Do Natural Hair Lighteners Work?

Rebecca Schembri

I did some hairdressing work during quarantine today-real, colorist labor.

Pulling out my test hair swatches, I decided to follow up on a combination of 80’s anecdotes and a blog I read about using kitchen products to lighten hair.

I compared five ingredients to a soft formula of traditional salon powder lightener (hair bleach 10vol), and created a grid for each labeled swatch, then I got busy.

Using strict hair colorist testing techniques, I made sure to time my experiment and to use the exact same surfaces, shampoos, water and environment for all six swatches.

Grid used to compare lighteners

The test variables were as follows: lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, apple cider vinegar, chamomile tea, and salon-grade powder lightener.

I split the four natural lighteners into two groups: one indoors and one in direct sunlight at the window. All swatches processed for sixty minutes.

I remember as an eleven-year old that we would spritz our hair with lemon in summer and it would lighten. Those of us that couldn’t sneak lemon juice past our parents, found hydrogen peroxide under the bathroom sink and used it instead. It did work!

Here are the results from my lightener test. I would like to say that, except for the chamomile, all of these are painful to the eyes-if you want babylights around your face, you must exercise caution.

1. Lemon: 1/2 shade lighter
2. Hydrogen Peroxide: 1/4 shade lighter
3. Salon Lightener: 1 shade lighter
4. Chamomile Tea: no change
5. Apple Cider Vinegar: 1/8 shade lighter

After: Lemon works 50% as well as hair bleach 10vol

Overall, lemon juice is the winner for hair lightening at home and apple cider vinegar is a great hair brightener. Hydrogen peroxide came in second and chamomile lost. This is sad because chamomile can be used on the eyes and it has a safe pH-it would be miraculous to have a safe lightener! The others must be used with care, especially hydrogen peroxide and salon bleach, which can both cause blindness.

Sunlight accelerates the lightening process

I did not see positive results from any of the swatches put in sunlight, but I do know that the sun can lighten hair. I recommend at least five days of full sun exposure for soft, seasonal highlights.

An important thing to note is that these products may not like being in traditional aluminum foil strips like the ones your colorist uses in-salon to isolate pieces of hair. Do a test first by applying your desired lightener to the foil and waiting an hour to see if there is a chemical reaction. When in doubt, braid the hair instead and apply the lightener spray over it.

Babylights from salon lightener. Applying lemon to the same strands everyday will produce similar results

Also, the salon-bleached strand was the dryest and most porous of all the swatches, so enjoy your at-home lightener and apply liberally for many days until you reach your desired result. It’s not likely to harm your hair and you don’t need the safety knowledge of a technician to use these home products.

Spritzing lemon juice on your dry, curly hair will create babylights over time

If your skin tone cannot carry golden blonde well, you will need a purple toner from the store or made from berry juice. Dilute in a spray bottle and use as desired to neutralize brassy hues.

Rebecca Schembri is a Writer and Published Hair and Makeup Artist from Reno, Nevada, USA

After Quarantine: What is the Future of Haircolor?

When beauty salons across the world began closing their doors due to the global health pandemic, most hairdressers warned their clients to not run for home box color.

“It’ll cost you a lot of money to do a color correction if you color your own hair and we have to fix it later,” they spurted, not realizing their entire clientele dynamic was in the balance. Clients believed them at first, clearing out any pharmacy or grocery store that carried root powder, a temporary cover-up that lasts until the next shampoo. This worked for the first week of quarantine, then faded to a dream by day sixteen.

With the government calling for another ten weeks before non-essential businesses reopen (salons included), clients may begin to rethink their hair strategy. After all, a grey rootline plus social distancing is too depressing for customers used to getting what they want, and what they want is great hair. States have banned curbside pickup, where colorists premix color and hand it off to guests without physical contact. This is expected, since keeping at six feet goes against a hairdresser’s nature-they are licensed to touch hair and skin, give hugs, and listen. Soon, even the most loyal of virus-fearing clients may begin researching how to color their hair at home.

When the ripples of unemployment begin to forge through the economy, one thing will become clear to those paying attention to the salon industry-things have changed. Even if the quarantine lifts within a month or two, 10% to 30% of clients will automatically fall away per industry norm when scheduling and location routines are disrupted, such as when a hairdresser moves to another salon or changes workdays. Although many stylists push through the income loss, and rebuild, some never survive the cut.

An impending recession will force another 50% of salon-goers to take a break as people are forced to choose which luxury service they refuse to sacrifice until things stabilize. Hair services stand a 16% chance of winning, as they compete with gym memberships, massages, lashes, nails, and Target.

Usually when clients break up with their hairdresser, they wait an extra year after their intended return date.

Thus, hair professionals are faced with a dire situation: 60% to 80% of their clientele will be wiped out by the plague that swept the world into quarantine, and that does not include clients who catch the virus and sadly pass away.

Once this storm breaks, however, the industry knows how to build. From beauty school, students are taught to talk to five people a day, use social media, show off their portfolios, offer promos, ask for referrals, attend networking events, and say yes to everything and to everyone until they have enough customers to pay their bills and feel successful. Then they turn it off and reap the return. Although most colorists are seasoned and have earned the right to refrain from marketing, they can do this.

Unless, of course, there is a second and third wave of the virus, or it simply won’t go away. Techinicians will have to use personal protective equipment for every service and disinfect the entire area between client visits, including the air, until there is a vaccine. Images of women getting balayage or a root touch up with their stylist in a near HAZMAT suit are not conducive to the salon experience- it simply won’t happen.

Eventually, clients will begin to embrace grey hair and many will grow their haircuts out, especially when friends and colleagues do the same. People may realize that an era of expensive grooming is over, and that they should have three months’ income in savings and get out of debt instead of buying bougie experiences that risk their bottom line. Hairdressing services will revert to the wealthy who are willing to risk their health for vanity, while the rest teach themselves how to cut hair at home, or succumb to budget chain stores known as “chop shops”.

There will always be human grooming, as seen in history from the beginning of papyrus and ancient scrolls. There will not, however, always be money for a salon tab that costs more than a week’s groceries, or the desire to risk infection by enhancing the look of hair. This beauty world cataclysm may cause a year to decade-long disruption-enough to turn beauty professionals to other means of employment, while huge corporations and online influencers sweep customers to DIY instead.

Rebecca Schembri is a writer and hair and makeup artist from Reno, Nevada, USA

Rebecca Schembri

How to Paint Your Nails

If you are like most girls (or guys), your home fingernail polish only lasts a day before it starts to chip.

As a cosmetologist, I can get you to enjoy your nail job up to a week, with some expertise.

The trick is to dehydrate the nail before painting. With rubbing alcohol or acetone, use a cotton pad to wet each nail thoroughly, then let dry about five seconds.

This removes any oily barriers between your nails and your polish, and gets it to stick.

Apply a polish in a color that flatters your skin tone: cool skin looks best in blue-based pinks, reds, whites and purples, while warm skin needs fire: any color with orange or golden hues in it.

Use a thin amount and paint a stripe down the middle of your nail. Repeat on each side so that each nail only gets three swipes of a thin layer of polish.

Let dry for two to five minutes, and repeat. The only way to get painted nails that dry completely is to be sure each swipe is thin. Any thick polish swipes will ruin your manicure job.

After you have applied two coats of color and let dry, finish with a thin layer of clear coat polish, applied in exactly the same way.

Once your clear top coat dries, work a small amount of cuticle oil or nut butter into your cuticles immediately, and twice a day. This helps prevent hangnails.

Dehydrating your nails prior to application, and painting in thin stripes is the best way to get your nails to last over five days before chipping.

Whether you are in quarantine, on a budget, or simply prefer to do your own nails, this method is tried and true-it works every time!

Rebecca Schembri is a Writer and Published Hair and Makeup Artist from Reno, Nevada, USA

2020 Hair and Makeup Trends | Who Cares?

Beauty salons deliver shampoo during the COVID-19 shutdown

In this great time of uncertainty and disruption, it’s a bit strange to think about fashion and beauty trends after quarantine.

After all, who cares about being ‘in style’ when the world is focused on a pandemic?

Hairdresers care. And we want you to know that we are canceling all obligations you have (or may not have known you had) to this year’s stylescape.

Normally, it is our job to encourage you to evolve with beauty hits that decend from celebrity rule. Whatever Lady Gaga is doing with makeup, go for it. Taylor Swift got fringe, do it. You want a new color, let’s see what Billie Eilish is up to, etc.

We gather inspiration from red carpet styling

These are trendsetters in the appearance world, and they deserve to be followed. They forge the path for those of us too busy to notice, or too scared to try.

But now we have something greater than a bedazzled celebrity we admire and want to emulate.

A global pandemic: masks are the next fashion statement

We have our own survival. That means we ourselves will choose how we want to look for a while, because we are in great need of self-expression and comfort.

Comfort Looks

So then, what you can expect to see this year is a lot of throwback hair. When people start creeping out of quarantine, you bet they will go for the curling iron, flat iron, and makeup that has always made them feel beautiful, and the style era won’t matter.

Expect to see outdated college girl looks and former high school styles, plus older ladies with spiked, sprayed hair, and any hairstyle from the TV show Friends. Looks will be overdone and outplayed, but it won’t matter. Think of it as armour; protection from the next bad thing.

Apocalypse Cosplay

Some may embrace their inner-apocalyptic heroes and indulge in dusty cosplay looks or fantastical haircolor and makeup. Dressing like it’s the end of the world has an empowering feel-it makes you fearless.

Grey Hair Growouts

Source: Internet

Many ladies who normally covered their greys will embrace their natural color instead. This is liberating- an act of confidence and strength. Facing the world’s mortality will wipe a lot of cosmetic slates clean and, more mature women may decide they prefer to be bare to focus on things they value instead.

Manly Manes

Men may see the pandemic as an excuse to save on haircuts

Since most men fantasize about growing out their hair, many will use the pandemic quarantine as a reason to get started. After all, working from home doesn’t require a trimmed neckline. Expect a decrease in future haircuts if quarantine lasts more than three months, passing the awkward in-between phase most men cringe at.

It’s Your Time

However you choose to express yourself this year, know that what you choose is your way of coping with a traumatic experience. It makes you feel strong and in control, and that victory dance is exactly what we want you to feel after conquering a deadly virus. Go ahead, rock that 80’s punk-you are alive to do it.

FROM HOME: Rebecca Schembri is a Published Hair and Makeup Artist and Writer from Reno, Nevada, USA

How to Dress Your Pear-Shaped Body

If your hips are wider than your shoulders, you are what stylists call, “a pear shape”. Just like a pear, you are skinny up top, and heavier around your bottom.

This small upper body vs large lower body is a common figure and comes with recommendations for achieving a proportional look.

#1 Rule: Bring the Eye Up

As a pear shape, anything you wear should be dark on bottom and light on top. This means, if you have light colored pants on, your shirt needs to be even lighter.

The idea is to reduce the appearance of your hips, while enhancing the appearance of your shoulders.

Your waistline should be accentuated, instead of your hips. Think tall pants and high-waisted skirts.

Accessories should draw attention to your waist or higher, so that your thighs diminish in proportion. Purses and bags should hang at the waist, not at the hip.

Having extra curves is a desired feminine trait, as many celebrity role models are pear shapes, just like the ancient Goddess of Fertility.

As long as you remember the “eyes up” rule, you will feel like your clothes fit you well, and that your body is something to behold.

Rebecca Schembri is a Published Hair and Makeup Artist and Writer from Reno, Nevada, USA

Model: Hollie Garrett; Photographer Quintin Neal; HMU Rebecca Schembri, Breeze Salon Reno; Reno, Nevada

How To Make Homemade Body Butter

Making your own moisturizer is a great way to shake pandemic blues and give yourself a pampering treatment while at home.

Not only do natural products that you can eat soothe dry skin and aging, they feel luxurious and give you a nice glow.

Ingredients such as shea butter regenerate your skin, while avocado oil adds vitamin E-great for promoting firmness and collagen production.

Remember to add a few drops of essential oil to enhance your beauty experience with an aroma you love.

Use at night on face and body.

Choose ingredients from your kitchen and bathroom


Something creamy (shea butter*, cocoa butter, coconut oil, etc)

Something oily (avocado oil*, olive oil, almond oil, hemp oil, etc)

Something aromatic (essential oil*, extracts, etc)

*denotes author’s favorite

How To Make Body Butter

Measure oil and butter 1:3. For example, if you use 1 cup oil, you will use 3 cups butter.

Shea Butter

In a clean blender, add a few drops of essential oil to the 1 part oil. Blend gently. Add the 3 parts butter and blend entire mixture thoroughly for 2 minutes.

Pour body butter into containers while it is drippy. It will solidify within a few minutes.

This formula lasts about one year in normal bathroom conditions. Enjoy!

Rebecca Schembri is a Published Hair and Makeup Artist from Reno, Nevada, USA

Reno / Tahoe Destination Weddings

Gardnerville, Nevada - Reno tahoe destinatioon Weddings by Breeze Salon Reno

Reno Destination Wedding by Breeze Salon Reno
The Harrah’s Mansion (Rancharrah) – Weddings by Breeze Salon Reno

Have you ever seen the crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe or breathtaking Gardnerville valley? If you are dreaming of wedding pictures with majestic mountains, lavender fields, or pine tree meadows, the Reno/Tahoe area is your destination.

Reno Tahoe Destination Wedding
Gardnerville, Nevada – Weddings by Breeze Salon Reno

The nice thing about Reno is that it has an international airport and ample lodging for your wedding party and guests. From the city’s high rise-hotels and nightlife to the country’s endless landscapes of mountains, greenbelt and high-desert sunsets, this region is full of beauty.

Hair by Rebecca Schembri, Breeze Salon Reno
South Lake Tahoe – Weddings by Breeze Salon Reno

Considered the gem of the west coast, Lake Tahoe is a crystal-clear glacier lake surrounded by snowy mountains most of the year. It’s water visibility is a deep 70 feet and cruises run daily for you to see it. When clouds allow, sunsets here can be astonishing.

Cloudy sunsets over Lake Tahoe create memorable views. Rebecca from Reno
Incline, Nevada. Cloudy sunsets over Lake Tahoe create memorable views

Lavender Ridge is a colorful option for your destination wedding. Full of fields of purple and silver lavender that seem to go forever, this Reno venue has an outdoorsy, elegant, rustic theme.

Reno Tahoe Wedding Hair and Makeup by Rebecca Schembri, Breeze Salon Reno
Lavender Ridge in Reno, Nevada. Weddings by Breeze Salon Reno

Reno Tahoe Destination Weddings by Breeze Salon Reno
Sparks, Nevada -Weddings by Breeze Salon Reno

Nestled in a huge desert valley, Sparks, Nevada is surrounded by hills and mountains and is home to memorable sunrises and sunsets. Just minutes from the Reno Tahoe International Airport, weather patterns unique to the area cause beautiful clouds to form and turn color. When the sun sets, the skies turn purple, pink, orange, yellow, silver and gold.

Virginia Lake Sunset, Reno Nevada rebeccafromreno
Sunsets in Reno are heavenly

Although you likely won’t be able to plan your wedding around cloud patterns, having them appear on your wedding day is an added bonus. 30-40% of the skies in this area are cloudy-a wedding photographer’s dream.

Sunsets in The Reno/Sparks area. rebecca from reno
Sunset over Virgina Lake, Reno.

If it snows on your wedding day, your photographer and makeup artist will be able to handle adjusting, especially if they are local professionals used to the weather. If you are lucky enough to get pictures with snowfall, cherish them-they can be just as beautiful as sunny shoots.

Lake Tahoe, Nevada- Weddings by Breeze Salon Reno.

Weather in Reno and Tahoe is unpredictable. Most locals will tell you to plan for any kind of weather, as some Julys have seen snow and some Januarys have seen barbeques. Temperatures are usually chilly to warm, ranging from 30F degrees to 98F.

Reno Tahoe Weddings by Rebecca Schembri, Breeze Salon Reno
Lavender Ridge, Reno. Weddings by Breeze Salon Reno

Indoor weddings are common in Reno as the city is one of the original mining establishments from the 1800’s silver rush. Casinos emerged as the first skyscrapers in the town and now cater to events and vacationers. An indoors city wedding will shelter you from sporadic weather and will make it easier to navigate the town during wedding week.

Reno Tahoe Wedding Hair and Makeup by Rebecca Schembri, Breeze Salon Reno
Indoor weddings at the local casinos are glamorous – Hair and Makeup by Breeze Salon Reno

Because local casinos earn more revenue from conventions and special events, pricing at these hotels is attractive. A great option for smaller-budget weddings, casinos are a one-stop-shop for your venue, catering, DJ, photographer and lodging. These resorts have the capacity to cater to large weddings as well, and they remove the need for transportation since everything is handled on location.

wedding flower girl coral6845017423483338153..jpg

How do you plan your Reno / Tahoe desintation wedding? Come stay for a few days and tour the different locations. Enjoy Reno’s Midtown District with it’s quirky shops and delicious modern food. Stop in for lavender-based products at Lavender Ridge. Take a beach day up at Lake Tahoe. Better yet, take the three-hour cruise and see the lake in it’s entirety.

Destination Weddings Reno Tahoe Breeze Salon Reno
Genoa is known for its beauty.

Remember to take an afternoon to visit David Wally’s Hot Springs in Genoa for a spa day and fine dining. The place resembles the Old West and is on the Nevada prairie in Genoa. Rooms with a view overlook an immense valley that is surrounded by mountains.

High desert wedding in Genoa, Nevada. Reno Tahoe Destination Breeze Salon Reno
High desert wedding by Breeze Salon Reno- Genoa, Nevada.

The Atlantis Casino Resort Spa has one of the top 100 restaurants in America and an award-winning spa. Just a mile away, the Peppermill Spa and Resort looks like Tuscany with beautiful fountains and art. Be sure to eat at the venues while visiting-the casinos in Reno have some of the best restaurants in town.

Galena Forest is about fifteen minutes from the Reno Airport. Reno Tahoe destination wedding rebeccafromreno
Galena Forest is about fifteen minutes from the Reno Airport

Getting married in the woods is a favorite for couples who seek a casual setting. With pine needles and grass covering the ground, you can plan to wear boots, sandals or flats. Views are cozy with pine and aspen trees surrounding your venue. If you like the outdoors, this is an option worth looking into.

Reno Tahoe Destination Weddings Breeze Salon Reno
This bride married in the Galena Forest

Known as The Biggest Little City in the World, Reno has its nickname for a reason. With beauty comparable to other destinations worldwide, weddings in Reno, Tahoe, Genoa, Sparks, or Gardnerville are accessible and affordable. There is room for all and ample activities for you and your wedding party to enjoy the region before and after your big day.

Gardnerville, Nevada - Reno tahoe destinatioon Weddings by Breeze Salon Reno
Gardnerville, Nevada (backyard wedding) – Breeze Salon Reno

Reno Tahoe Destination WeddingsThe Harrah’s mansion (Rancharrah) in Reno – Weddings by Breeze Salon Reno

Wedding Review Reno Tahoe Destination, Breeze Salon Reno

Reno Tahoe Destination Wedding Hair and Makeup by Rebecca Schembri, Breeze Salon Reno
Rebecca Schembri is a Published Hair and Makeup Artist and Director of Breeze Salon in Reno, Nevada


Hair by Rebecca Schembri, Breeze Salon Reno

Reno Bride
Reno Destination Wedding. Hair and Makeup by Breeze Salon Reno

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Bridal Hair and Makeup by Rebecca Schembri,

Your wedding pictures will last you for at least 75 years. They will be viewed by your great, great grandchildren who have never seen you so beautiful (or grandpa so handsome!)

Choosing your dress, hair, makeup and photography are the most important decisions for having your wedding memories last forever.

Wedding Hair and Makeup by Rebecca Schembri, Breeze Salon Reno:
$399 Bride (includes demo) $149 Party Member, $94 Mothers and Grandmothers, $49 Men
$799 on-site minimum, plus travel

Bridal haircut / color packages and group discounts available.

$399 Prepaid deposit. Non-refundable. Gratuity added. Credit cards, PayPal, Venmo, Facebook, and cash accepted.

For all weddings in 2019-2020.

Please call or text (775) 338-9241 or email to request your free wedding consultation.


Reno Tahoe Destination Weddings
Weddings by Breeze Salon Reno

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Bridal Hair and Makeup by Rebecca Schembri 775.338.9241 text

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Bridal Hair and Makeup by Rebecca Schembri

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Reno / Tahoe Weddings by Rebecca Schembri 775.338.9241 text


Happy Clients:

‘We found Rebecca through a ( ) coupon for a make-up lesson, and how lucky we were! In the middle of the lesson, my daughter, Erin, and I were convinced that Rebecca was the one to hire for wedding make-up. She is incredibly warm, but very professional, and what an incredible artist with color! Erin had two sessions prior to the wedding to get the colors just right…The wedding was in the Bay Area. Rebecca drove through a storm to get to us. At 6:30 AM on the Big Day, she was in the hotel and set up, ready to do six bridesmaids, two mothers and the bride. Her timing was impeccable, and she just radiated love and support as she worked her magic. My daughter was SO beautiful, as were the bridesmaids. I was very happy with my make-up (lighter for the MOB), as was the Mother of the Groom (we looked like us, only better!). Rebecca also came to the pre-wedding photo shoot to make sure everything stayed just right for the photos. I felt that her prices were very reasonable, and she only charged for the make-up, not the incredible love and support!

I could not recommend Rebecca more highly. ‘ ~Jennifer Lee (Reno, Nevada)
Weddings by Published Hair and Makeup Artist Rebecca Schembri
Breeze Salon Reno Positive Review

Reno Wedding

To schedule your free wedding consultation, please text message or call (775) 338-9241 or email