NICOLE MCINNIS, 32 YEARS OLD, HISTORICAL MILLINER & BRIDAL HAIR ACCESSORY DESIGNER
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
ON BEING A MILLINER
“I studied historical costuming at Dalhousie University in Halifax and was always fascinated with the idea of femininity through accessories and wardrobe. When I went to Ryerson for Fashion Design I was lucky enough to take a millinery (hat making) class and completely fell in love with the art. I launched my business Oh Dina! in 2007 while I was living in Toronto. Over the years, my collection has included a range of felted hats, fascinators, bridal headpieces, and most recently silk flower crowns. I’ve been fortunate to have my work in some major publications like Weddingbells, The Knot, Flare, and the Globe and Mail. When I’m not in my own studio I also work in film doing historical millinery for period film and television for Netflix and HBO.
ON DAMAGE CONTROL
I have always loved being able to transform my look from the top down whether it is a dramatic colour change, or playing around with different braiding techniques. For the past year and a half I have been trying to repair and grow my hair after some severe bleaching and processing to a lavender-grey colour, so braiding has been key in protecting my locks. All summer I was either rocking Dutch pigtail braids or a turban. It’s fun being able to switch up your look on the daily.
TOP 5 BEAUTY PRODUCTS
As previously mentioned, I’m currently on a quest to grow and repair my hair so I have been experimenting with a variety of different products. I came across Ojon Rejuvenating Hair Oil at Sephora about a year about a half ago. I’ll massage 5-10 drops of this oil with my palms onto my scalp for 15 minutes once or twice a week. I have read that if you tip your head upside down it is even better for activating the blood circulation to the hair follicles, but to be totally honest I can’t keep my head upside down for that long [laughs]. This oil smells divine and makes my scalp feel amazing. When my ends were dry I would use it to moisturize them, but now I mostly use it just on my scalp.
When my hair was completely destroyed from over processing it into that lavender-grey colour, Phyto Paris’ Phytokeratine Exceptional Hair Mask was my saving grace. My hair was so damaged that when I brushed it, it would turn to cotton candy and literally break off and flake in the air. This mask restored whatever intact hair I still had left and protected it. When my hair was in terrible shape, I used it as my conditioner for about 6 months. Now, I use it approximately once a month. To use, I apply a loonie-sized blob of the hair mask to towel dried hair in the shower. I recommend keeping the product away from your roots because if it gets too close you will end up with flat greasy hair. I leave it in for 5-10 minutes and then rinse it out. For most people, I think a jar would last them about 12 months. I was using it a lot for the 6 months after the damage was done, so I went through a full jar during that period. It is expensive but it is also well worth it. When you see your hair crumbling, it is absolutely terrifying. Especially after you paid professionals to dye your hair and to then know that it wasn’t done properly. I have since learned the importance of knowing and trusting the ability of your stylist. I was on location for a television project I was working on in Calgary and had tried a salon that I found on Yelp because I didn’t know anyone in town. Suffice to say, it was a major Yelp fail. Although I was left with a glorified mullet, it would have been worse if this mask hadn’t shown up in my life after a trip to the Calgary Sephora. It was a lifesaver in a sad, sad time in my hair history.
Kevin Murphy Young Again Treatment Oil gives my hair a beautiful shine while protecting it from heat damage. I have been using this product every time I shower for the past year and a half. After I towel dry and comb my hair, I put one spritz of product in my palms and rub it in starting at my ends and working my way to my roots. I love how so little of this product can give me such a great shine. I purchase this treatment oil from my hair salon. I find great value in the fact that it comes in under $50 a bottle and lasts me 6-8 months.
In all honesty, Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging Miracle Multiplying Volume Mist is one of the freebies I got when I recently checked out at Sephora. Isn’t it funny how after you end up leaving with way more than you planned on getting, they give you a free bottle of something and then poof! Magic! You instantly forget about the money you just spent?! Nonetheless, this was the best free gift with purchase ever and I am popping in tomorrow to buy a full bottle. I have been a huge fan of the Caviar line for some time now, especially during my lavender-grey hair debacle. I found their products always gave my hair so much fullness. I have a love affair with big hair. Secretly, I would love to be a 90’s country music star. Amazingly, this mist surpasses any other product I have come across when it comes to giving my hair that extra boost. It’s really easy to use. After applying my Kevin Murphy Treatment Oil, I flip my head upside down and spritz the Volume Mist through my hair and then style as usual. This product is definitely with the price. Alterna’s Caviar line is the bee’s knees.
The two Biotin pills I take once a day, every day, make my hair and nails grow like weeds! I’ve even been getting tons of baby hairs. It’s so good that my boyfriend has also started taking it and his beard has become much more full. If you want thicker and longer hair, you should definitely give this a try. I buy this supplement for $14 a bottle at Shoppers Drugmart, so it absolutely gives me great value for the price. Honestly, I tell everyone about it, even the lady who works at my local pot pie shop.”
– As told to the GRR