Most of us would agree that change is not only necessary, it’s unavoidable. Sometimes we get to control an element of that change we feel coming our way, sometimes we don’t. Heather did.

We all face change…in one form or another, fairly regularly. For me, I am trying to find my “nitch” in social media, beginning with switching up Elements “Elemental News” that comes to you as a monthly newsletter. Seeing as how most of the population is extremely busy and most likely never reads it in it’s entirely (I’ve checked with y’all…ya can’t answer the questions I throw at ya that’s addressed in the newsletter), I’ve decided to make the bulk of the present newsletter as a blog post, and leave the Elemental News as a one pager that gives you the heads up on that month’s specials. And I may throw in a tip or two along the way.

This month, in the salon, I had the experience of transforming a style that had endured our unusally long and cold, winter season and was now needing transformed for the hot, North Carolina summers.

Heather came in with a big smile on her face, ready for the change. Little did I know just how much of a change she was going for. But I immediately loved her ideas. Many people come wanting “change” but one that is unrecognizable as being changed. Just a bit of difference on angles, a muted definition, a bit (1/2 inch) of length taken off. Rarely do I get a gal that will pull out all the stops. Well…Heather pulled out all the stops and gave me free range of motion. The results were nothing short of breath-taking. Well, that’s my opinion, at least. 😉 The last time I felt so giddy was when I was given the opportunity to change Lindsey’s hair. If you get my newsletters, she’s the one featured in April’s Elemental News.

The year 2014 has thrown the beauty industry into wild and bold expression that gives vent through the bleaching, then coloring of clients hair… green, blue, pink, purple, and a variety of rainbow shades. Some with multiple colors on one head! Some are really very pretty…some are a hot mess. I’ve noticed the artistic nature of the beauty professional being inspired by different colored birds, flowers, and skylines and applying those colors to the human species. I’ve often wondered if the Hunger Games movie, and all the diversified hair colors that were portrayed, has had anything to do with stirring up the creating of unnatural (for hair) pigments and playing the creative artist by placing vivid colors on protein infused hair strands…that would normally be exclusive for pictures and walls. Yet, for me…I still love the warmth and softness that comes from a realistic perspective. Call me boring…I just like seeing things in their natural element.

The highlights chosen for Heather, were of a soft nature, as was her cut. We didn’t go extreme pixie on her, but pixie, none-the-less.

Heather is a busy mom with a 3 year old little (in the loosest form of the word) boy. Like most mother’s, she doesn’t have a lot of extra time for herself and isn’t one that spends time standing in front of the mirror. She not only wanted, but needed, a fresh, new haircut for the summer months. Heather wanted to lose the “ponytail express” look and have something easy to style while giving her a cute and sassy look.

I just heard from her this morning. She was telling me how much she loves her new look. “I feel lighter, younger, and sassier,” she said. Alright! The goal was met! “I get compliments all the time now, and my husband loves it so much he wants me to keep it short all the time,” said she. “I feel like a better version of myself.”

Let me know what YOU think of this transformation. Would you have done anything differently? If so, what?

Forge on, Passionistas!

Heather P. April 16, 2014 #4

BEFORE the transformation

Heather P. April 16, 2014 #3

Heather P. April 16, 2014 #2 Back & Front (in mirror) of AFTER, and side view only

Heather P. April 16, 2014



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


Age in the Beauty Industry

S/W Ver: 96.B0.0AR

Cosmetology Graduation, June 1974

Last week I had a break in my schedule and decided it would be a worthy use of time to do a survey of what is considered, by some, an appropriate age to cut ourselves loose from the beauty industry.

I have watched, mostly in the background, as women come and go in this industry. Silently I considered when that time might be right for me. Down through the years, that time has changed as I approached the yearly looking-glass, and now I’m considering staying as long as clients knock on my door. Quite different from what I had previously thought. Possibly there will be some redefining, but it seems as if the beauty industry will always be a part of my life while on this earth.

I’ve tried to tell myself that maybe I should call it quits. But that’s just silly thinking. I’m sure it’s because of the days I spend waiting for talk to happen, in this new location that I find myself to be in, and hundreds to begin rushing to use my services. My newly formed business is building, but nothing is ever fast enough for me. I want to open the doors, and business pour in, as if it was just waiting for me to get there. Can you relate?

So…I decided to take a poll to see if anyone besides myself was looking down the road further than a couple of years. These are the questions I asked, and the percentages of answers I received, of the working stylists that would give me their time. Be prepared for a small amount of boring statistics. Some were with clients, so I asked permission to invade their time also. Amazingly enough, the clients wanted to participate in the questionnaire and asked to have a voice in some of the answers. So, here are the percentages from the stylists. Following will be a few comments from the clients.

Q1) Have you considered the longevity of your profession?

A. 90%  No

10%  Yes

Q2) Do you believe there should be a certain time to “retire”?

A.  90%  No

10%  Yes

Q3) What time would that be?

A. 20%  Between the age of 60 and 70

80% believed as long as they were physically able, they would continue to

work behind the chair.

Q4) Why?

A. 20% Not sure

80% It’s what they know and love. It pays the bills and they couldn’t see       themselves doing anything but.

Q5) Are you passionate about this industry?

A. 100% Yes. All that I spoke with said they were passionate about what they do. They love coming to work and they love interacting with their clients.

More than the questions, I enjoyed visiting with all those great, forward moving, gals. Each one had a special input that I will always remember.

One of the stylists that was so passionate about the industry, had previously worked as a product developement manager before going for her license in cosmetology. She spoke of the “trickery” in our industry to get clients to purchase over the counter products, as they were lured into believing what the manufacturer wanted them to see. She spoke of the levels of ingredients placed in various products, and confirmed what I tell my clients. “The less expensive a product, the less effective.”  “Laundry detergent will clean your hair, but damage the integrity of it.”  “A bar of soap will clean your hair, but leave a film that in time will build up and dull the appearance of it.” (My words) This stylist actually sounded like a younger me, with all the experience of my years. One of the things she said resounded with me. “You are the sum total of your life experiences.” As simplistic as this is, it is also very life-giving. Stop for a minute and consider these words. What do you want your life to exemplify? What legacy do you want to leave for those following in your steps? We can only speak wisdom of those things we’ve experienced. Right? She also made the statement that she believed herself to be a “chameleon of sorts”, having the ability to provide beauty services in any genre. Any age grouping, any life style. How cool is that?!

Now for the clients!

One in particular client stood out to me. She told the story of a family member, age 90 something…yes, you read that right! 90ish and still going strong. I laughed when she told of this dear lady’s endeavor at staying young-looking. I wish I had written her words down for a quote, but alas…I did not. However, I DO remember her saying this lady has had so many surgeries, she looks pretty much like plastic…but wrinkle free…and working the cosmetic industry with passion! Now, that is dedication and love of life.

Maybe my thoughts will change with time, but I can’t remember a time (thus far) where I have considered retiring. I may redefine myself in this industry, when (and if) my stamina gives out, but even the word “retirement” says death to me. I just think I would be bored to tears, or worse, depressed beyond words. Maybe that’s because I don’t have the financial means of traveling the world over. Maybe that’s because I’m not there yet. Maybe that’s because I can’t see myself without access to other human beings. Maybe that’s because I’m delusional. Take your pick…

Other clients that chimed in, simply said they would stay with their stylist as long as she/he was providing the services. Age was not a factor in that decision. Which makes me remember a very dear YOUNG man and his YOUNG wife, back in Oklahoma, that told me I had to keep going in this industry. His words were, “Even if you have to work from a wheel-chair, I will always be your client.” Now, I’m crying. I left them, to move to North Carolina.

Many clients won my heart while doing business in Oklahoma. Many…too noumerous to mention. Some were closer than others, but all very needed and appreciated. Librarians, Professors, Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, Stay-at-home Moms, the Retired, the blue and white-collar workers, parents that brought their children for that first hair-cut, the toddlers, the teens, the Prom goers,the Wedding Party’s, the whole Families that trusted me with their finished look, and the Race Car drivers from Mooresville, NC. that came to see me while their coach was being serviced just down the road from my then business, South Side Salon. All loyal clients, that spoke into my life over the years.

So, you see…this is an industry that not only gives needed services to their clients, but their clients give back to them…more than financially. It’s a passion driven industry that can resonate with an “over-the-top” or a casual existence, or somewhere in-between.

Should we reach a time of retirement? Maybe…however, age is only a number, if our health is stable. We truly are the sum total of our life experiences.

Forge on Passionistas!