What is Diversion? 

If you don’t know the answer to this question, you are not alone.9 out of 10 consumers do not know what diversion is. 

But, unfortunately, you HAVE witnessed it and may also be fueling the grey-market of hair care.


Diversion occurs when products are sold in “unauthorized” places. Genuine Professional, Salon-Quality products are sold only in authorized salons, spas or authorized manufacturer/salon-related websites. Products are diverted by unauthorized distributors and other dishonest individuals who see profit in piracy. 

Yup, those Walmart, TJ Maxx, and Amazon products that you are supposively saving your money on, are diverted. 


Any Mass Retailer

Any Mass Discount Store
Grocery Store
Online Purchase Besides Direct Manufacturer 
Products Website Besides Authorized Distributor

Why are these products BAD? 

Diverted products can be counterfeit, diluted formulas, or old, expired formulas that may not be safe to use. You could be in great danger. Contaminated or counterfeit products could cause irritation or even infection. Also, the fabulous effects that professional companies pride themselves on will not be received by the consumer. 

Please purchase all hair products from salons and spas that can offer you the best service and product recommendations for your hair. Only products purchased in a salon or spa or authorized retailers are guaranteed to perform to their standards. 

Remember, on the back of the PROFESSIONAL product, it states:

“Guaranteed only when purchased at a professional salon.”

Please read my past blog #1 Hair Rule to further your education on why drugstore products are bad. 

Thankfully, the beauty industry is fighting back. Redken and Pureology have launched an aggressive anti-diversion campaign, hiring a former FBI agent to oversee the program. They began tracking the movement of products using specialized coding on the bottles of products. They have found the coding being removed, entire new labels being placed over generic brand bottles as a disguise, and even found some diverted products to “contain high levels of bacteria”. 

Please check out this Consumer Affairs investigation.

The next step is YOU. Until the courts deem this practice illegal, you have to protect yourself and become informed. Educate yourself and become even thesmallest  figure in the Anti-Diversion Movement, not only foryour health, your peace of mind, but your bank account’s sake. I encourage you to buy products directly from your salon stylist.

Thank you for supporting your salon and spa community. 

Happy Anti-Diverting! 


Hair Care When Piggy is Strapped 

Contrary to popular belief, you can have fabulous locks even when your poor piggy bank is strapped. However, there are always stipulations and of course, reality.

Let’s talk haircuts. 

First and foremost, if you keep your hair healthy, the less haircuts you will need. Keep heat to a minimum. Let me tell you this, no one needs to put 450 degrees on their poor hair strands. Whether you have 5 hairs on your head or a mane as thick as a lion, stop it right now. Turn that flat iron down to 350-375 degrees and take smaller sections to heat thoroughly and safely. Sure, it may take you a whopping 10 minutes longer, but your hair won’t be so mad at you. Also, quit the addiction to your hot tools. Listen, it’s okay to let you natural locks free, especially in the summer. But if you must, always use protection. In addition to turning down the heat, use a heat protectant prior to coming at it with a raging hot iron. Redken’s Iron Shape is an incredible option and does not leave a product feel in the hair. A little will go a long way making your hair and wallet very happy.

If you are one to always have your hair in a pony or headband, make sure they are not super tight. They will cut your hair only causing even more damage, splitting the hair where the bands are. Which then, in turn, will only make you think you need to flat iron those fly-always even more, upping the horrific devastation. The war will never be won that way.

Healthy Hair = Less Haircuts = Happy Piggy 

Now, choosing a hair cut style that is congruent with your budget is also important. That trendy undercut or asymmetrical bob will need shaping more often. If you are working with a strapped piggy bank, a smart decision may be to choose a lower maintenance style.

This goes for hair color as well. 

If you have black hair naturally and want to color your hair platinum or you have tons of grey and color your hair dark, obviously your stylist will need to see you much more often, a maximum of every 4 weeks. If you are working on a budget, it would be smart to talk to your stylist on a more wallet-friendly hair color.
Luckily, trends such as ombré and balayage allow you to push appointments farther since these trends already give the illusion of regrowth or “roots”. Or if you are one to receive all-over-color or root-touch-ups as well as highlights in the same visit, think of alternating these services at your appointments. For instance, Visit 1, you receive both services, and at Visit 2, you solely touch-up the regrowth with color. This way you are saving pennies at every other appointment.

Intelligent Choice of Color = Fuller Piggy

It is also paramount to do everything you can to conserve your color between each appointment. If you are not caring for your hair, you can kiss your color and your money goodbye. One will spend tons of money on a professional hair color and then use a cheap drugstore shampoo only stripping it out of their hair. Is this really saving money? Using professional-grade, salon-quality products and keeping heat use to a minimum, you will further safeguard your color.

It starts in the shower. 

Let me reiterate, buying cheap drug store products, especially box color, will NOT save you money. $6 box hair color turn screw up will cost you hundreds of dollars in corrective color at the salon, and those Pantenes and Suaves will cost you more in the amount of color appointments needed.

I will refer you now to a few past blogs I have written regarding these No-Nos before I go into a tangent.

But to sum up quickly, why drugstore products are bad, bad, bad…

They are filled with sulfates (salts), parabens (preservatives), silicones, and to top it off, primarily water. If this sounds bad, it’s because it is. Please read those past blogs.

Drugstore Products = BAD NEWS = Sad Hair and an even Sadder Piggy

Sure, professional-grade, salon-quality products may cost you more initially, but they will last you longer, save the integrity of your hair, and lengthen the lifespan of your color. Pureology, for example, prides themselves on being 100% vegan, containing zero-sulfates, anti-fade complexes, and very little water, lasting 60 shampoos. Now that sounds incredible, right?

Professional Products = Happy Hair = Pleased Piggy

I can hear you saying… But I still can’t afford it!

Okay, let’s think on this. Your hair is the accessory you never take off, your forever crown, and not to mention what people see when they, in fact, look at your face. I understand we all have our vices, some it may be shoes or handbags that we throw on the disgusting bathroom floor. There is no judgement here, but think about it. Maybe it’s okay to spend a little bit more to one, have your hair done correctly, and two, that suits you and your bank account best.

It is always important to keep in check with reality. Make sure you have realistic expectations with your hair that match your financials. And for heaven’s sake, care for your hair like you would a newborn child.

Questions and Comments are always welcome. Please stay tuned for next blog on holistic avenues in hair products. (This does not mean substitutes, but more as in new additions to your now fantastic routine.)
Happy Savings! 

Bleach… The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Oh-So-Pretty 

We have all heard people’s horror stories about “bleaching” hair. But, have we ever stopped and thought about exactly what was behind the horror in these stories?For instance, who or what was the one behind the “bleaching” , or were they actually educated in the results that could be achieved. And believe me, those are only a 2 of many questions that should be running through one’s mind. 

First, let us stop using the word bleach. In the professional world, we use the term lightener. So from here on out in this blog, I will be referring to this “bleach” thing as lightener. 

Now, let us educate ourselves as to what lightener is, how it works, and why it is needed.

Powder Lightener is mixed with hydrogen peroxide, activating it and creating an oxidizing environment when applied to hair. The oxidation acts on the pigment already present in your hair to disperse it and lightens the hair color. It is much easier to lighten “virgin,” or never-have-been-colored hair, than it is previously colored hair, especially box colored hair. 

Rule #1: Color Does Not Lift Color. Meaning, if you have previously colored hair and wish to go lighter, lightener must be used. 

The concentration of peroxide used is the major factor that determines the strength of the penetration and lift. 

If you are going to lighten your hair, an understanding of hair depth and underlying pigments will lead to better results and allow you to understand what can actually be realistic in the results. 

There is a level system that determines the darkness or lightness of the hair. Black being a level 1 then going the whole way down to level 10, pastel blonde which is the closest to white. In addition to all colors’ levels or depth, all hair colors have an underlying base pigment that contributes. In blonde hair, this base pigment is anything from pale yellow to golden orange. Black hair has a deep, dark red base. When you lighten your hair, the color is stripped away to reveal this base pigment. You can then estimate how much lightening has occurred by looking at the underlying pigment color you have arrived at. 

Now, why should one receive lightening services by a professional (besides the obvious)? First, please refer to my past blog Say No to the Box if you are even considering buying your own. JUST SAY NO! And secondandly, do your research on even a professional stylist’s work. Do it right the first time and you will save yourself from the horror… And an empty wallet. You think you have saved money until you have to undergo a huge color correction.

Rule #2: Be Honest! Confess your sins. You may think that a fun splash of Manic Panic several months ago won’t affect your coloring because the semi-permanent formula is all washed out. But believe me when I tell you that nothing will resurrect that Bad Boy Blue or Hot Stinkin’ Pink like the introduction of bleach. And even if you had dark hair color on your hair 10 years ago, but you haven’t had a haircut since then, that color at the ends will come rearing its ugly head.

Lightener, at most, can lift 7 levels. Normally, to lift an entire 7 levels takes the almost-always-rare, perfect environment. For example, Suzy Q is a natural dirty blonde, putting her at a level 7. And when I say natural, she’s the unicorn that has never colored her hair in her life. She only has to be lifted 2 levels to become a platinum blonde. Now, Jane has box colored her hair black for 10 years and now wants Suzy Q’s newly fabulous platinum hair. Jane is a level 1. Even in the best of circumstances, one can only lift Jane to about a level 8 and even that is a Hail Mary Pass. Jane has layers upon layers upon layers of hair color that the lightener has to penetrate or eat through. More realistically, Jane walks out with a gorgeous mahogany and scheduled her next lightening appointment for two weeks later. 

I am not saying that the platinum blonde, silver, or unicorn-colored hair looks you have seen on your social media feeds or Pinterest are unachievable, but believe you me, it takes great pains to achieve that color. That goes for all the offshoot color trends too — opal, metallic, and rose gold as well. It is a long road to dreamscape shades. That road will have you clearing your schedule the day of your hair coloring appointment for a double-process and even multiple appointments. Patience is a virtue. 

Lightener isn’t as scary as one may think, once you are educated. It can cause some serious issues that should be rather rare but of course uneducated or over zellous people make these horror stories happen more often that one would like. 

We hear the word “fried” a whole heck of a lot when discussing going lighter. Lightener blows open the cuticle or the outer layer of the hair when it penetrates the hair shaft also robbing it of its moisture and proteins. When you do lightening services with professional products and with an elite professional doing the task, damage can be limited to little or none. Professional powder lighteners are formulated with conditioners to eliminate or decrease the chances of damage. A professional stylist will also be able to determine the percent of developer used as well as the processing time of the product. Whether or not your hair has damage after the lightening service, it is essential to “feed” your hair with protein to revive its strength. Think of it as Gatorade after a Hair Workout. A conditioning treatment and take-home products are not optional but essential and a requirement.

My absolute favorite product line on the market is Pureology Strength Cure. 97% of people using this magic product have noticed stronger hair in just one use. Honest to Pete, this stuff is a Godsend. 

Another horrific term we also hear when so-called “bleaching” hair, is “gummy” or hair that is so over-processed that it feels like mush or ABC gum. When we constantly overlap lightener on top of previously lightened hair, it becomes so weak, nearly to the point of no return. This is why slow and steady wins the race. One must have intense patience with lightener. 

There is the shiny brand new savior product called Olaplex that allows us to push the envelope a little farther while protecting the integrity of the hair. Make sure you ask your highly skilled service provider about upgrading your lightening service to add in Olaplex. A common misconception about Olaplex is that it does all the work. On the contrary, Olaplex is added into the powder lightener and peroxide mixture. And then a second treatment is done before toning. This 2-step process is essentially insurance for your hair.

Rule #3: Your Stylist is Doing You Know Justice NOT Toning. Let’s discuss…

We as stylist spend countless hours and not to mention money learning Basic Colot Theory. So why isn’t everyone utilizing the information we have received is a question I will never have the answer to. Thousands of clients are leaving salons looking more like Garfield than they are like Elsa or like a lightening bug zapped by one of those bug zapping things. It’s sad and is an injustice to those stylists who pride themselves in their quality of work. 

After a lightening service, we have come to the underlying pigment color. Normally, 9 times out of 10, is it not a pretty tone nor is it desired by you or our clients. So this brings us to the Basic Color Wheel and essentially the Holy Book of Basic Color Theory. 

Let’s go back to Suzy Q and Jane. 

We were able to lift Suzy Q to a level 10, palest blonde. However, at a level 10, the underlying tone is yellow. Suzy Q wants to be a cool white blonde. To neutralize the yellow, one must use a pale violet toner. The toner is let on until desired tone is reached. 

Now, poor Jane on the other hand, requires a little more love, attention, and brainpower. We were able to get Jane miracously to a level 6, revealing an orange-red undertone. But of course, she had 2 inches of regrowth that had never been colored and lifted farther down the scale to a level 9. Some stylists would let Jane walk out the door with a plethora of randomn, not to mention yucky colors in her hair. And heaven forbid you did this yourself! A well-educated stylist would tone out the orange-red with a blue-green to neutralize and then tone the lighter regrowth with the correct color to match. 

Toners not only counteract the unwanted tones, but they also seal and condition the cuticle of the hair. Think of toners as the top coat over nail polish. 

Rule #5: Condition and Take Home 

I cannot stress this enough! If you are not doing or receiving conditioning treatments nor using high end professional grade take home products in conjunction with the treatments, you can say “buh-bye” to that gorgeous color you just spend countless hours and pennies on, and you can definitely say “see ya later” to the integrity of it. 

Please refer to my past blog What Your Stylist Wants You to Know and Understand to better understand when I say buying Drugstore Products is a Big NO Go. 

But what why does my hair turn golden, brassy, even straight up orange? Again, refer to my previous blog The Dreaded Brass

So before this blog becomes a whole damn book, let us review:

  1. Do Your Research! Please pick a stylist who is beyond reputable and proficiently skilled in lightening services and color corrections. 
  2. Be realistic. Let’s get real here. Please go in to the hair salon with realistic expectations. I am not saying give up on the dream of having silver hair with pastel pink ends, but is that a realistic expectation at first appointment?
  3. Do NOT lie. You cannot blame your stylist for what she did not know. 
  4. We only work as hard as a lightener. Please do not blame the stylist for not being able to take you white from black in an hour and a half. There is only so much we can do. 
  5. Condition. Condition. CONDITION. Spend the extra few dollars for a professional conditioning treatment. Your hair won’t be so angry with you.
  6. You better take home products. Enough said. 

Lightener or “bleach” can lead to beautiful things! It may seem overwhelming or scary even, but don’t get mad when I say this… It’s only scary when you put the gun in the hand of a killer. 

Please feel free to comment below with questions or comments. But besides that…