Tips | Tricks + Tutorials

Mandy Zelinka // Hairstylist

Portland || Seattle

Easy Peasy Beach Wave Tutorial

Easy Peasy Beach Wave Tutorial


“Heating up the hair heats up the hydrogen bonds – confusing them into thinking they are going to be really curly.

Then you want the hair to curl around a round surface (a roller) so that you get the longevity of the curl, but you get a nice deep wave. So it’s the cooling down of the hair that sets the hair, not the heating up.

When you are softening the hydrogen bonds and then you are stretching them out around a big roller they then harden up around the roller.” -taken from Kevin Murphy on his last stop in Portland

Back-Combed Hilites

Back-Combed Hilites



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Back-Combed hilites are a really great way to add a pop of color to your service without adding too much time to your client’s appointment.

Here we have Jennifer, who has been my client for many years. We are adding a few panels of color to each side of her head around her face. Another great thing about the addition of these hilites is that the client is able to get a fresh look without having to worry about maintaining a bunch of color.

I used COLOR.ME by KEVIN.MURPHY non-ammonia bleach in the foil packets and processed it along with the base color that I applied which was a 5.7 LIGHT BROWN CHOCOLATE.  I mixed the color with 20 volume at the root, and remixed the same tube of color with a level 3.5 developer and ran it through the ends, giving it an absolutely gorgeous chocolatey brown base with a caramel pop of color. It should also be noted that Jennifer has about 30-40% grey hair and the COLOR.ME covered it beautifully.

At the shampoo bowl I applied the NEUTRAL toner on the hilites while wet, processing it for ten minutes before the blow dry. I styled Jennifer’s hair with a touch of ANTI.GRAVITY at the root at the crown running a bit of YOUNG.AGAIN through her ends before flat ironing.




Not all porosity levels are created equal; some hair types absorb moisture better than others. If you’re not familiar with the term, “porosity level” is the measure of moisture that can penetrate your strands. Unfortunately, not all of us can get away with a once-a-day spritz of leave-in conditioner. And there’s no one solution for moisturizing hair, either. There’s levels to this thing — “low,” “normal,” and “high” to be exact. You can assess how porous your hair is by taking the porosity test.



Finding out your porosity level is incredibly fast and easy! All you need is a glass of water and clean dry strands of your hair (you don’t want any product on your strands for this test).  Place the strands in the glass of water, let it stand for 7 minutes, and determine your results using the information below.

Curly Hair


This moisture issue is a biggie, especially for kinky and coily hair types. Moisture is not easily absorbed due to tightly shut hair cuticles. Because the strands naturally repel oils and moisture, hair is prone to build-up, since the product just sits on the strands. Low porosity does not mean hair is unhealthy; in fact, hair with low porosity is typically healthy and shiny.


  • Resistant to water, creams, and oils
  • Water beads on hair
  • Hair takes long time to dry
  • Hair lacks elasticity

HOW TO MOISTURIZE: (Moderate) Heat and oils are the key to deep penetrating moisture. Steam your hair to open up your hair cuticles (basically, wash your hair in a hot shower), apply your moisturizer and seal the hydration with a light oil like avocado or coconut.  Heated deep conditioners, hot oil treatments, and humectants, like honey, are great add-ons to your routine.

Healthy Long Hair Layers


If your hair sank to the middle of the glass, you have a medium (or normal) porosity level. This means your hair requires the least amount of maintenance (score!). The hair cuticle is slightly raised, allowing moisture to penetrate the strands. Keeping your hair moisturized is no problem, unless you chemically treat your hair, which can affect your moisture retention.


  • Hair easily absorbs moisture
  • Hair requires less moisturizing
  • Hair responds easily to dye and chemical treatment

HOW TO MOISTURIZE: Keep doing what you are doing! But beware of exposing your hair to too much protein, which can leave your hair feeling stiff. Also, be mindful of your heat and chemical usage, since they can alter your hair cuticles and land you into the high porosity level.

Platinum Blonde Hair


If your hair sank to the bottom of the glass, you have high porosity. Due to highly raised cuticles (aka large gaps) along the hair shaft, hair absorbs more moisture than it is able to retain.


  • Bumpy texture on strands
  • Dullness
  • Hair constantly tangles (due to chipped cuticles)
  • Frizz

HOW TO MOISTURIZE: Protein is the answer! Egg washes or protein based conditioners will help strengthen the hair cuticles — but don’t over do it; too much protein can leave your hair stiff and cause breakage. Deep conditioning is also very important to help repair your strands. Reduce frizz and help fill in the gaps by using heavy butters/creams, thicker oils, and leave-in conditioner.



^ Hair Mandy Zelinka // Photo Alexis Arnold Photography  for The Zelinka Agency

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The temptation. Oh…the temptation. Your roots are cray, your stylist is booked. The women on the boxes are all so shiny and vibrant. It only costs $12.99! And you don’t have to spend a morning in the salon! So cheap, so convenient. After all, your stylist is totally over charging you, right?


Shocker, colorists want to make a good living just like everyone else, but that is not why we tell you to please please pretty please with sugar on top for the love of god stop using box dye! We tell you this because box dye is literally destroying your hair. Slowly, stealthily, over time. Like a hydrogen peroxide ninja.

Knowledge is power, so let’s break down exactly how box dyes work versus professional dyes.

Professional Dye: Deposits color molecules on the inside of the hair cuticle where the natural melanin lives. These molecules are larger and more numerous than your natural melanin, so they end up taking over and becoming the dominant color.
Box Dye: Stains the proteins in the cortex, changing their chemical makeup. Since hair is about 90% protein, this means that your hair is basically no longer your hair. It has now been physically changed. That caterpillar is now a ratchet-ass butterfly.

Professional Dye: Custom-mixed according to your needs. Call it art, alchemy, or just a lovely science experiment, but your colorist mixes your color just for you. This means that the developer (hydrogen peroxide) is chosen based on the strength your hair needs. If your hair is fine or porous, your colorist will likely choose a lower strength, which will be gentler and leave your hair in the best possible condition.
Box Dye: Uses the highest developer. Because this color formula is meant for literally everyone, it will include the most potent chemicals. It’s like setting yourself on fire when you just need to put on a jacket.

Professional Dye: Stops working after a certain amount of time. The potency of these colors is meant to diminish slowly after they are mixed, usually stoping working altogether after an hour. This is why your colorist mixes bowls as she goes. It also means that once the product has been applied and processed, it’s done. Your color is beautiful and you can go on with your life.
Box Dye: Keeps working over time. These are called “progressive” dyes because they keep processing and building on themselves over time. So every time you apply, you hair is going to get darker and more damaged. Especially with the darker colors, it may eventually be impossible to change, even with professional lightener.

tl;dr Box dye changes the physical makeup of your hair, making strands weaker and the color MUCH harder to change should you get tired of your hue.

​I love hair color. But, it is a commitment! Make sure you have the time and money to invest once you decide you want a change. If you’re not sure, book a consultation with your colorist. They can make sure that you get the right kind of color to fit your budget and schedule. Just don’t go down that box color aisle. Please. Pretty please.

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