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Antonio’s View: Tips for Avoiding Making Clients Frizzy

by Antonio Gonzales on Tuesday, June 1, 2010

antonio gonzales

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

See Antonio’s blog here.

The word “frizz” never sounds good in any sentence unless you are asked to create couture hair for a Paris runway show. Apart from that, frizz is not a desired look and can be challenging.

From one hair stylist to another, we have all had the client (sometimes daily) who wants our help in making her hair frizz-free. I would like to talk a bit about the part we may be playing in making the client’s hair even frizzier. Please keep in mind, I am not here to lecture anyone or talk about what I do better. I’m here to share with you all the mistakes I’ve made in the past and how I changed my techniques to get better results and happier clients.

What Stylists Might Do That Can Make Hair Frizzier When Cutting


1) Thinning shears on dry, thick curly hair is the No. 1 culprit in turning curly hair into frizzy hair. Although using thinning shears may seem like an easy solution, it can lose you a client if used incorrectly. When used on dry hair, thinning shears create a line of shorter length within the section of hair. And as we know in building the structure of the hair, short hair supports long hair. By using these shears, you may have removed bulk but what you have also done is made the hair fuller (shorts supports long). This can become frizzy if there are too many internal shorter pieces.

If you would like to remove bulk from thick curly hair, I recommend doing your haircut (wet or dry) with regular shears. Blow dry the hair smooth. Then hold a dry section of hair half way down the hair shaft and point cut the bulk away. This is not only safer than the thinning shears, it also gives you more control without disturbing the shape you’ve created.

TIP: Remember when removing bulk with any tool or technique, keep in mind not to disturb the shape of your haircut. Also be careful not to over thin the hair as this can create an unwanted texture that will work against your hair cut.

2) Razors can be another culprit in making a client’s hair frizzier. Remember the razor we were given in beauty school? Yes, the razor with the guard and the straight handle. Well, this razor in particular can make a not-so-good situation really bad and here’s why. When we use a razor with a guard, we have to scrape the blade against the hair to get friction and remove hair. Some of you may say “it’s not scraping”! Well, if you use the old-school barber razor on the hair instead, instantly you can feel the difference (and so does the client). Because the razor has no guard, that little blade becomes a magical tool that makes love to the curls. Don’t get me wrong, with any tool in the wrong hands, a client could end up looking like she was attacked with a weed whacker. That’s why we as hairstylists have forums like this, to share and learn from our mistakes.

TIP: I recommend any hairstylist to find an academy that teaches how to use the barber razor to cut hair and advance your training. Sometimes mastering the techniques which we are afraid of could be the best move for our career.

Too Much Heat on Your Highlights


This is another “frizz creator” hiding in our salons. I’m sure you’ve heard of clients with fine hair wanting a few (bleach) highlights because it helps give a little body. As we already know, bleach aggravates the cuticle, which in return gives a little lift. Well add bleach to curly hair which lacks moisture on a great day (and already has lift), put too much heat on it, and voila!! You have frizz. I’m a firm believer in allowing the bleach (and developer) to do its job. What’s the rush? Curly hair deserves better treatment, don’t you think?

TIP: Avoid using hooded hair dryers to process your foils. They not only get hot, but they also pump an endless amount of hot air into your foils which serves to dry the bleach. I recommend getting a Climazone or a roller ball for the salon, these generate heat without the endless air.

Too Little Product


I have two words for you, layering products. Most of us agree that this is the one sure way to combat frizz. I won’t go in to details about which brand to use (that’s my next article) but I will share three easy steps: cleanse, tone and moisturize (oops that’s for your skin). The three things to think of when reaching for your products at your station are:

Hydration - Keep curls healthy and hydrated with any water based curl cream you see fit. Now I’m not talking about heavy oil based lotions. I’m talking about water based curl creams that hydrate from the inside out that and comes in different strength for different types of curls. As we know there are oils on the market for us to use that are very hydrating, if you feel your curl cream is not rich enough for thicker hair, add a little Morrocan oil or Hamadi healing Serum to the curl cream for an added boost of hydration.

Hold: We know drinking alcohol in excess is bad for us. Well the same goes for our hair. I love using an alcohol-based liquid spray to help define my curls. Applying the curl cream first helps dilute the alcohol content. Together they give great hold and definition.

Shine: This is the final step in the layering process. Use a light cream, lotion or silicone to give the ends the shine and hydration it needs. Whether you diffuse the client’s hair or have the client sit under the roller ball to dry their gorgeous curls, the ends tend to look a little dry. To avoid this dryness, apply a light silicone-based cream or oil-based cream like Lumiere by Kerastase. This the final step of the layering process, and can be applied to dry hair or you can even apply it to the ends when the hair is still damp. When applying, use your fingertips to work the product through without destroying the curl.

TIP: Have your client bring in her favorite products for you to see and watch them apply her products. You will be amazed with what you will see. Layering the wrong products using the wrong techniques is one sure way to get frizz.

Over-drying the hair


If we think of hair as a fabric that we can mold into anything we want, it becomes easier to handle and we can create ideas of our own. There are so many ways to style curly hair, but let’s keep in mind that not every curly head of hair responds the same. When diffusing, try not to dry the hair all the way. Try drying your style 70 percent of the way and then allow the hair to air dry. Sometimes over-drying the hair can create a halo of frizz, so not drying all the way and leaving a little moisture in the hair can keep the curls hydrated, repelling frizz.. When using the hairdryer, use stronger heat and air flow on the root area and less pressure and heat on the ends. This will result in getting rid of excess water in the root area and creating lift where needed the most. Since the ends are the older part of the hair, they tend to dry faster so be gentle with your approach.

Aggressive Hair Coloring


When doing single processes and glosses, always think of the most gentle way to get your end result. In the past 20 years I have used Framesi, Davines, Redken (permanent and demi-permanent), Majirel, Dia Color, Miss Clairol, Clairol Professionals, Wella Color Charm, Koleston Perfect and Color Touch, just to name a few. And I actually love all these colors but stick to my favorites. I believe that whichever color your salon chooses to use, there should be continual in-salon training focusing on promoting healthy hair. Think of why you are using stronger volume peroxides. Perhaps you can use a lower volume with your bleach. Ask yourself “Why am I doing this soap cap with permanent color?” or “Should I be using semi-permanent color?” For your first-time color clients I am passionate about using Colorshines (Cellophanes) and staying away from any peroxides, even the littlest amount. I’m determined to encourage a resurgence of Colorshines into the salon. I think many stylists have become hooked on peroxide and they need to think of peroxide as an aggressive chemical.

My next article will cover cocktailing products and my favorite creams, oils and silicone products to keep curls feeling loved.

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Begin having frequent staff meetings and collaborate on business building techniques used by others that you work with. Every salon has success right inside. Get the top booker to explain how they do it. Pair the weakest with the strongest and let them work next to each other. They can learn from what they hear and see. Do the same with retail sales. Share the ways that the top stay on top.

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