Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

Blow Dryer Tips & Tricks

Tricks for Using a Blow Dryer

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? Point dryer at hair and wait for it to dry…but, no. Here are some tips and tricks to get the best blow dry.

Review our Blow Dry 101 post to find the best dryer for your hair. There are many shapes, wattages, features and construction materials to choose from.

A large, flat brush with vents will dry hair much faster. A round brush will aid in styling. Stay away from metal in the brushes you use while blow drying. This will only create more heat and excessive heat = damage.

A little product on damp hair can make all the difference in a blow out. Sally Beauty sells a wide array of heat protectants.

Section out hair so each section gets dry without hitting already dry sections. This will prevent heat damage on the already-dry areas and allow for more styling control.

Constantly keep the dryer in motion. Stopping in one spot may overheat and damage your hair.

To get volume, flip all hair over your head to one side and blow the roots, then flip all hair to opposite side and blow that side’s roots. When styling with your dryer, pull hair taut but not too tight. Pulling your brush up at the roots will add volume, pulling down will create a sleek, close-to-the-head look.

Start with medium heat and moderate air flow to pre-dry (you can pre-dry just using your hands and no brush) then switch to higher heat and introduce a hair brush for the finish. Especially if you are using your dryer to manipulate your hair into a style (EX : flipping up the ends, creating a wave). Higher heat while styling will help your hair set better.

Help your hair cool down with the cool blast on your dryer then let hair rest until completely cool before messing with it again (if you are dissatisfied with how the style came out!). The hair will settle as it cools and take on a slightly different texture and appearance.

Curling Iron 101

The different styles of curling irons available these days are plentiful! We tested a few and put together some curling iron basics. Welcome to your Sally Beauty Curling Iron 101 lesson.

Mostly, what we are looking at to get a certain style of curl is:


As a ground rule, the smaller the barrel, the smaller the curl. As you work your way up in size, the larger the curl. We played with these three to test out the curl factor.

Variety of Curling Irons at Sally Beauty Supply

Left to Right : Hot Shot 2″ Ceramic, CHI Elite 1″ Ceramic, Plugged In 3/8″

The results were pretty much what we expected! The very large barrel was more of a smoothing, slight wave (left), the medium barrel gave a soft, flowy curl (center) and the very tiny barrel created a tight, screw curl when pulled out straight down (right).

Different curling iron curls

Just like in our Blow Dryer 101 post, what the curling iron is made of will affect the heat level, amount of smoothing and alleviate damage to hair.

Curling Irons will be constructed of a combination of the following materials :

  • Teflon – ensures that hair slides around the iron smoothly and product isn’t as likely to build up on the barrel.
  • Ceramic – gentle, even heat which helps to minimize dryness and breakage from heat styling.
  • Tourmaline – finely ground precious gem oozing with negative ions which help to smooth and defrizz hair.
  • Metals (i.e., gold, aluminum) – used for curling iron barrels due to their heat conducive qualities.
  • Titanium – notoriously strong but lightweight metal, perfect for hand tools of many descriptions.

With the three we tried, our favorite was the CHI Elite Ceramic Curling Iron (center curl above). The curls came out beautifully and we loved the digital temperature read out.

CHI Elite Ceramic Curling Iron

Browse the full selection of curling irons available at your local Sally Beauty Supply or in our online shop!

Flat Irons 101

The Best Flat Iron Selection

We’ve covered what to look for in a dryer with our Blow Dryer 101 and curling irons in our Curling Iron 101 and now, Flat Irons get their turn! In addition to the construction materials and temperature settings mentioned in the other 101’s, plate size is also an important consideration when choosing the perfect flat iron for your hair. Let’s get started…


You want to choose a plate size based on the length of your hair.
SHORT HAIR Go for a smaller plate – less than 1″
MEDIUM LENGTH to SHOULDER LENGTH You will do best with 1″ to  1¼”
LONG HAIR For longer hair, you can get away with the widest plates at 1½” to 2″


Like blow dryers and curling irons, most tools come with variable heat settings.
Having the flexibility to change the temperature is definitely an advantage.
However, fixed or non-adjustable temperature flat irons can work just fine on normal, healthy hair. Not all of us have that, though.

If your hair needs a gentle touch, use an iron at low temperature – as low as 250 degrees, to avoid damage.

Chemically treated hair should be considered fragile, so the same guideline as above.

Thick, coarse hair is stronger so you can get away with temps over 350 degrees.

Depending on your range of normal and if your hair is chemical free – you may find anywhere from 300-400 degrees works for you. It’s always better to err on the side of lower temp and turn it up, as necessary. You may find that you’ve been using too high a temperature, causing more potential damage, unnecessarily!

Regardless of your hair type – use your best judgement. If you ever feel like the iron is getting your hair too hot or smell any type of burning scent, stop using that temperature immediately! And NEVER EVER use a hot iron on wet hair. That is basically boiling your hair from the outside and will certainly cause damage.


Almost all flat irons these days contain ceramic. Generally, ceramic is combined with a strong metal such as aluminum or titanium to create the flat iron plate. Additionally, various nano technologies may be present – which means super fine particles have been infused into the plate. Titanium, silver and tourmaline are common nano technologies. Depending on your hair type and the quality of iron – the nano technology will aid in straightening, shine and preventing heat damage.

We grabbed a CHI Elite Shimmer Black 1″ Flat Iron – an iron which will work with most hair types. Elizabeth tested it on her long, normal-to-thick hair. Her hair is not chemically treated and is in average condition. She set the temp to 350 degrees and used no products to see how the flat iron did on its own. The results were impressive.

BEFORE flat iron test

CHI Flat Iron from Sally Beauty
AFTER flat iron test

A shiny, smooth head of hair is something every woman needs now and again. Using these 101 guidelines, choose the iron that’s best for your hair. Sally Beauty has an extensive collection from to choose from.

Halloween Beauty: Become an Evil Queen

We’ve reached time of year when certain Halloween trends really begin to stand out.  You’ve seen them gracing superstore ads and Pinterest costume boards over and over again – dragons, doughnuts, fairy princesses, icy princesses and superheroes both large and small (and medium-sized – lots of medium-sized superheroes out there).  But, take another look around and you’ll see a dark contender making her way to the forefront – the Evil Queen.

Halloween Look:  Evil Queen

Yes, the Evil Queen has been everywhere in the past year or so, flapping her leathery wings and threatening tiny royal infants, or perhaps painting apples a poisonous shade of red before moving into small-town suburbia to stir things up.  If you love making a show-stopping entrance at costume parties, this is the Halloween look for you.  Let us show you how:

Begin with a foundation that will give you a pale, flawless complexion, like Palladio Dual Wet and Dry Foundation.  Since this is a look that maxes out the drama, you’ll want to create a super-dramatic eye.  Femme Couture® Velvet Eye Color Quad in Velvet Mystery is just what you need.  Swipe the lightest color in the quad across your upper eyelid, browbone and the inner corner of your eye.  In the crease, apply the medium to dark shadows.  Add an upward sweep of shadow to the outer corner of each eye – something smoky and mysterious like Real Colors Singled Out Matte Eye Shadow in Purple Reign, and finish things up with a matching mascara, perhaps Ardell Ombré Lashes in Purple.

Did you know that a brow kit can double as a contouring tool?  Try a set like Femme Couture® Perfect Arch Brow Grooming Kit.  First, apply it to your brows, brushing them up into a dramatic arch.  Then, apply it along your cheekbone (just underneath to be exact), then down to your jawline in order to create the appearance of very high, very sharp cheekbones.  Adding a highlighter such as Femme Couture® Perfect Arch Brow Highlighter will increase the effect.

Evil Queen - Tips & Tools

You’re beginning to look truly malevolent!  It’s time for that poisonous, red smile. Make sure your lips are moisturized, then line them with a killer crimson – Palladio Precision Lip Liner in Candy Apple is certainly appropriate.  Now, fill them in with a matching hue, like Femme Couture® Prime Wear Diamond Color in Prismatic Poppy, and add a slick of toxic shine with Lip Luster Lip Gloss in Cherry Frost.

Evil Queen - Face

A classic Evil Queen demands a classic widow’s peak.  Luckily, you can just paint yours on.  You’ll want something that applies smoothly and precisely, so try Femme Couture® Ultra Smooth Gel Eyeliner in Black in a “V” shape underneath your hairline.  Tuck your wayward curls and bangs under a sleek headwrap, like DCNL Cotton Headwrap in Black, and get ready for the centerpiece of this look – your horns.

Don’t worry – there’s no need to shop at Twisty Goat Horns ‘R’ Us.  Instead, you’ll make use of the magic that is the Hair Stylers Petite Chignon.  Choose one that’s close to your own hair color, and cut it in half.  Now, part your hair in the middle and make two high ponytails.  They should sit very high on your head, just behind the headwrap.  Use bobby pins to attach one half of the chignon to the base of each ponytail.  Carefully wrap each ponytail around the chignon to create a horn, securing with more bobby pins as you go.  If you plan to be casting spells all night long, you can insert floral wire or a folded chenille stem through the center of each horn to add more stability.  Finally, spray your “hair horns” and the rest of your hair to help keep it in place.

Abracadabra!  You’re all set for the royal bash.  Don’t forget to glower fearsomely throughout!

What’s the most dramatic Halloween look you’ve ever tried?  Share your stories and tips with us in the comments below!

Halloween Beauty: Rock It Out

Sometimes, you just don’t feel like a princess, even on Halloween.  Your standard royals seem a bit too well-behaved, vampires too moody, cheerleaders too darn cheery, astrophysicists too serious, and even monsters strike you as goofy.  At times like these, you feel like being a little loud, adding a little extra color and having a little extra fun.  So, for this Halloween look, let’s just go ahead and Rock It Out, shall we?

Halloween Look:  Rock It Out

For hair that seriously rocks, you’ll need some serious tools.  The Gold ‘N Hot Professional Crimping Iron is perfect for adding texture, and The Big Teeze Comb gives that extra volume you’re looking for.  Hold it in place with a serious spray, like Beyond the Zone® Vamped Up Dry Texture Hairspray.

Now it’s time for fun with color!  Try a temporary color like Beyond the Zone® Colour Mousse Pink.  Because it’s a foam, it’s super-easy to use.  Apply it to sections of your hair about two inches behind your ears, covering each section from the roots to the ends.  Create a faux-hawk by sectioning small parts of hair on the sides of your head, and bobby pinning each piece back.  If you’re looking for extra dazzle, just clip a few small, sparkly barrettes on each side.

Rock It Out - Tips & Tools

Get glamorous eyes by layering Sally Girl™ Mini Baked Eye Shadows in Dark Purple, Beaming Blue and Dark Green.  Accent your top and bottom lids with Femme Couture® Eternal Color Luxurious Eyeliner in Brilliant Cobalt, and finish off with false lashes that are just slightly, awesomely over the top, like Ardell Ombré Lashes in Pink.  Think pink for the rest of your look, too – pink blush, Real Colors Hydra Lips Waterproof Gel Lip Liner in Pinup Pink, then Femme Couture® Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in Fabulous Fuchsia for a rosy finish.

Rock It Out - Tips & Tools

That’s it!  You’re ready to party like a rock star, with a look that will last all night long.  Don’t forget the fingerless gloves!

Will you be rocking it out this Halloween?  Share your dress-up plans and your favorite hair and makeup tips in the comments below.