Beauty & Fashion

Hair we covet

Don’t be fooled by movie stars’ voluminous hair or a stranger walking down the street with gorgeous hair. Their luxurious locks have four key elements in common; time, product (lots of it), effort and investment.

Let’s simply break it down by these four elements.


I’m not telling you anything new by saying it takes time to style your hair. But what may be a fresh concept is to spend some time educating yourself about your specific hair type. By spending a little extra time doing some research and asking the right questions you’ll gain invaluable lifelong knowledge. For instance, if you are reading my articles about hair, products and lifestyle, you’re off to a good start. Or take time to schedule a consultation with your stylist outside of your regular hair appointment. Most stylists offer a free 30-minute consult. The knowledge you’ll gain in half an hour will be invaluable.

Snap decisions. If you’re looking for a big change, making rash decisions about your hair rarely works out well. Avoid mishaps by arming yourself with knowledge. Bring lots of photos. My favorite is Google or Pinterest because my clients can bring in several using their phone. Love technology!

To all the hair we’ve loved before. Photo by Courtney Paige


There is so much misconception around hair products. We tend to covet the type of hair we don’t have. If we have fine-straight hair we want thick-wavy hair. If we have thick-wavy hair, we want straight-silky hair. What each party doesn’t realize is, in order for us to get anywhere near the type of hair we covet, we must invest the time and product. Clients bring in photos like this one above all the time. And every time I see the same look of surprise when I explain that the model in the photo took at least an hour to style, and she has at least 3 layers of styling product in order to get all that volume or shine – plus hairspray. Product matters.


There’s often lots of anxiety around how we perceive our hair. The most important gift you can give your hair is to embrace your hair’s strengths and know the limits of your hair type. Often clients come to me and think they have thin hair, but the reality is, the strands are fine but the mass is dense, actually rendering thick hair. To understand hair type in greater detail, it is divided into two different types of categories: 1. Individual strands and 2. Overall mass density. I could go on with examples of each category, but the combos are as diverse as each individual is unique. That’s why consults are so important. A good stylist can put their hands in your hair and give you a proper evaluation.

A little effort goes a long way. Photo by Courtney Paige

Now, I know you are beginning to think, “Jeez, this seems like a huge commitment, and I just don’t have that kind of time or cash.” This is where lifestyle comes into play. Hair is an interesting beast of burden. We tend to get anxious about our hair. The need to change can sneak up on us and cause a knee-jerk reaction. I ease my clients into the products they purchase. I like using the ‘Goldie Locks Method’. The products I prescribe for my clients have to be ‘just right’. Good products are an investment, and you don’t need to break the bank by buying them all at once. A good salon will offer samples so remember to ask when visiting your stylist next.

    ♥ Minimize styling efforts by following these easy steps 

  1. Apply styling products to damp (not wet) hair.
  2. Dry hair with a blowdryer from side to side until hair is 80% dry.
  3. Twist hair with clips into sections from top to bottom – usually  5 sections for average hair, more sections for thick-fine or thick-course.
  4. Begin styling with blowdryer from the bottom (nape) and work your way to the top (crown).
  5. As you work your way from the nape to the crown the dryer should be hot while your round brush is in motion. Never remain stationary with your brush when the dryer is hot. Keep it moving. Take two to three moving passes with the round brush.
  6. Push the cold button on your dryer when the brush is stationary. Two passes with cool air and stationary for a few seconds before dropping section and moving on to the next.
  7. The cool air ‘SETS’ the style.
  8. The cool air ‘SET’ is the key to holding your style.
  9. When finished styling, spray hair with a ‘Working Hairspray”
  10. And brush trough. Yes, brush through and spray again.
  11. Now you’re SET!
Wash, product prep, dry, style and set. Photo by Courtney Paige

By scheduling a consult with your stylist, you can discuss optimal ways to style your hair type on daily basis or how to get those bouncy curls for a special event.


I saved the best for last. Investment. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, if you are reading this entire article then you have already made a wise investment in yourself. The investment comes from the knowledge you’ve obtained and giving yourself a break when you look in the mirror by not feeling hopeless about your hair. With the right guidance and a little bit of planning, we can all obtain our personal best. You’re on your way!


by Courtney Paige for appointments





Tame the Mane
Beauty & Fashion

Product matters – because, no, I didn’t wake up looking like this…


Don’t kid yourself, the natural look takes time and effort.

Hair product choices are overwhelming. Not only is product selection extensive at grocery stores & pharmacies, product exposure on the internet and in TV commercials is ubiquitous, and, at times, exhausting. I say exhausting because if you buy a product based on pretty packaging & fancy marketing, often the results are disappointing. You’ve not only wasted your hard earned money, but you’ve also wasted precious time. This merry-go-round can be frustrating, to say the least.

In this article, I offer a method to the madness. A tried and true practice in finding the best products that work for you without wasting money on trial and error is to seek guidance from a trusted stylist, friend, or (and this one actually works too), ask a stranger on the street with the same hair type if you are wowed by their hair. Expanding on the latter, be sure to consult your stylist before purchasing the stranger’s product choice.

Or, simply email me, I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

Product referrals in this article are based on my professional and personal experience coupled with countless feedback from clients. Collectively, we have put these products through the gamut.

Product Matters – Tame the Mane. – Photo copyright Look by Courtney Paige

Another awesome way I discover new products is through a $10 subscription of trial size products delivered monthly from Birch Box. It’s like a petite Christmas or birthday gift every month. Through this service, I’ve discovered some priceless finds.

The three most asked questions are:

“Is there a benefit to using the same line of shampoo, conditioner and styling products?”

“What type of shampoo, conditioner & styling products should I use for my hair type?”

“Can I buy my product on Amazon?”

The truth is, the questions are endless and the choices are even more exponential, so in this article, we’ll focus on just the three.

1. “Is there a benefit to using the same line of shampoo, conditioner and styling products?”

Answer: Yes

The most important aspect of choosing a shampoo is finding one that matches your hair type and one that does NOT contain sulfates. Sulfates are an added ingredient manufactures use to simply create suds. Excess suds were needed to rid the scalp of dirt and oils before modern hygiene went into effect almost a century ago. Flash forward and rarely do most of us go without washing our hair less than once a week. The cold hard fact is, sulfates strip healthy hair of its natural oils, its porosity, and its elasticity. Even worse, using these shampoos over an extended period of time can have permeant damage to your hair by causing breakage, rendering it dull and lifeless.

Your hair’s porosity is also compromised if sulfates are used habitually. Porosity is your hair’s ability to hold onto and release liquid substances, whether the substance is water, color or moisture. Using shampoos with sulfates on your hair is worse than washing your car with dishwashing detergent. You know that flat-blurred-drab look your car gets if you wash it with kitchen soap? Yep, washing your car with kitchen soap is just as harsh as using shampoo with sulfates on your hair.

Personally and professionally, I prefer using the same line of shampoo & conditioner. Manufacturers formulate shampoo and conditioner ingredients so they organically compliment each other. For instance, thick-dry-course hair, you’ll want to use a moisturizing shampoo & moisturizing conditioner from the same line. If you have thin-fine-compromised hair, use a strengthening light conditioning shampoo & light conditioner in the same line. If you have coarse-dry-fine hair use a light conditioning shampoo & moisturizing conditioner in the same line.

Hair type can change over the course of time. And at extreme changes with an unexpected illness, stress, surgery and/or hormones. Shampoo & conditioner should be tailored specifically to each individual’s hair type as time progresses.

Styling products are in a completely different realm than shampoo & conditioner. Switching between beauty lines with styling products create optimal benefits. Some days you may want to tame the main and other days, you may want to create voluminous curls. You may even want to switch up your hairstyle from day to night.

Davines, Amika, Kevin Murphy and a little old school Paul Mitchell are my favorite products lines. Between the three, I can usually cover all my client’s needs. Also, each line is reasonably priced.

2. “What type of shampoo, conditioner & styling products should I use?”

Answer: Davines, Kevin Murphy, Amika and Paul Mitchell are my favorite for a variety of reasons. Read on to find out why.

Ask a trusted stylist, a trusted friend with the same hair type, or that stranger we talked about earlier is the perfect referral link. Currently, my favorite shampoo & conditioning product line is Davines.

    1. Full spectrum line catering to all hair types.
    2. Davines does not test on animals.
    3. No sulfates
    4. No parabens
    5. Italian

Shampoo & Conditioner – Davines: OI, Melu, & Minu

*OI is a good choice for thirsty, dry hair that needs lots of moisture – coarse or fine, thick or thin. If you have damaged hair with compromised porosity OI will aid in the damage control while mitigating frizz. Plus it smells absolutely amazing!

Anit-Frizz Products
Davines OI Shampoo and Conditioner Anti Frizz – Photo by Courtney Paige


*Melu is the perfect candidate for damaged fine (thin or thick) hair that has breakage due to over processing or fragile from hormone imbalances, surgery, stress or illness. It’s also a good match for fine hair that feels weighed down by heavy shampoos, conditioners & styling products.

Davines Melu Shampoo and Conditioner for Fine Compromised Hair - Repair your hair.
Davines Melu Shampoo and Conditioner for Fine Compromised Hair – Repair your hair. – Photo by Courtney Paige


*Minu is primarily used for medium brown to dark color treated hair or blondes who use toner for blonde hair. Minu extends the life of your color without weighing your hair down.

Davines Minu Shampoo and Conditioner for Color Treated Hair - Hang onto your color.
Davines Minu Shampoo and Conditioner for Color Treated Hair – Hang onto your color. – Photo by Courtney Paige


Styling Products – Davines, Kevin Murphy, Amika & Paul Mitchell


  1. OI Beautifying Oil – Use this product on wet or dry hair. Tames coarse hair, flyaways and adds manageability. I love using this product as a finishing product in place of hairspray. As a finishing product, it tames the small flyaway hairs as well as the grays hiding under colored hair.
  2. OI All in One Leave in Conditioning Milk – Excellent for all hair types. Adds body with added fullness while creating sleek silky manageable hair. Bonus, this product will take you on a mini mental exotic spa vacation because it smells that good.
Davines OI Milk Conditioning Spray for all hair types. – Photo by Courtney Paige

*Kevin Murphy:

  1. Body Mass – This product actually adds keratin to the cuticle of your hair. Excellent to help limp-lifeless hair. Use sparingly as keratin can build up. Use two to three times a week on wet hair.
  2. Dry Shampoo – Kevin Murphy’s dry shampoo is my favorite because it doesn’t leave a residue and it does its job by simply soaking up oil on the scalp. Provides volume and movability. 


       1. Brooklyn Bombshell  – Great for those beach curls we love seeing on all the stars. Beach curls are the number one hairstyle clients bring into the salon. My favorite characteristic of the Amika Bombshell styling product is the curls last for days. It’s a great product to use if you don’t wash your hair every day and want your curls to last as long as possible.

Amika Brooklynn Bombshell - Adds volume, body and staying power to curls.
Amika Brooklynn Bombshell – Adds volume, body and staying power to curls. – Photo by Courtney Paige

*Paul Mitchell:

  1. Mousse Flexible Style Sculpting Foam – Paul Mitchell Mousse is my favorite because it doesn’t contain alcohol. Most mousse styling products contain alcohol which dries out the hair. This product smells like a tropical vacation while giving your hair a voluminous shiny style that stays luxurious all day.
Paul Mitchell Sculpting Foam Mousse - Get that silky smooth look with volume. The perfect bump product.
Paul Mitchell Sculpting Foam Mousse – Get that silky smooth look with volume. The perfect bump product. – Photo by Courtney Paige

“Can I buy my product on Amazon?”

Answer: No

Depending on what you are buying just like anything else, you want to make sure you are getting what you’re paying for. Products that have easy access to being opened is not a reliable product. As a professional, I have done my own reconnaissance work and found some of the products to be watered down and in some cases, not completely full. Once, the product didn’t even smell the same as the professional products ordered directly from the manufacturer that I use in the salon.

Another prudent reason for not buying all things on Amazon; the concept of going local. If you’re a proponent of reducing your carbon footprint and supporting your local community, you’ll think twice before buying styling products on Amazon (now tools are a different story and a different article.)

Product disclosures:  Not all product photos are featured in this article. Prices are not indicated due to price point fluctuation in different regions of the country. Take note, all products discussed in this article are in a mid-price range from $24 to $38. Feel free to contact me for a retailer near you.

by Courtney Paige

Beauty & Fashion, Health & Fitness

Hair matters

Travel and lifestyle writing is a passion of mine, on the other hand, what some of you may not know about me is, I moonlight as a hairstylist. Or, is it the other way around – a hairstylist moonlighting as a writer? However you look at it, I love both! A maven by nature, trading stories and experiences with my clients provide me with inspiration and ideas. Fuel, if you will, for my creative thinking process. All of which drives me to solve some of life’s little mysteries. 

The blog’s beauty and fashion category are tailored to share my beauty regime expertise with readers and followers as if you’re sitting in my hair chair getting coiffed.

So with that said, I’ll get right to the root of the topic. Hair matters. Hair matters because it can be the difference between a good day or…a bad day. Most importantly though, it matters because your hair absolutely reflects the health of your body – internally and externally. There’s nothing better than a good hair day. So when we’re healthy inside and out, a glow naturally shines through in our hair and through our skin tone. All this healthy living channels self-confidence.

Before and after are one year apart. Photo by Courtney Paige

As much as most of us would like to deny it, the health of our hair is a direct indication of how well we take care of ourselves regarding nutrition, stress and our mental wellbeing.

What influences healthy hair growth? Actually, multiple factors have a direct impact on the health of your hair and hair growth. Unhealthy hair or hair loss is related to several reasons: chemically over-processed hair, stress, sudden or prolonged health issues, poor nutrition, genetics, surgery, pregnancy, poor maintenance, and/or over styling with heat tools.

This article highlights internal nutrition. Believe it or not, the scientific study of nutrition and how it affects our health has only come to light within the last century. Even more unbelievable is how scientific studies have only recently begun to realize the relationship between hair and nutrition.

It seems as though common sense would guide us to realize the health of our body goes hand in hand with the health of our hair. However, people generally believe they are stuck with the hair they were born with, and in some cases, yes, this is true. In many cases though, simply changing a few poor nutrition habits can set you on the right course.

Healthy Hair Matters

Beginning in the early twentieth century, scientists determined protein, good fats, and healthy carbohydrates are essential for a well-conditioned body.

And, only recently have scientific studies established hair thrives with a plentiful supply of specific nutrients from certain types of vitamins and minerals. For example, Biotin and Omega-3 fatty fish oils immensely improve the health of hair and nails. Biotin is simply a form of vitamin B7. Biotin and Omega-3 fatty fish oils are available at most drug stores, including Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

If your diet lacks these specific nutrients, as a beauty expert, my suggestion is to take the recommended dose of Biotin along with a multi-B-complex and an Omega-3. If you have extenuating circumstances, consult your doctor first before beginning any new supplement regime.

Best to take vitamins in the evening after dinner, before bedtime. A good practice is right before brushing your teeth. So vitamins in the bathroom you ask? Yep! The glass is already there, water is readily available, and you’ll be reminded because they’ll live near your toothbrush.

Brown silky beach curls are just a few product discoveries away.

Why take vitamins at night you’re wondering – how can that make a difference? Fact – vitamins react directly with the foods you eat, and, as we all know, our bodies repair at night while we sleep. So why not give your body, hair, and nails the optimal benefit of all the nutrients consumed throughout the day? With this new information, as you can see, it’s easy to advance your body’s nightly rejuvenation.  Note to self, when beginning a new vitamin B program you may want to adjust your daily caffeine intake.

Of course, beauty is only skin deep, but healthy hair begins from within, so why not start now?

Feedback from clients:

Lydia, “After my surgery, I began losing hair rapidly. A daily handful was not uncommon. I didn’t know what to do. My hairstylist recommended I take biotin to increase my hair’s growth and strength while decreasing the fall out rate. It took about three months for me to really notice a difference. During that time, the fall out decreased immensely, and my hair began to grow again.”

Julie, “My hair has been thin and fine my entire life. I started taking biotin on the recommendation of my stylist, and within 6 months my ponytail is twice the size it used to be. The density of my hair has increased but each individual strand is still fine, but that is way better than what I had to work with my entire life. I’m thrilled!”

The next article discusses how to make simple changes in your daily routine for the external health of your hair. Why? Because hair matters. And, we all want good hair days!

Feel free to comment or contact me at for any of your hair health questions.

Courtney Paige

Beauty & Fashion, Health & Fitness

Hair Matters 101 – Healthy hair lifestyle

Maintaining healthy luxurious hair is similar to maintaining a fit and healthy body. Results don’t happen overnight and it’s not a hair diet – it’s a lifestyle.

My clients find my salon through Google, Yelp, Styleseat, and word of mouth. Most are searching for a stylist to manage their mane and nurse their hair back to health. Ailments range from poor nutrition (internally and/or externally), poor care and commonly, over processing.

In my last post, I discussed internal nutrition. Ingesting nutrients, like Biotin (B7), B-Complex, Omega-3’s, and ample amounts of protein are essential to long-term healthy hair. In this post, I condense a 30-minute consultation into a 7-minute read. Here, I offer the same advice I share with my new clients during their first visit.

Let’s say this is your hair (or something similar). It’s long with split ends & over processed, but you don’t want to chop it off because your 20-year high school reunion is fast approaching. Or a classic case, you are getting married within a year – your hair is long, with split ends and neglected from using bad products. It’s also damaged by heat tools and over styling.

Some miracles don’t happen overnight, but it’s always worth the wait.

Don’t panic, in most cases nursing your hair back to health won’t take a year. Each situation calls for its own evaluation and everyone is different. Set realistic goals for optimal hair satisfaction. And yes, there are times you must chop it off and start fresh. Alas, I offer the following regime before doing anything drastic.

Experiencing noticeable effects from adjusting internal nutrients can take up to 3 months. There are however very important external hair habits you can implement right away.

13 Hot Tips for Healthier Hair


  • Brush before you wash. Detangle hair so it isn’t stretched to its limit when wet. A boar hair brush is the ultimate. Prices vary. High end – Mason Pearson $100 or the more reasonably priced Cricket $14 – pictured here. Benefits: Natural scalp oils coat mid and end strands.

    Cricket Boar Hair Brush - Photo by Courtney Paige
    Cricket Boar Hair Brush $14Photo by Courtney Paige


  • Product matters. Check your product ingredients just like you do food labels. Sulfates are not your friend. Sulfates are a detergent, an ingredient used to create suds. An effective metaphor is – if you’ve ever used kitchen soap to wash a car, you see streaks. Detergent eats paint on cars – just think what it does to your hair. Get off the sulfates ladies! Davines is one of my favorite sulfate-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free shampoo lines. 
  • Wash only your scalp and hair at roots. When using sulfate free shampoos, use a nickel size amount with a bit water in the palm. Emulsify. If hair isn’t suds’ing up, simply add a bit of water to your scalp. Don’t wash ends, only roots. Naturally, soap runs down the hair’s shaft when rinsing. Use hot water to wash well and rinse shampoo. Benefits: Hot water opens hair cuticles -this cleans excess oil & dirt while leaving hair cuticles open for the conditioner to set.

    Davines Minu Shampoo $26 (8.5 fl oz) for Color Treated or Processed Hair – Photo by Courtney Paige


  • Use a quarter size amount of conditioner. Apply primarily on mid-strands and ends. Avoid conditioning roots. Let set while doing other shower duties. Rinse hair with cool water. Benefit: cool water closes hair cuticles locking in moisture and conditioning nutrients. Closed cuticles reflect light, manage frizz and create shine. If roots feel dry or you feel you must put ‘some’ conditioner at the roots – only use water diluted conditioner.
  • Do not towel dry hair. Unless you want volume or frizz, towel drying creates friction on fragile cuticles. It also damages hair, making it prone to breakage. Simply twist hair up in a towel to absorb excess water.

    Malibu Miracle Repair $5 (per pack) for Damaged Hair – Photo by Courtney Paige

Pre-Styling Products

  • Product Matters. Two key pre-styling products I prescribe that will nurse your hair back to health are a milk and an oil. Even if you have fine hair, these products give your outer strands the nourishment they need.

Pre-styling products: Marrakesh Leave-in Detangler $16 & Marrakesh Oil $24Photo by Courtney Paige


  • Comb pre-styling products through hair with a Wet Comb. The one pictured here is my fav.
  • Marrakesh Leave-In Treatment & Detangler – apply all over to damp hair. Apply to ends first. One spritz at the roots. My favorite comes in a mist bottle.
  • Marrakesh Oil – apply after leave-in treatment, mid-strands to ends before blow drying. Then once to ends after styling.

    Wet Comb $8Photo by Courtney Paige


  • I can’t stress enough how important this next step is – it’s so important that if you do all the previous steps religiously, but don’t implement this next step, all your efforts will be for nothing.
  • Tools – using the proper tools for your hair is just as important as using the right tools to build a house.
  • Blowdryer – invest in a bio-ionic blow dryer with a cool button. A good one will last you 10 years. A bio-ionic blow dryer dries hair from the inside out. This way, you aren’t cooking your hair on the outside while trying to penetrate heat to the inside core.


  • Stylist Brush – a bio-ionic styling brush is the same concept as the bio-ionic blowdryer. The key is heat dry hair up to 90%. Finish with a round brush by starting style with heat and end with the cool button activated. Most of my clients are surprised to learn the “set” in wash, style & set is the cooling down process. Hair’s ability to maintain its style depends on how well the set is implemented.

    From blonde damaged ombre’ to healthy hair sombre’.

Good internal and external hair habits are connected. One without the other will defeat your efforts. It’s important to know that healthy hair is a lifestyle. Be good to your body. Be good to yourself. Be good to your hair.

~Courtney Paige