Hair {and Makeup} by A.S.H.
Chalk Your Locks or Not?

We love change: new shoes, new nail polish, new hair colors… but how do you feel about the latest hair trend - hair chalking?

Last Summer, the big trend was feathers. All ages flocked to salons for the brightly colored chicken feathers. We loved how such a temporary change made a fun statement. The latest pre-Summer trend of 2012 is hair chalking, using soft pastel chalks to color strands of hair. For BRUNETTES and DARKER, it can be done by sectioning off damp hair and rubbing the chalk over the ends, OR wet chalk can be applied to strands of dry hair. For BLONDES and RED-HEADS, it is recommended that you DO NOT WET the chalk or your hair as this can cause your hair to stain. If you choose to do so, be forewarned that the “temporary” color could last a week or two, possibly longer. The trend works especially well on ombre; color pigment shows up much brighter on pre-lightened hair. But again, if your hair is pre-lightened, avoid using water as the chalk could stain your hair.

The best part is that when you’re over it, the chalk simply washes out, so you can start with a new color each day. Or, you can just chalk your hair for special occasions, like going out with the girls. (Be sure to avoid wearing white or light colors that the chalk could stain!)

If you choose to partake in this new trend, keep in mind how drying chalk can be. Remember how your hands felt after using sidewalk chalk?! Follow up your shampoo with a deep moisturizing conditioner to rehydrate those chalked locks!

Need a new stylist? Looking for a hair & makeup artist for your special occasion? Check out HairbyASH.com or contact Alyssa at Hair by A.S.H. in Brentwood, Tennessee by phone at 615.967.4643.

From the ‘Growing-Out-My-Hair’ Nightmare to Your Dream Hair

It may seem like Mission Impossible to style short hair while growing it out, but it can be done.

About two and a half years ago, my hair was past shoulder-length. I started training for a half-marathon while dating a guy who liked short hairstyles, so I decided it was time for a change.

A pixie cut.

Shannyn Sossamon and Audrey Hepburn made me do it. They made it look fun, feminine, effortless, chic…

While I loved having hair that was fairly low-maintenance, I missed being able to style my hair, so I began the process of growing it out. My hair is very thick, with a medium-to-coarse wavy texture, so I had to thin out my hair every 3-4 weeks and, as I called it, ‘trim the mullet.’

The idea of getting regular trims while growing your hair out might seem slightly counter-productive to you, but I can assure you that they are very beneficial. In my case, I was trying to change the shape of my short haircut, so it was important to take a little bit of length off so the sides could catch up, avoiding a repeat of a fashion mullet or “fullet” I once had. Even if you are not trying to change the shape of your overall cut, it is still important to get your dead ends trimmed off once a month. If your goal is to grow your hair out, keeping your hair healthy at its current length needs to be a priority.

That was where I messed up.

Although I found creative ways to keep my thick hair from turning into a white girl fro, like using a comb when blow-drying and styling with Aveda’s Control Paste, I was not trying to keep my hair healthy. I starting getting heavy highlights and did not use any kind of overnight treatment to protect my hair from split ends.

But I have learned from my mistakes, so I’m sharing that knowledge with you.

Marlyn Formula 50 is a multi-vitamin that strengthens your hair and nails. You can find a bottle of 50 for around $30 at CVS. Take it daily. My other secret weapon is Redken’s All Soft Argan-6 Oil. I have gotten so many compliments on my hair since I started using it! It’s enriched with omega-6 and fair trade argan oil. I use it for everything: to achieve the perfect high-shine blowout, to smooth frizz, and as an overnight treatment (it doesn’t transfer to pillowcases!!!). The best part is the price point… it’s only $29.

With those three things: regular trims, Marlyn Formula 50, and Argan-6 Oil, AND a little patience, the nightmare will be over and your dream hair will be a reality!

Looking for a stylist? Visit HairbyASH.com or contact Alyssa at 615.967.4643.

Spring 2012 Hair and Makeup Trends

Spring is the perfect time to brush up on the latest trends in hair and makeup!

The weather is gorgeous… and so are YOU! It’s time to shrug off the drab winter colors and embrace the corals and tangerines of the season.

Let’s talk hair first… now that the sun is out, brighten up with a few highlights. It’s best to keep the front the brightest, so you may only need a partial highlight. Experiment with shinier, multi-dimensional ammonia free haircolor for a healthier look. I would recommend Redken’s Chromatics, because it has an oil delivery system that fortifies hair twice as much as it is naturally.

Although it is going to get warmer, don’t be tempted to cut all of your hair off! Go for an updated version of Jennifer Aniston’s adorable bob, keeping the front length near your shoulders. Putting in just a few more layers or having some of it texturized can give you the same effect, but you will still have your length.

Braids appear to be the style trend of the season. A side braid or two in the front adds a little bit of texture and looks very chic if you have highlights. If you have long hair, try doing a few loose braids near the front, and then curling your ends for a different effect.

Before the summer humidity sets in, begin researching Keratin Treatment specialists in your area. Keratin Treatments will protect your hair from the humid elements and keep frizz at bay. You may have noticed a few different do-it-yourself treatments being carried in drug stores now. Much like box haircolor, these products are made cheaply and in a one-size-fits-all manner, which means that instead of making your hair healthy, it will damage it in the long run. Spend the money up front to have your Keratin Treatment done right so you are not paying more money in the end to fix a $20 boxed product.

Now, let’s talk makeup… the 60s-inspired cat eye is back! As summer approaches, it is a good idea to back off on the makeup, so a solid, liquid-lined eye paired with a peachy-pink or coral lip makes a big statement. Also, there is no need to go out and buy a lighter coverage foundation for Spring and Summer. All you need to do is mix your foundation with an illuminating moisturizer for a fresh, dewy face.

Ready to put a little Spring in your look? Hair by A.S.H. is a full-service salon in Brentwood, Tennessee. Stylist/Owner Alyssa Hodges is a haircolor and Keratin Treatment specialist, as well a makeup artist who styles photo shoots and weddings. If you have questions or are ready to book your appointment, contact Alyssa at 615.967.4643. For more information, visit HairbyASH.com.

What Chain Salons Don’t Want You to Know About $13 Haircuts

$13 haircuts might sound like a great idea for your budget, but they are costing you more money in the long run.

When you walk in the door of a corporate chain “salon,” you are not a person. You are a dollar sign. Your name will be placed into a system, along with the product you bought and the amount that you tipped the stylist (or that you didn’t). The goal from the time you walk in the door is to get you hooked so you will be back in 4 weeks.

Corporate chains, and some of the bigger salons that have a lot of overhead expenses, do not train their stylists to do “low maintenance” cuts or colors. This is why your hair grows out much like a Chia pet and your natural color does not blend into the color your stylist chose for you. If a salon can get you dependent on your monthly trip to the salon, they’ve got you right where they want you. But hey, the cut IS only $13, right? And the color retouch is $45, versus getting $60 highlights, right?

Very wrong, my friend.

Textured cuts and proper color placement can actually save you money in the long run. A great cut should last 8 weeks. Properly placed color should last 6 weeks, at the very least. Find a stylist who is knowledgeable in one or both of these areas and I assure you, your budget (not to mention your hair) will be better off in the long run!

Looking for a stylist near Brentwood, Tennessee? Contact Alyssa Hodges at Hair by A.S.H.

Your Wedding Hairstyle and Wedding Makeup

Choosing your wedding hairstyle or wedding makeup is a lot like choosing your wedding dress.

Congratulations! Your wedding day is something you’ve dreamed about and planned for since you were a little girl. This is, however, a big part of the reason why some brides turn into “bridezillas.” Your stress level is high because your expectations for your wedding day are high.

Some brides have spent years envisioning themselves with smokey cat eyes under full fringe bangs and eye-catching red lipstick on their wedding day. However, on a daily basis, they may have worn only mascara and light lip gloss, so wearing more makeup might be shocking at first glance.  This blog entry is designed to help you choose a wedding hairstyle and/or wedding makeup you will LOVE.

Take a few minutes and click through your profile pictures on Facebook, in your cell phone, or on your computer desktop. Find your favorite picture of yourself. Maybe it’s a picture of you and your fiance, a family picture, or a picture of you and your friends on girls’ night. What do you like about the way you look in that particular picture? Write down at least three things. Some examples: I like the way my eye makeup looked, that shirt is the perfect color for me, I was having a good hair day, etc.

Next, go to your closet and find three of your favorite items of clothing. Write down what you like about each of the three items. Examples: The lace, the ruffles, the buttons, etc. How would you describe your style? Write that down, as well.

Finally, write down a description of your dream hair and what you would have to change to get there. For instance, if you feel that your hair is thin, you may want to add some extensions for your wedding day. If you feel that it is boring, maybe it’s time for a few layers. Refer to that picture you love so much for some inspiration.

Now you have a list of things you love about your appearance, how you define your style, and what your ideal hair is. Take this list to your stylist and/or makeup artist when you go in for your wedding consultation appointment. (This appointment should take place no later than one week before your wedding day.)

Your stylist and/or makeup artist’s goal is to fuse what you already know you love about yourself with the things you dream of changing about your appearance. He or she will be able to help you find the wedding hairstyle and wedding makeup that will be stunning, rather than shocking, on your wedding day. You should be able to try different looks and ask as many questions as you have during this consultation. Don’t be afraid to be assertive; you do not want to loathe your wedding pictures for decades to come because you were afraid to say that you hated pink blush or half-up hairstyles.

Once you have found the hairstyle and/or makeup look you feel is perfect, take a picture. Review the picture the day after your appointment. If you love the way you look, you know you will feel beautiful on your wedding day and absolutely love your wedding pictures. If you feel there is something that needs to change, notify your stylist or makeup artist as soon as possible so they will be prepared for it. (It’s fun to share the picture with your bridesmaids, fiance, and/or family members, but keep in mind that it is YOUR opinion of your appearance that matters.)

Planning your wedding can be stressful, but choosing your wedding dress, wedding hairstyle, and wedding makeup should not be. You deserve to look and feel nothing short of stunning when you walk down the aisle!

Looking for a stylist or makeup artist for your wedding day? Visit HairbyASH.com and contact Alyssa Hodges at Hair by A.S.H. in Brentwood, Tennessee to set up your consultation.

Hair Care 101: Shampoo and Conditioner

A few thoughts on hair care shared on Hair Instructor:

It’s that time of year again: the heater is on full blast and you’re wearing that adorable scarf and hat set your grandmother crocheted for you last Christmas. The smell of evergreen is in the air and… is that dandruff on your shoulder?!
Most of our mothers and grandmothers taught us that cleanliness is next to godliness, but they forgot to mention how important it is to select a quality, pH-balanced shampoo. If you’ve ever noticed oily hair and a dry, itchy scalp, the culprit is none other than the drugstore bargain sitting on the ledge in your shower.
Without presenting a boring seventh-grade science lesson, the ideal pH-level for hair care products is between 4.5 and 5.5. Products with a lower pH-level, say 3 to 4, are more acidic and tend to strip and harden your hair, whereas ones with higher levels, like most drugstore brands which are between 6 and 7, soften your hair, but leave behind a soapy residue because they are more alkaline. Those of us who don’t carry litmus paper around in our purses are swayed by the pretty packaging, only to pay the price later when our $3.99 bottle of shampoo dries out our scalp, causing it to overcompensate by producing excessive oil. 
Cheap surfactants and sulfates, which can cause sores on your scalp if you are allergic to them, are also to blame. To cut costs, synthetic waxes are often used in drugstore shampoos to coat hair when more expensive natural oils are the answer, so hair may appear healthy, but as we all know, appearances can be deceiving. Treat products like you would a book. Like the cover? Read the back. If a product contains citric acid, it is more likely to be pH-balanced. If it contains wax or sodium lauryl sulfate (not to be confused with its gentler cousin, sodium laureth sulfate), put it back and move on.
By now, you’re recalling another quote your grandmother always said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” You are living on a budget. I not only understand that; I applaud it. So here is where I am going to name-drop: Redken. It is very reasonably priced and, like most shampoos sold in professional salons, it is concentrated, which means a little goes a long way. If you are tempted to buy Redken or another salon-exclusive brand at a drugstore, be aware that most of these products are sold on the black market at some point before they make it to the shelf and are often diluted. Only in professional salons will you find products that are absolutely guaranteed.
Once you’ve found a quality, concentrated, pH-balanced shampoo and conditioner, all you need is an effective application technique. Squeeze a small amount of shampoo onto your fingertips and rub onto your wet scalp. If you have thick hair or go a few days between shampoos, you may feel that you need more than one shampoo. Instead of adding to what you’ve already applied, rinse and repeat. Rinse the shampoo and ring as much water out of your hair in the shower as you can. Apply conditioner to the ends of your hair first and then work your way up to the root area. If you have limp or fine hair, avoid using conditioner directly on your root or scalp. Rinse, towel-dry, style with pH-balanced products, and enjoy an itch-free scalp and shiny, healthy hair!
Don’t be afraid to pull that black wool coat out of the attic; the only white stuff you’ll be brushing off your shoulders this season will be snow!

Want more hair care tips? Visit HairbyASH.com and Hair Instructor!

{Looking for a hairstylist in the Brentwood, Tennessee or Franklin, Tennessee area? Visit Alyssa Hodges at Hair by A.S.H., located in Cool Springsnear Galleria and the Financial Peace University. Call 615.967.4643 to make an appointment.}

Hair Care 101: Shampoo and Conditioner

A few thoughts on hair care shared on Hair Instructor:

It’s that time of year again: the heater is on full blast and you’re wearing that adorable scarf and hat set your grandmother crocheted for you last Christmas. The smell of evergreen is in the air and… is that dandruff on your shoulder?!
Most of our mothers and grandmothers taught us that cleanliness is next to godliness, but they forgot to mention how important it is to select a quality, pH-balanced shampoo. If you’ve ever noticed oily hair and a dry, itchy scalp, the culprit is none other than the drugstore bargain sitting on the ledge in your shower.
Without presenting a boring seventh-grade science lesson, the ideal pH-level for hair care products is between 4.5 and 5.5. Products with a lower pH-level, say 3 to 4, are more acidic and tend to strip and harden your hair, whereas ones with higher levels, like most drugstore brands which are between 6 and 7, soften your hair, but leave behind a soapy residue because they are more alkaline. Those of us who don’t carry litmus paper around in our purses are swayed by the pretty packaging, only to pay the price later when our $3.99 bottle of shampoo dries out our scalp, causing it to overcompensate by producing excessive oil. 
Cheap surfactants and sulfates, which can cause sores on your scalp if you are allergic to them, are also to blame. To cut costs, synthetic waxes are often used in drugstore shampoos to coat hair when more expensive natural oils are the answer, so hair may appear healthy, but as we all know, appearances can be deceiving. Treat products like you would a book. Like the cover? Read the back. If a product contains citric acid, it is more likely to be pH-balanced. If it contains wax or sodium lauryl sulfate (not to be confused with its gentler cousin, sodium laureth sulfate), put it back and move on.
By now, you’re recalling another quote your grandmother always said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” You are living on a budget. I not only understand that; I applaud it. So here is where I am going to name-drop: Redken. It is very reasonably priced and, like most shampoos sold in professional salons, it is concentrated, which means a little goes a long way. If you are tempted to buy Redken or another salon-exclusive brand at a drugstore, be aware that most of these products are sold on the black market at some point before they make it to the shelf and are often diluted. Only in professional salons will you find products that are absolutely guaranteed.
Once you’ve found a quality, concentrated, pH-balanced shampoo and conditioner, all you need is an effective application technique. Squeeze a small amount of shampoo onto your fingertips and rub onto your wet scalp. If you have thick hair or go a few days between shampoos, you may feel that you need more than one shampoo. Instead of adding to what you’ve already applied, rinse and repeat. Rinse the shampoo and ring as much water out of your hair in the shower as you can. Apply conditioner to the ends of your hair first and then work your way up to the root area. If you have limp or fine hair, avoid using conditioner directly on your root or scalp. Rinse, towel-dry, style with pH-balanced products, and enjoy an itch-free scalp and shiny, healthy hair!
Don’t be afraid to pull that black wool coat out of the attic; the only white stuff you’ll be brushing off your shoulders this season will be snow!

Want more hair care tips? Visit HairbyASH.com and Hair Instructor!

{Looking for a hairstylist in the Brentwood, Tennessee or Franklin, Tennessee area? Visit Alyssa Hodges at Hair by A.S.H., located in Cool Springsnear Galleria and the Financial Peace University. Call 615.967.4643 to make an appointment.}

Hair Care 101: Shampoo and Conditioner

A few thoughts on hair care shared on Hair Instructor:

It’s that time of year again: the heater is on full blast and you’re wearing that adorable scarf and hat set your grandmother crocheted for you last Christmas. The smell of evergreen is in the air and… is that dandruff on your shoulder?!
Most of our mothers and grandmothers taught us that cleanliness is next to godliness, but they forgot to mention how important it is to select a quality, pH-balanced shampoo. If you’ve ever noticed oily hair and a dry, itchy scalp, the culprit is none other than the drugstore bargain sitting on the ledge in your shower.
Without presenting a boring seventh-grade science lesson, the ideal pH-level for hair care products is between 4.5 and 5.5. Products with a lower pH-level, say 3 to 4, are more acidic and tend to strip and harden your hair, whereas ones with higher levels, like most drugstore brands which are between 6 and 7, soften your hair, but leave behind a soapy residue because they are more alkaline. Those of us who don’t carry litmus paper around in our purses are swayed by the pretty packaging, only to pay the price later when our $3.99 bottle of shampoo dries out our scalp, causing it to overcompensate by producing excessive oil. 
Cheap surfactants and sulfates, which can cause sores on your scalp if you are allergic to them, are also to blame. To cut costs, synthetic waxes are often used in drugstore shampoos to coat hair when more expensive natural oils are the answer, so hair may appear healthy, but as we all know, appearances can be deceiving. Treat products like you would a book. Like the cover? Read the back. If a product contains citric acid, it is more likely to be pH-balanced. If it contains wax or sodium lauryl sulfate (not to be confused with its gentler cousin, sodium laureth sulfate), put it back and move on.
By now, you’re recalling another quote your grandmother always said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” You are living on a budget. I not only understand that; I applaud it. So here is where I am going to name-drop: Redken. It is very reasonably priced and, like most shampoos sold in professional salons, it is concentrated, which means a little goes a long way. If you are tempted to buy Redken or another salon-exclusive brand at a drugstore, be aware that most of these products are sold on the black market at some point before they make it to the shelf and are often diluted. Only in professional salons will you find products that are absolutely guaranteed.
Once you’ve found a quality, concentrated, pH-balanced shampoo and conditioner, all you need is an effective application technique. Squeeze a small amount of shampoo onto your fingertips and rub onto your wet scalp. If you have thick hair or go a few days between shampoos, you may feel that you need more than one shampoo. Instead of adding to what you’ve already applied, rinse and repeat. Rinse the shampoo and ring as much water out of your hair in the shower as you can. Apply conditioner to the ends of your hair first and then work your way up to the root area. If you have limp or fine hair, avoid using conditioner directly on your root or scalp. Rinse, towel-dry, style with pH-balanced products, and enjoy an itch-free scalp and shiny, healthy hair!
Don’t be afraid to pull that black wool coat out of the attic; the only white stuff you’ll be brushing off your shoulders this season will be snow!

Want more hair care tips? Visit HairbyASH.com and Hair Instructor!

{Looking for a hairstylist in the Brentwood, Tennessee or Franklin, Tennessee area? Visit Alyssa Hodges at Hair by A.S.H., located in Cool Springsnear Galleria and the Financial Peace University. Call 615.967.4643 to make an appointment.}

The Right Hair Color

We have all noticed those celebrities, or even our friends, who have discovered the right hair color . Her hair color changes and suddenly her eyes appear brighter, her skin looks amazing. 

It could be the Botox. Or that week-long cruise to the Bahamas. But more than likely, the secret is that she has found the best hair color for  her.

When was the last time a stranger stopped you on the street and told you how much they admired your hair? Do you remember the last time a friend complimented your tresses? If it’s been a while, it’s time for a change.

Finding a color specialist may seem like a difficult task, but I am going to give you some advice that will make the search much easier. 

  • Do some research. Find a salon with stylists who frequently take classes to stay ahead of trends and keep their prices competitive. I recommend finding a salon with ammonia-free haircolor.
  • Make the call. Ask for a consultation with the color specialist that best fits your budget. (The receptionist should be able to give you a list of the stylists’ starting prices.)
  • Q&A. During your consultation with the colorist, he/she may ask you some questions about your hair history. Answer as honestly as possible! Don’t be afraid to admit that you used box color last month. (We will eventually figure it out, but it’s better to know beforehand.) Feel free to ask questions of your own. By the end of the consultation, you should know whether or not you feel like you are making a good investment by working with the colorist. A talented colorist knows that three factors are important when choosing a color for a client:
  1. Your lifestyle. If you have a job that requires you to look professional at all times, a color specialist will steer clear of vibrant violet lowlights.
  2. Your skin tone. Ivory skin is beautiful and a trained color expert knows how to compliment your skin tone instead of making you look like a goth queen.
  3. Your eye color. Blue eyes really pop with hint-of-copper highlights.

Once you have found the perfect shade, be sure to ask your colorist to color your brows as well. (Some salons may do an up-charge for brows, usually under $20, but it is very worth it!) You don’t want your natural color standing out against your new color!

Don’t be surprised if your new color turns heads. ;)

If you are looking for a hair color specialist in Brentwood / Franklin, TN , contact Alyssa at Hair by A.S.H. - 615.967.4643.

For more information, visit HairbyASH.com

{Got a hair tip, a hair question, or want to share a hair before and after picture? Feel free to do so below!}


Ammonia-Free Haircolor: The Pros & Cons

Art and science go hand-in-hand in the haircolor industry. Hairstylists and scientists work together to constantly improve the quality of hair products, making them safer and more effective for the client.
You may have heard about ammonia-free haircolor already. L’Oreal’s INOA advertisements have been in virtually every major fashion magazine over the past two years. The idea of shiny, beautiful color without the chemical smell is certainly  appealing.
But what makes ammonia-free haircolor better?
To answer this question, we have to start with the role that ammonia plays in haircolor. Ammonia is what opens up the cuticle, allowing the pigment from haircolor to penetrate. The problem is that haircolor alone does not seal the cuticle back down, causing frizz and damage to the hair. It is often necessary to use another product to seal the cuticle and restore shine to the hair, often referred to as a gloss, glaze, or even a deep conditioning moisture treatment.
Ammonia-free haircolor deposits color without blowing open the cuticle and causing damage to the hair. Color appears much shinier, hair feels healthier, and the aroma is more natural. However, without the ammonia, your color will fade more quickly because it does not penetrate as deeply.
If you are interested in trying ammonia-free color, I would recommend finding a Redken colorist. Redken is introducing their new ammonia-free, permanent haircolor, Chromatics, this Spring 2012. Hair by A.S.H. in Cool Springs / Franklin, Tennessee will be carrying Chromatics (in addition to Redken’s CoverFusion and ColorFusion), so stay tuned for an offer to experience the difference and decide for yourself!

(Share your thoughts; Ammonia-free color… Hotttt or So Notttt?)