Monthly Archives: January 2009

Liquid Keratin Update #1

Quick update regarding the Liquid Keratin incident: orange has faded down ever so slightly to strawberry blonde.  While this is an improvement, it is still in the unpleasantly orange range, and not in the lovely buttery beigey range.  Corrective color will be required.   My hair also feels kind of dry, which is odd, considering the Liquid Keratin was supposed to ‘nourish and replenish’ or some such nonsense. 

More later . . .  

XO Debtonaire

Leave a comment

Filed under Liquid Keratin, Personal Maintenance

Tangerine, I’m afraid . . . (Liquid Keratin)

I have the Liquid Keratin straightening solution (DIY project #2) on my hair.   It seems pretty similar to the Coppola Keratin Complex that I had done in the salon, but for one teensy little difference.  My highlights!  My HIGHLIGHTS!  Sorry to be hysterical, but please understand . . .  My highlights have turned a vibrant shade of yellow orange, and did certainly did not start out brassy in the slightest.  Last time I recall seeing my real hair, my highlights were perfectly situated in-between buttery and beige.   Everything was fine until step 2(c), flat-ironing, which is when the ‘orange shift’ occurred, literally after the ironed passed over each section of hair.  I did fully saturate my hair with the solution, per the instructions, and hopefully, the gingerish tone is maybe a little scorching of excess product or something else completely harmless that will wash out with the first scheduled shampooing this evening.

It did occur to me that I probably should have stopped flat-ironing, and  rinsed the product out immediately after the color change occurred, but honestly the frizz associated with my hair in its untreated state is very nearly as bad as full-head brassiness and it seemed like an acceptable risk.  I am off to the West Coast on a business trip tomorrow – Los Angeles always puffs up my cuticle for some reason. 

After completing application I immediately contacted the Liquid Keratin customer service desk in the hopes that other non-organic blondes have had similar issues, and today received this nice response from the President of the company himself, David Allice, who appears to be as puzzled as I am:

Dear [Debtonaire],

I am surprised to hear of your experience with Liquid Keratin.  We have spent a long time perfecting the formula and have tested on all hair types and colors.  This is the first time we have heard of any change in hair color and of course we are concerned and would like to speak with you to discuss your experience.  We do not require you to send in any pictures, however, if you can, that would be helpful in helping us to understand the issue.  Please let me what would be a good time to call you and at what number.

Thank you,

David Allice
President
Liquid Keratin Inc
 

I did send David a picture of the tangerine highlights.  Hopefully his crack team of Liquid Keratin technicians can figure out what when wrong and what to do next.  I am crossing my fingers that this incident is temporary in nature, due to application error and will merit no more than a caveat on the Liquid Keratin instruction manual.  However, I will be out of pocket with for the next several days traveling, and there is not much I can about it for now.  On the plus side, should things go very wrong,  I am headed to civilized parts where corrective coloring assistance is very available (if not budget friendly). 

XO Debtonaire

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Liquid Keratin, Personal Maintenance

DIY Round #1 . . . Bikini Wax

Analysis prepared for yesterday’s post, Keeping Up Appearances, brought to my attention an alarmingly large monthly tab for personal maintenance.  Allow me to recap:  $1,000 per month (roughly $1,250 including cosmetics, skin and hair products) Just To Look Normal.     

Once I recovered from the shock, it occurred to me that my personal maintenance expense category, sizable as it may be, provides an opportunity.  While eliminating items from the category is not currently an option I am willing to explore, it is possible that my personal maintenance dollars could be spent more wisely, freeing up more dollars for debt service while maintaining my current level of grooming.  The spas and service providers I frequent do a great job, but I haven’t shopped around to any extent.  Additionally, although I rarely even file my own nails, there is certainly the possibility of taking on some personal Do-It-Yourself (”DIY”) projects. Certain items, such as Botox, laser and other treatments typical administered under medical supervision would not be applicable for DIY, but there are many other items that could, conceivably, be performed by civilian personnel, such as myself, provided  directions are carefully adhered to. 

The first item on my DIY list . . .  bikini wax.  Maybe a bikini wax seems an odd place to start, but frankly, its past time, and I do have some experience in this regard.  Last summer, under duress and with a great sense of urgency (pool party –  4th of July weekend – no openings with any of my regular aestheticians) I performed a bikini wax on my own bikini line using the Poetic Waxing kit.  Poetic Waxing, if you are not familiar,  is a strip-less, low-temperature wax product – the wax comes in a cute campfire-style mug and melts in a pot of hot water on your stovetop.  It is an amazing product for face and smaller, easier to reach areas of the anatomy, but in my view, not great for the bikini area.  Due to the contours of the to-be-waxed area, wax could only be applied in small patches.  Removal of the wax was painful. Pain Full. Truly a time consuming, painful and highly traumatic ordeal.  I am having a flashback just thinking about it. The end result was cosmetically pleasing though, and most importantly, I was able put on my bikini and hold my head high poolside.  

This time around the self-bikini waxing block, I tried the Nair Soothing Wax Strip kit, with fantastic results.  Twenty minutes later, after very minimal discomfort, absolutely no mess and a very cosmetic result.  The kit comes with pre and post wax wipes for the waxing area, and a set of large and small wax strips.  I was also able to cut the large strips in half or thirds to customize with no difficulty.   Again, seriously, almost painless.  Zero trauma to skin, emotions or pocketbook.  Retail for the kit at my local Target store was approximately $8.00.  For my bikini line, I used approximately half a kit worth of large and small strips.  (I am admittedly a bit ape-like in the bikini area – it is entirely possible that normal human women will need fewer strips.)  I was so excited about the Nair waxing kit that I woke up 10 minutes early this morning and used the rest of the kit on my forearms – which are once again hair-free and feel wonderfully naked beneath my cashmere sweater.   

Round #1 of DIY went really well, and I am feeling hopeful.  So on to round #2.  Earlier this week, while flipping through InStyle magazine, I saw an ad for Liquid Keratin, an at-home no-formaldehyde hair straightening solution.  I visited the website to view the ‘how-to’ video.  The process appears to be similar to the Coppola Keratin Complex straightening system I partake of three times a year in-salon.  My results with the Coppola system have been nothing short of amazing – no damage, just the shiny, perfect, can-air-dry-if-necessary straight hair I have prayed for every day on this earth.  Coppola can also be used safely on highlighted blonde hair – highlights are something I have in abundance and are necessary to my survival.  The Liquid Keratin also appears to have no harsh chemicals, and indicates that the treatment “nourishes and replenishes colored and chemically treated hair”.  At $500 a pop for Coppola three times a year in a salon, versus $69 for Liquid Keratin, I am open to a little experimentation.   I should have my kit today and will let you know how it goes. 

XO Debtonaire 

Leave a comment

Filed under Debt Reduction, Personal Maintenance

Keeping Up Appearances

Last night I made a list of all my standard salon/aesthetician services. My annual total for personal maintenance expenses (skin treatments, hair cut and color and nails) comes in at $11,810.00 (or $984.17 per month) including gratuities. I was astounded. No, it’s not a fortune, but seriously, $1,000.00 per month just to look normal? This figure does not include skin care products and cosmetics, so conservatively this figure could be as high as $1,250.00 per month – again –JUST TO LOOK NORMAL. Not hot, not drastically younger than my chronological age, not even particularly well-rested . . . just NORMAL. Apparently, it is expensive to keep up appearances. Just for fun, here is my breakout:

Personal Maintenance Expense Breakout

Personal Maintenance Expense Breakout

Clearly, I need to better manage personal maintenance expenses not only to free up more cash for debt service, but also as a preventative measure in case of a prolonged unemployment scenario. Mortgage would certainly trump Botox, and by that time the Coppola Hair Straightening and lash tints would be long gone. What services should I keep? What can I do without or (gasp!) do myself? Difficult questions. I consider the above to be ‘bare bones upkeep’ – there are several other services in addition to the above that I feel would be beneficial, such as regular massages, facials and spray tan, but have not scheduled due to time constraints.
As blissful as a debt free existence must be, would I be able to enjoy it while sporting visible grays, a gorilla-like bikini line and ragged cuticles? Something’s gotta give. It’s time to explore my options in the personal maintenance arena. Wish me luck.
XO Debtonaire

Leave a comment

Filed under Debt Reduction, Personal Maintenance

Brave New World

Today the nation wakes up to a brave new world.  In a much smaller and considerably less profound fashion, I find myself in unfamiliar territory as well.  Three words.  Credit Card Debt.  As of today’s date, my personal debt load totals $15,166.13.  This does not include car payment, student loans or any household expenses shared with my husband (these are minimal as my husband manages our household finances and is great with money) – this amount consists solely of my own personal nonsense and includes two visa cards and six store charge accounts (three with balances, and one of those three in excess of $1,000).  My debt load (hereafter the “Number”) was considerably higher until recently – over the past four months I have paid down approximately $8,000 to arrive at the current Number.  I would be proud to tell you that the paydown was simply prudent judgment in response to economic uncertainty; however that would be a stretch.   The truth is that my employment situation is wobbly.  Half of the workforce in my small firm was eliminated last year, and in addition no 2008 year-end bonuses were paid.  More reductions in force are on the way, including my position.  As difficult as it would be to be laid off, I dread the confessing the Number to my frugal husband, and subsequently accepting his help in servicing the Number, even more. 

How could I allow the Number to grow so large?  How does this sort of thing happen?  I am a smart, professional woman.  I work in finance.  My base salary is very decent – even excluding bonus, this sum should enable a person to subsist very pleasantly in my particular metropolitan area, make a significant contribution to the household, and put something aside for a rainy day.  Historically my compensation has been bonus heavy, and against all common sense, I have grown accustomed to a big fat check at the end of the year.  I am baffled and still unraveling how the Number and I arrived here.  Clearly, a combination of bad decisions, delusional thinking, over-application of retail therapy and general self indulgence is in play.  As such, following are the major categories nominated for expense reduction/control/elimination near term:

·         Handbags:  I love, adore and worship Chloe handbags.  Some love Gucci or Hermes or Chanel, but a Chloe bag is so perfect for me.  I have 7 Chloe bags of various colors and configurations.  All but two were bought on clearance, marked down by at least 40%.  Sadly, even a severe mark-down may represent unseemly sum to spend on a handbag in the brave new world. 

·         Shoes:  Occasional dalliances into the Jimmy Choo, however most are classics from Stuart Weitzman or Cole Haan.  Also the occasional Chloe shoe, from the clearance rack of course.  Many shoes are typically purchased in a season – I am hard on shoes and they do not last. 

·         Apparel:  It should be much easier to reduce clothing purchases versus accessories.  Given my penchant for the bag of Chloe, I compensate in other areas and will continue to focus on good quality basics from Brooks Brothers, Theory, J Crew and Gap.  T-shirts and tanks from Target.  I love Theory tees, and these can often be found on clearance (although arguably they are worth the full retail spend as they wash and wear like iron).  

·         Personal maintenance:  This is a very important (and often expensive) category.  As one nears the upper age quartile of the 25-45 year old female demographic, maintenance becomes very important, and one also becomes more sensitive about it.  Highlights, cosmetics, skin care products, waxing (brows, bikini, leg and arm), nails and toes, regular Botox at crowsfeet (and occasional in forehead), fillers, laser for sun damage, annual varicose and spider vein treatment.  Also laser removal of a small tattoo on ankle is in progress.  Two years ago I spent $4,500 on Thermage with amazing results.  A second round of Thermage is probably not an appropriate expenditure for brave new world, although clearly it is time.  Also in the category of personal maintenance, I belong to a gym and intend to start using it again – maybe if I improve my body, my existing wardrobe will look better on it. 

Drafting this post has taken me past the red zone for online shopping, and even though a new blue Chloe Heloise shoulder bag (clearance priced) would change my life, I staved off the desire to track one down this afternoon.  Additionally, I am returning an adorable silk/wool leopard print trench coat from J Crew – sleeves too short.  Another tenet of the brave new world is rejection of items that do not fit the bill 100%. 

Total daily personal expenditures = $0, -$237 if the return of the return of the trench is included. 

XO Debtonaire

Leave a comment

Filed under The Number