Pucker Up!

Your Valentine’s guide for perfect lips

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and whether you have a date in mind or you’re treating yourself to some love this year, it’s never a bad time to perfect your pout. Cracked lips and smeary lipstick no more. It’s time to start learning about how to get your most kissable lips ever (even if you’re just admiring how awesome you are in the mirror).

Exfoliate!

The first step to soft lips is exfoliation. How often you exfoliate depends on your daily habits. Liquid Lipsticks are notoriously drying while some brands of stick lipsticks have extra moisturizing power. If you’re one to rock liquid lips every day, you may want to think about adding exfoliating to your daily routine; However, if you’re a few times a week kind of person, then every other to every three days should be plenty. It all depends on your lips’ needs and how dry they get during the year.

There are several ways you can exfoliate the dry skin away. A popular way is to use a sugar scrub. You can pick one up at any store that sells beauty care products (your salon may differ on what their brand has to offer). You can also concoct your own exfoliator by using coconut or olive oil and sugar. For a more immediate solution, use a wet tooth brush and gently scrub your lips to achieve the same results (without the yummy flavor).

Moisturize Constantly

When it comes to keeping your lips smooth, moisture is key. We tend to forget to take our lip balm with us or even use it, but getting into a good habit of moisturizing multiple times a day will help keep cracks away. It’s important to get a good lip balm that won’t wear down in a couple of minutes. Aveda’s Lip Saver is a good, thicker moisturizer designed to deeply penetrate your lips and keep them hydrated even against the cold wind. You should always have three lip moisturizers on hand: One for home, one for your bag and one for the office. This way, you have no excuse to not apply.

Outline before you Color in

Now the fun part: wearing lipstick. Before you begin to apply your lipstick, you should use a lip liner the same or slightly darker than the lipstick you’ll be wearing. For ultimate staying power, line your lips and then fill them in with a liner. Lip liners help create a base for your lipstick, keeping it in place and helping it last a lot longer in between reapplication. You can also play around with tones underneath different lipsticks to change the shade or create a different appearance (like red liner under pink lipstick).

Choose your Lipstick, and Master it

There are many different types of lip products to choose from. Lip glosses can add color, but will still leave some translucency to your lips, so a good liner is a must for a solid look. These will help keep moisture in your lips, but you will need to apply it more often. A stick lipstick is your traditional type of lipstick. These can range from matte to glossy and contain more pigmentation than glosses. Even though the applications are usually after eating and drinking, these will still wear down throughout the day. Stick Lipsticks will hold some moisture to them, but run the risk of smearing or feathering. Liquid Lipsticks will give you the most staying power. These work well for date nights since they tend to last through eating and drinking for the most part. Some liquid lipsticks are metallic, but most of them are matte finished. When applied, liquid lipsticks go on wet and then dry leaving your lips feeling a little dehydrated. It’s especially important to exfoliate and moisturize before you wear these lipsticks to prevent your lips from looking too caked.

Don’t be afraid to doll up even if you’re just treating yourself this year for Valentine’s Day. Your lips are the outline to your smile so they should be taken care of to finish off a radiant appearance. Have fun with the colors and choices you choose, there’s a million different options. Don’t forget to put your best pout forward and smile.

Taylor ScanlanWritten by:
February 13, 2018 | Leave a Comment »
| Posted in: Beauty, Blog, Inspiration

From Dark to Light and Everywhere in Between

dark to light hairIt’s not uncommon to want to brighten up in time for spring. Many of us opt for darker hair in the colder months and then brighten up for the summer. However, depending on how drastically lighter you’re planning to go, it can take a major toll on the integrity of your hair. The best way to go from dark to light is by taking your time and caring for your hair. Going from dark to platinum doesn’t have to mean cutting off all your hair in the process. Read on for the right way to lighten up your look with minimal damage.

Consult with your stylist

Before making the decision yourself as to where you want to take your color, you should book a consultation with your XEX Stylist. A consultation is a great way to talk to your stylist about what you want and to get their professional feedback before you dive in. Bring in some pictures of the ‘look’ you’re going to be going for so they can gauge the proper services to get you there. You have to make sure that the level is achievable without completely killing your hair and that it compliments your skin tone. Since your stylist knows what’s been done to your hair, they will have a better idea as to what it’s going to take. They can also recommend treatments to keep your hair moisturized and strong throughout the process.

Invest in Treatments prior to your first appointment

The next thing you should talk to your stylist about during your consultation is what kind of pre-treatments the salon offers for your hair. Even if your hair is perfectly healthy, you will be doing some serious processing to your tresses. Moroccanoil’s Reconstructive Treatment is a good deep conditioner that will plump your strands and prepare them for a beating. You can also add on a deep treatment, like Aveda’s Damage Remedy Treatment, to your service. Again, it’s important to listen to your stylist’s recommendation. In some cases, they may not recommend you to go lighter due to the condition of the hair. In this case, ask about anything you can do to help get on track so that you are able to lighten without losing too much hair. Even though going blonde can be fun, you want to make sure your hair is in its best shape or you will be chopping more off than planned.

Be Prepared to spend time and money

For those of us looking to go drastically lighter, we should be prepared for anything. This means that we should be willing to dedicate some serious time and money to ensure that our hair is going to look and feel amazing. Most of the time, taking someone platinum takes multiple salon visits which can really dent your bank account if you’re not ready for it. It’s important to discuss these concerns with your stylist at your consultation. It’s more important to take care of your hair while getting a service done than to worry about extra charges. Olaplex is a popular bond building additive that helps maintain your hair’s strength, but it will cost extra; however, losing inches off your hair will also cost you in a different way. It is best to get an idea of what you’ll be spending before you book your services so that you can save accordingly.

You’re going need to cut down on styling

It’s going to be a challenge and you will probably not feel ‘finished’ with your look, but those daily hot iron habits will need to change if you want to save your hair. You don’t have to quit cold turkey, but cutting back on how many times you style will seriously help. Heat also has the tendency to dull out the color and cause discoloration, so cutting back on use will help keep color looking vibrant. Whenever you need to grab you’re curling or flat iron, you should start turning the temperature lower. This is the same for blow dryers too. Lowering the temps will help reduce the amount of heat damage you receive on your hair for the days you do have to style. Remember to always use a heat protectant for extra protection against damages.

Know the techniques

There are so many ways to go blonder, it’s all about research. Babylights and Highlights are great for an all over lighter appearance whenever you leave the chair. These won’t lighten every strand of hair, but overtime you will be full blonde. If traditional highlights aren’t your thing, you can try the sombre technique. This combines the contrast of an ombre with the subtle, sun kissed look of a balayage by bringing some lighter pieces higher. The top half of your hair will look darker initially, but overtime you can be all over blonde. Your stylist may recommend going back and forth between techniques to help the process.

In the end, going blonde is fun after you’ve been dark for so long. With the proper care, the transition will be seamless and your hair will still look beautiful. Remember to talk to your stylist before you make any sudden decisions. Talk to them about how often you style, what services will fit your lifestyle and any other concerns you may have as you’re transitioning. Take everything they tell you about aftercare as well as what they recommend for your next service with consideration- they do know your hair best.

Happy Lightening!

Taylor ScanlanWritten by:
February 1, 2018 | Leave a Comment »
| Posted in: Beauty, Blog, Hair, Inspiration

Win a $40 Gift Certificate to Robert Daniels Florist!

Congratulations to Deborah Ward on winning our 184th High Five Giveaway and thank you to all who entered.

Our next giveaway is for a $40 gift certificate to Robert Daniels Florist.

About Robert Daniels Florist

Arranging fresh flowers is done by dozens of florists. But creating fresh, unusual, and stunning flower arrangements to match the personality of the recipient is unique. And having a shop filled with decorative gifts, in addition to breathtaking fresh flowers, green plants, and flowering plants, is uniquely Robert Daniels Florist.

Robert Daniels Florist is located at 40 West Lake Street. Visit their website or call them at 312-332-0500 for more information.

Contest Question

XEX and Robert Daniels Florist are both located in the Leo Burnett Building’s Galleria of Shops. What is the name of one other business located in the Galleria of Shops?

(Hint: We gave away a High Five from one of our neighbors recently! Click here for a possible answer.)

Now, just add a comment to this post with the right answer to be eligible to win! The winner will be announced on Thursday, February 15. Entries must be received by midnight on Wednesday, February 14. Good luck!

All individuals 21 and older are eligible, whether you are a client of XEX or not. Must be able to pick up the gift certificate at XEX, 35 West Wacker Drive, Chicago. Leaving a comment opts you in for the XEX email list, which is sent out 1-2 times per month. You may unsubscribe at any time.
January 15, 2018 | 12 Comments »
| Posted in: High Five Giveaways

Say Goodbye to Dry, Cracked Hands

Dry Cracked HandsHappy New Year! It’s finally 2018 and we’re off to a rather chilly beginning. Well, okay, maybe it’s more than just a little chilly. Whether you’re braving the bomb cyclone on the East Coast or putting up with the blistery winds of the Windy City, we all have a few more months of low temperatures. When it comes to dryness, nothing suffers more than our hands. From texting to getting in and out of stores, our hands are constantly cracking this time of year. Have no fear! Your time with painfully dry hands is over! Read on to find out how you can have soft, silky hands all winter long.

Stick to all natural

It’s tempting to walk into a store and pick the best smelling hand wash out there; however, maybe the best smelling soap isn’t necessarily the best for your hands. Most of the time, soaps with scents, added detergents and other chemicals will cause some serious drying to your hands. Luckily, when you choose a hand wash that’s all natural, you don’t have to worry! Natural soap is made out of the stuff soap should be made out of- fats and an alkalizers- so, you don’t have to worry. These will ensure your hands are as hydrated as they are clean.

Use Oil

When it comes to moisturizing, the first thing we reach for is the most expensive lotion we can find in hopes it will be the solution to all our winter problems. Unless you’re carefully reading and understanding what ingredients go inside, lotion can cause your hands to dry out even more. If you’re not one to stand and read every last ingredient, don’t waste your time. Instead, switch to oil. Hand oils are great since they’re what lotion is made with! Instead of all those additives, oil will do its magic with no extra help. Aveda’s Stress Fix Concentrate is a perfect, lavender scented oil to keep your hands soft and hydrated.

Moisturize as often as needed

Moisturizing during the winter should become a ritual especially before you hit the hay. It’s essential you moisturize before you go to bed since this is the time you’re not constantly working with your hands. Moisturizing before bed allows oil to sit and soak in without rubbing off on other objects you might touch throughout the day. Putting on a little extra oil and a pair of gloves is a great way to help it deeply penetrate your skin- think of it like a deep conditioner for your hands. If you’re prone to extremely dry, cracked hands, try this trick once or twice a week to give them a little extra TLC. Finally, make sure you hold yourself accountable and stick to it, get three moisturizers: one for home, one for on the go and another for work. This will help remind you to keep your hands soft and crack-free.

When it comes to the winter, we don’t have to suffer. With a little tender love and care, we can survive the polar vortex moisturized and ready for spring. Winter’s harsh, but our hands don’t have to be.

Taylor ScanlanWritten by:
January 11, 2018 | Leave a Comment »
| Posted in: Beauty, Blog, Inspiration

Our Holiday Benefit is December 7 at the Hard Rock Cafe!

Update 12/20/17 – Thank you to everyone who helped to make our holiday benefit on December 7 a huge success! We had over 250 attendees and were able to help raise $7,500 for Blessons!

Join us Thursday, December 7 for our 2017 Holiday Benefit! This year’s event will be held at the Hard Rock Cafe, 63 W Ontario, and is a benefit for Blessons’ efforts to empower women through education.

The event will kick off at 6:30 and will feature live music by Dina Bach, Pia Easley & Allied Forces. There will be a fashion show with clothing and style by Belmont Army and hair and makeup by the XEX team. Hannah Stanley from WGN Radio will emcee the event!

Tickets are available at XEX for $10. They will also be available at the event for $15. Looking forward to seeing you!

Learn more about Blessons at blessons.org

December 20, 2017 | 3 Comments »
| Posted in: Community, Salon News