Articles By Real Beauty

Throughout time, there have been billions of BFF relationships between celebs and their trusted hairstylists. We've got Jennifer Aniston and Chris Mcmillan, who created the iconic "Rachel," Kate Hudson and David Babaii, and Hallie Gould (that's me!) and Halli Bivona. Okay, so maybe not so much the last one, but Bivona, of the John Barrett Salon, and I are a fantastic duo—we're just not famous yet. Plus, we have the same name!

I've been seeing Bivona for advice on my hair (and my life) for years and she's taught me millions of tips and tricks to getting my hair as fabulous as possible. I've decided to let you in on her, and now my, little secret, so here are the top five most important things I've learned from my hair guru.

1. Split ends won't go away just because you ignore them.

I've always thought it seemed counterintuitive that if you want your hair to grow, you have to cut it. I would often go months (read: years) without a trim, expecting to look like Rapunzel. But my one and only hairstylist finally urged me to give up my stubborn ways, and it turns out she was right all along. "To grow your hair, it is best to wait a little longer in between cuts," says Bivona. "However, if your ends feel dry and brittle, get rid of them—the longer you wait, the further the split ends creep up your hair shaft and the more length you'll need to chop off at your next haircut."

2. Your color can always be fixed.

I freak out about basically everything: my hair's too light, my hair's too get the picture. I always need Bivona to tell me to calm down and explain, "When you first color your hair, it's at its most drastic," she says. "Take a day, wash your hair, and then decide if you're not into it."

3. Your natural texture is better than you think.

We all want the hair texture that we don't have. I have serious curls and my mother has super straight hair, and we've always fought over who got the short end of the hair stick. They don't say the grass is always greener, you know, for nothing. Luckily, Bivona imparts her wisdom on me at our weekly appointments. "We convince ourselves that because our hair can't hold a curl or frizzes up easily that it's totally awful! However, if you treat your hair like you treat your skin—use specific products to help problem areas—you can improve the look of your natural texture." Embrace those curls, girls.

4. Not all shampoos and conditioners are created equal.

This is the most shocking thing I've learned. Basically, some of the drugstore-brand products we've been using all our lives are doing some real damage to our hair. I'm always trying to save money (have you tried paying rent in NYC these days!?), but splurging on a good shampoo and conditioner is necessary when it comes to reversing all the damage from pollution, styling tools, and hair dye. "While some brands have improved over the years, many use silicones, sulfates, and parabens. These are quick-fix ingredients, and they don't improve hair over time."

5. Investing in a good blow out is always worth it.

I'm a beauty editor, so I've learned a thing or two about a good hairstyle—but there is nothing better than a fresh, bouncy blow dry from a salon. So sometimes, it's worth it to splurge and let a professional take over. When you're preparing for a big interview, networking at an event, or presenting at an important meeting, your hair should be the last thing you're worried about. I have gotten flustered countless times thanks to styling mishaps that could have been avoided (has anyone else ever gotten their hair stuck in a round brush?). "With the introduction of blow dry bars, it's easier and cheaper than ever to look polished and avoid vanity-related stress," says Bivona.


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We curlies are sticklers for silicones and sulfates in our hair products, but have you ever read what is actually in your favorite skincare products?

Sometimes it can be totally confusing—even the "all natural" ingredients can seem foreign. So RealBeauty asked top cosmetic physician and skincare expert Dr. Mitchell Chasin to break down the most common ingredients in skincare and tell us straight up: which ones are bad, and which ones are good.

Ingredients to Avoid

  • Parabens: Although these preservatives are FDA approved, they have been found to mimic estrogen, which can lead to breast cancer. "Though parabens have not been proven to cause breast cancer," says Chasin. "It’s better to play it safe and stick to paraben-free products."
  • Artificial Fragrances: "Many skincare products simply list the generic term 'fragrance' as an ingredient," explains Chasin. "[Fragrance] can be made up of hundreds of synthetic chemicals that you should be avoiding—they often contain toxins linked to cancer and can result in hormone disruption.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol: This ingredient is used in a wide variety of skincare products, yet it dries out the skin and can irritate it very easily. All alcohol-based ingredients should be avoided when possible.
  • Petroleum-Based Ingredients: Petroleum can leave a plastic-like film which prevents nutrients from being soaked in—this can suffocate the skin and leave it looking dull.
  • Synthetic Colors: "This ingredient can contain carcinogens and deposit toxins into the skin," says Chasin. "Any ingredient labeled as FD&C or D&C followed by a number is a synthetic color and should be avoided."

Ingredients You Want

  • Retinol: Most anti-aging products carry this ingredient, which helps to improve skin’s elasticity and reverse sun damage, says Chasin. It's also an exfoliant that promotes the shedding of dead skin cells, revealing the more youthful skin underneath.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: This substance is naturally occurring in the body, but decreases with age. Using products made with it can help to reverse the natural loss of collagen.
  • Peptides: These molecular links of amino acids help your skin produce collagen. "They are the wonder protein that prevents wrinkles and keeps skin looking young," says Chasin.
  • Vitamin C: This nutrient naturally brightens skin and prevents a dull, worn out look. It also helps lighten brown spots and prevents hyperpigmentation.
  • AHAs: "Alpha Hydronic Acids naturally exfoliate skin and makes it smoother," says Chasin. "This helps nourishing products sink deeper into the skin, where they are available to be absorbed for a longer period."


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RealBeauty rounded up the 12 hottest celebrity undercuts for your inspiration. Considering an undercut? NaturallyCurly Content Editor Cristina went from long to a short undercut, watch the video.

For a faux undercut, check out our hair tutorial for a French sidebraid that will create the same shape without the commitment!

Whether you're into hats, hair ties, or headpieces, we've rounded up the most useful (and tasteful!) adornments that will work anywhere from the beach to the boardroom.

Whether you're a 20-something or heading into your golden years, keep your hair off your neck in the summer heat with one of these chic celeb-inspired styles.


I'm in my early 20s. Should I be using an anti-wrinkle cream?


First off, the best way to protect yourself from wrinkles and unsightly sun spots is to wear sunscreen. I recommend my patients use a daily moisturizer with an SPF of at least 30. In addition, if they are going to be outside in the sun for a prolonged period of time, it is important to reapply every two hours. It is reasonable to start using an anti-aging product as early as in your 20s if you have fine lines or sun damage. Ask your dermatologist about Renova, a prescription retinoid cream that smoothes fine lines and fades dark spots, or try an over-the-counter product.

The Expert:

Eric S. Schweiger, M.D. is Clinical Instructor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center

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We called upon Halli Bivona at the John Barrett Salon at Bergdorf Goodman to show us how to keep our hair healthy and on-trend this summer with easy 'dos that don't call for styling tools.

With the weather heating up, it's more important than ever to introduce some humidity-fighting products into your makeup and hair routine. We've rounded up what you need to keep looking (and feeling!) fresh this summer.

That blend of ocean water, sand, and sun creates magic in our hair! But for weekdays when trips to the sea shore aren't an option, these products will give you the same effect!

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