Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hair Affair

Hello there!

Are you looking for a new blow dryer, flat iron or curling iron? Are you a D-I-Y kinda gal that will give yourself a blow out, instead of going to the salon? Well Penny has a tip or two for you!

For the past few months I have been using a great blow dryer, flat iron and sometimes curling iron regimen. One of the things I like most about these hot tools is that they are 'wallet-friendly' but high quality. Both the blow dryer and flat iron I'm about to describe were recommended by a friend who has natural hair, but wears her hair in straight styles. I got a chance to see how they worked on her hair and I liked it. The curling iron I've had for a while and probably found after doing research on ceramic irons.
Natural Hair
(Damp; after wash & condition)

Conair Pro Silverbird 2000 Watts (Sally's,; $35-$39.99) - This dryer was so much lighter than my previous one, which was the first reason I was sold on it. My hair is curly, med/long in length and can be challenging to blow out straight.  I also like the comb/pik attachment because I can't blow out my own hair with a round brush like some folks. With the high heat settings I am able to get my hair very straight and it doesn't take much time (see pics). After I washed and conditioned my hair, I applied a little leave-in conditioner; and squeezed out the excess water with a towel. Then I worked some Sabino Lok and Blok serum (, $22) throughout, as I detangled my hair with a wide-toothed comb. After letting my hair air dry half way, I blow dry it completely. (see pic)
After blow dry w/ comb

Penny isn't Penny without products. LOL! In addition to the moisture lock (Lok & Block) which I believe is essential to my smooth blow out, I use the following products when styling my hair (not always at the same time):
  • CHI Iron Guard 44 - thermal protection spray
  • PhytoSpecific Moisturizing Styling Balm w/ Qunioa Oil
  • Elasta QP Curl Wax w/ Aloe and Lanolin
- Always use a thermal protection product to protect your hair when using hot tools.
- Learn the proper heat settings for your hair type; every tool should have a guide. The last thing you want to do is burn your hair. Luckily with the new ceramic and tourmaline technology this is harder to do than it used to be.
- Use a damp washcloth to wipe clean your hot tool as you use it. While using the flat iron and/or curling iron I find it helpful to carefully wipe them clean as I finish a 1/4 section of my hair (I section it off in 4-5 areas usually). By cleaning each tool it helps to eliminate any product residue that could burn on the plate or barrel. No one likes to walk around smelling like an electrical fire. LOL!
- Look for hair tools with Ceramic, Tourmaline, and/or Ionic technology. Ceramic plates distribute an even heat preventing hot spots on the iron which can burn hair. It's better if the tool is not painted with a ceramic coating as over time that coating could start to peel or chip, leaving behind a burn smell and snagging the hair. A tool with ceramic and tourmaline means that it probably uses Far Infared heat. This type of heating heats the hair from the inside out, causing less surface damage. It is also said that tourmaline helps the hair to be smoother, more shiny, and frizz-free. When you see the word ionic on a product this means that the iron produces negative ions. Negative Ions work to eliminate frizz and static by smoothing and closing the cuticle layer.  (read full story....)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nail Polish in the News?

Hi All!

Many of you know Penny is fast becoming a nail polish nerd. LOL!  I am proud to say that I've managed to keep my collection to 50 or far. What can I say...I just like what I like. Part of the reason for my obsession with nail polish is this great nail blog I subscribe to called All Lacquered Up.  I find lots of great new polishes and colors through this blog (check out her gallery). So I found it interesting that this blogger was chosen to debate "nail polish" of all things in The Opinion Pages of  The New York Times. (See link)

Why Did Wild Nail Polish Go Mainstream?

The 'comments' are just as interesting (if not more so) as the topics being discussed by the seven debaters. If you get a chance I suggest reading some of the other articles by those in this debate. No matter how you feel about nail polish COLORS these days, there is no denying that it's the newest IT accessory.  Not only have colors changed over the years, but nail art, textures and techniques are now all the rage. While Penny is still somewhat conservative after all these years (no crackle, no gems, no designs, etc)...I began to go out on a limb about a year ago with some of the trendy colors in varying shades of grays, blues, purples and greens.

My brand du jour is Zoya!   It's a great long wear, polish with over 300 colors to choose from. It is also a 4-Free polish (free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalates) and camphor). The only down side is that these polishes are not widely available. They are only sold at spas and salons. You can plug in your zip code on their website to see where the polishes are sold near you, or call: (800) 659-6909, Customer Service. Yes...Penny called. LOL! I am fortunate enough to be able to purchase my polishes at Hair Cosmopolitan (& Salon) in White Flint Mall, Rockville, MD, not far from my job. I also order online. Right now Penny is trying to refrain from pre-ordering several of the new fall colors. LOL!

I still use OPI and Essie polishes as well. They have great collections and are also long wearing. OPI  and Essie offer 3-free polishes too. The other polishes I want to try in the future are Butter London, SpaRitual and NARS. I like Chanel's colors but choose not to pay $23 for a bottle of polish when there are so many budget-friendly brands to choose from. My only splurge has been a couple of Rescue Beauty Lounge (RBL) polishes ($18 ea) when there was a discount promo. ;-)
My favorite top coat is Seche Vite Quick Dry Top Coat (CVS, ULTA; $9.95)...great shine and durability. My polish looks 10x better, and lasts longer. I found that the nail salons don't always use a quality top coat, which defeats the purpose of a good manicure if you ask me. (Don't be fooled by what the bottle says). I take my polish and top coat with me to just about every salon visit. If I had natural nails (I wear acrylics or silk wraps) I would probably try Seche Vite's nail strengthener as well.

NOTE: Free polishes are polishes developed without key toxic chemicals that we should be aware of in our polishes. See this link for a more detailed explanation:

Check out this link for an extensive list of 3-free and 4-free polishes:

Be blessed. Be beautiful.