1. Slash your beauty budget, The hair issue

    Currently I am a"Dream Blonde"I was born a beauty addict; I’m convinced it led to my career as professional beauty maven. Growing up, I devoured not only beauty products, but beauty books. I read them all. In the not too distant past, celebrities used to sell beauty books instead of product lines. I preferred the books. I particularly liked tomes that dripped with glamour by old-time movie stars. They seemed to have an endless supply of tips and tricks gleaned from the best movie studio make-up artists and hair dressers. Styles change over time, but it’s amazing how useful all I learned from ZsaZsa Gabor and Sophia Loren and many others still is today.
    Sophia Loren stated in her beauty book that any beauty worthy of the name should know how to take care of her skin and nails, and be able to keep her hair flawlessly coloured. I agree.
    Don’t wrong. I adore and depend on my talented beauty-makers. There is no way my skin would look as it does without the ministrations of my fabulous cosmetic acupuncturist Fang Wang. Nor would I like to be without my talented stylist, Ebony. Every time I move I go through the challenge of finding a new hair stylist. Sometimes it can be a painful drama.
    I’m a big advocate of sticking to a beauty budget. I always have been, even before the current recession. I like my hair to look perfect and rootless, so I hit the salon every six weeks. I like it to move and swing, so I need a stylist at a price that I can afford. I can always tell when a woman is over her head with her stylist. She lets her hair go too long between appointments. I don’t get it. It’s better to go to someone you can afford so your hair can look fab all the time than to go to a fancy salon you can’t afford.
    We all have different needs. Girls with manes of glorious curls may visit the salon only four times a year. They swear a talented curl-cutter is hard to find and worth a splurge. At only four times a year, if it’s in your budget and works for you, go for it.
    But even on my six-week rotation, I still do my own between-appointment touch-ups. I used to buy professional colour supplies from the beauty supply store, but now the at-home products are so good, I just stop by the drugstore. My stylists know I will be regularly touching-up my tresses. None of the good ones have had an issue with it. Most of them have offered tips. If your stylist reacts negatively against a little home touch-up, dump them. Lately, one even reads of stylists recommending home hair colour to their wealthy clients when asked. Celebrity stylists such as Frederic Fekkai and Oscar Blandi among others even offer their own home hair colouring products. The days of home hair colour snobbism is over!
    Knowing how to do my own hair has also let me keep it shiny and pristine while traveling. It has allowed me to stay on a budget too. I have neither the cash nor patience for a salon visit every two weeks. This way I spend an hour at home, instead of the languishing at the salon. I read or work during the 20 minutes of “processing”. Then I just dry my freshly-glossed locks, and I am good to go. Touch-ups are so simple that I have coloured my hair in hotel rooms before events. I didn’t leave a single stain. The alternative would have been trying out a strange salon and stylist.
    Darlings, this is not some arcane beauty editor talent. Recently one of our contributors noticed that her professionally-coloured and highlighted hair was in desperate need of a touch-up. She had been away from home for months. She needed to attend a few formal functions with her executive husband. Obviously, she had to look stunning and flawless. She had never coloured her own hair. Simultaneously while chatting on Skype, we used the L’Oreal Paris online computer to select her perfect shade and product. The computer suggested L’Oreal Superior Preference. Thanks to the numbering system, she could buy it easily in a foreign country. She followed the directions and my tips. She says will definitely be colouring again. Her hair looked and felt sensational. She loved its texture and fullness, as well as the rich brunette colour. She also liked the $8 price tag.
    L’Oreal Paris has new collection of Decadent Chocolate shades in Superior Preference that look gorgeous on brunettes.
    West coast editor, Alice Farnsworth has been visiting me in Atlanta. Ever since she permed her hair, she has not been able to find the right ahde of hair colour. She also found it really hard to cover her grey. Alice is not alone; many readers complain about this problem. So while she was here, we used the Clairol online computer to find her ideal shade. To her surprise, we settled on a medium golden blond called Beeline Honey in the Perfect 10 Nice N’ EasyAlice had been using a light brown and it was too dark for her, but she really is not a blond. Perfect 10 is a high-gloss permanent colour that works in just 10 minutes. It smells fabulous. Alice liked that it had two applicator tips — a comb for her hair and a regular nozzle for her hair line. It made application a snap. Her hair came out shiny, manageable, and free of all grey. The colour choice was sensational too, just what she had been looking for!
    Over the years, I have used all types of hair colour. In Moscow, I brought my own to my stylists, until I worked for Russian Vogue.
    I have tried a variety of blonds. I have yet to find one I don’t like. Currently, I am hooked on L’Oreal Paris Superior Preference Dream Blonde. It is the crème de la crème of home colour, at $15. But it leaves hair silky and without a trace of brassiness. I use only half a box at a time, so I splurge.
    The online computers offered by Clairol and L’Oreal Paris can help you choose your shade and products. They are like having a staff of stylists to help and are better than the panel on the box. They offer different options as well as give professional tips. Both companies have help lines with live experts too. 
    There are products to gloss your hair, cover grey, highlight, or keep your salon colour fresh between visits. The number of women who colour at home is growing.  Recently, The New York Times reported this: “Asked how the economy had changed their spending habits, 15 percent of 1,000 American women who have their hair colored professionally said they now color it at home, according to a recent survey by Mintel, a market research firm. Another company, Information Resources, said dollar sales of a popular Clairol product, Root Touch-up, shot up 20 percent over the last year.”
    Darlings, home hair colour is fast, fabulous and practically foolproof. It is also a great way to stretch your budget. If you choose not to colour and can rock a silver fox do, that’s gorgeous too. It seems the recession is here to stay for a while, but that does not mean your beauty regime has to suffer. Darlings, as I always tell you, it has never been easier or more economical to be beautiful.