Posts Tagged ‘Tutorials’

ask alise: messy bun alternatives

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Q: Dear Alise,

I’m on the verge of a Kerri Russell, Felicity Season Two hair meltdown.  I’ve always wanted long locks, but growing it out is making me crazy, especially in the midst of the making of a Bay Area indian summer. I’ve done every version of my Sunday-in-sweatpants top knot that I can think of and I am out of ideas. I need suggestions for some styles that will get all of this hair up and off of my neck that doesn’t include a pair of shears!


Cranky and Close to the Cut

A: Calm yourself Cranky,

You’re not the only one who’s been driven to renege on your plans to achieve Rapunzel-like length once the dregs of summer rolled around. Before you go and do something you’ll regret, put down the scissors, pick up a hair tie, and take a peek at two of my favorite updo options that are pictured below. There are so many divine ways to get that mane of yours to be a little more manageable in the summertime, even when the weather is anything but. 

A few bench notes:

1. Get yourself to your local drugstore and pick up some bobby pins and hair ties in a color that suits your locks {that is, blonde if you’re blonde and brown or black if you’re a brunette}. 

2. Any manipulation of your hair {with the exception of straightening/blowing it out} is easier to do on day two {or three, or four, etc.} after a wash. Especially if you have very fine hair, you will find that your hair’s natural oils will give you some more grip the further out from a shampoo that you are. If you’d like to style on the same day as a shower, mimic your hair’s unwashed texture by adding a little bit of product! A few shots of hair spray that you brush through the length of your hair or some volumizing powder will do the trick!

3. Have fun with your hair baubles! Once you stabilize a style with your standard pins and ties, add a little interest with some bejeweled options! Your neck, ears, wrists and fingers shouldn’t have all the fun with the accessories! I love the pompom hairtie options that Viv&Ingrid offers and their beaded bobby pins add a sweet bit of polish to any ponytail. 

Ask Alise - High Ponytail 4

Ask Alise - High Ponytail 3

Ask Alise - High Ponytail 2{Elena wears: Viv&Ingrid Clear CZ Posts, two sets of Viv&Ingrid Mini Bobby Pairs and a Viv&Ingrid Pompom Hairtie}

 HOW TO: Gather the three or so inches of hair that falls along your hairline {or just behind you bang line, if you have ‘em} and, using a round brush or teasing comb, back comb the underside of it. This will add a nice little bump to the top of your pony to keep the overall look from getting too severe. Once finished, sweep up the rest of your hair to join the back combed portion so it sits just below the crown of your head; gather it into an elastic and secure it firmly.

If desired, add a little more oomph to the back combed section of your hair by picking up two small portions at the top of your ponytail and pulling up and out {like you’re drawing bunny ears on yourself}. Set with a bit of hairspray and embellish as you see fit! I think the row of metallic bobbies I used here above one ear adds bit of texture and keeps this high ponytail from looking too sugary sweet.

Ask Alise - Twist 3

Ask Alise - Twist 4

Ask Alise - Twist 1{Elena wears: two sets of Viv&Ingrid Mini Bobby Pairs and Beaded Solitaire Hoops}

HOW TO: Fancy, huh? This undulating updo looks tricky but is easy to put together. The trick is twisting – and lots of it. Start by separating your hair into three sections – no need to make hard part lines. You just want two sections that start an inch or two above each ear {and then follow more or less the same distance to the hair line at your neck} and the third section will be all of the hair from your hairline to the nape of your neck. Loosely section off the sections you’re not working on with a hair tie or clip.

Start with one of the sections by your ears. Begin rolling it in towards your head, pinning it once every inch or so with a bobby pin. Continue rolling until you reach the end of the section at the back of your neck. With the remaining hair, continue twisting until your hair begins to coil in on itself. Use additional bobby pins to attach these coils to the back of your head. I like the to leave the very ends of your hair out to keep the style from looking too done. Repeat this with the other section of hair above your other ear. For the last section, simply smooth the hair back over the top of your head and gather it at the nape. Coil just the bottom portion to mimic the other sections and pin in place. Again, I leave the ends out to add that keep hair looking easy instead of overworked.

To finish, add a few mists of hairspray. I like to hit the coils for a little extra hold and then the hairline and by your ears where those baby hairs tend to pop up. For this demo, I also went ahead and included a scattering of some pretty pearl mini bobbies to one side of my twists  for a femme finish.



Ask Alise – no. 2

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Ask Alise Page Header

Q: Dear Alise,

When it comes to blush, I am completely clueless. I love the effortless flush of the cardigan-clad models in the J. Crew catalog, but when I attempt to recreate it, I end up more Barnum and Bailey than Behati Prinsloo. And with so many colors and formulations to choose from, my makeup cabinet is full of all manner of rosy regrets. HELP!


Baffled and Blush-less


A: Be baffled not, Blush-less!

Indeed, the sheer number of options available for creating that coral complexion is dizzying! But worry not  - here are my recommendations for any blush beginner:

With both cream and powder options to choose from, you have an opportunity to switch up your look with just one product! Powder blushes are usually more pigmented and require less color to achieve a flattering, matte flush and can be applied quickly with a large, loose brush to the apples of your cheek {you know, the part your grandma used to pinch}. Cream blushes, on the other hand {ahem, cheek}, are better when you’re going for a more dewy finish. These formulations can be easily applied either with your fingertips or with a shorter-bristled, stiffer brush by making a check mark along your cheekbone and then blend, blend, blend! For extra staying power, finish it off with a dusting of translucent setting powder.

One word of caution, my lovelies – avoid cream blush if you’re having a bout with blemishes. Powder blush is your friend here! And, as always, keep your applicators {fingertips, brushes, or otherwise} clean as a whistle as this will prevent the spread and proliferation of the bacteria that causes breakouts. A little mild soap and water goes a long way!

Below, I’ve included a few photos tips as well as two of my favorite blush options. My powder pick is Julie Hewett’s Bud of Rose – a universally flattering shade of petal pink that does wonders for any and all complexions. As far as creams go, I like to take a few more risks here and choose a more daring shade of rouge as these products tend to wear more sheerly. Julie Hewett’s Cheeky in Peachie fits the bill nicely. While it looks a little daunting in the palette, it wears much tamer than it appears and blends to a lovely shade of pinky-orange that is one of my favorite shades for summertime.


Ask Alise - Unblushed

Ask Alise - Cream Blush

Ask Alise - Powder Blush

Ask Alise - The Tools

Get the look! Above – Julie Hewett’s Cheeky Palette in Peachie – $22; Below – Julie Hewett’s Bud of Rose Blush – $33. Both available at Viv&Ingrid at Oxford Hall now!

Julie Hewett Hand






Ask Alise: The Debut

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Ask Alise Page Header








Fancy, huh?

We digress. With all the cute-ifying we’ve been doing to the blog lately, we thought we would be remiss to not put our heads together and come up with some equally cute content to post. One brainstorming session and more than a few venti, extra hot, no foam soy green tea lattes with sugar free peppermint syrup later and this newest venture – Ask Alise – was born.

Who is Alise? Besides being ridiculously we’re-not-worthy cool, she also happens to be a fabulous stylist with over twenty years of experience in the industry. She really has done it all – from owning her own salon to editorial work and is our go-to expert in all things beauty-related. {Check her out now over at Jaujou Studio in Oakland – real talk: best cut in the East Bay.}

And what, exactly, do we ask Alise? Being as in we’re makeup un-inclined {that’s a nice way of saying we’re all thumbs with a mascara wand} we wanted to bring in a real deal expert to answer all of our customers beauty questions. What’s the difference between a cream blush and a powder blush? How do I do a smoky eye without looking like rabid raccoon? Alise has the answers, and from now on you’ll find them all here on the OH blog. We hope you enjoy this new mini-series as much as we have putting it together {and a big thanks to all of our Oxford Hall shop girls for being our guinea pigs/models for our how-to shots}.

Q: Dear Alise,

I love a new red lipstick I just purchased, but sometimes I think it is just TOO red. Is there a way I can make it more sheer and wearable for daytime? Sometimes that “femme fatale” look is a little much for a Wednesday at work.

The Unintentional Office Vamp


A: My Dearest Unintentional Vamp,

A bold, red lip has its time and place and yes, you’re right – your AM staff meeting is probably neither. To get double duty from your favorite new shade, mix a scrapping of it {use a knife or another object to remove a small piece} on the back of your hand with a sheer balm. A lip brush will make a cleaner job of it, but your fingers can be used as well. Once you have an even mixture, apply to your lips and voilà – an office appropriate rouge! {Tip – the less lipstick and more balm you use, the more subtle the final result}. Check out the photo tutorial below for the step-by-step!



Ask Alise The Tools

Ask Alise Mix it Up

Ask Alise The Results

Want the look? Check out Julie Hewett’s Femme Noir Lipstick {$26} and Natural Camellia Balm {$23} – both available at Oxford Hall now.