1. Don’t Copy Pinterest
I’m obsessed with Pinterest and constantly use it for inspiration, whether it’s art, clothes, nails, meals, or hair. However, while you can definitely use it as reference, you can’t expect to look exactly like someone else. According to Ryan, “skin tone and eye color play a big part” in hair color. You may find a super cute short cut that looks so chic on Ruby Rose, but will make you look like a sumo wrestler with a little sad bun on your heads. Don’t do that to yourself.
2. Don’t Expect Great Colors Overnight
This is really true. The reason I went through so many colors this year is because I was trying to bleach out my 10+ years of permanent black dye in my hair. Every time we bleached, it turned a different color, like orange, and we covered it with something similar, like magenta. I bleached for almost a year and a half before finally getting the gray ombre of my dreams. My hair stylist told me she could do it faster, but bleaching so harshly would make me lose my long hair and fry what was left of it. So, we did it very slowly, and I’m so glad we did! I only lost a couple inches of length and the color is perfect. Ryan agrees—even if you don’t have permanent black in your hair, getting the perfect color takes time. He says it takes around “2-3 visits before I get it exactly how I want it to look.” Keep that in mind next time you think you’re going to go from brown to blonde in one session. You will end up orange.
3. Don’t Just Follow A Trend
I think it’s fun to try trendy hair colors (hi, I’m gray right now), but you need to put in a lot of thought before you do it. Dyeing your hair can damage it permanently and have long-lasting effects. It took me over a year to get this *trendy* color, but I had wanted to do it for a year or two prior so I finally decided it was worth the commitment. If you’re going to dye your hair, figure out how expensive it will be, what the upkeep is like, and how hard it is to go back if you change your mind. Ryan says, “Do what’s suitable and sustainable for yourself.” My gray hair requires a lot of maintenance, like using purple shampoo and not ever going in chlorine, and my hair is much more fragile than it was when it was black. Know what you’re getting into before you do something you won’t like in a month.
4. Don’t Use Permanent Color On Grays
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You’ve asked: Why don’t the Shades EQ VBs come in level 9? This #ShadesEQGloss family is best used for the middle levels of 6, 7, and 8 when there is both a high concentration of yellow and orange in the hair. Use them on their own at these recommended levels, or mix them with your favorite Shades EQ Gloss shades for extra cooling when necessary on higher levels. Do you have a favorite shade in the VB family? ? ?
Are you going gray? But not in like, the fun way? This is something that I have no experience with since I actually tried to go gray, but this is super interesting advice that most people probably don’t know. According to Ryan, using permanent dye if you only have a few grays creates too much of an obvious line as it grows out. He recommends using only semi-permanent, like Redken Shades EQ, to cover and it will grow out much more seamlessly. The more you know!
5. Don’t Ever Use Box Dye
This one I’ve heard from stylists my whole life and Ryan stresses the same. Box dye gives you hair cancer. Not really, but it fries your hair follicles. Yes it’s cheap, but do you want to be frizzy and cause irreversible damage? Do you want your hair to break off faster than it grows? I’ve even been told by a hair stylist that I should at the very least buy my color from a salon if I must do it myself. But really? You’re a grownup, get your hair done by a professional. Slopping one color on your whole head never looks as good as a colorist perfectly curating your style and giving you dimension. If you’re not willing to pay someone to do it right, maybe don’t even color. It’s better than having bad hair.
Hair extensions—much like microblading, eyelash extensions, and fillers—have been making people hotter for years without you knowing. Now, in the age of Instagram, celebs and influencers alike are finally opening up about how they achieve their high-glam looks (not to mention their flawless no-makeup looks). The rise in hair extensions is particularly near and dear to me: six months ago, I cut off eight inches of hair in a moment of sleep-deprived lob-fever delirium. Since then, I’ve been trying everything short of Sugar Bear gummies to get my length back, a routine my friends finally got sick of hearing about and cut off with a simple question: why don’t you just get extensions?
Hah! I thought at first. Extensions were for photo shoots and reality stars—not me. But after doing some research on what extensions look like today, and how broadly they’re used, I realized that extensions weren’t simply a viable option: they could be exactly what I’m looking for. To learn more, I chatted with Lisa Richards, founder of RPZL. RPZL is the first blowout bar to also offer hair extensions, and they’re a huge part of the reason why extensions have become more accessible. So, set aside your preconceived notions about hair extensions and listen up: here are the five most surprising things I learned.
1. There Are So Many Different Types
Like I said, I’m new to the idea of hair extensions, so bear with me if you’ve heard this before. But I assumed that hair extensions were always a full, glued-on experience—not so. At RPZL, they offer clip-in extensions and clip-in ponytail extensions, both of which can be removed nightly. According to Lisa Richards, those extensions can last for years “if you care for them.” So knowing me, I’d ruin them within six months—but good to know!
The other offerings at RPZL are premium tape and keratin bond extensions, which last 8 weeks and 3 months, respectively. Traditional extensions, Richards explains, “rely on heat,” using a “mini flatiron to melt the keratin glue on an extension and bond it to a small section of hair.” For the keratin option (which is unique to RPZL), the extensions are bonded using “cold fusion:” using a glue that “reacts to ultrasound when used with an applicator.” Basically, we all know about the damage heating tools do to our hair; the keratin option eliminates that step, and is actually faster, too. (Per Richards: “no waiting for an extension to cool” makes the process 3x faster.)
2. You Can Treat Your Extensions Like Regular Hair
Another ill-informed thought I had about extensions was that they consisted of a singular swath of synthetic material, to be kept as pristine as possible for preservation. Nope! While synthetic hair extensions do exist, there are also ones made of real hair (I’ll give you a guess as to which look better). With the real hair extensions, you can style your extensions along with the rest of your hair—Richards specifically says you can “color it, use a curling iron, flat iron it.” This explains a lot of questions I had about how celebs make their hair blend so seamlessly with extensions. It’s also something I feel very dumb for not knowing, so please don’t roast me (too hard) in the comments.
3. Hair Extensions Can Add More Than Length
When I asked Richards what the number one reason for getting extensions was, she summed it up nicely: “inchessss.” And while inches are obviously my #1 concern right now too (*glares at shoulder-length hair in mirror*), the other reason she gave blew my mind. According to Richards, people will also get extensions to add more color to their hair—”without the commitment or damage.” Fun fact: two years ago, I did a very aggressive balayage with a very unskilled stylist who left me with more gray streaks than blond. The idea that I could have just clipped in some blond extensions and gotten subtle highlights instead leaves me shaking with rage. But also, it’s definitely what I’ll do next time I have the urge to lighten up (so, three weeks from now).
4. Not Everyone Can Get Extensions
Of course, not everyone can get extensions for a bunch of reasons (money is the first one that comes to mind, but I bet there are others). What I mean specifically is that not every hair length and style lends itself to extensions. As Richards put it, “people who can’t put their hair in a pony tail” (e.g. people rocking pixie cuts) shouldn’t try to get extensions. “It just doesn’t blend well.” So, sorry to anyone out there who made even more of a dramatic chop than I did, but you’ll need to wait a few months to be extension-eligible.
5. Hair Extensions Are Used In The Royal Family
This is my favorite fact of all time! (Well, other than the fact that Anna Delvey wore a velvet choker to court. I digress.) When I demanded to know what celebs have been secretly using extensions for years, Richards offered up an extensive (hah) list, including none other than the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. (I know you were hoping I’d say Queen Elizabeth II, and I’m sorry. Please continue picturing the monarch with a clip-in ponytail for however long you need to mourn this loss.) Richards estimates that 97% of “all female stars” wear extensions for work or their private lives, but other “surprise” extension-wearers included Tina Fey, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Lauren Conrad, and Chrissy Teigen.
All in all, my conversation with Lisa Richards had me more ready than ever to book an appointment, and ride out these last few months of growing my hair back in style. After drooling with envy over everyone’s waist-length curls at Coachella, I think I deserve this.
Images: @rpzlrpzl; @mercedes2429; Giphy