Life Outside the Chair

If you follow my blog you may be wondering why I’ve been terrible at consistently posting lately. For that I cannot apologize enough (please forgive me!) and I have some very good explanations why. Today’s blog post will be unlike the others I’ve written in the sense that I’m going to let you all into my life a little bit. Spoiler alert: there won’t be any hair facts. 

Most of my days I spend at the salon (I practically live there) doing what I love the most: making people beautiful one head of hair at a time and hopefully inspiring others in the process. I’m there at least four days a week for eight hours a day, sometimes more if I’m fitting more clients in. It’s never a dull moment behind the chair and I’m always letting my creative side be put to use. Being a hairstylist is easily my main/favorite job, however it isn’t the only job I have. 

In addition to creating hair magic, I work as a part-time barista at a local coffee shop where I live. In high school I became a barista for my first real job, and loved it! I missed it so much that I decided to get back to the grind, literally. There isn’t much that beats the smell of fresh coffee all day, even if you end up bringing that smell back home with you from the stains on your clothes. I love pulling my own shots of espresso and combining it with endless varieties of flavor. However, I can’t handle the sweet stuff anymore like I used to, plain lattés are my go-to now. I typically am at the coffee shop on my days off from the salon (Sunday’s and Monday’s) working the closing shift, and sometimes Friday’s, too. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I like keeping busy. Being a barista is beyond fun and I meet wonderful people each time I  work. Plus, who wouldn’t be in a good mood getting their daily cup of coffee?

Now it doesn’t end there, though (I know how do I have time for anything else?). On top of working full time as a stylist and part time as a barista, I coach the Philomath  High School Shining Stars Dance Team. For me this is more volunteer work/a hobby because you can’t put a price on the reward of coaching high school girls (and boys!). I was on this dance team when I was in school and it wouldn’t have been the same if I hadn’t joined the team. It really made high school for me. I created incredible friendships and poured all my passion and emotion into each routine, it was incredibly stress-relieving. Now I am blessed with the opportunity to provide the same environment to young adults, and help them learn many life skills. We practice very early in the morning, so it doesn’t conflict with my other jobs, with the occasional dance competitions on Saturdays. It is so much fun and inspiring to see all their hard work from practice come to life out on the floor when they compete. They are quite the talented and kind-hearted group of girls and boys that I’m so proud of. 

Recently my team competed at Sate up in Portland against other Oregon high school dance teams. This whole month was pack-filled with practices, competitions and showcases getting ready for our performance at the collesium. Combine that with some busy weeks at the salon and my shifts at the coffee shop, my brain was working overtime and my body was trying to keep up, too. Writing a blog post kept pushing towards the back of my mind each week as I awaited a time to sit down and focus. Again, I apologize to all of you and appreciate your patience with me during this busy month! Now that dance has slowed down, I can get back on schedule with my blog. Plus, I’ll have more time to hangout with my friends, boyfriend, and of course my cat (what I do when I have free time). 

I hope you enjoyed the little insight to my active life, and am sorry this post wasn’t very hair-related. Even though hairstyling is my main career, it isn’t my only passion. Being a stylist, barista and coach are all rewarding and inspiring in their own way. What inspires you?

I promise next time I won’t take so long,

Mallory G.

P.s. Here is my beautiful and talented team! They placed 7th out of 10 in the Show division at State, with our record high score of the season. One senior dancer received the Academic Scholarship, and another senior dancer recieved the Dance Scholarship, Academic Scholarship, and made the Allstate Team. It’s an honor to be their coach.  

Changing With The Season: A Guide To Going Lighter

As the weather starts to change (in the case of right now: getting warmer) styles tend to follow, especially haircolor. When winter comes the rich brunettes can be seen more commonly, then vice-versa once the sun starts to consistently shine. However, when you want your hair to match the bright rays of sunlight after you just spent 4 months with Hershey’s dark chocolate locks, there are some safety precautions and factors to consider. In this blog post I will discuss, as a stylist, what to expect from the process of lightening your hair for spring/summer.  

I’m sure most of you know who Khloe Kardashian is, and have seen her beautiful blonde hair lately. Gorgeous right? Also notice how healthy it is. This is primarily because she gradually started going lighter with time and TLC. As you can see in the photo above (thanks!) she started with a beautiful all-over brunette. Next, after who knows how long, she switched it up to a warm ombré, which is a fantastic start in the direction towards  blonde. In each photo you can see the color becomes slightly lighter, as well as starts to rise closer to her face for framing highlights. In the end, the last photo shows her with icy-blonde waves  that are long and luscious. This photo collage has become my favorite example to use because these are the exact stages your hair must go through to become a level 10 blonde as we call it in stylist vocabulary. It is impossible to go from dark brown/black to blonde in just one session, ESPECIALLY if you want the integrity of your hair to stay strong. 

What to expect: there will be a warm, not exactly desirable stage. When you open the hair’s cuticle and pull pigment out, you expose underlying tones or the remaining pigment. This is what explains why your hair may become orange, brassy or yellow at different levels (levels refer to the shade of hair, with 1 being the darkest and 10 the lightest). Each level has a different undertone. For example, black has a blue undertone causing it to look more on the “cool” side, and dark blonde or caramel have an orange undertone, creating more warmth. The chart below explains what each level the colors are, their names and remaining pigment in an easy-to-understand format.  

More often than not, hair has a tendency to hit a wall and get stuck at a level 7 (orange). The result? Some unhappy, brassy blondes in need of some toning. In order to break through this wall it requires either a second session of safely lifting more color out, or applying a toner with a pigment designed to help cancel out the orange (which would be violet-it is opposite the color wheel). 

This ^ is the all-mighty color wheel, a.k.a the building blocks for color (not just in hairstyling!). With this as your tool, anything can be achieved, really. Let’s say for instance you betrayed your stylist’s wishes and went for that box off the shelf (if you still do this please read my previous post). Let’s also say that plans didn’t go according to action and you’re left with a bright, copper head of hair and rush back to your stylist for help. The first thing your stylist will probably be thinking is that she needs to cover the copper/orange with a blue or blue-violet based haircolor. When looking on the color wheel the opposite of orange is blue, henceforth they will neutralize one another. The same goes for when blondes can’t seem to get rid of the yellow hue, you would then need a violet-based toner to get rid of it. Make sense? 

All of this is taken into consideration when going blonde, from any level of color. It only becomes more difficult the darker the shade you are starting with.

What to really expect: when starting at a level 6 or lower (particularly with previously colored hair) you will NOT be blonde first session. Yes, you will be lighter than what you started with, but because you are dealing with exposing so much warmth with lifting through all that pigment it is going to take a few tries. Be patient and trust your stylist! In order to keep the integrity of your hair healthy, take it one step at a time, getting lighter and brighter with each session and allowing time for your hair to rest in between. The end result is DEFINITELY worth the wait! Make sure to do deep conditioning treatments between each session as well as regular trims to keep frayed ends at bay. Also, if your stylist suggests specific shampoo or conditioner to help your hair stay as fresh as the day you visited them, I would follow their recommendations. Remember, they are here to help make your hair dreams come true!

So, if you’re pondering going brighter for the spring or summer time, make sure you’re prepared. Consult with your stylist first! This will be a process, meaning it’s going to cost a bit more than you may be used to and you want to make sure both you and your hairdresser are comfortable going forward. After that first step is completed, make the appointment and enjoy the change! Besides, isn’t hair meant to be experimented with? 

Happy Monday (and leap day!), bring on the sun of spring,

Mallory G.

Know Your Worth

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome in this (beauty) industry is figuring out how to charge a fair price. However, understanding the quality of your work, and the value of your time are key to knowing your worth. 

For instance, the quality of your work can be determined by a number of factors. Whether it’s  how long you’ve been doing hair/skin/nails, the amount of extra courses you’ve taken to be specialized in a specific area, or how fast you are able to perform a service, these all need to be considered. Personally, I am a certified hairstylist that specializes in ombré/balayage colors, therefore I charge more for them than I would for just a regular color service (i.e base color).  I’m not going to lie, it took me some time to become comfortable with making my prices higher. I was always afraid of overcharging for something I felt wasn’t incredible (mainly because I was just starting out after beauty school and my skills weren’t what they are now). Though, with time and discovering my passion for color, I realized what the quality of my work was worth, and that people will pay for a great service. It’s like the saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for.’ Once you understand that you became certified in your field of choice after hard work and hours of schooling, it becomes easier to realize you are worth the time, so charge for it! 

 As stylists/cosmetologists/beauticians, we know that continuing our education to keep up with the changing of trends is very important to stay afloat in this world. To do that, we attend multiple hair shows, take course-specified classes, shadow a fellow stylist etc., all to learn what’s the hottest new haircut or color and how to achieve it. Don’t let that hard work get swept under the rug! You are advancing your skills, meaning you are enhancing your services and should then charge for it. Those amazing clients in your chair are there for a reason, they trust you and your work and understand that quality work comes at the right cost. 

Other factors that may call for some adjustment in your pricing are time, and for hairstylists, how much color you might need for that full head of highlights (or root touch up, base color, etc.). Sometimes you may have a client that has the equivalent of three heads of hair combined, which will cause you to 1.need more time to apply, process, wash and dry, and 2.need more color. More often than not these clients know ahead of time when booking an appointment that they’re a little bit more work and that it is inevitably going to cost more. In this industry, time is literally money, so don’t be afraid to charge for it! The same goes for needing more product such as color or when a client wants an added deep conditioning treatment. My rule of thumb is that if I am doing any service in addition to the original, it is an added cost. I’m not saying to go crazy with pricing here, but apply what you feel is reasonable. 

Lastly, and most importantly, make sure you always consult with your client about pricing before performing the service. Nobody likes to be sticker-shocked when checking out, but having an honest conversation at the beginning that explains what factors are being considered in the price will leave both you and your client comfortable and happy. 

All you stylists and cosmetologists out there are wonderful creators of art, make sure you know just how much you are appreciated and worth! And don’t forget, we are all #LicensedToCreate. 

Happy Super Bowl Sunday,

Mallory G.

Check Those Labels


Can you name the first 3 ingredients of your daily shampoo? Better question, do you know what they are? Chances are you probably have no idea what your moisturizing shampoo and conditioner contain (unless your awesome stylist has translated them to you), and that’s okay. Typically most labels on products have a seemingly never-ending list of what it’s made of; some of it as easy to read as ‘Water’ but the rest looks more like ‘Cyclomethicone.’ My goal for this post is to help you easily understand product labels in hopes to better avoid harmful chemicals that may be doing more damage than good.

Rule number one when shopping for that new bottle of conditioner (or any product really) is to make sure one of the first four ingredients is water, ESPECIALLY if you are needing something for moisture. This is also the most important rule as water is the best moisturizer for our hair by far. If that ‘all natural’ leave-in doesn’t list it as one of the first ingredients, put the bottle back on the shelf immediately! With that mind, don’t be afraid if the label contains Glycerin (glycerol), which is a humectant that draws moisture onto the hair and acts as a barrier to protect it. WARNING: Do not confuse Glycerin/glycerol with Propylene Glycol, which breaks down healthy proteins in the hair causing damage and can irritate sensitive skin. Another safe and helpful ingredient is Panthenol, a form of vitamin B that thickens the hair follicle to retain moisture and shine, as well as provide protein.

One component you want to avoid as much as possible is Alcohol (sometimes listed as Isopropyl Alcohol). This causes your hair to become dry and after some time of usage, damaged. This is usually the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve with shampoos/conditioners. Not only that, but isopropyl alcohol is a petroleum derived substance that can also be found in antifreeze, shellac and wood finish. Not exactly what you want to be washing your freshly colored hair with, is it?

Another big offender in hair products are sulfates (what make your shampoo bubble/foamy). Now most shampoos don’t come sulfate-free, I understand that. In moderation and paired with an incredible conditioner sulfates can be not as damaging as other substances. However, if it is in your products make sure it’s bottom on the list. Some people have found that sulfates cause their scalp to become irritated and itchy, so if this happens to you please throw it away and ask your stylist which shampoo is right for you.

Sodium citrate or citric acid are a couple ingredients that are on the OK list of what your shampoo/conditioner/product should contain. These help keep the pH balance of your hair and the product at the right level as well as wash away dirt and oils. Not only that, but they also help the cuticle lay flat which gives your hair a shiny and smooth appeal.

I know there are multiple ingredients and numerous hair care products out there, but these listed above are some of the most common you will come across. To make it a little easier, here is a list of which are good/bad.


  • Water (aqua)
  • Glycerin (glycerol)
  • Proteins such as
    • Panthenol
    • Keratin
    • Wheat protein
  • Acidic ingredients
    • Sodium citrate
    • Citric acid
  • Nut and Seed Oils
    • Jojoba
    • Avocado
    • Coconut
    • Almond
    • Shea


  • Alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
  • Sulfates
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Cyclomethicone
  • Formaldehyde
  • Parabens (found to be carcinogenic)
  • Silicones

I hope this blog post was informative and that the next time you hit up the store for some conditioner, hairspray, mousse, shampoo, etc. you remember to check the label for those icky ingredients. I promise, your hair will thank you afterwards.

Happy and safe shopping,

Mallory G.


P.S. Some links I found helpful that also have a more extensive ingredient list are:

Toxic Chemicals in Salon Products

14 Harmful Chemicals to Avoid in Your Personal Care Products

Top 5 Ingredients to Look For in Your Hair Products

The Truth Behind The Box

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there; you’re short on cash this month but that inch of grow out keeps staring you in the face, however, your bank account won’t let you go to the salon. The $8.99 color at Safeway or Fred Meyer isn’t looking too bad right abut now, and the woman on the box seems to have a nice haircolor, so it must be okay, right? Wrong. Oh, so wrong.

Box hair dye is an increasing problem that hairstylists really wish to see an end to. I promise we don’t just tell you not to slap some color on at home because we’d rather you spend your money in our chair, but because it really is harsh for your hair. In this post I’m going to go over the real reasons why stylists cringe at any phrase with “box” in it.

1. Professional hair dye deposits color, box dye stains. When getting your hair colored by a professional stylist, that color they use contains dye molecules that enter the cortex of your hair cuticle, which is where your natural melanin (pigment) lives. The dye molecules are larger and there are more of them than your natural melanin, causing them to become the dominant color, which is what you then see as the result after the color service. This is a chemical service because dyes are used, however your hair itself (the protein, melanin, etc.) are not physically altered. Box dyes are different, they stain the proteins in your hair’s cortex, thus chemically and physically changing it. Your hair is made up of mostly protein, and by dying it with a box, you (for lack of a better phrase) don’t have the same hair anymore. The natural melanin in your hair is no longer natural, and that stain is a tough one to break through. Don’t even think about trying to go back to your beautiful blonde locks after a box, unless you’re ready for damage. Because the stain is so harsh, it takes a lot of lightener through multiple visits to carefully and safely lift it out. If you had professional hair dye, the molecules can be removed much easier with less damage to the hair.

2. Professional hair dye is made according to your personal hair type, box dye is a ‘one size fits all’ color. Every stylist is trained in the specific art of color. We are taught to determine which dye to use based on multiple factors: virgin or previously colored hair, underlying pigment, what is the desired color, what level of color is the hair at, porosity of hair, etc. From all of this information we attain during consultation, us stylists then can decide which magic potion will be whisked together and what level of developer to use. The developer is peroxide needed to open the hair’s cuticle, thus allowing the dye molecules to enter into the cortex. There are different degrees of developer needed for different types/strengths of hair, which your stylist chooses specifically for you. Box dye contains the highest developer out there so that it can be used on virtually any head of hair. Because of this, you may notice your hair feeling a bit dry and straw-like instead of silky smooth. The high-intensity developer opens the cuticle more than needed, so much so that it doesn’t want to lay flat like normal, this causes the rough, dry feeling. If all of this doesn’t have you convinced, I’ve still got a few more reasons up my sleeve.  

(Photo credit by Erika Brown, Confessions of a Cosmstologist)

3. Professional hair dye has a timer, box dye will keep on going. Stylists tend to mix color as they go because the dye will become less effective/potent as time passes. Essentially, the color stops working after about 45 minutes to an hour. Once the color has been properly applied, processing time should take only about 35 minutes and then you’ll be on your merry way. Box dye is what’s known as a “progressive” dye, meaning that it keeps working and building on itself as if process and is used over time. That medium-brown color will more than likely turn into a deep dark chocolate after a couple of colorings. Plus, the more you keep using box dye, the more damaged your hair becomes, and the closer you get to the point when even professional hair care might not be enough.

4. Professional color comes with professional care. There’s a difference when getting color done in a salon versus at home, aside from the obvious fact a professional is performing the service. When a stylist is applying color, they can map out where and how to place it, and what effect it is going to have to get the desired result. They can see where the line of demarcation (grow out) is, and make sure not to overlap the colors, preventing damage or breakage. When colors overlap, it is called ‘banding’ and usually creates a darker spot of color. Stylists are also trained to look for any other signs of damage, or even reactions to the dye which can be overlooked when doing it yourself. They can even recommend the correct aftercare products to ensure your color service lasts until your next visit. I don’t see any instructions on the box for which shampoo and conditioner works best with your hair type and color.

5. Professional dye doesn’t have an expiration date, while box dye has a shelf life. Have you ever walked down the hair care aisle of the grocery store and notice some of the color on sale? This is not a good sign! That means that the dye has become old or worse, expired. I can guarantee that the outcome of this will not be anything like that displayed on the cover of the box. These chemicals have basically gone bad and won’t work like they’re suppose to (not that they work well in the first place). This could then turn the $12.99 dye job into a $100/hr service at your local salon to undo what has been done. Professional dye on the other hand is specifically formulated to last until it’s used, and doesn’t oxidize until it’s mixed with the correct developer, which only happens when you’re about to recieve the perfect-for-you blend of colors created by your stylist. Trust me, these don’t have an expiration date, either.

I understand that desperate times call for desperate measures, but please, think twice before picking up that colorful box. It may seem like a great, money saving idea in the moment, but in the end it only has one outcome: disaster. Do you think Eva Longoria really uses a cheap brown box on her gorgeous locks? No way. Beautiful hair requires some TLC and money, but if you work with your stylist and communicate together on the hair of your dreams, amazing results will occur and your hair will thank you. I will thank you.

If you’re still unsure why box dye is really all that bad,  here’s an article written by another professional stylist I found to be very informative.

P.S. I apologize for the late (and long) post, Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” got me hooked early in the week. If you haven’t watched it, 10/10 would recommend.

Mallory G.

P.P.S Some content referenced from Erika Brown at Confessions of a Cosmetologist.

Use Your Groceries To Your Advantage 

Lately I’ve been more and more interested in natural remedies, whether it be to boost your immune system, clear your skin of impurities, or revitalize your hair. I’ve always been a believer of less is more (in the case of the less chemicals in your products, the more benefit you receive). So I decided to do a little research and came across an article I’d like to share.

8 Homemade Hair Treatments on the Woman’s Day website has a great list of do-it-yourself treatments that are 100% organic/natural and can be used for any hair type. My personal favorite is always the raw egg mask. Not only is it rich and moisturizing (and with coarse hair I need a lot of moisture) but it also contains protein and bacteria-eating enzymes that will rid your hair of any unwanted oils. I don’t recommend doing a treatment for your hair too often, though. Typically, depending on your hair type, once or twice a month is best to keep your hair healthy. However, if you have more damaged hair (due to lightening, constant coloring, dry weather, etc.) you could do it a little more frequently until your hair feels back to normal.
What I find interesting is that the article suggests using beer (yes, beer!) as a way to add body to limp or fine hair. Apparently, the yeast in the fermented drink will plump up some tired cuticles. Does it work? I have yet to give it a try as my hair has enough volume on its own, but I could round up a couple of friends who might like to give it a whirl.

There are many more remedies listed on the site that all have easy and common ingredients used to refresh your specific hair type. The best part is, they won’t damage your hair! Some companies go above and beyond to disguise harsh chemicals in their products in order to label them as organic or “good for your hair.” In an upcoming blog post I will talk about which particular ingredients to avoid when shopping for products, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, check your kitchen pantry for some avocados, honey or eggs, pop in your favorite Netflix series and mask-away!

Until next time,

Mallory G.



Here’s to the first post on my new blog!

As I advance further into the hair industry, I am finding more and more ways to express my love and passion for hair and beauty. With that, I have decided to branch out into the ‘blog’ world. I’m sure I’ll get more practice the more I post, but bear with me for now.

The goal is for me to try and post at least once a week (you could say it’s a New Year’s resolution) about a day/week in the life of a hairstylist. I may get a wild urge and post more frequently if something exciting happens that I simply must share and cannot wait.

I’m hoping to post photos of the hair creations  I’ve done, tips and tricks for ways to get the best out of your personal style and the key to keeping up the color/integrity of your hair. I’ll also post my favorite techniques to create a beautifully blended ombre, inside secrets of  up-do’s, awesome ways to mix colors that showcase your personality and much more.

Stay tuned for an FAQ. I’ll be adding stylist-client relationship questions, things I come across on a daily basis as a stylist and ways I’ve built my business that are working for me, and could work for you.

Thanks so much for reading, and as always I look forward to the journey ahead in this crazy, wonderful world of beauty.

Make sure to check out my Facebook and Instagram where I post daily. Links are at the bottom of the page.


Mallory G.