Brown to Blonde- It’s a Process!

It’s a Process!  Getting your hair from dark to blonde does not come easy!  Shannon had permanent dark hair color roots to ends. We wanted to do a blonde balayage with heavy blonde ends. March 31st was our first session.  The first day we lightened her hair twice, an hour each time. After that day we gave her hair a break of about 7-9 days between lightenings. Today, April 18th was our last session.  I think for now this is as much as Shannon’s hair can take!

4 separate salon sessions!

Each of the 4 processes took about an hour and a half.  We used lightener and waited an hour for each session. We used Olaplex, which protects the hair in extreme lightening conditions.  Over the 3 weeks, Shannon conditioned her hair, used a bluing shampoo to tone down the gold and used as little heat as possible.  Lightening just one time will take moisture out of the hair and after 4 times it really can do a number on your strands.  It’s not good to have blonde ends if they are like fried straw and break off!

I wish I could say that we could do this process in one visit and like magic your hair is the perfect shade of blonde.  It just doesn’t work like that! There is chemistry and limits and lots of things happening to the hair that we can’t control!  We especially don’t want to comprise the health and integrity of the hair.


This is a perfect example of filtered looks.  The photo on the left is Shannon in the salon, under lights that make her hair appear more gold than it actually does.  I wish you could see it in person!  The camera just doesn’t capture the true look.  The photo on the right is filtered.   So many times you will see a photo with color that you love but chances are it has been altered.  It can be very misleading and give you the wrong expectations.

Charcoal is a miracle cleanser!

Charcoal as a cleanser?  How can something so black and dirty help clean your skin and hair!?  Charcoal is turning up in everything from face scrubs to toothpaste. Apparently it’s an amazing natural absorbent of oils and toxins! It’s a great way to purify and cleanse your body, inside and out!

It turns out that activated charcoal is an amazing natural ingredient that absorbs oil. Used in masques and face scrubs it really gives a deep cleaning.

Charcoal is used in an activated form that has gone through a steaming process to make it 2 to 3 more times effective as regular charcoal. Activated charcoal powder can be purchased for about $22 per pound online. The powdery substance is very light so you get a lot of product in a pound.  The powder can stain bathroom grout and fixtures, so be very careful how you handle it.

It has been used medically in hospitals to absorb poisons that have been ingested. It can be used at home daily mixed with water to settle lots of stomach and intestinal problems. It can even be used on insect bites!

The benefits go one for a long list. I was so surprised to find all of the problems that charcoal can alleviate or totally get rid of. Here is a link to Dr. Axe website and his article talks about all of the benefits and risks.

Now it seems that it also is making it’s way to beauty products!  Used in products for hair, skin and teeth this black substance will clean and remove unwanted oils and stains. In toothpaste it’s supposed make your teeth whiter! The toothpaste suds may look a little black and scary, but but once you rinse, surprise! new whiter teeth.

It can be purchased already in a product or it can be purchased as a powder and added to your favorite cleansers like shampoo! In shampoo it will get rid of all of the excess oils that can weigh your down!

It’s Makeover Time!

It’s makeover time again!

Julie and Me!

October 2011 was our first Ambush Pittsburgh Makeover! Julie Marckisotto from Pittsburgh Makeup asked me to join her in a day of pampering for someone who could use a little tlc!  We enjoyed so much surprising MaryBeth at work and doing her makeover.  We got to work doing a little hair and makeup and then a shopping spree! It was so much fun seeing MaryBeth smile and feel more confident and happy because she looked and felt really good!

Check out for more albums of all of our before and afters.

We’ve tried to do a makeover every few months. We’ve taken a little break and now we’re ready to get our hands on someone new! Please contact us if you know anyone who would enjoy a day of beauty and pampering!

Julie is an amazing makeup artist and she organizes the whole day! She gets nominations from all over. She reads every submission and chooses a person who needs a day of pampering.  MaryBeth, our first makeover, is someone who always is doing things for someone else.  She puts herself last and doesn’t take alot of time to do things to make herself happy.

Julie and I donate our time and services and usually we are able to get some good discounts from clothing stores. Often friends and family of our nominees will donate money for the shopping spree!  Julie has been able to find great photographers who are willing to hang out with us for the day and capture some good moments. We also try to find someone to offer us fashion styling help as well.

We’d love to find other people who’d like to help donate their talents and store discounts with us! Stay tuned for the next before and after makeover stories from Ambush Pittsburgh!


Bangs for Everyone

Bangs are coming back!  We often hear that bangs are making a come back and I think, Maybe!? I love bangs!

After alot of primping here they are! Clip-Ins!

Real cut bangs are such a commitment. Once they’re cut you’re in for a while, there’s no turning back!  It takes a good 6-9 months to really grow them out.

Before you make the cut, you have to think about the natural wave in your hair.  A curly fringe can be difficult to work with and take some time to straighten every day.  Bangs need to be maintained frequently.  They grow out quickly.  You don’t want them too short initially. In 10-14 days they will need tweaked a little.   We do free bang trims for our clients, so you don’t have to worry about trimming them yourself.  If you do decide to trim a little, it’s best to do them dry and cut straight up into the hair instead of across.  Cutting straight across will leave a sharp line and you can end up too short.

Side swept bangs are a great way to start if you’ve never tried before.  Straight across are great and bring alot of attention to your eyes.We can help you decide how thick and short they should be.

Jessica Simpson and Ken Paves have created Clip-In Bangs from Hairdo!  They come in 11 colors and sale on Amazon for $15-$25

I’ve had bangs plenty of times and you can’t get the same effect of naturalness from the clip-ins but it’s a nice way to try them!  It’s important to get the right color.  My friend has very dark hair and they look amazing on her.  They clip in and are comfortable.  It took me quite a while to make them sit right and I needed to trim them a little to frame my face. If you get them bring them in to us. We can style them to fit you perfectly!

2 of our Brides in 2 Spring Wedding Magazines!

We’re so happy to say the we have 2 of our brides featured in 2 spring wedding magazines!

Cassie Fickley was featured in Whirl Wedding Spring/Summer 2017 edition. Brianne Conley was featured in Pittsburgh Magazine Weddings Spring 2017.

This is Cassie Fickley!  Seeing these photos makes me want to get married again!  These photos are from Sky’s the Limit Photography!


Cassie has such a beautiful, simple elegance and her fabulous ballerina bun was perfect! It was a great morning for me to go to the Hotel Monaco and style her hair and her bridesmaids.  I love that hotel! It was so great to meet all of Cassie’s friends.

Wedding days are so special and I get to be a part of all of the fun!  I’m usually the first person to arrive and get the day started.  Hair and makeup is the first event of the day!  Whoever isn’t getting hair done can have makeup done.  The timing goes smoothly and everyone is finished in no time!   Everyone gets dressed and then pictures start. It’s a whirlwind!  It’s important for me to keep everyone on schedule.  I don’t want to hold up the rest of the day. I’m always grateful when someone agrees to go first!  🙂

This is Brianne Conley!  Such amazing photos by Hot Metal Studio!

Harbor met with Brianne and they spent some time together deciding what style was the best choice for her.  Brianne finally decided on a side swept deconstructed braid.  Harbor and Christina went to Brianne’s mom house the day of the wedding and styled all of bridesmaids as well!

I LOVE the dress with that bow!  So beautiful!

We can do hair for weddings anywhere!  We’ve done hair for our brides in the most beautiful places.  We just need to have some electricity and a place to put our irons and spray!

We’re looking forward to an amazing wedding season and meeting lots of new wonderful brides!