2010 NAHA Award Winners

by Evelyn Ngugi on Monday, July 19th, 2010


Dimitrios Tsioumas won in the texture category.

The “Academy Awards of hairstyling” as some would call it, this year’s NAHA contest rallied hairstylists from around the continent for one night of creativity and innovation.

The award ceremony was held July 18 in Las Vegas, and more than 700 professionals entered the contest’s 13 categories, ranging from Master Stylist and Student Hairstylist, to Avant-Garde, Salon Design, Texture & Makeup Artist.

The contest showcased these categories in the form of high-profile photographs, and were judged based on criteria including concept, demonstration of skill, and harmony between photographer’s execution and stylist’s creativity.

This year’s NAHA judges included industry leaders such as Sam Brocato, Mary Brunetti, Tabatha Coffey, Ruth Roche, Sally Hershberger and Nick Arrojo.

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s North American Hairstyling Awards!

Master Stylist:
Wendy and Oscar Bond
Upper Montclair, NJ
Photographer: Trevor Owsley

Hairstylist of the Year
Tony Ricci
Edmonton, AB
Photographer: Ara Sassoonian

Salon Team
Salon Pure
Montreal, QB
Photographer: Ara Sassoonian

Editorial Hairstylist
Steve Elias
Berkeley, CA
Photographer: Tony Maesto

Student Hairstylist
Patrick Mathes
Indianapolis, IN
Photographer: Babak

Makeup Artist
Seong Hee Park
New York, NY
Photographer: Hyuna Shin

Avant Garde
Nicholas French
Westhampton, NY
Photographer: Roberto Ligresti

Contemporary Classic
Alain Pereque
Montreal, QB
Photographer: Ara Sassoonian

Fashion Forward
Antoine Vadacchino
Montreal, QB
Photographer: Ara Sassoonian

Hair Color
Chrystofer Benson
New York, NY
Photographer: Joseph Cartright

Salon Design
Vasken Demirjian Salon
White Plains, NY
Photographer: Stan Wan

Dimitrios Tsioumas
New York, NY
Photographer: Babak

Salon MBA
Lunatic Fringe
Shawn Trujillo and Angie Katsanevas
Salt Lake City, UT
Photographer: Douglas Carter

Christo: Curlisto Creator Explains New Technique

by Evelyn Ngugi on Monday, April 26th, 2010


Christo, curly hair expert and stylist to the stars, unveiled his curly-haired technique “Diametrix” this March at the International Beauty Show in New York.

“It was a great success because even the most inexperienced stylist said it was easy for them to understand the technique,” said the owner of Christo Fifth Avenue salon in New York.

The technique is very visual and hands on, but Christo—who also offers a line of products called Curlisto—assures stylists that it is designed to give guidance on how they can go about cutting curls, kinks, coils, and waves.

“People with no experience when they see someone with curly hair they will run out, and a lot of people have a lot of bad experience from hair stylist that didn’t know what to do with curly hair.”

Diametrix uses certain maneuvers and types of cuts that take thickness, length, texture and curl of the hair into account. (he mentioned cross sections, cross wise, and center of the crown – I have no idea what that is, and he said it’s best not to go into detail…so should I still leave that in?)

The Diametrix technique is highly personalized and shouldn’t be applied to a weave or hair extensions, Christo said. Even customers with seemingly “similar” hair texture or curl pattern shouldn’t have the exact treatment because “you’ll end up with a disaster,” he said.

Christo, suggests stylists edit the style as they go. Yes, Diametrix provides the blueprint, but can be a fantastic tool for a stylist to work with, creating unique styles every time.

Once a month, Christo holds a class at the Curlisto headquarters in New York City. It is $300 to attend if your salon carries Curlisto products. The cost is $1500 if you do not. It’s about a 4-hour class plus a luncheon.

“Everything starts with me teaching and usually I let them take over,” he said. “I’m a very hands-on stylist. I like my classes to be involved. I don’t just drop it on them.”

For stylists who desire a more basic course in curly hairstyling, Christo recommends the “Art of Curly Hair” seminar, which teaches the styles that varying textures of curly hair can create. The class is free and available upon request.

“I want stylists to first understand curly hair—get the fear out of their system,” he said. “I want them to feel comfortable, to say ‘okay this looks cool—that’s how we basically guide the style.”

Christo introduced this technique in hopes that stylists will be better equipped to serve their customers.

“Diametrix is designed simply as an extra tool to encourage stylists to want to make part of their salon a specialty for curly hair.”

High Tech Meets Low Impact: The Eco-Friendly Nurture Salon

by Evelyn Ngugi on Monday, February 8th, 2010

We’re a month into the new year—how have you held up with those resolutions? Still striving to help your clients flaunt their curls? Reduce your carbon footprint? Both?

Alan and Natalie Mandarano of Nurture Salon in Portland, Oregon, are an example of a successful resolution to better the world we live in and leave you feeling beautiful in the process. Since 2003, this couple and the team have done just that.

Customers are offered tea and a heated neck wrap as soon as they walk through the door. Soothing aromatherapy adds to relaxing atmosphere, and the facility leaves small carbon footprint.

Alan Mandarano

“Nurture has a strong intention to heal and to be part of the solution on our planet and people feel good about supporting that,” Alan said. “It’s about more than outer beauty; it’s an inner feeling of bliss and dare we say, love, that we are going for as well. One more person feeling good about themselves has a positive ripple effect on our entire planet, yes?”

The salon engages in numerous “green” practices like recycling, composting, using environmentally friendly cleaning products, energy efficient lighting and shopping locally when possible.

“As time goes on, we have gotten better and better at ‘greening’ up our salon,” Alan said. “We save our hair clippings for Matter of Trust—an oil-spill-cleanup organization.”

The hair is recycled into special mats that naturally attract the spilled oil.

Nurture is involved in other organizations that promote the environment as well as charity. Used makeup and hair products are donated to the Sunshine Pantry, a food pantry in their area.

And the hair dye used—Organic Color Systems—is ammonia-free.

On the high-tech side, the salon has one ultra cool Freestylist Free-Floating Dryer. It hangs from the ceiling, uses less electricity than other dryers, but dries the hair faster. It also last longer, so you don’t have to toss numerous dryers in the trash.

The lights in Nurture are also special—SpectraLights—LED lights that last for more than 20 years and are completely recyclable.

Natalie Mandarano

While Nurture was created to be “green”, the birth of the Mandarano’s son, Guy, sparked them to step up their game.

“We bought the Prius as soon as we found out we were pregnant and we switched to Organic Color Systems right after he was born,” Alan said.

During Natalie’s pregnancy, she wore gloves and tried not to breathe in the ammonia of hair dyes.

“It became a bit of an obsession to do our part to ensure that there is a planet for him that can sustain his health and well being,” Alan said. “We wanted to make sure he has clean air and nature to enjoy for his lifetime and for his children’s children’s lifetimes.”

And as far as styling naturally curly hair goes, Alan and the whole team follow the same guidelines to ensure a healthy but beautiful cut.

“For curls, it’s VERY important to cut WITH the curl and not against it, Alan said. “Remember that curl is ROUND and you want to cut in a way that honors that.”

Nurture uses the Alan Benfield Bush technique—it takes into account the your personal growth patterns, head shape, hair texture (fine, medium, coarse), facial shape and desired style shape.

“We don’t as a rule recommend razoring or using texture shears,” Alan said.

And while Alan, Natalie and the whole Nurture team are certainly excellent and passionate about what they do, they are in no way an exception. All stylists can find small ways to make their salons eco-friendly.

They’re even available for consulting if you need help!

They suggest:

  • contacting your city to get information on recycling programs.
  • Become a member of groups like Matter of Trust.
  • Change all of your light bulbs to longer-lasting energy efficient bulbs-that’s an easy one!
  • Shop local, walk instead of drive whenever possible and take public transportation, even occasionally.
  • Compost. Remember: reduce, reuse and recycle!

The Mandaranos strive to be environmentally responsible even in their home.

“We enjoy raising our son with love and careful guidance and want him to grow up with a sense of responsibility for not only himself but for his planet as well.”

And that’s what Nurture Salon is all about. Taking care of yourself, but also your world in the process. It’s never too late to make good on that New Year’s resolution.

“The best thing we can do is to be well ourselves and choose wisely in any given moment,” Alan said. “No one is perfect, but we can strive for excellence.”

Child’s Question Leads to Organic Product Line

by Evelyn Ngugi on Monday, November 16th, 2009

Joseph and Zack Borkovic

Joseph and Zack Borkovic

Joseph Borkovic wasn’t always in the organic hair care business. In fact, about eleven years ago, he was homeless.

But a series of circumstances and an innocent question from his then three-year-old son Zach started what is now a successful and Earth-friendly business.

“Dad, does what we put in the water hurt other fish and animals?”

Zach was concerned about dolphins, and how they may be harmed.

After a trip to the library for some research, they found that when we wash our hair and body, harmful chemicals in products like shampoo are washed down the drain in our showers and sinks. These chemicals eventually end up in the oceans, and pose a threat to marine life.

As people with curly hair, we now realize that harsh chemicals and artificial ingredients don’t do much to give our hair the moisture and health it needs. This usually means we turn to organic or more natural hair care products.

Through positive thinking, hard work, and great ideas, that’s exactly what Joseph and Zach are now able to provide.

Their business, called Organic Trader Canada, creates organic and environmentally safe hair and body products.

“A lot of product ideas originally came from my son, and he would tell me his ideas about the Earth and products to help the Earth and dolphins,” Joseph said. “I would just listen and write everything down. It is so important to give children a voice, to allow their own authentic voice to come out into a safe and sacred space.”

There are multiple brands created by the company: Professional Organics Salon & Spa (exclusively for salons and spas), Earth Spirit Organics (for health stores and health practitioners) and Organic Pet Spa (for pets and horse products).

Of the chemicals most of us initially lookout for, these products contain no Sodium Laurel Sulfates or mineral oils. Even the packaging used at Organic Trader is “green”. The labels are biodegradable and completely made with wind power, Joseph said.

While they personally use all of their creations, Joseph’s favorite product is the Shea Butter Lotion, which fairly purchases shea butter from a small village near the African country of Burkina. The product manager for the lotion is actually from the village, and Joseph would love to visit in the future.

“Social justice issues feel good,” he said.

Joseph promised his son they would one day swim with the dolphins they love so much. And about eleven years later, they took a trip to Hawaii, and did.

Joseph and Zach have documented their incredible story on a DVD titled “The Promise”, which is available for free from their website.

What began as a father-son duo has now grown; Organic Trader is a team of seven people working to produce unique products.

Zach is 14 years old now, an honors student in school, though his dad joked that girls have been his latest discovery. The same boy who posed the question that started it all is still involved in the company. His favorite product is the Earth Spirit Shampoo.

“Look after Nature and the Earth,” Zach said. “It’s just natural to love and be loved in return.”

Most of their business comes from “micro-private labels” – very small stores or salons can start with just 2-4 cases of products, with no surcharges. This is rare, Joseph said, as companies only allow people to use create their own “brand” of the product for very large and expensive orders of product. Organic Trader is enabling the small businesses of its customers.

“No one else in North America offers this micro-private label program,” he said. “Customers LOVE it, that they get to have their own name & logo right on the bottle!” he said.

And even though Organic Trader is based in Canada, 30%-40% of the orders are from the U.S.

Among the most popular products is the styling eco-creme and hair eco-gel, he said. They contain no alcohol, PVP (what shredded vinyl records are made of!). The gel formulas are plant based.

Ask anyone if they believe in reducing the harm we do to the Earth. No one will say no. But frankly, it can be quite easy to reach for the cheap (though harmful) products. Joseph doesn’t believe in compromising.

“Do we really want to put a price on health, save a dollar and damage ourselves and our environment and ecological resources?” Joseph asked.

“Life and Nature will always trump economic interests,” he said.

He argues that the while these harmful products are still being produced, it is ultimately up to the consumer to decide what to purchase.

“Every dollar that we spend, is a vote for or against, the Earth,” he said. “Let’s spend wisely.”

While Organic Trader Canada and all things environmentalist are certainly major parts of his life, he enjoys other things.

“No matter what, making time for the things that are important to me and my family,” he said. “So live, really live and love - be honest, always stay within your own integrity.”

If there’s any doubt that doing our best to maintain our naturally curly hair is the right thing to do, Joseph’s philosophy will surely help you.

“Always stay true to yourself – follow your heart!”

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