When Your Client Has a Smelly Scalp

by Antonio Gonzales on Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles and now New York City. Here in New York, I am a stylist at the Orlo Salon in the Meat Packing district. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in N.Y., I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by shecky’s.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the best cuts 2009.

See Antonio’s blog here.

As stylists, we take so much for granted in terms of our knowledge of everything related to hair. To our clients, we can seem like an encyclopedia. Because clients consider us the “authority,” we must be diplomatic when bringing up potentially embarrassing situations to them. Sometimes clients are unaware there is a problem, so they don’t ask for help, leaving us without a window of opportunity to gently address it. This is where finesse and diplomacy come in.

I know, I know, we all should be aware of our personal hygiene, but at some point, we all have had our hygiene mishaps (dirty nails or bad breath). One area in particular where some clients seem to be consistently clueless is when the hair and scalp are dirty and have an odor. Here are some tips on how to make your client aware of something as sensitive as a smelly scalp or hair.

The Approach

Don’t feel embarrassed. It is highly likely they would rather know than not. Here are some gentle lines to get and keep the conversation going.

“You may not be aware, but I have noticed you seem to be having a scalp issue. I’m not sure what may be causing this, but it’s important for me to bring it to your attention to assure you we can treat it.”

Notice I say “we.” This way the client doesn’t feel alone at a time when they may feel embarrassed, vulnerable and insecure.

Continue the conversation by asking the following questions until you find the culprit.

“Do you use any excessive oils or inexpensive silicone products on your hair?”

Share with the client how hair oils and silicones can build up on the hair quickly, especially cheap, low grade silicones.

“How often do you shampoo and what shampoo are you using?”

Recommend they increase the amount of times they shampoo, change their shampoo if necessary and that they get a shampoo that contains tea tree or a detoxifying shampoo that can help with keeping the scalp feeling fresh and clean of build up.

“What conditioner are you using and are you rinsing it well?”

Explain that leave-in conditioners are made to be left in. And regular conditioners are made to be rinsed off.

“When was the last time you washed your hair brushes and combs? Do you wear base ball caps or fabric ponytail holders, and when was the last time you washed them?”

Dreaded bacteria is one of the primary causes of a smelly scalp. Hairbrushes and combs should be washed at least once a week, especially if used frequently. Accessories hold bacteria, too, so encourage the use of washable ones so that they can be kept clean as well.

“Are you using hair powders to remove oil, and how often?”

Hair powders are also another culprit and possible cause of a dirty, smelly scalp.

As difficult and uncomfortable as these embarrassing situations may be, honesty is always the best policy when it comes to our clients and their hair. Don’t hold back. Your client may not respect you for not telling them when they ultimately figure out the truth — from someone else. Be the expert they rely on, and you’ll always keep them coming back.

Take a Hair Razor to Those Curls

by Antonio Gonzales on Monday, August 8th, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles and now New York City. Here in New York, I am a stylist at the Orlo Salon in the Meat Packing district. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in N.Y., I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by shecky’s.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the best cuts 2009.

See Antonio’s blog here.

I am excited to address this topic because I know that there seems to be a rule forbidding us to use a hair razor on curls, but as hairstylists, the one thing we know is true, is that rules are broken all the time!

First, let me remind you of two things:

1. Creative people should never limit themselves by convention.
2. Creative people should never be lemmings.

Countless articles and videos featuring hairstylists swearing the razor should never be used on curly hair, wet (or dry) are boring and just plain wrong.

I have seen so many hairstylists in salons do incredible work on curly hair delivering happy clients and flawless results. So let’s blow away (pun intended) any negative myths about the hair razor now.

Don’t get me wrong, I have met many clients who have had very bad experiences with the razor, and I really felt their pain. But I have also met many with destroyed hair from highlights. Perhaps it is the hairstylist and not the tool or product that creates a bad look.

Why Use a Hair Razor?

Individuality is the most important asset any woman possesses, and curly hair can be her crowning glory. It’s an amazing canvas to work with and each head should be treated with individuality in mind. You have the amazing ability to make her feel like the best version of herself. So, what a pity it is to only consider using one tool to cut her curly hair.

Hair Razors From the Past

Scissors haven’t always been the only game in town! At the beginning of my career, I was taught to use the feather razor. You know, the one with the guard?

I remember thinking I had discovered the moon with this tool, but was petrified by it. Years later, I can say the only time I use this razor is to rid the neck of fine hairs.

Since then, they have created similar razors to the feather, some with a built in comb and some made from heavier materials. Today, you couldn’t pay me enough money to use the feather razor or any heavy tool to cut hair.

What Razor Should You Use?

It makes all the difference in the world to use the right razor, not only for the right hair type but the right one for you as an artist.

The wooden handle straight blade is what I use on a daily basis. This razor is also what is used to shave the face – it’s that sharp! I get mine from Classicshaving.com. They are great supporters of hairstylists with great service.

It does not have a guard, which allows for easy movement on the hair shaft with ultimate creativity.

Feather razors have a guard in place to prevent cutting yourself, but it also limits your creativity and it’s almost impossible to not have the scraping effect. It also limits the way you cut hair because you don’t have use of the full razor blade. For me, it’s like having scissors, but only being able to use one blade.

What Can a Razor Do That Others Can’t?

With scissors we can slide cut, point cut and all the other techniques. If we are in a hurry, we can take thinning shears, but neither of these tools can do what a hair razor can.

On curly hair, the straight razor is the most delicate haircutting tool you will ever use. It’s precise, gentle touch on the hair allows you to create layers, remove bulk and build graduation without blunt edges like the scissors. But, like anything else in life, everything in moderation!

The only razor I use on my clients is the straight razor by Creative Razors. A practice of mine is to never use the razor on the same client cut after cut. If it’s a client that comes three times a year, then I say go for it. Otherwise, I use scissors in between to touch up the haircut.

I feel the hair does not grow fast enough to warranty razor cut after razor cut. It’s important to leave the hair with some density for the client to manage. For us, it’s easy to blow-dry any cut, but for the client it can be difficult to manage the wispy ends.

When Not to Use a Razor

Like any other tool, this has to be used in the hands of someone who knows how to use them. It’s important to let common sense guide you in knowing when the razor is too aggressive.

Ego is another thing to be aware of when using the razor. Always keep in mind that it’s not your hair and your client is by no means a hairstylist.

I’ve seen hairstylists talk clients into a razor cut even when the client pleads with them not to. If the client is panicking, it’s a sure enough sign you should put the razor down and pick up the scissors.

Know When to Put it Down

Extremely fine hair should not be cut with the razor, and if you have a client that wants a more classic hair style and says, “I like my hair heavy without too many layers,” then that’s your cue to put down the darn razor!

If you don’t know how to use the razor, then find out where you can go and get the needed education. Once this talent is acquired, you will become a versatile, effective stylist.

How to Become a Stylist & Keep Your Individuality

by Antonio Gonzales on Saturday, July 9th, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles, New York City and now Miami. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in New York, I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by sheckys.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the Best Cuts 2009.

My fellow hairstylists, I want to talk today about our industry and the significant part each one of us play in it. After many educational classes worldwide and intense salon training, I’ve realized that somewhere along the way I starting leaving behind was my sense of my personal creativity and originality. As you already know, after beauty school, there are endless cutting, coloring and styling classes. I believe you are never too old to learn, and it is important for us to keep a fresh perspective. I also believe as hairstylists we have something that no one can teach us: the gift of individuality.

My Personal Experience

Like most hair stylists, when I started my career I wanted to learn how to become a stylist from the inside out without missing a single detail. While being mentored by hairstylists, I paid attention to every detail of their philosophy and personal techniques. The feeling of really understanding what works well for someone else’s success was so liberating. This meant I would stand a chance of being a success in my industry and making a good living. I worked very hard on becoming the best version of what I saw in my mentors. Can you relate? I was rewarded with opportunities I will forever be grateful for, and I was able to build a strong clientele and mentor other hairstylists.

Now something is changing in my approach to my craft and you guessed it—it’s my individuality. This installment is to remind you that you too have something special, something apart from the cutting classes, philosophies and product knowledge. No one can teach you individuality. Our uniqueness is something each of us is born with, and it sometimes gets lost in all the information we must retain.

Apart from learning from others, I spend a lot of time thinking of what “defines my style as a hairstylist?” If asked what my specialty is, what would be my answer be? How do I set myself apart from other hairstylists, in my salon, my town, even my city? Am I becoming a salon robot with my focus working as fast as I can or selling as much product as I can? Remember when we first went to beauty school and we were afraid, but not knowing also gave us the “just go for it” attitude? Well, that’s exactly what I am talking about, taking chances in a safe environment will only allow you to break out of the mold we sometimes find ourselves in after years of being in the industry.

Tips on How to Become Stylist

Here are some helpful tips on how you should move forward in re-discovering the old-new you:

1. First you need to dedicate a certain amount of time per week to your craft out of the salon. This time can be at home in private where you can have time to work on all the ideas you may have had where cutting, coloring or styling is concerned. Separate yourself from the everyday “salon robot.”

2. Purchase a long hair mannequin with a tall tripod mannequin stand to work on.

3. Start recruiting friends and family as your personal models for cuts and coloring.

4. The most important thing to keep in mind is if we keep doing the same cuts, styles and colors the results are going to be the same. Dare yourself to take chances in a safe environment.

This may not be for everyone. There are some of us who call ourselves hair burners. If that is where your head is at, then I urge you to think differently. We make people feel and look beautiful. Thankfully, we can support ourselves and our families with this amazing craft so be proud and be the best…always.

Tips for Bridal Hair Consultations

by Antonio Gonzales on Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles, New York City and now Miami. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in New York, I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by sheckys.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the Best Cuts 2009.

I want to start this installment with some sound advice shared by my friend and idol, famed stylist Orlando Pita. It was during a quiet moment while sitting in the kitchen sharing a quick lunch in between clients, when he offered this advice: “A hairstylist is as good as our last job, and we are lucky if we get another,” he cautioned. “So always do your best and know you can always do better!”

That advice, filled with humility and hope, provided me with a moment of clarity. Ever since that day, I’ve striven to approach each job with my best effort. and I’m always grateful for the next opportunity. As hairstylists we need to support each other, and I am grateful for CurlStylist.com for giving me the opportunity to do so.

Now to the business at hand—brides!

Bridal Consultation Mistakes

When a bride who had never visited your salon sits in your chair for a consultation, there are many things we do to not get the job. Remember, this is not just a one-time wedding deal—she could turn into your client every six weeks. Or, she may be a client of yours already, so you want to keep her coming back after her big day.

Talking Over the Bride

Keep in mind it’s a very sensitive time in her life, so allow a bride to get everything off her chest. She has dreamt of this moment all her life with an idea in her head as what she should look like. Be patient and listen carefully.

Rushing a Consultation

It’s important to set aside enough time. No less than 20 minutes will do for someone who is preparing for the most important day of her life. I highly recommend asking the bride-to-be to bring in all her ideas, including images of the hairstyles she likes, veil, even images of the dress if she has it. You may ask “How can I book so much time in my day for free?”

First, schedule your consultations on a quiet day, rather than a Saturday when the salon is busy. Second, charge for your consultation. It’s your time and talent. I generally have the client pay 15% of the trial cost which is then deducted from the actual trial.

Limited Options

Always be ready to think fast when offering ideas to your bride-to-be. Think out of the box; don’t assume that your client won’t be open to trying something new. After going over her ideas, share your thoughts on what is best for her by combining ideas from the images she brought. Show her how you can make it all work. It’s a wedding, so think fresh, organic and chic.

Not Following Up

When the client has left the building, start brainstorming for ideas from magazines and online to help support your ideas. Email them to your client offering more information on her look and getting her excited to return to work with you.

Now That You’ve Got the Job

Do the best trial ever! Now that she’s in your chair, it’s time to your magic. This is where your skill and quick thinking really comes in. Honestly, one hour is not enough. An hour and a half is best, no kidding. I know it seems like a lot of time, but think long term, think of it as your “bread and butter.”

I also like working in a way that allows me to be flexible enough to offer the client three different looks. Be careful not to use too much hair spray or pins since you want to be able to make quick changes as you offer the bride-to-be each look.

Document the process so the client can see what was done and what changes she would like made. These images will be useful on the big day to put the client at ease and it will also give you, the stylist, a guideline to follow.

If your client is new, it is key for the bride-to-be to know that you can look after her even after her big day. So patience, efficiency and quality is very important. If she has a hairstylist from another salon who could not look after her bridal needs, as a rule I tell my clients “If it is not broken why fix it?” In other words, if she’s happy with her stylist then she should stay there. However, if she ever wants a change, I’m more than happy to accommodate her. Clients dislike when we try to pry them away from their long-term “hair romance” with their hairstylist. It is simply bad form and bad business.

So there you have it. I hope this inspires you as salon owners to think of the client first and the profit after. I hope it helps you the stylist to be as creative as you want without having to stop when you’re just getting started.

Here’s to many happily-ever-afters!

Building Your Wedding Salon Business

by Antonio Gonzales on Friday, May 13th, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles, New York City and now Miami. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in New York, I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by sheckys.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the Best Cuts 2009.

When I worked in Manhattan I was asked to improve our salon’s wedding service. I was more than happy to take on this challenge.  I knew it was a service lacking in most salons, and thought how wonderful it would be to create a service that I knew would make us more profitable.

To specialize in any service, you must first research every aspect and find ways to make it special.  I discovered when wedding salon services are done right, everyone wins. You can comfortably charge what you are worth, and the bride feels like she is royalty.  How fun and wonderful is that?! On that note, I cannot stress enough that every salon should have in house bridal sessions for sharing your knowledge on dressing hair for weddings. Not all of us love doing bridal hair, and those of that do may need some extra training.

I decided, like hairstylists and their bridal skills, I needed to start from the beginning, but wanted to go beyond the obvious.

The Basics

1. Create a special event board

The first thing your salon needs is a bulletin or magic erase board to post special “events.”  Every upcoming bride is to be posted with her full name, the number of people getting their hair done and any additional details. It is important for every staff member to know the bride’s name and when she’ll be walking in the door. I find it annoying when you have a bride getting her hair done in the salon and other hairdressers walk over and ask “Are you getting married?” No, she’s getting an up do for her divorce. What do you think?  

When the entire staff is aware, they can congratulate the bride by name. Having awareness across the salon also allows other staff members to keep and eye on the hairstylist working on the bride and offering help when needed. This extra detail in service will help the bride relax on her big day.

2. Build a bridal kit

Every hairstylist should have a well stocked bridal kit including hair/bobby pins, elastic bands (of all colors), curling irons and a variety of hair sprays.  Please do not try to put black bobby pins on a blond.  Be prepared.

3. Include the bridal party

Most of the time, a bride will ask to have others in the bridal party have their hair done as well. If not, then suggest it immediately. The more you can handle, the more money the salon can make. Most times the bridal party would love the opportunity to have a snack, so every salon should have a couple of slick serving trays, an organized selection of basic menus if food needs to be ordered, wine glasses, ice bucket and calming teas to help with those pre-wedding jitters.

curly bride

The Wedding Planner

Designate and train a salon employee as a wedding planner. His job is to serve as the go to person for the bride, as well as coordinate and promote all the wedding salon services for the bride and her entourage. This is key to help increase your level of service and ultimately revenue. You must also properly train front desk staff to handle any bridal question. 

Common Questions

Every front desk should have a laminated list of questions and answers to properly inform clients on the phone or in person. 

When is the date and time of the wedding?

Once the receptionist has the dates, I highly recommend finding out which hairstylists are available. It may be well in advance, but the last thing you want is to say yes to the job and then to find out you have no stylist available. 

Would the bride like to have her hair done in the salon or would she like to have the stylist come to her location?

If it’s an in-salon service, sell your salon well and have additional services ready on the tip of your tongue. If it is an on-location service, inform the bride that she will be getting a hairstylist who is not only talented, but will show up on time with everything they need (extension cords, hand mirrors, a full bridal kit to handle any hair type, etc.) 

What are the prices for both situations?

Being very clear on pricing is extra important when dealing with brides and bridal parties.  Even the wealthy ones are dealing with budgets. Be upfront. It is up to you, but if the bride is bringing in a full bridal party, you may choose to offer a discount at your discretion. 

Do I have to pay for the trial?

Yes, you must charge for your trial since it’s a full service.  Time, product and skill goes into a trial as well as other costs.  Offer a trial at a discount if you must, but use your discretion.  Why should a full service be free?

How long will the wedding day service take?

Knowing what time the photographs are taken will give you a great idea on when the bride needs to be ready, and what you need to do to get her to the church on time. I call it “back-timing.” If the client is coming to the salon, I recommend giving her an hour and a half to travel after the service is completed. Do not include make-up in that hour and a half of travel.  That should be above and beyond if her make-up is not part of your salon service that day. If the service is being provided on location, consider travel time for the stylist, the length of time the service will take, and “back-time” it all to when the photos will be taken. Timing is everything.   

Is there a look book so I can see the hairstylist’s work?

Always document your work since it will help give the bride an idea of what your staff can do. It does not have to be a professional photo shoot—a basic camera can do the job. If you have the budget, have your team each do a model, and bring in a photographer to do some head shots. If it’s not in your budget, then barter with a photographer by offering your services in exchange for images.  This is a marketing tool that will help you build your client base, even above and beyond the wedding target demo. 

Can you cater for a bridal party while they are getting their hair done?

The short answer should always be yes. Simply contact a neighborhood restaurant and have hors d’oeuvres delivered. Make certain to go over the choices of food and the budget with the bride.  She can pay separately, or include it in her bill.  If she facilitates it, you can pass it through at cost.  If you facilitate it, you can either do it at cost, or charge a +15% fee for service.  If she’d like to bring her own food and simply serve it, keep an inexpensive but pretty set of dishes and serving utensils in house.  It’s all about offering more that your competitors. 

Can you recommend any florists, photographers etc.?

Having a list of your favorite wedding specialists can make your brides life so much easier. It’s also a great way to cross promote each other. 

The Wedding Folder

Once the bride-to-be shows interest in taking the next step and possibly booking the wedding with you, seal the deal by offering her a wedding folder filled with all the information she wants and needs.  Brides love it!  Include a questionnaire with simple questions, including what type of tea she drinks, what music she likes and if she or anyone in her bridal party has any allergies or special requests. These few questions alone will make your wedding planner the go-to resource and act as a trusted agent for your salon by showing her just how specialized your service is.  It also makes your life easy by offering the bride-to-be answers to her questions in an efficient way.  No confusion and no last minute calamities from panicked bridezillas.  

In my next installment, I’ll go over how to deliver the best wedding trial and the common mistakes many salons make in loosing a bride before she books the service, or after the wedding day has passed.

Top Hair Color Brands: Ratings & Reviews

by Antonio Gonzales on Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles, New York City and now Miami. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in New York, I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by sheckys.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the Best Cuts 2009.

For clients, hair color is a big part of their monthly investment. Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked to get rid of unwanted grays and brighten the dullest of days for my clients. While doing so, I have used many professional

hair color

Color is a big part of a client’s hair budget.

permanent hair color brands, and while I’ve really liked most and still use several to this day, I have watched these companies do their best to improve their products and produce hair color that is noticeably shinier and healthier and that last longer on the hair.

The following is my honest experience and opinions on the differences between these color lines, including what to expect and what sets them apart. Each is rated on a scale of 1 to 10 for fading (1 being great resistance to fading and 10 being the worst resistance to fading).

Framesi

An Italian permanent hair color, this was one of the first hair colors I used when I started my coloring career. Framesi comes in many shades and boasts some beautiful reds. Over the years, Framesi has improved their color line by adding lovely cool tones and an opaque color with rich, long-lasting browns and some great gray coverage. Because of its intense coverage, when working on the client with a few grays that is maybe looking for a softer, more translucent color, this probably is not my first choice. Unlike some other products, Framesi has not had the huge financial and advertising backing others may have enjoyed, however, it’s a color line that has been consistent for the past 20 years. Fade Rating: 1

Goldwell

This is another favorite with an opaque finish. Sometimes I prefer this to Framesi, since it’s not as opaque. Their “N” series is not as ashy as other brands and it leaves the hair feeling like, well, hair! Goldwell confidently can boast great high lift tints that lift “on tone.” It also has a demi-permanent color line that complements most of their permanent colors. Not many permanent hair color brands have a demi-permanent color line that I love. I “like” Goldwell. Fade Rating: 2

Majirel by L’Oreal

This product is a great translucent permanent color that gives great coverage and shine. Their brunettes are gorgeous! The gold series for low-lighting holds well, but needs a little extra kick of red for warmth. For the blonde who dislikes “warm low-lights,” this is perfect!! I love their copper reds, but they are lacking a broader spectrum of reds. Fade Rating: 1

Richesse by L’Oreal

L’Oreal also provides a demi-permanent line called “Richesse,” which I like very much. It’s an easy to use line that I will continue to use. Fade Rating: 3

Wella

Koleston Perfect is a color I have been using since it became available in the U.S. In fact, over the last 15 years, I am responsible for introducing it to many salons I have worked in. It’s a translucent color perfect for clients who want permanent color without the feeling of intense coverage and pigment. This is a warm brand of color and you will need to pay attention to controlling the warmth for the clients who are ash lovers. Wella colors are great for low-lighting; they leave the hair very shiny. The reds are lovely and I love, love, love their bleaches. Wella also provides an endless demi-permanent color line (Color Touch) supporting its permanent colors.

hair color

Gotta have the reds!

Recently, they created a line that adds a translucent tone to compete with Cellophanes, called Colorshines by Sebastian. Only problem? It does have a little peroxide, whereas Cellophanes has none. Fade Rating: 4

Davines

This is another product I’ve been using since it was launched in the U.S. more than 10 years ago. From its milk proteins and gentle approach, it offers a color with healthy hair in mind. Its consistency when mixing is a little annoying and so is the packaging, but it delivers! I know stylists who swear by it. Fade Rating: 4

Miss Clairol

Let’s bring in the big guys from the “old school!” Talk about a color that covers grey well… always! Some may think it’s for dated hairstylists, but you will be surprised to know that many top salons in New York use this product because of its ability to cover well. However, most salons accompany this product with demi-permanent colors from other lines. Disadvantages? It is liquid and has a strong smell. Fade Rating: 2 (You go, Miss Clairol!)

Well there you have it, guys and dolls, my input on hair color brands to help you get started if you’re new, or just looking for some hair coloring tips. Of course, if you ask another hairstylist, they will have a totally different opinion on my choices, but the most important thing is that we all love color!

Stylist Shows How You Can Really Make A Difference!

by Antonio Gonzales on Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles, New York City and now Miami. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in New York, I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by sheckys.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the Best Cuts 2009.

Moving to Miami, I was certain about two things: the ocean was awaiting my arrival and I was going to make a difference in Miami through beauty—one head at a time. When I say make a difference, I’m not talking about the usual cut and color for the usual clients. I mean giving freely of myself and helping women understand their inner beauty is their individual beauty. I believe, once women discover this truth, appearance and beauty come into alignment and their individuality shines.

Through a fabulous new Miami friend, I heard about Casa Valentina; a non-profit that helps young women who have been in foster care. When these women turn 18, they are cast out of the foster care system to fend for themselves, and Casa Valentina helps these young women transition to a lifestyle of independent living.

After doing some research, I discovered just how painfully difficult life can be for these girls. I knew I had found a group of kindred spirits who could benefit from learning that beauty equals “individuality” and what makes someone unique should be celebrated.

In a world where the focus is on our outer appearance, I feel it’s my duty as a beauty professional to let these young ladies know that there is more to self-love than the outside.

I spent a blessed evening with them all crowded around. As I shared with these lovely ladies, I reiterated my personal belief and experience that true beauty is more than skin deep. Needless to say, the girls and I had a blast!! We shared all. We laughed, we related and we listened to one another’s struggles with appearance. I left that evening filled with positive energy, hope, a renewed commitment and a date to return for another lovely night with my new friends.

I am so grateful for this experience. Readers, please take this small example of how we can all make a difference. I hope you challenge yourself to go out into the world and help a fellow man or woman, no matter what your occupation.

As Gandhi once said, be the change you wish to see in the world.

Summer Hair Coloring Tips

by Antonio Gonzales on Monday, March 28th, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles and now New York City. Here in New York, I am a stylist at the Orlo Salon in the Meat Packing district. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in New York, I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by sheckys.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the Best Cuts 2009.

Today I’m addressing protecting colored curly hair clients. Be it a blonde, redhead or brunette, color fading and breakage are what’s in store for them in the months to come as our clients enjoy the hot summer sun.

Before your clients leave the salon, here are some valuable tips for them to help them prevent problems and address these challenges.

Color Fading

From this day forward, as clients sit in your chair, it’s crucial to explain to them how to protect their “investment” (their hair color). Educate them on the fact that they need to purchase new products as the seasons change. For the summer, recommend new shampoos, conditioners and treatments that contain UV protection from the ocean, pool and sun.

Before they enter the pool or ocean, suggest they apply a thick layer of conditioner to prevent over-saturation of salt and chlorine. When they exit the water, recommend they have a spray bottle of water at hand to help dilute the salt or chlorine. They should also follow up by adding a light misting of a leave-in conditioner.

Tanning booths are big culprits in hair color fading. Remind clients to cover their hair when at tanning salons.

Blondes

When working on my blondes, I have started doing cellophane glazes (colorshines) that contain no ammonia or peroxide. If it’s a blonde who can’t live without the effects of glosses (softening the root color), then follow your gloss with a glaze. In any case, a glaze will create a temporary barrier on the hair to prevent fading.

Because cellophanes come in clear, as well as different colors, you have the ability to not drift away from your desired color. For example, if I’m working on a blonde who does not want any warm tones, mix Clear and Pearl as your glaze. If she’s afraid of any cool tones then, mix Clear and Honey Golden Blond. The Clear is there to dilute any added color pigment and keeps you on track for your desired effect.

Brunettes

For your brunette clients with virgin hair, cellophanes are a great recommendation and I guarantee you they will love you for it! You can use Clear with a squirt of Red Brunette or Clear with a squirt of Honey Golden Blonde. The best part? It fades after 10 to 12 shampoos, which means they can enjoy a beach vacation with a peace of mind. Even for kids, the Clear will keep their beautiful curls intact and shiny.

Beautiful Blondes: Making Your Clients Shine

by Antonio Gonzales on Monday, March 21st, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles and now New York City. Here in New York, I am a stylist at the Orlo Salon in the Meat Packing district. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in New York, I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by sheckys.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the Best Cuts 2009.

As a continuation of my last color installment, which covered foiling or baliage techniques with darker colors, I now turn my attention to fair-haired ladies and gents and how to help them achieve that beautiful blonde look.

I thought I would start this article differently and first talk about all the tools and techniques I use in the color dispensary. Please keep in mind these valuable tips may require you thinking out of the “color box.”

Hair Lightener. Over the years, there have been so many hair lighteners that I can’t even keep track. Today, over-production seems to have calmed down. After all, how many do we really need? Here are the three lighteners I use that give me the best results.

1. Platinium is a paste that comes with its own special developer. I love using this for painting (baliage) because of its consistency and ability to stay moist while being extremly gentle on fine hair. It adheres to the hair well; however, I only use this for finer painting. On wider pieces it tends to get dry fast and it takes too much product. It’s also not the cheapest of hair lighteners, so overusing is not smart on your color budget.

2. Platene by Loreal is a great product for foiling or baliage. It’s an easy product to add conditioning oils to, while keeping a great consistency. Platene is a great product for painting larger pieces without the product being too dense. It allows flexibility when maneuvering the hair and for foils it gives a great lift you can see while processing.

3. Blondor by Wella is a great bleach for foiling. It conditions, lifts well and is one of the only blue powdered bleaches that I can see the true color of the blond while it’s processing. This comes in handy, since some bleaches are so blue that it’s hard to tell if the hair is blond or sky blue. I do not recommend this product for doing baliage, it simply is the wrong consistency.

Foiling Techiniques. I was recently asked by a hairstylist how many “foiling patterns” do I know? I was in shock! I did not realize we still do “special” foil patterns? My answer was the head is round and it depends on what my desired look is. The concept of foiling patterns went out with big shoulder pads in the eighties.

Baliage. There are so many baliage techniques that it really depends on the desired look, the client’s natural hair texture and the hair’s condition. The wonderful thing with baliage is you can invent your own ideas on approaching your desired look. After all, we are creative people so let’s create! L’Oreal by far has the best baliage brushes. They also have great spatulas that come in different sizes, allowing you to be flexible and get special results. If you do not have a spatula you can use a Champion black rubber (seven-inch) comb, which is what I used back in the day. It is wide enough and is great quality. To avoid color bleeding, you can use cotton (strip or flat) and cling wrap to do baliage. Another baliage technique for dramatic results is painting by hand, wearing gloves.

Sectioning Clips. Alligator clips will help you work efficiently keeping the tiniest of strands out of the way. They wash well and are strong.

Glossing Technique. After highlighting a head of hair, we sometimes add a gloss to add the desired tone that bleach alone cannot achieve. I would like to share one of my glossing techniques that can help you get better blond results. Once the foils or baliage is removed and you shampoo and towel dry, instead of using one gloss to help you get your desired results, I recommend two, one for the root and one for the entire head.

Let me explain; if you are about to gloss a blonde and the roots are dark and she wants to be a light golden blonde I always use a beige gloss on the roots first to control the warmth. Then after three to five minutes I apply my desired color over the entire head. The beige on the roots sets the tone without pulling too warm and when you apply the second gloss it gives the end of the hair the desired tone. Don’t be too worried about the beige changing the end result. The golden pigment will control the beige, giving you the result you need.

If the client wants a more beige overall tone and is very concerned about warm roots, you can add a little ash to your beige root gloss for further control. Keep in mind that this is just one of many approaches you can use when glossing hair.

Here’s wishing you beautiful blonde results!

Getting Ready for Spring

by Antonio Gonzales on Monday, March 7th, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles and now New York City. Here in New York, I am a stylist at the Orlo Salon in the Meat Packing district. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in New York, I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by sheckys.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the Best Cuts 2009.

straight hair for spring

Organic, messy texture for spring

The change of season will soon be upon us. Having assisted super stylist Orlando Pita on several NYC spring fashion shows, I have learned a thing or two about achieving different looks this season. Keep in mind that as a loyal employee it is not my place to take merit for the beautiful work that was done. I was part of an incredible team headed by Orlando that pulled off the beautiful looks. Those memories remind me why I love springtime so much. It’s just so easy to be glamorous! So here are some ideas I’d like to share on how you can make each spring look work for your clients.

Product

One thing prevalent for spring is the addition of texture in most hairstyles. When I say texture, I’m not talking about uniformed waves that we see on most celebrities today. I mean texture that looks like beach hair without looking like loose curls. It is hair that looks like it was styled with a crimping iron or diffuser, less the uniformity, with the desired look being messier. Here are two different hair types and how to work with them to achieve what is hot for spring.

Straight or Wavy

The idea for spring is to create a messy texture that looks more organic rather than perfectly uniform. I recommend using Surf Salt Spray by Bumble and bumble with a diffuser. I would first towel dry the hair and work with five sections, one on top and the rest divided into four. To get the best results, work section by section for both product application and drying the hair (leaving the top for last). As you know the further away you hold the diffuser the less texture you will achieve and the closer you hold the diffuser the more texture you will get. It’s up to you. It’s important to leave no hair untouched—every strand has to be styled.

Straight hair is especially challenging when it comes to holding texture. If the hair has layers it will help you achieve more movement, but keep in mind this look is not about volume. After you have finished styling and the hair appears a little matte or dry from the salt, apply some Renew Dry Conditioner by Orlando Pita to add a little shine. The Renew Dry Conditioner is the only product I can always easily recommend. It is lighter than a silicone, which is heavy and will remove the texture.

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

search