. This versatile style suits a range of face shapes, with the straight edges making the hair look thicker. Customers with thick, curly, or triangular hair (i.e. hair that is flat at the top with volume at the ends) can also get a bob. We would soften the ends slightly to break it up just a touch, or use a variety of razor techniques on the internal structure; this can either remove excess weight or help to create shape in the desired areas without affecting the finished one-length blunt cut.  It looks great worn in a loose wave or with half the hair tied on top of the head with the underneath sections slightly tousled. We will be seeing the “done-but-undone” look a lot this season, and this style is the perfect low maintenance, user-friendly option.

From our last British Hairdressing Awards collection, Ross came up with a variety of short looks. It is important to mix the strong lines and shapes with softness in the areas where most women want to feel more feminine. This is the key for the majority of short styles for women this year. Have a look at the collection on this short video: https://youtu.be/alHbehFk5Bk

Colour

Trend: Kylie Jenner with a green lob

Kylie Jenner sports a green lob.

We are still seeing a lot of the Balayage Ombré however we are becoming much more bold with our colour choices this season. Greens were prominent at London fashion week, but for the less adventurous contrasting shades and colours of all levels will play a big part in S/S 17.

Men’s hair colour is going to be the next massive trend, from highlights to shoe shine colour. And we have some fantastic ideas waiting for any gent who wants to give it a try. All the ideas enhance the current styles, including fades and long fringes, so hair that’s still classy and healthy, with clean-looking colours are key — and certainly no bright reds and greens.

Remember that whatever your choice of hair colour, your cut and your own personal style (makeup, clothing, accessories, etc.) should complement. For an in-depth colour consultation, book with Alessandra, our Colour Specialist Director, who has a hair colouring degree. If you want to change your hair shape, then be sure to reserve a consultation with either the Senior Stylist, Rubén, or our latest addition to the team, Style Director Matt.

Men’s Hair

Trend: Italian model with highlights and long hair

Italian model with natural highlights and longer hair

It’s so exciting to see all the new men’s hair trends at the moment. In terms of facial hair, we are still seeing a few beards, but Men’s Fashion Week saw a lot of the clean-shaven looks showing off face shapes, jawlines, and cheekbones.

Fading is still going to be everywhere this S/S 17 season. We have been seeing faded cuts at all levels, from low- to mid-fades. What we haven’t been noticing as much are high-fades, making more room for the extra length that guys have been growing out on the top. This length has been worn a number of different ways — going back with a bit of bounce and height, or flopping in all directions, including forward over the forehead.

Our top product choice for this season would be our Effetto Opaco (matte effect styling cream) or the Ross Charles Fixing Spray. This spray boasts incredible drying speed, flexibility, and comb-ability, and it leaves no residue, which will not give an over-styled look, as healthy hair is always in style.

If you are already rocking some of these trends, tag us on Instagram @rosscharleshairdressing

All About L’Oreal Smartbond

Gone are the days when colouring our hair meant we had to accept the consequences — weak, dry, unhealthy hair. Introducing L’Oreal Smartbond — a product we use to help keep our customer’s hair strong, healthy, and happy during and after a colour service. 

Protect your hair while colouring. Add Smartbond for softer, stronger, shinier hair. Smartbond is our new generation bond strengthening system that has been specifically formulated to work in synergy with our pre-lightener and colour products. It is a two-step process which allows the colourist to protect the hair & prevent damage during a technical service. — L’Oreal

How Does Smartbond Work?

Your hair’s colour comes from pigments found at the centre of your hair shaft (the cortex). It is protected by the hard outer layer of your hair (the cuticle). Typically, bleach or tints work by opening the cuticle and depositing colour-changing chemicals into the cortex. When this happens these chemicals can create holes in the cuticle as it opens up, and also break apart the protein bonds in the cortex. Repeated colouring can cause even more damage as these bonds are opened and interfered with again and again.

Smartbond is added to the colour before application. When the colour is applied to your hair, it gets to work, strengthening the natural bonds in your hair, and taking some of the damage itself.

Does Smartbond Change the Colour?

In short, no, Smartbond doesn’t interfere with the way your colour looks. If you’ve been having your hair coloured for years, you won’t need to change anything.

However without any help from Smartbond, colour can sometimes look uneven as damaged hair may not take colour as well as it could.

Does Smartbond Add Any Time to the Appointment?

Smartbond is a system with at least 2 steps.  First we add the Smartbond Additive into the colour before we apply it to your hair, then develop as normal.

Second, we add a Smartbond Pre-Shampoo at the basin during the hair wash. This second step must process for 10 extra minutes before shampooing as normal.

An optional third step is the at-home conditioner, which you can use every day to prolong the effects and continue to strengthen your hair.

Who Should Use Smartbond?

Anyone undergoing a chemical service should use Smartbond.

If it is your first time colouring or toning your hair, it will limit the damage, leave you with softer, stronger, and healthier hair than you started with, and will get you closer to your perfect result.

If you regularly colour your hair, it will prevent further damage to the hair that has already been coloured and will protect and strengthen the new growth. As your hair grows you will notice the difference more and more as you continue to use it at every colour appointment.

Smartbond isn’t reserved for huge colour transformations either. While customers going from brown to pink will definitely feel the benefits, if you’re booked in for your 6-week root touch-up or some Tiger Eye colour you will still walk away with amazing hair.

Alessandra and Ruben use L’Oreal Smartbond on model Cara.

What do you think? Will you be adding Smartbond to your next colour service?