Two hair videos – check out Extensions and Alopecia Update

This one is a fun video where I was loving my beautiful Jon Renau hair.

And this is an update on alopecia and extensions, etc.



My Pixie to Inverted Bob with Extensions Experience – Trans4mation Salon

Hair Before – Pixie Cut. [to fully appreciate this, you might want to check out this post: ]

Hair After – Inverted Bob. Definitely the healthiest looking one I’ve ever had.

What the gentle extensions look like – no tugging. They lay very flat. I don’t feel them. They are very light.

My lively natural hair and pixie cut

OK clearly I cannot stop blogging.

People are going to get confused. What is she doing with her hair? Five months ago it was almost to her waist. But that was not my hair, but the Zara. Then it was Julia. Now it’s a pixie cut, and so soft and touchable and undeniably my hair. At the end of this week, it’s going to be something different. If you need any help with the confusion, try my alopecia story here.

For now, this is my self-given (ok sort of husband-given [“no, dude, stop, give me some sideburns. No – leave me some length on top. Halle Berry, I’m telling you. Halle Berry”]) pixie cut.

What surprises me is the lively curliness of my natural hair, which wasn’t that way in December. And the color. I’m always dying highlights and lowlights into already something-lighted hair. I guess I haven’t seen the natural texture and color of my hair in awhile.

On Thursday, I’m going to get some minor extensions to bring the length forward like an inverted bob. I don’t really see how I have any room for extensions, but my new stylists thinks she can do something. We’ll see.

It seems I remember going to the salon once for exactly this color.

Alopecia update – my experience with treatments including Revivogen, Surface Awaken and Minoxidil (Rogaine Generic)

This is my hair alopecia story.

This is my hair back in January the top.

[for an update of how I style my recovering but fine thin hair, check out my extensions]

I hated hated hated my hair. The last time I loved my hair was when I was 15. I remember an older girl playing with it and saying, “Your hair is SOOO thick.”

It was. You could put your hands around the hair at the base of my neck and it would pretty much fill out the circle your hands made.

There are some reasons it started falling out that I won’t share here. Some of them had to do with hair treatment, and the way I pulled my hair up. A lot of my hair fell out when I was 16.

When I was 20, I went through a lot of stress. I won’t mention the causes here. It lasted about 5 years and all the rest of my hair fell out. I had huge bald spots. I don’t have pictures from this time. The pictures above look a lot better than that time. I got away from the source of the stress and I started taking natural hair supplements. Biotin, horsetail, SAW PALMETTO (if you’re taking something natural for your hair it NEEDS to include saw palmetto or you’re wasting your time), a good healthy vitamin like Alive! which includes digestive enzymes and probiotics just to help you digest your nutrients.

It got better, but never great.

I tried Revivogen. This was the most frustrating thing I’ve ever tried, and the most expensive. I used it for a year. It was 2 steps forward and 2 steps back. Revivogen synchronizes your shedding cycle. I could never find out why, not even from customer service. That means you’ll grow and grow hair like wild, and then it will all fall out every six weeks. Including tiny little 1 inch baby hairs. Who would do this?

Then I tried Surface Awaken topically, and Hair Omega internally. This was the best combination up to this point. My hair slowly, over the course of two years, got better.

Then last December I got sick. I was sick for about a month and couldn’t take the 3 Hair Omega horse pills. Also because I wasn’t eating well, my hair fell out rapidly – I felt like I was shedding. I slid backwards in time 2 years and felt devastated.

I gave up. I was SO tired of my hair. I researched natural looking wigs and found an intriguing website and company run by a sweet lady in California. She sold the same wigs I saw on other websites, but she thins them to make them look more natural, customizes a natural looking hairline, and sews them in to fit your head shape and size.

My experience with Patti’s Wigs was amazing. I was so happy with my hair. I couldn’t stop smiling. My confidence grew. I went to more client meetings and networked more. I started vlogging as well as blogging and was pleased with the results.

Here are some of my pictures:

custom jon renau julia by wigs by pattis pearls

custom jon renau julia by wigs by pattis pearls

custom jon renau zara by wigs by pattis pearls

I started with the Zara in January and switched to the shorter wavier Julia in March.

I was in love with my hair for the first time in more than a decade. Most of the time people could not tell they were wigs, and I’m not sure that people could tell at all. I would wake up in the morning, put on my wig and feel so confident. You can totally see my scalp at the part and I even look at them now and think wow, they look like my real hair – they look like me! My hair color, my wavy hair type, me a long time ago before stress-triggered alopecia. I chose synthetic wigs because of the way they hold their style day after day. But synthetic wigs wear out quickly. For me. I’ve heard they should last longer, but for me I’ve pretty much decided if I continue to wear them I need to buy a new one every 2 months, or get them refurbished, which is much less expensive. You can steam them silky again, which I’ve learned how to do, but then you’ve lost the style.

Wearing wigs for 5 months was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, because it gave me a new lease on life. I made videos and blog posts and lots of people who found these were excited to try the same product, and that made me feel good, too.

I started using Minoxidil (the generic of Rogaine) at the same time but didn’t have to worry about whether it worked or not. I could just hide my crazy hair with my new hair and not worry about it. Generic Rogaine is also much cheaper than any of the natural solutions I tried, and I could not stomach one more horse pill, so I stopped taking the Hair Omega. I just used the Rogaine Generic, and sometimes also used the Surface Awaken since I still had it and it was topical.

You have to use Rogaine for 5 months before you begin to see results. I was always afraid to try it because of some crazy things I read (that one of the side effects was hair loss – how stupid could a product be, right?). But I read a much more realistic view of it in Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter without Me (begin to see why I love this book?), and since Paula Begoun at age 60 has a luxurious healthy head of hair that she says she would not have without Rogaine, I was at last persuaded to leave the natural route and try Minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine).

For 2 months I took 2%. Then frustrated with the results I switched to 5%. 5% is typically used only for men. After 1 month, I decided the 5% was making me depressed, like panicky depressed, causing rapid weight gain (I gained 5-7 pounds the first week I was on it), and causing course facial hair growth (yuck!).

For a month, scared to death of the stuff, I didn’t do anything. Then at month 5 I went back to 2% because I couldn’t stand slowly seeing my hair fall out again. I do not experience any of the negative side effects with 2% as I did with 5%. I look better and more toned than I have for 6 years, I feel very happy, and the course facial hair growth reversed itself and went away. That’s the way Rogaine works, if you experience side effects from taking it, they will go away when you stop the medicine, but so will the regrowth in your hair.

But the results of Minoxidil/Rogaine are far faster and better than any natural remedy I’ve tried. Here’s why:

[Originally: If you have alopecia, no natural supplement in the world is going to reverse it.  It’s a medical condition. It’s not caused by a lack of B vitamins so B vitamins are not going to solve it. It’s not caused by a lack of nutrition so better nutrition is not going to solve it. It’s not even caused by stress.] Edited: True and not true. It is triggered by all of the above and treatment, ranging from natural to drug, has varying effects with varying people and types of alopecia. Also, the drug minoxidil is no miracle worker. I have less exciting results after 6 months than when I wrote this originally. I truly have no answers. It’s triggered by stress, and there’s a huge difference. Once it’s triggered by stress, eliminating the stress is not necessarily going to solve it. If your hair loss is caused by stress, then eliminating the stress will relieve the hair loss. But if your hair loss is caused by alopecia triggered by stress, then eliminating the stress migjht not help. Girls as young as 5 or 6 have suffered from terrible alopecia triggered by trauma, while other girls experience stress in different ways. Minoxidil/Rogaine is different than all the natural remedies because it is a growth hormone.

Here are the results.


my hair before rogaine minoxidil

March, when I was taking 5%:

my hair after 6 weeks of rogaine minoxidil

And yesterday, after taking Rogaine for more than 4 out of 5 months, 2% and 5%:

my hair after 5 of rogaine minoxidil

One of the coolest thing about these pictures is that the first one was taken after trying every trick I had learned to get volume out of my hair (volumizers do wonders) and the last picture is taken with not a bit of product or styling. Just clean air-dryed hair.

I NEVER walked around with clean air-dryed hair before, because it hung in 2 skinny strands at the side of my head. I had to style it. All the styling and heat further complicated the problem.

Since the 5 month mark is when you are supposed to begin seeing results, I am eager to see what is next. If the results reverse themselves or stop, I have options. I can wear extensions, or I can wear wigs.

I cut my own hair because it was so hard to put under a wig, and I was sick of hair trouble. I wanted it to be easy. I didn’t want to think about my hair anymore. So this is what I look like now without my Julia. 🙂 My hair feels healthy, lively, wavy and is many different lengths – partially from the textured cut and partially from the new growth – always way more in front than in back. It’s also very dark as I cut off all dyed hair. UPDATE: Now that I’m getting positive feedback on this haircut I’ll let you in on a secret – Nate cut it. 🙂  I directed him, or the top would have been way too short.

my hair after 4 and a half months of rogaine minoxidil

One huge difference between the natural remedies and the Rogaine/minoxidil, is that with the natural ones, I would see some new pieces of growth, especially where my hair was already thick. I would see individual strands – maybe 10 thick, sort of growing everywhere and sticking straight out like sun’s rays. But the spots that had always been thin (alopecia targets two spots at the side of your head, not the front or lower back), stayed thin, and I would use the hair around it to cover it up.

Now the worst areas of my head are covered with a fine soft growth, like little fuzzy hair. Weekly I see a difference as the fuzzy hair gets thicker, and the parts and bare spots get smaller and more filled in.

I don’t really think any of the natural remedies caused inactive hair follicles to produce new hair. All hair follicles can produce between 1-4 hairs. A person with very thick hair can have 4 hairs growing from each follicles, also the hair strand itself is actually thicker. Surface Awaken can really cause the hair strand to plump up (not artificially, but actually), and maybe even cause active hair follicles to grow extra hair. But my experience is that the “dead areas” just stayed dead.

I feel with Rogaine, I can see the “dead areas” coming to life. In other words, follicles that have not produced a hair in years are now growing hair. You can see the difference this would make.

Yesterday I went to a salon to talk about extensions, because I wondered if I was ready to “graduate” from wigs to extensions. I cannot tell you how good it felt to sit in a salon chair after 8 months and have someone touch and talk about my real hair. My hair usually grows fast but in the mean time I can use extensions to help it along, and probably always will use extensions for added growth and volume. I’m not terrified of someone seeing me without my wig anymore, even though my hair is a short style I wouldn’t choose!  I’ll let you know how it goes and also if the Rogaine/Minoxidil thing keeps working as it seems to be. I’ve been disappointed a dozen times before so I’m bracing myself for that – but now I know I have a backup plan. I’m still in between loving my wigs and loving my real hair and couldn’t possibly make any decisions today but hope things become more clear soon. I have two big events coming up including a friend’s wedding and really hope to figure out what to do with my hair by then!

For more pics of my pixie hair now, check out this!

For videos of me with the Zara for the first time, check out this.

buy Patti’s wigs

buy generic Rogaine (minoxidil):

CVS, Walmart, Target, almost anywhere. Or on amazon:

Paula’s opinion on hair loss treatment

Hey guys – guess I was wrong – because I couldn’t resist writing this blog – if I do post it will probably be about hair not makeup, over this two week break.

[for an update of how I style my recovering but fine thin hair, check out my extensions]

To read a more recent update, check out this post here.

Monday Morning Makeup Inspiration – Any Occasion Confidence

monday-morning-makeup-inspiration-pop-portfolio-resist-ultralight-serum-paulas-choice-barely-there-sheer-tint-sonia-kashuk-glisten-bronzer-blush-duo and real techniques brushes

Everybody needs a quick go-to makeup look that you throw on during hurried mornings, to get ready for meetings and lunch appointments, job interviews, weekend outings, whatever. I tend to always try to do something new which ends in more stress and time crunches, so this time I relied on color combinations I had used before and that I would know worked. The only new thing I tried was black eyeliner rather than brown, and it was a good trade. I liked the look so decided to share it with you.

Products Used, and these are some of my favorites:
pop portfolio palette from pop beauty ($26), NYX retractable pencil ($4.15), sonia kashuk magical mulberry ultra luxe lip gloss ($8.99), sonia kashuk blush bronzer duo glisten ($10.99?), wet ‘n wild mega length mascara ($3), paula’s choice ultra light antioxidant serum ($22.91 today on sale), paula’s choice barely there sheer tint moisturizer ($12 got it on sale), paula’s choice healthy finish pressed powder ($14.95), rimmel match perfection 2-in-1 concealer ($4.50).

Not bad, huh?

Last but not least, Jon Renau Julia. So that’s not really a product (well it is – but it’s kind of a daily thing), but I’m really excited I’m learning to style this thing and just in time for an important coffee meeting! It’s not perfect, but I’m so much closer to how it originally looked. I can always send it to Patti for a restyle, which I intend to do sometimes but definitely want to be able to style it myself, too. Compliments It’s the Small Things Blog for helping me figure out I only needed to curl the ends! This made a huge difference.

Brushes used:
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, Real Techniques Powder Brush, Real Techniques Blusher Brush, Real Techniques Kabuki, Real Techniques Shading Brush (eyes), Real Techniques base shadow brush (eyes), Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush (for concealing), Real Techniques Pixel Point Brush.

Products used for look:

monday-morning-makeup-inspiration-pop-portfolio-resist-ultralight-serum-paulas-choice-barely-there-sheer-tint-sonia-kashuk-glisten-bronzer-blush-duo and real techniques brushes

Forgot the concealer in this picture – this is a must have for only $4.50!



1. After washing my face with Paula’s Choice Balancing Cleanser, I put Ultra Light Antioxidant Serum all over my skin including under my eyes. It’s a fantastic eye serum.

2. Then I applied Paula’s Choice Barely There Sheer Tint with the Expert Face Brush, not avoiding under my eye area. This means I don’t have to use under eye concealer, a life saver for me since my under eye skin is very thin.

3. Rimmel Match Perfection is a miracle worker of a concealer (see it in action here), and I applied it over all the spots on my forehead, around my nose, and just in the inner corners of my eyes using the Real Techniques Deluxe Crease brush. Pixiwoo taught me the trick of using the deluxe crease brush as a concealer.

4. Then I used the base shadow brush to apply a pale champagne shadow (one of my two favorite colors from Pop Portfolio by Pop) over my lids, only to the crease.

5. Then I used one of my two favorite crease brushes, the shading brush, to fill in just the outer corner with a pretty dark taupish brown color from the same shadow palette.

6. NYX retractable in Black went on the outer 3/4 of my top lid near the lash line, and on the outer 1/3 of my lower lash line.

7. Sonia Kashuk’s Glisten Duo works for any occasion and almost any other colors, and I dusted the blush side across my cheeks with the Real Techniques blusher brush. The Real Techniques Kabuki (open) provides a good shape for applying bronzer on the temples and contour of cheek.

8. Wet N Wild Mega Length Mascara is a fun budget lengthening mascara that doesn’t make up tear up!!

9. Aquaphor lip Repair went on my lips before Sonia Kashuk Ultra Luxe lip gloss coated them with Magical Mulberry.

10. And that’s the finished look inspired by my lunch meeting Wednesday!

Check out 2 minutes video to see makeup 7 hours later!

Comparison between Jon Renau Julia and Jon Renau Zara

jon renau julia wig 42730

Some pics of Jon Renau Zara

Jon Renau Zara 42730

And some of Jon Renau Julia

jon renau zara


There’s some great comparison videos and photo below!

My Spring Look! :) – Jon Renau Julia and Sonia Kashuk Ultra Luxe Lip Gloss

New Hair and New Makeup! 🙂 The Sonia Kashuk Magic Mulberry Lipgloss completes the new look, don’t you think? OK so it’s not a completely spring look like what is dancing in my head, but it is a start. And I’m wearing my new hair – Jon Renau Julia.