Posts Tagged ‘devachan’

The Deva Cut: Look Before You Layer Curly Hair

by Ivan Zoot/The Clipper Guy on Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

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’s 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. Here, he shares his cutting and business-building expertise.

A reflection on my time in the DevaCurl cutting program a few weeks back . . .

Look before you layer. How do you decide where to begin the layering of a mid- to long-length curly cut? Layer too soon (taking sections too far down the head) and you cut into the perimeter weight of the cut. You lose the perimeter shape. Layer too late (just taking hair from the top of the head) and you will not remove enough of the weight from the shape to have the layers have any real impact on the shape. Rather than creating a haircut shape, you will just create poof.

The powerful trick I learned was to take horizontal sections beginning at the lower nape. Keep sectioning—that is to say, take a horizontal parting and drop down the hair. Look at the hair and at the baseline of the hanging length of the hair. Do not cut any layering until you have dropped all the necessary sections to have the base line fill in completely. Once the baseline fills in solidly this is the point vertically, up the headform, where you can begin to layer if your intended result calls for a layered exterior shape. Layer any sooner and you will cut into the base.

The powerful portion of this idea is that in many cases, most cases in fact, you will section higher up the head than you might have first guessed would have been needed to avoid cutting into the base. This small step of look-before-you-layer can make a huge, positive impact on the curly shapes you cut.

One big piece of curly cutting wisdom that was shared in relation to the look-before-you-layer suggestion was to do this looking carefully at the dry hair before the client has been shampooed. The Deva system advocates a dry cut. Some cutters choose to cut curly hair wet, some choose to cut dry. That is a conversation for another day. This look first can be implemented no matter if you choose to cut wet or dry. Just look first before you leap into the cut.

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.

Beyond the end-of-summer cut

by Teri Evans on Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Ah, the end of summer. It’s bittersweet. You mourn the passing of endless sunshiny days, but you’re eager for clients to return for their seasonal (and back-to-school) curly cuts. And, as always, when the damage from scorching heat and chemical-rich swimming pools sinks in, your curly clients will likely expect you to save their wilting spirals — all in a few snips.

Not so fast. Rather than just offering a trim, the new season is the perfect time to suggest a revitalizing ringlet revamp.

Here, a look at what you can offer that goes far beyond a basic cut to give your clients healthy, shiny curls— and generate a much-welcomed boost to your bottom line.

The Deep Treatment

Deep Conditioning Treatment

After the drying effects of summer, deep conditioning treatments will help bring back the vitality and moisture to thirsty curls. And it’s important to remind your clients that it’s time to reinforce healthy hair habits.

“It’s a good thing to get back into a disciplined regimen of being gentle with the hair in the fall and treat the hair like a fine, gentle fabric again,” says Shari Harbinger, director of education for New York’s Devachan Salon. “I believe the combination of the right haircut and the right level of moisture will give the best visual results of the curls no matter what curl type they have.”

Recommend a deep conditioning treatment to your clients, especially if they’re not the type to do it at home. You’ll also want to remind curlies that a salon treatment will be more efficient and thorough than what they will likely do on their own. Harbinger recommends clients undergo a deep treatment in the salon once a week, for at least a month, to restore moisture to post-summer, parched curls.

Bonus tip: “Moisture also shrinks the curl, so a hairdresser needs to be mindful of the spring factor,” Harbinger says. “Err on the conservative side of a cut because the spring factor is directly related to moisture levels and the curl type.”

What to tell your clients: When suggesting this service, remember to explain why deep treatments are a must for healthy curls.

“The moisture is so important because it will restore the spring and elasticity and sheen of the curl that is so affected by beach weather, sun and salt,” Harbinger says. “They’ll see the hair start to shine again. They’ll see less frizz. They’ll see a better curl formation.”

It’s also important to remind clients to lay off the relentless shampooing, says Ethan Shaw of Anne Kelso Salon in Austin, Texas.

“In the summer, since people are swimming a lot, they end up shampooing their hair too much,” Shaw says. “So, now, without the pool time, they need to reduce the number of times they shampoo. Even with a deep conditioning treatment, if you shampoo your hair five times a week you’re going to be back to square one. For people with very damaged hair, shampooing one time a week should suffice.”

The Color Renewal

Shine Treatment

A fast-fading tan can cast a dull shadow on the hair by summer’s end, so consider suggesting a richer color to bring back warmth and a vibrant shine.

“Hair color services can create the illusion of restored sheen, depth, and reflection to the curl,” Harbinger says.

To slowly transition your clients to the new season, suggest adding low-lites to introduce a deeper, warmer tone back into the hair, while still keeping some of the lingering brightness of summer.

“This creates contrast, which a lot of curlyheads want.” Harbinger says, “You can also bring temporary conditioning elements along with it, such as a glaze, which can be either clear or translucently tinted for color reflection.”

Bonus tip: If your client is used to just a single-process color, suggest just coloring the roots and then adding low-lites. “It’s a more natural-looking way to transition from a highlighted summer look to a deeper winter look,” Shaw says. “And it’s nice to move away from the really light highlights that are damaging to the hair.”

What to tell your clients: Be sure to explain the benefits of a color service, especially the importance of a glaze to add shine and seal the cuticle. “And if you’re putting a darker color in their hair, remind your clients not to shampoo as much,” adds Shaw. “And when they do shampoo, it’s very important not to use hot water. It’s like washing dark clothes in hot water, it will strip the color right out.”

The Take-Home Products

Deep Conditioning Treatment

No matter what services you provide in the salon, the effects will only be long-lasting if your clients are carrying on those healthy habits by buying the right products and using them consistently at home, says Jacqueline Tennon, owner of Indigenous Beauty Concepts salon in Woodbridge, Va.

“The fall is a good time to start clients on a new regimen,” says Tennon, who sends out a monthly newsletter, filled with hair tips, to her curly clients.

Tennon also carries her own line of plant-based hair oils, which she suggests to clients as part of an overall routine. There are many protective hair oils on the market, which you can research to decide which ones to carry in your salon.

“Curly clients can use oils in their hair every day, but they don’t need to use a lot at one time” Tennon says. “The sun and the wind dries the hair out, but the oils are very protective.”

Bonus tip: Be sure you have a full line of curly products on hand that you believe in, so you can suggest several items to your clients as a way of keeping up their hair-healthy routine outside of the salon.

What to tell your clients: Ask them about the products they use at home. If they’re trying to save money by using cheaper drugstore brands, remind them that those products may be a quick fix, but they could be damaging to their delicate curls in the long run.

Coloring Curls:

Five Must-Follow Rules

by Teri Evans on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

While curly hair comes in a tapestry of textures, color is what adds sparkle and dimension. Sounds simple enough to do, but it’s actually much more complex to color curls than stick-straight locks.

“With curly hair, it’s very hard to fix a problem with color,” says Denis DaSilva, co-owner of New York’s Devachan Salon.”The hair is more dense, there’s more hair to deal with, so a little mistake in color can be more painful for the person who has it. Curly hair has a tendency to be dry, so fixing a color means you’re going to damage it even more, and the end result is the curl is affected and so is the shine.”

Curls and kinks can also be crushed by color, if the hair is already damaged before you even get started.

“Maybe the client does not do enough to maintain the hair at home,” says Christo of New York’s Christo Fifth Avenue salon. “Or, maybe they like to blow out their hair or flat iron it. You have to take that into consideration before you color their hair.”

As a stylist, working with color on curlies requires the skills of a true artist — or at least someone who knows what the rules are and how to follow them. Here, we provide five simple rules to navigate the unique twists and turns of coloring curls.

Rule #1: Choose semi- or demi-permanent color whenever possible.

Curly hair is drier and more porous than straight hair, so you always want to offer your clients color options that will condition their curls instead of drying them out even more.

“Use semi- and demi-permanent color, and you can cover gray almost 100% with less damage,” DaSilva says. “Be aware that permanent color is going to add even more dryness into the hair.”

DaSilva says he always thinks long and hard before making a decision about color. “Never come to a conclusion by what the client wants or what you think,” he says. “You have to look at what the hair can take and what is best for the hair.”

Rule #2: If you must use permanent color, be strategic.

When permanent color is needed for highlights, curl-centric stylist Tamara Mooney creates only a few triangle sections of foils with three different, yet complementary, colors.

“I keep the permanent color to a minimum, and have it just be surprise color popping out from underneath so there’s less damage,” says Mooney, who specializes in curly hair at Tasha’s Beauty Studio in San Diego, Calif. “I’m only doing three or four foils that create a triangle shape on the head and the rest is semi-permanent color.”

Too many highlights or too much bleach can not only damage curly hair (which is already fragile), but can also deflate the roundness of the curls.

“Color can straighten the hair and make it frizzy, so only use ammonia and peroxide, when you’re covering gray or highlighting,” Mooney says. “Any other time use semi-permanent colors.”

Rule #3: Never, ever overlap color.

One of the most commonly overlooked mistakes stylists make is to overlap when coloring the roots, according to Christo.

“Curly hair is more porous [than straight hair], so when you apply color you have to stay on the roots. Whatever you overlap is going to get darker,” Christo says. “The uneven color will create a zebra strip when the color starts to grow out.”

Christo suggests using a brush that is thin and clean enough to easily apply color exactly where the client needs it.

“A lot of stylists make the mistake of applying color 20 minutes on the roots, then the last 10 minutes they’ll do the ends,” Christo explains. “But with curly hair, the ends are so porous that it will become darker, creating a demarcation.”

Michael Crispel, a creative artist for KMS California and owner of Earth Salon in Toronto, Ont., agrees.

“For all-over color, make sure to split up the formulation from roots to ends,” Crispel says. “Because of the porosity of curly hair, the roots get hotter. The roots look lighter than the ends. Good stylists know to watch the roots versus the ends.”

Rule #4: Remember, healthy hair is critical for coloring curls.

No matter the color service, Christo encourages his clients to deep condition their curls before coming into the salon. If they don’t — and their hair shows up damaged and dry— he’ll begin the service with a 10-minute conditioning treatment before he applies even the first drop of color.

“That way the color will look more shiny and it won’t dry the hair out,” Christo says.

After every color service Christo always adds his conditioning treatment (which does not require heat) lasting five to eight minutes, and builds the cost into the overall price of the color service.

“I don’t charge them the price of a full treatment, just maybe one third of it, depending on how often the client comes into the salon,” he says.

Rule #5: Always educate your clients and offer option; never turn them away.

Even if a client shows up with damaged or over-processed hair, it’s your responsibility as a professional to come up with options.

“You can’t promise them the world and then damage their hair and expect the curls to bounce back, but you also never want to say, ‘I can’t do it,’” Mooney says. “You just have to turn it around in a way that will work for their hair, and work for them.”

For example, if a curly client arrives with severely damaged hair, Mooney says your best bet is to focus on semi-permanent color, along with low-lites to get their hair closer to its natural state.

“You want to have a much higher percentage of natural hair with just accent colors in there, unless you’re covering gray,” she says.

For those clients who are addicted to being a bleach-blonde, be careful taking them too dark too fast or it will “freak them out,” Mooney says, “and you’re going to lose the client.”

Instead, move slowly toward the dark side, keeping enough blonde in their hair to keep them happy, while also educating them that hair must be healthy to be at its curly, bouncy best.

Mooney also suggests stylists collect European magazines and tear out examples of beautiful color and curls—and contrast that with examples of hair disasters. Then, put it all together in your own curly book of color (and keep it right next to your chair) so you can quickly show clients, instead of just tell them, what their options are and what will work best.

Deep Treat 2-3 Weeks Before Coloring Service

by Staff on Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Remind your clients to thoroughly deep condition their curls two to three weeks before coming in to see you for a coloring service. You and your client want her hair in top condition before applying the color. Ill-prepared hair will lead to damaged hair after the chemical service.

— Lorraine Massey, Devachan Salon and Spa

Day in the Life:

Devachan’s Denis DaSilva

by Teri Evans on Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

A Day in the Life

This is the second in an ongoing series of features about some of the top curl stylists. We take you behind the chair to experience a day in their life. This month, we get up close and personal with Denis DaSilva, co-owner and master Stylist of Devachan Salon and Departure Lounge, a growing chain of salons catering to the world’s curlies.

Denis DaSilva

Denis DaSilva

Denis DaSilva has the gift of gab. But unlike some stylists who overindulge in chatter, the co-owner and master stylist of Devachan Salon reveals his charm in peekaboo moments. Mostly, he appears unassuming, focused and nearly obsessive about precision. Even with an assistant always at the ready, he unconsciously glances at his watch in five-minute intervals. On this chilly winter morning, it’s just after 11 a.m. on a Friday, and DaSilva is mixing color for two clients while responding to a phone message.

“Tell him to call me in exactly 10 minutes, no sooner, no later, please,” he says.

The phone rings constantly for him on this December day. DaSilva not only manages more than 90 employees, he is in the midst of a new product launch and a second salon opening in White Plains, a New York City suburb. His attention is captured in moments. Right now, he focuses on a client who chose blonde highlights and another curly who drove in from Long Island for DaSilva’s color expertise.

Devachan salon is also the home of Deva products, which are among curlies’ favorites!

“That’s the most stressful part of the business, doing color,” he tells me. “You really need to hear what the client is saying and understand it because one word could mean many things.”

Within 10 minutes, the call he’s expecting is back on hold. He slips away to take it, then sneaks in a few nibbles of a berry-bran muffin. Within minutes, he’s back to his clients.

“Denis, he’s the master,” says the Long Island client with chestnut curls.

“One day the master will be born, but he’s not born yet,” he replies, appearing almost uncomfortable with the praise.

Despite his self-deprecating talk, DaSilva exudes a quiet confidence that commands his clients’ trust. His cautious demeanor comes from decades of experience with finicky clientele. Just when you make one client happy, another strolls in with a dilemma.

12:00 p.m.

The sister-in-law of the client from Long Island arrives. She also has an appointment with Denis for color.

“My hair’s a mess,” she says with a sigh. “I have to tell you the color was too light last time.” Of course, she asked for a blonder look at the time, DaSilva later tells me, but he says nothing about that to her today. Instead, he indulges her grievance and offers a solution.

“Let’s go with low-lites,” he says.

Meanwhile, his assistant finishes styling the previous client who received blonde highlights. She quickly walks over to DaSilva: “I just want to say thanks a million! It’s absolutely perfect.”

“Some of our clients come from far away and they expect the best,” DaSilva tells me, “So the pressure is on, whether we like it or not.”

Thankfully, he thrives under pressure because the salon sends all the difficult or unhappy clients straight to him. “Tough clients make you a better professional,” DaSilva says. “When you please them, they stay with you for life. The easy clients are willing to go somewhere else.”

1:00 p.m.

A mother (also a long-time client) walks in with her daughter for the teen’s first haircut with DaSilva.

“Tell him what you want and then do what he says. I’ve learned the hard way,” she tells her daughter, with a wink.

“When was your last haircut?” DaSilva asks the teen with all-one-length honey curls hanging to her waist.

“A long time ago,” she says, softly.

“Well, we’re going to bring the length up a bit, and don’t worry, it will be pain-free,” he says, smiling.

Once that cut is complete, it’s back to the client who came in with a grievance. The plan is to tone down her color with a combination of low-lites and highlights.

“I’m going to do what I think is best for you and you can give me your input,” he tells her. “I don’t want to make it too dark because then you’ll say ‘Oh no, I’m a brunette.’”

“The toner will bring her down a shade and a half,” he explains to me.

2:00 p.m.

Trying to stave off hunger, DaSilva slips to the back for more nibbles of the same muffin. On this day, he’s too busy even for his usual sushi lunch: a salmon roll.

“I have the same thing every day because I don’t want to think about what I’m going to eat,” he says.

Meanwhile, another client arrives, this time a Brazilian woman who chats with him in their native Portuguese. For her, he touches up the roots and adds highlights.

Then, it’s back to the teen with honey-colored curls for some finishing snips on her new ‘do.

“It looks absolutely beautiful,” the mom says to her daughter.

“She looks gorgeous, no surprise,” mom tells DaSilva.

Next up, a new client. “Nice to meet you,” DaSilva tells the brunette curly. “So, talk to me. How can I help you… (pause) with your hair, of course,” he says with a touch of humor.

“I’m really open-minded, I just don’t want a triangle.”

“I hear you,” he says and nods.

“My sister got the best haircut by you and that’s why I’m here.”

They discuss a few details of the cut. DaSilva shapes her mocha-colored curls to allow the movement she’s looking for, then his assistant takes her back for cleansing and styling.

3:00 p.m.

The verdict is in from the long-time client who wanted a color adjustment, claiming her curly locks were “too light” after her last visit. Today, she emerges with a swirl of caramel and honey-kissed curls. She makes a thorough inspection in the mirror.

“Much better,” she says of the color.

“Looks great,” DaSilva adds.

After she leaves (happy), DaSilva scurries to the back room to check the schedule of his remaining clients. “I’m very much behind,” he says. Just one late client can throw off the entire day — and today a particularly impatient client just arrived. DaSilva has styled her textured tresses for nearly a dozen years. He knows she won’t wait quietly.

“I’ll be with you shortly,” DaSilva says.

“Really, how long?” she says, with an obvious hint of frustration.

“About two hours,” he deadpans.

“Well, I have to get somewhere, so seriously, how long do you think you’ll be?”

He manages to soothe her irritation long enough to go back to his chair and start on the client scheduled before her. A 20-something woman with dirty blonde waves says she’s ready for a change— even though she already mixes up her style, going from curly to straight and back again.

“How are you going to wear your hair today?” he asks.


“Good girl.”

“Well, it’s raining outside,” she says, and then changes the subject: “I feel like my hair is getting thinner, like baby hair.”

“I think you spend too many hours in the mirror,” he says, poker-faced. “Your hair is not getting thinner. You’ll have to wait about 50 years for that.”

She chuckles and rolls her eyes, her body language shifting in and out of sarcasm. Their camaraderie is endearing. Like many successful stylists, DaSilva is able to adapt quickly to the many personalities he encounters in the salon.

4:00 p.m.

DaSilva asks his assistant to check on the new client who should be styled and ready by now. Meanwhile, he steps away for a minute to finish the last bites of that same bran muffin he started eating five hours ago. The new client is back in his chair for a few of DaSilva’s final snips and, voila! She’s done.

“So, what do you think?” he asks.

“Amazing,” she says, ever so matter-of-factly, confirming her expectations were met. “Love it. Just love it.”

Comforting praise like that helps DaSilva remain passionate about an industry he first entered as a teenager. Still, he never takes the accolades for granted. He knows he must earn each and every one, with every cut, and every new client.

Devachan co-founder Launches Highlighting Kit

by Michelle Breyer on Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Highlighting your textured tresses takes time and money—and we’re talking long-term maintenance! Recognizing that many women can’t always make it to the salon or afford to constantly refresh their locks with sun-kissed hues, Devachan Salon co-owner Dennis DaSilva developed a highlighting system, HC Color Fantasies, that clients can use to achieve salon results at home.

“I put a salon in a box,” says DaSilva, noting that 65 percent of consumers use at-home hair color products but are often frustrated with the tools they’re given to apply color. “If you’re going to do highlights at home you actually have to be able to do it.”

The new at-home system features a unique application tool, which DaSilva showcased to beauty editors at an Oct. 24 press event in New York. Providing demonstrations of the new “Preciso” highlighting tool, DaSilva showed how it differs from other home-highlighting kits that often offer awkward combs or brushes to apply color. The new and reusable tool resembles a clamp, that’s designed with space to insert color and precisely apply it to sections of hair.

The HC Color Fantasies kit provides a salon-level color solution, as well as a color-locking cleanser and conditioner infused with the antioxidant Acai berry. And as event-goers sipped Acai-infused cocktails sprinkled with tiny, brightly colored flowers, a model illustrated the tool’s user-friendly features by applying highlights to her own hair. An instructional DVD is included in each at-home kit to ensure that consumers use it correctly.

In addition to the home-coloring kit, the HC Color Fantasies product line includes a daily moisturizing cleanser, leave-in conditioner and styling gel–all containing Acai.

The Kindest Cut

Wet, Dry or a Combo?

by Michelle Breyer on Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

cutting hair

Some stylists prefer to cut wet hair; others like dry.

Christo believes cutting the hair wet gives his clients more options. Austin stylist Georgia Bramhall of Pink Salon cuts all of her curly clients’ hair dry.

“It shows me their real hair and what it naturally wants to do,” Bramhall says. “When it’s wet, it totally changes into something different. If it’s wet, it’s practically straight.”

Mia Fanali of D. Sabrina Salon in Westport, Conn. never cuts hair dry.

“When you comb out the curl and you try to cut it dry, it won’t fall that way again.,” Fanali says. “I also like to get all the dead ends off — from the perimeter to the layers. When you cut the hair dry, it doesn’t give you that opportunity.”

Scottsdale, Ariz. stylist Victor Sabino always starts off his curly cuts on dry hair to get a basic shape. Then he shampoos it and cleans it up when it’s wet.

“Then I dry it and finish up the cut from there,” Sabino says.

Three stylists. Three different philosophies about whether curls should be cut wet or dry. It’s no wonder curlies are confused.

Curl experts all are passionate about their techniques, whether they cut the hair wet, dry, wet into dry, dry into wet, or some other variation on the theme.

Cutting hair dry is not a new concept. Many hairstylists over the years have used variations of dry haircutting techniques. The late John Sahag is generally considered to be the pioneer in the the dry-cut technique. Sahag, who advocated the shift to dry cutting in the late 1970s, believed that when the hair is cut dry, it creates a natural shape according to the way the hair grows, enabling the stylist to remove bulk and weight to create movement and dimension. Wet hair, he believed, did not allow for natural inconsistencies.

In recent times, one of the biggest proponents of cutting curls dry is “Curly Girl” author Lorraine Massey of Devachan Salon in New York. All stylists at Devachan Salon cut curls dry.

Lorraine Massey

All stylists at Devachan Salon, including Lorraine Massey, cut curls dry.

“Unless a stylist can see how much spring there is in your curls, he won’t understand your hair and he’s likely to cut too much when it’s wet, only to discover that fact after your hair dries,” Massey writes in her book “Curly Girl.”

Rosie Da Silva of Devachan Salon likes to cut her client’s hair curl by curl.

“I can’t do that with dry hair,” Da Silva says. “You have to feel the texture. When you cut curly hair wet, you’re not really seeing how it’s going to look.”

New York stylist Jose Valdez has been cutting hair dry for the past 15 years. He believes it enables him to sculpt the hair, chiseling away to create shapes with dimension and balance.

“Why not cut hair dry?” Valdez says. “You do, after all, wear your hair dry. Cutting the hair dry lets me see exactly how your hair will fall as you’re wearing it. I can create perfect angles that not only accentuate your best features, but that suit your personality as well.”

Stylists who cut curly hair wet also have valid reasons why they prefer to do it that way.

Jonathan Torch of the Curly Hair Institute in Toronto says he prefers to cut curly hair wet because he can manipulate the curls and read the ringlets.

“When I work with dry hair, the more I play with it, the bigger it gets,” Torch says.

If a person has a combination of loose and tight curls, Torch said he might cut the looser curls dry to help them blend it with the rest of the hair.

“Then I wash the hair and do the full design,” Torch says.

Christo of Christo Fifth Avenue believes cutting the hair wet gives his clients more options.

“You can wear it curly, wavy or straight,” Christo says. “I may make adjustments when the hair is dry, but I never cut a full haircut on dry hair.”

Dustin David of the Dustin David Salon in Los Gatos, Calif. takes a customized approach to his clients. For clients with tight curls, he cuts it dry, shampoos and styles it and then cuts it again. For clients with looser, wavier curls who wear their hair both curly and straight, he irons it straight and cuts it flat ironed. If the curls are looser and the client always wears her hair curly, David cuts it wet.

“To me, each person is an individual,” David says. “No matter how similar their hair seems, the cut needs to be customized to take into account their texture, density, length and lifestyle.”

All stylists stressed the importance of having the client come in with their dry and styled so they get a realistic look at the the curl pattern.

“Before I do the haircut, I analyze the curl, analyze the volume, touch the hair to see how much it expands,” Torch says. “But I couldn’t even imagine cutting curly hair dry.”

Zen and the Art of Curly Hair

by Michelle Breyer on Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

michael motorcycle

Michael Motorcycle

When you go for a haircut with Michael Motorcycle, it’s only the beginning.

“It ain’t just a haircut,” says the Dallas stylist, whose real name is Michael Koler. “It’s much deeper than that. You get feng shui’d. I realign you with the universe. I give you a new beginning on life. I change your soul.”

Welcome to the world of Motorcycle, a philosopher, Zen practitioner and curly hair expert who cuts hair according to the ancient Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui. To him, that means determining your dominant and passive elements — in the Chinese bagua there are five: fire, metal, water, wood and earth — and creating a cut and color that fits your lifestyle. The right cut, he believes, can enhance your positive energy and bring back harmony in your life.

Motorcycle counts clients such as Jerry Hall and her model daughter, Elizabeth Jagger, as well as many of Dallas’ executives and society dames.

“Michael gets rid of all your negativity and sorrow when he cuts your hair,” Hall has said of a Motorcycle haircut.

Motorcyle is the pioneer of a growing movement, with a small number of hairdressers around the world incorporating Zen philosophies into their salons. Feng Shui hairdressing promises not only to create the perfect ‘do but to balance your “yin and yang.”

L.A. hairstylist Billy Yamaguchi, for example, wrote “Feng Shui Beauty.” And Benu spa and salon in Dallas asks clients to fill out a questionnaire to be analyzed using elements of the bagua. From the answers, the stylist determines if you’re going to need a blunt or a funky cut, highlights or lowlights. Christo of Christo Fifth Avenue had a feng shui consultant help him design his New York salon. And Austin stylist David Moreno compares cutting curly hair to cutting a bonsai tree, looking at positive and negative space as he creates a shape.

In its original form, feng shui — meaning wind and water — is the Chinese art of arranging buildings and interiors to maintain spiritual equilibrium. feng shui hairdressing works on the principle that your hair should be styled in harmony with what it reveals about the roots of your personality.

How Koler came to become a feng shui hairdresser is a long and exotic tale, stretching from a Las Vegas air force base to a hippie commune outside Chicago to the tony salons of Paul Mitchell and Vidal Sassoon, to the beaches of Mexico to the foothills of Tibet, to a posh Dallas neighborhood.

Motorcycle first considered cutting hair after graduating from high school 40 years ago. He opted for the Air Force instead and studied electronics and hydraulic at a base in Las Vegas. While working there, he met girls going to beauty school and thought he’d like to do that. But again, he put the idea on the back burner.

After a brief stint in college, he got a job a large industrial company. When he was fired by a jealous foreman, he says “it was time to get off the merry-go-round.” Friends took him to a commune outside Chicago, where he “dropped out. No credit cards, no suits, no Cadillacs.” After he was arrested for a misdemeanor, he was given a choice — get a job or go to school.

He opted for beauty school, and hasn’t looked back.

“I loved it,” he says. “I never missed a day and became obsessed with it. I drove my teacher crazy. I’d ask so many questions that he’d lock himself in the office.”

To learn more, he trained with Paul Mitchell and Vidal Sassoon. After working six months at the Chicago Vidal Sassoon salon, he was recruited to open up a salon for the famed stylist in Dallas in 1973.

He left Vidal Sasson to work at Aki, a salon with Japanese owners. It was there that he Motorcycle got his first taste of Oriental philosophy. He read books on Taoism and Zen, which he says “gave me new eyes and ears and showed me a new reality. It’s better than any drug.” He studied Tao Chi in the foothills of Tibet at the Palace of the Heavenly Dragon and studied Tai Kwon Do with the masters.

A life-changing moment was when he decided to sell his beloved motorcycle. Within 60 seconds after making the decision, he says there was a knock on the door from somebody offering to buy it. Michael Motorcycle was born. He used that money that helped him open his current no-frills salon on Travis Street in Highland Park, where he has been cutting hair for the past 25 years.

These days, he’s made curly hair a major focus.

“It’s a very sacred thing, cutting curly hair,” says Motorcycle, who wears is salt-and-pepper hair down his back.

“Curly Girl” author Lorraine Massey taught a class at his salon, and he has adapted her technique with his own unique philosophy.

“Sometimes I cut it dry,” he says. “Sometimes I wash it. I pull it down over their Chakra points to determine where to cut it. I follow the grooves of your bones.”

He considers the shampoo sink to be the place where one lets go of their hatred and pain — the first step in the journey.

After a lengthy head and neck massage, he reads the client’s hairline. Motorcycle, who has written a book called “Hairline Lifeline,” believes hair growth patterns correlate with personality traits. He says he can tell if someone is analytical, intuitive or sensual by looking at the way their hair grows.

“I read the follicle and how it comes out of the pore. I bring it all together in tune with the shape of the face, the direction the hair grows. I find out what your hair wants to do and let it do just that.”

He may ring a Tibetan “mindfulness bell” several times during a haircut to remind the himself, and the client, to breathe and to stay present. Clients also are instructed to look at their former selves in the pile of hair on the floor.

Motorcycle’s unique philosophy has captured the attention of hairstylists around the world. He has been written up in papers as far away as England and India. Earlier this year, the La De Da salon in Dayton, Ohio flew him out to teach his techniques to area stylists. More than 20 hairdressers gathered for the five-hour workshop.

Writer Alexandra Marshall wrote about her own Motorcycle haircut in the July 24, 2005, “New York Times Magazine.”

“His method is affably hands-on: after an intensive massage and meditation at the shampoo sink, he leads me to a chair and starts poking around my hairline, discerning from the way it lists to the right above my forehead that I like to procrastinate. (No argument there.) Two cowlicks at the base of my neck say I’m ‘ big-time ideas person.’ Once he has read my personality, he then starts cutting to rebalance any natural asymmetry and heighten my personal energy flow, obsessively combing my hair flat and then performing a fairly standard snipping and layering technique around the recesses of my sinus cavity, my jawbone and a few inches below my shoulders.”

Marshall came away a believer.

“Who would argue that a haircut often symbolizes a new beginning? That this beginning is ushered in with the loud ring of a bell is really window dressing, so to speak. Good stylists have always been part psychic, part shrink and part magician — and frankly, we could all do with a little less hatred and pain. Whether we let it go at the shampoo sink, or an hour later, in a burst of joy over a good haircut, it’s a job well done.”

The Art of Highlighting Curls

by Michelle Breyer on Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Christo of Christo Fifth Avenue used his Smart Lights technique on Luiza.

Although curl specialists have perfected their own unique techniques for highlighting curls, on one thing they agree: Highlighting curls and kinks is much different than highlighting straight hair.

When done poorly, highlights can make the hair look dull and frizzy. But when done well, highlights can add drama and definition to curls, making those ringlets pop. It is an art as well as a science.

Highlights have a reason and must be placed according to the style and texture of the hair,” says Shai Amiel, a curly hair expert at Capella Salon in Studio City, Calif. “When highlighting curly hair, you have to consider the way the curl falls. You must place the highlights just like your curls grow out of your head.

For Amiel, the technique that works best with curls is by hand painting each curl that needs accent. He feels that the basic foil pattern may not look as natural with curls.

When you hand paint the desired curls, you can pick and choose where you want the color,” he says. “You can also see how the whole thing looks and add or deduct certain pieces. Curly hair looks better with highlights that mimic what the sun would do to your hair.

Amiel’s technique is similar to the technique created by Devachan Salon — Pintura.

Pintura captures, defines and highlights the movement and dynamism of each curl,” says Shari Harbinger, color director for Devachan. “It gives the stylist the technical know-how and the opportunity to trust their own artistic eye to create the perfect harmony and balance between tone, shape, light and shadow.

”Using a painted comb brush, highlights are painted onto the hair. While foiling is horizontal, Harbinger says Pintura is vertical. “This automatically gives more contrast to the melody of tones in the hair,” she says.

She says Pintura also is more predictable than foiling. “What you paint is what you get with Pintura,” she says.

Pintura was the brainchild of Devachan co-founder Denis DaSilva, who came up with it 11 years ago when he became frustrated with the effects of conventional foiling on curly hair.

“He felt it looked like on solid color, and this drove him to find a solution,” Harbinger says. “The whole purpose of highlighting curly hair is to define the curls rather than change it. Highlighting should be about texture and contrast.”

Last fall, Da Silva created a unique at-home highlighting system, HC Color Fantasies, that clients can use at home to achieve these same results. It features a unique application tool that’s designed with space to insert color and precisely apply it to sections of hair.

“If you’re going to do highlights at home, you actually have to be able to do it,” Da Silva says.

New York Curl expert Ouidad has created a technique she calls “Sparkle Highlights,” which uses up to four different shades of pigment and color.

“This way I’m able to pick up the exact curl and place the color of my choice on each strand,” Ouidad says. “This generates a full palette of colors that makes curls sparkle and jump out.”

The delicate coloring of the seashell was the inspiration for Jonathan Torch of Toronto’s Curly Hair Institute.

“When you add bands of color to hair, you add dimension and definition,” Torch says. “By breaking the mass with different colors and highlights, you start to see the ringlets individually throughout the curls.

When highlighting, Torch likes to use three tones to create richness, brightness and depth. “It’s almost like shadowing to break out the solid look of the curly hair,” Torch says.

Stylists are trained on Devachan Salon’s Pintura technique.

Christo of Christo Fifth Avenue wants highlights to be low maintenance for his clients. That’s why he created Smart Lights. “I don’t go to the outer line, so my clients don’t get bad roots,” Christo says.

Highlight shades should be selected based on the base color and the skin tone.

“If you’re a brunette, you want to stay a brunette,” he says. “So we just spice up your color. We might throw in some cappuccino, caramel or chestnut tones — shades two to three tones lighter. This spices up your style and accentuates the curls.”

An absolute no-no, say curl experts, is using strong bleach on curly hair. It can dehydrate and damage the hair.

“I prefer the more delicate approach,” says Amiel. “I prefer to use color if I can avoid bleach. Strong bleach will blast open the cuticle and create damage and more frizz.”

Amiel uses a glossing treatment after he highlights because it adds shine and seals the cuticle, reducing frizz.

Highlighted tresses also should be deep-conditioned. Curly hair tends to be dry, and color services can make it drier.

“I believe healthy hair just looks better, especially the ever-so-delicate curl,” Amiel says.

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)