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Getting aligned with feng shui

Energizing your look from the inside out

A Feng Shui hair makeover by Billy Yamaguchi
A Feng Shui hair makeover by Billy Yamaguchi  

By Andrea Harry

(CNN) -- Many people in Western cultures associate feng shui (pronounced fung shway) with the arrangement of furniture in homes and offices, but some beauty professionals want beauty and fashion to become a well-known application of the ancient practice.

Feng shui, meaning "Wind and Water" in translation, has been utilized in Chinese culture for more than 10,000 years to "observe the relationship between the seen and unseen forces of nature."

In her book, "The Western Guide to Feng Shui -- Room by Room," author Terah Katherine Collins said that people and their environment, like wind and water, are two forces of nature.

Take the Fashion Feng Shui Quiz 
Lillian Too's Feng Shui tips 

"Your desires, goals, talents, attitudes and feelings -- like the unseen force of wind; and the home environment you live in -- like the seen force of water; are constantly interacting and influencing each other. And as with wind and water, when you and your home blend harmoniously, the effect is friendly, comfortable and positive," she said.

California-based celebrity hair stylist Billy Yamaguchi and certified image consultants Evana Maggiore and Louise Elerding believe that these principles also can be used to relate to bodies. They believe that harmony for their clients is key to achieving a truly "genuine" representation.

Author Lillian Too
Author Lillian Too  

Collins, founder of the Western School of Feng Shui, said she believes that feng shui principles are universal enough to be applied just about anywhere.

"I think it's going to be natural to allow (the principles) to flow into the most personal reflection and expression of people," Collins said.

Lillian Too, author of nearly 50 best-selling books on feng shui, said it's wonderful that the areas of beauty are being studied.

"We shouldn't be clinging onto old style applications of feng shui," Too said. "Instead, feng shui must be used in the context of the 21st century."

Harmonizing your hair

Hair stylist Billy Yamaguchi
Hair stylist Billy Yamaguchi  

Yamaguchi was the first to integrate the ancient philosophies of feng shui into modern hairdressing techniques. "The Yamaguchi Method" has created customized styles and cuts for each individual's inner and outer self for more than 10 years.

An appointment with this world-renowned hair stylist begins with an analysis of the client, including questions about what colors they feel represent them. Yamaguchi then lets the client know what those colors mean about their true self.

At five salons and spas across California, Yamaguchi offers a wide range of services, everything from feng shui haircuts to "Centering" manicures and Green Tea Detoxifying Wraps.

Interior of Yamaguchi's 'Spa Mystique' at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California.  

Some of Yamaguchi's celebrity clientele include Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson. Yamaguchi said he transformed the coach's look from sideline scruffy to sideline chic by cropping Jackson's wavy gray hair and replacing his beard with a funky soul patch under his lip.

"He's transformed from the inside to the outside," he said. "Now if you look at him and how he carries himself, he knows he's a handsome man."

Yamaguchi's greatest satisfaction comes from knowing that he's brought out the best in all of his clients, whether they're celebrities or not. "I see some people go through their life for 40, 50 years and not know they're attractive," he said. "I think everyone should be able to feel fantastic about who they are."

Synchronizing spirit and style

Maggiore and Elerding
Fashion Feng Shui's Evana Maggiore and Louise Elerding  

Maggiore and Elerding began applying feng shui to personal appearance and style in the late '90s with the development of Fashion Feng Shui (FFS), which they describe as a holistic method for creating harmony and balance in appearances.

"What we did in FFS, was to extend this philosophy to fabrications and personal style," Maggiore said. "It was easy to do by interpreting their qualities according to the five life-forming elements of feng shui."

According to Fashion Feng Shui, people are mirrored in nature and our coloring (hair, skin and eyes) is reflected by the colors of these elements: water (black and dark tones); wood (blues and greens); fire (reds); earth (yellows and browns) and metal (whites).

The duo believes that individuals project a certain "aura" based on how their organic color scheme mingles with the energy of these colors. Individuals can be a combination of the following schemes:

  • Water -- If you have very dark hair, skin and eyes, you may be perceived to be mysterious, exotic, or sensual. Your organic neutrals: black and dark tones
  • Wood -- Blue or green tints to eyes, hair (ash) or skin (olive) link you with the energies of heaven (blue sky) and earth (green plants). You may be perceived as approachable and natural. Your organic neutrals: blues and greens
  • Fire -- If you have red tones to your hair, skin and eyes, you naturally attract attention. You may be perceived as dazzling, warm or exciting. Your organic neutrals: reds
  • Earth -- If your hair, skin and eye colors evoke the richness of golden fields of grain, you may be perceived as stable, conservative and familiar. Your organic neutrals: yellows and browns
  • Metal -- If your coloring is very pale or silver-toned, you may be perceived as refined, delicate or aloof. Your organic neutrals: white, pastels, grey.
  • Once Maggiore and Elerding determine the organic color scheme of their client, they choose colors, shapes and substance of clothes to maximize the client's positive appearance on the inside and out.

    "It's about helping people to make choices for colors, fabrics, texture and silhouettes that not only support their physical appearance, but also that supports who they are and who they want to be," Maggiore said. "This is about empowerment and helping to make people better consumers," Elerding added.

    Synchronizing spirit and style

    Feng Shui Master Carole Swann Meltzer began creating Chi-Om Jewelry accessories more than 10 years ago. Fashioned from a variety of beads including crystal and jade, the bands represent growth, harmony, prosperity and health and can be worn as either jewelry or as a hair accessory. The coin symbolizes both completion and new beginnings.

    Crystal Energy Clarity & Focus from Chi-Om  

    Meltzer has applied feng shui principles to modern interior design for more than two decades, and later this year Simon & Schuster will release her book entitled "Feng Shui Chic," about the correlation of physical space and the physical body. It provides tips on changing your life with spirit and style.

    "I use jewelry and accessories as tools because I feel they come from the earth," Meltzer said. "They're there to nurture us and should be used as energy boosters."

    Chi-om Jewelry is featured in this season of HBO's "Sex In The City" series and will be available in the Neiman Marcus 2002 Christmas catalog. For more information on these products, visit

    Synchronizing spirit and style

    Not only are the principles of feng shui being applied to areas such as hair and fashion, but cosmetic designer C. Dianne Sloan also has used her knowledge of this ancient science to create The Feng Shui Cosmetic Collection. Sloan, also the founder and CEO of Color Investment Cosmetics, developed the collection three years ago after living in Asia and noticing how the culture used the power of colors.

    Feng Shui Cosmetics
    'Love & Marriage' cosmetics set  

    Sets include eye shadows, blush and lipsticks that correspond with feng shui colors in four main areas of life which include Love/Marriage, Knowledge/Family, Wealth/Power and Career/Dramatic Life Elements. For more information on these products, visit


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