My Favorite Hair Volume Product

Virtue Labs Lifting Powder

The bigger the better, especially when it comes to your hair right? I can’t name one person who has said they wish their hair was flat. But what’s your method for getting your volume fix on? You could backcomb, use volume shampoo, or change your part.

Personally, when it comes to putting my hair up or getting a textured look, I think backcombing is counterproductive and the worst thing you could do. Regularly teasing with a brush can be really damaging to your hair and cause breakage. I recently started using this cool new Lifting Powder from Virtue Labs and wanted to share my styling experience with you.

virtue labs lifting powder
via hsn.com

What is Lifting Powder?

This powder is a combination of Virtue’s Alpha Keratin 60ku™ and activating texture enhancers. Virtue is known for their patented keratin protein that is a hair lifeline. Really, it helps fix damage, frizz, and split ends. The powder lifts hair without leaving your hair looking white and has a subtle scent. It’s not a dry shampoo or hairspray.

 

How to Use

I’ve tried using the powder a few ways, and I like it best for half ponytails or a textured, messy look. For this half pony look, I started by creating loose waves with a 1 1/2 in. curling iron. Then I applied the lifting powder in two sections, the top crown of my head and a lower halo.

Virtue Labs Lifting Powder Volume 

The best way to do this is lift each section and spray from underneath one pump per side (a little goes a long way) and one for the back. Then I used my fingers to spread the product through the roots and create that lift. You’ll feel a little moisture as the powder starts to activate.

 

I also did the lower halo and shook my hair out at the end. After I used an elastic to secure the half pony. It was pretty easy and my hair kept its volume all day at the wedding I was at.

Virtue Labs Lifting Powder Volume

I love this lifting powder because you get volume in your casual or fancy updos without having to use one of those silly and obvious Bump It’s. You can also use it for your hair down and a textured, messy look.

Virtue Labs Lifting Powder Volume

Virtue Labs Lifting Powder Volume

Virtue Labs Lifting Powder Volume

Want to try a textured crown braid? Check out this How-To Tutorial with professional hair stylist Adir Abergel.

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Laser Microneedling : Is It Worth It?

Laser Microneedling Treatment Julia Lee

Have you heard of laser microneedling? With so many facials and skin treatments available, it can be a lot to know what’s what and what’s best for your skin needs. I tried the mircro needling laser treatment because I heard it improved skin quality. And by improving skin quality I mean minimizing pores, redness, uneven skin tone, acne scars, and reducing wrinkles.

I’ve had cystic acne and there were scars on my cheek that I was mostly concerned about fixing. So I did the treatment in LA at Restoring Health Medical Institute. Watch what happened at Dr. Moossazadeh’s office as he explains the process in this video. He’s the best, really! Totally cleared up my acne completely by prescribing spironolactone. But that is for another blog post. A rundown on what laser microneedling is and what you should do for after care below.

What is Laser Microneedling?

Two treatments, laser genesis and microneedling. You can do them separate, but it’s best to combine for maximum results.

 

  • Laser Genesis – a non-invasive laser that heats your skin. It builds collagen, kills bacteria that causes acne, treats scars and rosacea, and makes your face look fuller. It literally feels like polka dots are being put on your face by a heated light and doesn’t hurt at all. The laser may burn off your peach fuzz during the process, causing a slight burning smell. But don’t worry, your skin is not being damaged. This part is super quick and takes 20 minutes, which is why it’s known as the lunchtime facial.

 

  • Microneedling – a pen with small needles that poke the barrier of your skin. Builds collagen, treats acne scars and hyper pigmentation. Yes, this process does break your skin, but forces a fresh layer of skin to grow. There is numbing cream applied beforehand so you don’t feel the needle penetrating your skin. If you’ve heard of a derma roller or at home microneedling pen, those needles aren’t as long. So they don’t fully penetrate the skin. I would recommend going to a professional for this and stick to doing facials and masks at home.

Aftercare Tips & What to Expect

You should treat your skin like a baby the three days following. Breaking the skin opens mirco-channels, so it’s super sensitive and quickly absorbs what you put on it. You’ll see some redness and your skin will feel dry and tight. Although you can wear makeup after, I personally wouldn’t to let your skin breath and recover. If you absolutely must, I would do light coverage.

  • Apply a serum to feed your new skin. The first 24 hours is most important since micro-channels are open. There are different types: mineral, peeling, growth factor serum. I used the Biopelle Growth Factor Serum and applied a capsule 4 times for day 1 & 2, and 2 times for day 3.
  • Don’t use any skin products with active ingredients or chemicals like silicone, dimethicone, artificial color, artificial fragrance, sodium lauryl sulphate, propylene glycol
  • Avoid direct sun exposure for 1 week. Use sunscreen with no chemicals if needed. Avoid sweating during exercise and sauna and no swimming for 4 days after.
  • Wash face with hands and water. No brushes or exfoliating soaps.
  • Redness will disappear after 3-4 days and skin will peel

 

Is It Worth It?

I say yes! It’s totally worth it and a lot more effective long term compared to other resurfacing treatments like Microderm or peels. I definitely saw improvements in my skin within 4 days. I wouldn’t say it’s a quick fix facial for deep acne scars and wrinkles because you need a few treatments every 2-4 weeks. The number of treatments needed depends on where you skin is at currently. I suggest consulting with a skin care specialist for that answer.

Check out the before/after picture at the end of the video to see the difference after 3 days. My skin felt rejuvenated, smoother, and my minor breakouts were cleared up!

 

Post your questions/comments about laser microneedling below.

 

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Ending Your Damaged Hair Relationship: Treatment Mask vs. Olaplex 3

So I just lightened my hair for the summer and got an Olaplex treatment as part of the process. My hair colorist gave me part 3 to take home while part 1 & 2 were done in the salon. Whenever you dye your hair, whether you use bleach or no bleach, you are breaking the cuticle and weakening your hair strands. Sounds dramatic, but basically the makeup of your hair strands isn’t the same because you’ve opened up the outer layer. The texture feels different and breakage is more likely to happen.

No matter what your hair type is, we all get damage from styling, coloring, and just living in this world where our environment can also come into play like sun damage or swimming in a pool. But I wanted to share with you two preventative ways to protect your precious strands that are entirely different but both super effective. Here’s to ending that damaged relationship with your hair.

Treatment Mask

Treatment masks for hair are like body butter for skin or paraffin treatments for hands & feet. It’s an intense version of your conditioner that provides hydration and nourishment to fight frizz and damage. The difference between your conditioner and masks is in the ingredients. There are more beneficial oils and butters in masks and the application take 5 minutes after shampooing.

My go to treatment mask since high school has always been the Aussie brand 3 Minute Miracle Treatment. I think I’ve stuck with this product because the cool squirt bottle, color, and scent makes me feel some type of nostalgic way about summer showers after swimming in my neighborhood pool. That was when chlorine was damaging my hair, but now it’s the heat styling and coloring that’s causing it. It always seemed to work well for me until I tried Virtue Labs’ Restorative Treatment Mask.

I’ve been using Virtue Labs hair products for 8 months now and am in love with everything about the brand. They have a special keratin formula they put in all of their hair products that has been a game changer for my hair. They recently came out with a restorative treatment mask that I tried for the first time about a month ago. There was a clear difference between the Virtue mask and the Aussie mask I had been using.

First off, the texture was lightweight but still hydrating. I noticed there wasn’t as much buildup compared to the Aussie Brand. There are a lot more real oils whereas the Aussie brand only has jojoba oil listed and aloe extract. Virtue has sunflower seed, moringa, baobob, and olive oil along with 8 more plant extracts, and the special keratin formula. To sum it up, I felt like the Virtue mask melted into my hair and worked from the inside out to repair. The Aussie mask just sat on top of my hair strands and created a layer that acted as a protective barrier but could also turn into buildup.

 

Olaplex

Olaplex is a 3 step treatment – Bond Multiplier 1, Bond Perfector 2, and Hair Perfector 3. I’ve gotten Olaplex twice at the salon while coloring my hair. The Bond Multiplier 1 is added to the color process and the Bond Perfector 2 is applied when you rinse our the dye. The Hair Perfector 3 is the take home part where you use once a week. Without getting into too much detail about the science, it basically has an active ingredient that repairs broken chemical bonds in the strands of your hair.

So what’s the difference between a hair mask and Olaplex Hair Perfector #3? A treatment mask re-hydrates and Olaplex repairs. I would compare it to putting Neosporin on an opened wound vs stitching it back together. If you have a big cut, both are essentially needed during the healing process, but they both repair in different ways. Make sense?

The consistency of the take home #3 is like a serum. I’ve seen different ways to use it, but I have been applying it on damp hair after shampooing. I do it on days where I have a little extra time to take a shower. I apply it after shampooing then let it sit for 10 minutes. During this time I apply a face mask and do a sea salt body scrub or aztec clay mask on my body while standing in the shower. After the 10 minutes I rinse out the #3 and shampoo & condition as normal. You can also leave the treatment on overnight in a shower cap for longer if needed.

Olaplex is not only for colored hair. It can be used to strengthen chemically straightened, relaxed, or permed hair. It’s also used to tighten curls and repair curl patterns. Even if you have that untouched virgin hair, you may be damaging it with your dryer, curling iron, and straightener.

 

Verdict

There is a clear difference between hair treatments and Olaplex. Personally I would stick to hair treatments unless you have seriously damaged hair or color it regularly. Since I lightened my hair for the summer, I have been using the Olaplex 3 Hair Perfector every other week. If I decide to bleach my hair in the future, I’ll probably use it more often. I don’t foresee myself getting perms and my hair is naturally straight but if your hair has gone through any process in that realm, I would suggest giving #3 a try.

Olaplex is also a brand. There are other types of “bonders” on the market that claim to repair hair, but I haven’t tried them yet.

Treatment masks are easier and more convenient to use for your day to day life. An extra 5 minutes two times per week will get rid of dull hair and keep it vibrant and free of frizz. Since it’s not something you’re using every day, I think it’s okay to spend an extra $20 for a higher quality product like Virtue vs. Aussie Brand. I’ve definitely made the switch to Virtue and my hair has less frizz now compared to when I took this video! Make sure you look into the ingredients of what you’re buying so you know what you’re paying for!

Do you use hair treatments and/or Olaplex? What are your thoughts and results? Let me know in the comments below <3.

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Miu Miu Fragrance Launch Party

Miu Miu celebrated their newest fragrance, L’Eau Rosée, with a fun & fabulous launch party in NYC. It was the perfect way to end NYFW this season and get ready for Spring. L’Eau Rosée is for every girl who just wants to have fun and gets a rush from making decisions based on whimsy alone. If this sounds a lot like you, read on.

The Scent

The fragrance is soft and floral, but not overly sweet. I hate perfumes that make me smell like candy or body sprays I used when I was a teenager. The floral notes are lily of the valley and cassis buds that are complimented with a sophisticated musk. It’s a great scent to transition into Spring / Summer with.

The Miu Miu Girl’s Dream Apartment

The event was at The Apartment by The Line in Soho, NY. This world of Miu Miu was filled with bubbly, mani time, and kittens. Avocado toast and meringues were passed around the dream space that was decorated with the newest Spring/Summer collection. There were also cute lapel pins and cookies shaped in the L’Eau Rosée bottle. Don’t you wish you could live in an apartment like this every day? Click here for more on my look.

 

Photos: @bfa and @tico

If you live in the NY area and are interested in adopting the cute kittens from the party, check out Bideawee.

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Date Day: Couple’s Spa

Any long lasting relationship takes work. Almost every time I ask married couples what the secret is to a healthy, long-lasting relationship they say that it takes work. Quality time is extremely important, but how do millennials find time in today’s busy world? There is so much going on that trying to balance work, love, and friends can seem impossible at times.

Some opt to skip the love part, but I’d say there are more pros than cons to being in a relationship. Sure, taking a week of to go on a vacation would be a great way to getaway and spend time together. But if you can’t do that just right now because of a time constraint, budget, or any other factors, here is something that you can do in one day. It’s a couple’s day at the spa. I did it with my boyfriend, and we got to relax and have fun together.

Couples Spa Day

Doing a couple’s spa day is the perfect way to be romantic with your partner and relax at the same time. Relieve yourself from work stress or anything else preventing you from being your 100%. Both my boyfriend and I were pretty busy during the summer and I felt like we needed more time together. We decided to try The Couple’s Spa on the Upper East Side of New York.

We usually do spa days together at hotels like the Wynn or Encore in Vegas, but what drew me into picking this place was the flower bath. After getting the massage together, you get a full body sea salt scrub, and then soak in a warm bath with rose and lemon aromas for pure relaxation.

The Treatment

Julia Lee The Couples Spa NYC Julia Lee The Couples Spa NYC

When we first walked into The Couple’s Spa, the first thing I noticed was pink. And lot’s of it. If you do check this place out, don’t let the decor fool you. Everything was so worth it. We checked in and went downstairs where two massage tables were set side by side with rose petals placed along the border and towels in the shape of hearts. How cute!

The massage treatment was a 90 minute deep tissue full body massage. After the massage we got a full body salt scrub. Salt scrubs are so beneficial to your body especially after a massage. They can reduce inflammation, improve blood circulation, tighten skin, and reduce the look of aging skin and cellulite.

Julia Lee The Couples Spa NYC Julia Lee The Couples Spa NYC

Julia Lee The Couples Spa NYC

Then we went to another room with a really cute wooden bathtub filled with rose petals and lemons. We soaked in the bath while we were offered chocolate, fresh fruit, and wine. Lemons have healing agents that refresh and revive tired skin while rose oil helps moisturize skin.

In addition to the massage, we got custom facials which topped off the full day of pampering. We walked out of the spa feeling so relaxed. I would definitely recommend a spa date next time you think about planning another typical dinner date. And if you’re currently single, do it with a friend! I might go next time with my sisters.

Where to Find A Good Spa

I found this spa on Time Out Magazine. You can always look online for top couples massage in your city. Here’s a link to the best in LA via LA Confidential. ✌🏼💖

Julia Lee The Couples Spa NYC

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