Quite Continental Charm School: Day 18 – Updo and Done

23/09/2013 § 3 Comments

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

QC Charm School: Updo and Done“Hmmmmm, is this bow too much or just enough??”
Photo by Peter Stackpole for Life Magazine.

Editor’s Note: I’m very pleased to introduce today’s guest speaker!  Please meet Erica Whelan, the exceptionally talented hair and makeup artist whose work can be seen everywhere from the runways of New York Fashion Week to the glossy pages of your favorite editorials to some of the most fabulous private clients.  Indeed, whenever we catch up, she’s always got several new stories and numerous beauty tricks up her sleeve.  She’s my own secret weapon!

If you are not yet familiar with Erica, it is my pleasure to introduce you.  For her lesson, I requested she share a simple updo, something everyone should have in their styling arsenal.  Good for everything from board meetings to brunch to broadway show, think of this classic chignon as a style soldier of fortune, able to handle any sort of occasion you might throw at it.  You might also recognize the guinea pig in the chair…I knew all this hair was good for something.

Without any further ado, Erica’s tip for a charmed life.
Photos by the equally talented Amelia Tubb.

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QC Charm School: Updo and Done

You will need a teasing comb, boar bristle brush, an elastic ponytail holder, bobby pins, hair pins, texturizer spray and hairspray. Depending on your hair type you may also need a flat iron and smoothing crème.

QC Charm School: Updo and Done QC Charm School: Updo and Done

1) Hair can be clean or slightly dirty (“second day hair”). Get volume in the top section of hair by spraying a dry texturizer spray like Oribe or dry shampoo like Klorane. This will instantly add volume to dry hair. Hold hair straight up and away from head then spray at the root. Wait a few seconds then massage product into your roots.  If your hair is curly, you should use a flat iron to straighten and add shine to your hair.

QC Charm School: Updo and Done

2) Brush hair into a low ponytail. I usually position my ponytail at the occipital bone, which is the bone you can feel at the back of your head. I like to spray my brush with hairspray before I brush the hair into a low ponytail — this trick will help tame flyaways. Your ponytail should be smooth. You can use a dime-sized dollop of smoothing crème and run over your ponytail to remove any frizziness. You can style the front of your hair to your liking. Ex: a few pieces of hair framing your face, a middle or side part, or backcomb the top section for volume — your choice.

QC Charm School: Updo and Done

3) Once your hair is in a low ponytail, slide the ponytail holder about an inch down. This will give you enough room to split the hair down the center.

QC Charm School: Updo and Done QC Charm School: Updo and Done

4) Split hair down the center then flip the ponytail up. Starting with the ponytail end, begin feeding it through the split. Grab the ponytail with your fingers from underneath and pull it through the split.

QC Charm School: Updo and Done

5) Give the ponytail a gentle tug so it tightens back up.

QC Charm School: Updo and Done QC Charm School: Updo and Done(Editor’s note: OBVIOUSLY THIS IS MY FAVORITE PICTURE.)

6) Use a comb to tease the ponytail. This will create the base for your bun. Tease as much or as little as you like. Remember, the more you tease the bigger the bun. Once you’re done teasing, smooth the underside of the ponytail with your boar bristle brush. This is the side that will be visible so it needs to be smooth.

QC Charm School: Updo and Done QC Charm School: Updo and Done QC Charm School: Updo and Done

7) Put the back of your hand on the inside of the ponytail (the teased part of the ponytail) about mid-length. Wrap the ponytail around your hand and tuck the tail into the hole you created when you split your hair down the center in Step 4. Keep tucking until you form a bun.

QC Charm School: Updo and Done QC Charm School: Updo and Done

8) Using bobby pins (medium size for short to medium hair or large size for medium to long hair) secure the bun. I like to use two bobby pins at the top where we tucked the tail into place. Then gently pull apart the bun to make it fuller. Then continue to pin into place.

QC Charm School: Updo and Done QC Charm School: Updo and Done QC Charm School: Updo and Done

9) My secret weapon to keeping hair in place is to use a hairnet. Hairnets come in different colors so you can find one that matches your hair color and the mesh is so fine that no one will be able to detect it up close or in photos. Cover bun with hairnet then pin into place using hair pins. Make sure to grab the hair and then the net when you pin. FYI – A hair pin is a u-shaped pin that is lighter than a bobby pin. Bobby pins secure a hairstyle into place where as a hair pin keeps the hair in place once the style has been secured.

QC Charm School: Updo and Done

10) Final step – spray with hairspray to keep in place and tame any flyaways.  All done!

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
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It’s All Transitory

15/09/2012 § 8 Comments

Transitory
tran·si·to·ry/ˈtransiˌtôrē/
Adjective
Meaning: not permanent
transitory periods of medieval greatness
Origin: late Middle English: from Old French transitoire,
from Christian Latin transitorius, from transit- ‘gone across’

Wearing: GANT shirt (similar), H&M skirt (similar idea) and belt (similar),
Cooperative tassel skimmer, Bag by San Fernando Valley Mercantile
Lips: NARS Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil in Dragon Girl
Photos taken by Jenna Rosebery in Madison Square Park

There’s been a snap in the weather in New York that arrived this week like an old familiar friend.  It was that moment when the endless sun-filled possibilities of summer darken — just a bit — and you realize that it’s only a matter of days before the leaves will be gone and you start to pull on clothes you’ve forgotten you have. While the California girl in me will always want it to be just a little warmer and sunnier outside, since moving to New York I’ve really come to value the transitional seasons of fall and spring — two seasons that Los Angeles distinctly lacks.

Fall is a time for introspection — it isn’t hopeful and promising in the same way that spring is.  There are no fuzzy spring chicks or pretty buds, but rather falling leaves and ripening apples that can cause your thoughts wander to the areas in your own life that have changed, will be changing, or need to be changed.  Definitely over the last few weeks of my own life, this has been this case.  With the emphasis on the spring of 2013 during fashion week, the fact that we are in for a stretch of colder weather, a few more holidays, a new year and yet another birthday of mine, came into sharp focus.  I’ve also been met with some pretty big changes in my professional and personal life that I’m currently navigating.

Taking a step back from it all, the word “transitory” repeatedly came to my mind, and how we are forever in transit, forever navigating, and while changes can range from the annoying to the downright painful, it helps to remember that constant motion forward.  Not to mention the friends, family members and colleagues who are there to help us along the way.  But most importantly, keep in mind that you are completely in charge of yourself.  While we can’t control what happens to us, we definitely can control how we react.  So don’t ever forget to drive your own bus.

With that, please join me in welcoming fall!
xoxo. M.

Your Thoughts? Wedding Hair

05/08/2011 § Leave a comment

Hold your horses…

No, I am not getting married — take a breath — but in the spirit of the hair question I just answered, I thought I might turn the tables and ask your opinion.

As I mentioned, I am heading up to a New Hampshire wedding this weekend and have yet to decide what to do with my hair.  Ground rules are (1), it must be up and off of my neck, due to the neckline of the dress, and (2), it can’t be too complicated because I do not have the patience.  The DIY hair tutorials on Joanna Goddard’s blog Cup of Jo are right up my alley and I find myself torn between two somewhat similar styles and wondered which one you might prefer?

 The Gibson Roll

Or,  Three twisted buns

What do we think?  All rolled up and tidy?  Or a bit messy and disheveled?  Or something completely different?  Thoughts?

If you want to try these out yourself, head over to Cup of Jo for the easy, completely illustrated, step by step hair tutorials.  I’ve already practiced both styles, and they are quite easy.  Perfect summer updos, even if you aren’t going to a wedding.

Image 1 via FGR., images 2 through 5 via Cup of Jo.

Ask Me Anything: Curl Tamer

04/08/2011 § 2 Comments

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line: contact@quitecontinental.net

Yours Truly.  My specialties are curly hair and mischievous looks.

Hi Mariah,
I noticed you’ve got curly hair, just like me.  I was wondering what products you use?

Over the years, I’ve gone through a number of phases in my relationship with my hair.  (I blogged about it a few months ago, if you’d like to read it.  It’s a bit wordy, so consider yourself forewarned…)  But yes, my hair is definitely curly and rather full.  I had a Brazillian Blowout back in the winter, which rendered my hair completely — amazingly! — straight.  I loved it and completely recommend it for curly girls who want  wash and wear straight hair for a couple of months.  It gradually has worn off and this summer I am rediscovering my love for my curls.  You can see the current state of my locks above.

Everyone’s hair is a bit of a puzzle/middle school science fair project.  You’ve got to experiment until you find what works for you, but here are some of my tips for taming curly hair:

  • Never ever EVER brush your curls…unless you want to look like a poodle.  Curly hair should be combed through when soaking wet, and left to its own devices after that.  I only use my fingers to style my hair after it is dry.
  • Curly hair is thirsty.  After you think you’ve put in enough product, add more.  And don’t be afraid to double or triple up on your products.  At present, I’m working with three or four to get the curls you see above.  In the shower, be sure to use a good conditioner, as dry hair invites frizz.  Lastly, unless you have super oily hair/scalp, don’t wash it every day.  Try going a few days.  If you absolutely can’t go without washing your hair, try merely rinsing and lightly conditioning it.
  • Air drying is always best.
  •  Lastly, find a stylist who understands curly hair.  In New York, I go to Angela Soto at the Whittemore House Salon in Greenwich Village, and I **highly** recommend her.  She’s amazing.

Secret summer weapons.

So what’s on my hair right now?  The two products you see above have been a godsend to me this summer: Je Veux Argan Oil and SACHAJUAN Ocean Mist.  Both were recommended to me by Angela, and can be purchased at the Whittemore House, if you’re so inclined.  I especially like the Je Veux because it conditions my hair without weighing it down — a problem I had when I tried using pure argan oil.  The Ocean Mist does an excellent job of defining my curls, especially in the morning after I’ve slept on them.  I’ve also heard good things about Fekkai Beach Waves and Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray.

My summer regimen is as follows:

  1. Wash, comb through a deep conditioner (the only time I comb my hair), wrap hair in towel to wring out excess moisture
  2. Apply generous amount of Je Veux Argan Oil, evenly spritz SACHAJUAN Ocean Mist, scrunch
  3. Air dry.  Once dry, finish off with a bit of hairspray.  I love Elnett.

Hope that helps.  Do let me know how it goes for you!

**Sidenote**  It seems like argan oil is everywhere lately, and I didn’t have the faintest where it came from, so I asked  Tara Cole, holistic health and nutrition coach (and good friend/partner in crime) to explain:

“I am always on the search to uncover healthy, holistic solutions to heal the body.  I discovered argan oil and its multitude of uses last year, and have been hooked ever since.  This amazing oil keeps my skin young and healthy and looking fresh. 

It can also be used to re-hydrate the body, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and soothe skin ailments such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.  It can reduce appearance of scars and stretch marks, moisturize cuticles, and it’s a great way to nourish and add shine to your hair.  I also dab a little on insect bites in the summer to heal quicker.  

This ancient healing oil is derived from the kernels of the slow growing argan tree, exclusive to the dry lowlands of Southwest Morocco.  I recommend finding an organic, cold-pressed oil for best results.   I like both Josie Maran Cosmetics argan oil, and Arganica Oil.

For help with organic questions and holistic health tips, you can visit Tara at her website, Green Tara Wellness.

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line: contact@quitecontinental.net

Confessions of a Curly Girl: A Hair Evolution

26/11/2010 § 3 Comments

I’ve been a curly girl since birth, but I haven’t always loved my unruly locks.  I was blessed with rather thick hair that isn’t very coarse, but is extremely strong — I can pretty much do whatever I feel like to my hair and it will bounce back.  I’ve bleached it to blond, made it magenta (oh, the follies of youth), skunkily highlighted it, hit it with so much heat that the bathroom was full of smoke and the acrid smell of burnt hair, subjected it to the illustrious Dominican blowout, shellacked it down with super mega hair spray, etc. etc.  The worst thing its ever done is get a little dry and frizzy, and was easily corrected with a bit of deep conditioning. My curl is well-defined, but not so tight that I can’t force it to be stick-straight with a good blowout and a bit of flat ironing.  My relationship with my hair has gone through a few phases, which I think will be familiar to all curly girls.

Hit the flip for the full story.

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