For the past couple of years I have been doing quite a bit of testing and research to find my favorite natural beauty products that effective to carry at the salon. Since I found myself sharing my favorites again and again I decided it might be a worthwhile blog post for those of you that are interested in trying something that is natural and effective. I found myself shying away from natural products for the longest time because every time I bought something I felt disappointed! Foundation smelled like patchouly, and shampoo and conditioner always seem to dry my hair out.
One of my favorite natural products is a lip gloss by Ilia. I buy this particular lipgloss and two shades… The butterfly and I and Peekaboo. Peekaboo could be described as a nude, but it’s not that terrible deadening shade that takes away all the color in your face, it has a bit of a Rosy hue and just a touch of color. Peeakaboo is great with a darker smoky eye. The butterfly and I has just a touch more color, but not so much to be considered darker and aging, it’s very soft and subtle and can be worn every day. The thing that I like the best about these lip glosses is how natural they are, and the fact that they are extremely moisturizing to my lips. It’s one of the few products that I’ve ever worn that leaves my lips in better shape instead of chapped and uneven. It’s really the only thing I buy at this point for my lips.
I had to try four or five natural deodorants to find one that was effective. I’ve read enough information about commercial deodorants to realize that there’s nothing safe about them, so I finally decided to make the switch, but it wasn’t that easy. So many of the choices smelled fantastic but lost their effectiveness after only two or three hours, and it’s really not convenient to reapply four times a day. My favorite and most effective natural deodorant? Agent Nateur holi Rose #4 deodorant. It has the softest Rose sent, great staying power which lasts all day and of course beautiful packaging.
Skin care was particularly difficult for me as I’ve always been very basic and like things that don’t have a scent. My favorite skin care products? Odacite Beautiful day moisturizer and ultra effective eye cream. They are both cruelty free with no parabens, petrochemicals, fragrances and glycols. It’s a fantastic product that leaves my skin looking great every day and doesn’t cause any irritation whatsoever.
My favorite moisturizer is by Maria Akerberg of Sweden and it’s the foaming wash clearing formula. It’s organic, leaves my skin fresh and causes absolutely no irritation. I purchase this product at Balans Boston ( on their website)
For shampoo and conditioner I have absolutely fallen in love with Rare Elements. I use the Pure shampoo and the Essential conditioner. I have a very long thick wavy hair which tends to be a bit dry, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the conditioner from Rare Essentials made my hair silky, smoothed out the tangles and added shine. The Pure shampoo did a fantastic job of removing the oil in my hair with only one shampoo and did not dry out my hair at all. It has a super pleasant minty smell, and it has fast become one of my favorite shampoos. I carry this shampoo and conditioner at the salon and I absolutely love it.
These are some of my favorite natural beauty products thus far. I have many more if you’d like for me to share, please let me know in the comments below. Megan
I’ve been thinking of writing about my mentor Beth Minardi for quite a while and one thing always stops me. It won’t be as good as I want it to be, I can’t describe who she is in words and if I had more time I could make it better. So many thoughts stop me before I start writing. Before I begin let me preface my writing with this: I could never hope to describe in writing the generosity, intelligence, wit, elegance, kindness and high level of passion for coloring hair as an art form that she has. Just know that however I describe her, there is so much more that perhaps someone could put into words yet I am unsure of how to paint the picture as richly as I would need to be accurate and full.
Years ago I signed up for Beth’s exclusive class in the Upper East side of New York at the behest of Joanna Howell-Giraud who has been a mentor and dear friend for years. She described the things that I would learn, and that they would not be trendy and unusable as many of the things that I had previously seen at classes were. I nervously braved through the crowds on the sidewalks to get to her class, and always managed to feel in someone’s way as I tried to figure out how to get to class. It was my first time in New York and I was petrified. Looking back, I was a different person then,
Sitting through my first class with Beth was inspiring and enlightening. On one hand, I found my confidence growing because many of the things that she was teaching were quite familiar to me. I knew more than I thought I did! I watched Beth color hair neatly, accurately and with a quiet confidence that I could only imagine at that point. She was dressed impeccably, with a gorgeous apron that looked different than anything I had ever seen and her hair and makeup was flawless. I remember sitting there and appreciating exactly why Joanna had wanted me to take this class so much, and knowing that I had found a successful, strong woman whom I could model myself after.
The funny thing is, I was about to give up on my dreams before I met Beth. I was just starting my career and my younger brother had passed away in an accident, and it was all too much for me to navigate. I was ready to move back to New Hampshire to live with my mom and give up my hope of being a successful hair colorist. Everything changed for me that day though, I saw a clear path ahead and while I knew it wouldn’t be easy, I also knew it was possible.
Over the years I’ve made the trip to NYC to train with Beth more times than I can count. As she works away teaching placement, formulation and artistry she also weaves in stories to teach us how to build a career as an artist and expert instead of treating it as a job. Somewhere within Beth’s stories and teaching she managed to instill a new posture, feeling of confidence and a vision of myself as a businessperson. A good mentor teaches so much more than physical skill, they instill a sense of professionalism and standards that transcend the task at hand and shape the very person that you become. I like to think that after my years of training with Beth I have gleaned some of her strength, confidence and elegance as now I am able to navigate the streets of New York with a self assurance that I didn’t have in my youth. My work at the salon has become more manageable as well as artistic because I have worked with her to the point that I have mastered what to expect, which frees me up to be creative all while backed by the incredible knowledge and technical skills that she has given me.
If you’ve ever considered taking a class with Beth Minardi, I promise you it will be money well spent. The returns you get in skill, passion, professionalism and happiness far outweigh the cost. I have always believed that investing in yourself is the only way to have superior skills. Learn from the best to be your best. She’s taken me from being a young hair colorist who was about to give up on her career to where I am now: a two time Best of Boston Hair Colorist and salon owner on Newbury Street in Boston. I’d love to hear from anyone about their Beth experiences below in the comments! Have a beautiful day! Megan
I’m often asked who is the best makeup artist Boston?There are so many people who claim to be makeup artists, but a true artist is not someone who just applies makeup, they have an art of showing off and drawing interest to your best features, all while minimizing the features that you don’t feel great about.
I met Tavi many years ago by chance, and I have been impressed by him on so many levels. First and foremost, his actual makeup skills are unparalleled. He has a way of applying makeup in such a blended, soft and subtle way that the results are incredible. I always knew that celebrities had a distinct advantage with the celebrity makeup artists that they used, and when I met Tavi, I was so happy to be able to share the same advantages that celeb beauties have, with my clients.
Although I feel beautiful after Tavi does my makeup for an event (sort of like there a fan permanently blowing on me, or I’m on a runway no matter where I am) the best part about working with Tavi is actually what a sweet and genuine person he is. I don’t make recommendations for the best makeup artist Boston only based on skill (although Tavi certainly has that) I also tell everyone who will listen about him because he is wonderful to work with, and he makes you feel beautiful on the outside AND the inside.
For anyone who has had a less than positive experience in the past working with a makeup artist, I highly suggest communicating what you’d like to see for your makeup, and having pictures ready to show Tavi. I’ve told many brides to be not to fear using him as their makeup artist. Tavi will always get it right, and you can do several trials (which are not free:) if you feel that you want to try out different looks.
One of the most confusing things for clients (and even some stylists that need more basic training:) is what can be expected from a single process hair color. Although there is a time and a place for single process hair color, it’s not quite as useful or powerful as the average person would believe it to be.
In the salon I use single process hair color when:
• I’m looking for grey coverage
• The client loves her existing shade of hair color and does not require correcting.
• I’m looking for no more than one or two levels of lift
• The client does not have darker hair color on the ends of her hair.
There are certain limitations of what one process hair color can do. It’s not able to control a great deal of warmth, so when used to try to lift more than two shades lighter, there will eventually be brassiness. Maybe not today or tomorrow (although most likely) but within 10 days for sure. Single process hair color also is unable to lift hair color that was applied previously and is a darker shade. Even if the hair color was applied months and months ago and you think it’s gone….surprise! If you apply a single process hair color to the entire head you’ll see banding, and the end result will be splotchy, unnatural and not aesthetically pleasing.
For situations where a client has previously colored and does not like her color, wants a lighter, cooler shade or seeks dimension, a one process color won’t be enough. In all of these cases she’ll be disappointed, and want better, more natural results from her appointment. To book an appointment or consultation please call us at 617.236.8100.
I’ll never forget the morning that I was about to leave for school in six grade and my mother ever so gently stopped me right before I walked out the door for the school bus. I was wearing a hand me down striped cotton bra that had belonged to my older sister Cassie and apparently I wasn’t wearing it properly. “So, it needs to be lower to line up with your actual ….… Chest.” My mom tugged the bra into place as I had stuffed it with Kleenex and was wearing it approximately 4 inches above where it should go. My bra was positioned more like a necklace than an actual useful undergarment. These were the first bra fitting tips I ever got.
I spent a few years rogue buying things from Marshall’s in the size I imagined I was. By this point I no longer needed the Kleenex and was hunching over trying to hide the fact that I had developed a fuller chest than I desired. I remember being a teenager and having other girls tease me about my chest and it just made me want to disappear. One girl pronounced loudly during silent reading when we were 14 that “Megan’s chest is going to be so saggy when she’s older… How embarrassing!” Well, the good news is with the proper bra fitting tips that actually does not have to be true. Ha.
My first bra fitting took place in a small boutique in Maine when I was doing some shopping to get ready to go to college with my godmother. We were looking at bras and she asked me what size I was so I answered 36b. I can distinctly remember her face at that moment when she looked me up-and-down and just said ” oh no, absolutely not. No one has ever fit you properly for a bra before have they?” I was shocked to learn that day when I was measured that I was a 32DD. I actually remember feeling very upset and I think there may have even been tears. The older European woman measuring me was very sweet and she said: “you are going to be so surprised when you wear the correct, size. Everything is going to feel more comfortable and your clothes will fit so much better.” She was 100% right and the proper size made all the difference.
I think that there is a certain stigma about bra size and we all seem to decide that it actually matters what the numbers say… But the numbers don’t matter at all, what matters is that you feel your absolute best and you maximize your potential. A properly fitted bra gives better support which comes from the band not from the straps. Most people wear their bras slightly too high creating a ridge in their skin because it is not properly positioned. Victoria’s Secret (at least in my experience) does not have a band size below 32 but there are many many people who are 28 and even 30. As it turns out my band size is actually a 30 and I can’t believe how much more comfortable it is when the band fits properly.
Rigby and Pelletier has a great selection of bras and if you make an appointment they will take the time to measure you and find something that really works for you. Isn’t it funny that we all spend time and money on the things that people see on the outside but for things that we wear every day we often just use what we have or grab something quickly that’s on sale?
Bra Fitting Tips
Bra fitting tips.
Make sure that you have been measured for the proper band size. I recommend going somewhere other than Victoria’s Secret as they will always try to sell you a bra that they carry but they do not carry very small band sizes or very large.
Wash your bras by hand or on the delicate cycle inside a protective mesh bra bag to prolong the life of your bras and do not dry them.
Buy a bra which fits you on the last hook when you purchase it so that as it stretches you can adjusted to a tighter hook.
Rotate your bras and do not wear the same bra two days in a row so that it can have a break and go back to its original shape.
If you’ve worn a bra frequently make sure to retire it after year as you will no longer be getting the support from it that you need.
Don’t be upset about your cup size. So many women are wearing B’s when they should be D’s. You’re worth is not determined by the size of your bra. Get over it and where the undergarment that makes you look your best!
When you are trying on bras make sure to bring a shirt or two with you so that you can try it on to see the shape of the cups and if you feel comfortable with how it looks for day today wear. I wear lots of scoopneck’s and full coverage bras show so I need something that is cut lower like a balconette.
Maybe talking about bras is a personal thing, I don’t know but I believe that the things that you do for yourself add up to the best end result. Beauty is taking care of yourself and feeling great every day and if you are wearing an ill fitting bra and it’s riding up itching you or is uncomfortable in any way, you’re going to be distracted from being the best you. You’ll be amazed how much a proper bra fitting can change your life. Do you have any bra fitting tips to add to this? I’d love to hear from you!
I work closely to people, so I always keep my nails manicured. I think it’s really the respectful, beautiful thing to do. I got my first manicure at 22 years old, and I just turned 40 which means I’ve been getting manicures for 18 years, and I’ve had 52 manicures a year so I’ve had nine hundred and thirty-six (936!) manicures in my life. It looks like I might just be an expert on this…. I send people to Jeanne Lee for the best manicure Boston and I’m not the only one who knows that she’s the best. When you walk into Jeanne Lee’s salon there is a wall dedicated to her many awards from various magazines and Allure Magazine and Boston Magazine are two of the featured publications.
Getting a manicure is a funny thing. When I got my first manicure it was the most exciting thing and I looked at my nails for days after and felt so elegant an beautiful….I wondered why I had never tried this sooner. After doing it for years it becomes more of a regular thing and part of maintenance. It is really important to me that I like the salon environment as I’ll be there for a fair amount of time over the course of the year. So many nail salons are overcrowded and and it’s stressful to walk in. I don’t find it very relaxing to have someone yell “Pick a color” at me as I enter a business, but maybe that’s just me.
From the first time I walked into Jeanne Lee Salon I knew I was going to get the best manicure Boston. Her salon is peaceful and spacious, and most importantly immaculate. Jeanne has a kind and quiet way about her and she gently and artfully works on my nails making them perfect every time. I have found that there are many people who do manicures that do a beautiful job the first time, but during subsequent visits the quality sinks each time. Whether it was my 2nd trip or my 99th Jeanne put in the same effort and care and I can say with confidence that she did the best manicure Boston each and every time. Have you visited the Jeanne Lee Salon? I highly recommend you do if you live in Boston or will be visiting. Tell her Megan Graham sent you. Jeanne Lee Salon is located at 115 Newbury Street in Boston, MA and appointments can be made by calling 617 536 0143 or visiting her website: www.jeannesalon.com
I tend to blog almost exclusively about hair, but when I am actually working at my salon behind the chair with my beloved clients I am also a bit of a concierge. I help my guests to move through the fluff and find the services and experiences that will enrich their lives, and help them to function on a higher level. A large part of my focus is to help with all aspects of beauty as well as fitness, but I also believe that social time with family and friends is of the utmost importance.
Sorellina Boston is a lovely restaurant located just past the Public Library on a small side street. The food is the most delicious that I have had since my trip to Italy years ago, and the atmosphere has just the right mixture of energy. It’s elegant, while somehow remaining welcoming. As a business owner myself I try to observe and learn from the details of every business that I visit, and it’s clear that a great deal of thought and planning went into Sorellina Boston to make it such a lovely place to dine and socialize.
My favorite place to sit at Sorellina is at the bar. Jeremy is the resident bartender and his genuine friendliness and love of what he does makes it the best seat in the house. He somehow manages all the details, delivers the most delicious drinks and generally makes you feel completely at home and taken care of. He also always asks about my mom, and how can anyone that looks out for my mom not be a great person?:) I’ve never actually been one to sit at the bar, but it’s my favorite seat here. It’s beautiful and I truly think that it’s the best seat in the house.
One of my favorite things about Sorellina is that they divide food for you, and they do it so beautifully. For those of you that don’t know, I am also a fitness model. I enjoy my time out with family and friends, but also value finding places that have wonderful food that is available in different portions. I am small and intend to stay this way:) It’s so nice to find a place to dine that had food so delicious and flavorful that it doesn’t have to be served in a trough to satisfy you!
My favorite things on the menu? Romaine salad, Tuna Tar-Tar, Filet Mignon, Salmon, Lobster Gnocchi, Fettuccini, and whatever tequila Jeremy serves on the rocks with lime or as a skinny Margeurita. To follow dinner? The doughnuts that are served while they are still warm are out of this world. They are also a small portion so there is no need to feel guilty. Have you tried Sorellina Boston? If you haven’t please do….I promise I won’t lead you astray. XOXO, Megan
One thing that I never considered when I decided to open my own hair salon was how difficult it is to find amazing people to be on my team at the salon. Right now I am hiring hair salon assistant and over the years I have learned to be extremely picky and selective because the people inside of a business truly are what decide the quality of a business.
When hiring hair salon assistant I look for a person that has higher standards than those around them. I look for someone that is responsible, reliable, fashion forward, honest, positive and is looking for a career in the hair industry instead of just looking for a job. I believe that every step of the process of hair is very important and if our assistant at the salon does not have a passion for making people beautiful, the end result will not be as amazing as it could be.
When I first started the salon and hiring hair salon assistant I was not quite as careful and I trusted people right off the bat when I interviewed them. One thing that I have learned about hiring is that it’s very much like dating. You need to have a trial. Where you get to know someone and you either find out that they were exactly what they presented themselves to be, or that they have certain flaws that make them a poor fit for your goals.
I truly love what we do at the salon and we have a very high standard for what we do professionally. I’m looking for someone amazing that has lofty career goals and is willing to put in the work along the way to being successful. If you know someone in the Boston area that is looking for a hair salon assistant job, please have them stop in at 115 Newbury St. To fill out an application, or email us at: Megan Graham Beauty @ gmail.com
2016 has been an amazing year in the cosmetic industry, with all types of new breakthroughs and fabulous trends. One of the categories I have been the most impressed with this year has been in the realm of foundations. Here are a few of my favorite foundation that made their debut this year.
2016 Best Foundations #1: The Two Faced Born This Way Foundation has been a complete stand out. It’s a medium to full coverage foundation and is completely buildable. What I love most about it, other than it being pretty much untraceable on the skin, is that it is suitable for basically any skin type (dry, oily, combo) and any age.
2016 Best Foundations #2: Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation is exactly that, it stays on all day, it feels light on the skin and your skin can breathe. This foundation makes your skin look like your skin and I love that. This foundation works well on anybody, it worked exceptionally well on my combo skin compared to Nars’ other cult favorite foundation – the Nars Sheer Glow. Sheer Glow was too dewy for my skin – it would be perfect for someone on the drier to normal skin spectrum! (This is my personal favorite as well as Megan’s!!)
2016 Best Foundations #3: The Marc Jacobs re(Marc)able Foundation became an instant fan favorite when it was released. For being one of the fullest coverage foundations I have ever tried, it does not cake up as much as you would think. You need a very small amount distributed evenly around your face and it blends like a dream. On a daily basis you can use a damp beauty blender for flawless coverage, or for special occasions use a brush for a full porcelain-like finish. One of my favorite things about this foundation is the packaging – the bottle is so chic and pretty and the applicator has a dot on the end that you can apply directly to the face, mess free.
I love all three of these brands and their products and the best part is, all of these brands are cruelty free! You can’t get more fabulous than that! So depending on your skin type and what you’re looking for in your makeup – any one of these awesome products should work perfectly for you! They are definitely three of my go-to foundations when I’m getting ready in the mornings. What are some of your favorite foundations? Please feel free to comment below to list your favorites, or ask any questions about mine:)
I’m so happy to announce that my longtime friend and talented mentor will be joining the team at Megan Graham Beauty. I worked for Omar and his lovely wife Joanna at the age of 22 and have been fortunate enough to remain close friends with this amazing duo. Stylist Omar Giraud has talent and personality that make every appointment delightful while providing beautiful an consistent results. We are thrilled to be able to spend time with this creative genius, and can’t wait for everyone to meet him.
We are happy to welcome a new member to the Megan Graham Beauty team: Stylist Omar Giraud has owned a successful salon with his wife Joanna for over a decade. Omar has a busy and discerning clientele. His Spanish heritage may be the inspiration for his popular mens and women’s precision haircuts, which are clean and modern. Beginning this week Omar will split his time between the North shore and Megan Graham Beauty. Omar will work his magic every Wednesday with lovely styling and hair cutting. We are very excited to have such a talented and experienced member on our team. We hope you will have the pleasure of meeting Omar soon. To book an appointment to consultation with stylist Omar Giraud please call: 617.236.8100