Archive for the ‘Products and Tools’ Category

Paul Mitchell Owner on the Evolution of Texture

by Cassadie on Monday, July 16th, 2012

One of the most special parts of The Gathering is that the leaders of Paul Mitchell are not only so inspiring and inspired, but also that they are readily excited to share their passion with others. CurlStylist had the opportunity to interview both of the owners of Paul Mitchell, Angus Mitchell and Jean Paul DeJoria, about the launch of their new line of curly products and the re-emergence of texture in the beauty industry. In addition to an exclusive insight into two of the industry’s most influential leaders, we got a glimpse at both of their business prowess and personalities.

Watch here for the interview with Angus Mitchell, son of the late Paul Mitchell and co-owner of the company who is an extremely accomplished stylist in his own right:

Paul Mitchell and The Truth About Curls

by Cassadie on Monday, July 16th, 2012

The focus of this year’s annual Paul Mitchell Gathering has been the launch of the new product line called Curls, formulated specifically for, you guessed it, curls! One of the sessions offered at The Gathering is called The Curl Experience: The Truth About Curls. The two-hour session is a crash-course in curl styling, care and coiffure for stylists. Cromeans placed a massive emphasis on the democratization of hair care, encouraging stylists not to see hair in black in white, but in wavy, curly and coily textures. “You need to be able to work with anything that crawls through your salon door,” encouraged Cromeans. “Can you imagine if a doctor turned away a patient just because of the color of their skin?”

CurlStylist’s own Michelle Breyer was a featured speaker during this session, engaging with Cromeans in a curl-focused dialogue and answering audience questions about trends in the textured hair market.

Top tips from the session include:

Do not highlight curls like you would a straight-haired client. Use “hand-picked highlights” to create a customized color pattern that will accentuate a unique curl pattern.

Stylists who service curly clients will take home an average of $52/head when the industry average is four.

Encourage your fellow stylists to wear their natural texture. Clients will be more willing to try wearing their curls if they have an example to follow.

Here are some of the top pictures from the session.

JPMS Gathering
JPMS Gathering
JPMS Gathering
JPMS Gathering
JPMS Gathering
JPMS Gathering

Paul Mitchell’s VP of Education Dishes on New CURL Products

by Cassadie on Monday, July 16th, 2012

Stephanie Kocielski is known around the world for her work as a platform artist and her work on honing the Paul Mitchell education program. Here at the annual JPMS gathering, she uses her enthusiasm for curls and expertise to share about the four new CURL products just launched from Paul Mitchell.

Create Client-Craving Curls with Curlformers

by Advertorial on Monday, April 30th, 2012


Stylists, it is that time of year again when the weather gets warmer, the days get longer and your salon fills up with couples getting hitched. And, whether or not you’ve become a from at creating seriously haute styles that last through a seriously hot outdoor wedding, frizz-free and defined, a naturals over all goal is always to ditch the heat appliances – even that curling rod we all love so much!

So then, what is the secret to a wedding worthy curly style that keeps her mane healthy and looking fierce throughout an entire summer ceremony? Simple – Curlformers.

If you haven’t already heard about them, watch a YouTube tutorial on them or even used them yourself, Curlformers are the next best thing to Shea butter or sulfate-free shampoo to enhance and change your client’s current textured look – sans heat. The method is perfect for wavy girls looking for more curl all the way to coily girls looking for stretched out curls. They work for all hair types and all hair lengths.

Now, top stylist Mark Woolley has taken what is the season’s hottest trend (you know, all that marital bliss, curly updos and big textured hair), and is showing you how to use Curlformers to create your best wedding look yet. No lie – this will be one for the books!

Step 1 - Curlformers must be applied to damp/freshly washed hair or you can mist each section with a water spray as you go along.

One of the many great things about Curlformers is that the “wash and set” technique used gives definition and natural hold to your curls and waves and you don’t always need to use a styling product. The choice is yours!

Step 2 - Make sure you have put together the two parts of the Styling Hook and then, holding the handle, feed the Curlformer on to the Styling Hook.

Step 3 - Starting at the nape of the neck and with the rest of your hair clipped out of the way, take a small section of hair, approximately half an inch wide. Give it a quarter turn twist and holding the handle higher than the hook, slip the twisted section into the hook. This two-minute video will also show you how to remove your Curlformers (

Step 3a - Apply Curlformers to your entire head of hair, or where ever you want to add texture, curls or waves.

When complete, allow hair to dry either naturally or with the help of an inflatable hood dryer attachment. The time taken to dry will vary depending on the size of hair sections and the texture and thickness of your hair. Remove one Curlformer to determine whether hair is dry and re-apply if it isn’t. Do not remove until completely dry and leave in for as long as possible.

Step 4 - As you remove the Curlformers your curls will spring back into place. You can either brush through with your fingers for a softer curl or a brush to loosen into waves.

Step 5 – Remove Curlformers to reveal a head of soft spiral curls and loosen with fingers to create romantic curls and waves.

Step 7 – To recreate this wedding look, style by taking some of the curls away from your face and loosen then gently brush through for soft waves, texture and volume.

Delicious Curl Miracles from Matrix Total Results

by CurlStylist on Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Some hair types are solid and dependable — pretty much always the same. Not curls. Every day is different when it comes to this sassy hair type. Curls can be springy and obedient on Monday, fuzzy and unruly on Tuesday and limp and listless by Friday. That’s why when it comes to care and styling, there’s no such thing as “the usual.” Different days call for different strategies, and a variety of yummy product miracles!

“I work with my curly clients to teach them how to cope with every type of hair day they encounter,” says Matrix Artistic Director Nick Stenson. “During the consultation, we talk about the differnent situations they encounter, and then we come up with a customized solution — products and styling — for each one.”

Here are two of Nick’s favorite Total Results Curl Cocktail “Recipes!”

The Thirsty Curl

Miracle Gel

Matrix Curl Miracle Gel.

Overworking and undermoisturizing leaves these locks looking rough, fuzzy and coarse.

  • Shampoo and condition with Total Results Curl Shampoo and Conditioner to gently cleanse, nourish and replenish moisture.
  • Towel dry and apply Total Results Miracle Super DeFrizzer Gel to damp hair. This liquid gel melts into hair instantly, and provides control and definition without a trace of crunch. Comb through with a wide-tooth comb.
  • Use the diffuser attachment to spread out airflow and use a low air setting to maintain texture and dry curls gently. Tilt the head to the side, allowing hair to hang freely. Position the diffuser beneath the hair, push up and dry.
  • Work a dime-sized amount of Total Results Sleek Wonder Smoothing Oil between hands, and gently press and squeeze curls to quench any trace of dryness. This ultra-light, rapidly absorbed formula offers 24 hour repair and frizz-fighting power.

The Skinny Curl

Fine texture causes these coils to droop before the day is done.

Curl Contouring Cream

Matrix Curl Contouring Cream.

  • Shampoo and condition with Total Results Curl Shampoo and Conditioner for lightweight cleansing and care. Towel dry.
  • Apply Total Results Amplify Wonder Boost Root Lifter to the scalp area. This innovative formula features a unique directional nozzle that points root-lifting muscle directly where it’s needed. Lift lasts for 24 hours.
  • Work Total Results Curl Contouring Lotion through midlengths and ends. This nourishing and moisturizing formula boosts body, bounce and shine.
  • Remove all moisture and encourage volume by drying hair with a diffuser attachment with the head tilted forward.
  • Using a medium-sized curling iron, spin large sections vertically along the outside of the barrel. Slide the hair off the iron with the curl intact and clip to the head.
  • Once hair has cooled completely, remove the clips and allow curls to unfurl. Without disturbing the curl formation, mist with Total Results Amplify Proforma Hairspray to provide extra lift and maxium hold.

The best way to mix up the ultimate cocktails for your curls is to experiment with a variety of Total Results formulas, says Nick. Try a little of this, a little of that and soon, you’ll find the perfect blends!

More About Matrix

Matrix Curl Family

Matrix curl family group shot.

MATRIX, the leading professional haircare and haircolor company in the United States, is part of L’Oreal USA’s Professional Products Division. Founded in 1980, MATRIX is committed to the development of the salon professional and offers a wide range of products including: Amplify, Biolage, ColorSync, Design Pulse, Logics, SOCOLOR, Sleek.look, Vavoom and Wonder.Brown. MATRIX professional products are available only in salons and can be guaranteed authentic when purchased from authorized retailers.

Pravana’s New Chromasilk Formulator App for iPhone

by CurlStylist on Monday, October 31st, 2011

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the stylist circuit or a student visionary just starting out, Pravana Naturceuticals will change the way you color the world. With their new application for the iPhone, the Pravana Chromasilk Formulator, you’ll be able to conveniently formulate colors with a wave of your hand!

This simple, straightforward iPhone app allows you to input your client’s natural hair color, including any percentage of grey to take into account, as well as the target color you’ve both agreed upon. An easy feat, since the application allows you to choose from all the Chromasilk color swatches, ensuring you both know exactly what the shade will look like!

Wait mere moments and this stylist’s little secret will fill you in on pre-lightening steps, the correct colors for her hair, plus the proper developer volume and amount. In other words, Pravana makes it possible for you to access every step you need to get the hair color they crave.

You can find the app at the iPhone app store free, courtesy of Pravana.

About Pravana Naturceuticals

Pravana Naturceuticals is a unique hybrid that combines the power of nature with technological innovation to create a new professional hair care standard. Its proprietary Naturceutical Complex utilizes nine Meso-American botanicals that nourish and promote hair’s health and wellness, and three advanced hydrolyzed proteins to increase strength, elasticity and shine. Formulas contain silk proteins, and wheat proteins and keratin. There are zero phthalates, and absolutely no animal by-product ingredients. Shampoos are sulfate free and sulfite free. All products are free of MEA and DEA and meet the strictest environmental regulations.

Best Hair Oils for Curls & Waves

by Megan Dorcey on Thursday, September 1st, 2011

There was a time that the very mention of oils in hair products was considered a negative, but an oil boom has transformed the category, with stylists and their clients clamoring for the latest and greatest in hair oils for their clients’ locks.

“Traditionally, oils weren’t considered desirable because they added weight and tackiness,“ recalled John Davis, co-founder and CEO of AG Hair Cosmetics. “Had you asked me two years ago, I would have told you that all of our products were oil free. People see oils differently now.”


Oils themselves aren’t new. For centuries, women around the world have used botanicals and oils in their hair, giving it a healthy sheen and appealing fragrance.

“Botanicals have been around for a long time,” says Dr. Ali Syed, president of Avlon Industries and master chemist for Syntonics formulations.

Curly clients everywhere are asking for more ways to calm their frizz while ensuring health and shine, and the product companies are answering the call with a plethora of hair oils to choose from.

Argan Oil

AG Hair Cosmetics will launch The Oil in September, an argan-infused product. The new product is designed to smooth and hydrate the hair without weighing it down. The Oil is part of a boom in professional hair care botanical oil-based products that have hit the market. It is one of the hottest, most buzzed about categories in the industry.

Argania spinosa kernel oil (argan oil) has been the superstar of oils, with companies such as Moroccan Oil, Argadir, Amika and DermOrganic creating entire lines based on the oil. Argan oil is produced form the kernals of the argan tree, which is indigenous to southwestern Morocco. The oil softens thick, coarse and unruly hair, bringing shine to lifeless dull hair and even skin. Josie Maran has a full line of oil products including a Bronzing Argon Oil for the body that boasts the ability to leave the skin with a healthy, moisturized glow.

Argan oils are definitely the most popular in this vast market, but many companies have been infusing argan seed oil with other popular health-boosting ingredients such as Pequi and Amla oil. Macadamia Natural Oil, which combines macadamia and argan seed oils.

Michael Cain, the Macadamia Natural Oil’s education manager, says “with the matching of those two oils, the performance of the product is unparalleled as far as the absorbency and as far as the great benefits you get from it.”

Vitamin E provides natural UV protection, which is especially beneficial for color-treated hair but works on all hair types. According to Cain, the combination also “gives your hair elasticity which prevents breakage and split ends.”

Although some people expect hair oils to leave a greasy residue, Cain says these oils can actually have the opposite effect, even with daily use.

Hair Oil Benefits

“A lot of people that have finer hair will typically have an oilier scalp,” he explains. “This helps even out the porosity in your hair.” The oils also speed up blow-drying time, similar to the way oil and water separate.

Certain extracts like aloe vera, which is said to heal minor skin injuries, can help repair a scalp that’s been damaged by chemical processing when combined with oils.

“If the scalp is on the dry side, most of the time, you have to have a combination of the natural and some of the synthetic materials,” Syed says.

“Botanicals have been around for a long time and as the passions and styles changed, things become sort of cyclical,” says Syed.

He adds that botanical oils are gaining popularity among health-conscious consumers who have been “pushing the envelope towards natural ingredients in food, personal care, and health.”

Dana Amador, who works in business development at Amika believes hair oils serve a number of functions.

Protection from the Elements

“Not only do [oils] make your hair smell wonderful, but they also protect your hair against the elements,” Amador says. “Oils are a very natural way to not only condition the hair but to style it and make it look effortlessly perfect.”

Oils can also help to define curls without making the hair look greasy or weighing them down, adds Amador, who happens to have curly hair herself.

One of the pioneers in the recent oil boom is Moroccanoil, which introduced its signature Moroccanoil Treatment three years ago. Driven by the success of the initial products, the company has been introducing new products ever since, says Moroccanoil artistic Director Antonio Corral Calero.

The popularity was especially evident among curly stylists and the stylists who work with them. As a result, the company answered with several curl-specific products containing their argan oil. The popular line now boasts a curl defining mousse, curl control cream, and intense curl cream.

Moroccanoil infuses their argan oil with Vitamin F, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E to protect against free-radicals.

“What makes our curl line so unique is that the formulas work on dry and/or wet hair,” says Calero. “Their formulations not only make styling so much easier, but they also decrease frizz, make curls more manageable, and restore moisture back into the hair. We are all about having the hair feel soft and natural, with no sticky residue.”

Now there are a number of great oils available, including Mizani Supreme Oil, Oscar Blandi’s oil product containing Jasmine oil and Alterna’s Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil, said to promote healthy hair while delivering shine.

Take a Hair Razor to Those Curls

by Antonio Gonzales on Monday, August 8th, 2011

antonio gonzales

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

See Antonio’s blog here.

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

First, let me remind you of two things:

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

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

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

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

Why Use a Hair Razor?

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

Hair Razors From the Past

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

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

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

What Razor Should You Use?

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

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

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

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

What Can a Razor Do That Others Can’t?

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

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

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

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

When Not to Use a Razor

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

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

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

Know When to Put it Down

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

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

Wedding Hairstyles for Toilet Paper Dresses

by Kateri Johnson on Saturday, July 30th, 2011

The Official Seventh Annual Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest, hosted by Cheap Chic Weddings, gave away a total of $1750 to a grand prize, second place and third place winners. Now, while the winners looked fabulous in their toilet paper, haute couture gowns, we all know that, as stylists, nothing is finished without the hair. Here’s the down low on what wedding hairstyles work best with toilet paper dresses and how to get them.

Grand Prize Winner

Grand Prize winner, Susan Brennan, of Orchard Lake, MI entered a classically styled dress. Inspired by nature. She used flowers and feathers and balanced the dress with pleats on the bodice. She used 4 rolls of toilet paper, hot glue, and packing tape.

Susan’s winning dress has the soft romantic flair perfect for a beach wedding. Letting your tresses flow softly, allowing them to wisp around the face and delicately fall to the side are the “it” look for beachside nuptials.

For a wedding hairstyle with soft mermaid like waves, mist the hair with a light leave-in-conditioner and loosely braid with a light-hold gel. Next, allow the hair to dry in place. Release the braids and gently pull apart the waves.

Using an open iron, wrap locks around the barrel of a medium sized iron and release for long soft loose curls. Cinch to the side with a decorative clip or jeweled bobby pins for a side swept mermaid like style.

Second Place Winner

This year’s second place winner is Laura Lee of Milpitas, CA. Laura Lee used 5 rolls of one-ply toilet paper, transparent duct tape, first aid tape and spray adhesive. Her friend, Michelle, helped her put the dress together.

For Laura, a vintage spin on styling would suit this dress with its layered ruffles and corset-like bodice. Vintage or period wedding styles can incorporate many different looks. Pin curls, sleek finger waves or long soft deep waves can take this dress to another time and place.

To create a vintage wedding hairstyle, pin individual locks into place after curling with a large barrel iron, allowing the curl to cool into place. For soft, full waves, use a 3” barrel curling iron. A firm-holding hairspray will give all day hold.

For deep sleek waves, mold the hair into an s-patterned wave using a firm holing gel and finish off with a light shine spray to define the waves with sleek shine.

Third Place Winner

Cynthia used 20 rolls of toilet paper, duct tape, hot glue, Mod Podge glue and fabric glue. Her 8-year-old daughter, Rainey, helped her with her dress.

Cynthia represents a theme wedding. This dress is country chic and screams VOLUME, VOLUME, VOLUME!

Full natural curls created by hot rollers, large rollers or a large barrel curling iron, along with teasing, will give you “skies the limit” beautiful hair. Long tresses pinned high into a tussled bump or left down with southern belle fullness makes this country chic look the complete package!

Root lifters, volumizing mousse and sprays will keep the soft fullness through any reception.

All of these dresses represent different takes on the “modern” wedding dress. Anything from tulle, duct tape and even toilet paper can create an amazing dress. And incorporating marvelous, easy to create and inexpensive wedding hairstyles adds the finishing touch to any dress—no matter what the fabric!

Client Hair Coloring Tips From Brig Van Osten

by CurlStylist on Thursday, July 14th, 2011

brig van osten

“Shear Genius” winner Brig Van Osten uses Pravana colors to achieve stunning results.

Hey there, my curly loving and cutting friends!

In case you missed out on Brig Van Osten’s live Facebook chat hosted by Pravana, we’ve provided you with some of the Q&A highlights.

Straight from the “Sheer Genius” to you, Brig provides quick client management and hair coloring tips.

Question: I have a client with Level 5 all over and chunky platinum highlights. She now wants to totally switch to JLo’s new Soft Sandy Blonde. What do you suggest?

Brig: I suggest you use Pure Light Power Lightener with 10 volume on her nat level 6. Leave your level 9panels out. Lift to level 9. Wash & dry.

Q: On personal style—do you ever worry that your own personal style will deter a client? I am in a pretty conservative area, and while I’m classic, I’m still kind of bold and worry about getting in to a salon and finding that a problem.

Brig: A great way to get around that is to create something cool using a clip in hairpiece that can be clipped out when you client goes to the day job. I never worry about what someone else will think of how I choose to look. I want to attract those who “get” me. I’m an artist and it reflects in my appearance. If I had to wear all black to a job, I wouldn’t work there.

Q: Have you ever listed with an agent? I’m near Nashville & I would love to get some on-shoot work and was thinking of contracting agents once licensed.

Brig: If you want to do freelance work, an agent is almost always necessary. Negotiating money for yourself is also challenging. Agents are fabulous.

Q: Brig, how do you get your clients to try a little “fun” color when they are timid about it?

Brig: I start each consultation by asking: “What do you like and dislike about your hair? If you are in the color room formulating and find yourself unclear, you didn’t talk enough with the client. Go back & ask more questions. Review pictures. I keep crazy records on each client. Consistency is key to a successful career as a stylist.

Q: I recently had a big problem with “sun-in.” Brig, how do you deal with this nightmare? Are there any recommended steps on getting this color correction under control?

Brig: Sun-In-EEEEEKKKK. Test strand & always darken, never lighten. Proceed with caution and under promise results. I remind clients that tell me, “My hair is strong and can handle it,” that I don’t want to see them on Judge Judy with me. Sun-In, Henna, crap from the all-natural market – BEWARE. Test strand. That has saved me many times. Offer a hair rehab program at your salon—great way to bring in clients with wrecked hair & make plans to nurse it back to health.

Q: Brig, I saw an awesome timeline of your career somewhere, but I can’t remember where it was.

Brig: I got my start at the cheapest school & hustled education after that. I also assisted and learned a ton of “what not to do” from a lazy stylist.

For more information concerning this chat with Brig Van Osten and the products he recommends, visit Pravana’s website.

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