Posts tagged hair
Sparks Salon in Liberty Village + Liquid Keratin Rules: Because gorgeous hair is the best revenge, BWA-HA-HA!
I’ve spent countless hours, JILLIONS of scalp cells and thousands upon thousands of dollars in my long and emotionally fraught quest to find “the one.”
You know what they say, gals — a good salon is hard to find.
Thus, I was intrigued when Sparks (they of the beautiful hot-pink signage that catches my eye every single day on the King West streetcar) opened up a new location in Liberty Village, just steps from where I live.
I was even more intrigued by all of the stylish model-types and hot hipster boys hanging out around front during their opening party. I totally would have crashed it, had I not been walking by straight after hitting the gym.
Instead, I waited until my roots needed some dire emblondening to check it out all proper-like. I’m a gentlekid like that.
First off, Guys, I am smitten.
Sparks Salon in Liberty Village is the closest thing in Toronto I’ve found yet to that perfectly girly yet modern salon of my Barbie-loving dreams (that isn’t rife with snooty betches and costs me half a month’s rent for a cut, that is.)
I mean, really, this as all every girl who grew up in the 90s is really looking for in a salon:
The staff at Sparks don’t sing while they do blowouts and they didn’t try to teach me how to get my boyfriend to pay my bills bills bills (maybe next time? Anybody?) but one time they all wore pink just like Bey and the gang in that video so it stands to reason that they’re every bit as cool.
They’re also friendly, fun to talk to, reasonably priced and super knowledgable when it comes to what they do, which is actually what every girl who cares about her hair is looking for.
It’s a good sign when the people working at a beauty salon are genuine babes, as opposed to dead-eyed cake-faced chain-smokers with asymmetrical two-toned everything (sorry, the entirety of Southwestern Ontario.)
Pictured above is Nicole, hairstylist (follow her on Instagram @Hairby_Nicole!) Ophelia, manager, and a Hello Kitty FREAKING CALCULATOR! I raved on and on about Air Hello Kitty when I saw that. Pretty sure I sent them a link. One day, homies, I’ll be blogging from the Japanese sky.
Anyhoo, this is supposed to be a review and not a weird Destiny’s-Child infused Laurant (what can I say? I spent ALL DAY surrounded by inauguration coverage and replays of Queen Bey ripping out her IFB) so let me rev.
I wish Beyoncé had performed a modified rendition of “Bills Bills Bills” at Obama’s inaguration. “Can you pass these Bills?…” #Inagu2013
— Lauren O’Neil (@laurenonizzle) January 21, 2013
1. Atmosphere: Awesome. (See cool wall-text above.) From the gleaming white floor to the brick backdrop against the pedicure wall, the space is stunning. I particularly enjoyed the fun words of wisdom written on the walls.
Dont mind if I do!
Because Sparks is a nail salon too ( one of the only places that specializes in Japanese 3D Nail Art in Toronto, I’m told) there were some really cool Japanese nail art magazines and examples of cool designs around.
Kid in a candy store, I tells ya. If I had 400 fingers and a cheat code for infinity moneys IRL I would have dropped a cool zillion dollars that day.
2. Actual hair services. As i mentioned before, Nicole is the name of the hairstylist who colored and cut my locks, PLUS gave me my first liquid keratin treatment. HAVE YOU TRIED LIQUID KERATIN YET?!? It’s miraculous. More on that below.
As hard as it is to find a good salon, it’s even harder to find a good colourist. Blondes know what I’m saying.
“Where do you usually get your hair done?” they often ask me, a glint of everything from pity to contempt to disgust in their eyes, depending on who emblondened last.
“I get around…” I joke. “I’m a bit of a salon ho.”
Don’t get me wrong – not every colourist I’ve ever been to in Toronto has been a dud. Many, I’ve seen multiple times with great success. The only problem is that they’re kind of salon hoes too.
“Hi! I’d like to make an appointment with Monique, please…”
“I’m sorry she’s no longer with us. She moved to Calgary.”
“Hi! I’d like to make an appointment with Marissa please,”
“She’s a little booked up. Can I pencil you in for next March?”
“Hi, I’d like to-
“*beep beep BEEP* the number you are attempting to reach is no longer
And for every great stylist I’ve loved and lost due to my own moving around to different cities, there have been 3 that simply don’t meet my high standards (Leave peroxide on my head for 3 hours because my hair isn’t ‘lifting as fast as usual?’ Thanks for the the irreparable dammmaaaage superstaaaar!)
What can I say? I want the best for my blonde.
But uh, enough about my hair issues, back to Nicole. She’s awesome. Talent minus ego desirable and marketable and SO FREAKING RARE in Toronto, across more industries than I could ever explain right now while still holding fast to my agressive sleep debt repayment schedule.
If you need a thoughtful, well-educated hairstylist who knows her colour and undertands that a TRIM does not equal 1798576 inches (Why do so many people not understand this?) hit her up.
Kevin Murphy and Moroccanoil. Nuff said.
Everything else in the salon is of equal high-quality (and Eco-friendly, says Internet. Sparks is a Certified Green Circle Salon).
And here’s where I’m going to dish about that liquid keratin treatment:
Liquid Keratin is the reason I held off a good three weeks after my experience at Sparks before writing this post. Well, that and my aforementioned hardcore sleep / work / not so much blogging January schedule
Based on the results, I wondered if it might be too good to be true and I wanted to make sure that my hair didn’t get all gross again after a few weeks of washing. Rest assured, it didn’t. This stuff is legit.
A before and after of my own hair, after one of 3 steps, before cut or colour, no straightener, courtesy of Nicole:
Insane difference already, eh?
I wasn’t kidding when I said that my hair was damaged. Be careful who you trust to put peroxide on your head is all I can say… and like, ease up on the everyday ponytails / hair straightener / etc.
To rip some copy from the company’s website:
“Liquid Keratin Professional Restorative Smoothing Treatment is an exclusive new certified Formaldehyde & Aldehyde Free system developed to promote hair straightening, smoothing and relaxing waves while repairing damage caused from other chemical processes. Because of its ability to penetrate the hair fibre, Liquid Keratin Professional Restorative Smoothing Treatment, provides more shine, conditioning, strength and resistance to hair fibers damaged by other chemical processes.
The 3-step process is intense, but only for the poor stylist who has to wash your hair with special stuff and then put more special stuff on your hair and then rinse it out to put more special stuff on it. You just sit there and chill while your hair turns from straw into silk, curls into pins, or whatever you desire to get out of the treatment.
For me, it worked wonders. It actually made my hair feel better than it has in years. Soft and silky and smooth, like it was when I lived in cities that didn’t have Toronto water in the pipes. Mmmm, clean water…
I’m not going to lie — it’s a pricier treatment, but it lasts for months if done well, and you can get just your ends done for a lot less. If your hair is in serious need of some TLC, I woud recommend it. I haven’t had to use my straightener all month and my natural frizzwave is nowhere to be found.
That’s all for this kid tonight. Hit me up in the comments if you’ve tried Liquid Keratin. I’d love to know what other people think!
And because I can’t leave you without at least one SOLID SOLID lol on a post, THIS:
Night night homies
Back into the (wo)man I used to be, sheeeeet.
This is probably the biggest hair change I’ve made since 2006, and it’s not even a change per se — I simply let the bangs I’d rocked my entire life grow and grow into a long side sweep over the past five years.
On Saturday afternoon, I went to see my new hair guy Darren Kwik for a trim and root touch-up.
Not only is the studio like, a two second bike ride from my home, Darren is incredible.
Creep his blog — he does all of the hair for Fashion Week in Toronto which gives him prime access to do handstands on the runway.
Not since my longest-running-and-sorely-missed hairkeeper Adrian have I had someone do my colour so expertly, so flawlessly. He’s a master with the shears too, so I took a leap of faith.
“Bang me, Darren. I’m ready.”
He agreed, and thus, here I am. Bangs again.
Do you have fringe? Drop me a link to a photo in the comments or get @ me on the Twitter. I love to talk hurrs
Is that not a really, really good song? Even out of context, the soulful mix is dope. And the video? Well…
‘Nuff said. And if you don’t know who Sweet Brown is, watch the original viral video here:
Antoine Dodson Sweet Brown is totally famous for another 15 seconds thanks to that remix, and I’ve got a new morning hype-track for another day or so (I’ve already been jamming to this for 10 so… ya know.)
Speaking of news memes though, did you know that Antoine Dodson is going to be at ROFLcon this year? Well OBBBBVIOUSLY he is. Everybody is. Including ME, WEEEEEE!
I’m going to run and tell that homeboy how much Canada loves him if I get a chance. Maybe Sweet Brown will come too. That would be gravy.
I put some purple in my hair this evening. With chalk.
It’s faint and only in the bangs. I’m going to go nuts with some turquoise later this week, but only on the ends, a la Kate Bosworth:
You know what’s fun on a Sunday night? Watching cheesy Raven-Symoné movies and teasing the heck out of your hair.
Oh oh oh, hold up now – what is THIS? I started watching this “Jane By Design” show on Netflix and I’m madly in love, not even 10 minutes in. HI BILLY:
Google tells me his real name is Nick Roux and that he’s a total Disney kid. Blergh. This gen’s Chad Michael Murray circa One Tree Hill season 1. *sigh*
Hehe, Oh Chad! Stop!
I’ve got to go to bed now…
PS – In case you were wondering, Sweet Brown finally got her cold pop! Awwww…