A Day With Larisa Love

I feel like I should change the name of my blog to @theconfessionsofaninstagramjunkie considering I totally get wrapped up in the people I follow and just have to meet them through getting a service done or going to one of their classes. The first experience was with @maringlam and getting my eyebrows tattooed which is probably the best thing I ever did for myself. Then I took the class from @theconfessionsofahaorstylist and @hairandmakeupbysteph. So when a picture pops us on my feed by @larisadoll that she has two last minute appointments available why would I not want to hop on the opportunity to have this vivid color guru do my hair?!? After begging the husband and convincing him I need it because I have been feeling frumpy for reasons I will soon reveal, I got an appointment with Miss Larisa Love ❤

I had been following Larisa for a while after a client told me about her saying I would love her work. Time after time I would see her beautiful bright brilliant colors pop up on my ig feed. Not only that her bright bubbly personality shines through with her video clips and pictures. She shows your her personality through her Instagram account which is pretty amazing this girl has it down.

I show up early to her studio in the valley and snap a quick video of my hair. Blown out over processed ends that had not been cut for six months or more (I know I'm a hairdresser but I'm the worst) and super faded hair I had not touched for three months. Walk up to her studio and find her room, impressed the little space was filled with two clients, two assistants and Larisa. She instructed me to wait in the front area while she got me a chair ready. I was early as I said and impressed we started almost ontime. She comes out and grabs me after giving me a hug. I know she had mentioned being huggy on ig so it was cute to see it in person. Sat me down and first talked about how badly I needed a cut. Something I had not planned on but decided to put my trust in her hands. Then we started talking about color. I had no idea what I wanted and told her to do anything she wants. Have creative freedom. I feel like this threw her off because she is probably used to gals showing her tons of Pins for ideas and such. We talked about a melt, blue to purple to lilac to peach.


She started by mixing up the lightener with Olaplex which she uses on every client and builds into their price never compromising the integrity of the hair. She also slapped me on the hand for not using this on myself, I should know better as a hairstylist (as I said I'm the worst). She talked out the baby lights technique she used and I was pleased she was willing to share her secrets with me as another stylist. The process was quite quick and I sat for a very long time with the color on no heat and Olaplex I'm know it takes a long time to lift. While I was processing she was working on another client trying to rid her hair of the mint green you get stuck with after using a lot of these funky colors. She had a ton of tips and tricks, Malibu, toning with purple even trying ketchup! Eventually she got the hair where she wanted it and they started her application for her lilac color.


My turn at the bowl. This was quite the process and I was back there for a long time. She applied Malibu to the purple parts that weren't baby lighted, once that was done we rinsed and I don't remember if we did the toner next or the No. 2 Olaplex. Per Olaplex's instruction you do the toner first but I had checked out at this point so I think you could go either way. Ten minutes with the No. 2 and the toner was on for maybe five minutes. She used shades which I love. (I'm not sharing her formulas because I did not ask permission. I really think I depends on the clients and what their hair is doing at the time anyways) Then she asked what are we doing again? Haha I said do whatever you want, surprise me. Then her and her assistants whispered in the corner and came up with a concoction and didn't clue me in which was kinda fun. She applied my color at the shampoo bowl using her teardrop technique with one color at the roots and a lighter color through the ends. There are videos of her sharing her techniques if you do your research but I highly recommend taking a class and meeting Larisa for yourself. She worked in the color the whole time and was there with me the whole processing time. When the color was done we rinsed with freezing cold water. I felt like my head was frozen and this woke me up for sure. Towel dried for a cut and the color was revealed!


A silvery steel blue to light blue. So pretty. Cut, blowdry with her and her assistant, this was such a treat and felt amazing! Then she took pictures with my hair straight then gave me the lived in waves and took more pictures. And video where she pretended to munch on my hair, the whole time we talked about food so this didn't surprise me;) I checked out and she took more pictures with her camera. Really when taking ig pics it's about lighting and finding a good background. She has this spot on. This whole process took about five hours. I missed dinner with my girlfriends but it was well worth it.

This is what I like about Larisa. She takes her time. Quality over quantity and if there is even a spot messed up on your hair she will ensure it is perfect. Taking that extra step to give you the perfect hair. She is self taught and creates her own techniques which I love. She is real and doesn't really bullshit. Every time I was negative and said I can't do this or I can't do that she called me out on my crap and said "why not". I feel like I needed this and needed the inspiration from this girl. She has such an amazing passion for what she does you can see it shining from her eyes. It is no wonder she is a Brand Ambassador for Cosmoprof and educated and inspires hairstylists all over the world. She made me want to up my game on my customer service with little things like styling their hair and teaching them how to recreate the look you gave them at home. I'm going to step up my game and try and play with more color and find my own art. This experience was worth every penny and I highly recommend treating yourself to a hair experience with Larisa. You'll walk out feeling like a million bucks with a big ass smile on your face! I will definitely be back for more beauty and inspiration. Feeling sassy and fun until next time! Xx

Brides + Braids + Babes (+Bitches)


On April 11th I took an updo and braiding class from two top Instagram gurus for hairstyling @hairandmakeupbysteph and @theconfessionsofahairstylist aka Stephanie and Jenny. Stephanie has almost half a million followers on Instagram while Jenny has close to 300,000. That's almost a million followers between these two lovely ladies! What an inspiration considering I can't even get up to 100 followers for my hair Instagram myself. Waa waa enough of the pitty party...  How did I stumble upon these two beauties? Pinterest actually. While looking for updo inspiration for a client I kept on seeing the name stamp of Miss Stephanie. Curious I looked her up on Instagram and time after time kept seeing seamlessly beautiful updos on Instagram. I decided this year to enhance my education to inspire my work behind the chair and when a class poster popped up for Arizona I signed up right away. In doing so I stumbled upon Jenny. I had never seen her work before but was blown away with the amazing braiding skills she displays on her Instagram page. She works on super fun colored clients which enhances the dimension and texture of the braids. I must say I signed up for the class for Stephanie but in seeing Jenny and her work I feel like she is much more my vibe. It's the funky messy I just rolled out of bed hair and the leather jacket that stole my heart! No offense Stephanie;) Before I get into the nitty gritty of the class I must add how much these two women inspire me. I have so much respect for them being so successful and focused on their careers while balancing a husband and two kids each at home! Work life balance is something I often struggle with and up until this year my home life conquered it all with my passion for my career suffering. So thank you ladies for inspiring this Mama to be more passionate about her career!

updo classIMG_0041.jpg
updo classIMG_0033.jpg

The class was held at the Toni and Guy academy on Indian Bend in Scottsdale. What an amazing place to go to beauty school. I was blown away with the modern design Toni and Guy pulled off for this super sleek school. I walked in found a seat and the class started promptly at 9. Stephanie had been up front prepping her model and took the lead starting her first look on a beautiful blonde with the most amazing hair. It was a beachy updo often asked for with more of the romantic soft waves instead of the super structured updos. Now I have replicated this but in taking this class learned my flaws. To achieve this look you prep the hair giving it texture and wave. Stephanie worked between a flat iron and a wand. Now this was something that irritated me a little bit because we were only instructed to bring a one inch curling iron. For anyone who does hair you know the curls a curling iron vs. a flat iron vs. a wand produce are drastically different. So when we went to recreate the looks I feel like I didn't get the full effect. Anyways back to the updo. You start with a base sectioning off a mohawk section and two side sections. The base can be wherever you want to start your updo this one happened to be from the top of the head to the occipital. You basically work from the inside out trusting your eye and twisting and pinning the hair into place. Building upon your base. The top was tighter curls lightly swept back into the base of the updo. Here is where I learned a lot.  I learned to work in sections and really let the hair work for you listening to the hair. I feel like me recreation was not as perfect as Stephanie's but it turned out A-ok. I learned I need to pay more attention before I pin up my sections so it has more of a seemless look. She made this look so easy and it turned out amazing.

Next Jenny presented a double fishtail side braid she connected with soft hair on top. This was awesome for me because I learned how to fishtail french braid and how to pancake the hair after your done to give volume. This may have been one of my favorite works I recreated today. Jenny had so many amazing tips on braiding and sectioning and overall technique to create what in a matter of time can be an easy amazing look for a bride or a boho babe going to Coachella. I loved the twist and pull technique for the top of the hair to create wave and texture. Love love love this entire look!


Back to Stephanie with a chignon type of a look with a soft side swept look perfect for your mother of the bride or someone looking for something classic and clean. In my recreation of this I combined this look with Stephanie's last look incorporating a side chignon and vintage wave on one side. I decided to place my chignon in the center and try different techniques of combining the sides with the twist and pull technique and the vintage wave. It came out really pretty but I feel like I would have had a stronger s pattern if I had a wand instead of using my curling iron as a wand. She showed so many chignon options I got confused and started combining them all. Haha again this woman is an updo guru and I am definitely grateful for the knowledge.

Back to Jenny she did the most awesome four sided fishtail braid. This braid literally has a pattern so complex you have to ignore all that is going on around you and repeat it. It was so amazing the cleanliness and ease she braided the hair. It basically created a fishtail on top of another fishtail braid. You completed this look by pancaking it out bottom braid first then the top braid. The sides she did into a waterfall braid and connected the two on the center. It really looked amazing and the way the French braid peek a booed out of the waterfall. Now I tried to recreate this look and failed miserably haha I learned from my mistakes and will try another day. But thats why you go to a class right?

Jenny's last look incorporated a braid into the updo in a modern but romantic way. Many young brides ask for this look so seeing the technique she used was very nice and taught me a lot about how to structure a bridal updo with braids. I did not recreate this look because I pretty much tapped out after trying the four sided fishtail. I was hangry and ready for some food. But I will look back on my notes and play another day.


We all took a group photo and some individual photos with the Instagram stars before Stephanie had to leave. I'm assuming she was heading home to her beautiful family. I just wanted to take a moment to give thanks to the rude selfish really tall girl (@kaitlynwinwardhair) who decided to stand right in front of the almost midget girl (yeah that's me) so even on my tippy toes I was not able to be seen in the photos. If you check out @hairandmakeupbysteph on Instagram and look at the group shot you can see my half face peeking out so overjoyed with people and their amazing regard for others. I just had to say something and now I'm done... I did however get my one on one shot with these inspirational woman and a new book by Jenny, 100 Perfect Hair Days with step by step instructions. You can get a copy on Amazon or her website http://theconfessionsofahairstylist.com I can't wait to dive into this book and play with some of the hairstyles on my clients and myself.

In conclusion, the class was worth the trip. I learned a ton and highly suggest anyone looking to up their updo game to sign up for a class with these lovely ladies. I am very grateful to both and wish the best to them and their beautiful families. (I saw Jenny's run in at the end of class and it melted my heart) I then proceeded to hug my smelly three year old love bug who spent the day at the Zoo with my sister and my Mom. So very grateful for my family. A huge thanks to Miss Alexia Bernal for flying with me to Arizona and spending the whole weekend with me and my family to be my gorgeous hair model. Until we meet again! Xx

BRAZILIAN BOND BUILDER VS OLAPLEX For Platinum Blonding + Integrity

You have probably heard the buzz on the latest technology available to you or your hairstylist... The bond builders. More specifically B3 Brazilian Bond Builder and Olaplex. These two seem to be the most heard of bond builders and most seen used by beloved Instagram sensations such as @hairgodzito and @guytang among the many others... So what's the hype? How does it work and how do you choose between the two. I decided to take matters into my own hands instead of trusting Internet research so here we go. Let's start with what they do... According to the B3 website.

b3 Brazilian Bond Builder utilizes a specifically engineered co-polymer combined with a high-purity targeted delivery system. This scientifically advanced one-step system reattaches and builds the bonds that make up the cellular membrane complex, helping prevent the loss of cuticle and cortex cells responsible for supporting the inner structure of the hair. This breakthrough technology dramatically reduces breakage and helps prevent damage during color services, improving the overall integrity of the hair while prolonging color retention and vibrancy between appointments.
— brazilian bond builder

Sounds pretty awesome right? Here is what Olaplex has to say about their product...

We started by finding two of the world’s leading PHD’s in Materials and Chemistry that had never worked on hair products before, Dr. Eric Pressly and Dr. Craig Hawker. With this fresh outlook, this dream team invented a single ingredient chemistry, that is free of silicone or oils, that links broken bonds in the hair during and after chemical services making them stronger than they were before. It may all sound like the same old mumbo jumbo, but check out what top colorists are saying about Olaplex all over social media.
— olaplex

To break it down for you all basically the bond builders let you push your color service further by rebuilding the bonds you break during your color service. This goes from the cuticle to the cortex of the hair making your hair healthier and your color last longer...

Next let's cover cost. B3 is $250 for a bottle that delivers 68-134 applications depending on how much you use. Each service requires a different amount of B3 and the instructions are given to you on the bottle. They recommend charging 10%-15% up charge on your color service depending on your market area. Now Olaplex is $198 for one bottle of No.1 and two bottles of No.2 delivering around 70 applications. They say to charge $20 and up for the service. They also recommend a No.3 which is $14 cost and retails for $28, you can add it in to your up charge or sell it for retail. Ok now that we have dollars and cents out of the way let's talk about my experience.

Here is my disclaimer... I don't work or am not affiliated with either of these companies so you are getting 100% honesty from me one this.

My model has had a lot of stuff done on her hair and has been previously lightened so if pushing the envelope is what they say it can do that's what I wanted to do for her. She had coral orange level 7 roots and yellow to platinum ends. My application was L'Oreal Professional studio bleach with 30vol cream developer and 1/4oz B3 as recommended for an all over bleach. I however wanted to use the heat of the foils and dryer and foiled her whole head starting in the back. Holy smokes this girl had a ton of hair and it took me about two hours taking thin slices to provide back to back foils. Processed for 15-20 under heat and shampooed toning with a mix of 9v+9b+9p. We got her pretty light and close to platinum which is what she wants but I knew we would have to have another go.

before b3

before b3

after b3

after b3

Now here are the pros and cons... PROS one step process, I still had to up the developer 10vol as instructed but there was only one step which was nice. CONS I had to use a ton of B3 for this girl. The mixing ratio for bleach is one part bleach to two parts developer and 1/4oz B3. I think I used around 1.5 oz when all was said and done. Also her hair was still cotton candy on the ends like fried and felt like I didn't add anything to the color. Now would it have been worse if I did it without? Probably but I expected little to no damage to be honest. Still my client left happy and knew I would want her back in my chair two weeks later for part 2..

after b3

after b3

Model came in with her baby so I decided to speed up the process and me and my colleague Alexia Bernal tag teamed her. This time we used the same bleach L'Oreal Professional studio bleach with 30vol. To be fair to B3 I used the same ratio one part bleach to two parts developer and 30vol to up my developer 10vol as instructed by Olaplex. I added in 1/4 oz Olaplex No.1 to my bleach. It still took us 4 bowls of bleach for the entire head but the consistency was not as thick as with the B3. We spot bleached her, pulling out over damaged blondes and weaving out yellow parts. This time we started in the front since that was the darkest part of her hair. We still did back to back foils but only tried to hit the warm parts left over from the last process. Placed her under the dryer for 20min then put her in the shampoo bowl and whatever parts were sticking out of the foils we hit with a Olaplex stand alone treatment of 3oz water and 1/2oz Olaplex in a bottle applicator. Let that sit on for 30min then rinsed really well. I then put 6t Shades Eq on the base of the hair to give a smokey root and pulled through Pravava silver mixed with conditioner on the mid shaft to ends. Now if I were to do this again I would put the Pravava and conditioner on first then the Shades. Why? Because the shades took to porous areas of her hair and gave me a bit of spotting. Nothing you can see but I'm a perfectionist. But I'm also honest with myself and human so we make mistakes and learn from them. We then rinsed and then applied the No.2 after towel drying hair and let it sit on for 10min recommended for over damaged hair. Finally we rinsed, shampooed and conditioned per the instructions. We were left with a beautiful icy platinum blonde with some silvery smokey roots. We were also left with a very happy client.

before olaplex

before olaplex

before olaplex

before olaplex

Ok now the pros and cons... PROS her hair felt amazing!!! So much better then the B3 and what I was expecting from one of these treatments. It was still a little sticky but it felt amazing for having been the second process. CONS holy cow this took forever. Not the application but the after party at the shampoo bowl. Having to let the No.1 and No.2 sit on a total of 20 minutes plus the toner I felt like she was at the shampoo bowl way too long.

after olaplex

after olaplex

Over all I used the same amount of product on each application. The cost is comparable depending on the service you are doing. I was against Olaplex because I didn't like that I had to up the developer and process time and this experiment changed my mind. I think even though it took way longer to do it the fact that the hair was left in such an amazing condition after the second process gave me a new outlook on the product. I'm not loosing hope on B3 I'll still try it again and maybe in different circumstances. I would like to see if it actually helps your hair color last longer? Stay tuned maybe that will be my next blog post. I hope this post helps stylist or clients out who have been flip flopping between these two bond builders! I was happy to put the time, blood sweat and tears in for you folks! Until next time this is Christine Watanabe signing off.

Christine Watanabe has been a hair stylist for 12 years and salon owner for 6 six years. She has taught education classes for Loreal Professional and educates herself to keep up with the trends. Mother of two and passionate yogi. Follow her on Instagram  @magnoliasalon1987  

Christine Watanabe has been a hair stylist for 12 years and salon owner for 6 six years. She has taught education classes for Loreal Professional and educates herself to keep up with the trends. Mother of two and passionate yogi. Follow her on Instagram @magnoliasalon1987 

New Year, New Inspiration... Begins with International Salon and Spa Expo (A Professionals Only Experience!)

The Long Beach hair show. Something I usually avoid due to the loud club music at 9am and the cheesy hairstylist on stage doing unrealistic hairstyles and haircuts I will never use. But this year I was drawn with the promise of seeing some of the social media hair gurus @bescene, @lorisalove and @confessionsofahairstlyist. Keep in mind I don't know their real names just that week after week their inspiring hair creations pop up on my Instagram feed. I was gladly surprised with the inspiration that came from this little journey with the very talented Alexia Bernal. I was Inspired by the thousands of hairstylists watching demos in awe of the many exhibitors sharing their goods. We stopped off at The Hair Shop with a lady doing live demos on the different techniques you can achieve with the variety of hair extensions they offer. I was reassured they are still my favorite after visiting the many neighboring booths and not being as impressed with the quality of the hair and the variety of colors they have to offer.  We visited the many booths selling combs, capes and other goods. After grabbing some kettle corn we decided to chill at the B3 and Brazilian Blowout booth hoping to catch one of the Instagram stars I came to see. Instead I saw the ending of a Brazilian Blowout and many background videos on the ease of using the Brazilian Bond builder. The Brazilian Bond Bulider was another reason I wanted to go to Isse this year.

I was interested in a hair strengthening treatment that would not affect the processing outcome of my lighter and color as Olaplex does. (My next blog will be comparing these two hands on with clients and pictures.) We left after waiting for the next demo and walked the rest of the exhibit and I came upon Olaplex. I decided to ask the source.

A very tattooed girl, with not the best hair to be honest, explained using less of the product will help and she gave me some other tips I will try since I have a ton of product to use. Again I'll go into depth on this in my next blog stay tuned! We walked around the corner and we found the Viviscal booth.

I was super excited about this because I have been sending my clients to the drug store to purchase this hair growth supplement. I found out you can carry it in salon and was praying they would be at the hair show. They explained to me the in salon Viviscal is a professional grade and actually stronger then the otc product. I'm super excited to be able to provide Viviscal for my clients and hopefully it will solve their hair loss gripes in a short three months. Which is the time it takes for you to really see results from this product. Well worth the wait if you ask me. From here on out I didn't see much that impressed me, hot tools, nail products, wigs on creepy heads and pop up spray tanning that had an awesome name I can't remember at the moment. After a while it all starts to look the same. The Layright booth was pretty impressive with two men barbering and a large group of people watching. My husband loves the stuff and it originated in Long Beach. If I had a barber I would definitely carry the line. We also popped off at Bioionic so I could ask about the dryer I just bought and they tried to interest me in their style winder. I couldn't wrap my head around twirling the middle of the iron and the slip ability of the hair through the prong. I'm partial to the Marcel and my wand but would give it a go if I got one for free (haha). As we walked out to find a map to look for Bella Lash we walked past Vidal Sasson Academy and the precision cuts on the models inspired both Miss Bernal and I to want to sign up for a cutting class this year. Especially interested when we found out it's buy one get one free! Super excited this class will be so inspiring and make us just that much better at what we do. We walked to a totally different hall for esthetics and it was amazing. Bright and open and quiet. I loved it. We learned all sorts of new things about eyelash extensions.

It's pretty amazing how many different lengths, thickness and styles of lashes they carry. You can even choose how much they curl. Amazing and addicting and hopefully we can get Miss Bernal trained and offer this service at Magnolia Salon soon. Back to the Brazilian Bond Builder booth we went and I purchased my beginners kit finding out my Instagram Inspirers would not be there for another hour so we left. Not at all disappointed with all I saw and experienced. To my favorite vegan joint in Long Beach Ahimsa for some amazing grub and home we went. Overall a good show this year. The cheesy cheese was still there but well balanced with the modern salon world we are living in today. I don't feel the need to go for another few years but am sure glad I decided to go this year. Stay tuned for monthly hair facts and tutorials. This year will be a year of education and inspiration. 

From mine to yours❤️

Christine Watanabe has been a hair stylist for 12 years and salon owner for 6 six years. She has taught education classes for Loreal Professional and educates herself to keep up with the trends. Mother of two and passionate yogi. Follow her on Instagram  @magnoliasalon1987  

Christine Watanabe has been a hair stylist for 12 years and salon owner for 6 six years. She has taught education classes for Loreal Professional and educates herself to keep up with the trends. Mother of two and passionate yogi. Follow her on Instagram @magnoliasalon1987