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Move Over, Fishtail – Meet the Lobster Tail Braid!

How the Lobster Tail Will Change the Way We Think About Braids

Whether your hair is thick and sleek or a tendrily pouf a soft braid can be fun as well as fetching. There is a reason why on most every runway these days, you can see the major designers opting for braids .  . . they flatter the face better than any hairstyle you can name. Braids are way under utilized as a beauty option, especially those of you who are gifted with heart, oval or diamond face shapes. But, if you’re tired of the same old, same old, I’ve got a treat for you.

Mario Russo, owner and lead stylist of Salon Mario Russo in Boston, has shared his tips on how to create the Lobster Tail Braid, a messy and textured twist that is easy to create and doesn’t even requiring braiding skills . .  just twisting! Depending on the occasion, the Lobster Tail can be as deconstructed or as neat as you like.


Lobster Tail Braids 2

Lobster Tail Braids 1

The Lobster Tail Braid DIY, How To

Start with day-old hair to achieve the messy and textured look of this braid. Use a texturizing spray like Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray at the roots to eliminate any natural oils that can flatten your hair.

  • Step #1 ~~ Gather your hair to one side, while leaving a few front pieces of hair out on the opposite. Curl these pieces with a 1-inch barrel curling iron to add more shape around your face.
  • Step #2 ~~ Separate your hair in half, a front and back section, and make three small sections out of the back section. Twist each one individually before joining all three to make one twist. Secure with a clip so you can work freely on the front section. Don’t worry if it untwists a little bit, you can re-twist later.
  • Step #4 ~~ Take the front section, split into two small twisted sections and then combine to make one twist.
  • Step #5 ~~ Join the front and back twists, make one complete twist and then secure with 5-6 bobby pins near your ear. This will hold together the beginning of the twist.
  • Step #6 ~~ Spray texturizing spray again on the hairs below the bobby pins to create fullness and then make two twists with this remaining hair and combine the two twists into one, twisting all the way down. Don’t twist too hard; let it be a little loose to give it more thickness and some texture.
  • Step #7 ~~ Before securing with a hair tie, put bobby pins UP throughout the twist almost like a skeleton for the twist and then secure with a hair tie. The pins will hold the twist in place.
  • Step #8 ~~ Finish off with a light hair spray, such as Oribe Superfine Strong Hair Spray.


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Don’t get discouraged if your Lobster Tail Braid comes out a bit messy! Mario says it is easy to make it neater by adding additional bobby pins up and through the twist, securing more pieces.

If you want to add a little “something” to the end of the Lobster Tail, Mario recommends wrapping a small piece of hair around the hair elastic and pinning it with a bobby pin behind the twist.

Like the fishtail, this is a versatile, sophisticated look that you can wear to an event or for a lunch outing. It is also a great look for fall’s chilly temperatures because it is a style that works well with a hat.

Barb Quinn on Google+  

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Summer Hair Tips; The Ultimate Guide

The Smart Girl’s Guide to Summer Hair Tips For Curly Girls

A common question that my clients ask as summer approaches is “What can I do with my curly hair for summer?” My answer is always to work with their natural curl and use the right hair care products to keep curly hair shiny and bouncy while fighting frizz. Here are a few of my favorite products!

Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner

First and foremost, if you don’t have a great moisturizing shampoo and conditioner for your curly hair, get one now. A shampoo and conditioner like Matrix Curl Life, is perfect for all types of curly hair because it helps to smooth frizz and define curls.

Curly hair needs plenty of moisture, which is why Matrix Curl Life Shampoo and Conditioner are great!

Curly hair help


I always use a Detangler on curly hair before combing it out with a wide tooth comb and you should too! This is especially important for those with curly hair in the summer as your curls can easily tangle and break. Spray the Detangler on towel-dried hair and comb through with a wide-tooth comb. If you use a brush or regular comb, you run the risk of breaking hair in its wet, fragile state, which will cause additional frizz. And frizz is not a curly-haired girl’s friend!


Shine Enhancer

Don’t forget to buy a great styling product or two, to enhance shine, define curls and add bounce. Redken Ringlet 07 Curl Perfector, is a great product that seems to do it all by enhancing shine, defining curls, adding bounce and even controlling frizz. I like this product because it is a hybrid of a styling cream and a gel, which are both great products used to control curly hair.


Sun Protection

Curly hair needs extra TLC during the hot, summer months. Try adding a little extra sun protection products to your hair care product inventory. Aveda has a new line called, Sun Care which protects your hair from UV rays, salt and chlorine, all of which can wreak serious havoc on your hair. Aveda may be a little on the pricey side, but I love their products . . . and they smell great!


Deep Conditioner

In addition to using some of these great products which are formulated for curly hair, consider adding in a weekly or bi-weekly deep conditioning treatment for your curly hair. You can treat yourself and have this done at the salon or, do it yourself at home. Just remember in order to get the best deep conditioning results, you will need to add heat to your hair and let the conditioner stay on the hair for at least 15 to 20 minutes. One of my favorite deep conditioners is, Paul Mitchell’s Color Protect Reconstructive Treatment.

So, if you keep in mind that your curly hair needs extra moisture . . . especially during the summer, and you give it what it wants . . . you’ll be fine and looking marvelous!!

Too Much Hair Coloring

How to put some sex appeal back into the lifeless summer boring hair

PROBLEM: You’ve got boring hair. Your hair is flat, stringy, and lifeless.

HOW IT HAPPENS: Fine, straight hair can become limp when exposed to humidity. “Moisture from the air settles on the surface of this type of hair instead of penetrating it,” says hairdresser Armando Corral. In other words, it weighs hair down.

TO FIX IT NOW: Add volume at the roots with an anti-humidity hair spray. (Try V05 Max! Hold Fast Drying Hair Spray, $3.50 at drugstores.) Divide the top layer of hair into four sections. Lift each section at the roots and spritz the underside. Give the spray a minute to dry, then gently back-comb each section.

TO PREVENT BORING HAIR NEXT TIME: Lay off the heavy styling products. It’s tempting to douse fine hair with volumizing spray to help combat limpness, but these products cause buildup at the roots and, in humid weather, flattens hair even more. Bulk up with protein. Fine, straight hair lacks protein, which gives hair, body and helps it hold a hairstyle in humidity, says hairdresser Erica Colameta. To add it, shampoo and condition twice a week with protein-rich products, like Aveda Smooth Infusion shampoo and conditioner ($20 each,

Frizzy Summer Hair

Frizzy Summer Hair Tips

PROBLEM: Your hair resembles a steel-wool pad: puffy and frizzy.

HOW IT HAPPENS: Curly, coarse, and chemically treated hair is often moisture deprived, so the cuticles on each strand are raised, making the hair more porous This type of hair absorbs moisture from the air, which makes the hair shafts swell up. The result: big, unwieldy hair.

TO FIX IT NOW: Fight frizzy summer hair with a moisture blocking styling cream or serum, like Arrojo Defrizz Serum ($14, Look for products with silicone or oil to smooth and slightly weigh down hair. Rub a quarter-size dollop between your hands and work it through the strands.

TO PREVENT IT NEXT TIME: Get the right cut. Layers, which add volume, encourage puffiness in the summer Ask for a blunt cut, which holds down the ends and reduces the fluff factor. Make sure your hairdresser cuts with scissors not a razor, which thins out hair, making it prone to frizz.

  • Keep hair hydrated. Use an oil treatment to seal cuticles so hair can’t absorb moisture, says hairdresser Abell Oujaddou. (Try Molton Brown Hair Treatment Oil, $30) Apply from roots to ends, leave in for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse well.

And For All You Naturally Curly Gals


Avoid Sun Damage, Chlorine Damage, and Saltwater Damage

Summer Hair Tips From Hair Guru Peter Lamas

Hair guru Peter Lamas has the scoop on keeping hair healthy, hydrated and strong during the steamy months ahead

  • Use a clarifying shampoo and conditioner followed by a deep conditioning hair mask, once a week to keep build up at bay and strands well-moisturized.
  • If you’re swimming—ocean or pool—rinse your hair with filtered water to remove any leftover chlorine, debris or saltwater.
  • Don’t forget to wear a hat on those beach days! It will limit sun exposure (and burns) to your hair and your scalp.
  • Avoid shampoos containing sulfates, wash only as needed, and rinse with cool water to help protect your hair color.
  • Treat your hair like you would your skin! Use an sun block to help reduce UV damage to your locks. To make your own sunscreen, dilute 2 teaspoons of an SPF 25 sunscreen with one cup of water, fill a spray bottle with the mixture and spritz into your damp hair before styling! For additional protection, you can continue to mist the solution on throughout the day.
  • Give heat styling tools a rest during the summer! Opt to air-dry your hair instead and use a light styling cream Lamas recommends his Chinese Herbs Revitalizing Styling Cream to help keep fizz to a minimum and show off your natural hair texture.
  • Getting the right haircut to handle humid weather is crucial. Add layers to curly hair to keep locks from jutting out at the bottom and creating a pyramid shape. For straight hair, you want a little extra weight at the bottom to prevent it from expanding in the humidity, so avoid haircuts that are too choppy or over-texturized. Apply a leave-in conditioner throughout the day to give your locks a hydrating boost.
  • Because summer is rougher on hair than other seasons. it is more important to get your hair trimmed every 4 to 6weeks. The ends of hair become weak from color treatments, processing, sun, and chemicals, causing them to split and fray Bump up your normal haircut schedule in the summer to keep hair looking and feeling healthy.

Barb Quinn on Google+  

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Got a question, war story or comment about this topic? Click on the "Leave Your Comments" link at the very bottom of this article. Some of my best ideas for future articles come from reading reader comments. I'd love to hear from you!

Deep Conditioning: The Solution to Dull, Lifeless Hair

Trade In Your Dreary Hair For Shiny, Bouncy Locks

Dry, dull, lifeless hair is one of the biggest complaints I hear from new guests coming to my studio. Lackluster, uninspiring hair almost always has one central cause, lack of moisture. The most common causes of dry hair include overwashing, heated styling tools, environmental factors and age. In winter, moisture loss is attributable to the drying effects of indoor heating. In the summer, sun, salt water, and chlorine are big contributors to dry hair. Age can also contribute to moisture loss from to the gradual decrease in the production of natural oils. I am not talking AARP status here either, age-related moisture loss in hair can start to occur in the early 20s. Since these moisture thieves affect almost everyone, I recommend regular deep conditioning to all but those with extremely fine, limp hair.


Daily Conditioners vs. Deep Conditioning

A daily conditioner is the safety net to your hair care routine. However, daily conditioners generally do not provide the additional moisture needed by most hair types. A daily hair conditioner that provided the necessary ingredients to fully moisturize your hair would then be too heavy for daily, or near daily use. In addition, deep conditioners frequently contain different and/or more concentrated emollients than those used daily on the hair. The more effective deep conditioners are often packaged in a tub or tube because of the much thicker consistency. The directions are likely to be a good clue whether the product can be used as a deep conditioner, as the  directions will suggest you leave the conditioner in your hair for 5 minutes or longer.

This deep conditioner tops my list.

What exactly does a deep conditioner do to hair?

Both daily conditioners and deep conditioning treatments will smooth down the outer cuticle of the hair so it reflects light. Conversely, dry, damaged hair appears dull because the roughed up cuticle is not able to serve as a reflective surface. If you are experiencing frizz, a deep conditioning treatment will work to repel moisture in the atmosphere which helps to reduce frizzy hair.

Deep conditioners do have some limitations. For example, on occasion I’ll have a guest in my chair who has severely damaged hair, even after a deep conditioning treatment that didn’t seem to help. While deep conditioners are able to repair some damage, they primarily replace moisture and soften the hair. If your hair is severely damaged from chemical over processing, I would recommend a reconstructing treatment in combination with a deep conditioner. A reconstruction treatment is similar to a deep conditioning treatment, but with added components such as keratin. But a reconstruction treatment is definitely something that should be left to the professionals. If in doubt, check with your hair stylist to determine the best solution.

Deep conditioners are great treatments to get in the salon, this process can also be done very effectively at home using a good product and following these instructions.


Deep Conditioner How to:

Shampoo your hair, blot excess water and apply deep conditioner concentrating mainly on the ends. Gently comb the deep conditioning product through your hair to ensure even distribution. Place a plastic cap (or plastic wrap in a pinch) over your head. Apply some heat, either by using a blow dryer (be careful not to get dryer too close and melt the plastic) or a moist hot towel for about 10 minutes (my preferred home method because I can go do other things like catching up with Downton Abbey).

You can also keep conditioner on overnight. When the treatment is complete, rinse your hair thoroughly with cool water, dry your hair and style it as usual. If the ends still feel dry, apply a lightweight hair oil (mid-shaft to ends only) to complete the deep conditioning treatment.

Shiny hair

How Often Should You Deep Condition?

For most hair types, I would recommend a deep conditioning treatment at least once per month, year around to compensate for heat styling, weather and/or age related dryness. However, this regimen may need to increase or decrease depending on the frequency of your use of heat styling or how often your hair is exposed to hair color processing or straightening chemicals. If you wash your hair frequently and use heat styling tools frequently then you might want to schedule more frequent deep conditioning treatments.

Marcia Marcionette
Contributing author Marcia Marcionette is a stylist and color artist with over 15 years of experience. She owns Soulvana Hair, Tampa, Florida’s premier eco-chic salon studio where the philosophy is “style that feeds the soul”. Marcia’s is known for combining healthy, environmentally conscious products and practices with high performance hair artistry. You can contact her at


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