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Flat Iron | Hair Straightener | ISA Professional

24 Dec '18

Perfect Beauty Products As Holiday Gifts

Give The Gift Of Beauty These Holidays

Woman Touching Her Moisturized Skin | ISA Professional

The holiday shopping season is in full swing! If you participate in gift-giving, you’re probably feeling the pressure now: agonizing over what to get a loved one or feeling like the most lost Secret Santa ever. Happily, we can help with some of that - if you’re giving beauty products this holiday season, we’ve got the strategies you need to choose the right gifts.

Pay Attention to What They Love

 Woman Getting A Professional Massage | ISA Professional

First, follow the first tenet of friendship: pay attention to what your giftee likes! Every day you see your friend is an opportunity for gift-giving recon, from catching a whiff of their favorite shampoo wafting off their hair to admiring their perfectly drawn cat eye or stunning shade of lipstick. When you notice they seem to favor the same product often, or constantly have perfectly styled hair, ask them about it - try to get the brand name and product line (or color) as appropriate. You can pretend you just want it for yourself, but sneakily be plotting the best holiday gift ever.

Be sure to keep your list updated when they mix it up, and have conversations about the beauty industry. You wouldn’t want to accidentally purchase them something from a brand they can’t ethically support, for example. These chats can provide great bonding opportunities with your friend, too, as you learn more about each other and maybe even pick up some new recommendations for your own beauty routine.

Discover What They Want

 Woman Applying Rich Facial Cream | ISA Professional


Of course, your friend might be eager to try a new product that they haven’t had the chance to buy for themselves yet. Maybe they don’t have the cash to spend when it comes to more luxury products or haven’t worked themselves up to buying something in a brilliant and unconventional color. Whatever the reason, giving a holiday gift is one of the best excuses to indulge your friend and their passions! (As long as it fits into your own budget; going into debt over holiday gifts is not a good look for your pocketbook.)

How do you find out what they want? That’s super easy! (Barely an inconvenience.) Check for any wishlists they might have, whether on certain large online retailers or at specific beauty retailer sites. You could also go on beauty shopping trips with them and check out what they’re interested in but don’t buy.

Don’t Fear the Gift Card

 Woman Giving A Gift For The Holidays | ISA Professional


I know that some of us might feel that the gift card is a lazy choice, but it’s not! When you’re not totally sure what your giftee would enjoy the most, a gift card is a valid choice. You can make it feel special by purchasing one from their favorite beauty retailer and pairing it with brand-relevant packaging - wrap a small box in the colors of their favorite brand, and print out a copy of the logo to paste on the outside. You can nestle the gift card inside the box in delicate tissue paper.

If you want to maximize their choices, don’t buy a card from a particular retailer - research options for prepaid cards that aren’t locked to a specific store. Pair it with the perfect gift card and sentiment that you hope they’ll indulge their beauty cravings.

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

 Lavender Essential Oil | ISA Professional


Are you responsible for filling some stockings from (secretly stylish) Santa? How lucky! When you’re limited to small gifts, you have the perfect opportunity to select an assortment of trial sizes of beauty products across the spectrum - providing an indulgent smorgasbord for your giftee. You can snag shampoo and conditioner samples to help her find that next great hair routine, and throw in a few K-beauty face masks while you’re at it. Don’t forget to choose a couple of different aromatherapy lotions or even beneficial argan oil.

Lip products are perfect for stockings too, although those can get a little pricey - stick to one you know they’ll love. If they love to play with a ton of different makeup looks, consider a fun and funky set of new application brushes. If they’ve been dying to dye their hair, you could gift them some hair chalk or similar temporary coloring products. Don’t forget the wide world of hair decorations from clips to combs to wraps either! See? Having the opportunity to fill a stocking is a gift in itself. (Or maybe that’s just me. I love putting together gift baskets, too.)

What Not to Gift

 Good Friends Enjoying Quality Time Together | ISA Professional


It’s as important to know what NOT to gift your recipient as it is to choose the right gift for them. I mentioned previously that you want to avoid purchasing them any products from brands they don’t support on whatever grounds - whether they’re ethically opposed to them or they condemn their use of toxic ingredients. You should also make sure that your giftee isn’t allergic to anything in the product they’re purchasing - for example, if someone develops a latex allergy, it could be fatal for them to use a makeup product containing latex or cross-reactive ingredients.

There are also some beauty products that could feel insensitive when purchased for someone else - anti-aging products or skin-firming products pushed as helping people look as if they weigh less than they do. This isn’t something you’d necessarily enjoy receiving from a friend - unless you specifically ask for them! Best skip it.

Feeling more at ease with your holiday shopping now? Glad we could help! Hit the comments and tell us what kind of beauty products you love giving and receiving during the holidays.

14 Dec '18

Five Festive Red Lipstick Looks That Are Ideal For The Holidays

Stop Them In Their Tracks With These Red Lips

Woman Applying Red Lipstick | ISA Professional

I don’t know about you, but Christmas really sneaked up on me this year. I still feel like Halloween just passed by, while my neighbors are already putting up their lights and cheerful ornaments. December can be a month for self reflection and goodwill (even though we should strive for those things all year long but somehow Christmas reminds us to do so, more than any other month of the year). While gift giving (and receiving) can be extremely fun this time of the year, we shouldn’t lose focus of what the holidays are about: spending time with friends and family. What does this mean? A whole lot of parties and get togethers all month long, bringing people closer together with beautiful, twinkling lights in the background. It allows families and old friends to reunite for a while, making it especially important for those who live far away the rest of the year. With all of these holiday invitations comes the usual question: what should I wear? You know the cameras will be out all night and since you treasure these memories, you want to look good while making them. It makes it a bit more special when you dress up (even though you’re just staying in with everyone), and let’s face it, photos are to be cherished and looked back on with a smile. You don’t want to look disheveled and what better way to look gorgeous and festive than with a statement red lipstick? Red lips looks good on everyone, it just takes a bit of courage and a steady hand. If you’re looking to really stand out at your next party, then these 5 red lipped looks are for you. Which one would you rock this month?

Dewy Red Lips

 

A post shared by Martha Butterworth (@marthamakeupartist)) on


Gloss over the lipstick is an old trick we’ve all used before, it gives you the staying power of lipstick and the beautiful shine of gloss. Well, @marthamakeupartist knows this well and has knocked it out of the park with this gorgeous dewy red lip. A tip if you decide to rock this look: wear your hair up in a braid or ponytail, no one wants their hair to get stuck to their lip gloss!

Green Wreath Lips

 

A post shared by Chloe Young (@chloeybeauty) on



If you want something that screams the holidays, then this look by @chloeybeauty is perfect for you! Maybe you’re known by everyone as the Christmas lover that will always look the part for their parties and why disappoint them this year? Drawing those red and white stripes and giving the green wreath some texture will take time but will completely worth it!


Candy Cane Lips

 

A post shared by Chastity Dimitra Leos (@chassydimitra) on

 

Looking for something that isn’t completely red these holidays? By creating an ombre effect with your reds and blues, you can create a lovely look like this one by @chassydimitra. The candy cane stripes are so cute and those lining skills are out of this world!


Metallic Mosaic Lips

 

A post shared by Vlada Haggerty (@vladamua) on

 

For anyone that follows makeup artists on Instagram, @vladmua is one of the most talented and well known. She creates lip art like no other and her skill and determination show clearly in her work. This holiday look will leave anyone that looks at you a bit dizzy thanks to the red metallic details, making it impossible to look away. Definitely drink through a straw with this look, though!

 

Golden Red Lips

 

A post shared by megbaldini (@megbaldini) on

 

Do you love gold? I love how it’s a color that pairs well with anything and joining it with these coral red lips is a genius move by @megbaldini. The detail work she put into it is stunning and that coral red hue is perfect for your next party (or lets be honest, any other time of the year). Just imagine having this art on your lips paired with a sleek black dress these holidays!

26 Nov '18

How to Give to Charity: Little Ways to Make A Difference

Give The Gift Of Hope This Holiday Season

Woman Donating Clothing For The Holidays | ISA Professional

It’s not just the time of year to switch to your winter hair care routine and break out your amazing collection of scarves - it’s also the perfect time of year to think about how we can best help others, from our fellow human beings and our planet to companion animals and wildlife. Maybe you worry you can’t do enough to make a real difference to the world, but let me tell you something important: if everyone helps in whatever tiny ways that they can, it all adds up to a whole lot of good being put back into the world.

Daily Acts

Person Bathing Dog At An Animal Shelter | ISA Professional

When you want to make a difference and give back to your community and our world, there are many daily acts available to do so. You can donate your time, your money, or even simply supplies to various causes. You can spread word of worthy groups to support when you’re short on time or tangible goods yourself. You can even invest and reinvest any small funds you have to donate by making microloans to alleviate poverty. Just make sure you do your research to ensure you’re donating to legitimate causes in a way that’s needed - and so the maximum amount of your donation actually goes to the cause or people you’re trying to help. (Charity Navigator’s a decent place to start.)

Donate time or supplies to shelters: Whether to combat everyday poverty or to assist people displaced due to natural disasters or conflict - or to support homeless animals - there are shelters everywhere that need your help year-round. Locate one locally and see what they’re most in need of before donating.

Donate blood when there is a need: Blood donation comes up most often when there’s a large-scale disaster resulting in a large number of injuries. It’s a vital way to help, but only if your blood type is requested and donation centers don’t otherwise have a surplus.

Save your daily change and donate it: Do you spend small amounts daily on coffee or other small luxuries? Consider cutting back a couple days a week and donating the resulting savings to a charity of your choice.

Charities We Support

If you haven’t already selected the charities you’d like to support this year, there are three we’d like to highlight that meet our standards of transparency and responsibility - both to their donors and the causes they support.


National Pediatric Cancer Foundation

Happy Family Smiling For The Holidays | ISA Professional


The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation's focus is straightforward and strong: this nonprofit organization is dedicated to funding research for less toxic, more targeted treatments for childhood cancer. Their ultimate goal is to eradicate pediatric cancer, and they're working with 24 leading hospitals throughout the United States in pursuit of this goal. The foundation was founded by two mothers whose children were diagnosed with cancer in 1991. Their children have survived and are healthy today - thanks to research advancements - and the experience inspired Melissa Helms and Risa Tramel to keep fighting through funding research. Over 87% of the charity's total expenses go to their cause and they're scored 100/100 on both their finances and their accountability and transparency by Charity Navigator.


WildAid

African Elephant In The Wild | ISA Professional


WildAid's purpose is summed up by their strong, direct purpose statement: "We believe that when the buying stops, the killing can too." They work with governments and other partners against the illegal wildlife trade by supporting local conservation efforts and striving to reduce the consumption of wildlife products. They fight for the protection of elephants, rhinos, tigers, pangolins, sharks and more - their programs include introducing new technologies to protect marine life from shark finning, training law enforcement to intercept pangolin trafficking, and convincing Vietnamese CEOs to pledge never to buy, use, or sell rhino horn. When you donate to WildAid, you can feel comfortable knowing that over 90% of your donation goes right into their program expenses, and they're rated 5 stars by Charity Navigator.


Books for Africa

Book Ready To Read | ISA Professional


Love books? What better way to share that love than by donating to the literacy of African students? Books for Africa has been working to create a culture of literacy in Africa since 1988, providing students with the educational tools they need to improve their lives. Over the last 30 years, they've shipped over 42 million books throughout the African continent. Beside traditional books, they also send computers and e-readers, and you can donate to specific projects that are working to get books to libraries and schools via the Library of Alexandria, empowering rural communities with knowledge in Burundi, and more. They also have special initiatives to get law books to law schools and bar associations, build agriculture libraries, and provide French-language texts to students in Francophone countries. Over 99% of donations made to Books for Africa go into their programs! They also have the highest rating from Charity Navigator.

When you’re shopping for your friends and family this winter holiday season, don’t forget about those in need - even a small act of kindness can make a world of difference to someone in need of help. And generosity’s a great look on everyone!

15 Nov '18

Focus on Wellness Retreats: Relax Yourself Healthy

Give Yourself A Mini Break For Your Well-Being

 

Friends Enjoying A Relaxing Day | ISA Professional

 

Have you noticed how our lives have become relentlessly plugged in? We find ourselves having to work harder than we ever have before. It’s a growing concern, and one measured by our suffering. Finding a getaway has become one of the most powerful tonics available today: Wellness retreats are a type of vacation that clap back at all the crap life wants to throw at you.

 

Our physical health is impacted by long work hours that may promote a sedentary lifestyle. Our mental health is affected by endless worry and comparing ourselves to others until we’re anxious and depressed. More of us are having trouble sleeping, perhaps due to blue light from our devices affecting melatonin production.

 

With our whole bodies tied up in knots like this, it’s no wonder that our health suffers.

 

Wellness retreats are one solution to this modern problem. They’re all about unplugging, unwinding, and re-centering. About incorporating beauty into your day and letting all your worries go. Often situated in beautiful natural surroundings, you may spend your time at a retreat doing yoga, practicing meditation, communing with nature, or so much more - all by unplugging from the rush of everyday life and tuning in to our spiritual or meditative sides.

 

Go All Out

 

Group Enjoying A Relaxing Yoga Session | ISA Professional

 

The purest form of wellness retreat is the one that involves getting away - often far away - to some luxurious and/or secluded location. These are the fantastic facilities you hear about when someone’s gushing about the wellness retreat they’ve been on. Depending on how far you want to travel (and how much you want to spend), you could find yourself under the gentle hand of a Wellbeing Guide in the Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary, reflecting in meditative silence at a monastic Indian retreat, or doing yoga and meditation at a health resort in Sri Lanka.

 

Whether you want to be isolated from the world, try alternative health care, or experience something new and weird, you can find a wellness retreat to fulfill your desires. You must, of course, be willing to pay. If you’ve saved up the funds and need to fundamentally reset, why not splurge and treat yourself? Money is just money, and your health is everything. If you can spend it while being fiscally responsible, then go for it. Make sure you do your research first to be sure you’re purchasing the brand of support (and maybe even pampering) that you deserve.

 

Stay In Budget

 Women Relaxing On The Beach Together | ISA Professional

 

Of course, many of these options are breathtakingly expensive, so don’t be afraid to look further for a quality wellness retreat that you can actually swing on your income: check out resorts in gorgeous locations you’d love to just hang out in, especially at less luxe-minded resorts or even during the off season. Then see what kind of spa and related getaway packages you can find. Think about natural springs in the American southwest and ocean or forest retreats in Central American countries. And don’t shy away from creating a wellness retreat with a few friends to defray costs.

 

With a little work, you can plan your own wellness retreat and put together a relaxing itinerary, so you don’t have any decisions to make while you’re there. All for a fraction of the price demanded elsewhere! Finding something healthy for your bank account as well as you? That’s living the dream.

 

Do It Yourself

 

Woman Enjoying Some Beauty Pampering | ISA Professional

 

For so many of us, finding both the funds and the time to get away can seem impossible. When we do manage to get a couple of days off together, we feel too exhausted to do much beyond nest on our couches and binge-watch whatever’s hyped on Netflix or HULU. There’s nothing wrong with feeding yourself entertainment when you crave it - but you should know that you have options to DIY your own wellness retreat staycation. Turn your downtime into something that feeds you and clears your mind with a few deliberate choices.

 

If you can, find someplace natural and beautiful nearby to spend the day. This can be a little-visited bit of beach, a nearby forest, or even a public park. Somewhere with the opportunity for fresh air and the sounds of the natural world. Find free or low-cost wellness activities you can participate in while there - there might just be a yoga or tai chi class in that public park that you can join.

 

While you’re at it, detox from your digital life. Sign out of all social media - delete the apps from your phone if you have to. (The memes will still be there when you get back, promise.) In fact, put your phone on Do Not Disturb, and let all your friends and family know that you are officially unplugged for the duration of your wellness staycation.

 

Feed yourself fresh foods - spend some time caring for your body through the deliberate and careful preparation of meals. If you splurge on anything, make it a massage. Make sure you take plenty of naps, and maybe even read for pleasure. Pamper yourself. This slow-focused downtime will help you clear your mind and infuse some beauty into your days - without any expensive travel.

 

If you go on a wellness retreat, be sure to tag us on Instagram! We’d love to see where you’re relaxing.

31 Oct '18

Eat Your Way to Healthy Hair

Want To Have Healthy and Beautiful Hair? Start Eating These Foods!

Beautiful and Healthy Hair | ISA Professional
The foundation of any great hairdo is - well, your hair! Whether you’re dying to dye your hair that cuivre red or trying out the latest in-style braids, you need a solid foundation to build your look on. You need hair that is strong, full, and shiny: you need your natural, luxurious hair to be at its best so you can shine.

There are a ton of factors that go into what kind of hair we have naturally and many of them are beyond our control. Genetics will dictate not just the color and texture of your hair, but also your predisposition to hair loss. Age obviously affects our hair, whether through thinning or greying. Environmental factors can impact your hair’s health, too - poor air quality isn’t just bad for breathing! We can’t really control most of those, unless you’re secretly a super-advanced biogeneticist with the Fountain of Youth in the backyard of your biodome filled with air filtered of 100% of pollutants. (If you are, please call me so I can come live with you.)

Our hair is also affected by our diet, and that’s one place where we do have the ability to take charge of our own hair destiny. So get ready to take notes, class! I’ve collected a selection of facts and foods to help you eat your way to a healthier head of hair.

 

BUILDING BLOCKS FOR HEALTHY HAIR

Woman Looking At Hair Damage | ISA Professional
The building blocks for healthy hair are protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and a series of vitamins, including biotin; each of these elements is critical to promoting healthy hair growth, from maintaining scalp health to building each strand of hair.

Our hair is mostly made up of protein, so having adequate levels of protein in your diet is important to ensure your hair keeps growing. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep your scalp in peak condition and contribute to the natural oils your body produces to ensure your hair and scalp stay hydrated. Iron is a key component in building those hair proteins and providing your body with sufficient oxygen via your bloodstream - including your scalp, preventing hair loss from anemia. Vitamin B7, or biotin, is important in the health of not just your hair, but your skin and nails as well. Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, also contributes to hair growth while vitamin C is vital to your body's circulation - including to the scalp and in feeding your hair follicles to keep hair healthy and strong. Vitamin A is involved in the production of sebum which helps condition the scalp, and zinc also protects the scalp.

Your body gets most all the protein and omega-3 fatty acids and various vitamins and minerals from the food that you consume. There are specific foods you can eat that are high in these elements, allowing you to promote healthy hair growth through your diet: let’s learn how to be alchemists, changing delicious food into healthy hair rather than lead into gold. (C’mon, it’s basically the same thing.)


FOODS TO IMPROVE HAIR HEALTH

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important to our overall body function - and that includes promoting healthy hair! When choosing what to eat, try to stick with as many healthful, less processed foods as you can. It also helps to avoid greasy foods, since extra grease can clog your pores and increase the likelihood of hair loss.

Meats

 Smoked Salmon | ISA Professional

Animal protein is obviously high in protein; food such as red meat is also high in iron. Seafood like oysters, crab, and lobster are loaded with zinc while shrimp also has a lot of B vitamins. Salmon is an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids.


Vegetables

 Black Beans For Hair Health | ISA Professional

Lentils are another fantastic source of protein, along with iron, zinc, and biotin - beans are as well, actually. Spinach and bok choy will give you iron for days, while chickpeas will give you a ton of B9. Sweet potatoes provide beta-carotene (also helps in sebum production) and sweet peppers give you lots of vitamin C (I know sweet peppers are technically a fruit, but bear with me here).

Fruits

 Avocadoes For Hair Health | ISA Professional

Berries are great for a sweet treat - and for giving you a whole host of vitamins and antioxidants, so chow down on strawberries and blueberries and raspberries. Tangerines and guava and other fruits high in vitamin C are great, too. Avocados are full of biotin, too.

Nuts and seeds

 Sunflower Seeds For Hair Health | ISA Professional

Nuts and seeds are baby plants, right, so perhaps it's not surprising that they're chock full of nutrients as well! Almonds (including almond butter) will give you healthy fats with protein and vitamin E. Sunflower seeds will also give you vitamin E. Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids as well in case you don't want to eat salmon.

Grains

 Grains For Hair Health | ISA Professional

Enjoy some oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast for a heap of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and iron!

You can also eat eggs for protein and biotin, cinnamon to improve circulation to your hair follicles, and Greek yogurt for everything - and vitamin B5.

Hungry yet? Good! These foods are delicious and nutritious, making eating your way to healthier hair a pleasant prospect. Are there other foods you like to eat for shiny, strong hair? Share them in the comments to help your community on their way to hair that looks and feels great.




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