Wednesday Advice Smackdown
July 13, 2005
USUAL SUCKAGE DISCLAIMER BLAH BLAH BLAH: I have been up for many, many hours already as Cabinet Man was at our house at 6 am today for the final, official, swear-to-God-we're-actually-going-to-make-progress measurement of our kitchen. So now we can order our cabinets and countertops and it looks like all our home renovations (which I figured would start in June), will start sometime in August. Which means I CANNOT GIVE BIRTH EARLY OR ELSE THERE WILL BE NO KITCHEN. Not that the baby will likely care about the kitchen, as I'll be his own personal feeding station, but I WILL CARE DEEPLY, as I plan to eat a lot of microwaveable popcorn while on maternity leave.
In other news, I went to the dermatologist this morning to get some various weird pregnancy-related skin things checked out. (All fine, just weird.) And in case you've ever wondered what sort of neighborhood I live in, consider this sign on display at the dermatologist's office.
Good to know! Thanks doc!
(Photo courtesy of my new! camera! phone! That I have had for two weeks and only recently learned how to 1) take pictures, and 2) get said pictures off the phone, because I'm an idiot who threw out the user's manual.)
And now on with that stupid advice thing.
I've been keeping up with your site for a few months now and I wanted to heap piles of praise your way. Thank you, thank you for sharing your life with all of us.
I recently bought a dress from eBay. I've never bought clothing online before (I buy most clothes based on texture and fabric, so Internet shopping scares me). It's a silk, strapless Philip DiCaprio at a price I could not beat. The dress should arrive on my doorstep today, but I'm already sure it will be about two sizes too big. I get the sense that you hover at the bottom of the size scale. I live there, too.
So here is my dilemma, which I humbly submit to your Internet/DC/beauty expertise. First, do you have any general Internet clothing shopping tips -- warning signs, questions to ask sellers, etc.? But more urgently, what do I do with my new, too big dress? I'd like to take it to a tailor (I live in NW DC), but I don't know how to find someone reputable. I also don't know what to say to them, other than "make it fit better." Is there a special tailor lingo? Is it okay to take it to a dry cleaners with a sign in the window screaming "ALTERATIONS," or should I go to a fancy department store? How do I get the best bargain, and what is a reasonable price?
I've bought stuff off eBay too -- most notably a designer bridesmaid dress for $50. It was exactly my size, but the seller neglected to mention that she'd had the dress altered down to a size zero, or possibly a negative 12. So, you know, that's my new top question to ask: Has the item been altered, and if so, was any fabric cut? (I also won't buy anything from super-inexperienced sellers, anyone without a lot of positive feedback, or from sellers who don't use PayPal and require that I mail them a check or something before they'll ship the item out. And since I mostly use eBay for designer stuff, I look for stuff that's "NWT" (new with tags) and a guarantee of authenticity.)
Luckily for my dress, nothing had been cut from the dress, so after a few minutes of ripping out seams I was able to actually get the thing on and not feel like such a whale compared to the dress' previous owner, who may or may not have have been a very tall nine-year-old girl.
Then I took it to my mom's house to have her run some of seams BACK in because I have no breasts.
But since my mom does not moonlight as a seamstress unless I show up whining, garment in hand, trying to save money because I will spend $90 on pants but won't pay $10 to have them hemmed, I guess that doesn't help you much.
Unless you've heard really good things about a dry cleaners' tailoring services, I wouldn't risk taking a nice, irreplaceable dress there. Maybe do a test run and have them hem some pants or take in a dress that you don't care so much about first. Otherwise, ask your friends for recommendations. Call a bridal shop and ask where they send their customers for alterations. Or just take it to Nordstrom's, because they're awesome and would probably alter a burlap sack for you and not even bat an eye.
OR! We could ask my DC-area readers for their tailoring recommendations. Yes, let's do that too. Anyone?
I have a head full of thick (THICK!) yet fine and oily hair. It’s naturally wavy so if I get it layered just right it curls up real nice on its own. I’m using Suave Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner (compare to Matrix!) and was wondering if you knew of any other products that work to get curl without weighing down hair.
If my hair wasn’t oily it wouldn’t be such an issue. I don’t usually dry my hair, just my bangs (I was blessed with two cowlicks, yay me).
BTW, I took your advice on training bangs to go in a certain style and it worked for me.
Suave shampoo? Like from the drugstore?
Oy, the blow to my heart, it hurts.
I used to think I had really oily hair too, back in high school and college. I was also using drugstore-brand shampoos and conditioners. (Pantene, bleharrrgh.) Guess what! My hair is not so very oily after all. It just gets angry at cheapness and inferiority. Please, throw out the Suave and invest in a salon-quality shampoo. Pleeeeease.
My absolute favorite volumizing shampoo and conditioner are from the Graham Webb Halo line. They're perfect for ultra-fine hair like ours because they're very light and gentle, but still do a fabulous job of getting rid of product build-up so our roots stay squeaky-clean and oil-free all day. Use the shampoo ONLY on your roots, and use the conditioner ONLY on your ends. I cannot stress this enough.
If you're still looking for some extra curl, try Catwalk Curls Rock Booster, from the good people who brought us my beloved Bed Head line. Spray it on wet hair (avoiding your roots and bangs, of course), scrunch a couple times and let dry. Ta-da! It's an ultra-light aerosol spray, and as long as you're following the roots-and-ends rule of shampoo and conditioner, you should be able to use it without seeing any extra oil or ickiness.
I recently went to the salon (yesterday) for a change. I wanted dark copper/red on the underside of my hair with kicky blonde and dark copper/red highlights on the top. I ended up looking like Donatella Versace, which as you can imagine, was so very NOT the look I was going for. There are no copper/red highlights or chunks anywhere to be found on my head. Yet, I now have dark roots and orange hair when I once had naturally dark blonde hair. What should I do? Please refer to orange photo of self.
Well, for starters, I don't think you look very orange at all. You do look washed out, though, because you're right -- there's no contrast or highlights anywhere in your hair.
For seconders, copper and red highlights on blonde hair are REALLY difficult to achieve. I tried strawberry blonde highlights once, and just ended up looking...more blonde. Like platinum blonde with some vague goldish tones that mostly looked like I'd done a peroxide bottle-job on myself. And this was at a very nice salon with my favorite colorist in the world. (Who just had her baby! And who will be coming back to work soon! Hallelujah! Saints be praised and etc.!)
So I'm not surprised your highlights didn't work out as planned. But the only way to fix your color is to get...well, more highlights.
Or more accurately, you need lowlights. Preferably in your natural shade of dark blonde, possibly a shade darker to anticipate for fading. But before you get more color on you hair (which from your photo looks like it's fairly fine and probably in agony after all the coloring you've had already), take some time to get your hair really healthy and re-moisturized.
Highlights on dried-out, over-processed hair are ALWAYS a disaster. The color sets really quickly and never comes out as anticipated, and then fades to some other non-anticipated color within a week.
So. Buy a deep conditioner or hot oil treatment, and see if your salon offers a professional deep conditioning treatment. Splurge for one about a week before you plan to re-color, and use a deep or restorative conditioner (on. your. ends.) at home every day after that. Then go back to the salon and tell them you want lowlights in your natural color. Go for small foils -- no big crazy chunks or anything, and get your whole head done. That should bring down the blonde!blonde!blonde! to a more natural and non-Donatella level.
I am a professional bellydancer in need of hair help!
I like to set my hair in steam rollers and wear it loosely curled for shows. When I first come out to do a show, it looks great (like this). The problem is, I sweat a LOT when I dance, and my hair looks like that pretty picture for about 3 minutes. Then it starts to melt (like this), and then it completely falls apart. And this is only for the FIRST show - I may have up to four in a single night.
So my question is - is there ANY product that will keep my hair from doing the total meltdown?? I have worn three-quarter falls and such in the past to avoid this issue entirely, but I tend to be more timid when I'm dancing with fake hair, because I'm afraid it will slide out and land in somebody's hummus plate or something. Please help! :)
MAN, my life is so boring. I wish I did something cool like professional belly dancing. And I wish I didn't have the overwhelming urge to make some stupid joke about my belly always dancing these days because of the wee karate-chopper I'm currently incubating, because that is LAME and STUPID.
What is also stupid is that you've kind of stumped me. If you're sweating a lot, the LAST thing I can recommend are a lot of styling products in your hair, because they'll melt down along with your hair (possibly pulling the curl out even faster), and could even end up running down your face and into your eyes, which would NOT be good, and you could sue me for beauty-product-related blinding.
And that's the reason that gymnasts, cheerleaders and ballet dancers wear their hair slicked back in tight buns and ponytails and use 400 bobby pins. Is there some sort of hair code or rule for belly dancing that says your hair should be completely down and free? You might want to experiment with pinning just the front of your hair back, since the sweat factor is usually the worst right along the forehead and hairline. This way, the meltdown won't be quite so noticeable at first, since the back of your hair should hold on to the curl a little longer.
If that's not an option, you could try a few of the tips I gleaned from some ballroom and Irish step dance sites, where the participants do wear their hair down and curled.
They recommend using soft curlers instead of hot rollers. (That girl on the homepage looks extremely freaky and Raggedy-Anne-like, but I get what they're going for. You just need to not use so damn many curlers or find a larger-sized brand.) Curls created with heat or steam are not going to be as tight or long-lasting as curls from letting wet hair dry naturally while wrapped tightly in curlers. Curlers are a pain in the ass, of course, since it takes FOREVER for hair to dry when wrapped up all tight, so unless you can sleep with them in, you're walking around with curlers in your hair ALL DAY.
But! Those curls look like they'd make it through at least two or three shows, and could probably be re-formed with some scrunching and extra hairspray fairly easily.
So you could either: 1) Put the curlers in at night, sleep on them, take them out in the morning and wrap your head loosely in a bandanna or scarf during the day to protect the curls until your show, or 2) Put the curlers in a couple hours before the show and try to speed up the process with a blowdryer (again, adding heat might make for less durable curls, but I know we all have reasonable limits for how much time we want to devote to our quest for the perfect hair).
So try that, or like, AquaNet hairspray. I played field hockey in junior high and we'd all spray up our big, curled-up bangs with AquaNet before our games and hell, my bangs stayed pretty damn big the whole time. (Of course, I was not a very good player and probably spent most of my time on the field trying to stay as far away from the actual hockey aspect of the game as possible.)
Blah blah blah email@example.com big-ass backlog don't expect and answer right away and if you're asking about hair, PLEASE include a photo (which I won't post unless you specifically tell me that's okay) and as many details as possible instead of just sending me questions that say, "I have hair on my head. What products should I be using?" Because I don't know. Have you tried mayonnaise?