Have fun with a faux bob


Ah, February: the national month of hibernating in hate.

It’s cold. And dark. And it’s been cold and dark for forever and Mother Nature is all “Psh, bitch, I’m just getting started.”

Since any hope of sun or a sunny wardrobe is far, far away, why not shake things up with a shockingly short hairstyle that you can forget about tomorrow?

Introducing the faux bob. You’ll need a hair elastic and a few bobby pins. Maybe some styling wax, hair spray or dry shampoo too. Continue reading

Kate Middleton’s Style Secrets

Whenever I see photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, I can’t help but wonder what goes on behind the scenes. She’s always perfectly coiffed in a neatly tailored ensemble with just a hint of trendiness. And she tops it off with that megawatt smile– no matter the location, event or time of day. Such perfection must be exhausting. How does she do it?

She sticks to a color palette
To flatter her complexion, the princess favors navy, neutrals and sometimes red. If she wears a pattern, it’s often black-and-white. On the rare occasion that she dons a bold color, she still wears her favorite neutral pumps.

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How to get windswept hair

It’s just good sense to know that eventually we’ll look back on today’s trends in horror (leggings, ahem!). But one thing I think we’ll love even in the future are today’s hairstyles. Hair right now is feminine, flow-y, voluminous, and –one of my faves– totally windswept.

Piece-y, textured and pretty.

So how to get the windswept ‘do without the wind tunnel? Like-a this-a:

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Much Ado About Denim Shirts

At first, I regarded the return of the denim button-down with horror: Another awful 90s trend?!
But on second glance, a denim shirt can be pretty cool when paired with the right accessories. Check it out:

With red
Bright red lips, nails or a sweater provide a trendy (and holiday-appropriate!) contrast to light blue denim.

LOVE essie’s “forever yummy” for the holidays. The brand can be found at Target or pharmacies for around 8 bucks.

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How to fix the princess problem

Everywhere we look, women are redefining their happily ever afters. And Disney is just the latest to jump on the bandwagon.

Set for release next summer, Brave will be the first Pixar film with a lady lead, and previews hint that it just might put the kibosh on Disney’s princess rules. (Pixar is the Disney-owned computer animation wunderkind behind the past four years’ worth of Best Animated Feature Oscar winners.)

Brave follows Princess Merida as she shuns princess-hood to follow her passion for archery. She’s a fierce, feisty heroine willing to defend whichever nightmare-inducing villain Scotland has lurking in its midst. This isn’t Disney’s first independent-minded lady lead, but it may be Disney’s first film whose ending doesn’t pair triumph with finding Mr. Right. Brave has the potential to empower a generation of girls to shun the princess obsession.

This is a tall order. Can Pixar get it right?

Maybe. So far, Pixar’s been geared toward boys, with cars, action figures and superheroes as its movie protagonists – definitely a counterweight to Disney’s dancing princesses and singing teapots. In “Father of the Year,” Esquire profiles Jon Lasseter, the brains behind Pixar’s “boys club.” Thanks to Lassester, Pixar films have taught boys how to become men by emphasizing community and sacrifice for others instead of individual pursuits.

As Brave’s executive producer, Lasseter has the opportunity to help girls become women, a lesson his Disney predecessors have no interest in (surely all those princess Barbies were quite the profitable distraction). He can show little girls the value of independence, intelligence and self-identity outside of romantic relationships. Translation: no animals bursting into song, no glass slippers, no Handsome Prince, no ending leaving the female lead happily dependent on her new man.

I’m confident that the brains behind Brave can make a female-driven film without falling back on damsel-in-distress plotlines. Pretty sure Pixar wouldn’t call it Brave if they weren’t trying to reassure the boys that this girl is badass. But I have one nagging fear about Brave: At the end, they’ll cut Merida’s hair.

No matter what’s on top of your head, hair is a key part of who you are. Curly haired women have long been shunned by a society obsessed with stick-straight locks. Redheads tend to be portrayed as stubborn, short-tempered outsiders. Pixar’s choice of curly red locks for Merida signals that she doesn’t give a damn about what society thinks.

Maybe I’m showing my bias – my own ginger curls make me a shoo-in to play Merida at any Disney theme park. But beyond my potential career as a fixture in Disney tourists’ photos, I would be heartbroken if Lasseter and company chose to alter Merida’s hair in an effort to signal identity change.  Cutting or straightening Merida’s fiery locks would be a signal to girls that conformity is essential – a lesson, perhaps more than any other, that young girls internalize and allow to rule their friendships, their careers, their relationships, their lives.

Hair, just like boys, shouldn’t define our identity. We can be sassy and self-confident and bold on our own terms.

–By Meg Wiegand

We try it: Foam hair dye

Anyone who’s ever dyed her hair at home can attest to what a rotten mess it can be: splotchy color, splotchy sinks, gag-inducing smells. So the whole foam hair dye craze, which nearly every hair color manufacturer is doing right now, seems like some kind of solution. The ads all say the light foamy color is easier to apply and covers more evenly. Are they right?

To find out, I took myself and my godawful roots and got a box of L’Oreal Paris foam color in “darkest natural brown.” I read the instructions twice, and even watched the video that my iPhone picked up from the little square scanner thing on the instructions. I covered the bathroom floor with an old bed sheet, covered the counter with another sheet, put on the gloves and got to work.

First impression: Wow, plopping foam on your head is a helluva lot easier than squeezing out color from a bottle. I’ve been dying my hair for about a year now, and I’ve always hated sectioning out my hair and hoping that I’m reaching the roots with the gel color. It’s hard to tell what spots I’ve colored and what ones are still dry – especially when I’m wearing gloves. The instructions tell you to focus on the top and front sections of your hair first, and then work down and back from there.

I wasn’t so fond of waiting 30 minutes for the color to set, and I wasn’t sure what the instructions meant by “occasionally massaging” the hair. So I gave it two or three good rubs during the waiting time, foaming up the dye again, and hoped for the best.

First thought when I saw the results: Um wow, this isn’t “darkest natural brown” so much as it is BLACK. Okay. Fine. I know browns tend to lighten up the first week, so I tried not to panic. I noted how I didn’t have splotchy little circles on my forehead or my neck, which was nice. My boyfriend liked that my hair didn’t smell like a nail salon full of dead bodies this time. And when I washed my hair again the next day, I noticed that my white towel wasn’t full of leftover dye, which means it actually rinsed out well the first time. Surprising.

Overall, I highly recommend it. I don’t plan on going back to squeeze-the-bottle gel dye again. This color was easier to apply and dispersed better throughout my hair. It also didn’t leave my hair smelling like a chemical bath for three days. I did notice a couple of spots in the middle and back of my hair that I missed, but other than that, the color is even and shiny. And after 5 days, it’s lightened up a bit, so now it’s more like the brown that was on the box.

–By Tara Cavanaugh