Keara, We Will Miss You!

After 11 years at XEX, Keara will be moving to Arizona in June. Join us at XEX on Friday, June 7, from 6-9 pm to wish her the best on her new journey. Drinks and appetizers will be served. Here’s a note from Keara:

Dear friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I’m writing to share with you all the unfortunate news of my 11-year journey with XEX Hair Gallery coming to an end on June 11, 2019. I’ve been able to tell a few of you in person, but for those I haven’t seen in recent weeks, I apologize that you have to hear it through email as this decision happened rather quickly for the following reason. My husband has been offered an amazing job position in Arizona and together, we’ve decided to embark on this new opportunity to see where it leads us and our family.

Words cannot express my gratitude for each and every one of you, as you all have made a lasting impression on my heart and mind throughout the past 11 years. I am incredibly sad to depart ways with XEX Hair Gallery (and my hometown of Chicago as a whole), but also excited to see where this new chapter will take my family and I.

As much as I would love to give each of you one last service before departing, if it’s not possible to do so, I’d like to invite you to stop by XEX salon on Friday evening, June 7, from 6pm-9pm for drinks, refreshments, and the chance to hang out and say farewell. If I do not have the pleasure of seeing you one last time, I would like to simply say thank you. Thank you for not only letting me be your hair dresser, but also allowing me the privilege of getting to know you personally and become your friend. The knowledge I’ve gained about each one of you throughout our time together has brought me so much joy and has made me a better person and stylist all around.

Moving forward, please reach out to me with any questions or just to say hello. It would be a great joy to stay in contact with as many of you as I can 🙂 Regarding your hair services, David, Charles, and I will be available to help assist with stylist recommendations for your future visits at XEX.

Once again, thank you so much for sharing a part of your life with me over the past 11 years. I will miss you greatly and hope to see you on or before Friday, June 11.

With all my love,

Keara Duchene-Rusak

April 23, 2019 | Leave a Comment »
| Posted in: Blog, Community

Why Get Keratin?

The days are getting longer and summer is finally approaching. Alongside sunshine and festivals, there is also high heat and humidity causing excessive frizz. Some of us can survive with a few products, but there are those of us who just can’t seem to keep the frizz away no matter what we try. Well, have you tried a Keratin treatment? Keratin treatments are designed to smooth out the hair giving off a sleek appearance. Read on to find out why you should get one.

What is a Keratin Treatment?

Keratin is the main protein in hair and nails. If your hair is porous either naturally or from damage, chances are you are also lacking some keratin proteins. A lack of keratin in the hair can lead to dry, damaged and breaking strands. A Keratin treatment will help you prevent all this by filling in the holes and adding that keratin protein back into your hair. The results are a sleek, shiny look that can even be easier for you to blow dry and style on your own.

What to Expect

Getting a keratin treatment can take you some time in the chair. At XEX, we offer two types of services: Keratin and Keratin Express treatments. Both yield the same results, but they do differ in process. An express Keratin lasts 6-8 weeks and is usually an hour and a half visit with your stylist. A full Keratin treatment lasts you six months, but will vary from person to person as far as how long you’ll spend at the appointment. These can take at least a couple of hours to complete, but will last you a lot longer.

Your hair will be saturated first with the solution. This will coat the hair and allow the porosity to fill in. After it sits, the stylist will then shampoo you with a keratin safe shampoo and condition with a keratin safe conditioner. Then, your hair is blown out and flat ironed to really seal in the treatment.

After Care

Another thing that is different when it comes to a full Keratin treatment and the express is the aftercare. An express treatment is done when you leave the salon. This means that, besides special products, you don’t need to take any special precautions.

A full Keratin treatment isn’t so simple. The first important thing to note is that you have to wait 72 hours before you can get your hair wet. This means: no washing, rinsing, sweating or getting caught in the rain. In this time, you also should wait to use any styling accessories in your hair. Keratin treatments leave hair in a very sensitive state the first 72 hours. Wearing any sort of barrettes, headbands, hair-ties, glasses (over your hair/pressing against the hair) or hats will all result in dents wherever the accessory was place. So, it’s best just to grab some keratin safe dry shampoo after your visit to keep your hair looking good while you’re waiting for the 72 hours to be up. You can use a silk scarf to gently tie hair back from face, but make sure not to tie it too tight.

If your hair does end up getting wet before time is up, you should immediately blow dry and flat iron it. If you’re concerned about the state of the keratin even after you do this, go see your stylist to see what they can do to help.

Products for Keratin Treatments

It’s extremely important that all your products are safe to use for keratin treated hair. All your products should be free of sulfates and sodium chloride. These chemicals have the tendency to remove the treatment from the hair leaving frizzy, dull results. XEX stocks Keratin Complex shampoos, conditioners and treatments to help keep your hair lasting. We carry both color care and purple shampoos and conditioners, so whatever your hair, we have you covered.

Your stylist will be more than happy to help you choose products that fit your lifestyle and also suit a Keratin treatment. If you follow a certain ritual in the morning, let your stylist know what your go-to products are. If they’re not keratin-safe, we’ll find you an alternative that is!

If you suffer from summertime frizz, are longing for sleek and shiny hair or just want to be able to style your hair quicker, a Keratin treatment may be for you. Not every hair type should get a keratin treatment, and sometimes it’s not recommended on overly porous or damaged hair. Before you make your decision, be sure to book a consultation with your XEX stylist to ensure that the Keratin treatment is right for you.

Taylor ScanlanWritten by:
April 25, 2018 | Leave a Comment »
| Posted in: Hair, Inspiration, Keratin

Why You Should Switch Your Shampoo and Conditioner

“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. You’ve probably heard this phrase before and used it several times in your life. We often resort to this thinking after trying something new and not feeling completely satisfied with the results. So, instead of wasting money again, we shrug it off and reach for the same thing we’ve come to know and love. This phrase can be used for many things, but today we’re going to talk about your shampoo and conditioner.

Although it may seem like no biggie to stick with the same combination, it’s important to remember that your hair is different at different points of the year. Your hair may be drier in the winter, more oily in the summer and frizzy during Fall and Spring. Using the same shampoo and conditioner all throughout the year can result in unsatisfactory hair. Read on to learn the importance of changing up your shampoo and conditioner to put your best hair forward.

When’s the right time to change?

Your hair isn’t going to ‘get used’ to your shampoo and conditioner, so you don’t have to worry about it not doing its job; However, using the same combo for a long time can result in buildup throughout the year. It’s also good to keep in mind that your hair isn’t the same all throughout the year. So, when should you be switching it up? There’s no ‘right’ time to change, but there is a right ‘feel’. The moment you start to notice changes in your hair (dryer, duller, oily, etc) is the moment you should start thinking about switching up your products.

Getting to know your hair and what it needs to look its best is important. Talking to your stylist about what is happening at the time can help them consider the problems you’re having and which product will help to improve that. If you notice your hair feels drier, grab something for moisture. If you see that you’re suffering from brittle ends, get something focused on reversing damage and so on and so forth.

Try a Combo

When it comes to changing what you know, you may have a hard time deciding which product to go with. A hydrating shampoo may be good because your ends are dry, but if your scalp produces excess oil, you don’t want to add more moisture into that. If you don’t need a heavy conditioner for your ends, but you notice your scalp is dry, you shouldn’t get a moisture-rich conditioner.

Try thinking of your hair as two parts: top and bottom. The top of your hair consists of your scalp and new growth. When considering your scalp, you should be considering shampoo. If you have excess oil, you don’t need a shampoo that is going to add more. Try considering a shampoo such as Aveda’s Rosemary Mint or Shampure. These are your basic shampoos that will get the job done without any added help. For dryer scalps, Aveda’s Dry Remedy Shampoo will help encourage hydration. If you color your hair, it’s best to get a color safe shampoo like Aveda’s Color Conserve since shampoo is the more ‘stripping’ of the two, this will help keep your color nice and fresh looking.

When it comes to your conditioner, you should think about your ends and whether or not they’re dry or damaged. If you color your hair but keep the ends light, a color-safe shampoo and a damage repair conditioner would be a great combination for you to try. It’s all about paying attention to your hair and what you’re looking for for your scalp and for your ends. You may not need excess moisture on your ends, but your scalp could use it or you may have too much at the scalp, but your ends are dry and brittle. Feel your hair and take a mental note the next time you need to purchase more shampoo and conditioner.

At the end of the day, it’s important to switch up your shampoo and conditioner. Not only will it help keep your hair looking its best in every season, but you also get to try new and exciting products to see what they can do for you. If you’re at a loss or are trying to be a little more cautious when it comes to new things, don’t worry. Your XEX stylist is here to listen and help you out. All we want is for you to look and feel your best so it’s our job to let you know what products will help!

Taylor ScanlanWritten by:
April 12, 2018 | Leave a Comment »
| Posted in: Blog, Hair, Inspiration

Healthy Hair, All Year Long

Spring is here! As we scour the magazines for the latest hair trends of the season, deep down inside we know that once winter rolls around the process of change happens all over again. With each passing season there is always going to be a new, fun trend to try for your hair. Let’s face it, changing your hair is fun and a great way to change up your look without permanent commitment. However, all that changing from dark to light and back to dark isn’t really the best for our hair. So how do people go through these changes and their hair still looks healthy? Read on to find out how you can have healthy hair through all of the trends.

Choose Your Color Wisely

When you consult with your stylist, you should ask them what type of color they use. Permanent color is, well, permanent and even though it will stick to your hair, it will be all the more difficult to remove once you’re ready to lighten up again. Ask your stylist about using Demi-Permanent color instead. Demis usually will last you 6-8 weeks until you’ll need a touch up again and will be much easier to get out of the hair compared to permanent color since they fade out of hair.

Next, it’s time to think about what kind of change you’re looking for. You should consider your hair type, the integrity of your hair and how much change you’re looking for. If you love your blonde locks and don’t want to go much darker, choosing a brunette shade for cooler seasons is probably not the best choice. The same goes for darker hair. If you aren’t too keen on brightening up too much, a heavy highlight session is probably not in your cards. This is not to say that it won’t be flattering, but if you’re going to go back to blonde in the summertime, it’s going to take a toll on your hair.

The best way to change it up during the year is a more subtle approach. For blondes who like to stay blonde, going a few tones darker- or even opting for a ‘cooler’ tone- will help you feel on trend with the winter without being too much of a hassle. For brunettes and darker, adding in a few highlights just a few shades lighter will help brighten you up for spring without being too damaging on your hair.

Picking a Service

Now that you have an idea of what color you’re going for, it’s time to think about a service. You need to ask yourself the following questions: How much brighter/darker do I want to be? Where do I want to see the most change? Do I want to keep any of what I have now? These questions will help during the consultation with your stylist. They will help your stylist determine what service would work best for the look you’re trying to achieve.

It’s important to do your own research and bring in pictures. To help you and your stylist visualize how much lighter or darker you want to be, pictures will help a great deal. Even though your hair and the model in the picture’s hair are different, it will still help with a general direction to go. Are you looking for an all over lighter look, but still want to keep some of your natural color? Do you love the contrast of a sombre or are you more into the subtle, sun-kissed look of a balayage? Figuring out how you want to change for the season will help you and your stylist choose a set service to book.


Whether you’re blonde going darker for cooler months or a brunette shaking things up with some highlights for summer, you will experience some damage. Keeping up with the trends also means keeping up with your hair and knowing what it needs. When you’re looking to go lighter, you should have a hair mask that will help add protein to your hair. Aveda’s Intensive Treatment or MoroccanOil’s Reconstructive Mask are great to help add a little oomph to your hair. These will help with damage control on your next highlighting service. Though they won’t stop all the damage, they will surely help keep hair stronger.

When it’s time to deepen the color, you should get a good hydrating mask like Aveda’s Dry Remedy Mask or MoroccanOil’s Light or Intensive hydrating mask. Winter months are drying and our hair suffers just as much as our skin. Getting a good mask to keep hydration in your strands will also help keep damage at bay so your hair is nice and healthy for summer highlights!

Seasons change and so should you. Not only is changing up your look is keeping you in trend, but it’s also fun to experiment with your appearance. It’s extremely important to consult with your stylist when deciding a major change. Brightening up and Toning down doesn’t have to be as dramatic as brown to blonde, but it can still change the way you look. Since spring is around the corner, it’s time to lighten those locks! Book your consultation with your XEX stylist soon so you can warm up just in time for beach weather.

March 22, 2018 | Leave a Comment »
| Posted in: Beauty, Blog, Hair, Inspiration

Welcome Spring!

Even though we’re still feeling the chill of winter, it is March. That means that spring is around the corner. While we’re waiting for the flowers to bloom, it’s the perfect time to transform our hair into a springtime style. Here are some of the trends to look out for this spring season.

Nirvana Blonde

Selena Gomez’s hairstylist is responsible for this trend. Taken inspiration from the late Kurt Cobain, this look combines a soft, platinum blonde with a brown shadow-root to give you that grown out, grungy kind of effect. Ask your stylist to closely match your natural color to maintain this look for longer times in between appointments. This platinum-beigey look won’t be too harsh against the sun and will still make you feel soft and feminine.

To keep your blonde from turning golden, check out Keratin Complex’s Blondeshell shampoo and conditioner! These are free of sulfates and have special toning action to battle against golden tones in hair- perfect to maintain the ashy-beige look.

Stay Ghosted

For those of us who live for fashion colors, the trend this season is “Ghosted”. This look plays off the delicate coloring of opal hair mixed in with granny hair from a few years back. The overall look gives you a soft, light color with hidden dimensions of pastels and silvers. With every movement, your hair can reveal Smokey pinks, lavenders or any color you can think of. It’s about subtly with this trend.

The trick with this color is to take extra care of it. Rinsing hair in cool water and grabbing color safe shampoo and conditioner (like Aveda’s Color Conserve) will help with the fading of the subtle tones. This look will be high maintenance, so if you’re not looking for frequent trips to the salon, talk to your stylist about similar options that will keep for longer.

Bangs are In!

If you’ve ever been caught between whether or not to get bangs, this is your year to take the plunge. There are two types of bangs coming into season year. For those who like a shorter bang, boyish bangs are here! These are shorter and give a choppy look to them to give off a piecey, effortless feel. They can extend across the forehead at an angle, or they can be a little longer and side-swept. Usually, this style of bangs is located above the eye and above the brow.

Another ‘bangin’ trend this year is wavy bangs. This look is more delicate and is often seen on Victoria’s Secret runways. These are longer, less harsh looking bangs that are still choppy, but the strands are kept longer and wispier. Combine these with beach waves and you’ve got the perfect summer look.

To keep your bangs looking fresh and your eyesight intact, XEX offers complimentary bang trims for our regular clients, so the upkeep of bangs can be a little easier on your wallet.

90s Comeback Haircuts

The redemption of 90s fashion hasn’t stopped just yet. This year, haircuts are taking inspiration from this time period. It’s all about blunt cuts with the ends curled or flipped out. Structured, blunt cuts give you an edgy look while still maintainable. You can go for a sleek, straightened look or a fun, textured feel with just a few minor styling choices. The best thing about these cuts is that they’re not too short or too long, so growing them out isn’t a hassle.

Go Big or Go Flat

Do you have natural texture? This Spring, find products that will enhance what you’re working with. Products like curl creams and enhancers will help you get an extra bounce in your strands. The bigger the hair, the closer to the stars so why not let it go wild. Moroccan Oil’s Intensive Curl Cream or Aveda’s Curl Enhancer will become your best friends. These two products pack a punch to your curls, springing them into action while keeping away the frizz.

Spring is around the corner and it’s time to get your hair prepped and ready to go! There are a ton of trends to choose from and not all of them are right for you. Consultations with your stylist are important when deciding someone different for your look. Your stylist knows your hair and what will look great on you. So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call at XEX today to get your locks ready for the spring.

Taylor ScanlanWritten by:
March 15, 2018 | Leave a Comment »
| Posted in: Beauty, Blog, Hair