So here's what I think. Hey, I'm just sayin'…

  • Dollar Shave Club: why didn’t I think of this?

    This week I discovered a Santa Monica, CA, based startup called As the company name says, they will send you five swiveling twin-blade aloe-stripped blades every month for one dollar. I have some clients who are trying this out and I’ll get a report back as to how reliable the service is and how good the blades are. Investors have put millions into the company.

    I know one thing: their online ad is pretty funny.

    I even like the gangsta disco music they used in the ad. Check out the Dollar Shave Club website and let me know what you think.

    old Gillette razor blade packageWhat do I think? Maybe Gillette should be worried. Around 1900, a salesman named King Gillette came up with the idea of disposable razor blades. At first, he couldn’t sell the blades for as much money as it cost to make them, but then he had a wacky idea: he would give away the shiny new razor handles. If people wanted to use the free handles, they would have to continually buy the disposable Gillette blades. After a few months of blade sales, the cost of the handle was covered. And King Gillette got rich. That’s Big Razor Money.

    gillette fusionNowadays, Gillette’s strategy has continued on. The company is constantly releasing new models along with marketing campaigns geared toward making people with last year’s model feel like they’re no longer, well, on the cutting edge. Gillette’s current top-of-the-line model has five blades; actually, six if you count the extra trimmer blade on the back. And refill blades are $4. Yes, $4 each.

    When will the madness end? According to a recent article in The Economist magazine, a mathematical projection predicts that razors with 14 blades will be introduced in 2100. I’d bet it won’t even take that long.

    I’m thinking that is what we all need. As DollarShaveClub Mike says, “Stop payin’ for shave tech you don’t need!” Maybe the new money in razors comes a buck at a time…

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  • Let’s talk Men’s Haircolor

    1950 haircolor adI have many guys that come in these days asking about hair coloring. The reasons vary. It might be they are looking for a new position at work or interviewing for a new job, some are looking for a dating edge and others just want some color to give their overall look and style some pizzazz.

    The bottom line is that we all want to look the best we can and hair color is one of the best ways to accomplish that quickly. Fortunately, there are some great hair coloring techniques available today that, as they say, ain’t your father’s Oldsmobile.

    There are many different kinds of coloring: some deposit color, others lift color to a lighter shade and some do both. Choosing a coloring technique depends on how much maintenance you want to put into it and how much money you’re willing to spend. Sort of like choosing a vintage car.   Or a wife.

    Permanent Color
    One way to get the gray totally blended out is a tint or permanent color — meaning it will stay in the hair until it is cut out. The color is mixed with a developer applied to the hair and processed usually under some heat to open the cuticle of the hair shaft and allow the pigment to enter. This is very affective but with some drawbacks. Your hair will grow on the average of half an inch a month or more, and as the hair grows from the follicle your natural color will slowly reappear. You can end up with a line of demarcation telling you that if you don’t see your stylist everyone on the planet will know you are overdue. Unless you’re willing to visit your stylist every 2 to 4 weeks this is NOT for you.

    man with gray hair

    Semi-Permanent Color
    Option two is a semi permanent color; this color only deposits color (there are very little lifting properties to this color) on the cuticle of the outside of the hair shaft, rather quickly “staining” the hair, if you will. You’ll want to make sure your hair is in good condition before this service or the color will “grab” or deposit too much, leaving your color darker than you had intended. You may want to leave it up to your stylist to choose the color that will match your natural hair color. The nice thing about this type of color is that it fades, so as the hair grows out it will still look natural. It will not cover the gray as much as camouflage it, but this is a fast and easy technique that will take years off your looks with less worry about maintenance.

    Option three is to go with highlights. Highlights are a lighter color weaved in with foil or applied by pulling the hair through a plastic cap. This method lightens just those strands where color is applied. If you would like a natural look I recommend that you stay within four levels of your current natural color. For example, if your hair color is a natural level 5 (brown) the sun will lift the color 4 levels (blonde). Your stylist can help you decide on how much brighter you want to go. The great thing here is that it’s a permanent color; it grows out unnoticed and covers small amounts of gray.

    man with gray hairI guess I could mention that there’s also an option four. Hire a PR firm and have them airbrush your haircolor and cover the gray on every picture taken. This is called the Photoshop method or the Full Clooney, but isn’t really practical for those of us who live out here in the real world devoid of paparazzi. Seems to work for George, though.

    One last word about coloring for beards and mustaches. The hair on your face grows very fast, so if you decide to color it please keep that in mind and be prepared to color it often as the hair grows out.

    If you have any questions about options for coloring your hair you are welcome to contact me and come in to Shear Paradise Hair Studio for a free consultation.

    PS: how many of you actually put your finger over the halves of the picture in the 1960’s Great Day Men’s Haircolor ad at the top of this article?

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  • Viva Las Vegas!

    I just returned from Las Vegas. Needless to say it’s a very entertaining place – people watching, flying down Freemont Street on the zip line and the Cirque Du Soleil shows. Very cool.

    Elvis impersonator Las Vegas SignI did see Elvis, lots of them (Elvii?) in all age ranges, heights and weights. And for a buck or two you can have a picture taken with them along with other, ahem, interesting characters you run into.

    I saw every hair style you can possibly imagine on both men and women, and the trend seemed to be bright, attention-getting hair color on both. Not sure if or when that trend will make it to Ann Arbor. Stay tuned, I guess.

    MirrorI had an interesting observation at the hotel. Our suite had a shaving mirror attached to the glass tile in the shower. Apparently they read my “Shave like a Girl” blog post from a few weeks ago. Now if I could only get a rainshower showerhead for the shower and a nice LCD TV in my bathroom I’ll feel like I’m in Vegas every morning… NOT! Yep, Las Vegas is a very fun place and I can see another trip there in my future.

    Speaking of previous blog posts: I had a few responses from the “Hair growing where it shouldn’t be?” blog post. That’s why I write this blog, to get you all talking! One lady pointed out that women have unwanted hair in their nose as well (something I didn’t mention) and they should not be embarrassed about asking the stylist to give that some attention. So, ladies, please don’t hesitate to ask me about wax hair removal from chin and upper lip areas as well as trimming of nasotrichianose hair. Waxing doesn’t take long and I always have the wax warm and ready to go at the salon.

    Did you know that in the movie Viva Las Vegas the musical number where Elvis sings Viva Las Vegas in its entirety is performed in one single unedited shot – it is the only known example of such a performance in Elvis’s illustrious movie career. Viva Las Vegas!

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  • Hair growing where it shouldn’t be?

    man with excessive ear and nose hairAs a stylist I see this daily, both from clients in my chair or just being out and about. I’m talking about unwanted hair growing out of the nose (and sometimes on it) and ears. Guys, hair growing out of your ears and nose is not manly — it’s, well, gross.

    Yes, hair in the nose has a function. It filters out dust and other unwanted particles from entering the lungs through the nasal cavity. Ear hair, though, is pretty much useless.

    It only takes a few seconds to trim that unwanted nose hair. Your barber should take care of this for you with a small electric clipper. You can also buy a home trimmer that will trim the hair back without the risk of injuring the inside of the nose. There are lots of little blood vessels inside your nose and you’ll bleed for a while if you nick one.

    Or, if you’re brave or masochistic you can pluck them out with a tweezer if you don’t mind the pain, tearing eyes, sneezing, and even bleeding that sometimes occurs. If you choose this route, make sure you use an antiseptic on a cotton swab after — this will help prevent infection or painful ingrown hairs.

    Enough with the nose, let’s talk ears. Guys, hair growing inside or around the outer ear in men is another turn-off to all the women in your life. Take care of it.

    barber singeing ear hairI had an instructor in school that would use a straight razor to shave the hair from the ears. This is known as the “van Gogh method”. Then there is the Turkish barber that uses fire to singe the hair. No, don’t ask me to try this on your next visit.

    Here in the States your hair stylist should take care of ear hair for you either with a small electric clipper or it can be waxed for a longer-lasting result. Again, if you are doing this yourself be very careful not to cut or nick the ear — as any haircutter knows, the tiniest nick on an ear will bleed like crazy (and significantly lower your tips).

    Here’s my advice: don’t be afraid to have your barber help you clean up your act and get rid of that unsightly ear and nose hair. It’s quick and easy. The ladies in your life will appreciate it and who knows… you might just get lucky.

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  • Shave Like a Girl

    woman shavingHave you ever noticed when women shave it’s either in the bath tub or shower? Convenience? Privacy? Maybe.

    But the truth is actually this: women know that the hot water and steam in the shower helps soften up hair before scraping the razor over their body, leaving their skin smooth and soft.

    I get asked a lot about shaving. Guys typically want to know how to get a closer shave and avoid irritation or “razor burn”, ingrown hairs and other annoying and sometimes painful shaving mishaps.

    Here are some tips that will help:

    Before you start: The first thing you’ll want to do is go to a big home improvement store and buy a small mirror with suction cups on the back. You can get one for ten bucks (a “fogless” one is a little more). If your mirror fogs up, use a little soap on your fingers, wipe it across the mirror and splash it with water – you’re good to go.

    While you’re out shopping pick up some 100% Aloe gel. I get the clear stuff but the green works just as well. You can find that in your local drugstore in the skincare aisle. You should also pick out a new razor or at least new blades. Whether you are using a classic straight razor, multi blade system or an old double edge, make sure the blade is sharp. A. Sharp. Blade. Is. Really. Important.

    Get some good quality shave cream or a mild bar soap (I prefer an aloe based soap because it’s pretty much scentless). It doesn’t matter if you use my personal favorite mug and brush or shave cream and, yes, even a mild bar soap – the purpose of the lather is to soften the beard. If you’re on a tight budget, spend what you can on a good razor and use the mild bar soap.

    Hit the shower: after your shower routine, get ready to shave by squeezing a dollop of aloe about the size of a quarter into your hand and work it into your beard. This will help lubricate the skin. Look in the mirror and notice the direction the grain of your beard is growing. You’re going to shave with the grain. Always. If the whiskers are growing down shave in that direction. If they grow up, like on the neck, shave up. Got it?

    The right way to shave: OK, now apply the lather and massage it into your face to get the beard soft. As you pull the razor, stretch your skin opposite the way the beard is growing. So if the whiskers are growing down on your cheeks, pull the skin up. This will help make the whiskers stand up and you’ll get a closer shave. As you shave, use your fingers to feel your face. man shaving and grimacingIf you still aren’t satisfied with the closeness of the shave, you can shave across the grain of the beard for a little closer cut.

    But remember this: to avoid razor burn never shave directly against the natural direction of your whiskers. This is the #1 mistake I see.

    Finish up: Once you’re satisfied with the shave and are out of the shower, pat your face dry. Pat, don’t rub. Then slather your face with more aloe gel, leaving it to dry.

    Follow these simple tips and you’ll notice that your face is more comfortable, your shaves will be closer and you’ll have fewer irritations – at least from shaving.

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  • A New Year’s Resolution: Thinning Hair Treatment

    DS Labs Spectral RSOne thing about having so many long-time clients is that we’ve seen some hairlines “advance to the rear” over the years. At Shear Paradise we always adjust our hairstyling to our clients’ natural hair patterns. But if this is the year that you want to investigate a thinning hair treatment, we strongly recommend the Spectral line of hair salon products from DS Laboratories.

    DS Labs devotes painstaking R&D effort in developing their hair salon products and they have some of the most innovative treatments available today. The products combine minoxidil, ion-channel openers, 5-alpha-reductase, amino acids, botanicals, retinol, hair nutrition minerals – in short, probably the most comprehensive treatments you can find.

    Whatever is in them, I know first-hand that they work. The treatments protect against damage, slow the progression of hair loss, improve hair follicle and scalp health, and grow hair longer, thicker, and faster than any other salon product.

    So if this is the year that you want to start with a thinning hair treatment, let’s take some time on your next visit to look at what might be right for you.

    Oh yes, and Happy New Year!

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  • Barbershops and the Art of Manliness

    I’m typically not a big fan of “lifestyle” websites but I found The Art of Manliness to be a pretty fun read. The site offers some insights into why a man needs a good barber and the importance of finding the right barbershop. I found the site while searching for some barbershop history and came across the article Rediscovering the Barbershop

    Maybe I’m biased but I think that the whole barbershop experience is something that’s been increasingly underrated in today’s world.

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  • Christmas week is here!

    Christmas napkin: All she wanted for Christmas was a napIf you’re like me, you can relate to this message! Some Christmas napkin philosophy for ya’.

    I love Christmas time but sometimes we forget to slow down and enjoy the time with friends and family.

    So don’t forget to take the time this week to step back and reflect upon the good things in this world and remember the joys of the season. Merry Christmas to all from Shear Paradise Hair Salon!

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