Posts Tagged ‘christo’

Texture: Texture Takes Over Fashion Week Runways

by Michelle Breyer on Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Curly texture is everywhere

Expect to see texture at Fashion Week in February

The spring fashions shown during Fashion Week in September were complemented with textured styles. Experts predict we will see even more curls, waves and volume at Fashion Week in February. When Allen Ruiz, North American style director for Aveda and co-owner of Jackson Ruiz in Austin, Texas, heads out to New York for February’s Fall 2011 Fashion Week, he predicts texture will be everywhere.

“At the Spring shows, there were hints of texture,” says Ruiz, who will be doing the hair at shows such as Christian Siriano and Sophie Theallet. “At the Fall shows, we’ll be seeing even more dramatic texture. Texture is here to stay, in some form or another.”

The days of runways dominated by polished, smooth tresses may be a thing of the past, as a growing number of designers are opting for textured styles to complement their collections. Stylists want to make a statement, and make it big. And there’s no better way to do that than by playing up texture, whether it be sexy beach waves or a voluminous afro.

Keratin Treatments Star At Premiere Orlando

by Gretchen Heber on Monday, June 7th, 2010

Christo at Premiere Orlando

The thousands of stylists attending this weekend’s Premiere Orlando trade show weren’t Mickey-Mousing around; they were there to shop and learn, and shop and learn they did!

CurlStylist spent Sunday on the floor of the show, checking out all the new products, old favorites and the educational events.

The big news? Once again: keratin treatments. We could hardly believe it possible, but there were actually even MORE keratin treatment vendors at this show than at shows past. We counted 20 manufacturers selling keratin straightening treatments. 20! And several of these keratin product manufacturers also offered well-attended educational sessions at the show.

Read more about the various brands of keratin treatments or the craziest hairstyles at Premiere Orlando!

And while the keratin booths were popular, stylists flocked to a number of other booths that proved popular throughout the day, including Matrix, Arrojo, Michael O’Rourke, L’Oreal (where the company touted its new INOA coloring system) and Morrocconoil, which has recently released a new curl creme.

Argan treatments were also popular, though they didn’t have as big as presence as at some previous shows.

Main stage performances dazzled, too, with shows featuring Takashi Kitamura, Anthony Mascolo, Martin Parsons, Sherri Jessee and more.

Celebrity Stylist Nick Arrojo

The educational events for the first time featured several that focused on curly hair.

Curly hair legend Ouidad’s morning presentation was jammed to the rafters with eager stylists occupying every inch of available space in the room. “Curly hair is regal. It is beautiful,” Ouidad enthusiastically told the rapt crowd. “Curly haired people have a soul,” she added.

The Queen of Curl described her trademark Carve & Slice Method, with assistant Alex demonstrating the cutting technique on a model whose hair had been poorly cut by another stylist. “Carve & Slice is strategically designed to work with the curly pattern you have. It’s designed to cut with the curvature of your hair.”

“Look for the weight when deciding where to cut,” said Alex.

Time slipped by as Alex continued to cut and style the model’s hair, yielding a beautiful look that had the pumped-up and curl-friendly audience cheering.

Back at Ouidad’s booth on the floor, industry color master Cypriano dazzled passing stylists with his makeovers.

At another education event, Christo Fifth Avenue’s Christo thrilled the crowd with his own stunning makeovers—transforming frizz to fabulousness. Of his curl philosophy, he said, “When I design a client’s hair, I design to her texture. And I give her a prescription especially for her texture.”

Kim Vo of “Sheer Genius” fame

Christo also demonstrated his new cutting technique, Diametrix. Hair is divided into 12 sections and specialized cutting techniques are applied. Read more about Diametrix.

Christo also revealed that he will soon be introducing a line of hair care products for tight, coily hair.

Both Christo and Ouidad emphasized how specializing in curly hair can bring extra profit to your salon business.

At another training event, hair care company Surface pushed its root-volumizing product, Push. The room gasped as company rep Wayne Grund demonstrated how the powdery product instantly offers lift at the root and how smooshed-down hair can be revived quickly.

We saw several new product lines we can’t wait to try out: Amika, Obliphica, Angel Professional and Milk_Shake. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on these hot hair care products.

Obedience, from celebrity stylist Charlene Spiller, is a “light, high-performing straightening serum that allows women of any ethnicity to naturally straighten their curly, wavy or resistant hair.”

Celebrity stylists Nick Arrojo and Kim Vo were surrounded by a pack of admirers everywhere they went, and Vo even had a take-a-picture-with-me booth set up outside the main floor. Dozens of giddy stylists eagerly awaiting their turn to have their photos taken with Vo, as the “Shear Genius” star smiled, chatted and treated each one like his long-lost friend.

Were you at the show? Tell us about your experience in the comments area below!

Christo: Curlisto Creator Explains New Technique

by Evelyn Ngugi on Monday, April 26th, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Curl Highlighting Techniques: Tips from Top Curl Experts

by Karen Mcintosh on Monday, April 5th, 2010

There are exciting possibilities and scary pitfalls when it comes to highlighting curls. With the endless variations in curl types, deciding which techniques to embrace and which techniques to avoid can be complicated.

To focus on the most successful techniques and the methodology behind them, CurlStylist talked to three top curl and color experts.

Christo, creator of the Curlisto Systems line of hair care and owner of Christo Fifth Avenue, has made curls a life study since age 13, “The most important thing is to understand the curls…to know the elasticity of each and every curl—how it curls, if it’s a tight curl, a loose curl, or a medium curl. They [hairdressers] have to know how the elasticity of the balance of the hair if it’s curly…The colorist and person that’s doing their hair must understand their skin tone, their texture of hair—and be honest about it. You are more honest and you will have clients who are going to follow you for life”.

Products to Watch:

HC Color Fantasies Kit Developed by Denis Da Silva will be available for retail sale at salons soon and is available here now.

Curlisto No-Heat Keratin Treatment A healthy, in-house alternative to the Brazilian Keratin treatment that transforms dry, frizzy and unmanageable curls into beautiful waves.

Curlisto Systems Anti-Frizz Treatment A 30-minute in-salon breakthrough treatment for transforming all types of dry, frizzy damaged hair into silky, bouncy locks.

For the latest and greatest, check out Antonio’s blog Comessenyc and his regular articles on

Devachan co-founder and president, inventor, and color innovator Denis Da Silva says, “curly hair needs to be highlighted because it has texture and it doesn’t have dimension. It’s different from straight hair which shows shine. My idea for Pintura (Portuguese for “work of art”) was having a free way of doing highlights on hair that has free life. Every day curls look different, so it needed its own thing when it comes to color. Pintura respects the hair color.”

Antonio Gonzales, hairstylist at Orlando Pita Salon and CurlStylist contributor, was recently named by “Vogue” magazine as one of the rising hairstylist stars in New York. He feels that “Every head is different. “ I have learned for myself it’s really about exploring the techniques …we have balayage and we have foil,” he says. “My golden rule is always to do both. I feel for me I need to cut and color. And as a colorist I need to do foils and to do balayage; there’s no preference. When we’re working with one head of curls, we really explore the technique.”

Each of these curl virtuosos developed a passion for curls in his early teens. We examine their philosophies and methods to highlighting curly hair. Here, they freely share their passion and their expertise.


Consult with the client and evaluate—the hair, lifestyle, chemical service history, and more: Free consultations are key to developing both the relationship and a highlighting strategy, say the experts. “For me the foil client is the woman who wants more intense coverage”, says Gonzales. “She might be coming in for a lot of low lights but a few highlights so I would lowlight the foil and paint the highlights.”

At Christo Fifth Avenue Salon, consultations with Christo’s staff are always free. ”The free consultation will encourage someone to come in and talk to you,” he says.

With new clients, it’s important to know what coloring or styling “baggage” they may be carrying into your chair along with their hair. For Christo, the consultation is a form of “psychohairapy”. “They need psycho hair therapy because they experience a lot of bad hairdos, either bad cut or bad color, so they are traumatized,” he says. “It takes a lot for the stylist to sit down and understand the client’s lifestyle. That’s why we have the consultation…It takes time to understand the hair, the culture they live in, and what we can do to better their hair.”

Use different approaches for different curl types: All curls are not created equal, and each curl type needs a custom approach. It depends on the desired effect as well, says Gonzales. “You know I have African American clients who have curlier hair and they just want to wear the hair as an Afro and they want blonder tips but on dark, dark hair the contrast is too drastic. So if the client is okay with it, I sometimes just break the base by half a shade to soften it. It’s still overall a deep brown rather than a black and we’ll put lighter tips so that it relates.”

Christo thinks wavier type 2s, Botticelli type 3s and coiler type 4a hair need to be handled differently. “Because of the tighter, coilier hair, that means you have to be careful. When you weave the hair you have to take part of the coil into the foil…or take a whole coil and leave a coil behind. So when you have the highlights done, you can actually see them. Otherwise, if you just weave them, they will look just like a frizziness in the hair, they will not look good, and they will look like the color is not into the curl. It will look just like brassiness.”

Condition! “Hair is thirsty for more conditioner,” says DaSilva. “Hair has a lot of protein and when it sits in the protein, it can get very dry. Curly or straight, hair needs lots of conditioner.”

For Christo, pre-conditioning is the first step when the client comes in for highlighting. “It’s very easy for the curls to get dry and damaged, if you don’t precondition it,” he says. He uses the Curlisto Colorective mask, lets it sit for 5 minutes to get into the cuticle, then halfway dries the hair under the dryer before coloring. “Curly hair doesn’t have to be all the way dry in order to pick up the color,” he says.

“The tools are just endless. It’s just a matter of taking a deep breath, assessing the situation and moving forward with knowing that if you do this, it’s not going to be a disaster, it’s not going to be wrong. But it’s definitely something you are exploring, something that you are trying. Create your own techniques. I love it!” —Antonio Gonzales

Antonio Gonzales observes “curly hair tends to always be a little bit dehydrated. It’s the No. 1 complaint amongst curly heads, that it frizzes depending on the weather. So I feel that when I’m approaching color and curly hair, I’m extra careful in terms of my volume of peroxide.”

Christo and Denis Da Silva also take conditioning into the color process. Da Silva incorporates Acai, a Brazilian fruit loaded with powerful antioxidants and moisturizing properties in his HC Color Systems Kit (see Products to Watch)

Christo uses vegetable-based colors from Goldwell and Wella. “Usually we try to do as many colors that are ammonia-free. You know, curly hair takes color very easily so you don’t need ammonia. But it’s also very easy to fade which is why we have the Colorective line, which helps maintain their hair.”

Curls have volume—and coloring increases volume: With highlighting you are also creating more density and volume, according to Christo. “The hair, especially if they are going to use bleach…gets fatter by 30 percent because the hair gets swollen. That means that person’s hair, if it’s already dry because it’s curly and you are using bleach on their hair, can get puffier because you are making it thicker.”

Conversely, clients with very fine, thin hair who get highlights will love this effect because it gives the hair more density, more fullness and more body. “A lot of people who have curls and thin density love to color the hair every 3 weeks because it makes the hair thicker,” Christo says. “That’s a color fact, which is great. Sometimes.”

Help clients maintain the color between visits: Colors, especially reds, fade. Recommending the right products to help maintain color between visits not only increases your sales, says Christo. It is also “going to make your client happy! Don’t forget that part. It’s not about selling, it’s about to (giving) a client solutions. And people with curly hair are always looking for solutions. They are always looking for that perfect color that’s going to look good on them. It’s not the easiest thing to do, unless you guide them and give them the right tools to maintain their hair. And that’s one of our very strong tools when it comes to color. We make something for them to take home so we can now expect that the color in two months will now be just fine, except we touch up the roots.” At Christo, clients receive a Colorective shampoo and mask that is custom-blended to match more than 75 shades.

Learn new techniques and expand your repertoire: Despite their high level of expertise, Christo, Da Silva and Gonzales continue to learn and evolve —and they believe all stylists should. Whether it is working at Fashion Week, flying to a hair show in Brazil or simply from the exchange of ideas with their styling teams, they live and breathe in an atmosphere of inspiration.

“Hairdressers should understand how much pressure we are on and how much we should learn every single day” says Da Silva. “ To hear clients talk we are special people. Some hairdressers say they are bored with what they are doing. If they are bored, they are not willing to learn new things”

For Gonzales, education is as close as the salon. “I changed salons 6 months ago and am now working with Orlando Pita and he is really my idol in the industry,” he says. “ I’m working in the hub of trends that are being set for the next season and the next year…I’m really fortunate that I work with a team of people that I can go in every day and learn something new.” And he advises “Go to I do it every day to see what’s available. And I try for my work to reflect what’s happening on”

And they share their knowledge with other stylists, offering workshops and multi-day bootcamps for professionals (see box).


Balayage or Foils Or Both? Oh my!

Antonio Gonzales loves them both. “I use both of them; I can’t do one without the other. It depends on the client, and every head is different. Some women are definitely foil women and some women are balayage women, depending on the coverage.”

Denis Da Silva developed the Pintura Technique for Schwartzkopf which is now used at DevaChan. “Pintura works with any type of hair,” Denis said. Balayage is a free style of highlighting hair. Pintura is a free style, but with a method. It has pre-sections done and it uses tissue to protect hair. We developed and use a patented tool, the Comb. And you can use 2 colors in the same hair at the same time. It’s very advanced.”

Where to Learn More

A course or workshop may be the perfect shot to energize your skills and bring you happy curly clients. Check out these exciting opportunities to learn directly from the experts:

Deva training events:
April 19 in Holliston, MA
May 10 in Columbus, OH
Coming this fall: A three-day professional curl course in New York City.

Contact DevaCurl, Director of Education, 917-596-9278 or

Curlisto “The Art of Curly Hair;” Featuring Christo
Specializing in Curly Hair can Bring Extra Profit to Salon Professionals
April 25 IBS Las Vegas, 2pm – 3:30 pm Room N241
June 6 Premier Orlando, 2:30 - 4 p.m.

Christo’s well-known Smart Lights highlighting technique lets clients go longer between highlights: as long as 4 or 5 months. He skips the hairline, starting an inch behind. “and I put the foils in triangle shapes. When I highlight I don’t highlight straight or traditionally from the side. I put it in a pyramid or diagonally from the front. When I start from side to side from the front I put it in a triangle or pyramid shape. And then at the back, I start from the point of the pyramid and I open up on the bottom. That gives me leverage when the roots start to come in – you don’t see the roots so much.”

Weaving and foil management. Weaving techniques and the placement of foils so that you can see the highlights on curly hair are both key to getting beautiful highlights that pop, our experts said.

For Christo, the client’s desires and preferences dictate how much you are going to weave out of the curl. Do they want full exposure, or something more subtle? “ I use a medium weave and I take into consideration how thick or how thin is the curl. If the curls are very thick, then it is to weave maybe one-third or one-fourth because how much I want the highlights to show…The idea is to want highlights hugging around the curl all the way down. And the best way to do it is by how much of that curl you are going to take into your foil.”

For Gonzales, sectioning is foremost and he works with sections that go around the head. “Another technique that I specifically like for curly hair is …around the technique and the way I approach the shape of the head. I tend to have my sections go around the head…And I change my volume of peroxide as I move around the head.

“With straight hair it’s very easy to approach your highlighting, either balayage or foils, from the neck up and then work in block sections. Whereas with curly hair … you look at the curl and you work with the growth of the curl. Curly hair definitely has a mind of its own. And rather than working against the growth pattern or against the way the curl is formed, I like working with it.”

Pitfalls to Avoid

Treating curly hair just like another head of hair and highlighting it as you would straight hair. Christo says a hairdresser can be a “good colorist but not a good judge of the hair, and that is going to be a mistake. Because they will not highlight to the pattern of the curl, so that means they will not see the highlights.” Who cares if the color is perfect if you can’t see it?

“Your hair is your No. 1 accessory. Because think about how much money you spend to buy a beautiful dress to go to a party, right? Then if your hair doesn’t look good that dress will mean nothing. So what brings the puzzle together is your hair. If your hair looks good then you are going to look good whatever you put on.” —Christo

Gonzales agrees. “I would also feel – not approaching every head the same way. If the client comes in and she’s a brunette and she has curly hair and wants a few light pieces, you need to decide if this is a foil client or a balayage client. For me the foil client is the woman who wants more intense coverage. She might be coming in for a lot of low lights but a few highlights so I would lowlight the foil and paint the highlights. Another great thing is knowing that you can mix foil and balayage on the same client.”

Avoid over-lightening: Gonzales changes the volume of peroxide as he moves around the head. “I would start off with a 5 volume and end up with a 20 volume. Which means that when I’m done highlighting the client’s hair, the back and the front are equally lifted around the same time and get the same results, rather than using a high volume in the back and then going too high in the front. Sometimes you can start a 20 volume in the back and before you know it it’s a 30 volume in the front. I seldom use 30 or 40 volume”.


Antonio’s current focus is on extensions, clip in extensions. And he advises “Go to I do it every day to see what’s available. And I try for my work to reflect what’s happening on” He also advises that texture more than color will be a trend. “ Orlando for most of the trends he set for the past Fashion Week was about texture, about creating a texture without a crimping iron or curling iron.” A lot of Antonio’s work will be “getting myself ready in the salon for all these ad campaigns that are going to be coming out with hair that has a bit of frizz to it, or that is a bit messy but still looks glamorous.”

Christo predicts you are going to see a lot of reds this year, “especially from the European women; they love their reds. A lot of women in Italy and Greece with olive skin, you will see more of a wine red with more copper colored highlights. And for those women with more fair skin, you will see strawberry blonds and also a lot of caramel, light browns with a lot of blond highlights.”

Blonds will never go out of style, according to Christo. “Very rarely a blond will go red. And I say always be careful with what you do with your color and the trends. I would say trend is what looks good on you.”

Denis Da Silva, who we caught en route to a hair show in Brazil, had this to say about trends. “Girls… anywhere in the world…are always looking to have better hair every single day. The second conversation between girls is hair. So the hair is more important than clothes. The stylist is more important than clothes. We just lose to sex.”

Christo a big hit at IBS

by CurlStylist on Friday, March 12th, 2010


Christo and his curly models

Another IBS, held March7-9, 2010, is in the books, and this year’s show was as successful as ever.

Highlights include:

• Standing-room only Main Stage performances by Nick Arrojo, Robert Cromeans, Vivienne Mackinder, Martin Parsons & more!

• Fantastic classes and demonstrations by Emmy award-winning makeup artist, Eve Pearl.

• A packed exhibit hall with thousands of products & tools & inspirational in-booth education.

• As always, the event garnered fantastic press coverage. Check out this video from CBS-TV!

And renowned curl expert Christo debuted his new cutting technique, Diametrix, which he says was very well-received. “Both my classes were packed and salon professionals were even standing in the hallway,” he says.

Be sure to stay tuned, as CurlStylist will have more information about Diametrix soon.


Christo’s IBS session was packed.

Teaching Your Client to do Her Hair at Home

by Gretchen Heber on Thursday, February 4th, 2010

You’ve worked for two hours on your client’s hair. She looks amazing. The cut, the style… it all looks fantastic.

As she’s getting up from the chair, she comments, “I wish I could make my hair look this good at home!”

She has a point, and her concerns are shared by many clients, who often lament that they’ll never be able to duplicate their salon look at home, and that they’re doomed to second-best until they revisit the salon.

So how do you help your clients get “salon hair” at home?

David Babaii

Celebrity stylist and product entrepreneur David Babaii says it all starts with an understanding of your client. How much time does she have to style her hair? How knowledgeable and comfortable is she using styling tools?

“Once I have all this information, my job is to give them ways they can do the style at home,” he says.

“Usually when creating a new hairstyle, I book extra time so I can go through step by step what I am doing and how they can do it at home. I will even have them work with the styling tools before I finish the look so I can see that they are comfortable using them,” he adds.

Christo of Christo Fifth Avenue concurs. “When a client sits in my chair, they undergo a complete PsychoHair Therapy Session that includes a total consultation on her lifestyle and hair texture. This helps me better understand her needs so that I can deliver the best results.”


Christo also offers his clients a “hands-on styling lesson where she takes control and I correct any mistakes as well as give her tips.”

Los Angeles-based stylist Kimmi Hendrix wants to be sure the client is up to the task of maintaining a particular look before she even starts.

“If she or he is trying a new look, I try my very best to be detailed as to what maintenance will be like. I will share my honest opinion if her style of choice is high- or low-maintenance or just not a great option,” says Hendrix.

In addition to making your client feel good by being able to get “just stepped out of a salon” hair at home, there are practical reasons for making sure your client looks good all the time.

“As a hairdresser, it is imperative your client knows how to reproduce the look because her hair is your calling card. You want her hair to look its best at all times so other women will approach her on the street to ask who her hairdresser is—that’s how you land new business,” says Eufora founder Don Bewley.

Don Bewley

“With every tool, brush and styling product I use, I make sure to place it in my client’s hands so she can see exactly what I’m using. The first step is the blow dry. After demonstrating which styling products to use and how much is necessary, I teach her how to section her hair off. From there, I demonstrate how to handle each section with the blow dryer, as well as which brush to use and how to hold it at the proper angle. I will often place the dryer in her hands so she can try it with me there to coach,” says Bewley

Other experts agree that a client must have a fundamental understanding of how to take care of her curly hair.

“The success of having great curly hair totally depends on a client’s ability to style their hair by themselves. Cutting curly hair properly only contributes to half of the success. The other half is just as important and it is learning how to manage and maintain each curl. No cut will stop frizz.,” says Jonathan Torch of Toronto’s Curly Hair Institute. “Some clients even need lessons on how to shampoo correctly.”


Legendary celebrity stylist Oribe adds that sometimes clients can get an even better look at home because “it is undone and looks natural.”

“I also encourage clients to not fight their natural textures. For curly hair for instance, find ways to have a beautiful natural look— a great cut and great products will make it easy to recreate at home— much easier than trying to get it straight every day,” says Oribe, who’s also created his own line of products.

“Being able to duplicate any style at home requires patience and practice. First, communicate that it will require practice and that you are there to assist in achieving at-home maintenance. And do remind them to be patient as they learn,” says stylist Sam Villa, a Redken platform artist.

Even with all your educating, some clients can be overwhelmed, experts say. So be prepared to offer even more guidance, post-appointment.

“Unfortunately, there is about a 50/50 chance she can really duplicate it on her own, so I always rebook the client for a complimentary blow-dry lesson with my assistant 3 days later. This is especially useful for new clients and existing clients who changed their look significantly,” says Bewley.

When Bewley owned salons, before founding Eufora, his salons hosted a “Learn the Art of Blow Drying” night each Wednesday. Clients who were having challenges could bring their blow dryers and see demonstrations of proper techniques.

So, educate your client from the moment she sits in your chair, continue to teach her as you work with her hair throughout the appointment and invite her back for additional help if necessary. Follow these steps and you’ll have happy clients who help you build your client base!

Tips from Christo

by CurlStylist on Monday, January 25th, 2010

Christo of Christo Fifth Avenue, a much-celebrated curl expert, offers these tips for stylists who work with curly hair:

Tips for Stylists:

  1. Never cut straight layers, but rather angles.
  2. Never blow the hair out straight and cut.
  3. Never thin, but texturize when cutting curls.
  4. Always choose the styling tools that fit your client’s texture.

Curl-Centric Stylists Reveal Their Toughest Client Challenge

by Teri Evans on Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Every stylist has an unforgettable story. There’s always that one challenging client forever etched in your memory. Looking back, you almost want to thank them for making you a better stylist. As the saying goes, from challenges come opportunities.

Discuss your toughest client challenges here.

Here, we ask a handful of curl-centric stylists to share their most challenging curly client experience. Read on to learn how they coped with common client calamities — ranging from denial and distrust to emotional and physical pain.

Curl Stylist: Pam Bobb
Location: Island Salon in Indialantic, Fla.
Biggest Challenge: A client hides a painful color allergy.

It started as a routine color service for a long-time curly client. But on this day, Pam Bobb noticed her client kept wincing during the process.

Something was wrong.

Taken aback, Bobb asked if she was in pain.

Her answer? “I just have to suffer through this.”

Bobb had been coloring her client’s hair for a year with no problems. Or so she thought. She was confused, until her client confessed that she was allergic to the color. The chemicals caused an itchy scalp and blistering burns that morphed into scabs. The anguish lingered for a day or two.

“She was in pain the whole time and never told me. It really upset me because you don’t want to see your client suffer or go away,” says Bobb, a naturally curly stylist. “Women will suffer to be beautiful and she was just afraid I would stop coloring her hair.”

That didn’t happen. Instead, Bobb experimented with dozens of products to manage the allergic reaction. Tar shampoo ultimately worked, but it smelled horrid.

Not willing to settle, Bobb kept searching until she found a more permanent and palatable answer: Dennis Bernard’s PowerTools line called STB (Stop The Burn). She added 20 drops to the color before applying it, and viola! No pain. No putrid smell.

Today, Bobb is much more probing when clients sit in her chair for a color service. No more suffering in silence.

Curl Stylist: Christo
Location: Christo Fifth Avenue Salon in New York
Biggest Challenge: A client rejects her curls.

Christo says the toughest dilemma he faces over and over again is the curly girl in denial.

“I see it all the time,” he says.

In a memorable example, Christo recalls a client who came to him for a cut and highlights. She hated her textured tresses, and wasted no time asking Christo for a blowout.

“I told her, ‘I could that, but do you know you have beautiful curls?’” Christo asked her.

“My hair doesn’t curl, it’s just frizzy,” she moaned.

But Christo pressed on, encouraging her to go curly that day—and he offered a styling lesson.

“I said, ‘Then, If you don’t like it, I can have one of my stylists blow it out for you. But at least give it a chance,’” Christo told her.

The problem, he says, was that she didn’t how to style her curls, or even care for them. His encouragement worked. The client loved her new look.

“I always style her hair curly now,” Christo says. “She told me, ‘I love now that I have an option to wear my hair curly, I don’t want to blow dry it straight!’”

Christo’s advice to stylists? Be patient with curlies in denial. Encourage them to wear their hair natural — at least just once. And don’t forget to offer a styling lesson, so they can learn to rock their curls at home, too.

Curl Stylist: Kaycee Clark
Location: Dear Clark Hair Studio in Dallas, Texas
Biggest Challenge: An emotional client lashes out.

Kaycee Clark has two jobs. She runs her salon and is one of the stylists. Sometimes, she has to step away from a client to manage the business. It’s part of the deal. One day, while styling a client, Clark was pulled away to handle a problem at the front desk. Little did she know, that day would offer a teachable moment.

“I stepped away a couple of times, and even though I came back to do her hair, my mind was still dealing with the situation,” Clark says.

Everything seemed to work out though, until the next time the client came in for an appointment.

“She chewed me out!” Clark says. “She let me have it about stepping away. But I don’t just walk off from my client, I’m always good at customer service.”

That’s not how her client saw it.

“She was in pain that day, and recovering from two major surgeries,” Clark says. “It was not good timing for her. I didn’t even charge her.”

Clark’s distractions could have cost her salon a client that day, but she was lucky. The woman is still a client of the salon, she just sits in someone else’s chair.

“Now when I see that a client is in a vulnerable position, I take a deep breath and try not to take things personally,” Clark says. “I’ll give them a little extra attention, ask them if they’re feeling OK, if I can get them something to drink.”

In her dual role as salon owner and stylist, Kaycee Clark has to be a master multitasker. It’s a lesson Clark won’t soon forget.

She now tries to fully step back from her role as boss when she’s working with a client.

“When the client is done, then I can go back to dealing with the situation,” Clark says. “It’s about swallowing a big piece of humble pie because at the end of the day: it’s a business.”

Curl Stylist: Charles Farlow
Location: Zapien Salon in Atlanta, Ga.
Biggest Challenge: A client distrusts a product suggestion.

Charles Farlow is always testing new products for his curly clients. He does the research so his clients don’t have to.

By the time Farlow recommends a product, he has already given it a lot of thought. So, when a new client second-guessed his motives — accusing him of “just trying to sell her stuff” — he was offended but chose not to be defensive. Instead, he responded with a disarming tactic.

“I said, ‘I’m not going to even let you buy anything today because that’s what you think,’” Farlow recalls.

He proceeded to send her home with free samples. Ultimately, she tried the products, saw they worked, and eventually bought them.

“She ended up being a good customer and trusting me,” Farlow says.

He still offers his clients free product samples, whatever it takes to earn their trust.

Curl Stylist: Luisa Valdes
Location: Lunatic Fringe Salon in Altamonte Springs, Fla.
Biggest Challenge: A client’s curls bury highlights.

When a client brought in a picture of the highlights she wanted, Luis Valdes tried to duplicate the look. It would prove much more complicated than she expected.

“I took smaller weaves to keep it more natural it didn’t show up as much as I thought it would,” Valdes says. “The curly hair hid so much that you could barely tell.”

The result? Her client was disappointed.

“The highlights weren’t as prominent as they were when we blow-dried a section, just to see it,” Valdes says.

The problem was in the picture. The client in the chair was curly, but the woman in the photo had straight hair.
Valdes needed to try a different technique. So, she went bold, adding thicker slices of highlights that showed up as a swirl in each curl.

“The final look was exactly what she wanted,” Valdes says.

Today, Valdes pays even closer attention to the images her curly clients bring in (no straight photos), and adjusts the coloring technique based on the client’s texture.

It became yet another reminder that one size does not fit all, especially for stylists navigating the many twists and turns of the curly world.

Top 10 Lessons
From Veteran Curl Stylists

by Teri Evans on Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

The life of a stylist is fraught with trials, triumphs and many tribulations, especially if you choose to specialize in textured tresses. Yes, some mistakes are inevitable no matter how savvy you are as a stylist— but you may be surprised how many common faux pas are avoidable. And you don’t need years of experience to figure it out, if you’re willing to learn from the wisdom of those who spent decades creating a brave (and curly) new world.

Here, we turn to leading curl experts, and asked: If they knew then what they know now, what nostalgic advice would they share with up-and-coming stylists? Read on for the top 10 lessons of curl-centric veterans—lessons they learned the hard way, so you don’t have to.

Lesson #1: Let go of your ego.



Arrogance ultimately never serves you, your colleagues or your clients, according to Christo of New York’s Christo Fifth Avenue salon.

“You should always be willing to learn from your surroundings, what you see and how other people do things,” Christo says. “You can be the best, but you can learn from someone who is not as good as you. You have to be very open minded.”

Diane DaCosta, curl expert and author of “Textured Tresses,” agrees. “Don’t think you know everything,” she warns. “Be confident and secure in your creativity and imagination, but your skills—like any other profession—need to be honed and perfected.”

Bottom line: Leave your arrogance behind, and be a little more humble. “You’ll become a lot stronger, and be a lot better stylist,” Christo says.

Lesson #2: Manage your expectations.

When Ouidad, the “Queen of Curls,” first started cutting curly hair, she acknowledges that her idealism took over.

“I wanted to change the world with the haircut that I gave them. I wanted to fix it all and change it all,” Ouidad says. “But it’s impossible to take a head of hair and change it all completely at once. What I learned is to really look at the hair, study all the curl patterns, and learn exactly how much curls shrink, each section, and how they fit within each other when you cut. It’s not like cutting straight hair, you can’t just change it all at once.”

So, instead of having an image of what you think you’re going to do with the client, like change their life, Ouidad encourages up-and-coming stylists to examine the different hair textures, really study them and understand them first.

Lesson #3: Listen more, talk less.



“Let the client talk, don’t talk over them. Just observe them,” says Denis DaSilva, co-owner of New York’s Devachan Salon. “You win over people when you agree with them. If you try to disagree, you’ll never win. Agree with them and then change them a little to the right or left according to what needs to be done, but never say no.”

No is not a word your clients are going to accept easily. So, experts say, be certain you understand what they want before you react. “You’re going to have to really listen,” adds Christo. “You’re going to have to analyze their hair, so you can give them options and ideas.”

Lesson #4: Practice patience.

Curl experts say you cannot treat curly clients the same way you treat clients with straight hair.

“Most of the time, people with straight hair will let you do whatever you want,” Christo says. “But with curly clients, you have to take into consideration she has already tried many things and ended up in your chair because you claim you specialize in curly hair. So you have to live up to those expectations.”

And that can mean a much longer consultation for new clients. For example, Christo blocks out an hour for new clients.

“We want to make sure that person is going to stay with us because we know we have all the solutions for them,” he says.

He suggests stylists ask themselves if they really know how to deal with curly hair. “Anyone can say they do curly hair, but can they really? Or, are they making disasters out there for us to fix?” Christo asks.

Diane DaCosta

Diane DaCosta

Lesson #5: Find a mentor.

“Always look for a mentor who can guide you,” DaCosta says. “Nowadays, it’s easier because all the veteran stylists are writing books and making videos, so that’s one way, but there’s really nothing like hands-on experience with a mentor. That’s how you avoid a lot of mistakes.”

Even if you can’t afford to take classes with the nation’s top experts, DaCosta suggests seeking out a top curl stylist in your own town.

“If you don’t give them solutions, they won’t come back to you for a haircut,” adds Christo. “If you do, you’ll have a client for life.”

Lesson #6: Your client is not your friend.

“Young stylists sometimes think the client is their friend, but the client is paying you, so they’re not your friend,” DaSilva says.

He warns stylists to always be aware that the client is in your chair for a reason — not to make small talk, but to receive a service and leave as a satisfied customer.

“If you talk too much with the client and get too friendly, you make the client uncomfortable to come back to you,” DaSilva says. “The client may talk about their personal life and you talk about yours and, before you know it, you think the client is your friend. But the bottom line is a month from now she’s going to get her credit card bill and look in the mirror.”

It’s your job to make sure they like what they see.

Lesson #7: Be fearless.

Dennis DaSilva

Dennis DaSilva

Although you may feel fear when first approaching curly clients, don’t give in to it.

“The first 10 years as a stylist, you’re so afraid of clients. When they want what they want, they make you concerned about that. The second 10 years, you learn how to present what is better for them, but the end result is they will push you, even though you gave them whatever they wanted,” DaSilva says. “The third 10 years, now you’re smarter. You listen, but learn how strategically to put them in a spot where you can always give them more.”

Especially when it comes to color, DaSilva warns that if you give the client too much control, it will be hard to get it back.

“I don’t have confrontations with any clients, but if they say I want a lot of blonde highlights, I’ll put the blonde strategically in places where they will see more blonde, but not necessarily doing more blonde,” he explains. “If they say I want a little red, I may know that warm brown for them is red.”

DaSilva says it’s all about understanding how to interpret and balance a client’s wants and needs.

Lesson #8: Watch your words.

Curl experts say your words matter — a lot — when working with curly clients.

“If you say, ‘I know exactly what I need to do,’ it just blows up in your face. Even if you do know, it just puts [the curly client] on the defense,” Ouidad says. “It’s essential to talk about how you’re going to work with the hair, what kind of movement you want to put in the hair. You want to be able to verbalize and explain how it’s going to fit and how it’s going to look like when the hair is dry.”

Ouidad says you can ease a curly’s fear by saying things like, “I know layers would be too rough for your hair or it would shrink too much.” You really want to make sure curly clients know that you’re not going to give them ledges, a pyramid or some other shape they dread— and you do understand their texture.

“Make your client as comfortable and trusting as possible by saying things that resonate with them,” Ouidad says.

Lesson #9: Find a product line you believe in.

“A common mistake stylists make is they like to have two or three different lines of products for curly hair, but that’s misleading to clients,” Christo says. “Different lines have different philosophies. You can’t mix them, it never works.”

He suggests stylists decide which product line they believe in the most, and stick with it.

“When you believe in the products and the philosophy behind them, you become a better stylist,” he says. “Also make sure your station only has curly hair products there. The client will not tell you, but they will feel better already when they’re sitting in your chair and they see a curly product. They don’t care if your salon is fancy, if you have marble floors or beautiful ceiling fans or whatever, clients want answers and if you don’t give them answers you can kiss them goodbye.”

Lesson #10: Pay attention to a client’s emotions.

Gauge the emotions of a client. Never touch a client when they’re emotional or distraught — at all — ever — because they’re never going to be happy with a decision they make, if it’s based on emotion, especially when it comes to a drastic change in a haircut or color.

“You can explain to them all the styles and cuts that would look good on them, but offer them another service,” DaCosta says. “You can always give them a conditioning treatment, a gloss or even a demi-permanent color, until they’re ready for a major change.”

Riding Out the Recession:
10 Key Tips

by Lilly Rockwell on Wednesday, July 1st, 2009


Economic pundits often say the hair care industry is recession-proof, grouping it with other solid job-creating industries such as health care or education.

While people may cut back on buying expensive fur coats, the theory is that beauty treatments are preserved because they offer a less expensive self-esteem boost.

But in this Great Recession, many hairstylists say their business has suffered, with clients waiting longer between appointments, and eliminating extra services.

Sales are up 5.2 percent for the personal care industry (which includes hair and nail salons) in the last 12 months, according to market research firm Sageworks. But these gains are modest compared to larger gains — of 8 percent — in recent years.

“(Clients) go a little longer in between hair cuts,” said Washington, D.C., hairstylist and owner of Fiddleheads salon Beth Abroms. “When you find a good curly hair stylist it’s not about going somewhere else or somewhere cheaper.”

Clients are stretching their appointments from every six to eight weeks to even three to five months, Abroms said. About half of her clients are asking for ways to save on color treatments, including suggestions for ways to do it at home.

“It becomes more important to get new clients because people are spacing out their appointments,” said Miki Wright, a salon business coach. “You can keep your income exactly the same by adding a few more clients.”

Although some of Abroms’ clients are going through tough times financially, they have stuck with her because of her reputation as a good curly-hair stylist.

“People are coming in saying ‘I’m not going anywhere else’ because they’ve had such disasters with people who cut curly hair,” Abroms said. “They aren’t trained.”

In some hard-hit areas such as California, hairstylists say while clients are going through trying economic times, they aren’t willing to cut back on hair cuts.

For many, the reason is practical; keeping up personal appearances is considered key to landing your next job. This is especially true for curly-haired customers, who believe that they might be discriminated against if their curls are too unruly.

“I feel like my business is doing great,” said Menlo Park, Calif. hairstylist Teresa Callen, who owns the Image Arts Salon and specializes in cutting curly hair.

But she isn’t totally immune to the economic turmoil — her clients have started stretching the time between appointments to eight weeks and are opting for more inexpensive color treatments. And while the recession hasn’t caused the amount of money flowing in to change, it has caused her waiting list to shrink from 40 to three.

“It’s painful to watch clients who you just love and adore go through a terribly hard time,” Callen said. “That is what bothers me the most.”

This recession has been devastating for some hairstylists, who have watched their business take a nosedive right along with the stock market last fall.

Hairstylist Laura Vendetti is no stranger to tough times — since going into the business in 1990, she has survived two recessions and two major hurricanes that wreaked havoc on her community of Fairhope, a suburb of Mobile, Ala.

She survived those calamities with hardly a blip, she said. In some cases, her business even increased after these tragedies. Then last October, after the sudden drops in the U.S. stock markets and the collapse of several banks, her phone wouldn’t stop ringing with clients begging to cancel appointments.

“It was devastating,” said Vendetti, who specializes in cutting curly hair. She recalls one October day going into work at 8 a.m., checking her voice mail and hearing nothing but cancellations, and “putting my head on my desk and crying.”

Eight months later, Vendetti is still struggling to pick up the pieces. She had to take on a second job doing manicures and pedicures at a nearby salon and spa.

It was humbling to go from running a successful boutique salon to trimming a stranger’s toenails, she said, but she has learned to love her new job and has been able to cut her hours from 20 to 8 a week. “It built a lot of character in me.”

In New York City, the fortunes of the hair salons there are tied with the health of the weakened financial industry. Christo, the legendary curly-haired expert who needs no last name, said his Curlisto Fifth Avenue salon has seen its sales drop.

“I cannot say that we are not affected,” Christo said. “The whole world is affected.”

Christo said that they have fewer new clients coming in and that current clients are postponing appointments for “when they have money.” Still, some of his clients from JP Morgan had lost their jobs and continued to come in for haircuts.

Because of his focus on curly hair, Christo believes he has weathered the economic storm better than the traditional salons in New York.

“When you have a specialty it makes a huge difference in your business,” Christo said. The clients who come to Curlisto are typically very loyal, he said.

But Christo isn’t sitting on his laurels. He is offering free monthly seminars on styling curly hair for potential customers, offering wine and cheese and free samples. These popular talks are packed with dozens of women, he said.

It’s important to market yourself and not be shy of opportunities for free publicity, Christo said. Other hairstylists said they have become more aggressive in passing out business cards, even stopping strangers to ask them to come in for a haircut.

Ten Ways to Boost Your Business in a Bad Economy

Curly hair stylists from across the country shared their advice on how to keep your chair warm and your scissors moving in a bad economy.

1. Clients are looking for a good deal in a down economy. While some hairstylists refuse to discount, many agree that it doesn’t hurt to offer small discounts such as $5 off, or deals that get new customers in the door such as “two for the price of one.”

2. Start a referral program. An example: a free hair cut when you refer five clients. This will give you an instant boost in your new clientele and make your current clients happy at the same time.

3. If a client calls and cancels an appointment due to a sudden job loss, offer a steep discount, or in some cases, a free hair cut until they get on their feet. These clients will be extremely loyal to you when their personal circumstances do improve.

4. Go back to the basics by focusing on the clients you do have. Offer good customer service; cold-call clients to find out how they like the haircut. Don’t keep them waiting longer than 15 minutes and offer additional styling and maintenance tips.

5. Don’t try to push new products on clients. A down economy isn’t the best time to try to sell products because you risk irritating the clients you do have. Do offer free samples and give advice on what products to use if a client asks.

6. Seek out new clients, but don’t rely just on word-of-mouth. In a down economy you might be able to find potential customers unhappy with their current salon.

7. Invest in advertising in your local newspaper or a niche Web site. Or use free services such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to advertise your services.

8. Focus on building up a robust savings account that can get you through lean times. Ideally, include at least three to six months’ worth of expenses in the account.

9. If you find yourself with time on your hands, educate yourself on current hairstyling trends. Do find ways to educate yourself for less. Instead of spending $700 on a training seminar in New York City, spend $70 to get the DVD.

10. Offer free consultations or free seminars on how to style and take care of curly hair. Make it a party, with free snacks and hair samples to give out.

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