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"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing...kissing a lot. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls."
Audrey Hepburn

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Product Review: Manic Panic Semi-Permanant Hair Dye

Description: A Semi Permanant Hair Dye which can be used over natural or pre-lightened hair to achieve vivid hues ranging from red to green and everything in between. Lasts between 4 to 6 weeks.
Website: www.manicpanic.com

I tried Manic Panic for the first time in February. My hair was a true platinum blonde and after maintaining the roots every four weeks for about five months, I opted to go back to red. However, the hair salon I chose did a horrible job of re-instating that color. Instead of using a filler initially, they went immediately to a permanant hair dye which turned my untouched roots a brilliant red but the rest a very dull brown. After three processes, I ended up with even darker red roots and even duller brown locks. And my hair was the texture of shag carpet. The salon was very apologetic and gave me a full bottle of Paul Mitchell deep conditioning for reestablishing some moisture into those overworked tresses but even the conditioner didnt do much to fix things. Not to mention, I still had dull brown hair with red roots!

Enter Manic Panic! I wasnt about to try evening out the color with another permanant dye but I thought this semi permanant product would brighten things up. Did it ever! After three hours of processing, my hair was a VIVID copper red. I had used the shade, Infra Red, which was more orange than purple based. After about 5 washes, the water finally ran clear in the shower and the resulting 'stain' was a flat copper with little dimension but still infinitely better looking than that dull brown mess.

In March, I went back to the salon and had them richen up the flat copper my MP'd hair had faded into and add some blonde streaks. As you can see from the before photo however, that faded rather quickly. I decided to use Infra Red again and see what it would do.

Initially, I had bought the product from an ebay seller and upon receipt, I realized the actual product was a rust color and rather thin. Manic Panic sent me some free product straight from their online store after viewing a positive review I had posted on their site and I realized that THIS time, the product was brilliant red and rather thick. I suspect that the ebay product had an issue, aging or what have you. I applied the color and waited four hours. As you can see, it came out PRIMARY red w/ copper highlighting where the blonde had been. I had applied conditioner over the blonde w/ a tint brush hoping it would retain some of the golden quality but after seeing the outcome, I'm glad it did not. Heh heh.

After coloring both times, my hair felt stronger, silkier, and had marvelous shine. After four washes, my hair has faded to a much more subdued red, more reminiscent of Rita Hayworth than of one of the X-men. I highly recommend this product but still feel the following tips for use are extremely important:

1.For Coloring: Separate hair into four sections before coloring. Cover all exposed surfaces w/ old sheets or towels and pour color into a tint bowl. Use vinyl gloves to avoid staining hands and *apply petroleum jelly to the rists* if the gloves do not go all the way up to the elbow. Also apply petroleum jelly to the hairline to avoid staining. Apply color w/ a tint brush from root to tip and then again from tip to root until *completely* saturated. Pin up each section as you finish. Once all hair is saturated (it will froth slightly to show that it will not absorb any more product), place hair under a plastic cap and wait anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hrs to let color process. Apply heat if desired (if so, processing time will be significantly less).

2. For rinsing: Keep the gloves on! Rinse thoroughly over kitchen sink or sink lined w/ foil to avoid staining. Rinse in cold water to maintain color vibrancy. Apply a fresh layer of Vaseline to your face and neck before rinsing so that 'stains' can be easily wiped away. Once water runs somewhat clear, towel dry hair w/ an old towel. NEXT mix 1/2 cup white vinegar with 1/2 cup water and put into a spray bottle. Spray hair thoroughly and comb through. This will help set the color and actually makes it last longer! Leave the vinegar solution in for about 5 minutes before rinsing again. Condition if you wish.

3. Wash every other day at the most to prevent quick color fading. If you WANT the color to fade, knock yourself out!

4. Mix a small ammount of leftover color w/ your shampoo or conditioner to make your own customized 'color-care' products.

5. You can buy a flash lightening kit from MP if you want to get 'true' color pay-off from the product. If used on Natural hair the color will be subdued but still will add some hue.

6. Remember that the color will most likely come off on towels or pillow cases for the first few washes. A dark pillow case is suggested for the first week or so.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Go To Gals...

I don't claim to be a style guru myself. I am simply a follower. Though I understand the point of 'modernization' and making any vintage trend 'current' a'la 'Project Runway' or The Style Network, I have no interest in that. The 1940's and 1950's were the 'heyday' of fashion, in my opinion, and therefore I will always be influenced and inspired by it. My hobby right now is recreating hairstyles and makeup of the past as well as attempting to find companies that specialize in vintage reproduction clothing and accessories. Vintage clothing is ideal, especially in terms of construction. After all, w/out the 'stretch' that is present in most of today's fabrics, the seamstresses had to fit those dresses to their clients using their skills. Darting, shirring, and pleating is what made an item fit perfectly. But it also gave it some character and a tailored touch of elegance. Finding that perfect vintage dress and finding one that FITS you; that's a good day.

Unfortunately, there aren't many vintage shops out here in rural Tennessee. I rarely have a chance to vintage shop. Therefore, online retro reproduction companies are my favorite thing. We'll talk about those at another time.

The story today is about my Style Gurus. The ladies that I look to for motivation and the ones I always find to be faultless in the way they dressed up, dressed down, and generally presented themselves. I also pay homage to one person in particular that made it possible for these ladies to look so good on film:

1. Edith Head- Edith Head was principally known as a costume designer for the movies but that was a time when 'fashion' and 'cinema' went hand in hand. The most renowned fashion designers of the day also worked in the movies since their best 'models' and 'advertisements' were film stars. Edith was an essential part of Hollywood fashion in the fifties and made Grace Kelly the style icon she became. She was nominated 35 times for the Academy Award and won Eight times, more than any other woman. Because of her contracts w/ the movie studios, her styles were intentionally low key and classic, which prevented her fashions from becoming too quickly 'dated' and contributed to their logevity and appeal. Standout fashions she created were the gorgeous black and white dress worn by Lisa Fremont in Rear Window, Audrey Hepburn's tailored gowns in Roman Holiday that flattered her thin frame exquisitely, and the mink-lined gown Ginger Rogers made famous in the film 'Lady in the Dark'. She had a remarkable ability to create things that both flattered the wearer and made a statement.

2. Grace Kelly-It's no secreet that I find Grace Kelly to be the quintessential style icon. It wasnt just the way she wore clothes...it was how she carried herself. The pride she exhibited w/out appearing conceited and the velvet sound of her voice. She had a power in the fashion world, almost beyond comprehension today. Never before or since has one woman held the monopoly on what was defined as 'class', like Grace Kelly. She was a great actress, a strong presence, and she never seemed to 'slip' from her pedestal. Over the decades, she has remained an inspiration on the red carpet and is referenced in almost every fashion report that carries the term 'glamour'.

3. Ginger Rogers-'She did everything Fred Astaire did. Only she did it backward and in high heels.' It's true. She was the elegant partner that suited Astaire's grace and style perfectly. However, Ginger Rogers also had a spunky sassy side that was evident in her performances and her private life. She had a tomboy quality that made her inherently likeable as well and it certainly didnt hurt that she had the face of an angel. She could change her hair w/out blinking an eye or suffering in popularity. She wore pants with lace blouses and sneakers with pencil skirts, displaying her 'boyish' side but never denying her sex appeal. Even though she moved like honey in those glamorous feathered numbers, I find her even more appealing in candid photos like the one above since it proves that grace and poise can also be rip-roaring fun!

4. Katherine Hepburn-Before Annie Hall and Diane Keaton's menswear, there was Katherine Hepburn. Her style was she-male, in a good way. She found a way to wear things no woman had been able to before. Loose fitting suits and spats were perfectly juxtaposed with her flowing hair and feminine flair. Though Marlene Dietrich had made the shoulder pads and manly inspired clothing suitable for female attire, Katherine is the one that made it enviable. Women everywhere wanted to have her confidence, her complete assurety of who she was and where she was headed.

5. Audrey Hepburn- There is no doubt that Audrey Hepburn is probably the most influential style icon of the last century. Without her would there be a Twiggy? A 'little black dress'? A doe eye? A 'pixie' haircut? Possibly. But no one could have made skinny, sexy, large eyed, waifishness more appealing, certainly. Though her 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' era is probably her most well known, I am even more fascinated and drawn to her screen entrance in Roman Holiday and the confident way she wore Edith Head at a time when she was considered 'an upstart' for doing so. The tininess of her neck, the carriage of her hands, the way she made roses look as if they naturally sprouted from her insides when she wore them-these were things that had never been more evident before she came along. And she never made a bad movie.

My love for Rockabilly music also makes me a fan of bluejeans and bandanas yes, but when I think of 'style', I immediatley come back to those five females. I also have a great affinity for pin up art of the 1940's and 1950's and am similarly inspired by the Petty Girl and the multi-tasking dames of Edward Runci, but that's a subject for another entry.

Now that you see where my fashion 'sense' comes from, hopefully you understand why it is my passion and why recreating the styles of the past is something I just gotta do. Come along with me and feel free to add your input and comments along the way.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Beauty and the Blog

Well, I've gone and done it. I've started a blog. I think I just have too much to say than can be contained in my laughable fifteen minute limit on youtube. And youtube is probably where you met me. I am the creator of Lisa Freemont Street and no, my name isn't Lisa Freemont. It's Ashley. The channel name is actually a blend of two of my biggest inspirations: Grace Kelly and Vintage Las Vegas. For those of you who are fellow Hitchcock fans, you probably remember Grace's character in Rear Window-Lisa Fremont. Her grace and poise were beautifully portrayed in that film (along w/ the phenomenal Edith Head fashions she wore) but she also had a spunky, adventurous side that I loved. On the other hand, I also have a pension for glitz and kitsch, so I had to throw a little 'Fremont Street' into the mix. Yes, I'm aware of the difference in spelling...but when you type in 'Freemont Street' on google, just WHO comes up? See? There's a method to my madness!

Anyway, I've opted to start a beauty blog dedicated to detailed product reviews, fashion opinions, and retro styling. This spot will house lots of odd ramblings about the era I love best, a few movie reviews, and maybe a couple of words about the classic ladies of cinema that have always held a special place in my heart. So if there is a product or movie you'd like to see reviewed, feel free to shoot me a message.

A brief word about me: I am a forty-year-old lady who feels much younger, probably due to the fact that my four crazy kids keep me very active. I value fitness and routine as well as fashion. My husband and I have been together since 1995, when we married, and things are going well on the homefront. I grew up in a family that adores classic film and music. Music has always been an outlet (not creatively...we're academics!)in the lives of myself and my husband. So music plays a major part in my videos, as you probably know. We live in Memphis Tennessee, only a few blocks from Sun Studios and we value the history and culture in our neighborhood greatly. I am not a liscensed beautician and am entirely self taught. But I feel that anyone can accomplish something in a field they are passionate about. So that's me!

Here's to elegant expressions and cosmetic conversation!