25 Ideas for Creating Fabulous Bridal Hairstyles!

by Victoria Wurdinger on Friday, May 20th, 2011


Most brides have been on their countdown for a while, and it’s getting close to time for the test-run wedding hairstyle, color that will look great a few weeks from now and fresh new ideas. At Patrix Salon in Portsmouth, NH, hair artist Alan Brian says the main thing to remember is that it’s the bride’s day, so you must deliver the look she wants, and her hair must look beautiful, shiny and healthy—without overpowering her grown. For this reason, an extensive consultation is key, along with a trim and color—or a clear gloss—a week or two before her big day.

Brian says keeping it simple is usually best. “I like to work on hair that was shampooed the day before, it tends to hold the style better.”

Our top tips from style pros start off with Brian’s advice on how to create three looks that stem from a single foundation. They’re perfect for demonstrating different trial styles quickly.

1. For a beautiful down style on longer hair

Use a large-barrel iron, start at the top and curl all the hair, clipping each curl in place with a duckbill clip. Let the hair cool, then take the clips out. Comb through with your fingers, create a part, pull the shorter side back behind the ear and pin it with a decorative bobby pin. You can also use a flower like baby’s breath, but avoid anything too big or blingy. Let the opposite side gently fall over the eye and shoulder. Backcomb where needed, add spray, and you have instant glamour and romance.

2. If the bride wants her hair away from her face

Use the same procedure in Tip 1, says Brian, only this time, pull all the hair somewhat loosely to one side (just off center) and tie into a pony tail. Take a small, ½-inch piece from underneath the ponytail, and wrap it around the base to cover the elastic band, pinning the end with a bobby pin. Finger through the curls in the ponytail, then use your fingers to gently backcomb them so they gently cascade over the shoulder. Add a hair accessory above the base of the ponytail.

Placing curls off center allows many options. Hair by Alan Brian.

Placing curls off center allows many options. Hair by Alan Brian.

3. For an easy up-do

Follow the steps in Tip 2, only this time, brush out the ponytail with a natural boar-bristle brush. Then pull our 1-inch pieces, backcomb lightly, brush over the top gently and “place” each curl, pinning it to the base. Repeat with all the remaining pieces, making sure bobby pins are secure (adding hairspray helps).

Texture Management Around the Globe

by Victoria Wurdinger on Tuesday, April 19th, 2011


In Curaçao, Yeddy likes to experiment with products that she discovers at beauty shows in the U.S.


Yeddy’s brightly colored salon and academy building reflects Curaçao’s Dutch influence.

Curl Control in Curaçao

One of the Caribbean islands of the Lesser Antilles off the coast of Venezuela, Curaçao has a population of about 130,000. There are many ethnicities and curl patterns represented, water and electricity are very expensive (as is importing products), and the majority of the population has curl in various patterns and lots of it. As a result, island stylists are among the best in the world at blow drying—and the fastest, because it saves electricity.

In the capital of Willemstad, Modesta Sluis-Rosario de la Cruz, who simply goes by “Yeddy,” is CEO of Academy Yeddy Trading Inc., which operates Kapsalon Academy Yeddy and distributes hair products to salons, pharmacies, stores and supermarkets.

Like many of the island’s inhabitants, who are descendants of former slaves from Africa, Yeddy herself is a transplant. Born in the Dominican Republic, she started doing hair at 14 in a Santo Domingo neighborhood nicknamed “Vietnam.” She worked in a narrow alley aside her parents’ house with “nothing but a broken mirror—and buckets of water for hair washing.” Even with limited resources, she discovered she was superb at the craft, so after secondary school, she attended beauty school. License in hand, she began traveling, and ended up in Venezuela at the age of 19.

“I worked in big, famous salons, as the only black stylist in a still very segregated environment,” recalls Yeddy. “I worked hard, but pay was not always that good, so I also started trading clothes that I bought in Curaçao. On one of my trips, I got stuck on the island; to be able to pay for the hotel, I offered to do the owner’s hair. She liked the results so much, she phoned others so I could do their hair, too.”

Soon after, Yeddy opened a salon on Curaçao. In 1985, she began importing hair products and her distributorship evolved into a successful business.

According to Yeddy, the island’s daytime temperatures range from 26 to 34 degrees Celsius (78 to 93 Fahrenheit), but since there is always a refreshing breeze, “We do not have really humid periods.”

The majority of women relax their hair, for which Yeddy likes the Chicago-based Curl Essations line because, “Essations relaxers leave the hair with a better structure compared with other relaxers I have worked with.”

For Uniqueness, Brand Your Business

by Victoria Wurdinger on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Do you have the time, money and marketing expertise to completely brand your business so it’s like no other? If not, not to worry. Your main competitors are within a few miles, and in major cities, within 10 blocks. Ask yourself what they stand for, and how you can set yourself apart. Here’s how some salons did it—simply.

The Change Agent


Makeovers always get noticed. Hair by Liliana Chavez, makeup by Pici Caroli, for Yellow Strawberry Global Salon, Sarasota, FL

Every salon does makeovers, right? But how many are makeover specialists? If this is a niche you can dominate, expertise in image making is a must. To prove it, start photographing your before and after looks. That’s what Richard Weintraub did.

“For years, ‘One Cut, Many Styles,’ was our tagline,” says Weintraub, owner of Yellow Strawberry Global Salons in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch, FL. “We are also the official salon for all local ABC newscasters—the station approached me. In addition to an ‘exclusive salon to ABC’ mention at the end of each newscast, we get some free airtime for ads, as well as a discount during major shows, like the Academy Awards.”

This gave Weintraub an idea: He already did lots of makeovers, why not launch a new emphasis on them with an ad that would run during the Oscars?

First, he held group sessions with clients to discover what they really wanted in a makeover.

“There are plenty of software programs that let consumers morph their photos with certain hairstyle and haircolor changes, but the results are mostly silly and look like wigs,” says Weintraub. “Clients told us they wanted to know all the realistic possibilities.”

As a long-time image consultant for corporations, he had expertise in many areas, including recommending eyeglasses and lipstick shades: “You can’t do haircolor if you can’t talk about makeup.” He’d also been educating his staff regularly, in order to raise their level of expertise in assessing skin tone and eye color, and determining the best features to bring forward, as well as the ones to diminish. His layered educational approach, he says, included presentations by his makeup artist, and discussions of what worked and what didn’t during televised award shows.

“Why read People magazine to discover their assessment of what you should have seen live?” asks Weintraub. “We are the expert assessors.”

Poised to embrace a new tagline, “Yellow Strawberry, The Makeover Specialists,” he then “put the cart before the horse.”

“If you say you’re the top makeover experts in town, you have to follow through,” says Weintraub, “So, we just put it out there. I knew we’d be hard pressed not to succeed—everyone loves an image change of some kind.”

Taking his existing photo shoots of befores and afters, he created an ad to run locally during the Academy Awards. Its opening line: “If your hair is not becoming to you, you should be coming to us.” You can see the ad here.

The ad ran Oscar Sunday, and by Tuesday, he had dozens of appointments and a solidified position as the place for change.

“If you don’t change your client, your client will change you,” stresses Weintraub. “Chat with clients before they are shampooed, and even if they love their look, tell them you can always improve on your own work and have an idea. When you introduce change that way, clients will evolve with every visit.”

The Sexiest Valentine’s Day Dos Are Soft, Touchable and Textured

by Victoria Wurdinger on Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

On a Roll: Barrel curls by Braun der Friseur in Kaarst, Germany, require hairspray and a large-barrel iron. Photos by Tom Carson. Production: Global Hair & Fashion Group.

New Year’s Eve may be your biggest day for style bookings, but Valentine’s Day is fast becoming as hot an opportunity for hair salons as it is for spas. The number of romantic styles you’ll create will depend on whether February 14 falls on a Monday, like this year, or a Friday, but Candy Codner, owner of Jamison Shaw Hairdressers in Atlanta, GA, says one thing’s for sure; more women are asking for “a look” because of the GE factor: Getting Engaged. (If you can believe the e-buzz, 10% of all Americans get engaged on Valentine’s Day.)

Codner, who can now reveal that she created Carrie Underwood’s wedding hairstyle (her non-disclosure lasted for six months), says for those hoping a ring is in the offing, the most popular look involves soft, tousled curls—sort of a cross between sex kitten meets dream-girl-next-door.

The updo, she adds, is always subject to the judgment and approval of the woman who isn’t used to wearing one, so add a little time for a mini trial-run if your client requests one. Like the mixed texture trend, this one is a mash-up, too: unless your client can pull off a total classic—think French twist or sleek chignon—plan on leaving some strands down.

When Romance is in the Hair

Natural Instinct: Candy Codner treats natural curl with Argan oil and blows it dry before setting 1-inch sections on a ½-inch iron, then breaking up each curl 2-3 times by hand. Photos by Tom Carson. Production: Global Hair & Fashion Group.

Before you check out our Gallery of Valentine’s Day looks and how-tos, see what some more super-stylists have to say about come-hither hair and its all-important prep.

According to Teresa McGaha, co-owner of Mouton’s Salon in Grapevine, TX, finished yet unfinished is the new sexy. Notes McGaha, “When I prep any hair type for romantic looks and curl styling, I prefer to work with ‘day-old’ hair. For straight hair, I start with Kerastase Double Force or Sebastian Zero Gravity hairspray; for curl, I begin with a sparing amount of Oribe Royal Blowout.”

At Fantastic Sams in Temecula, CA, Ryan DiGregorio says soft, bodified, girly curls, upswept barrel rolls and pin curls sizzle, making Valentine’s Day a great time to showcase top-notch, Silver Screen-style hairdressing skills.

“Valentine’s Day is all about grace and femininity,” says DiGregorio. “Retro looks, especially those involving curls, are the best way to achieve a truly romantic style.”
Dayna Cakebread, a stylist at Gossamer Salon in Portland, OR, who will be discussing romantic looks on her Internet talk radio show, says she likes to prepare natural texture for big, soft curls with Kevin Murphy’s Gritty Business.

“For clients who have fine hair, I use Powder Puff before volume setting,” says Cakebread. “My favorite technique is to preset hair with a small-diameter curling iron before using a classic bricklay roller set.”

Whichever stylants you use, Brea, CA-based Fantastic Sams stylist, Vanessa Valadez, says pre-conditioners and post-shine products are ultra important when showing love for natural curl. “Always suggest deep treatments and moisturizing products for take-home,” she stresses.

Fernando Salas, the hairstylist who created White Sands and is now CEO for the brand says correcting moisture levels and closing the cuticle ensures that natural curl looks its best styled for sex appeal—or innocent allure. “The most difficult part of working with curly hair is closing a cuticle to reveal soft, shiny hair,” he notes. “That’s why we focus on moisturizing from the inside out.”

Salas recently introduced White Sands Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, which claim to improve uneven hair textures and split ends associated with dryness. Free of sulfates, silicones and parabens, it should be used before any “occasion” style to seal in moisture and add shine. After all, what better day to show clients how to love their hair?

Texture: Men’s Hairstyles for Spring

by Victoria Wurdinger on Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Wispy hair is on its way for men

The new, wispy Beatles cut allows versatile styling options

Hair by Xena Parsons for Xena’s Beauty Company, NYC
Photo by Tom Carson
Production: Global Hair & Fashion Group

Regardless of the their age or attitude, most men will want texture for spring, because it’s versatile, and it suits the new longer lengths. While businessmen will favor refined old Hollywood—think tapered Mad Men cuts and the serious styles of Cary Grant types—younger guys will still only pretend not to have Bieber fever by calling their style “Beatlesque.” Urban ethnic guys will grow it a tad beyond skin-fades, while others will continue to give props to the Mohawk, Low Hawk and Faux Hawk.

According to Redken for Men consultant, Jenny Balding, who gets top props for men’s cuts at NYC’s Cutler Salon, a trend we’ll all be seeing for spring/summer is a longer top with a disheveled look all around.

“Bradley Cooper’s hair is a perfect example of this,” says Balding. “The look is longer through the top and slightly shorter at the back and sides. It’s heavily texturized to create an unkempt finish, which keeps the look very versatile.”

Paul Wilson, American Crew’s artistic director, says curl and volume will make the strongest texture statements. “The combination of these two are the underlying trend in men’s texture right now,” notes Wilson. “It’s curl that defies gravity—something existing that has been loosely manipulated.”

Ouidad, who owns namesake salons in NYC and Santa Monica, CA, says the mohawk also remains popular. “Basically, it’s a strip of hair of varying length, starting at the forehead or further back and running to the back of the head,” notes Ouidad. “It can be long, short, spiky, wavy or any other creative shape. Usually, it’s a couple of inches wide, but that can also vary, depending on the desired look.”

Texture/Length Connection
You need a little extra length for any type of texture play, which is why the trends are intertwined. At Xena’s Beauty Company in New York City, Framesi educator Xena Parsons says that slightly longer tops and softer, wispier edges are the hallmark of the mod-feeling, Beatles-length look, and that it’s created, in part, with slide cutting.

Help Your Clients Avoid Curl Crush

by Victoria Wurdinger on Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Canadian new wavers Men Without Hats may have had a one-hit wonder singing: “We can dress real neat from our hats to our feet,” but when clients who love their curl head for cold-weather cover, the Safety Dance line most likely to resonate is “Everything out of control.” Now we’re all walkin’ in a winter wonderland, it’s time to address the hat factor. Women who wear hats for living will appreciate the info year ‘round!

You Can Keep Your Hat on

Kate Middleton really knows how to don a hat. Maybe it’s because at London’s Richard Ward Salon, her go-to stylist James Pryce believes that “any great look lies in the cut.” Offsides hat positioning may help, but remember, Kate’s not a naturally curly girl. For those who are, Rod Horton, a Mizani education development team member, recommends starting with a pea-sized amount of Supreme Oil, emulsified and worked through curls to help make hat-crushed hair easier to resuscitate.

“Tell clients with curl to stick with loose-fitting hats,” advises Horton. “They can tuck their curls under without crushing them. An alternative is a wide headband the covers the ears; allow the hair to flow freely above it.”

Mad Hatters

Highly sculpted, textured hair creates its own hat. A pillbox in front would only support this back swoop. Hair by Skyler McDonald from seanhanna salons, London. Products: TiGi. Photo: Robert Aguilar. Makeup: Jose’ Base.

Where else but Chicago’s Windy City would you find a true expert on pairing curly hair with hats? At Prink Salon, stylist Jeff Roy gets super-specific about everything from leopard-skin pillbox hats to the raspberry beret. (The latter is just too tight to avoid curl crush, he says.) According to Roy, if the hat has tight and loose areas, it will create the dreaded “ring around the head,” which is the most difficult problem to resolve without rewetting the hair. He equates keeping hat-topped curls under control with the way you pack a suitcase to avoid wrinkling fine fabric.

“The more clothes move around in a suitcase, the more disheveled they get,” notes Roy. “Ditto for hair. Style the hair neatly and attempt to secure it with as little disruption as possible, in a way that the hair and hat will move as one.

“When clothing is packed in dry-cleaning plastic, it won’t wrinkle as much as clothing that’s not plastic-wrapped,” he continues. “With that in mind, a scarf or bandana surrounding the hair will act like a dry-cleaning bag, helping secure curls with even pressure. This avoids those lumps and lines.”

Roy adds that stylists should avoid products that dry hard or stiff, and opt for soft-hold stylers that can be reshaped later. He likes Kevin Murphy Motion Lotion. “It is forgiving enough to be reshaped, but contains enough hold for style memory.”

Prepare-and-Wear How Tos

Random strand twirling, then air-drying, creates curl with softness and staying-power, when you start by raking through a cocktail of curl cream and leave-in conditioner. Hair by Piera Rivasplata for Salon Kavi , San Mateo, CA. Makeup: Douglas da Silva. Photo: Taggart Winterhalter for Purely Visual.

To prep curly hair for hat weather, add some heat to your client’s conditioning routine, advises Fernando Salas, CEO and creator of White Sands. “Apply deep conditioner, then wrap the hair in a hot towel,” he says. “Choose a protein-based product that brings the cuticle layer down. Hair will be smooth and shiny, even in the harshest weather conditions. Plus, this allows hair to detangle easily, which is ideal when hats are an everyday accessory.”

Like the UK’s Pryce, Salvatore Minardi, who owns a namesake salon in Madison, NJ, says a great cut is key. When hair is long and curly, he likes short-to-long connected, curvy lines with a moderate degree of layering; he favors cuts that minimize frizz and flyaways for short cuts.

“Shampooing, conditioning and using an anti-frizz product are essential to keep hair hydrated,” says Minardi. “For long hair, form it into a high ponytail at the crown. This can fit under the hat and anchor it. When removing the hat, teach clients to take their hair down and gently uncurl it with their fingers by tilting the head forward and carefully flipping hair away.”

For short, curly hair, Minardi uses bobby pins and sculpting gel. Apply the gel evenly throughout the hair, distribute it with a wide-toothed comb and shape it in place, securing with the bobby pins positioned in a circle. Then attach the hat.

“When you remove the hat, just fluff and primp hair into place,” says Minardi.

Wearing a down-style demands you focus on avoiding puffing and frizz. Pasquale Caselle of IT&LY Hairfashion recommends starting with a leave-in conditioner such as 2 Phase Hydrashine, which adds gloss and shine without weighing hair down. “Set the curl, using hot rollers or a curling iron,” says Caselle. “I like to use Purity Design Pure Water Drops on the curls as I am styling; it keeps them defined. Then tuck the hair behind the ears, so that when the client puts her hat on, all her hair doesn’t move forward.

“For a more sleek, sophisticated style, a low ponytail or a low, knotted bun works well,” he adds. “I recommend them to my clients if they are going to remove the hat at some point, because these styles still allow the hair look great.”

Ponies and Buns and Braids, Oh My

With plaits, back-knotted chignons, braids and even braids-as-headbands becoming singular sensations for Spring, they act as great style options for women who wear hats professionally. Women who have super-curl can also choose cornrows and add extensions at the ends for length.

“Longer, curly hair needs to be neat for all professionals,” notes Minardi. “For longer, wavy hair, use a soft boar-bristle brush and gently mist the hair with a leave-in, anti-frizz product for control. Create a ponytail below the crown, then divide the hair into three or four sections. Wrap them into back knots and secure with pins to create a chignon. Next, secure the professional hat to the strongly pinned chignon.”

Forties rolls are also making a comeback, and they’re another great option for women whose jobs require uniform hats, he adds. Take one side and lift it up to the crown, then roll the hair inward. Do this on both sides; as you roll the hair, incorporate half of one back section, connect it to the side and continue rolling. Roll any hair that’s left over into a mid-way chignon, and affix hat with bobby pins.

Tips and Tricks

At Salon Kavi in San Mateo, CA, stylist Piera Rivasplata creates a moisturized foundation for curl with Moroccan Oil Curl Control Cream or Bumble & bumble Leave-in Conditioner, then twists and twirls random pieces. Hair must be completely dry before adding a hat or stepping out when it’s cold outside, she says. More hat tricks:

  • To keep coils protected in bad weather, turn the head upside down and “pour” the hair into the hat, starting at the ends. Turn right side up and slip the hat on, making sure it’s secure. When clients remove their hats, show them how to do so carefully, and how to lightly tousle coils into shape, starting at the roots.
  • Roots are most likely to get smushed, crushing women’s volume dreams. To add a root boost, White Sands’ Salas recommends misting-on a thermal styling spray at the roots—try his Liquid Texture. Twist 50-cent sized pieces of hair at the base of the scalp, and direct heat from your blower at the bases. Repeat all over, let the hair cool, then brush out to reveal 2-3x more volume. Depending on the hair type, brush before the hat goes on, or after, if volume is very hard to keep.
  • When “occasion” hats are worn—say, for Easter—Rivasplata recommends loosely gathering strands to one side and twisting to start off a loose bun. Keep twisting until the section buckles back itself; then wrap the rest of the length and tuck the ends in, pinning the bun into place. Messy versions are very popular right now. “Leaving the ends sprigging out with pieces here and there can be very playful.”
  • To incorporate curls with a hat, Travis Moore, product educator for Kenra Professional recommends making the hat a part of the style. “Apply Kenra Classic Curl Defining Creme 5 evenly to damp hair, and lightly diffuse,” he says. “Group large pieces of curls together anywhere the hat will cover. Mist with Classic Shine Spray for frizz and static control. Place the hat on, pull it out at the bottom, and gently tuck some curls underneath, leaving select ones out for effect. If the hat is loose, anchor some of the curls with bobby pins.”
  • For a beret, fedora or floppier hat, part hair down the middle and create two sections, says Rivasplata. Gather one and begin a loose three-strand braid. About half-way down the length, secure the braid with a coated elastic, leaving the curly ends out. Repeat on the other side and top off the look with the hat.
  • Emulate ombre—that color treatment in which darker roots meld into lighter ends. The styling version: Leave the root area flat, then curl up strands from mid-shaft to ends. For an edgier version, twist and backcomb hair that’s not under the hat and emphasize the “demarcation” line, playing up textural contrast. Position the hat asymmetrically for a Kate Middleton take on the new, haute hat.

Holiday Hair: Give Her Hair That Special Feeling!

by Victoria Wurdinger on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

holiday hair

Help your clients get beautiful holiday hair! Hair by Noel Delisle, L Salon & Color Group, San Mateo, CA. Photo by Tom Carson. Production: Global Hair & Fashion Group.

When your client wants hair that shines-on in holiday photos and dazzles at celebratory events, start by thinking condition. Porous, damaged ends and roughed-up cuticles don’t work with upstyles or sexy half-up, half-down ‘dos. Snip off ends, offer serious conditioning treatments, add color glazes that put back the shine sans commitment and turn to one of the dry oils that add luster and sheen without the greasies, like Mizani Supreme Oil. It’s perfect for boosting curl’s reflection factor or creating shiny flat-ironed styles that can then be swept up or left to swing free.

Of course, “statement color” really razzle-dazzles when it’s placed with purpose. For instance, color accents transform the black-tie event or the family photo into your client’s opportunity to shine. Try perimeter color, end tipping, glimmers of gold on top (where light hits the hair)—or triangular sections, moving off a side part or pivoted around a central top point.
Most colorists say red in all its variations is a holiday favorite not only because it’s a clear-cut jewel tone but because it always stands out in a crowd. For those who don’t want full-on fire-engine, add a splash of the shade to your formula or use a semi-permanent version. Expected red-fade isn’t all bad: it can boost January bookings, when your client decides whether to put back the red or try something new.

Other ideas:

Rise, Shine, Dazzle

To make hair shine during the holidays start off with a healthy focus, says Sherri Jessee, RUSK Creative Stylist. “Curly hair tends to be naturally dry, so it’s important to add moisture. Try a deep conditioning masque like Rusk Sensories Wellness Bedew, which contains Exotic Organic Tahitian Oil to rehydrate coarse, dry hair.” A few drops of Deepshine Oil, smoothed through damp hair, will provide additional smoothing benefits, creating fabulous, frizz-free look.

According to Janine Jarman, a Sebastian Professional Stylist Design Team Member and owner of Hairroin Salon in Hollywood, CA, curly hair can look dull because curly strands are actually flatter and don’t offer the round reflection straight hair does. She advises using Sebastian Professional Cellophanes. “They’re a great way to add long-lasting shine without weighing down your hair,” she says. “They also makes color look shinier and healthier.”

Special FX

For amazingly festive curls, apply a generous amount of mousse throughout, then allow hair to air dry or gently dry it with a diffuser, says Rusk’s Jessee. Once hair is completely dry, gently separate the curls with your fingers. Touch-up the shape with a small curling iron, creating random curls. Adding accessories is an another easy way to dress-up a curly coif. “Twist back one side and secure it with a rhinestone clip, wear a gem-encrusted headband or tuck a few curls back with sparkly bobby pins,” advises Jessee. “You’re ready to party!”

When styling curly hair into updos or sexy half-up, half-down styles, Dreama Kees, owner of two Ivy Salon and Spas in the Greenville, SC-area says a spray-on-shine mist is a must, because you cannot disturb the hair once it’s in place without contributing to frizz. Kees’ fav: Aveda Brilliant. Pre-styling, a dry oil like MoroccanOil can be used before blow drying or as a finisher.

Try a pony ‘fro! From Sebastian’s Jarman: Spray Sebastian Professional Shine Define hairspray around the entire hair line. Then, using a soft brush, direct hair up into a high pony atop the head. “Spritz on Sebastian Professional Shaper Zero Gravity for dry, lightweight hold, and softly backcomb the pony to make it airy and large, she says. “Use four to six large hair pins to shape and secure for assured balance. For holiday hair, I like a mix of finishes with a shiny base and matte top.”

There are several new curling irons that are designed to make it easier to achieve various finishes by adding definition and shine. Says Margaret Nguyen, a senior stylist at James Joseph Salon in Boston, MA, “Use a standard curling iron to create specific-sized curls in certain areas to enhance natural texture. Take a star-shaped section at the crown, then wrap the hair in subsections while holding the iron vertically. For tighter, defined curl, choose an iron that is smaller in diameter to your natural curl; for a softer look, choose one that’s larger.”

Smooth Sparklers

Nguyen also notes that today’s flat irons are designed to add curl. The trick is to choose one that has a plate that is about one-inch wide. Then pull away from the head in one smooth movement, with the plate turned perpendicular. It’s like making a ribbon curl with the edge of scissors. “Make sure you manipulate the hair into a curl while it is still hot.”

Since curl absorbs light more than straight strands do, Kees advises a Keratin smoothing service for temporary, semi-permanent or permanent results—all with awesome sheen. “Most my clients have extreme curl and Keratin treatments have changed their lives,” says Kees. “I use the Coppola Keratin Complex shampoo at the back bar. When the hair is blown out and flat ironed, it lasts five days if done in the salon; if the client purchases the shampoo for take-home, it lasts from shampoo to shampoo. Either way, it eliminates almost all frizz; my clients couldn’t believe it when they first saw their hair!”

while the back-bar/retail smoothing shampoo allows options for a one-off event or a slightly longer time period, Keys also offers the new semi-permanent Keratin smoothing system (lasts 6 weeks), as well as a permanent one. In the salon, the main difference is the amount of time spent and detail paid to the flat-ironing step, she adds.

Big Hair, Big Love For Fall

by Victoria Wurdinger on Monday, August 30th, 2010

This spring, we predicted the revival of big hair, and boy, is it having a colossal comeback. Pinups and pompadours, totally teased tresses and behemoth blowouts are everywhere. Upswept, they’re ‘50s-inspired; worn down, some evoke ‘80s power coifs. While today’s high-rise hair isn’t quite Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl,” hipster salons are reporting a bump in Flashdance-style perms, because curls are key to the beauty, the spendor and the wonder.

To help you tap the dimension of your imagination, we asked 5 top tressers for their interpretation of curly, frizzy, shaggy, matty; bangled, tangled and spaghettied: big beautiful hair that’s up to there! If there was one commonality among artists, it was crazy 8s, as in figure 8 shapes.

Steve Elias

Styled by Steve Elias 2010 NAHA winner, Editorial Stylist of the Year, and owner of Elixir salon in Berkeley, CA www.steveelias.com (Photo by: www.aaronlippman.com)

Steve Elias

“For fashion week, I’ll be doing a lot of big beachy waves backstage. I like the NALU Waver by Rsession Tools (www.rsessiontools.com) for getting the look. It’s double-barreled, and you wrap the hair through it in a figure 8 to great, big, beautiful waves.”

The Technique: Depending on how big or loose you want the hair, take a fairly large section, two or three inches, and wind the hair between the barrels in figure eights. Leave some of the ends out. Wait 10 seconds, let the hair fall and use a soft, defining pomade or a spritz of hairspray, then run your fingers through the hair.

Sam Villa

Style by Sam Villa Education Artistic Director for Redken 5th Avenue and founding partner of the Sam Villa brand www.samvilla.com

Sam Villa

“Snookie’s bump and Allure’s Brigitte Bardot cover shot are examples of how mainstream is embracing big hair. As the trend develops, volume will become more natural. Women with naturally curly hair will control their volume with thermal tools, and those with straighter hair will use hot tools to create more texture and volume. We will also start to see more accessorizing in volume: bands and clips placed to manipulate the shape, especially around the face.”

The Technique: Section hair and spray both sides with Redken Spray Starch 15 to protect hair from heat and add hold. Use the Sam Villa TEXTUR iron to create crimps or impressions down the hair shaft, either overlapping them down the entire shaft or randomly creating crimp patterns. Complete the entire head in this manner. Then take small sections of the textured hair and wrap them around a small Marcel curling iron with the iron pointing down. (Be sure to tuck the ends in the spoon of the iron.) Twist the iron so it points upward, slip a bobby pin into the curl and slip the iron out. Let curls cool, then remove the pins. Rub a couple drops of Redken Glass 01 between your hands and break-up the curls by hand.

Michael Haskett

Michael Haskett

Style by Michael Haskett Owner of Be Salon in Indianapolis, IN www.besalon.me (Photo by Kristi Swift)


“I like the frizzy, avant-garde texture they’re showing on runways. The look isn’t commericial but it’s a way to have fun, boost your creativity and break out of the box. Its great for transforming hair that’s naturally wavy.”

The Technique: Start with dry hair that has a minimal cocktail of gel and shine serum on it. Take natural sections or squares that are about one-inch—you can also use triangles. Divide them in half and weave them around the sides of a hairpin in figure eights. Seal the ends in foil and hit each section with a flat iron at 350 degrees for about 10 seconds. When you remove the foil and release the strands, brush through with a soft brush. The hair expands instantly. Separate some sections and scrunch others by hand to get the final effect you want.

Sandra Carr

Style by Sandra Carr Owner of Sheer Professionals, Wooster, OH, and a Matrix National Artistic Educator www.sheerprofessionals.com (Photo by Tom Carson)

Sandra Carr

“We see shiny, soft, wavy big hair for fall. The texture is high-end and expensive, because the look has to be beautiful. For curly hair, swing-line layers are perfect for keeping length while adding movement and allowing the hair to be styled back, forward or big!”

The Technique: Prep highly bodified or slightly wavy hair with Biolage Thermal Styling Spray. Then set medium-sized sections with a 1-inch flat iron. Make one pass through the entire strand, then wrap the base around the flat iron, give it a quarter turn and feed the section through to the ends. Secure the section with a clip. Then wrap all the hair in the same manner. Once the clipped sections cool, release them, mist-on Vavoom Shaping Spray and open them up with your fingers. Finish with Matrix Design Pulse Hard Lock.

Robin Cook

Style by Robin Cook Owner, Tangles Salon, Wichita Falls, TX www.tangles.com (Photo by Tom Carson)

Robin Cook

“The idea everything’s bigger in Texas makes people think we are the land of big hair, but it’s only popular all the time in certain areas. It is fashionable this fall, but this time around, big hair is more modern with movement and flow, so it’s more pliable. We use the trend as an opportunity to introduce clients to new ways to add texture and volume with hot tools. Our model here has tons of natural curl and a wiry texture, so we blew it out smooth first.”

The Technique: For a Valley of the Dolls update, blow out natural curl, then mist on thermal spray and set the hair all over with a one-inch curling iron. Use fairly large, two-inch vertical sections and a tonging technique, in which the hair is spiralled or wrapped in figure eights. Then break up curls by hand. On top, part off a triangular section, add volume backcombing and brush the hair with a Mason Pearson brush. Then roll it back smoothly by hand, positioning it to the side. To finish, smooth the roll’s surface lightly with the brush.

Check Out the Latest Irons and Dryers

by Victoria Wurdinger on Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Ceramic, ionic and tourmaline made hot tools sizzle. First, the technologies boosted sales; now fashion is driving trends. Just in case you forgot what does what:

  • Ceramic: Creates even heat distribution and snag-free gliding.
  • Far-Infrared Heat: When absorbed, it dries hair from the inside out to work faster and minimize cuticle damage.
  • Ionic: Negative ions split or electrolyze water molecules, causing them to penetrate deeply but evaporate faster. When negative ions are attracted to positive ones, they neutralizing them, causing the cuticle to close. Results: smoother, shinier hair.
  • Tourmaline: When heated, this gemstone produces more negative ions than any other substance, plus far-infrared heat. The claims: Even heat distribution, faster drying times, less damage, increased shine.

A slew of new high-tech tools accommodate today’s trends. Celebrities’ sexy waves are behind the renewed interest in curling irons of all shapes and sizes. For smooth styles, Brazilian Keratin treatments usually require a flat iron at an even 450-degrees (newer systems use irons at 430-degrees).

Smoothing and Straightening

flat iron

H2Pro’s Vivace Flat Iron

Summertime finds lots of stylists pumping out the Brazilian Keratin Treatments. At Marie Bove in NYC, salon, celebrity and super-session stylist Don Francis, likes H2Pro’s Vivace Flat Iron, which combines ceramic, far-infrared heat and three different nano technologies: “It works fast and adds incredible shine.” On-set, he favors the versatility of Create Ion’s styling irons with digital ceramic technology, a real-time LCD display and cushions for optimum plate alignment. Says Francis, “The Create Ion two-way styler lets you curl or straighten hair, so there’s less to carry in my kit when I work on location.

As flat irons evolve, they always add the newest technologies. For instance, Brazilian Heat After Dark’s newest flat iron uses floating titanium plates, which allow smooth gliding. Titanium heats more efficiently and holds heat at a consistent temperature for zero recovery time, claims Denise Russell, regional sales manager for Belson Products.

For his Brazilian treatments, Mohammad Rahebi, founder of Signature Salon and now stylist and manager at Identity Salon in Encino, CA., reaches for the IZUNAMI 450. “This flat iron is hot, hot, hot,” says Rahebi. “It reaches optimum temperature in just 30 seconds and stays there, so styling takes less time.” Even when he uses it sans BKT, his clients rave about their shiny, healthy-looking hair, he adds.

One iron that accommodates almost every need is FHI Heat’s Runway Styling Iron, which features 6 layers of ceramic heat and tourmaline to produce 20 percent more negative ions. Its temperature range is one of the widest around (140º - 450º F), and “InStyle” magazine named it as one of its “2010 Best Beauty Buys.”

When it comes to straightening curly hair, Ruth Rivas, stylist and co-director of education for Salon Sessions Studio in Pasadena, CA., is a raving Runway iron fan.

“With the Runway iron, I’m able to do my job better and faster,” says Rivas. “Because the I.C.H.S. heating system provides consistent heat across the surface of the plate, there’s no downtime. It also features advanced ceramic tourmaline technology and emits gentle, far-infrared heat to prevent damage. Since it comes in a one-inch size, I’m able to create endless styles and have a guarantee that the look will last all day.”

Curling up to a New Look

HAI Elite Digistik

HAI Elite Digistik

With everyone going gaga over curls, waving irons have also upped their techno-game. For instance, at HAI, HAI Elite irons feature nano-tourmaline technology and clampless styling, while HAI Classic Pro products are frequently re-tooled to add the latest technologies, such as lightweight, ergonomic designs with non-slip finger grips.

How irons look matter, too. The HAI Stylemate comes in four fashion colors: black, magenta, purple and teal. It features nano tourmaline-infused ceramic floating plates, heats up to 390º F in 5 seconds and allows waving, curling or straightening on the go.

In addition to cool colors, companies are offering broader size selections. Andis’ newest Elevate iron, the Marcel Tourmaline Nano-Ceramic Iron, comes in 1-inch and ¾-inch sizes. Ivan Zoot, the company’s director of education, says schools are fueling the demand for Marcel irons, but that purists prefer them, too.

“They’re great for using with a candlestick technique, in which a section of hair is pulled out from the head and loosely wrapped around the vertically held Marcel iron,” says Zoot. “With a Marcel iron, you can regulate the pressure of the clamp, which allows more creative freedom.”

For maximum versatility, Garrett Markenson, the owner of Garett Markenson Coiffure in Valencia, CA who also studied fine art in Florence, Italy, loves Hot Tools’ new Blue Ice Titanium irons because the four specialty irons create waves, spirals, ribbons or coiled curls and use state-of-the-art titanium technology. “They’re totally contemporary and help make styling fun by giving give me everything I need to create every type of curl,” says Markenson.

Celebrity stylist Tippi Shorter, who is based in New York and does hair for Alicia Keys, among others, says her favorite tool for curly hair is the Brazilian Heat Ceramic Curl Iron. “It’s a great way to enhance natural curls that may need a spruce up,” says Shorter. “I love the long barrel, which allows longer hair to wrap around the iron more easily, and the double-dipped ceramic coating means even curly hair releases effortlessly.”

Extra Help

Even brushes are being developed for more specific benefits than ever. For instance, YS Park brushes from Dowa, which are available at onsalon.com and passionbeauty.com, were created by a Japanese hairdesigner of Korean heritage for maximum engineering advantages.

Says Garrett Markenson, who is an educator, session stylist and owner of Garett Markenson Coiffure in Valencia, CA, “I like the YS Park G1 Brush for curly hair because it’s a fine-crafted, tailored tool with combination boar/nylon bristles. The boar bristles smooth the cuticle and help distribute natural oils evenly, so the hair shines, while the nylon bristles provide the necessary tension to smooth curl. It just gets better with use—I’ve had mine for four years now!”

For extra help, products are going beyond thermal protectors to ones that speed the entire dry/style process. Just one: Kenra’s Platinum Blow-Dry Spray, which uses evaporative silicones that instantly pull moisture out of the hair, helping it dry faster to dramatically decrease blow-dry time. Of course, it also provides thermal protection against heat up to 428 degrees.

Faster Drying

Blow dryers have also adapted to techno-trends. For instance, the mid-priced Mega Hot line (LINK www.belsonproducts.com), which was retooled and will be re-launched in September, is introducing the Mega Hot Professional Ionic Euro Dryer, which has ionic generators with on-off switches. Which switch position you use depends on hair type and climate—remember that ionic technology smoothes and closes the cuticle.

Says Shorter, “The great thing about having an ionic generator that can be turned on and off is that not all hair types need ions. Ions take the moisture out of the hair, seal the cuticle and dry the hair faster, so there is no frizz. If you live in a humid climate, you want to use the ionic generator. But in a dry climate, if your hair is curly and fine, hair goes limp with the ions. The Mega Hot dryer is one of the only professional dryers available that gives users the option to turn the generator on or off.”

When it comes to blow-styling curly hair, Michael Beardé, owner of Salon Beardé in Mission, KS, can’t live without his FHI Heat EPS 2100 Blow Dryer. It makes it easy to dry and style even super-curl without damage or frizz, thanks to nano-fuzeion technology, which he describes as a combination of nano-titanium, nano-titanium oxide and nano-silver particles.

“Together, they leave the hair soft and shiny, while removing chemical build-up, toxins, bacteria, static and impurities such as smoke,” says Beardé. “The dryer also features advanced ceramics and tourmaline technology; it’s low in electromagnetic field and emits gentle far-infrared heat to prevent damage to hair. With twenty-five percent more air velocity and high heat, it dries the hair in about half the time of other dryers.”

Beardé adds that it comes with a free diffuser and a concentrator, which is especially important for taming frizz.

Proving that blowers can get in on hot designs, too, IGP Beauty, Inc. recently announced the launch of the Ed Hardy Vintage Collage Hair Tool Line with a professional styling iron and blow dryer that feature the bold designs of Ed Hardy’s artwork. Clearly, when it comes to cool new tools, not only do new technologies support artistic efforts, but unexpected colors and high-fashion designs add flash to your presentation and sizzle to your style.

Ways to Engage: Marketing and PR in the Digital Age

by Victoria Wurdinger on Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Have you hosted a Tweetstakes, posted a vlog or used your online booking program to send targeted offers? Maybe not, but chances are you haven’t mailed out a press kit recently either—paper is passé. The digitally dividing question: If you aren’t experiencing social media awesomeness yet, do you really have to hire one of today’s self-proclaimed social media gurus, ninjas, stars or strategists? And, must you blog, tweet, post, Digg and retweet five times a day? To both of those, thank goodness, no. There’s a lot you can do yourself these days without getting overwhelmed. Besides, if you’re on your iPhone all day, you aren’t working.

To effectively launch a digital marketing and PR campaign, start with a straightforward strategy. Says Laura Fitzgerald, the owner of Lift Consulting LLC, which handles marketing and PR for 16 salons across the country, as well as non-industry clients, “You’ll have more success with a simple plan. Determine what you want to do six months out. The three things you should involve are a website, Facebook and direct mail—either snail mail or email. Every region and client base is different. A New Jersey salon I work with gets the best results with printed material displayed in the salon but an Atlanta salon sees instant results from specials posted on its Facebook page. It all starts with knowing your client base.”

Avoid social networking fatigue and focus your efforts. Exposure on a hyper-local website or blog brings bigger payoffs than national attention, while a major platform like Facebook can get your message out to current clients and other consumers.

7 Things to Try:


    Involve the Community. If you don’t know where your clients live online, ask, or use an online survey from sites like Survey Monkey (surveymonkey.com). Based on what you learned, create a six-month plan for digital marketing and PR, then test and measure results. Don’t try to do it all; focus on what’s successful. While PR creates great buzz, most salons want to see the numbers spike, which puts the focus on marketing, says Fitzgerald.

    Facebook logo


    Interact with Consumers Formerly Called Fans. Do you now call a Facebook Fan Page a Like Page? Never mind the nomenclature, go to Facebook.com, create a page for your business and ask clients to like you. Keep the page professional, brand it with your photos and post hair care tips or specials. Ask salon clients to find you on Facebook, and add a Facebook badge to your website, so they can link right through. Also ask your web developer to add widgets for other social networks. You don’t have to know what these all are right off, except that they allow your clients to share your stories on other social networks and on their own Facebook pages. Once you have a lot of “likers,” with just a click or two, you can invite them to an event or tell them about a back-to-school special. Encourage them to post ways they use your products or share photos of themselves in that straw set that you took hours to do.


    Put Stake in Your Stylists. If you don’t have a Facebook page, chances are your stylists do. While some prefer it for personal use and don’t want you to see their snarky comments about the boss, most will use it to promote themselves and the business. Give them photo work to post or hold a salon photo shoot. Jenn Mapp-Bressan, the brand manager for Cibu International Hair Care, the Ratner Companies house brand, says about 25% of corporate stylists embrace social media and, “We provide them with Facebook content to use.”


    Get your Groupon—if You Know Your Goal. John Escalada, owner of Skyline Downtown Salon in Kansas City, MO, used the collective bargaining power of Groupon, which emails daily deals to thousands of locals in 140 U.S. cities. How it works: Set the deal (Escalada offered $100 worth of services for $45) and the minimum number of customers you want; if not enough sign up, the deal is cancelled. Local consumers pay Groupon online, print out a coupon and book the appointment. Know your goal and your costs! Groupon takes half off the top, plus 3% for credit card fees; salons take product costs and pay commissions out of their half, says Escalada, whose spreadsheet showed he basically gave himself a short-term loan (paid in thirds over 60 days) at 22% interest. “It’s best for getting in new clients if you can retain them,” he notes. Other tips: Ask stylists to take lower commissions to get the new business, have the desk identify Groupon coupon holders when they call and direct them to new stylists or slower appointment times. Escalada got 337 new clients (the deal was offered for 24 hours and sent to 55,000 subscribers in Kansas City), and says if he retains 25%, that translates into at least $56,000 in new yearly revenue. In the end, it cost him $1,680 for the opportunity, which he felt was cheaper than a local advertisement.


    Secure a Shout Out. Don’t forget that websites like CitySearch, NaturallyCurly.com and Yelp are the go-to places for consumers to find salons in their areas. Escalada says after word-of-mouth, Yelp is his second biggest driver of new clients. You can ask clients who are happy with their visits to positively review your salon (individual stylists often do this) or let it happen organically. You’re bound to get some negative reviews and Escalada always responds—publicly or privately, depending on the circumstances. As a result, one crabby client ended up re-reviewing, telling everyone how much he cared.


    Use Measurable Marketing. Whether your send out an e-blast or a newsletter, ask clients to opt-in, and don’t wear out your welcome. How many emails are too many? One salon Fitzgerald worked with saw a drastic increase in clients asking to unsubscribe, as soon as emailing increased from monthly to weekly. Email marketing software like Constant Contact helps you manage messages by culling your lists for duplicates and dead email addresses, following anti-spamming laws, sending out your emails and tracking results, from who opened your email to who passed your offer onto a friend. While Fitzgerald designs e-blasts and digital press kits for her clients, she uses Constant Contact to email them because it’s simple and effective. Escalada uses the software, too; he uses the built-in templates to create his own email newsletter.


    Post a Digital Video. Own an HD video camera? Shoot a three-minute video of a specialized technique you want clients to understand and post it on You Tube or Facebook and send it the embed code to CurlStylist to post. Three years ago, Cibu’s Mapp-Bressan used tutorial videos to bridge the gap between women’s need to see and experience a product, and an e-commerce site. Show how to use your product, using simple language, she says. Or, introduce your newest hair extensions in three minutes, including information on the cost, application, care and maintenance. Even if you don’t have a website, you can post a video on your Facebook page, making what was once very costly nearly free.

Twitter logo

Working you website, Facebook page and e-blasts is plenty for digital starters: it’s easy to get overwhelmed with options. Take your time and ask questions—of other salon friends or your 14-year-old nephew who manages all his networks from a single app. Once you have these three working for you, mange them through updates. A stagnant website with a five-month old blog or an inactive Facebook page is like a closed business.

If everything is working for you, consider trying Twitter. You need a smart phone to manage it in a meaningful way—Mapp-Bressan suggests using Twitter to drive consumers to your larger platforms by tweeting your links. Take your time learning; mistakes on many social networks can cost more than they’re worth. If you don’t follow established protocol or ignore terms of use, you could end up banned. Several social networks allow just one account, won’t allow name changes and track your computer’s ISP to make certain you play by the rules.

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)