Review: Think Happy by Karen Salmansohn

Think Happy by Karen Salmansohn

Think Happy by Karen Salmansohn is such a cute book. One of those you’ll want to have lying around on your coffee table. It’s full of adorable illustrations and positive quotes that you can flip through to brighten part of your day.

Think Happy

I would highly recommend it as a gift. I could see myself browsing through this if I’m going through a tough time, and would even give it to a friend to help her cheer up.

Think Happy

Think Happy

On a random note, I’m now blond!

After watching a million videos and reading hundreds of articles (huge exaggeration here, obv.), I now know a lot more about hair than I did before.

How to: DIY Ombre Hair at Home–no Bleach

How I get my DIY Ombre Hair starting with Asian-black roots to blond ends at home–without bleach.

DIY Ombre Hair

I never caught onto the platinum blond trend that looks so great on some Asian skin tones, but I could never quite picture on my own head. I always thought they looked amazing on other girls, and I would always be super jealous that I couldn’t pull off the look. My tan was just too splotchy for it, and I felt like the blond would highlight every dark flaw my mother was always pointing out about my skin tone. Then when ombre became super trendy, I thought maybe this was how I could go blond, and not have to commit to it at the same time, so I decided to try my hand at DIY Ombre Hair.

Before I splurged on this trend that I wasn’t sure I really wanted to spend hundreds of dollars on, I wanted to try it myself. At Target one night, I happened to spot this L’Oreal Feria Ombre hair kit. I looove L’Oreal. It is my go-to drugstore brand for dupes when I want to try a new product without spending my entire month’s beauty budget on one item. L’Oreal always works for me–everything from their mascara to liquid eyeliner to foundation. So when I saw the DIY Ombre Hair kit, I didn’t think twice, and snatched it right up.

The thing about dying organically black Asian hair is that nothing works except bleach. I didn’t want to bleach my hair, and though I read that this hair kit has some bleach in it, as long as I didn’t have to worry about bleaching my strands directly, I was okay with that. (Plus I was too lazy to figure out how to actually bleach it and then still have to apply color–really, the whole process boggles my mind.)

I didn’t think the ombre hair kit would work, but the worst that could have happened was that my hair didn’t change colors at all. Seriously, I’ve tried some “blond” kits that did absolutely nothing. So I wasn’t expecting much with this. Much to my surprise, the first experiment went so well that I decided I wanted to go even lighter! And I love it.

Disclaimer: If you have never gone blond, at first, you will be shocked. And then you’ll get used to it. And then you’ll want more.

Now, onto the DIY Ombre Hair.

The kit comes with:

  • Shimmering Conditioning Permanent Color Gel
  • Developing Cream
  • Shimmer Bleach Powder
  • Conditioner
  • Panted Brush

Hair Dye Kit

This “patented brush” at first sounds really pretentious. Like, what’s so special about a brush? Well, if you’ve dyed your hair at home before without one of these, you’ll know and truly appreciate the difference. It’s so much easier to apply the hair dye to your strands evenly with this thing.

Hair Dye Brush

Mix the shimmering powder into the developing cream bottle, cap and shake. Then squeeze in the gel color treatment (in the tube), cap and shake. Then when you’re all shaken up, snip the tip of the pointy cap (really take a pair of scissors to it. The perforated twist-off part will produce a tiny, frustrating hole that will have you squeezing the bottle with so much power, you might hurt yourself).

Hair Dye Formula snipped

I tied my hair up into four ponytails according to my layers and the style I wanted my DIY ombre hair to be, which was a gradual color change from layer to layer. You might want a gradual color change from top to bottom through the whole mass of your hair, but I like my layered color look. It’s really up to you, but if you want my look, split your hair into four different pony tails before you start applying.

Hair Tied Up in 4 Sections

Then squeeze a moderate amount onto the brush and start applying to your hair.

Dye on Brush

I began with the ends of my hair and moved up to my roots, starting with the bottom layer. I would recommend waiting about five minutes before moving onto the next layer, but I went ahead and started on the next layer immediately. The result was still a gradual change. With each layer, I always applied to the ends of my hair and moved up to my roots.

When my bottom layers were saturated with hair dye, I used the excess and brushed the brush lightly through my top layers and bangs. I did not soak my hair with the dye on my top layers because I wanted them to remain black.

Then I got rid of the smelly chemical things, and threw all my hair kit away (I debated washing and saving the brush, but it was too messy to bother with), and found a book to read for forty-five minutes. The results vary for some–and the instructions recommend testing a strand for twenty five minutes, and then leaving it on in increments of 5 until you achieve the desired color, up to forty-five minutes. But since I knew my hair was resistant to lightening, I did the full forty-five minutes.

Then I rinsed, rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed some more. I used the shampoo/conditioner they provided, which is actually a very rich, moisturizing formula, about three times, and then kept rinsing.

Rinse, rinse, and repeat.

Usually it takes me like a week to wash out the hair dye smell from my hair, but Husband and I went to the sauna that day and I showered about six times (no lies). The smell was gone by the time we got home. Do you need another excuse to spend a whole day at a spa?

And here’s what it looked like.

DIY Asian Black Blonde Ombre Hair

Asian Black Blonde Ombre Hair

Asian Black Blonde Ombre Hair DIY

You can see that my top layers and roots remained black.

What do you guys think of this ombre hair color trend? Cute? Or too much like you ran out of hair dye? Haha. I think it’s the perfect way to go drastic without making a huge commitment, which is perfect for a commitment-phobe like me. I hope you guys try this DIY Ombre Hair! It’s easier than you think, and you’ll love the way it freshens and brightens up your face, hair and overall appearance. Let me know how it goes!

A Swimmer’s Guide to Caring for Colored Hair

Swimmer's Guide to Caring for Colored Hair

Guilty confession: I don’t care for my hair as much as I should. Then again, my mantra has always been “It’ll grow back!” when it comes to my locks. I don’t stress over my tresses, know whatahmsayin’?

BUT being a swimmer and someone who dyes her hair (on occasion, when I get bored, which is the status quo actually), I realize that I’ve been putting my hair through a lot, and I need to take better care of it. So this Swimmer’s Guide to Caring for Colored Hair is really more for me than for anyone, but here you go anyway. You’re welcome, haha. ;P

Monthly Care Tips

Every month, I like to trim my bangs and layers. Yes, I do them myself. No I don’t really care if my hair is uneven, so if you do care, then of course have a professional do it. In my own experience, hairdressers have never been able to get my layers just the way I like them. Then I have this gut-wrenching buyer’s remorse because I spent money on a service that I regret and don’t like and I get upset and I’m hit with crippling anxiety over my shopaholic tendencies. It’s just an overall bad ordeal. So I’d rather do it myself.

ANYWAY though, less about me and more about hair. Here’s how I trim my bangs:

1 Hair bangs cut before

  • Clip back the top half of my bangs

2 hair bangs cut clip back top layer

  • With a hair razor, make chopping vertical motions across my bangs at a slant

3 hair razor

4 cut first layer of bangs

  • Unclip the rest of my bangs

8 let down a layer

5 cut first layer scary eyeball

  • With a hair razor, make chopping vertical motions across my bangs at a slant

6 after first layer

  • If needed, I twist a few strands in my fingers, and chop at it (taking my time!) to bring out some texture

9 cut some more

  • Remember: Go slow! You can always chop off more but you can never un-chop. Despite my prayers, I have not yet been given Command-Z for life
  • Another tip: Even though it’s healthier to cut your hair when it’s wet, I don’t bewetten my bangs when I trim them. Every time I do so, I always end up looking like a dork because hair stretches when it’s wet and I always accidentally cut more than I should. Thus, I live with my hair being dry while I cut it and risk the split ends. However, my bangs grow way way fast (because I like my chicken and protein yo) so I’m constantly trimming them anyway

10 style with sebastian craft clay

Then I style it with Sebastian Craft Clay.

11 style with sebastian hair clay

12 after

I’m not going to tell you how I trim the rest of my hair because to be honest, I can’t really see what I’m doing. I just keep doing it until I like the way I look. But if you are thinking about cutting your own hair, I highly recommend Secret Life of a Bio Nerd’s video on how to do it. Because she’s like the McGuyver of DIY.

Weekly Care Tips

Every week, I apply a coconut oil mask. I’ve siphoned my coconut oil into these smaller travel bottles to make them easier to use. So here’s what I do:

  1. I put a quarter-amount into my palms, rub-a-dub-dub until it’s warm, and then comb through my hair.
  2. Repeat as necessary until my locks look like Goldilocks’s locks.
  3. Then I wrap my head in a towel and wait it out for about an hour.
  4. To speed up the process, I’ll either heat up the towel, or just blast my head with a blowdryer. But usually I’ll just relax with a book or something.
  5. Then I wash it off as normal. (Warning: your tub will be greasy with oil for a week afterwards.)

Daily Care Tips

14 after argan oil

Wear a hair cap in the pool: It is absolutely necessary to wear a hair cap when you swim. My coworker didn’t want to wear one because “What if I meet someone cute?” No, no, no. Everyone looks like an alien when they’re swimming. Besides, you’re there to work out, right? (And also, if you look cute while you work out, you’re probably not doing it right. Or maybe that’s just something I tell myself to make me feel better, idk.) So just get over it and buy a hair cap. Unless you want your hair to be dry and brittle from the chlorine.

Usually I will pull back my hair into a pony tail, then hit the shower. Once it’s soaking wet with non-chlorine water, I put on my hair cap and tuck my hair into it. Since my hair has already absorbed the fresh water, it won’t be too thirsty once I hit the pool, and I reduce the risk of having it absorb any chlorine water.

I recommend a silicone swim cap because they’re easy to rinse with non-chlorine water afterward, and then wipe with a towel. Anything spandex might smell moldy if you’re not super careful, and of course doesn’t last as long as silicone. I love this hair cap because it’s big enough to accommodate my large head plus my medium-length hair, plus it has earmuffs for my ears. Which is a whole other bane of existence if you’re a swimmer, but I won’t get into that in this post.

Rinse thoroughly: Of course, it’s impossible to keep chlorine completely out of my hair, so afterwards, I make sure to rinse THOROUGHLY. I don’t use shampoo on it because shampoo only dries it out and exacerbates my scalp. Then my head overcompensates by becoming super oily and I have to wash my hair more often and it becomes a vicious cycle. Sometimes I will use a conditioner, but for the most part, I just try to rinse it out as much as possible.

Use leave-in conditioner or BB Cream for HairThen after my shower, I will brush some conditioner into my hair while it’s wet, and leave it in. When I first saw this BB Cream for Hair by Pantene Pro-V at Target, I was like, really? REALLY?? But at that point my hair was so damaged and dry that I was desperate to try anything to revive it back to life. And it actually works! It makes my hair extra smooth and moisturized and soft. It actually helps to texturize my hair as well, but I have very boring, fine, super-straight hair and I’ll take any texture I can get.

Apply argan or coconut oil: Just putting a dime size amount in my palm, I’ll rub some oil into my hair to de-frizz and keep it smooth and soft. You can use coconut or argan oil. Start at the ends and move your way upward, but stay away from the roots to avoid making your hair look greasy.

13 argan oil

Avoid heat: This is a hard rule for me to follow because I swim in the morning before going to work and my mom always said if I go outside with wet hair I’ll get sick. But it’s better to avoid putting further stress on your hair. If I can, I’ll let it air-dry.

One of the toughest things though is that I do like to curl my hair, which I usually do with a straightener. However, I’ve been trying to do more overnight, heat-less curls on days that I don’t swim.

It all sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. Plus, it all depends on how my hair feels. If I run my fingers through it and notice that it’s dry and brittle, then I’ll put some extra care into it. I’m lucky that, after all the terrible things I do to my hair, it’s actually kept me pretty happy with how strong and resilient it’s remained. So thank you hair! I vow to take better care of you from now on. I hope.