Posts Tagged ‘curly hair’

Are You a Curl Expert? Have Your Clients Tell Us About You, and You Could Win!

by CurlStylist on Wednesday, December 15th, 2010


Ready to capitalize on all of those reviews you’ve been begging for from your loyal curly clients?  NaturallyCurly is launching a Salute To Stylists program to begin on December 15 and run until February 15, and one lucky stylist will win the Grand Prize trip to New York for a 3-Day Deva Curlaboration—a prestigious training course from the famed DevaConcepts salon in Manhattan and will be declared the 2011 NaturallyCurly National Curl Expert. In addition, the grand prize winner will also receive one year of free advertising on NaturallyCurly and a one year subscription to Modern Salon.

It’s easy; curly clients will have two months to add rave reviews, which will then be totaled.  In addition to the grand prize winner, a stylist from each of seven U.S. (And one from Ontario, Canada) geographical areas will be declared a 2011 NaturallyCurly Regional Curl Expert and will receive three months of free advertising on NaturallyCurly, a one year subscription to Modern Salon, as well as collateral materials to proclaim themselves a Curl Expert—a definite way to get more curly business! Also, one of the clients who entered a review will win a cut and style from the winning regional stylist, courtesy of NaturallyCurly.

Spread the word now—you have limited time to rack up those reviews!  Need help?  Email us for “Review Me” cards!

Also check our assets download page to get goodies to help you get more reviews!

Our Seven Regions

One stylist from each of these U.S. regions will be declared a NaturallyCurly Regional Curl Expert.

Salute to Stylists

Understand the Type of Curl You Are Working with

by Chair to Chair/Shannon McCarthy on Monday, November 22nd, 2010

shannon mccarthy

Shannon McCarthy is a senior stylist and educator for James Joseph Studio and James Joseph Salon. James Joseph Salon and Studios are the most award-winning salons in Boston with more than 30 local and national awards. James Joseph Salon has been named one of the Top 100 Salons in America by “Elle” magazine, and James Joseph Studio has been named the Best Affordable Salon in Boston. James Joseph has also been one of the Salon Today 200 three times.

Understanding the type of curl you are working with is extremely important for creating a successful style. Once you are able to understand the different types of curls, you can begin the process of creating suitable cuts. After having achieved that, you can begin to experiment with products and styling techniques. It is important to realize that what you, as a stylist, are able to do for someone in one hour is not always realistic on a day-to-day basis. So when thinking of a style, be mindful of what the client is willing to do at home.

If the client is a low-maintenance person, think short-to-medium length and layers. Layers give them shape, remove weight, and make it easy to style in very little time. The medium length will allow clients to blow-dry, if desired, without taking too much time. If a client opts for a shorter style, the product choice is crucial. I say this because if you are working with shorter lengths, you can mostly just finger style the hair.

When working with no hot tools and just your hands, having the right products can make or break your results. Think crèmes, pomades, oils and maybe some hairspray. When working with short styles I tend to layer products. Start with a moisture product as the foundation. Next use pomade or a hold product of your choice for the structure, and possibly a spray for the finish.

If you have a client who is a bit more willing to spend time in the morning, longer lengths work well. Depending on their texture, longer length hair can require a bit more work to have the curl look the way they’d like. This may mean finer hair needs more encouragement and the right products to make it look fuller.

For thicker, coarser curls, the product is very important. These curls tend to need more moisture than finer textures. If there is not enough moisture in the hair, whether you are styling straight or curly, the end result will be frizzy.

With longer hair, understanding the steps to a successful style is very important. Taking the time to work with the most suitable products will make a huge impact on understanding the easiest approach. Use moisture from start to finish. Very curly hair grows away from the scalp and lacks the natural moisture most hair gets from the oil glands in the scalp. Not shampooing every day and just using a strong conditioner is a trick that your clients will love you for filling them in on.

If you’re client is someone who wants to style straight, there are some things that will make the effects better and longer lasting. Find a crème that is strong enough for their curl. Start with that and get the hair as smooth as possible just using the heat of the blow-dryer and your hands. Your hands can be an amazing tool in working with curly hair. There are tons of natural oils in your hands that will work well for smoothing and not creating frizz when styling straight. You can also apply a lot of tension just by using your fingers. When you have the hair 80% dry, start to work with your brush. Apply as much tension as possible from the roots of the hair and gradually pull down to get the ends straight. Try to section the hair into threes. Behind the ear on each side as your first two section and the back as its own. Work in ¼-inch sub sections in each of these 3. Once the hair is dry and to your liking you can then add some oil or a bit more crème to smooth down any fly aways.

How Has the DevaCurl Haircut Affected my Business?

by Trash Talk with Anna Craig on Monday, November 15th, 2010

anna craig

Hair has been Anna Craig’s passion since she was 12 years old, this has always been her path in life. In 2001 she went to school in Tempe, AZ, at the Carsten Aveda Institute. After doing hair for about 5 years, she realized that precision haircuts were her specialty, after years of thinking that color was her calling. After doing hair in Arizona for several years, she took the plunge and moved to Texas, and her career took off. She soon opened her own salon, Trashy Roots Salon & Spa. There she became a Certified Deva Stylist, specializing in Curly Girl haircuts. She is also an Artistic Educator for Pravana, which gives her the opportunity to go out to different salons in the area and educate them on new products and techniques. She is also very involved in her community; holding annual cut-a-thons, participating in benefit hair shows, and helping with local beauty schools.

Our sales rep from RDA/State was always coming into our salon every week trying to get me to try new products and I always turned her down. But this one time I paid attention and found out about an amazing product—DevaCurl. I had seen little articles in various hair magazines and I thought what the heck, let’s try something new. So I brought the line in and I signed up for the various classes they offered. First I took a brief product knowledge class and watched a cutting demo. Then I took the hands-on in depth Deva Cutting and Balayaging class. This class was harder than I thought it would be, and I didn’t know if I could sell my clients on it, but I was ready for the challenge. The big thing is I have straight hair, so how was I going to relate to these clients and talk to them about their curly hair?

I emailed some of the curly clients our salon had and offered complimentary Deva styling for anyone who was interested just to try the products out. This created a lot of interest, and almost everyone that did the demo purchased the products. While I did the demo, this gave me a chance to talk to them about the DevaCut. After several of these clients left, they went home and their friends and family loved their hair, so then they started referring them to me to fix their crazy unruly curly hair. The word was starting to spread like wildfire.

But the best thing to happen to our curly business was getting on and having reviews on there. I am now getting 3-4 calls a day and I am doing 1-3 DevaCuts a day. I have clients driving in from all over the state, even out of state, and I just had a client come in from Guam. As I am educating my clients, they are telling their friends and they are telling their friends. It’s amazing what this product has done for my clients and for my business. I went from having a small curly clientele who flat-ironed the death out of their hair every time they came in, to having a huge curly clientele that loves their curls and never straightens their hair any more. About 1/3 of my clientele are now curly girls and it’s just continuing to grow. My color services are also changing from DevaCurl too, I’m now doing more Balayaging which looks more natural on curly hair. Curly girls are definitely loyal clients and they will do anything to finally love their hair.

Curlies Tell All: Mahisha Dellinger

by Michelle Breyer on Monday, October 18th, 2010

In this occasional series, we have asked prominent industry professionals to tell us about their hair and what it was like growing up with curly hair.

Mahisha Dellinger

Mahisha Dellinger (center) poses with two models during a TV taping.

In this Mahisha Dellinger, the multi-ethnic founder of the CURLS hair-care line shares her personal and professional experiences working with naturally curly hair.

Q: What kind of texture do you have? Describe your hair.

A: I have type 3b hair that’s not very frizz-prone, but is prone to dryness.

Q: How did you feel about your hair growing up?

A: I tortured my hair growing up. I am surprised that I had any hair at all! Because straight hair was considered the “ideal standard,” I felt that I needed to change my texture to belong. I, like most curlies, spent a good portion of my youth relaxing, straightening, coloring and removing the curl pattern from my hair.

Q: How has that changed since you became involved in the beauty industry?

A: Because I have a better understanding of how to properly care for curls, I now embrace my them. They are beautiful! I rarely ever straighten my hair now. The last time I had a blow out was five years ago.

Q: What are the biggest developments in the world of texture?

A: Honestly, just having products available for naturally curly hair (minus the gooey/greasy products mostly found in the ethnic aisles) is a huge win for curlies! Our product offerings in the past were slim. Now there are a host of wonderful curly brands to choose from.

Q: What type of products/tools and what amount of time do you spend on your hair on “curly” days and on “straight” days?

A: I use two products: one styler (LINK LINK LINKCURLS Milkshake for no hold or CURLS Curl Gel-les’c when I need more control/hold), and CURLS Quenched Curls Organic Moisturizer (to refresh and replenish my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th day hair) on my curly days. When I wear my hair straight, I use a little CURLS Champagne & Caviar Curl Elixir as a heat protectant before flat ironing.

Q: Any other comments/observations on curly/textured hair?

A: If you treat your curls right, like a fine silk blouse, you will have beautiful, healthy curls that will last you a lifetime!

Top 12 Snacks for Super Hair

by CurlStylist on Monday, September 27th, 2010

Hungry? Why not improve the health of your hair in the process? Below are some quick and healthy munchies that will give you and your clients great hair also!


1. Almonds

2. Walnuts

3. Sunflower seeds

4. Figs

5. Apricots

6. Bananas

7. Raspberries or strawberries

8. Oranges

9. Raisins

10. Prunes

11. Skim milk, soy latte decaf, or 4oz frozen or regular low fat yogurt

12. Small box whole grain cereal or whole grain snack bar

Texture: The Season of Texture!

by Modern Salon on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010


Learn more about Texture!, a collaboration between CurlStylist, NaturallyCurly and Modern Salon

By all appearances, fall 2010 will go down in fashion history as “the season of texture.” Dozens of notable fashion designers have eschewed straight strands, embracing instead all manner of curls, coils, crimps, waves and teased clouds of hair on their catwalks.

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus

On the West Coast, style setters are also advancing the texture trend. Nearly every red carpet is adorned with sexy, romantic textures, made popular by stars like Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Kate Hudson, Charlize Theron and Beyonce.

“Clients today are requesting anything but flat hair,” says Lina Shamoun, a 2010 North American Hairstyling Awards Texture Finalist from Kitchener, Ontario.

And regardless of whether clients are starting out with natural curl, wave or pin-straight strands, everyone has texture options this season!

Natural Curl: Embrace and Refine

“Curly hair is coming into its own,” says Titi Branch, co-owner of Miss Jessie’s Products and Salon in New York. “Twenty years ago, we wouldn’t even be talking about curly hair because people straightened their curls.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama

“Now, women want to embrace their natural, healthy curl. Michelle Obama even wore curls to a state dinner recently— for her to do so really validates the beauty of the look.”

But curly can also be high maintenance, admits Branch, which is why the current trend is a smoother, looser curl pattern.

“This allows a woman to keep her curl,” she explains, “but refine it.” At Miss Jessie’s, this elongated curl is achieved with the salon’s proprietary “Silkener” service. The technique involves a sodium hydroxide relaxer and a method of manipulation that stretches, yet doesn’t straighten, the hair.

“The result,” says Branch, “is hair that behaves like natural hair when it’s wet—before it dries and shrinks. It’s wash and go—it cuts styling time in half.” To support natural curls, Branch recommends Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding treatment—a perennial favorite that combines macadamia and almond oil, aloe and shea butter for shine, plumping and moisture.

Curl definition is also imperative for Shawna Parvin’s curly clients, and the most modern approach, says the Aquage educator, NAHA 2009 Texture Winner and 2010 Hairstylist of the Year nominee, is to mix it up—random curl sizes, directions and even amounts of definition. “I’m telling my clients to start with a gel on damp hair,” she says, and comb it through scalp to ends. “Then wind sections of varying sizes, in every direction, so they look like little snakes. Don’t touch the hair until it’s completely dry, then move it around and even pull a few random pieces apart so there’s some fuzz mixed in with the curl. That’s what keeps curl from looking like the ’80s.”

Options are important for women with any texture, and naturally curly clients will always want blowouts for occasions when their hair must look polished, says Dickey, owner of New York’s Hair Rules Salon and hair products company. What makes blowouts look fresh this season, he says, is a voluminous, soft, Mad Men-inspired look, with lots of flattering movement around the face.

“Bone straight doesn’t work for most women,” he comments. “Waves and curls look softer on anyone—it’s ‘instant youth.’”

Making Waves—Keep it Raw

When it comes to creating curls and waves, the perfectly formed curls are evolving into a rougher, more raw-edged texture, says Chad Seale of Salt Lake City, another 2010 NAHA Texture finalist.

“Waves will be more vertical, looser, less constructed than we’ve seen in past seasons,” agrees Darby Shields, Associate Artistic Director of ISO International.

Wavy Hair

When it comes to these vertical waves, there’s also a new silhouette worth noting, adds Seale, namely, a flatter crown with more volume through the midlengths and ends. Seale loves this texture and shape on shorter-length bobs—actress Charlize Theron has been seen sporting the look. To permanently create this casual texture on tightly curly hair, Shields steers clients to the ISO Maintamer.

“This formula gives stylists plenty of control,” she explains. “Leave it on for five minutes, and it eliminates frizz but maintains the curl pattern. Leave it on for 30 minutes and it straightens more completely.”

To produce loose, ropey, “Gisele” texture with a thermal iron, Shields first mists strands with a combination of ISO Color Preserve Thermal Shield Spray and Daily Shape Working Spray, then wraps sections of hair vertically around the outside of a curling iron, simultaneously twisting each section onto itself like a rope. Once the hair cools completely, she gently releases the twists, revealing “a spiral, vertical wave with lots of internal torque.”

The flat iron is another excellent tool for creating this type of natural-looking body and texture. Many of today’s irons feature beveled plates, which give them the versatility to straighten and shape hair. One of Lina Shamoun’s favorite strategies is to divide hair into thin, one-inch sections, place the flatiron at the root, wind the section once around the iron and draw the tool through to the ends.

“When you release it, the hair will fall into a soft, flowing wave,” she explains.

The beach trend—textured, separated, sea-tossed strands—has generated a number of beach spray products that are great for supporting these looks or for use as stand-alone body boosters.

Color for Curl

With celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Aniston leading the way, the hottest hair color trend of the moment is the graduated “I spent last month on the beach and now it’s growing out” effect. Characterized by deeper roots and lighter midshafts and ends, it’s a deliberate technique to approximate “vacation regrowth.” The look is perfect for the twists and turns of textured hair, as long as the technique is done correctly.

Seale believes baliage is the best strategy—this freehand hair-painting method allows the colorist to place the tint exactly where the sun would kiss each strand, namely, on the rounds and fullest parts of each curl and in an unstructured fashion.

“So if your client wears her hair curly,” Seale advises, “don’t blow her hair straight and do a color weave. You’ll get six different colors on one curl and that doesn’t work.”

Additionally, says Seale, opt for high-lift permanent colors when baliaging curls, rather than bleach. “Bleach tends to swell the hair and cause it to become dryer,” he believes.

This hair type is already susceptible to dryness, he adds, so it’s better to use hair color that tends to impart less damage. Shields agrees that baliage is the best way to achieve the dark-to-light look, and advises stylists to work with fairly large sections. “Apply your color to each section randomly,” she suggests. “And for your application pattern, let the trajectory of the waves guide you—dropping off of the crown. Try some ‘peek-a-boo’ foils under the surface, too.

“All of this will create a purposeful, grown-out look, which clients today love since it’s chic and it allows them to stretch their retouching dollars!”

Beach Waves, Keratin, and Curls…Oh My!

by Megan Dorcey on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

The Pravana Beach Wave

It’s (finally) summer time and although we are all excited about the warming trends, there is something more important that needs our attention: the hair trends. With every season comes a little something different and with beach vacations, pool parties, and everything in between, one trend that is sticking this summer season is the beachy wave. You can catch it everywhere from a Derek Lam runway show to this year’s MTV movie awards. So how do you, as a stylist, cash in on this trend? Do your homework!

Classes all over the country are being offered on a regular basis to help tame the frizzies and promote beautiful waves. Two educational endeavors that will ensure your pocket book success: keratin treatments and the beach wave.

Although many curl pro’s are leery about the keratin treatments, they really are hitting the market hard and curls of all kind are demanding the frizz-reducing treatment. So many of us curlies are at wit’s end during the humid summer months and these treatments are a saving grace! There are many different options when choosing a treatment: Braziliante, Brazilian Blowout, De Fabulous, Global Keratin, La Brasiliana, and the list goes on. The point is, research the products and understand what they offer your potential client.

As for the beach wave, this is a new spin on the “perm” which gives those of the non-curly persuasion a better option when it comes to wash-and-wear hair styles. This treatment gives clients a sense of freedom from their blow driers and flat irons, and letting them fit right in with the summer beach feel that everyone strives to achieve. The company standing at the forefront of the beach wave craze is Pravana. They offer Q&A’s on their site as well as class schedules (they will be on the east coast this summer so check out their schedule to get the nearest class information).

Need more exposure? Tons of stylists are already gaining new curly clients through’s advertising program. With well over 500,000 visits to the site each month, it’s a great way to grab the attention of the curly community. They will post an ad on the salon reviews section in your state so all of the curlies can find you! Make sure your salon is listed for all to find.

Crystal Wright

I am constantly speaking with stylists across the country about what they are doing in their salons to gain more exposure. I would love to hear what you are doing! Have questions about a certain brand/treatment/trend? Go ahead and email me your questions and comments!

Now to leave you all with a few words of wisdom from stylist and beauty guru Crystal Wright about building your business and client base. I prodded Crystal for a few tips for the CurlStylist audience while at the Mizani Forum in Houston. Her advice is precious, so listen up!

MD What are some of the biggest mistakes you see stylists making today?

CW: They don’t know what they don’t know. What I mean is, sometimes stylists don’t realize that they are working in a vacuum with only the limited information they have in their heads about a subject. Whether it’s working behind the scenes, opening up a new salon, adding a new employee, or choosing the furniture for your salon environment, in order to do it right it’s important to read your trades, do your homework, and seek the advice of people who know more than you and who can help you get to the next level even if it costs a little money. Rest assured that I have been penny wise and pound foolish. I’ve learned that the right book, or paying the right person for 30 minutes of advice can save thousands of dollars and so much time. I learned to call someone up and say “Can I buy 20 minutes of your time”.

MD: What is one key piece of advice you can give to someone wanting to change their lives professionally and personally?

CW: Just one! Ahh shucks. Plan to work and work the plan. That’s the advice that my sales manager at Xerox gave me over 20 years ago and it still works. The only time I falter is when I don’t have a plan. A real plan. One that’s written down on paper with a date from which you can work backwards. That date becomes an appointment that you have to keep, and it makes you accountable to yourself.

MD: Can I have two?

CW: Stop trying to fix everything that isn’t working all at once. You don’t have to do everything all at once. When you identify the things that aren’t working (personally or professionally) in your life you don’t have to fix them all next month. Fix one thing every 30 days.

Building Your Curly Clientele

by Ivan Zoot/The Clipper Guy on Monday, June 7th, 2010

ivan zoot

Ivan Zoot is the director of education and customer engagement for the Andis Company and the founder of Zoot! Hair professional hair care products. Ivan identifies, recruits, trains and manages Andis’ team of professional beauty industry educators. Ivan continues to be a featured presenter at industry shows and events, sharing his unique blend of information, education and enthusiasm for clipper cutting and the entire professional beauty industry. Ivan’s background includes experiences ranging from salon ownership to achieving 3 Guinness World Haircutting records.

So you are really digging the whole cutting curly thing…But you find yourself swimming in a sea of straight. Everywhere you look in your appointment book is long and smooth and straight. What is an aspiring curly hair cutter to do? It is time to build the base, to attract and grow a clientele of curlies. If you build it, they will come. Here are 5 great tips for building that curly client book.

1. Declare your intent

Words are powerful. Start spreading it. Declare your specialty. You have taken the classes. You have embraced the curl. Tell coworkers and the front desk staff that you are focusing on curly hair. Tell anyone who will listen.

When I made the decision to specialize in short, I actually turned down all new clients with hair past the shoulder. Once the word got out, the short hair began to march in my door.

2. Alert the media

Send out press releases. Use class completion, manufacturer certification, hair show attendance, etc. to create news about you and your curly exploits. Your local media will eat this stuff up.

3. Show off

Build a style book of the great work that you do. Have a large album in the reception area. Have a small brag book in your purse or backpack. Show everyone who cares and even show it to people who don’t. it is O.K. to be a bit of a pest . . . a pest who specializes in curly hair and is getting busy cutting it.

4. Stock up

Carry hair care product specifically marketed to the curly client. Have posters and images up that connect with this crowd. Make the statement that you are in the business of supporting this business and this business will support you.

5. Ask for them

It always comes back to referrals. This entire industry was founded on word of mouth. One happy client telling another head of hair and sending them on in to see you—that is the way it works best. Ask every client who sits in your chair to send their curly friends in. Put business cards in their hands and send them happily out into the world to build your business. It really works. It always has.

Once you have the chops, you can cut curly and work with curly hair, you can walk the walk, the next big step is all this talk the talk stuff. If you do the talking the clients will come walking in. I would love to hear some of your success stories. Please share in the comments section below.

Keratin Education Event in Austin

by CurlStylist on Monday, June 7th, 2010

Braziliante by Cadiveu is to proud announce that they are teaming up with, and Avenue Five to host an education seminar on the Braziliante Treatment in Austin on Sunday, June 27, 2010! Head Educator, Zac Watson of Dolce & Co. in Arizona, will be educating on the Braziliante by Cadiveu Treatment from beginning to end, showing you tips and tricks along the way to ensure the perfect results. After the class you will be certified to perform this amazing treatment on your own clients. Your clients who once struggled to blow-dry and flat iron their hair for hours each morning will now be able to blow out their hair in a third of the time for a beautiful, shiny and smooth finish; they can go out on the most humid day of summer and their hair will not frizz!

The Braziliante by Cadiveu Treatment is a 90-minute salon treatment that offers results lasting up to 16 weeks! It leaves hair shiny smooth and frizz-free without formaldehyde or harsh chemicals.

The class is complimentary, but seats are filling up quickly. You may call or e-mail your salon’s reservation to guarantee your spot. We look forward to seeing you at the class and helping you launch this amazing service in your salon!

Space is limited; call to reserve your seat at this event today as it will fill up quickly: 323-512-3299

Easing Your Clients into Covering Their Gray

by Victoria Wurdinger on Friday, September 4th, 2009

grey hair

You can customize your clients’ services to address their gray hair needs.

With more clients embracing their natural curl, the first sign of gray presents a predicament. Suddenly, the client who learned to love what’s natural is forced to consider a synthetic fix. Statistics show the woman most likely to color only because she has to is a brunette. And brunettes dominate the naturally curly world.

Gray strays and scattered patches will show up first. Eric Fisher, owner of two Eric Fisher salons and Eric Fisher Academy in Wichita, KS, says “The thing about a little gray in curl is that it pops, so you see it more; you’re dealing with shapes, as opposed to straight lines.”

If there are just a few gray strays, pluck them out, says Fisher. When styling, you can also grab an area, hold the section and push it to the roots. This camouflages the gray. But it won’t be long before such techniques aren’t enough. Since most new-to-gray clients won’t want or need a full-coverage solution, try these non-committal “Gray-Aways” instead.

Singled Out

At Salvatore Minardi in Madison, NJ, salon owner Minardi takes a hands-on approach. “For those clients with very dark hair who have only a few silver pieces, I mix a close-to-natural formula with or without ammonia, depending on the porosity of the hair,” says Minardi. “Then I apply the color with my glove-covered fingers, putting on just the silver strands.”

Fisher takes a similar approach, focusing on artistic spot-control. “For the client who is concerned with becoming a slave to haircolor, I use a very small, professional paint brush,” he says. “First, get the curls to stand up by completely fluffing up the hair. Then paint the color on the grays only. Use permanent color in the same level and tone as the client’s.” (The reason for his permanent choice: A semi-permanent product might not take if the hair is resistant, and if it’s porous because of the curl, the color could get cloudy over time or fail to provide the desired coverage.)

Tooling Around

Often, pesky gray strands will pop-up at the part line, hairline or in a single patch, but nowhere else. In Santa Monica, CA, Jet of Jet Rhys salon says what’s worse: “On curly hair, these babies are wiry.” She banishes them one of two ways.

  • “First, spray them away,” says Rhys. “I use Bumble and bumble’s Hair Powder, which comes in glorious shades. My trick is to spray a soft toothbrush with the powder and brush those grays away.” Natch, you can retail the powder.
  • Another option: Use a semi- or demi-color, and sponge away grays. Semi-permanent color is best for transforming grays into subtle highlights on blondes, light redheads or brunettes, while demi shades provide better coverage for gray blending. Rhys dampens curl (the better to see those grays) and uses a fresh, damp sponge. “Dip it in color and squeeze it to eliminate most of the product,” she says. “Then apply it to the grays. All the nooks and crannies of the sponge soak up just enough color. Best of all, the sponge keeps the product contained. As you swipe it down the hair, no color will drip down. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then shampoo and condition.”

Managed Care

For clients who fear color changes—and dreaded the line of demarcation—choose semi-permanent products that are the same level as the natural color or one level lighter. This reduces the contrast between the gray and the natural color and avoids a dramatic color change.

“These color glosses will stain the gray and take the edge off whiteness,” says Redken color consultant and salon colorist David Stanko. “They won’t lift, lighten or redden the natural color. After all, color-shy clients want to hide it, not flaunt it. I like Redken Shades EQ. For the dark-haired client with some gray, O3N Espresso; the medium brunette is likely to love O5N Walnut.”

  • For curly hair, killer apps count. Be more diligent with the application and more aware of product saturation, says Stanko. “Curl creates the illusion of color repelling off. Continue to smooth the gray section with the product; don’t necessarily add more product. Heat and friction cause the color to process.”
  • You can also do a fast app for gray blending. This is especially good for men seeing gray, who want to look younger. Use a demi-permanent product at the sink, and leave it on for just 3 to 5 minutes. The guys will look like they are barely starting to go gray, and they won’t see roots. (Only right if the gray is under 50%.)
  • Minardi always suggests two or three, non-committal techniques, not necessarily for coverage but to blend and enrich the client’s curly haired look. Sometimes, a few highlights can do the trick. “I may advise a few tiny threaded foils, with or without ammonia, so as to brighten or tone some hair,” he says. “This distracts the client from noticing the frizzy gray strands. Another option is for clients with curly, naturally blond hair, and this technique implements very small percentage of ammonia that will brighten, enhance and soften the frizzy gray.” (In general, highlighting or lowlighting won’t cover gray completely, because of its scattered placement.)
  • Men and color-shy clients will appreciate a retail solution. Sometimes, a pigment-packed conditioner, left on for 5 minutes with heat does the job. Salons can also retail Color Mark’s Gray Gone, a true temporary that can be applied at home, and stays until it is shampooed out. It comes with a sponge-tip applicator that’s just right for those hairline pop-ups that always seem to appear between retouches.

Gray’s Anatomy

  • Generally speaking, graying or “salt and pepper” hair can be spot-colored, blended or treated with a semi- or demi-permanent color product, which makes outgrowth less obvious. Always choose a formula at or within two levels of the natural color. For a low-maintenance approach, you can also foil in a smattering of highlights through the heaviest gray areas, and then apply a semi- or demi-permanent color between the foils. This is particularly effective around the front hairline.
  • While most colorists move to a permanent product for hair that’s more than 50% gray, the natural level is the most important and overlooked factor. The darker it is, the more problems you can have avoiding orange or brass. For the true, dark brunette, go demi, regardless of the percentage of gray, advise several colorists.
  • Finally, if curly, gray strays are wiry and super-resistant, apply unmixed developer directly to grays to help expand the cuticle and pre-soften the hair. Then apply your chosen formula right over the top.

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)