What exactly happens during a keratin treatment?

A few weeks back, I blogged about the new Liquid Keratin treatments that I have been doing. If you missed it, check it out here.

You may have seen on Facebook or Instagram that in the month of September, when you get a keratin treatment, you will take home the entire smoothing line FOR FREE! 

That's a $126 retail value for FREE ya'll!


And if you read the last post, having the proper take home products is crucial to the success. You must must must use a sulfate free shampoo. With the September special, I see you one sulfate free Smooth Again wash and raise you the rinse, cream and shine spray. Boom! You can't beat that!

In that last post, I mention that before your keratin treatment, you should get yourself a fresh trim. Why? Because the keratin seals the hair and you don't want your frayed ends to be locked into place. It will be a mess!

Then after the keratin treatment you will not shampoo for 72 hours. When you do shampoo you will use your Smooth Again wash 3 times to get the treatment completely out.

Here is a quick little video with how the whole process goes down.....

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me on social media or via email at emily@reallifebeauty.com. 

Not ready to book yours yet but want to come in and ask some questions? You can book a consultation and we can take a few minutes to see if this is the right treatment for your hair and lifestyle. 


Family Portrait Planning

Its no secret that time is flying by! I feel like we just rang in the new year but before you knew it summer started.  Now it's August and  we are thinking back to school. And what comes next?!?!

Fall family portrait sessions and thinking about our holiday cards. Then here we are back to ringing in a new year. Whoa, ya'll, slow down the clock! Am I right!?!

So what does that have to do with you and me, or hair/makeup? 

Sarah Kane Photography, my family's go to pro for documenting all of our seasons since I was pregnant with Sloane, announced that her fall mini sessions opened on Monday, July 31.

I had my alarm clock and reminders to snag mine. You need to get yours while they last because last year the day they went on sale the time slots on the day I wanted were slipping away as my husband I discussed which would pick and we were doing it within 2 hours of her opening them up!

You have probably seen this view from my shampoo bowl. Its a good one, if I do say so myself:)

We are scheduled! For December 2nd at 2pm!

Ok so you have the date and time scheduled, great! Congrats, you didn't wait until the last minute. Do you know what else you shouldn't wait for? Thinking about your hair and makeup! And your wardrobe!

The summer is a quieter time around the salon because so many people are out on vacation or don't have child care but September thru December book up really fast and I don't have as much wiggle room. When it gets super busy, I can rarely fit in a last minute, week of request for an appointment. And heaven forbid, one of us has an emergency. 

When should you book your appointment for cut/color/brow shaping?

My recommendation is to have your appointment about a week and a half to two weeks out from the day your portraits are scheduled. If you are trying a new stylist, I would make sure to get your hair done at least once before the appointment just before your photo session.  Click here to book now!

You could book a styling session the day of your photos but I wouldn't recommend having your cut/color done the day of your photos. That would make you too rushed for time.  

Depending on your schedule and how much you believe in your own ability, you could either have me style your hair and/or do your makeup OR you could do the Beauty School Drop In sessions. In these sessions you will learn how to do your own makeup and style your hair for everything from your day to day look or a special occasion like photos. 

If you need any help with this, don't hesitate to reach out. We can work backwards on the calendar from the date of your portrait session to figure out what appointments you need and get that all set so you don't have to worry!

Don't forget that its not just you in these photos, although usually its you that is last on your list.

Ladies, we have got to work on this! Remember to schedule appointments for the rest of your family too. Just click here and set those up! Haircuts at least 2 weeks out for your husband and kids. Make your man feel special by getting him set up with a neck trim a day or so before the photos so he is looking nice and tidy. 

The icing on the cake is wardrobe. Styling a look for your whole family that is color coordinated but not too matchy matchy can be overwhelming for a lot of people. Look no further than the incredibly talented Joanna Avant for help in that department. She has written a few blog posts about prep here and here. She is also available for hire to take care of this task for you. 



Smoothing System

I know its tough to stay smooth for the summer, especially when you live in the sticky, sweaty humidity that is Virginia weather! Here are my absolute favorites in the smoothing series by Kevin Murphy. These 4 products will do half the work for you in the battle with frizz for the summer.

Below you will see some more info on each and a nice video that explains the benefits and how to use  each product. As always, come on by and let me know if you have any questions. Keep an eye out on FB/Instagram for deals and promos, like the occasional flash sale. To the the early bird scoop, subscribe to the newsletter. 

Smooth Again leave in anti frizz treatment with styling ability and heat protection.

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This video is actually only about a minute and a half long so don't get panicked you are going to get bored with this one! He gets right to the point letting us know the features and benefits of this product.

If you want more muscle and staying power in your fight against frizz, give me a call with any questions about the new keratin treatments I'm offering. More info on the next blog post!

Shouts out to the Kevin Murphy website for all of the amazing videos and information about their products. To see more, check them out here. I love the product finder quiz!!

I hope you like what you see! If you know someone else who would like to keep up with what is going on at the RLB shop, forward this on and subscribe!

My Summer Essentials

Can you even believe that we are into June already? Summer is here, which is awesome, but this year is flying by like never before, right?  There is so much I love about summer, particularly the pool so I am taking a little break from the Camera Ready series to share some summer must haves! Don't worry, we will circle back to it soon.

Last weekend, our neighborhood pool opened. My kiddos (and me) LOVE everything about the pool. But let's be honest, strutting around in your bathing suit can be overwhelming, especially if you didn't get started on that diet you had planned on. Allow me to share a few confidence boosting things that I am loving. They are good for you too so its a guilty free indulgence!

Shiseido Sport BB cream

Ya'll, this little bottle is ah-mazing. You need to give it a good shake to make sure the product is thoroughly mixed and make sure to blend/rub it into the skin well. It has a sheer wash of coverage to blend out your complexion and it is water/sweat resistant for over an hour. 

It does double duty, your skin looks great and is totally protected with broad spectrum SPF 50! Don't forget to wear a hat, I have some super cute ones in the salon that are awesome for the pool, stop in a get them while they last. 

So the above pic is my actual product. Did you notice that the color is Dark? It comes in Light, Medium and Dark and right now I am super tan so I needed Dark. 

I have been preaching on the SPF platform for quite some time, shaming my sun worshiping pals for their tan line excitement and slathering my children with the best sunscreen money can buy.  A few years ago, I was proudly as pale as possible, looking like Snow White with my long black hair and intentionally pale skin.  Well now I am blonde, (and heavier) and I want a glow but I am not willing to go back to baking.

Want to know my (not so) secret to my new glow?

Sugar Mist Sunless Tanning

Trisha's studio is right down the hall from my shop in Phenix Salon Suites. In April, I was going to a fundraiser and was quite embarrassed at how pale I was after being in hiding all winter.  I am never tan but I just looked like I had not seen the light of day in quiet some time. She did an amazing job, giving me a healthy warm glow, nothing orange or streaky. The session is quick and she tells you exactly how to take care of it. 

I am now totally addicted and will be finding a way to keep up my color (with her help) all season long. Call her today! She's amazing. 

Clarins Glow Booster

I am, for sure, the worst self tanner applicator in the business. There has never been a time that I didn't totally screw it up beyond belief. Maybe I don't have the patience, maybe I don't have the skill, whatever the reason is doesn't really matter.  This is not in my skill set. I don't even try anymore, especially since I am a loyal Sugar Mist client now.

Last week,  I was in Nordstrom picking up the above  BB cream,  when I was announcing my adoration of Trisha from Sugar Mist Tans, the sales lady told me about this Clarins color booster. I informed her that I was the worst at self tanning, she assured me that this is idiot proof and I will not be able to screw it up. So far, so good.

Ok, here is how it works....inside this box is a small bottle of liquid bronzer that you add a few drops into any body or face lotion. Mix it in your hands and rub/blend it into your skin. The formula is adjustable, you decide how much to add to your lotion, allowing it to build gradually from the first use.

So far it is error/me proof!

Younique Lip BonBon

I adore this sheer wash of color you get from the Younique Lip BonBon. My go to color is Red Velvet Cake, but it comes in several. I think this is a must have staple for every girl, of every age. Its perfect for my tween friends, just starting to wear some color and the best for my adult girls doing the no-makeup look. I swipe a bit over my lips and cheeks to add some color before hitting the pool or gym. 

If you are an email subscriber, keep your eyes peeled on that inbox for a chance to win one of these this month!

Trina Turk Cover Up

This was bit of a splurge for me. I am usually a Wal-Mart/Target/Marshall's girl when it comes to things like this. But in my advancing age, I am starting to take a less is more, quality over quantity mentality to many things. 

I have to admit, there was some sticker shock with this one but I absolutely fell in love with it when I tried it on. I put it back for a few minutes and then a voice in my head told me I would be kicking myself if I didn't buy it, especially since it was the last one.  

After all,  I have been working really hard for the past few months and decided to treat myself.  My husband even pointed out that in the summer, I spend more time in pool gear than real clothes so it makes sense to have a couple of nice quality pieces that I feel great in instead of 100 cheap things that are falling apart. He really is a keeper:)

The nylon/spandex material is comfy and cool, great for steamy days and dries quickly when you get splashed. How fun is this fringe?!?

What are your favorites for the season? Share in the comments!

Next up, I will round out the camera ready series with another photo prep post. If you missed the first two you an find 3 must have products here and how to fight frizz here.

Fighting Frizz


Why, oh why, are we cursed with frizzy hair!?!?

No one likes frizz. Seriously, not a single person is on team fluffy, frizzy hair. And like most things in life, the first step in trying to figure out how to manage it, is to address WHY it is that way to begin with. 

Ok, here it goes. Frizz is a result of the lack of moisture and the cuticle (outer layer) of the hair not laying smooth against the hair shaft. When your hair senses moisture or humidity in the environment, that cuticle opens up and starts absorbing the moisture from the environment., swelling the strands of hair.

There are many factors that cause your hair to be dry/thirsty/dehydrated. Here are a few, most of us are guilty of a few of these!

  • Your shampoo is not moisturizing enough. See below for some recommendations!

  • Protein to moisture ratio is out of balance. Too much protein without moisture will dry you out!

  • Is your diet well balanced? 
  • Are you drinking enough water, at least half of your body weight in oz per day. 
  • Certain medications can cause changes to your hair.
  • You have over processed the hair with repetitive chemical treatments that damage the cuticle.

Now sure, you can (and should) grab one of these super cute hats for the lazy days of summer. But even though its hella cute, it shouldn't be your wardrobe staple that you are hiding under. 

*I only have  handful of these left so if you want one, come and get it quick!

So now you know some of the whys but what should you do about it? Here are 6 tips!

1. Shampoo less often but use a super moisturizing product. I will share some below and on social media.

2. Deep condition! Yes, even if your hair is fine. Use a detox shampoo like Kevin Murphy's Maxi Wash and follow with the recommended masque weekly. I would be happy to recommend one that works with your porosity level. Try the Treat Me Experience, (its like Botox for your hair), learn more about that in salon treatment here. 

3. Turn down the heat on your styling tools and use a round brush to smooth the cuticle. 

4. Sleep with satin or silk accessories, like a scarf tied around your head or on a silk pillowcase to keep your hair from rubbing against rough, dry surfaces. 

5. Apply a product like a leave in conditioner before swimming or working out, the sodium in your sweat can dry out your strands. 

6. Use a sulfate free wash. Did you know all Kevin Murphy products are sulfate free, paraben free and cruelty free. 

Since May's color theme is PURPLE, I want to share some of the products from the Kevin Murphy line that are heavenly in the moisture/smoothing department!

Do you have any tips for managing frizzy hair that you would like to share?  Leave a comment below, subscribe to the mailing list and share this post with someone who needs to know!

This post is part 2 of a series on how to get yourself camera ready. My dear friend and favorite family photographer, Sarah Kane is compiling some super helpful info from me and style guru, Joanna Avant to help her clients feel prepared for their sessions.

Do you have questions on how to prepare for a photo session? Leave them in the comments and there may be a blog post or Facebook live coming soon to give you the answer.

3 Products to keep you Camera Ready

You have probably noticed from social media that the color for May is PURPLE!

may 2017.jpg

Its that time of year again! The time when we are taking lots of pictures, either in professional sessions with my girl, like with my girl, Sarah Kane Photography. She is slammed with Spring mini sessions right now!  Or you are in front of the camera, instead of taking the pictures, for family celebrations like Mother's Day, weddings or graduation. Either way, you want to look your best. 

Here are a few of my favorite products that help keep you looking fab, even after you step outside into the heat. I always have these on hand for commercial jobs to keep people fresh. 

This one is NEW!

Shimmer Me Blonde

This one can be used in wet OR dry hair.  It doubles as a treatment (when used wet) and acts as a light toner, with the purple counteracting unwanted brassy tones.  Spray it in damp hair and blow dry it into the hair AND/OR use as a finishing spray to help eliminate flyways and smooth out that mane. That is one of my pet peeves in photos, wild hair that could have easily been managed with a little product. 

This is your new bff. 

A repairing shine treatment with colour enhancers, optical brighteners and natural softeners moisturise, restore and refresh lightened, highlighted and blonde or grey shades.

How to use: Apply to damp, towel-dried hair or dry hair. Twirl before use. Do not rinse; leave to dry naturally or style as desired.

Benefits: Radiant shine, Counteracts Yellow and Gold Tones, Strengthens, Nourishes, Moisturises

Younique 3D Mascara & Eyeliner

Defining the eyes and putting a little color/shine on the lips will take you from, "I woke up like this" to "I'm ready for my close up!". I think those are the 2 most important steps to complete your look, regardless of whether you are all about that au natural look or if high fashion glam is your signature look. 

My go to is the black pencil liner from Younique in Perfect with the amazing 3D Fiber lash mascara. You can see in the video below the before, during and after results. 

As always you can touch base (emily@reallifebeauty.com) with any questions about what colors or products would work best for you. I can send you a link to order things that come straight to you or you can get in on one of my group orders to save on shipping, if you are local to Richmond. 

Blotting Papers

This is an inexpensive and super easy way to to retouch your makeup on the fly. These are a must, especially for summer, because who wants to pile more powder on your face when temps start rising. You don't even need to be looking in a mirror! You just press or blot (no wiping) these thin sheets onto your nose, forehead and chin to sop up the shine. The easiest way to freshen up!

Other uses for blotting papers....

  • Dry shampoo! Ok not as good as the real deal but rub a sheet into your hairline to absorb excess oil. This is awesome for my girls with bangs!
  • Wipe the yucky face print off your phone. Yeah, you know that greasy smear that you just gets nastier when you wipe a Kleenex over it. 
  • Tone it down! Blush is one of my favorite things ever but if you over do your application, a blotting paper is a great way to blend a heavy handed mistake. A quick blot will sheer it down to the look you were going for. No need to shower and start from scratch.
  • Set your makeup to make it last longer. This is a great trick for cream products (shadow, lip color or blush). Apply the cream color, then blot with your papers to remove excess oils and reapply a second time. The color will be locked in so you can dance the night away with no worries that your makeup is compromised. 

If this seems like too much work,  you can always book an appointment with me and I will do your hair and makeup for any event. Do you want to do it yourself but think you lack the skills? I have lots of options for lessons, from a mini session to a full on 3 lesson series called Beauty School Drop In.  Lets chat if you are interested. 

Questions about what to wear and how to dress your family for group photos so you look like a stylish crew without getting to matchy-matchy, check out this post from my go to girl for all things style related, Joanna Avant.    Did you know that she will come make over your closet and pick out new outfits from your existing closet inventory? Or she can shop for you! Perfect for my busy girls who just can't sneak out to the mall.           

Spring Cleaning

If you follow me on Instagram (@thereallifebeauty), you may have seen portions of this newest YouTube video in my Instagram story last week. I get asked this question often, how do I clean my makeup brushes, so here is a short little how-to.

This is a crucial step that I make sure to cover with my Beauty School Drop-In students. If you are interested in Beauty School Drop-In sessions, there will be 5 available for Mother's Day. Subscribe to the email list here to get the first chance to snag one.  Contact me for more info on these 3 personalized sessions.

There are SO many people who confess to me that they rarely or never clean their brushes. This is not good! Brushes are expensive and they are tools you are using to create a flawless face. You want to wash them with a gentle cleanser and let them air dry. Ideally, you would do this weekly but you should at least be doing it 1-2 times per month.  

Proper cleansing and care will insure your brushes are not harboring yucky bacteria and they will last you a good, long time. 

If you like this video, subscribe to the channel. Give it a thumbs up and leave me a comment on this post and/or the YouTube video to let me know what you think. Is there anything you would like to see? Let me know what your questions are and I will answer them on social media or the blog. 

Would you like a spa treatment (or Botox!) for your hair!

Introducing the Treat.Me Experience!!!

What is the Treat.Me Experience?

Some people call it a facial or spa treatment for your hair. Some people liken it to Botox for your hair. Why? Its because Kevin Murphy hair care takes the approach that you think of when you think of a skin care routine.

He combines the best of nature and technology with natural, active ingredients to replace moisture and strength that we lose with age and chemical or heat damage. This treatment will improve the texture, shine, moisture and overall health of your hair and scalp. 

It all starts with Maxi.Wash, the exfoliating wash from Kevin Murphy. This is a color safe shampoo that removes product and mineral build up from the hair. I mentioned it in last week's post all about GREEN being our theme color for the month. 

Anti-aging Treat.Me

For hair that has suffered the effects of hormonal, environmental or chemical aging. 

Start with Maxi.Wash to remove build up then cleanse with Young Again Wash. The treat.me cruet is added to damp hair and stay on the hair while you enjoy a sensory massage on the scalp and neck. A lavender scented, steamy hot towel  will leave you incredibly relaxed, followed by the Young Again rinse. 

I think this is my favorite of all of the treatments!

The fruit stem cells help repair and provide revolutionary anti-ageing and rejuvenate a youthful lustre and shine to dry, brittle hair. 

Strength Treat.Me

Strength Treat.me is for distressed, brittle hair that is weak and damaged. I chose this treatment for this client because over the years we have done a lot of color (lightener and depositing darker colors) and recently she got a body wave! In terms of texture, her hair is thinner and we really focus on keeping it strong and healthy so that she can undergo the chemical treatments safely. 

The strength treatment will restore strength and elasticity to the hair with a combo of proteins and amino acids. The same process as the anti aging treatment will be part of the experience except the wash and rinse will be from Kevin Murphy's Angel Wash, Rinse and Masque. 

Thickening Treat.Me

Thickening Treat.Me is for my girls with fine, weak or falling (thinning) hair. Technology used in eyelash thickening and lengthening (think Latisse for lashes) will instantly plump hair, improving density and thickness. Fruit Stem Cells prevent hair loss, resulting in better quality hair growth. 

Stimulate growth and rebuild density with this transformative in-salon treatment. Your hair will feel instantly thicker!

The same process described in the first treatment will be used here but the wash and rinse will be from the Plumping line.

Moisture Treat.me

The Moisture treatment is for hair that is dehydrated, frizzy or chemically treated. This is great for curls, color treated or not! The treatment will add weightless moisture, shine and softness to your hair instantly with precious oils and plant extracts that hydrate and rebuild from the inside out.


I got so excited to do the treatment on the above client that we forgot to take a before pic! I did take a selfie, before and after of myself that you can see below. 

Book Yours Today!

Do you already have an appointment on the books? I can add this onto any cut or color appointment that you have on the books. 

This treatment is a $35 add on service to any haircut or style. You can book the Treat.Me Experience with a style here or Treat.Me with a haircut here. 

Don't see a time that works for you? You know you can call or email me anytime!

Make sure to sign up for the VIP email list, either when yo book your appointments or you can sign up on the special page of the website. Keep your eyes peeled on your inbox, subscribers will receive a super secret special password to get a discount on your first treatment!

Want to keep it up at home?

The cruets of treatment are only available as a professional treatment but all of the other parts of the process are products that are available for you to take home and keep yourself well maintained. If you are curious what Kevin Murphy would recommend for you. Take this quiz here!

PS--How do you like the super fancy professional product photos in this post? I have my dear friend Lindy Davies to thank for these. No, no, not the before and after ones that I took with my iPhone! The pretty product shots! Check her out on Instagram @lindy_davies . She is the BEST!

Think Green in March!

Happy March!

I couldn't help myself, ya'll! Having the month themed by color has be so fun and I'm having so much fun curating content around the idea of color. 

I couldn't help myself, ya'll! Having the month themed by color has be so fun and I'm having so much fun curating content around the idea of color. 

We are going to start this month off by featuring one of the most important items in the Kevin Murphy line....the Maxi.Wash.

Maxi.wash is a detoxifying shampoo that breaks down fatty acids for a clean, clear scalp. The balancing essential oils penetrate the scalp to brighten hair and purify an oily or flaky scalp. It contains anti pollutant ingredients that remove build-up of unwanted products and chemicals. 

How to use: Apply to wet hair and gently massage into hair and scalp (do not scrub), leave for 1 minute then rinse.

Benefits: Sulphate free, grapefruit and citrus, Paraben free, Removes unwanted product and mineral build-up, Brightens grey, limp or dull hair, Detoxifies sluggish or flaky scalp, Prepares hair to absorb nutrients, Pre colour treatment, Soothes irritated scalps, pH 5.5 – 6.5

Thankfully, I found out about this tool!

It's the Product Matchmaker. Check it out here.

Once I wrapped my head around the line and starting thinking of each product with the same mentality as skin care, it totally clicked into place and it was much easier to understand that Maxi.Wash was the exfoliant step in the cleansing process!

Now I used it weekly on myself and always before a color client or a treatment. This is a take home product that you can buy and use yourself weekly and before your chemical appointment.  It is the first step in the Treat.Me Experience, which I am excited to be offering now. You will be seeing a lot of this on social media and the blog. 

This is a luxury add on to your styling session, haircut or color service. 

More info to come soon! If you are seeing me this week, make sure to ask about this experience!

The Treat.Me experience has been likened to "Botox for your hair!". Add this to your list of self-care to dos this month! Its a little luxury that will make you feel so polished and ready to take on the world! 

Don't forget about the importance of self-care! I have been running myself ragged but I did manage to hide out in my bathroom for a little while and do some exfoliating, cleansing and moisturizing of my body and hair. Did you see this little snippet on Instagram/YouTube/Facebook?

In this video, you will see some of my favorite things to use in hair and skin care. If you have any questions about Younique makeup or skin care, please let me know. I am happy to help you choose any Younique products or shades, if you are ordering before March 11, please use this link!