Innovation, Creativity on Display in Long Beach

by Michelle Breyer on Friday, February 1st, 2013


Long Beach, Calif. –

More than five years ago, inventor Nick Johnson was watching all the excitement over the keratin boom. Stylists, including his wife, were excited by the potential to offer their clients an easy way to smooth their hair, and the technique also provided huge revenue potential.

But Johnson also saw the downside. Stylists and their clients often were irritated by the fumes created when the hot flat iron was applied to the keratin formula.

“My wife said ‘You have to invent something,’” Johnson said of his wife Marzia Johnson, who owns the Marzia Salon in San Francisco, Calif. “So I spent two weeks in my workshop inventing a device.”

The result is the Izunami Fume Iron, a device that extracts fumes such as formaldehyde gas, odors, and VOC’s by suctioning the vapors directly through the flat iron into an air purification system.

“I believe this product provides stylists and their clients with peace of mind,” Johnson says.

Right: Izunami fume iron, Left: ISSE

Right: Izunami fume iron, Left: ISSE attendee

Right: Izunami fume iron, Left: ISSE attendee

Stylists got their first look at the Izunami Fume Iron at the Professional Beauty Association’s International Salon & Spa Expo in Long Beach the last weekend in January.

Creativity and innovation were on display throughout the ISSE show, which kicks off the hair show season. Whether it was watching top talents like Nick Arrojo and Martin Parsons show off their cutting and styling skills or looking at some of the newest product developments, stylists had plenty to inspire them.

For those stylists specializing in texture, there were a number of new product introductions, including Yuko’s Anti-Frizz, a gentler version of its straightening product designed to tame frizz rather than eliminate curl. Other standouts include Amika’s new Straight Up Straightening Balm and Haute Mess Texture Gel; Erayba’s HydraKer Keratin & Argan Oil Therapy Line and Neuma Beauty’s NeuSmooth line.


Right: ISSE attendee, Left: InStyler straightening curls

ISSE Long Beach always has a diverse exhibitor base, and 2013 was no exception. Known as the launch pad for new beauty products and services, ISSE Long Beach 2013 featured amore than 400 beauty brands ranging such industry leaders as Rusk and Farouk Systems to hot brands like Macadamia Natural Oil and Moroccan Natural Oil.

Keratin treatments continued to be a major focus for many companies, although the number of companies has dwindled due to competition and calls for safer products.

If ISSE is a barometer of what 2013 holds for stylists and salons, there is reason for optimism. Many brands said sales were up noticeably from last year.

Interview with Paul Mitchell Educator LaDonna Dryer

by Michelle Breyer on Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Paul Mitchell educator LaDonna Dryer knows a little about working with coilier hair textures. She’s a 4c herself, and her Savannah, Ga. salon, he Said…she Said Salon in Savannah, Ga., has a large clientele of women who have transitioned from relaxers to natural hair. So she brought a unique perspective to “The Truth About Curls” campaign to launch the Paul Mitchell Curls line.

LaDonna believes it’s an exciting time for natural women.

“I see a lot of people making the transition,” says Dryer, who transitioned herself. “I didn’t think I would be natural. I cut it really short and wondered what would happen if I never put a relaxer in again.”

These days, Dryer fully embraces her natural hair, wearing it in a 2-strand twist one day or an afro puff the next.

NaturallyCurly’s own Michelle Breyer asked Dryer to provide her top tips for natural women.

Michelle Breyer: What are some of your top tips to help women who are transitioning?

LaDonna Dryer: One of the biggest challenges when you go natural is to retain the moisture in your hair. Using sulfate-free shampoos is key. They help a lot in terms of keeping the cuticle calm and retaining that moisture. I really like the new Paul Mitchell Curls Spring Loaded Shampoo, which is ultra moisturizing and sulfate free.

The second most important thing is to condition. There are different kinds of moisturizing conditioners, and one size doesn’t fit all. Even baby fine hair may need some type of moisture, but maybe not something as heavy as you’d use on tight coils. I like that Paul Mitchell offers several moisturizing conditioners to choose from. There’s The Rinse, a light conditioner designed to deposit moisture where it’s needed; the Tea Trea Lavender Mint Conditioner, a heavier conditioner; and the Super-Charged Moisturizer, an intense hydrating treatment. You have to find the right moisturizing plan for your hair.

MB: What are some tips for natural hair styles?

LD: Obviously you let it be free. We do something in the salon called the Mo ‘Fro (Modern ‘Fro). Other options are 2-strand twists and coils. When people come into the salon and want something more intricate, I may do a 2-strand twist or coils in the salon, but I show them how they can do it themselves at home.

I like to use Paul Mitchell Full Circle Leave-In Treatment to soften up the hair, and sometimes I’ll use it as a styling product. For coarser textures with a tighter curl, I may use the Paul Mitchell Curl Ultimate Wave to get some stretch. If I don’t want to manipulate the curl and just want to enhance what’s there, I use the Twirl Around Crunch-Free Curl Definer.

Another one of my secrets is to use the Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Styling Treatment Oil to prep the hair. It gives a good sheen to the hair without making it too heavy.

Other good options for added definition are Paul Mitchell Foaming Pommade and Paul Mitchell Super Sculpt. I find that I can use a lot of Foaming Pommade — about an ounce all over the head. Let it air dry, and you get a nice defined curl.

MB: What other options do you offer for clients transitioning to natural hair?

LD: Blowouts are still big. The client may like the look of relaxers but they don’t want to use chemicals. But I do warn them if you use a flat iron or blowdryer all the time, you will lose your curl pattern. It doesn’t always take a chemical to straighten the hair. If you are natural and like your natural curl, you need to take a break from heat styling so your hair doesn’t lose the curly texture it has.

MB: What are your favorite product cocktails?

LD: There’s a difference between cocktailing and layering products. I may prep the hair with the Awapuhi Styling Treatment Oil and then layer the Ultimate Wave and/or Twirl Around on top of it. It depends on the texture, the style and the degree of dryness.

One guest could come in with extremely dry hair and it’s necessary to cocktail with more shine-inducing and moisture-inducing products. I’ll put her on a treatment program, with regular deep conditioning. The more I do that, the less I need to cocktail styling products.

MB: There are some people with coilier hair textures who wonder whether the new Paul Mitchell products are made for their hair?

LD: I think there are a lot of misconceptions that it’s not for type 4s. I have to admit that before I came to the company, I wondered whether they had products that would work for my type 4c hair. Education opened up my eyes to what Paul Mitchell products can do for hair like mine. Paul Mitchell has had products for a long time that work well for my hair. I think the new Paul Mitchell Curl product made it easier for people with all textures to identify with the products.

MB: Any tips on how best to use the new Paul Mitchell Curl products for type 4 hair textures?

LD: You have to properly emulsify the styling products in your hands and work them through the hair.

For my natural looks, I’ll use Full Circle first. I also use Ultimate Wave and occasionally Gloss Drops. Then, I’ll add the Awapuhi Styling Treatment Oil because I like the way it feels.

Education Key to Building Curly Clientele

by Michelle Breyer on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

For Paul Mitchell’s master associate, artistic director and stylist Stephanie Kocielski, a little education can go a long way toward helping a curly client learn to love their curls.

And clients who love their curls, love their stylist.

“Some people with curly hair hate their hair,” Kocielski says. “They think it’s the worst hair in the world. When you don’t know how to deal with what you have, it’s an issue. It’s our job as hairdressers to help them fall in love with what God gave them.”

This fall, Paul Mitchell launched “The Truth About Curls” campaign to “inspire people to embrace their natural texture and to inspire conversations about what life with curls is really like. The campaign is in conjunction with the launch of the Paul Mitchell Curls collection — products designed to be used the way curlies actually use products.

With the launch of the line, which adds to the tools available to stylists to help their curly clients, there is a great opportunity to teach their clients about how to work with their natural texture.

“Educating your ‘curly’ is a great opportunity for both you and your guest,” says Robert Cromeans, global artistic director for Paul Mitchell. “Education can help create trust between the stylist and the client. Never take for granted that your guest already knows how to take care of their curly hair.”

And the benefits go far beyond the chair, helping bring in new clients,” Cromeans says. When you show your client how to style their own hair so that they can duplicate the curly look by themselves, “they are a walking billboard for you.”

“Curly haired people are naturally drawn to other curly-haired people and when they see great curly hair that is colored beautifully, cut to perfection and styled well, they want to know who the hairdresser is,” he says.

1. Get to Know Your Client

Education starts when the client first sits in your chair. You need to get to know them, asking them questions that aren’t necessarily related to their hair.

“It’s like speed dating,” says Kocielski. “When you get them into the chair, you need to understand who they are and what image they want.”

This helps you understand their lifestyle, their frustrations with their hair and can set the expectations of the cut and styling regimen you create for them.

2. Teach Your Client How to Cleanse and Detangle Their Curls

Then it’s time to cleanse their hair. She recommends the new Paul Mitchell Curl Spring Loaded Zero-Sulfate shampoo.

“Teach them how to tame the lion in one step,” she says of the shampoo, which also works as a detangler, softening their tendrils.

Make sure they’re using enough water pressure to get through the hair onto the scalp. After applying the shampoo, make sure they’re using enough pressure to thoroughly cleanse the scalp. Comb it through the hair with a wide-toothed comb.

“That’s where the magic comes,” she says. “By lightly combing it through, it enables you to detangle the hair.”

She stressed the importance of rinsing before cleansing, especially if the curls are dense. She shows her clients how to squeegee the water through their hair after rinsing.

3. Show the Client How to Apply Products

While the hair is wet, she applies the styling product. She stresses applying the product to wet hair because the curls are perfectly defined when the hair is wet. She pumps out some Paul Mitchell Full Circle Leave-in Treatment, emulsifying it between her hands and applies it to the edges first and then working it through. By showing them how to apply it, they can feel what’s enough and then can do it themselves at home.

Depending on the texture of the hair, she’ll apply either the Twirl Around Crunch-Free Definer or the Ultimate Wave Beachy Texture Cream-Gel. She starts at the bottom of their hair and works her way to the top, taking horizontal sections and placing it in the hair. To define the curls, she’ll show them how to take a section of hair and twirl it with product. Twist and twirl to the bottom of the strand and then move to the next section. Continue over the entire head.

“It’s a very repetitive motion, so guests get good at it quickly and it has a great end result,” Cromeans says.

“At my salon, the clients ask about the technique by name: ‘The Snake.’”

If the client wants a natural curly look, she’ll show them how to use a diffuser. If they want a more defined, consistent curl, she might use a curling iron on certain pieces.

“I ask them ‘What is the overall outcome you want to see.’” she says.

In addition to building business for the stylist, it also is very rewarding to know that you’re truly helping your clients feel better about themselves.

“You can help them conquer the world,” Kocielski says says. “It’s the best feeling. We can help spread empowerment.”

Paul Mitchell Launches “The Truth About Curls”

by Michelle Breyer on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

For all those long-time fans of products like Sculpting Foam and Foaming Pommade, John Paul Mitchell Systems has been a curl lifesaver for decades. For stylists, they have provided an invaluable tool to help their curly clients embrace their natural texture. But the company wasn’t willing to sit on its laurels and wanted to create a line of products that spoke to the curlies of the world – women who “describe their curls with sounds,” according to Robert Cromeans, the company’s flamboyant Global Artistic Director.

“While some of our Paul Mitchell products are popular with curlies, they’ve been asking for products formulated specifically for curly hair,” says Nikola Cline, Senior Director of Marketing for JPMS. “It was time for us to create a collection of products that would help people embrace their natural curl rather than fight it.”

More than 55 percent of the world has curly, wavy or coily hair, but not everyone is embracing their natural texture. The Paul MItchell Curls line is designed to provide curlies the tools they need to feel confident about their curls.

Paul Mitchell Curls was designed to be used the way curlies actually use products. Spring Loaded Detangling Shampoo™ was developed to gently clean, hydrate and detangle without any sulfates since 70 percent of curly consumers prefer sulfate-free shampoos and like to do their detangling in the shower. Because guys and girls with texture prefer using a leave-in conditioner to help tame and moisturize dry, curly locks, JPMS developed a do-it-all formula, Full Circle Leave-In Treatment™, which replenishes lost moisture, helps protect damage, and controls frizz without weighing hair down.

Twirl Around™ Crunch-Free Curl Definer features an innovative dual formula featuring a hydrating cream and smoothing gel in a beautiful swirl. With Twirl Around™, frizz will be controlled, and curls are defined and tamed without any frizz or crunchiness.

The secret weapon for creating sexy, tousled beach waves is Ultimate Wave™ Beachy Texture Cream-Gel. This humidity-resistant cream-gel adds loads of texture, and forms and separates waves for perfectly imperfect, frizz-free styles.

After extensive research, the company launched its campaign for Paul Mitchell Curls, titled “The Truth About Curls” inspired by the emotional relationship curly-haired consumers have with their hair – from the joys and the struggles, to the passion and the love they’ve all experienced with their hair.

The company made the decision to push the boundaries of its marketing for the launch of Paul Mitchell Curls by focusing on digital and social marketing to reach out to the growing number of curlies who consume much of their media online. “The Truth About Curls” launches with exclusive partnerships with influential online blogs and web sites, including

“During our conversations with real, curly-headed people, we were struck by the highly emotional relationship they have with their hair,” Cline says. “We heard some really honest, cathartic, touching stories about life with curls, and it inspired us to create a campaign that was driven by real people sharing their stories.”

This is the first campaign that directly engages the consumers. “The consumer is the active, driving force behind the campaign,” Cline says.

Curlies cansubmit a confessionthrough the microsite. The microsite also features a “Curl-o-Meter” for users to obtain their “frizz forecast” in their zipcode, user polls, curl confession videos taped during the shooting of “The Truth About Curls” advertising campaign and Paul Mitchell Curls product information. Fans will also be able to ask questions on styling tips and tricks that Paul Mitchell artists will respond to on Paul Mitchell’s social media pages.

Instead of utilizing professional models for its “The Truth About Curls” advertising campaign, JPMS sought out real women and men to feature in its ads. A variety of women and men from all walks of life were shot for the campaign, including a dancer, Paul Mitchell-sponsored athletes and even students from Paul Mitchell Schools.

“This campaign touches the heart and soul of the curly-headed guest,” Cromeans says. “Other curly-haired people can see themselves in these stories!”

The new Paul Mitchell Curl line can be a boon for stylists looking for new tools and added revenue.

“My clients want to learn how to work with their hair,” said Stephanie Kocielski, JPMS creative artist. “My clients are loving the new Curl line. They will buy whatever they need to make it look good.”

And if a client looks good, “they are a walking billboard for you!” Cromeans says.

“Curly-haired people are naturally drawn to other curly-haired people, and when they see great curly hair that is colored beautifully, cut to perfection and styled well, they want to know who that hairdresser is. What a great way to build a business.”

Styling Curly Hair for More Business

by Michelle Breyer on Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Styled at The Damn Salon

With many women trading damaged, flat-ironed hair for more natural curls or textured ‘dos, a growing number of stylists are now focusing on curly-haired clients and their different styling needs.

Learning about styling curly hair not only brings you new business, but can also keep your chair full during down seasons. With so many products and tools to choose from, we break down some of the most popular ways to break into this niche and to keep your business booming.

Education is Key

Stylists across the country are beginning to recognize the growing trend for textured looks, which has prompted an increase in education. Classes can be found across the country, the most prominent coming from New York’s Deva certification classes, which can last anywhere from one to three days, that trains stylists on the art of dry cutting, the no shampoo method, coloring, and styling curly hair. Ouidad also has a New York certification and aids in promoting a newly certified stylists through their extensive email database of curlies.

If you don’t want to commit to just one brand, there are several ways to gain more knowledge on the art of styling curly hair. hosts “Texture!” each year at ABS Chicago, drawing hundreds of stylists who have the opportunity to ask questions and watch demonstrations from the biggest names in textured tresses.

Attending beauty trade shows can be the biggest bang for your buck in terms of education with curl-friendly product lines such as Ouidad, Hair Rules, As I am, Jane Carter Solution, Tigi and Mizani showcasing the latest techniques for curls and kinks. These shows are also a great place to catch up on valuable business tips. Premiere Orlando hosts over 50 classes dedicated to building your business as a stylist and salon owner during the three-day convention.

Meetup groups are also an invaluable educational opportunity for both consumers and stylists. One of the largest natural hair meet-up groups comes together in the Dallas area, with over 1,600 curlies looking for advice and education on styling curly hair. Meetups are also great marketing tools, especially for stylists who want to help women transition to natural hair. They have the opportunity to show off their skills to a highly engaged audience.

Getting the Word Out

More stylists and salon owners are finding unique ways to promote their curl expertise through social media, meet-ups, and salon events. With over 500 million active users on Facebook, companies, such as Schedulicity, are helping stylists and salon owners fill their appointment books through their business pages.

Social media can be an especially powerful way for stylists to get new clients. Teresa DeLorenzo of Mademoiselle Salon & Spa in Haverford, PA. says online reviews and word of mouth are her main form of recruiting business.

“Having curly hair is like a cult,” she says. “Two curly-haired women meet and right away they start talking about who does their hair.”

Here are examples of how some stylists have taken advantage of styling curly hair to keep their chairs full:

Niche: The Power of the Deva Cut

Shai Amiel
Capella Salon, Studio City, Calif.

Training: Honed curl techniques on his own and trained with Lorraine Massey from Devachan Salon

Background: Since starting in the business fifteen years ago, Amiel has noticed how hard it is for curly-haired clients to find someone skilled in styling curly hair. Over half of Amiel’s clientele has curly or textured hair, and he says adding the curl department has definitely increased retail sales in the salon. “I never really planned on specializing in curly hair, but over the years it just kind of happened,” he adds. “It’s just been a fun ride.”

“So many women with curly hair have been getting bad haircuts as a result of cutting curly hair wet and in big sections,” says Amiel. “I end up fixing many hair disasters by other so called ‘curl specialists.’”

He’s become known as the “curl doctor” and invited Lorraine Massey, author of “Curly Girl: The Handbook,” and Deva product creator to train Capella Salon’s team.

How he Markets His Salon: Amiel also teamed up with Massey to create Charity: Water, an organization committed to bringing clean drinking water to developing countries. The project kicked off at Capella Salon’s Curls Night Out, where stylists demonstrated techniques for styling curly hair, and clients enjoyed wine, champagne, and desserts. Massey was on hand during the event to sign books and answer curly questions. To spread the word of the event, Shai used Facebook and to ensure that all of the area curlies were invited. The raffle at Curls Night Out raised almost $800 for charity: water.

Texture Big at 2011 North American Hairstyling Awards

by Michelle Breyer on Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) announces the finalists for the 2011 North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA)! As the most prestigious photographic beauty competition in North America, NAHA celebrates the creativity and skill of the professional salon industry. From avant-garde and editorial styling to recognizing the business savvy nature of salon owners, winning a NAHA award is a true pinnacle career achievement.

As always, textured hair is one of the highlights of the annual competition, showcasing some of the most dramatic artistry and latest innovations.

The NAHA Award’s Ceremony will be held Sunday, July 31, 2011 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. An evening filled with high-energy, creative expression and artistic presentations by some of the industry’s leading figures including current Hairstylist of the Year, Tony Ricci, the 2011 NAHA Award’s Ceremony is the perfect place to salute rising stars and industry icons. NAHA 2011 is part of PBA Beauty Week, which also includes PBA Symposium, Beacon, Best Practice Club, the City of Hope Charity Gala, and is hosted by Cosmoprof North America.

NAHAs are given in 13 distinct categories, including: Hairstylist of the Year, Master Stylist, Avant-Garde, Contemporary Classic, Editorial Stylist, Fashion Forward, Haircolor, Makeup Artist of the Year, Salon Design, Salon MBA, Student Hairstylist, Salon Team and Texture.

In addition to winning the NAHA, the 2011 Hairstylist of the Year winner will also be flown to New York City for meetings with leading consumer beauty editors and appear on the nationally syndicated lifestyle television program, BETTER.

NAHA also salutes two professionals who have made a significant impact and contribution to the industry. NAHA 2011 is proud to present its top honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, to Michael O’Rourke, an internationally renowned hairstylist, salon owner, educator, and businessman. NAHA 2011 is also pleased to induct entrepreneur and philanthropist, Stan Klet Sr., into the NAHA Hall of Leaders.

NAHA continues to draw from a diverse and internationally renowned list of hairstylist and makeup artists from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and Switzerland.

Judges included Angelo Seminara, Kris Sorbie, Vivienne Mackinder, Tabatha Coffey, Ruth Roche, Mary Brunetti, Darren Bain, Bennie Tognini, Robert Lobetta, Kendall Ong, Jamie Carroll, Gary Sunderland, Heather Wenman, Antoinette Beenders, Dean Banowetz, Nicholas French, Sam Brocato, Anthony Morrison, Mark Hayes, Sharon Blaine, Eveline Charles, Leon Alexander, Jonathan Lovett, Damian Stoney, James Morrison, Damien Carney, Michael Baker, Will Bruder and several others.

Via a blind entry process, entries were narrowed down to five finalists per category, and one winner in each category will be chosen.

The NAHA festivities kick off with a Red Carpet Reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by a star-studded Awards Ceremony featuring special artistic presentations, live entertainment and special guest appearances.

Design Essentials Exec Walks the Walk with Her Natural ‘Do

by Michelle Breyer on Thursday, March 17th, 2011


Cyntelia Abrams

Marketing coordinator Cyntelia Abrams was walking down the hall at Design Essentials two years ago, bemoaning the fact she needed another relaxer, when a visiting stylist suggested she go natural instead.

Abrams, who started working for the Georgia-based haircare company in 2005, had experimented with low-lye relaxers, but she had never been quite ready to embrace her natural texture.

“I hadn’t seen my natural hair since I was five years old,” Abrams says. “Growing up, I never thought natural hair was pretty.”

She decided to transition to her natural hair. “I was still wearing my hair straight,” says Abrams during an interview at ‘Fro Fashion Week in Atlanta.

Finally, a year and a half ago, the light bulb went off. She said it was time that she finally embraced her natural hair— kinks, coils and all.

“I can’t just love my natural hair when it’s straight,” she says. “I realized—this is my hair. It was time to get comfortable in my own skin.”

Although she still wears her hair straight every now and then, Abrams says she wears it natural most of the time. Usually, she just wets it and goes.

And Abrams’s acceptance of her own natural ‘do is reflected by Design Essentials, which is committed to natural hair. The company developed its Natural Hair Care System— a collection of curl definition products infused with a combination of natural butters and oils to maintain and style loose wavy to tightly coiled hair textures. Each product is specially formulated with a blend of nourishing natural ingredients such as jojoba, cocoa butter, coconut oil, soy and almond oil to better meet the individual needs of each hair type. The ingredients provide the intense moisture that natural hair needs and the curl definition the natural consumer desires.

“We love natural hair,” Abrams says. “We’re committed to natural hair. This isn’t just a trend. It’s a lifestyle and it’s here to stay.”

Cyntelia shares her favorite products and tips:

“My favorite products are the Design Essentials Natural Curl Cleanser and Moisturizing Conditioner. I love how they soften and detangle my hair. I also love the smell!”

“I usually style my hair by doing a Wet Two Strand Twist Set. Tips for achieving the best results with this style:

1. Detangle before twisting. Detangling helps to remove any hair/coils that have shedded during shampooing and conditioning. Detangling also creates a smoother curl/twist once the style is dry and taken apart.

2. Sit under a dryer. I’ve found that my twists are more defined, with no frizz, when I sit under a dryer versus air drying.

3. Allow hair to stay twisted for at least 1 or 2 days before untwisting the hair. This allows the wave/twist pattern to form for more curl definition with the style once twists are taken apart.”

Bronner Brothers Showcases Natural Hair Movement

by Michelle Breyer on Monday, February 28th, 2011

Atlanta, GA—It was big news at Bronner Brothers, the convention. Bronner Brothers, the brand, unveiled its NuExpressions Naturals for Natural Hair product line—a 4-piece collection that consists of Scalp-Ale Shampoo Spray, BLT Twist Cream, Braid & Lock Oil Spray Oil and BLT Twist Cream For Braids, Locks & Twists.

If ever there was a doubt that natural hair is being taken seriously, the doubt was erased at Bronner Brothers in Atlanta, a 4-day convention that attracts more than 60,000 hairstylists, exhibitors, distributors and cosmetology professionals.

Over the past six decades, the convention has gained a reputation for its exciting, jaw-dropping extravagance. This year, for example, six of the most sought-after stylists are dueling in a boxing ring at the “Hair Battle Royale” for $20,000. Bronner Brothers is recognized as the largest beauty and trade show of its kind in the world—an Atlanta institution celebrating 64 years of family tradition, African-American pride, family unity and creative hair.

In past years, much of the focus was on highlighting ways to relax natural texture rather than enhance it. But this year, many of the exhibitors showcased products for natural hair. They included smaller boutique brands such as Jane Carter Solution, Shea Moisture and Black Onyx World. But brands including Design Essentials, Softsheen-Carson, Mizani and Bronner Brothers also showed off their natural hair offerings.

An entire series of classes at the show is focused on natural hair techniques—classes like “Dynamic Hair,” “The Art of Natural Hair,” “Natural Reaction” and “Innovative Styling for Natural and Locked Hair.” “All Curls Are Not Created Equal,” taught by natural hair guru Taliah Waajid, was designed to teach stylists how to work with clients who are free from chemicals and those who want to transition their hair to its natural curl pattern.

“When you leave this workshop, you will have everything you need to service all curly, wavy, kinky and coily textures of natural hair,” says Waajid.


Vendor’s t-shirt says it all: “I love my natural hair.”

Bronner Brothers

Bronner Brothers unveils new Naturals for Natural Hair line

Anything goes

Anything goes at Bronner Brothers

Derrick J

CurlyNikki poses with the fabulous Derrick J of “Housewives of Atlanta” fame


Mizani True Textures products for natural hair were among those spotlighted by the L’Oreal professional brand

Black Onyx

Black Onyx World was among the natural haircare companies showing their products at Bronner Brothers

Hair is Art at Bronner Brothers Show

by Michelle Breyer on Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Around every corner, there was something else spectacular and jaw-dropping—whether it be hair fashioned into a cube or a bare-chested man with long, flowing curls. Welcome to Bronner Brothers. The show was founded in 1947 by Nathaniel H. Bronner Sr. and his brother, Arthur Bronner Sr. It is recognized as the largest beauty and trade show of its kind in the world. Incredible hair creations were on display everywhere—from the models on stages to the people attending the show. One of the highlights of Sunday’s show was the Grab Bag Competition. In this contest, contestants are only allowed to use products that they are given in a grab bag. Stylist must give his or her model a hairstyle that will complement her outfit. Styles on stage included braids, twists, updos and more.

Rainbow hair

Short with a purpose

I love your hair

He loves your hair

Grecian goddesses

Grecian goddesses

Grab bag

Grab Bag contest

Salute to Stylists Contest Reveals Boom in Curl-Friendly Stylists and Salons

by Michelle Breyer on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Recently, launched its two-month long Salute To Stylists contest, asking for your vote for your favorite stylist. Here are your picks for winning stylists!

Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner Sandy Marino of Santo Salon & Spa in Pepper Pike, OH!

Regional Winners:
Region 1 (WA, OR, ID, MT, WY):
Tracy of 7 Salon, Bellevue, WA - 2 reviews

Region 2 (CA, NV, AZ, UT, CO):
Melanie Brown of Curls Gone Wild, Gilbert, AZ - 96 reviews

Region 3 (ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA, MO, WI, IL, KY, IN):
Natalie of Natalie Clark Studio, St. Louis, MO - 5 reviews

Region 4 (NM, TX, OK, AR, LA):
Anna Craig of Trashy Roots Salon & Spa, Round Rock, TX - 102 reviews

Region 5 (TN, MS, AL, GA, FL, SC, NC):
Stacy Hill of DyeVerCity Salon, Augusta, GA - 127 reviews

Region 6 (MI, OH, WV, VA, MD, DE, PA, NJ):
Sandy Marino of Santo Salon & Spa, Pepper Pike, OH - 155 reviews

Region 7 (NY, CT, RI, MD, ME, NH, VT):
Julie Washington of The Estuary Salon & Day Spa, South Portland, Maine - 25 reviews

Region 8 (Ontario, Canada):
Nadine Bastien of Aphrodite’s Sanctuary, Toronto, Ontario - 4 reviews

The number of reviews were calculated from 12/15/10 to 2/15/11

Vicki Vela-Cambruzzi

Business is booming for Vicki Vela-Cambruzzi at Curls On Top in Laguna Beach

If anybody had told veteran stylist Vickie Vela-Cambruzzi five years ago she would be opening a salon dedicated to curlies, she would have told them “Get out of town!”

That was before Vela-Cambruzzi, a curly herself, saw the light. Or in her case, experienced the magic of a Deva cut, a cut at the hands of “Curly Girl” author Lorraine Massey at a hair show. The cut was her best ever—changing her whole perception of her curls—and she saved her money to go to a DevaConcepts Curlaboration to learn the dry-cutting technique herself. Less than a year later, she opened Curls On Top Salon in Laguna Beach, a salon focused on the needs of curlies. Business is booming at the 1-year-old salon, where curlies travel from outside California to get a Deva cut. “It’s been incredible,” says Vela-Cambruzzi.

Many curlies grew up at a time when few stylists knew how to work with curls, and most now have numerous war stories to tell about the bad haircuts and the botched chemical services they received. When launched 13 years ago, a handful of stylists and salons focused on the needs of women with wavy, curly and kinky hair. Most stylists once viewed curls as something to “fix” by straightening it or shearing it short.

Vela-Cambruzzi is part of the growing legion of stylists who have made curls their focus to help girls—and guys—with curls love their natural texture. This trend has been fueled by rising demand from women who want to work with their natural texture as well as the increased availability of curl training, thanks to curl specialists like DevaConcepts and Ouidad.

During the two-month Salute to the Stylists contest, which wrapped up yesterday, more than 315 new salons were added, promoting the skills of stylists around the United States and Canada.

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