My Hair Color + Colorist + How I Care For It

I get SOOOO many questions on my Instagram page about my hair…

…more questions about my hair color than any makeup item or skin care routine. I thought it was finally time to just lay it all out there for you and give you all the details of my hair color story, my hair stylist (psst! she’s great and taking new clients!!), and my hair care routine.

As “into” skincare and makeup stuff as I am, you might be a little shocked to know that I am not super obsessed with taking care of my hair. In all honesty, I kinda take my hair for granted sometimes and I feel like I’m beginning to pay for it. Back in the day I used to be able to fry the shit out of my hair with bleach and heat styling 24/7 and my hair would still be super shiny and healthy. No longer the case, my friends. Aging is for the birds.

While I’m not crazy about taking care of my hair, I am super duper crazy about what my hair looks like. I have had some horrible haircuts and color treatments over the years and so I am paranoid about who I let touch my hair. Seriously, one time, this girl I trusted with my hair life, highlighted my hair super blonde and then toned it with a bottle that had red hair dye left in the top,  and it turned my hair RED! I spent 8 hours in her chair, well after the salon had closed, and still walked out of there with dirty orange hair. I had to go back the next morning for another 6 hours to get it somewhat normal again. Ugh. Anyway, I digress, my point in bringing this up is that I don’t let just any old schmo work on my hair. Last year I realized that I was paying out the ass for just average highlights and haircuts at some of Chicago’s most expensive salons and my hair was still pretty lifeless and “basic”. Shit needed to change!

Enter Jess Mateja. My hair savior, stylist, colorist, hair magician, etc etc etc.

Jess is the fiance of one of MJ’s coworkers and I first realized she was a hair genius when I saw her take my friend Angi from long dark hair to short blonde hair and it looked AMAZING! After seeing that she was able to work that sort of hair wizardry, I decided I needed to ditch my expensive salon and let Jess work some magic on my boring hair. Seriously, look at Angi’s hair! Do you die?! I die.

My Hair Color + Colorist + How I Care For It

Angi’s Hair “Before”

My Hair Color + Colorist + How I Care For It

Angi’s Hair “After” // Slayyyyy!

Okay, SO like I said, after seeing how talented Jess was with Angi’s hair, I decided to ask her to start coloring/cutting my hair too. Not only does she come to my house to do it all (perfect for all you busy ladies out there) but she also really educates me about how to take care of my hair. I am not, by any means, the perfect hair student/client, but my hair care routine has definitely taken a step up since Jess has been in my life. Good news for everyone in the Chicago area, Jess is taking new clients! Her prices are totally reasonable and she can color/cut your hair at your house, at her house, or you can go to see her at her salon (Regis Salon in Woodfield Mall). If you’re interested, email her at Oh hey, PS. She cuts MJ’s hair too!

Ain't she cute? You'll love her! Email:

Ain’t she cute? You’ll love her! Email:

The first time Jess did my hair I told her that I wanted to slowly transition to blonde. I’ve got some grays popping up (ughhhhhhh) and blonde really helps hide them without having to dye my hair every 5 seconds. For our first appointment Jess did something called “babylights”, which was a great first step because my highlights were so natural. Over the course of this year we have transitioned into a mix of “ombre” and “balayage” and appointment by appointment, I’m getting more and more blonde.

The first picture here is my hair “Before” Jess. The rest after are all “After” her amazing hands touched my head.

My Hair Color + Colorist + How I Care For It

January 2014 BEFORE JESS

My Hair Color + Colorist + How I Care For It

July 2015

December 2015

December 2015

April 2016

April 2016 – See how blonde my ends are now?! Love!

Now, when I was a brunette, taking care of my hair was pretty easy. Shampoo, conditioner, blow dry, done. Now that I use bleach on my hair, I know I need to take better care of my hair. Jess has helped me keep my strands as healthy as possible which is super important now that my hair is pretty blonde. She even picks up the products for me and takes the guessing work out of it. Last week, Jess was over to color and cut my hair and she went through everything I should be doing to make sure my hair doesn’t get fried. Oh hey, some other things about my hair– I have a lot of hair but the actual strands are pretty thin and fragile. My hair is “straight” but it definitely has some weird wave texture to it that is not cute if I let it air dry…the under part of my hair even gets tiny, frizzy, ringlets sometimes…. NOT CUTE!

Jess has stressed to me that it is really important that I use a “toning” shampoo and deep conditioning treatment at least once per week. The toning shampoo helps my blonde hair stay more “ashy” and less “brassy/yellow”. On the day where I tone and deep condition my routine is as follows:

  1. I like to use an exfoliating shampoo to rid my hair of any built up product before I tone. Right now I have been loving the Invanti Exfoliating Shampoo by Aveda. This is not a product that Jess gets me, just one that I’ve been using over time to make sure my scalp and strands are clean of any product build up.
  2. Next, I use my toning shampoo, So Silver by Matrix. Jess grabbed this for me and it is SO great. I use this all over my head but I do concentrate the majority of the product towards the ends of my hair since that is where I am most blonde. I leave it on for 3-5 minutes and then rinse.My Hair Color + Colorist + How I Care For It
  3. After I shampoo with So Silver, I use the Restorative Hair Mask by Moroccan Oil. This is another one that Jess recommended and I have been loving it. After I wash my hair, I ring out any excess water and then slather this all over the roots and then rub the ends of my hair all over my head. I don’t generally apply this directly to my scalp because I don’t like any “build up” and I find that rubbing the product from the ends to the rest of my head works just fine. I put my hair up into a bun in the shower and then shave my legs, exfoliate my body, and then rinse this off with COLD water after 7-10 minutes. I only recently started rinsing with cold water because Jess said so… and yeah, it’s cold! But! Cold water seals your hair cuticle so all the goodness from your deep conditioner can stay in and do its job.
  4. The Moroccan Oil jar says to follow up with a conditioner. I don’t get why… but sometimes I do this just because. I have been using this Repair Conditioner by Matrix for awhile and I think it works really well. I use this most days that I was my hair. I don’t let this sit, I just rinse it right off.


BTW, if you’re not blonde, you should still be deep conditioning! Follow the same steps as above but just apply the deep conditioning mask right after your use the exfoliating shampoo.

On days where I am not toning and/or deep conditioning, I only wash my hair with the Matrix Repair shampoo and conditioner. These bottles are just about empty so Jess got me some new stuff to try but since I haven’t used them yet, I didn’t want to show you yet. I’ll let you know how I like them later.

While healthy hair starts in the shower, you have to put in some work after the shower too! My new after shower  routine is:

  1. Towel dry hair gently
  2. Spritz on a leave-in conditioner. Jess got me hooked on this Weightless Thermal Primer by Regis. It smells soooo yummy and does not weigh my hair down. I spray this generously all over my hair and then I brush my hair using the Wet Brush. If you don’t have a Wet Brush, you need one! It is so gentle on the hair and doesn’t yank at any tangles. Great for kids too! BTW, Jess said this leave-in conditioner is also a heat protectant but she said that if I am straightening or curling my hair then I need to apply another heat protectant after I blow dry and before I style.
  3. After the leave-in conditioner is brushed through my hair I apply two pumps of Controlling Oil by Matrix. I My Hair Color + Colorist + How I Care For Itmostly apply this to the ends of my hair but run anything left over to the rest of my hair.
  4. Step four is tricky. If I shower at night, this is the point where I pull my hair into a tight bun, wrap an 80’s scrunchie around it, and go to bed with my hair wet. I do this most nights and blow dry my hair in the AM. If I am blow drying my hair right after I shower then I spray a little bit of this Smooth & Seal by Smooth Sexy Hair all over. You can use this before or after you blow dry. If you decide to use it after styling, use sparingly as a shine spray.
  5. If I’m crunched for time, I use the Flash Blow Dry Oil by Matrix all over my head at the most “wet” parts just to speed my blow drying time. I have fairly thick and long hair so blow drying is my least favorite activity ever…anything to cut the time is a welcome added step.

I already told you, I’m not a perfect hair student. I don’t do all of these steps every single time I wash my hair, but in all honesty, I only wash my hair 2-3 times a week so adding these steps hasn’t been a huge burden for me. Seriously, why will I do an 8-10 step skin care routine but I’m so lazy when it comes to my hair?! Makes no sense!

Interested in a great blow dryer? For Christmas I was gifted the Dream Dryer and love it! It’s small, not too heavy, and high powered.

Okay, I think that’s everything! PLEASE reach out to Jess if you’re interested in her services. She is SO great. Any of my friends reading this, let me know if you want to have a haircut/color party at my house and we can set that up with Jess. Wine and gossip included 🙂




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  1. Carly Ehrenberger says:

    I love all of your posts, but I am especially excited about this one! I would also be sooo down for a hair party!