Fundamentally Elemental

Everyone knows there are elements of the whole. Right? It takes many parts, of anything, to make something complete. Hair is no different…

One of the questions I get asked the most, as I’m cleaning up the hairline of a color client is, “How can that (a Elements stain removercleansing solution) remove color (a chemical solution) from my skin, but not my hair?” It’s a really good…and relevant, question. Many clients over 30 years of age, have either thinning skin (sorry y’all…it’s true), or dehydration at the surface level, that causes the hair color to stain the skin. So a little clean up is necessary.

So today, I thought I would address this curiosity. A little lesson on the attributes of hair first…

1). Our hair is composed of an insoluble protein called keratin. Every hair strand is made up of 3 layers.

2). The outermost layer of the hair, called the “cuticle” is composed of overlapping flat, colorless cells, much like the shingles on a roof. The cuticle contains no pigment. It’s a really important feature, in that it protects what is inside it…much like our skin protects what’s inside our body.

3). There is a cell layer between the cuticle and the medulla that contains varying amounts of two natural color pigments that determine a persons natural hair color. Known as the cortex, it determines hair strength and texture. This section is where permanent hair color lightens the natural color and the new, artificial pigment is deposited, changing the natural color to the color of choice.

4). The medulla is the hollow center (or pith), of the hair shaft. It does not appear in all hair…nor does it contain pigment.

So, the answer to the question, “How can it remove color from the skin, and not the hair”, is simply because the new color is now a part of the natural pigment, tucked inside the cortex of the hair (thanks to the developer), protected by the cuticle. The stains on the skin are mostly “floating” on the surface, the protective element of the body.

See? 😉

Color your dreams, Passionistas!


Thursdays Thanks

I recently read an article about staying out of the hum-drum, down and out, lower than a snakes belly, sadly sobering depressed state of mind, that many slide into without realizing it’s consuming them, until they are fully shackled…*whew*…

One of the suggestions was to grab a notebook or pad, a pencil (no computer typing), and lay it on a bedside table. Each night before hitting the sack, list 3 things you are thankful for. Just 3…don’t try to over-do it. Upon rising in the morning, write 3 more things you are thankful for. That’s it!Elements Thankful pic 2

Before you know it, you will be focusing on the good things in life, and just possibly, the not-so-good will be obliterated, and rarely brought to mind.

SO…this morning, wanting to include my husband in this adventure of mine, I asked him what he was thankful for. Surprised at this inquiry, he hesitated. “Well, there’s a lot I’m thankful for,” he said. “Just tell me one thing,” I replied. With a cautious grin on his face, he told me he was thankful for a warm house. HA! That was also my first thought. It’s an easy one to think of while looking outside at the snow and knowing the cold it brings. Who wouldn’t be, right?

But to get serious for a bit, I’m thankful for him. Thankful for my Dennis. From the beginning of this journey in the beauty industry, my Dennis has supported me, rarely questioning my decisions as an entrepreneur (of sorts). The house and property we purchased (after being married a little over a year), had a much desired, attached 2 car garage. Little did we know that it was going to be a tool that God would use for so many things. It took me only 2 years to claim it for redesigning into my first, privately owned business. After $11,000 for the makeover (that was a LOT in 1978), supplies ordered in (more money), and a success plan in place, Mary’s Place was birthed. Thank you, honey.

We have traveled down several roads since those days, but looking back, I can see the stepping stones that were placed for us, because of my husband’s willing heart. Motherhood closed the doors of Mary’s Place for a few years…until Goodrich (my husband’s workplace) closed their doors at the Miami, OK. store, in 1986…then it was necessary to re-open the salon, until 1994 when we made yet another choice that would take us down a very long road. For the next 7 years our lives became a roller-coaster, then in 2001 we jumped off. Back into the beauty industry I went. I rented a space for 6 months, then left there, to open South Side Salon, at the tune of $10,000 just to get it up and running. I leased the building at 108 A South East, in Miami and it needed a lot of work before I could use it. After 2 short years, break-ins caused me to move the business to a safer spot. I found a building on North Main Street that boomeranged back to us after refusing the first offer. Within the first year, after using $6,500 of the businesses income to update the place, we purchased the building and the lot it sat on. I stayed there and continued to improve it’s appearance, inside and out. After 8 years, and a lot of building improvements (new roof, siding updated, new windows and doors, outside columns and steps, awnings), we made the decision to move to North Carolina to be closer to our girls. Where yet another business found it’s new beginnings…

And that’s another story for another time…today, I’m thankful for all the beginnings my husband has allowed.

Be thankful, Passionistas!

The Beauty of Skin

I had a young lady stop by the salon on New Year’s Day. She held my business card in her hand, as she asked the question, “What does it mean to be a skin care specialist?”

I had gone to the salon to take Christmas decorations down, rearrange and eliminate, clean and re-think the business known as Elements Salon. The doors were not open for business and no one was there, being it’s New Years Day. I have been toiling over, what seemed to me, the slow growth of my fairly new business in Apex. Questioning God as to the direction He was taking me and what was I not seeing? What else could I do to bring in the needed clients?

Elements Making a DecisionI have tried to figure out how to incorporate the skin care line, that I used and sold during the last 7 years, while living in Oklahoma. Space just won’t allow it yet, in the suite I now rent in North Carolina, and since my client base isn’t quite large enough to warrant a geographical move I’m left with only one domain within which to create and depend on.

It’s true that the business of hair has been my catalyst for all other elements in the beauty industry and has carried me through many years. Yet, if there was a way to bring back the opportunity to address the needs, and conditions of skin…I would.

Was the question presented to me by this misplaced young lady, another confirmation to find a way to incorporate skin care into my existing business? What would I have to do to create needed space? And most importantly, how would I create enough interest in having a stunning complexion when foot traffic is low? I’m fairly sure I could address the needs of my existing clients, without all the needed equipment for a full set up. Most of them have really great skin and would only need an at home maintenance program, with very few needs. For these clients, they would enjoy a simple 30 minute to an hour-long facial that would promote cellular activity and decrease pollution that attaches itself to our skin, while others could use corrective treatments. If they knew I could diminish, and in some instances, completely do away with, hyper-pigmentation (also known as liver spots, sun spots, age spots), Rosacia (red, thin skin with visible capillaries), dehydration (tight and wrinkle prone), or acnaic (excessive sebum-pooling), they would be in my facial room this week.

Well…it’s certainly something to process and look for a solution. My purpose in business is growth. I not only love what I do, I cherish those that come my way. It’s like that one AT&T commercial (I think…not sure what the advertisement was for…I just love them) that aired last year (2013), where the little girl says, “We want more. We want more.” Greedy? Nope. We just want more of what we love. 🙂

Happy New Year to all my peeps (do we still say that)! See you soon…

Hair Color and the Pregnant Client

Elements pregnant womanRarely do I get the question asked, “Should I color my hair when I’m pregnant?” but it’s something we need to be educated on, none-the-less. So here are a few guidelines you might want to consider, should the occasion demand a response.

There are various conflicting (inconclusive studies) about hair dye and associations with risk. The final analysis: When it comes to pregnancy specifically, hair color has not been proven harmful, nor has it been proven safe.

There are a few primary points we should all know about.

1. The safest is not to advise one way or the other.

Let the mother-to-be ask her physician. Every pregnancy is different and carries different risks. Suggest the client speak to her health care professional, since this is an individual, personal decision. And then follow what the physician says.

2. Know what the medical professionals are saying.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “When you use hair color, a small amount can penetrate your skin. Generally, however, the dye isn’t thought to pose harm to a developing baby.” According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG), “Hair color is probably safe to use during pregnancy because so little dye is absorbed through the skin. However, it is still important to be cautious.”

3. Let your client know that this decision is not just about color.

Pregnancy can cause sensitivity to smells. Always service clients who are expecting in well-ventilated areas, and
encourage them to alert you if smells bother them in any way.

4. Know what your supplier says, and stay abreast of the latest studies.

According to Procter & Gamble: “If a woman normally colors her hair and has safely used hair colorants before, there
is no scientifically established reason for her to stop coloring her hair during pregnancy. However, if she is
worried about using a hair colorant during pregnancy, do not convince her to continue coloring her hair if she is
still worried, for whatever reason.”

5. If the client decides to color her hair, we should always…

A) Err on the side of caution. Because the first trimester is the most critical time for chemical exposure of any kind,
most physicians advise against using hair color during the first trimester. We, as hair stylists should do likewise.

B) Recognize that the body changes in many ways during pregnancy, so always do a patch test, even if you’ve been coloring the client’s hair for years.

C)  Avoid touching the scalp with color. Use barrier creams and let your client know you are doing so. This is another reason your client should be cautioned against coloring her hair at home. There’s no way they can avoid touching the scalp while applying product themselves.

D) Offer alternatives, such as semi-permanent colorants,  or off-the-scalp highlights.

Memo: Never in my 39 years of working with hair, and 25 years of working with skin; have any of my clients had issues with hair color. No one has had adverse reactions to the color, nor the smell. However, as stated earlier…always err on the side of caution. You may have a very special situation that you, nor your client, is aware of.

Here’s What We Need to Know About Home Hair Color

Just one example of boxed hair color

Just one example of boxed hair color

Lets take a quick look at the facts of coloring your hair at home.

It’s true…the ingredients of boxed color and professional color are similar, but boxed home color is created with no idea who is going to use it. So, to work adequately for a wide variety of women with various hair colors and types, it’s harsher, with a higher developer volume than you would use. This way, a woman with light brown and dark brown hair can use the same product. But they won’t get the same results, no one will get what’s shown on the box and if a woman already has color, there’s no predicting what will happen.

Something to consider:

1. The model in the photo on the box did not do her own color!

2. Home color can’t account for hair texture or condition. Porosity, curly hair, and already abused hair can greatly affect color results and hair health. The question you need to answer is this: “Would you use harsh detergents and hot water on every piece of clothing you own?” And if your answer is yes, how’s that workin’ for ya?

3. Application is extremely important. Even a “simple” root retouch can be messy to do yourself, and if you overlap the color, you can get dry ends and color build-up. Then, you’ll have dark ends and gray that still shows at the roots.

4. Ammonia-free doesn’t mean chemical free, and home color could use a large percentage of an ammonia substitute. Ammonia does a much better job of getting you the color you want, but can be too harsh for some types of hair…another reason to let the professionals handle it.

5. People that use hair color purchased from a retailer, should understand the base of a color product, underlying pigment, and how to avoid getting orange when “just making brown hair lighter.” This is chemistry that hair stylists study before being given a license. However, it still remains a mystery to me why some stylists are allowed to place any sort of chemical on any clients head, when they clearly don’t understand the results their actions will produce. Always ask your stylist (if you have one) if she understands the color wheel. If you get a questioning look in response to that question, excuse yourself and leave!

6. You can’t really get a dimensional look from box color. The only possible “dimension” a partially grey haired person will get when using at home products, is the pigmented (hair that still has color), hair will be a totally different color than the hair that is grey. More than likely, the grey will look muddied, because grey absorbs less of the product because of the hard cuticle. If the hair is fragile to begin with, (as in already bleached/highlighted hair, it will grab drab and dark…depending on the product you’ve chosen.

In conclusion, I have to admit that I’ve seen some pretty good results come from a box. But it’s generally when the person using the product, has some understanding of HOW to use the product, and is good at it…or has someone else do the application, such as a family member, etc. However, it truly is a roulette game you play when choosing to do your own color. There have been times that the color purchased from big chain retailers, gets switched in the box while still on the shelf (by who, we’ll probably never know). I’ll never forget the call I got from a sister-in-law that had used a boxed color. The color on the front of the box was of a beautiful brunette. Well…the color she got was a fiery red! She was (needless to say), very upset. And it wasn’t the first time she got a totally different color than what she thought she was getting. And…it could have been the condition of her hair at the time of application, or the fact that she really didn’t know what she was doing. Kinda like me and my car. I just want to get in it, put the key in the ignition, and it do what it was built to do. But when it needs serviced, I don’t touch it…nor does my husband. It goes to those trained in working with the dynamics of it’s makeup.

Another time, I had lunch with a gal that had black color stains running down the side of her neck, just behind the ear. I said, “Did you color your hair recently?” I already knew the answer, just wanted to say that for shock value.


Hair RX

I must admit, I too, have visited the WebMD more than once. I always try to self-diagnose before choosing to visit our family doctor. I just don’t want to take the time to sit in the doctor’s office and wait my turn. Nor do I like paying the price of waiting. My time is valuable, my money is, well…it comes through my time. Yet, I have found it’s always better to visit a local facility where I can be looked over and find out what the actual problem is, especially if it doesn’t go away. Our symptoms may be the same as Joe Blows, and yet have different outcomes, because of existing circumstances. This is not a ploy to get us all visiting our family doctors…what it is, is an informational blog about diagnosing the condition of your hair. Pretty cool, right? You didn’t know your hair could tell on you, did you?

Well, I’m not going to advise looking on line for your solutions. You knew that already though, right? You can find just about anything you’re looking for…on line. But the question is, do you REALLY know what the problem is?

Self-diagnosing an illness with WebMD or Google is a big no-no, so why would it be any different when it comes to hair? I’ve had clients tell me, “my hair is dry,” or “it’s extremely damaged,” when in reality they have been using a chelating shampoo (not knowing it’s properties, nor what to look for), that is stripping the natural oils, on a consistent basis. The body continues to supply natural oils to the scalp area, but if we daily strip them off, then the hair is going to feel as if it is dry. Or, a friend has recommended a certain shampoo and conditioner and because you like the smell of it, you grab it for purchase. Because shampoo, is shampoo, right? Wrong! You can wash your hair with Tide and get it clean. But I wouldn’t recommend it. Not only does harsh chemicals strip ALL the natural oils out, they also wreck havoc on the scalp, over a period of time. Resulting in dull, lifeless hair and flakey scalp.

There could be numerous things going on, causing the hair to be dealt a bad hand. A doctor wouldn’t take a patient’s word for it and simply hand over a prescription without conducting a thorough evaluation—and neither will I. I know you want the prescription that actually addresses the needs of your hair, and there’s no way I can know that without first evaluating.

The first thing a good stylist will do, will be to evaluate their client’s hair and determine whether or not it will require major damage control, extra moisture, or simply needs to be maintained. For someone with dry, tangle prone hair that breaks off easily, I would recommend a cocktail of two opposites for conditioning. One, a protein infused conditioner (such as Scruples ER) to restore necessary elements back to the hair, and a product to detangle (such as Scruples Quickseal). I’d then suggest an in-salon treatment, and would also encourage the client to purchase the line to use at home for one month (or until her next appointment). Then, we’d re-evaluate her hair’s condition and decide if she could move up to a normal regime of shampooing and conditioning.

Like I said, you can find just about anything on the net…with the exception of personal care, hands-on experience, and a diagnosis of what is really happening with your hair. Many things “make the person.” However, I’ve seen without fail, the person feeling not-so-well, make a complete turn-around while sitting in my chair…simply because there had been a solution for her problem. A weary day of no hope in sight, restored to “tomorrow is a new day.” Sounds extreme, right? It just does something for our self-esteem, our acceptance (as sad as that is). It somehow makes us walk taller. It lifts our head. Somehow, we can look the world in the eye and say, “I’m ready for ya!”

Okay, that last statement was for the reallllly insecure. 🙂

Yes, there is a cost for damage control. But seriously, how many band-aides should a person use? Until the problem is full blown, and extremely hard to regenerate? And more costly. Or should we maintain a healthy balance, continually taking the steps necessary for that healthy glow? It’s true, what’s on the inside of us shows on the outside. Our health really is that important. But society has a habit of abusing their bodies. It may be the cause of too much work, without taking time to nourish the body. It may be from simply too much stress in one’s life. And then, when all that goes down, so does the skin and hair we live in.

But, there’s one more thing that causes me to have a job. We love to look fabulous. We decide to bleach, tone, dye, perm, relax, and use all sorts of products that build up on the cuticle (outer layer) of our hair. Over time the cortex (inner core) of our hair becomes so damaged, that we need help getting it to respond how we would like it to. It becomes limp, with no body to speak of. It doesn’t want to hold a curl. It frizzes easily. It wraps itself around our brushes. It falls on our shoulders in great numbers. There are times it just needs a breather, and stop the over-processing. But how does one know when they are getting past the point of no return?

That’s where your hair specialist comes in. Hopefully, it would be before that point and you wouldn’t need to worry about that. Hopefully, you would be visiting her/him, on a regular basis. Especially if you are using chemicals that demand the hair look the way you desire it to.

Maintenance…that’s what it’s all about. If we catch a problem before it becomes a problem, our hair and our skin will respond with a luminous, “THANK YOU!!!”

Now, go see your stylist…preferably me. 🙂

You can find me at:
Elements Salon
800 W. Williams Street, Suite 117
Peakway Market Square (inside Sola Salons)
Apex, NC. 27502


Nine Keys To A Radiant Glow

I’m always listening to what others are talking about. It’s one way (also the easiest) of finding a need that you can meet. This past August was no different than any other. It may be someone I’m visiting with on the street, someone in our small group, or my clients. Even my family, who claims I never listen to them. 🙂

The cooler months were quickly approaching, and it was time to add winter retail lines, if I was going to. The business hadn’t grown as quickly as I thought it would, but being the optimist that I am, I decided to add at least one more line. It was a toss up between a more diverse line and a more simple line. I found myself leaning toward something everyone could benefit from…from the smallest child, to the oldest adult…men and women alike, without breaking the bank.

I never shelve a product I don’t believe in. The line I chose has many other companies that are mock products. They all have become very popular, but I wanted the line that was most natural…no parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, artificial colors…and no animal testing. A product so pure that it would virtually melt into the skin, leaving behind nothing less than complete hydration of the cells it penetrated. I didn’t want the product that sits on the skin, feeling greasy much of the time. Nor did I want anything that would put additional stress on any of our internal organs (especially the liver, as it processed it). What I wanted was something that was far better than it’s competitors.

For 5 plus years I have dealt with a company based in Seattle, WA., that harvested the fields of Provence, France, nestled between sky-reaching mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. The skies shine blue, endless mineral-rich waters sparkle, and verdant meadows abound with fragrant treasures of lavender, wildflowers, herbs, and fruits.

With the move from my home town in Oklahoma, to North Carolina, I had to downsize considerably, until such a time that I could meet the needs and yes, even the desires, of clients in this already over-saturated market. But first, I had to find out what that might be.

So here I am, a year later, and feel it’s time to stretch a little further, take the risk, and provide what I think to be an exceptional product. Something anyone would be proud to give as a gift, and something anyone would be excited to receive as a gift.

The product I’ve chosen has been used for centuries as a beauty ritual by women in Morocco. It is truly an ultra-moisturizing beauty miracle that provides a healthy radiance everywhere it is applied from hair to skin. Best of all, not only are we helping ourselves, but as a Fair Trade Product it benefits a Moroccan Women’s Cooperative. This program provides its local communities with health care, fair wages and good working conditions as well as literacy and education. Plus, the extraction of the oil is eco-friendly as a reforestation program is in place.

THE ARGAN COLLECTION…one of nature’s most powerful anti-aging antioxidants.Elements Argan Collection 4 

Every day, skin is exposed to free radical stressors such as pollution, sunlight, smoking, poor diet, and stress. These stressors rob the skin of needed nutrients to help keep skin rejuvenated. Antioxidants help protect the skin from these free radicals. Argan Oil is overabundant in antioxidants needed to help neutralize these effects.

The Nine Keys to A Radiant Glow:

1) Argan & Shea Butter Exfoliating Soap…creamy, cleansing lather that exfoliates dead skin cells. After rinsing, use the Argan Body Oil or Body Butter, for sealed-in moisture.

2) Argan & Shea Butter Soap…quad-milled, hand-cut soap that combines both Argan Oil and Shea Butter that gives instant skin softening.

3) Argan Foaming Bath Gel…A scentsorial bath and shower experience. Leaves skin feeling very soft.

4) Argan Hydrating Body Scrub…gently exfoliates with natural Argan, leaving skin with a healthy, moisturized glow.

5) Argan Nourishing Cleansing Oil…cleanses and moisturizes at the same time. This lathering oil contains the natural soothing benefits of Argan Oil for skin to feel instantly hydrated. Use as a shaving cream for silky skin.

6) Argan Body Butter…A rich, buttery cream with a unique moisturizing complex of Argan, Shea Butter, Almond Extract, Olive Oil Extract and Vitamin E for soft, glowing skin.

7) Argan Balm…small, but packed with the same moisturizing benefits of Argan Oil infused with Shea Butter and Vitamin E. Perfect for face, lips, knees, hands, and everywhere dry skin relief is needed. Perfect to take with you, in your purse.

8) Argan Shimmer Oil…Put’s sparkle and glow onto your skin with just a spritz. Packed with an antioxidant cocktail of Argan, Sweet Orange and Grapeseed Oils with Vitamin E, skin is instantly moisturized and sunkissed smooth. Spray and blend on body or lightly mist on hair for a shimmery effect.

9) Argan Silky Oil…transforms skin to satiny smooth with Argan-infused body oil that sinks into skin leaving no oily residue. Glide on skin immediately after showering, pour into bath for a moisturizing benefit or use as a massage oil.

So, there you have it!

There will be monthly specials on all these products (separately), every month.

October’s Special is, buy the Hydrating Body Scrub and get either the Foaming Bath Gel, or the Nourishing Cleansing Oil, at a 50% savings.

Stop by to sample these products at…


(inside Sola Salons)

800 W. Williams St., Apex, NC

Suite 117



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