My experience with Brazilian Blow Dry to relax very curly hair

Foxy Burlesque's Laura Lawton after Brazilian Blow DryI have naturally VERY curly hair!  So curly, in fact, that if it’s just left to be it’s natural curl, my hair would never grow past my shoulders as the curl just seems to get tighter and tighter.
Foxy Burlesque's Laura Lawton pre Brazilian Blow DryMy solution for a long time was to have it relaxed by having perming solution combed through it, which was fantastic the first time, but as the process was repeated to relax new hair coming through, the already relaxed hair would end up treated again.  Over time this resulted in hair that would just snap if I scrunched my hair in my hand.
I remember vividly the horror of being told my hair was in such bad condition I would need to have it short and grow out all the treated hair.
It took a very long time growing it again as it grows in such tight spirals, but I eventually got there, I think about 2.5yrs down the line, if I remember correctly, and it was at this point that I was told there was a new relaxing product I could try which would be much kinder to my hair.
…And so the cycle started all over again.  The good news was, it was much kinder to my hair, but it was still being re-treated all the time which meant I ended up with nicely relaxed hair at the roots and straight hair at the ends, which I would then spend my time trying to scrunch into some kind of curl to match the top.  It was a mess…
I then had my two babies and through pregnancy and post pregnancy I had huge amounts of hair loss, so my hair was actually a whole lot more manageable and it gave me plenty of time to grow out the treated hair once again.  Thankfully without the need of a drastic cut.
The last thing my then regular colourist in London said to me after my last relaxing treatment was, make this the last one, grow it out as long as you can bare it for and then no more relaxing.  I think you should try having a Brazilian Blow Dry on it instead…
So after my babies, I decided I needed to find a more local hair dresser who could do this ‘Brazilian Blow Dry’ or ‘Brazilian Blowout’ for me and I was recommended Yasmin Brockbank at RUSH in Tunbridge Wells and I have not looked back since.
I have now had this treatment done a few times and learnt a lot along the way, so I thought I’d share the findings in a hope that it would help anyone out there with really curly unmanageable hair, who wants to stay curly, but with manageable curls.

The Brazilian Blow Dry theory:

Foxy Burlesque Laura Lawton's hair before Brazilian Blow DryWhen hair is dry, frizzy and/or damaged the hair cuticals are raised like fish scales. The keratin used for a Brazilian Blow Dry goes into the gaps and works like a polyfiller which smooths out the scales and dramatically improves the condition of the hair so it is much easier to manage.  Many people don’t even need to use conditioners afterwards due to the huge improvement made.

The Brazilian Blow Dry process:

1) Foxy Burlesque's Laura Lawton Brazilian Blow Dry process just washedYour hair is washed with clarifying shampoo to remove all oils and product so it is properly clean
2) Your washed hair is brushed/combed through (I’d recommend brushing it through before washing it, as well, as this makes the brushing through after the wash a little easier)
Foxy Burlesque's Laura Lawton Brazilian Blow Dry after rough dry3) Hair is rough dried with a hair dryer
4) Next taking small sections of hair, the lotion is applied and combed through root to tip. The lotion is pure manmade keratin.

Brazilian Blow Dry manmade keratinThe one used on my hair is ‘Nanokeratin System Hair Therapy Treatment‘.

5) The lotion is then kept on the hair for 45mins to absorb into the hair cuticles

Brazilian Blow Dry keratin soaking into hair

6) Taking small sections at a time the hair is then blow dried straight using a medium round brush. This dries the lotion in to the hair. The steam at this point, which I think some people mistake for smoke, is just residue from the product. This steam from the product used on my hair doesn’t really smell of anything, though apparently some people don’t like it. Maybe different makes smell different. There are many different ones.
Brazilian Blow Dry blow drying keratin into hair7) Sections of the hair are then straightened.  Each section being straightened for up to 7 times to make sure it is as smooth as possible. This seals the product into the hair. Special straighteners have to be used at this point. They have titanium plates, not ceramic, so the heat stays in the plates.  They are also extra hot, getting up to 230 degrees and are used on the hottest setting.
Brazilian Blow Dry straightened hair8) At this point your hair salon experience is finished and you leave with silky dead straight hair, but the hair now has to stay straight, using no hair clips or bands and you must avoid any humidity and damp environments for the required period of time (3 days if you are wanting a straight hair result. 1 day if you are wanting a relaxed result, so hair is still curly but not as tight a curl as previously)
9) After the required time (see above) wash the hair and style as normal.

The result:

Brazilian Blow Dry resultSo, I washed my hair after a day and a half and I am so pleased with the result.  My hair is shiny and silky.  It feels and moves like hair should, whereas naturally my hair is so curly and dense, is just doesn’t move like hair.  It is now a much more manageable and more attractive curl.  Plus, when I want to create a vintage style for a Foxy Burlesque performance or shoot, it is much better to work with.
The reason why this works so well for relaxing curly hair, is it lasts for three months (depending on how often you wash your hair), so when you have the treatment redone, the entire length of your hair needs the treatment again, rather than just the roots.  So, no repeatedly treating the longer sections of your hair.
The other great news is, it doesn’t affect you having your hair coloured you just can’t have it coloured in the first week following the treatment.

A little bit about Yasmin Brockbank and RUSH:

RUSH Hairdressers Tunbridge Wells Yasmin BrockbankYasmin started out in an apprenticeship and has now been hair dressing for 7yrs and for the last 4yrs, she has been at RUSH. Yasmin trained with RUSH to do the Brazilian Blow Dry. They give 1 day salon training and then have refresh training and updates 3-4mthly. For RUSH this treatment is very popular and growing in popularity all the time. I was surprised to hear it even works for people with fine hair to help it feel thicker.
I think the thing that says it all is Yasmin has Brazilian Blow Drys herself! It always fill me with confidence when someone practices what they preach. For Yasmin it works really well reducing frizz, and it reduces her hair styling time from 1.5hrs to 45mins! That’s a selling point for any Mummy, surely! Basically, it’s brilliant!!
So if you are frustrated with crazy curls and/or frizzy hair I couldn’t recommend having a Brazilian Blow Dry more.  If you are also fortunate enough to be in the Tunbridge Wells area, you should definitely get yourself to RUSH to see Yasmin.
(RUSH pricing is £150-£200 depending on the length of your hair.)
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My semi-permanent make-up experience! Part 2

*This is part 2. You may want to read part 1 first* 

Well, four weeks had passed since the first stage of my semi-permanent lips procedure, so last Thursday I headed back to Canterbury to see Helen for stage two.

Semi-permanent Lips stage 2 anaesthetic cream onYou have to wait the four weeks for the full colour to come out, so here is a ‘before stage two’ picture, with the anaesthetic cream taking affect and the lovely cling film in place. As you can see my lip line is nicely defined and I have the blush look I wanted, which is basically the liner colour blended into the lip colour.  I have to say, I love it already. It’s very natural looking, but at the same time my lips are ready to go, without any effort at all.  I’m really looking forward to getting the final result four weeks after stage 2.

So, back to cling film. I saw a few people find my stage 1 blog post from searching the web with questions about the cling film stage.

So, why cling film?  I asked Helen, so I could report back and the cling film is put on the lips to starve the skin of air, so the anaesthetic cream and the pigment are drawn (sucked) in to the skin more.

Semi-permanent lips liner tool headAnyway, we chatted about the colour and agreed it looked really nice already, so it was decided to stick with the shade from stage 1, but to just intensify the colour by repeating the process.

First was the lip liner, which uses a smaller head on the tool.  Here’s a picture of the tool itself and below is a picture of the tool in use.

Semi-permanent lips liner tool head in useA bigger head (below right) is then used when it comes to the ‘blush’ (blending the colour from the lip liner, into my natural lip colour).  Helen kindly kept me nice and clean for the pictures, but if you do look at yourself in a mirror when you are mid procedure, you could panic.  The good news is, it’s not blood all over your face, it’s the pigment.  It’s quite a messy business, but easily wiped clean.

As you can see from the pictures, Helen works on one lip while the other has the anaesthetic cream and cling film on, and then she changes that around, to work on the other lip for a while, while the anaesthetic cream is again left to do it’s job.  That alternating continues a few times throughout the procedure.

Semi-permanent lips large tool head in useHelen was surprised too, but I actually nearly fell asleep for the second half of this stage.  The anaesthetic had worked wonders and the buzzing of the tool was helping me drift off.  I really had to fight it.  I do also have to be honest and admit, I am massively sleep-deprived and could probably sleep standing up on hot coals right now.

Semi-permanent lips large tool head in use 2So, about 40 minutes later, Helen was finished and it just the healing process ahead of me.

One thing, I didn’t go into much in my stage 1 write up was the immediately after phase.  Both times, once the anaesthetic had worn off, my lips were really uncomfortable.  They felt like they are burning.

Semi-permanent lips immediately afterHere’s a picture and if you look you can see they are pretty angry looking.  You can see a red line outside of my lips, which is nothing to do with the treated area, it’s just the product of being very sore.  I actually popped into a shop and got some ibuprofen this time.

The great news is, this is very temporary and as with stage one, after two hours, I was aware of the pain easing off. A couple of hours later, I started applying Bepathan (nappy cream) as you need to keep the area moist and protected.

I had this stage 2 treatment late in the afternoon and, as you can see below left, by the next morning they were no longer looking angry.  They look a bit odd, as the Bepathan is a creamy colour, but they look calmer.  They were still a little sore and sensitive, but the painful bit really was just that first two hours each time.

Semi-permanent lips day twoI’m sure if celebrities have this done, they manage to hide away for a few days, but for me, there was no such option, so life as usual continued, I just felt rather self conscious about my very over the top lip colour.  As I mentioned in my stage 1 write up, until the lips are healed and the scabs have gone, the colour is about 50% stronger, than the end result will be.  It was very much a case of ‘here’s my lips and the rest of me is coming’.

Semi-permanent lips day three

I don’t know about you, but I have this ridiculous need to explain things.  I could kick myself every time, but before I knew it, I was apologising for my strange looking lips, which to me seemed HUGE.  Reality is, no-one probably even noticed, until I started prattling on about it.

Anyway, by Saturday (above right) you can see my lips were looking a little darker as the scabs had formed.

Semi-permanent lips day three 2Here I am heading off to teach my Saturday morning Pump class, looking like I’m still wearing last night’s make-up.

When Sunday came, the scabs were on the move and you can see here (below right), some have come away already.  I did spend the day looking like this, so I would highly recommend anyone having this done, aim to have the treatment at a time that means days 4 and 5 will be days you can avoid seeing too many people. (When counting, day one is the day of the treatment)

Semi-permanent lips day fourYou have to keep applying your aftercare cream, but as the scabs form, it’s more tricky to apply it carefully without disturbing the scabs, which you MUST NOT knock, pick, or wipe off, before they are ready to come off naturally, as it will affect the look of the end result.

The great news is, by Monday all but a tiny bit of scab had gone (below left), so I was much more able to take my 2.5yr old to nursery without feeling like a circus performer.

Semi-permanent lips day fiveThat last little bit was gone in no time and I am now the proud owner of very beautiful lips, with zero effort.

I really couldn’t recommend it enough.  I love how they look already, so I’m excited to see what the final result will be in four weeks.

I will of course update you then, so keep a look out!

In the meantime, if you are reading this and you are in the UK (ideally the South) and you are planning to get some semi-permanent makeup done, I couldn’t recommend Helen at Evolution Skin Studios more.

Helen Porter of Evolution Skin StudiosShe was filming the day after seeing me, so you might even see her on the TV sometime soon.  Oh and just so you know, Helen is understandably a lover of semi-permanent make-up herself.  In this stunning picture of her, the only make-up she has actually applied is mascara.  She has semi-permanent eyebrows, eyeliner and lips.

Now, if that isn’t an advert for everyone to have it, then nothing is.

So, to summarise, my tips for you, if you have semi-permanent lip colour done are:

  1. Eat and drink something substantial before your treatment, as you won’t want to for a while after.
  2. Give everyone special a kiss, as you won’t be able to kiss them for a few days.
  3. Have ibuprofen to hand, as you may want to take some.
  4. Arrange your treatment so days 4 and 5 are days when you can avoid seeing too many people as you will look ridiculous.
  5. Try out your aftercare cream before applying it to the treated area, as it’s not fun if you have a bad reaction.
  6. Smooth aftercare cream on, don’t dab or pat, as it pulls the scabs off.
  7. Do your research. Don’t see just anyone!

As I said, I’ll be back to show you pics in four weeks, so you can see the final result, but in the meantime, if you are local and fancy boosting your confidence, reminding yourself how sexy you are and having a lot of fun along the way, you need to get yourself booked into a Foxy Burlesque dance beginners course.  For course dates click here. x

My semi-permanent make-up experience! Part 1

To say it has been an eventful week, would be a bit of an understatement.

It started with my first post on this blog and lots of great feedback from people, which was lovely and also reassuring!

It then progressed to Semi Permanent Make-up.

Foxy Burlesque Semi Permanent Make-up experience 1

So, sticking with the theme of never having time to do my make-up and needing quick solutions to allow me to leave the house looking ok and feeling good about myself, I decided to bite the bullet and have the semi-permanent make-up on my lips, that I have been promising myself for a long time.

Well, the big day was Wednesday!

I have to tell you at this point, that I have had semi-permanent make-up on my eyebrows for a long time and it’s BRILLIANT!

I’ve not used powder and brushes to deepen the colour and strengthen the line for a very long time.  It’s enlightening!

So, off to see Helen Porter at Evolution Skin Studios in Canterbury.  She is the only person I would allow perform such a treatment on me.  I found out about her when I asked a specialist at a beauty show, who they would have do theirs.  She said the only person she would let do hers was Helen.  I think she was a little put out when I then asked for Helen’s details, but I’m very glad I did.

One shocking picture is above already, but I’m now going to put my pride aside and share with you some more really rather horrendous pictures of me, with no make-up on, so you can see step by step, how the procedure is carried out.

Before anything, the area has to be numbed (see above). A large amount of anaesthetic cream is applied to the lips, then cling film placed on top. I can’t even start to describe the look on my 2yr old daughter’s face when she saw me like this. It was priceless and extremely hard not to laugh the cling film off my lips!

Next, the colour has to be selected and mixed.

Foxy Burlesque Semi Permanent make-up 2 I had taken with me a lip liner to be matched.

The bizarre part is the colour you start with is much stronger and in the healing process reduces by 50% to give you the desired colour.  The final colour result is present at around 4 weeks after treatment.

So with the colour selected, it was time for the lip line to be drawn in (below left). Foxy Burlesque Semi Permanent Make-up 3

After checking and tweaking the line slightly, the treatment got underway.

I opted to have a lip liner and ‘blush’ (colour blended in to the lips), rather than a full colour.

So, how is it done and how does it work?

Well the skin is scratched, to break the surface and pigments are then implanted.  Much like having a tattoo.

Helen had warned me it would be painful and yes there were parts which made me clench my teeth and take deep breaths, but in all, it was less painful than I had thought it would be.  Result! Foxy Burlesque Semi Permanent Make-up 4

So this is the before shot…Foxy Burlesque Semi Permanent Make-up 5

…and below is the immediately after shot! Good lord, I look like Pete Burns!

Helen kindly reassured me that the swelling would go down pretty quickly, thank goodness.

So, armed with my aftercare cream and rather swollen throbbing lips, I headed home.

I have to confess the journey was a nightmare and was not at all improved by the soreness I was experiencing. That said, by around 2hrs later the pain was starting to ease and the swelling had reduced significantly.

I hadn’t really thought my timing through terribly well, as I had dancing to teach in the evening.  Maidstone burlesque beginners, followed by intermediates doing the Small Fans course.

I decided to not mention a thing to my beginners and they were very polite and didn’t ask about my slightly different look to usual, but there was no hiding it from my intermediates, I had to tell them what I had done.  Needless to say, they were very intrigued, which is the reaction I get the most when I talk about it.  Hence telling all on here.

Foxy Burlesque Semi Permanent Make-up 6When I got home from dancing, I decided to apply some of the aftercare cream before bed.

Oh my goodness! ‘OUCH’ doesn’t even start to cover the pain I was then in.  My lips felt like they were on fire, but there was no way of taking the cream off, so with eyes watering, nose running and ibuprofen taken, I went to bed, a little frightened about what I would look like in the morning.

Fortunately in the morning my lips felt fine, but there was no way I was putting that cream on again.

I called Helen and because I’d had a bad reaction to the cream, I moved over to using Bepanthan instead.  No pain! Woohoo!  Just looked a little freaky though.  Scabbing lips are not pretty. Can’t believe I’m gonna add this picture, but here goes:

Foxy Burlesque Semi Permanent Make-up 7

Yep, far from pretty!

BUT, I only looked like this until Saturday when all the scabs started coming away and by the end of the day, they were completely gone.

So, I still have to apply lots of cream, but my lips look normal again (below) but with the added bonus that they look as if I have put on the lip liner I took with me for colour matching.

In the next 4wks it will have reached it’s ultimate depth of colour.  Very exciting!  At that point, I go back and have the process repeated.

Foxy Burlesque Semi Permanent Make-up 8After that, the procedure is complete, so no more lip liner!  YEY!

Well that’s all I can tell you about it for now.  I shall of course let you all know how the next stage goes, but the good news is, so far, I am very happy with the results.

If you have any questions about my experience, don’t hesitate to contact me and if you decide to give it a go, good for you!  I hope you will also be very happy with your always made-up, hassle free, beautiful lips! x

* To read part 2 (4 weeks on) click here

My first secret tip for you ladies!

I’ve decided to stop dithering about. No more trying to decide the best thing to write about for my first blog post. I’ll just get on with it and get straight to the point! So, I’ve decided to share with you my most recent revelation. Prior to becoming a Mummy, I very rarely left the house without my make-up on, but I now have two very little people to care for, my business Foxy Burlesque to run, a new (in fact very old, 1839) project house to makeover and a ridiculously high maintenance dog to manage, so to say my time for make-up application is sparse, would be an understatement. It doesn’t help that I am a perfectionist. I don’t do anything unless I’m doing it properly, therefore a decent amount of time is required. BUT, I have found a product which has changed my life and allows me to have the old ‘me’ back without taking up time I just don’t have. I get to have a clean, matt, complexion, perfect for my burlesque make-up look, with so little effort!

Bobbi Brown’s Oil-Free Even Finish Compact Foundation

Long-Wear-Even-Finish-Compact-Foundation for Burlesque I’m in love! The sponge comes in a compartment underneath the foundation and as you would expect it has a mirror in the compact, so it’s wonderfully easy to grab and use on the go. It goes on amazingly even and smooth and that’s it, base is done.  No faffing with brushes, concealer and powder.  It does the whole job in one little compact! So ladies, I highly recommend you get yourself to the nearest Bobbi Brown counter and ask them to pop some on for you, so you can see for yourself. So, there it is.  My first Secret Sexy Society blog post.  How exciting! x