The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Your hair is your crowning glory!

I have had so many letters and emails about the days of writing the Beauty Thread.  Thank you to everyone who wrote to me over the last couple of years. You helped me decide that DIY beauty treatments are going to be in my blog again.

Lately with all the hot weather I have been swimming most nights. In a chlorinated pool which is not great for hair. But it makes no difference as I know what to do is it is fine. (unless you count aching legs from swimming so much!)

To write this I thought I had better get an update on hair services pricing. I averaged out a few salons I used to like and got quite a shock while getting myself informed on current prices! Now there is nothing wrong with using a salon. Getting your hair to suit you, in good condition etc is a wonderful thing. It affects how I feel and I know thats the same for most women. Also having someone do your hair for you feels beautiful and is relaxing and pampering and beautiful!

So my tips are if you need to save money, have no time to get to a salon etc. This can happen very easily when the kids are little. In fact this is the time many women cut their hair off as they just cannot manage everything.

My girls work in the beauty industry and have to look very well presented and stylish as part of their work. They have both worked for numerous companies Revlon, Lancome, Napoleon Perdis ... Lucy is quite high up in NP as a creative director. Very handy for me. I have picked up so many tips and insider secrets from them.

None of us ever go to a hair dresser. And according to my calculations today this must save us all at least $6000 a year! I am posting a couple of basic shots that show hair! so you do not imagine we all look like wilderness girls lol

Chloe and I cut our own hair and colour and I do a conditioning treatment weekly. Chloe (not a hairdresser or any training!) cuts her sisters hair and Lucy is particular! 

Actually Lucy is very particular! She always looks beautiful. She will kill me if she reads this.

Before making any decisions based on the condition, manageability, lack of shine (or anything else) of your hair you need to get all the years of conditioner, hair spray, products that build up in your hair. This makes your hair dull, un manageable and ick. You can buy special products for this but Apple Cider vinegar works so perfectly I cannot imagine shelling out money for this. Wash you hair and for the first time use at least a cup of Apple Cider Vinegar through your hair. try to get it on every strand and rinse. Then go ahead as usual. I do it weekly with about half a cup of the vinegar in a jug of water. Now and then I will do a full strength one. There were times I considered cutting my hair because it wasn't going "right" and this fixed it. Nothing wrong with it except product build up! So do this first of all.

So really the thing is trimming your own hair is ridiculously easy. There are even free hair dresser instructional tutorials on you tube. I began with my bangs as actual hair dressers always cut them too short and that drove me crazy. Bangs are very flattering for most women. As are layers around the face and softer colours around the face. 

Colour is also ridiculously easy. The actual process is terribly easy these days and very good quality products are on the shelves. I have fine hair. A colour gives me more volume and shine. Even if I coloured my hair my exact present shade I would do it for the shine and texture improvement. Read the pack thats about it, if unsure phone the number on the pack. That sounds over simplistic but seriously that is it. Choosing a colour is a much harder thing. Over all a general guide is to go lighter and softer as we get older. If we knew everything when we were young we would keep a snip of our hair from when it was our personal best colour. My niece Alex a few years ago when she was about 13 had the most glorious honey hair. I told her to save a sample of it as when she is older and darkens this sample will give her the perfect shade to go back to. Perfect for her as it is natural. 

When I was little my hair was basically white. It looked like I had none for a while! Then it was really light blonde then medium blonde in later teens. Now it is mousy blonde which I feel blah in. So for me I have lightened to where I was in my early teens. Doing this, staying in your own natural colour range, is a big help. It will work, suit you and be not too hard to maintain. As I do it fortnightly this is where it would be costing me too much time and too much money at a salon.

The next thing is hair can make you look younger or older. I am 51. Dry hair is my most likely big problem. So I do deep conditioning treatments at least once a week. And to swim I put my hair up with conditioner through it. So with the conditioner and the warmth I basically get a treatment every time I swim. But I swim without going under the water... if you want to do that then do all this and wear a cap.

My conditioning treatment is simply warm oil massaged through to the ends and kept on for at least half an hour. You can use olive oil. I do like nut oils ie almond oil or something like that. Coconut oil is good. You can wrap it all up in plastic or a shower cap. There is a great product called Wondercap that comes from NZ I think. It is like a shower cap except you heat it in the microwave. I love this! The warmth makes a huge difference. This is as good or better than any salon treatment. Doing it at home could mean you can leave it on much longer too. Of course you look fabulous while doing this so I figure I might as well have a face mask as well. 

When finished wash it out with warm water and shampoo and condition and style as usual. If your hair is really dry it may take a while to get it back to beautiful healthy hair. But you will. Then healthy soft shiny hair is lovely. Girls with dark coloured hair can achieve amazing shine which I envy. But whatever colour we have healthy hair just is the best thing you can do.

I am very big on eating heaps of protein. That is a big thing for your hair. Eggs, nuts, oils, avocado... just like we used to give the dogs cod liver oil so their coat was shiny... we are no different!

Ok I know this is basic but it's a start. My post will be too long! I am happy to answer any questions or at least point you in a helpful direction. The point is there is so much you can easily do yourself and each thing is a massive time and money saver. It is never necessary to give up on your hair due to time or money. And having it in a way that makes you feel good has a million benefits!

In answer to Kaye... 

Kaye no I don't do any foils at all. I have natural variations in my hair. So I have lighter darker and some that are reddish too. So when you colour each of these takes the colour yet turns out slightly different and so you have subtle variations on a theme which is really good and better than one flat colour. Most people have some variations if you look closely in the light. So you will keep the variation when coloured too. Lucys is great... recently I took this to show her as we don't see the top of our heads very well and I was impressed by all the lovely tones. And she does her one colour throughout no highlights or low lights it just happens naturally!

I love it. So nature and colour combine to get this effect and I think sticking to your colour or a colour you once were helps with this effect. 


  1. Annabel, I think it is amazing that you cut your own hair. Thanks for the tips on haircare. I pay my hairdresser $25 to cut my inverted curly bob with a straight fringe (I straighten the fringe) as I have naturally curly hair. I do my own colour but wonder how you get a two toned effect in yours? Do you foil the top layer?

    btw my DDs and I agree that you have really beautiful girls - just like their beautiful Mum! ;)

    1. Kaye I added my answer to you in the article as I thought this is a question others might have thought of too... The answer is no I don't do anything but Ill explain why and add a photos of Lucys colour as it is lovely and it happens as if by magic but Ill explain why. Your cut for $25 is a pretty good deal I think and I have to wonder if I could do my own if it was curly (I have natural waves kind of but not curls) Besides what I have written above with the photo if you tell me what colour are you currently (naturally) and what colour are you colouring it, I might be able to help you get more multi tones.... (maybe!) xxx

  2. Annabel, what an inspirational post! I use 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a cup of water to rinse my hair, and totally agree with you about how good it is for product build up.
    I would love more tips about hair as well. These are simply fabulous!

    1. Thanks Helen. I will do more tips I think over time. Your hair is lovely and brunettes can get such lovely shine. Im like you I like my hair to look nice (makes me feel much better that way) but not want to spend a fortune! xxx

  3. Thanks Annabel. Currently my natural hair colour is a mousy brown. It is darker than when it turned mousy when I was young. I had quite blonde hair when I was young, and have had my hair coloured many colours including ash blonde (when I was around 20) and titian as well. I do have some natural red pigment in that it will turn to brassy blonde that is why I used to have ash blonde. With my former hairdresser I used to spend around $120 on it as I'd have it coloured to a warm honey colour with three lots of foils for highlights - a red, blonde and a bronze kind of colour (a bit darker) I have been using a colour close to its original colour but I think it is too dark and unflattering. I have one more box to use up (a different brand) its Olia in a warm brown. My Dd uses Olia and it makes her hair so beautiful and shiny. I think foils lift my hair colour but I am not game to try and do them myself. I was thinking of putting in the body colour myself and then getting a quote from my current hairdresser to do a couple of foils just through the fringe and top (crown).

    There might be some colour variation naturally in my hair, but unless it is straightened, you really can't tell!

    Hope all this rambling makes sense to you!
    Kaye xo

    1. Dear Kaye I think you may be my long lost curly twin. Seriously what you describe is so similar to me down to the natural highlights. With these you should be able to get the variation was are talking about. If you don't mind me suggesting I would go back to the colour of maybe your early teens and the thing is to work out if ash or golden/honey is the right blonde for you. If I do golden/honey I go too red. Way too red and brassy. One thing is to think am I a warm or am I a cool in overall colouring. I am a cool. I look better in blues, pinks, and I look completely hideous in apricot. Like really ill. lol Another way to tell is look at your veins in your wrist. Do your veins seem blue (then your cool) or do they seem greenish (then you are probably warm) Ok so I go ash. And I go the shade of when I was more like 10 which is lighter. (lighter is more flattering and will look younger usually) If you go ash and you have the natural colours like I do then you need to use a blonde toner. Its like thick lilac toner which you leave on a few mins. This gets rid of any reddish or brassiness. Wonderful stuff. Now heres the thing... you dont need highlights. Imagine your hair is wet and you can pick up strands of ten or so hairs with your comb. You can pick out bits and swipe them with toner. Do a heap where you think and leave five minutes then go ahead and wash. Voila you have added variation. These will go purple if your hair is too light... otherwise you get a great ash. If you cant decide and are game send me a photo as your profile wont let me see! If you can look back at a photo of yourself with blonde hair it will probably help you see if that was more ash or more golden.... Well I hope some of that might help, sorry to be so long. Now I am dying to see what you do! xxx

  4. Annabel, I just found a photo of Jennifer Lawrence when she had her hair golden blonde with natural highlights and I think that the colour would be great for me. It is a colour my former hairdresser used in my hair for my daughter's wedding, almost 2 years ago now, and I loved it! I used to be a cool complexion when young and had pink tones to my skin, but I am warm now (greenish veins) due to liver changes I think due to hyperthyroidism. My best colour to wear now is a jade green or turquoise even.

    I think my hairdresser said it was a caramel colour, it looked like a warm amber almost to me (think golden syrup held up to the light) with blonde highlights and red and darker like I said.

    I wish I could load up the Jennifer Lawrence shot to show you. You might find one on google images to see what I mean.

    Thanks for your information. I think the Olia we are using (not used this one before) is a golden brown. I'm just working out how to get the highlights without paying out heaps to the hairdresser!

  5. I did go and have a look at JLs hair colours. She has a lot that I think is like Loreal Hollywood which is quite honey/golden and light enough to show highlights and low lights. Have a look sometime, there is another one... Ill check the name but they are no 8 or no 9 (9 being the lighter) but your brand might have one just right too. Also now is a good time, it seems kind of natural to go a little lighter in summer and i you did do this and feel its too light (although give it a week or two to see as you get used to it) then next time just go one shade darker and thats fine. If you know you loved your hair for the wedding then it sounds like you struck gold then and have something now you know works just right!

  6. Thanks so much Annabel. I will use up this pack I have then go looking for a new lighter and warmer colour for the autumn. I will be toning in with the autumn foliage won't I? :)

  7. Annabel this is an EXCELLENT post! My husband and I are both hairstylists. He works full time (18 years in the beauty industry,) i used to work full-time but only do very few clients since we are a blended family with 5 kids. I have 10 years in the industry. I wanted to do hair from age 9, but didn't go to school for it until I was in my early 30's. You do a positively beautiful job with your hair! And Chloe's haircut on Lucy? She has a gift. A real talent for sure. Chloe's hair is gorgeous as well. Your advice in this post is wonderful. I always say that if a woman wants to have her hair professionally done, she should. But if its an area where you truly need to cut expenses, it so can be done, and done well! This is a perfect example! Hugs

    1. Thanks Colette! This really is wonderful as I slightly fear professional opinions and dont want to offend professionals by doing this myself. And also both my girls work in the beauty industry (or did until recently) which I adore and gleaned so much information from. Just now I could not afford the costs of my own hair... it would be over $200 a month or more... so thank you! Also I think a womans hair affects the way she feels hugely! And it is our crowning glory. If I had a salon I would call it Crowning Glory!
      I love seeing a lady who looks after her hair and looks well groomed. You just feel better! Thank you for this! xxx


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