What is the most important part of your hair care routine?

QUIZ RESULTS Here’s what the people thought:

Shampoo & Conditioner (10), Treatments & Masques (2), Heat Protectant (0), Styling Products (0)

When it comes to your hair care routine the “most important” part is to start at the beginning by building a strong foundation, and that’s accomplished by using the best shampoo & conditioner for your hair and scalp. There are 3 basic hair types, fine, medium, and coarse and each of them have characteristics that will contribute to your decision based on what you’re trying to achieve or fix. Here are the basics of selecting the right products for your hair.

First, fine hair. Fine hair is generally a little limp and lifeless and you will want a shampoo and conditioner that is light weight, but not too drying. Many volumizing shampoos “plump” the hair by drying it out and roughing up the cuticle. While this will give lift to the hair, it’s due to the hairs are being caught against one another like fishhooks and will ultimately cause damage and breakage. There is also technology now that will thicken the hair from the inside without damaging it and protect it from breakage.

***Remember that fine hair shouldn’t be confused with thin hair. Thinning is a separate issue that can affect all hair textures. This can be addressed with products designed for scalp health and follicle regeneration. Check out the articles in our Hair Loss Series for more information on hair loss.***

Medium hair is the most common hair thickness and covers everything between the extremes. These fortunate folks can get away with a lot of different products and as a stylist, I will tend to recommend shampoos and conditioners that will benefit the length and texture of the hair rather than the thickness. Chemically treated hair will need more repairing products, curly locks will need more hydration or smoothing, and with straight hair you might desire more lift. This is where your stylist is an asset by mixing & matching products that are specifically tailored to your needs and wants.

Finally, coarse hair is when each individual strand is thick but often also has high density, meaning that there is a high concentration of hair follicles per square inch. You know these people, the ones that can grow their hair to their waist without it breaking and have a ponytail as thick as, well… a pony’s tail! We love them and envy them; but they too have their hair challenges. Coarse hair is almost always dry and unruly. Like medium hair, they can get away with a lot, but lightweight products are not one of them. They require a ton of hydration and, if their hair is healthy, a simple moisturizing wash and rinse are sufficient. If they have curly or frizzy hair, they will want a smoothing product to soften the hair fiber and make it more pliable, while anything highlighted or chemically treated will also benefit from a repairing treatment.

I always suggest starting with a new shampoo and conditioner before adding anything else to your routine. Often, once you’re using the right basics for your hair, you’ll find that some of those other products, like leave-in conditioners and smoothing creams, are no longer necessary. Then you can build your routine on strong, healthy hair that shines as brightly as you do!  

4 Ways to Conceal Your Roots Until Your Next Appointment

If you colour your hair, then you have dealt with regrowth and the pains of trying to hide them until your next hair appointment. Here are 5 simple ways to conceal them or blend them in between visits.

Invest in a quality touch-up product

There are 2 main types of touch-up products: a spray or a powder. Both are great but have different ways of application that might make one a better fit for you over the other. Root Touch Up by Kevin Murphy is a great spray and comes in 4 colours, Light Brown, Dark Brown, Auburn and Black. This one is a great option for the quick touch up on a solid colour when you’re concealing greys. It’s easy, spray-on application hits the part and hairline, dries quickly and you’re on your way.

With Kevin Murphy’s limited colour range however, you may need to look at our other favorite, Root Cover Up by Color Wow. Boasting 8 shades, from Platinum to Black, your options are endless! This compact powder formula looks more like an eyeshadow palette than a root powder. You can use this product in so many ways, more than just conceal your greys, although it does that to miraculous effect. If you have thinning hair, it can be used to fill in the spaces for a fuller look. If you want that money piece at the front, you can add it in with one of the blondes, you can even draw in your highlights that have gotten 3 inches down your head. Just load up the brush with powder and tap it into your hair, gently fluff the hair to allow the powder to settle in and your set! And here’s my absolute favorite part… IT’S WATERPROOF! Yep, that’s right, you can stand in the rain having that rom-com moment without looking like Rudy Giuliani!

Change up you style

If you’re in a pinch and don’t have the right products on hand or maybe your appointment is in 2 days, but you have that big presentation or date, changing the way you style your hair can be enough to “fake it until you make it!”

Shift the focus away from your roots by parting your hair in a different spot where you have less greys or boost your roots with a healthy dose of volumizer. POWDER.PUFF by Kevin Murphyis a great root powder that adds lift and texture to the flattest of hair. You can also distract by adding texture like soft beachy waves, create them with a hot tool or texture product like a surf spray.


Who doesn’t like a little extra? Anything can work, from a simple barrette to a rhinestone headband, there really is something for everyone out there. In the same way that changing your style can distract from your overgrown roots, adding interesting accessories to your hair can do the same. This is also a way for you to hold the hair up, down, back, or whatever to hide the parts you’re wanting to conceal.

Go Wild with Tinted Conditioners

Feeling stuck in a rut? Get creative with a semi-permanent, tinted conditioner. This can give you a dramatic (but temporary) change while simultaneously disguising those roots. This option is reserved for the lighter hair colours however, since a fashion shade isn’t likely to show up on darker browns. There are some fantastic coloured conditioners and masks out there such as the Alchemic collection from Davines, offering several shades including pink, blue and teal. They’re easily applied to the hair like a mask and allowed to sit for 20+ minutes and then rinsed out. The added bonus is that your hair gets some extra love and comes out feeling soft and shiny! Depending on how often you wash your hair, these colours last a couple of weeks, fading a bit with each wash.

If you’re still struggling with ways to extend the time between visits, ask your stylist at your next appointment and they’ll be able to guide you in the right direction!

Calgary Reinstates Mask Bylaw

Over the past few days, since my recent email stating that all clients and staff are again required to wear masks at the salon, I have received 2 types of emails in response. Either 100% support or strong opposition. The blatant distain towards my decision to protect those that I care about was, quite frankly, appalling! In addition to the emails that I received, which I’m prepared to deal with, I was stunned to hear about the disgusting text messages that were directed towards my staff over a decision that they did not make nor have under their control. I have zero tolerance for abusive behaviour and I am saddened that some great stylists will lose clients and income because of a decision that I made and the close mindedness of others.

I understand that people are tired of this pandemic and that vaccinations were supposed to be the light at the end of the tunnel, but I don’t feel that I have the right to ask clients for proof of vaccination. That is a deeply personal choice and confidential medical information and, with that, I have to act as if NO ONE is vaccinated and make decisions based on that. I’m not saying that I’m right, I’m saying that I am cautious and I take the safety of others very, very seriously.

As it so happens, I was just ahead of the curve, apparently, as the City of Calgary has now reinstated the mandatory masking bylaw and a local state of emergency. Follow the link below to read the full article from CBC news.


I wish that things could go back to the way they used to be as much as anyone else. I don’t know when, or even if, that will ever happen, so I will continue to make decisions that will protect the health and safety of those around me. As a private business owner, that is my right. As a member of the human race, that is my responsibility.

Take care. Stay safe. Be kind.

Masks Required

With the ongoing rise in Covid-19 cases in Alberta, combined with our children returning to school and the highly contagious Delta variant, we are reintroducing mandatory masking at The Refinery, effective immediately

Although this will not be the most popular decision, we feel it is in the best interest of our clients and staff. There are people close to the staff, including some of the staff themselves, that are particularly vulnerable to any illness, not just Covid-19, that warrant this conservative approach. 

Please note that if you cannot wear a mask for any reason, we still welcome you to the salon. Please advise your stylist upon your arrival, and we will make any necessary adjustments to ensure your safety and that of everyone at the salon during your visit.

We thank you in advance for your understanding. Please contact us to reschedule your appointment if you are feeling unwell or have been in close contact with anyone that has tested positive for Covid-19 or is awaiting results of a test. 

As much as we are all tired of hearing it, we are all in this together, and we will do our very best to keep you, your family, and ours safe. 

The Facts About Postpartum Hair Loss

There are many types of hair loss and it happens for a variety of reasons. Hormonal hair loss, such as postpartum shedding, is usually situational and part of the natural cycle of things. While the various forms of alopecia can be a sign of something more serious, such as dietary allergies, stress, vitamin or mineral deficiencies or even disease, and should be checked out by your doctor.

Today we’re going to focus on postpartum hair loss which is due to the high levels of estrogen produced during pregnancy. This signals the body to not only produce more healthy, shiny hair but also to hold onto it longer than normal. On a primal level, the body is doing this to keep mom warm from the cold weather, and we haven’t evolved enough for our bodies to figure out that we have houses now.

After the birth of your little bundle of sleeplessness, your estrogen levels return to normal and a myriad of wonderful things happen. Including depression, anxiety, irritability and exorbitant amounts of shedding hair. Many new moms feel like they are going completely bald! Fear not, you’ll be fine and this affects 60-70% of all new mothers. Your body just doesn’t need to worry about keeping you warm anymore and is diverting its energies into producing milk and keeping you awake.

A question we get a lot in the salon after (or shortly before) the baby arrives is whether or not to cut their hair short? Either from a desire to have something “easy” to manage or frustration over the abundant hair loss, many women consider this drastic transformation. Every person has an opinion on every topic and this one is no different but, for what it’s worth, here’s mine…

Whether prenatal or postpartum, you are NOT feeling like the most beautiful version of yourself at this point in time, neither are you at your most rational. This is not the time to make a dramatic change to your appearance, and I would say that this goes for your hair colour as well. I have had a pixie cut more than once in my life, as well as given birth to my son (luckily decades apart) and the one thing I know for sure, is that there is nothing easier than a ponytail or the “messy mom bun”! Additionally, there is nothing wash-and-wear about a short haircut, especially when you’re only getting 3 hours of sleep and haven’t showered in 4 days. You’re more likely to look like a stunned emu than the pinterest picture you showed your stylist.

There are a few things you can do to help yourself out through this disheveled era, first to retain as much hair as possible and second, to bring it back as soon as possible.

Good old diet and exercise; this ensures that you get the nutrients your body needs to sustain both you and baby. This may include continuing your existing vitamin supplements or possibly adding new ones. Talk to your doctor or naturopath and make sure you’re getting what you need. Getting out for some fresh air and a walk with the stroller will increase dopamine and serotonin levels and will go a long way to combatting those “baby blues”.

Brush your hair regularly and vigorously; yes, this will speed up the shedding process but it will also get it over with sooner. Additionally, stimulation of the scalp will bring blood flow to the skin surface, generate healthy oil production, and remove dead skin cells. All of which ensure the best possible environment for hair growth. Use a natural bristle brush and be sure to brush the surface of the scalp and not just the length of the hair. (See our upcoming article on Scalp Health and Its Impact on Hair Loss)

Finally, some products can help; shampoos designed to balance the pH of the scalp and clear away dead skin cells can help create that perfect environment I mentioned. There are also scalp products, such as THICK.AGAIN by Kevin Murphy, that contain the same ingredients and technology that is found in popular eyelash serums. These work by keeping the hair follicle in its growth phase longer before it goes dormant and eventually falls out to allow the previously shed hairs time to form a new follicle and regrow.