San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

Functional Girl: A column

Functional Girl CJ LEGARE

Dear Functional Girl: I’m on a really tight budget right now and can’t afford to go to the salon to get my hair colored. Do you have any tips for making my at-home dye job look professional? — Susan W.

Dear Susan: I’m really happy you sent in this question! Lots of women struggle to maintain their hairapy when they’re pinching pennies. Ladies, I’ve had many adventures in my bathroom with a bottle of hair dye—some good, some bad, some tragic—so I decided to ask my fabulous friend, Hollywood-based celebrity stylist and color expert Marco Pelusi for a few foolproof tips.

Unless you’re an old pro, forgo the grocery aisle and visit your local beauty-supply store. The employees will have some knowledge of the products and can help you select the one that is right for you. Make sure to purchase a color bowl and application brush. These tools will make it easier to apply the color methodically and completely saturate your hair follicles.

Never try to go lighter or work with bleach. It’s simply too unpredictable. (I can attest to this! About 10 years ago I decided that I wanted to put blonde, chunky streaks in my brunette bob. Needless to say, the hair that didn’t fall out was so damaged that I had to have it all chopped off into a pixie cut.)

Stick to a shade that’s as close to your natural color as possible. It will be the most flattering. Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she painted your palette.

Remember to use products that will help maintain your color and shine. There are good shampoos, conditioners and sprays at any price point. Visit this website to view my Collagen Color Guard Hair Care line.

When all is said and done, everything is easier with a partner in crime. So throw a girls’ night, eat some chocolate, put on a chic flick (my sister Sarah and I have watched Something New about 500 times), then curl up and dye.

Dear Functional Girl: I don’t know what to do about my tangles! I’ll brush my hair and within minutes I can run my fingers through it and find snags. I’ve tried detangling products and special brushes but nothing works. Please tell me you have a Jedi mind trick that will detangle me permanently. — Carolyn F.

Dear Carolyn: Oh, my tangled sister, I feel your pain. My hair tangles if someone breathes near it! Like you, I was never able to find a product that worked. It got to the point where I wouldn’t even wear my hair down. Then I met Ms. Mary, a no-nonsense, old-school stylist who cut my hair a few years ago. As her shears worked my mane she suddenly asked me a question.
“Do you take really hot showers?”

How odd, I thought. But I was intrigued.

“The hotter the better,” I replied. “How did you know?”

“Your hair tangles very easily,” she said. “It’s because of the hot water.”

I couldn’t believe it! Was it really that simple? I had bemoaned my tangles for years, yet no one had ever suggested this! Over the next few weeks I made it a point to wash my hair with cooler water. And do you know what, Carolyn? It really was that simple. I still get tangles, but nothing like my past snagfests. Give it a try and let me know if it works for you too.

Functional Girl CJ Legare lives in Kyle with her husband, Joshua, and is addicted to 2 percent organic milk. If you’ve got a question or comment for Functional Girl, email her here. She blogs at

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