Beauty Briefs

By Janetta Mackay

Head turners

Start with a ponytail for a perfectly easy party look.

To look stunning this summer, you want to keep it simple. For a quick step up in sophistication without coming over all contrived, start with a ponytail.

A low pony secured with a clasp is an easy option, or use the pony as a base for your creativity, as with these ideas from stylist Steve Morgan of Morgan & Morgan in Takapuna.

What looks are good for fun functions?

The teased top or side bun. A modern take on a classic bun, this look is simple but sophisticated. It is perfect for long to medium length hair.

Tis the season to be braided: Whether all up or partially up, adding braids into a hairstyle can instantly transform your hairstyle into party mode.

Any tips for a quick and easy way to do your own hair for a party?

Ponytail updo: This is a simple way of sectioning off hair while creating the perfect base for a side or top bun. Once you have your ponytail, lightly backcomb and spray, mould the hair into a bun and simply clip to the base of your pony.

Deconstructed braid: Create your braid and hold firmly on its end. Grabbing a few strands from the end, slowly pull the strands while pushing the braid back towards its base. This will give you a loose and deconstructed look which can then be worn out or pinned up.

Morgan recommends using styling powders and dry shampoo to add body to hair and provide a styling base before using a finishing spray. (He likes Schwarzkopf Osis Refresh Dust and Osis Elastic Flexible spray for a pert finish.)

The lowdown on waxing

Be wary of getting a raw deal with hair removal treatment.

Everyone has a horror story about waxing, ranging from ouchy experiences to thankfully much rarer cases of scorch marks, but few can top the bride who was left red raw and bruised after a brazilian on the eve of her wedding.

This recent example of a routine beauty treatment done so badly as to put a honeymoon on hold has led one concerned salon owner to speak up about shonky standards shown by a few in the industry.

Petrina Martin says she has been horrified to see women left "raw, bleeding and with missing skin" after treatments elsewhere.

"Our message is pretty clear - you must use good quality, brazilian-specific wax and it shouldn't hurt!" (Martin says some of her regular clients read magazines during hair removal).

Pain thresholds clearly differ - I for one can't imagine a brazilian not hurting a bit - but any well-trained therapist should be able to wax safely. Problems are caused by therapists who don't check wax temperatures or follow poor procedures, but also by salons cutting corners by using cheaper waxes.

Martin says hot wax works much better than strip wax on sensitive areas and should always be used for brazilians.

"A seasoned waxer will be able to tell the temperature of the wax by its consistency, but should still check it [on their wrist] every time."

Good hygiene is important and at her Magic Tan & Beauty salon and other reputable salons therapists work in disposable gloves and use wipes on clients pre- and post-waxing. Wax should be applied with disposable spatulas and skin should be held taut when hair is removed to minimise tugging. Any tidying of stray hairs should be done with sterile tweezers.

The better the wax the more it will adhere to hair, rather than skin, says Martin. She recommends that women wanting waxing ask for feedback from friends and ask salons what wax they use and if their staff are qualified.

"A brazilian wax should not leave you: burnt, bleeding, bruised or with missing skin."

Summer saviour

MattePerfect blotters are perfect for those looking to keep their cool this summer. Each handy little shine-control solution is made of absorbent kimono silk and hypo-allergenic linen flax fibres, offering a natural way to mop up any excess oil. Find them in pharmacies and selected beauty and gift outlets for $14.95 a pack. (Ph 0508 734 466 for stockists).

Crackle snap

Top-selling American budget nail range Sally Hansen has come up with Crackle Overcoat, hot on the heels of O.P.I's Shatter. Expect it in Farmers early in the New Year in eight colours for $12.99. "With Crackle Overcoat the colour combo possibilities are endless," says Sally Hansen manicurist Alison Bowhill-Hayes. "For day time I love an understated crackle-think nude nails topped with Antiqued Gold-and at night I take it up a notch topping black polish with Distressed Denim."

Silver fox

Get him to try the George Clooney approach to greying, gradually letting more of the silver show through, rather than opting for an obvious all-over dye job that fools no one. This "camouflage" approach to men's greying has been available in salon for some time, with colourants disguising some, but not all, of grey hairs. Now a home hair kit called Just for Men Touch of Grey is available in supermarkets and pharmacies for guys who want to keep everyone fooled - subtly. The kits costs $15.95 and application of the peroxide and ammonia-free formula takes just five minutes.

Clarification

The prices supplied last week for Chanel's Christmas fragrance items were in Australian dollars. The local price for the Chanel Fragrance Wardrobe is $125 (not $110) and the No. 5 bath powder is $135, bath oil $154 and 100ml eau de parfum $270. (Stockists ph 0800 957 352.)

VIP Viva

Once you get over the Christmas rush what could be nicer than a short break to look forward to? We don't mean heading to the beach on Boxing Day, but something further down the track - though thanks to Wella and HomeforHire.com we can help you look and feel good for the holidays and well into the New Year.

Ensure your hair survives beachy days by investing in some good sun protection - sunscreen isn't just for skin. The new Wella SP Sun Range has everything you need to protect, cleanse, condition and style your hair in the heat. "Sun protection is becoming more and more important, especially when women have had their hair coloured and want to protect the beautiful result as long as possible," says Wella's global creative director Eugene Souleiman. Wella salons offer a personalised in-salon treatment and prescription of the best SP products to do this. Among the take home options are a Sun Concentrate ($34) with particularly strong filters for UV rays, giving up to 10 hours protection.

By using good sun protection, you will return to work with hair that looks great - and when the grind of going back starts to take its toll how about browsing for a bach to stay in to catch the last of summer?

One lucky Viva reader will get the chance to experience the gift of a summer's supply of the new Wella SP Sun Range and to enjoy a weekend away for two in an idyllic Waiheke vineyard cottage through HomeforHire.com. (The weekend must be taken between February and April).

To enter, email your name, address and contact number, with "Wella" in the subject line, to vipviva@nzherald.co.nz. Entries close December 14, winner announced December 21. One entry per person.

- NZ Herald

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