Posts Tagged ‘devacurl’

Colin Walsh on the Launch of DevaCurl 2.0

by CurlStylist on Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

toxic salon

Colin Walsh is just a little excited about what’s in store for DevaCurl.

“We’re going to blow some minds this year,” says Walsh, who took over as CEO of the 13-year-old hair product company in November 2013.

For a company that has helped pioneer the curl category – creating new words in our curlipedia like No-Poo and CG – that’s quite a promise.
The company’s plans – Deva 2.0 - include product additions designed specifically for different textures, the opening of a second training academy in New York and a certification program for stylists (with a physical test before certification is granted). The company already launched its new website in early February.

Last week, I visited DevaCurl’s new SoHo corporate headquarters, which brings together its 25 corporate employees under one roof for the first time. Walsh left Matrix USA – the second-largest professional haircare brand in the United States - to take the position with DevaCurl. Walsh, who always brims with energy, is giddy as he plays tour guide of the new digs.

The space was designed to encourage communication, trust and creativity. The all-glass conference room sits in the middle so that all meetings are out in the open.

“We’ve taken a team that was spread around the country and moved it to our Curl Campus,” Walsh says, referring to the corporate headquarters, the original SoHo salon and the new 4,300-square-foot Academy.
DevaCurl has made a major mark in the curly world, getting its start in a salon 19 years ago founded by Denis DaSilva and Lorraine Massey. It was one of the first salons to focus on curly hair.
Out of the salon grew the DevaCurl product line, starting with Mist-er Right and followed by No-Poo. No-Poo ignited a shampoo revolution by changing the way we think about cleansing our hair and the importance (or rather unimportance) of the lather in that process. DevaCurl basically created the cleansing conditioner category.

toxic salon

Walsh knows he took the helm of a company that is an institution in the curly world. And he also knows the curly category is much more crowded than it was when the company got its start. Women with curls and coils now have hundreds of brands to choose from for their curl products.
“We are reestablishing and reaffirming our leadership position,” Walsh says. “We want to listen, support and celebrate.”

The new web site,, is a major part of that strategy.
“We have the expertise and authority to be at the center of the curl conversation,” Walsh says. “The new web site symbolizes that.”
Walsh says the new site now serves as a hub where people can find a stylist and watch videos about how to use products to get different wavy, curly and coily looks.

The company’s changes go well beyond a new website. DevaCurl customers can expect some exciting new launches in the second half of 2015. “We have a unique understanding of what the right products are for people from the thousands we care for in our salons every year,” Walsh says.

While the 3-Step regime (No-PooOne Condition and Light Defining Gel) have been at DevaCurl’s core, Walsh says DevaCurl will be better addressing how product use is influenced by lifestyle and texture. The products and techniques line will now cater to three specific hair types: wavy, curly and coily.

One of the most important initiatives for Devacurl will take place behind the chair.
While there are currently thousands of stylists who have taken either the 1-day class to become Deva-Inspired or the 3-day Advanced class, these credentials have been granted based on attendance in the program versus demonstration of technical skill. To change that, Deva is introducing a new certification program. Stylists will be required to do a physical test to show they have mastered the skills to earn certification.

“We have a responsibility to the client to help stylists develop a true expertise,” Walsh says.
This training will take place at Deva’s Culver City Academy as well as a new 4,300-square-foot SoHo Academy that will open March 1st. The New York academy will feature 22 stations, 12 Deva “bed sinks” and a media wall to bring to life the training.

Even as the company grows, Walsh says DevaCurl will stay true to its mission statement: “Ask a curly girl about her hair and she’ll tell you about her life. She’ll tell you about her childhood, her family, her friends, and the way she sees herself in the mirror. We’ve spent two decades at the center of this conversation. It’s curly, it’s complicated, it’s fun, and we get it.”

“We won’t be losing the authenticity of what this company is about,” Walsh says.

Lorraine Massey Charming Over Sushi

by Ivan Zoot/The Clipper Guy on Monday, February 21st, 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.

On a recent trip to New York City, I had the pleasure of dining with curly hair queen, Lorraine Massey of DevaCurl and “Curly Girl” fame. We enjoyed a wonderful assortment of sushi and lively exchange about the world of curly hair.

I certainly was way overmatched in the curly knowledge department, yet it was fun to get to know her a bit and experience first hand the energy and creative drive behind this powerful and successful brand in the curly hair game.

Lorraine gifted me a signed copy of her newly updated book “Curly Girl, The Handbook.” I was already a fan of the first edition. I even had multiple copies on hand in my shop for loan to curly clients. This second edition is a fresh update on her curly hair concepts and system. It is interesting to read the book and see how much further she and her team have developed their system for caring for curly hair. The original book predates the launch of the DevaCare product line. I thought the old edition was quite quaint with Lorraine’s recipes for homemade curly hair care products. The new book does not read like a commercial for her liquids. She has done a good job of selling the need to adopt a system and care for curly hair differently. The depth and breadth of this system and her superior knowledge does a fine job at selling her salons and her products without needing to clobber readers over the head with a sales push.

I highly recommend the book for any and all curly hair owners and for salon professionals intent on developing a curly clientele and properly caring for their curls. Surely there are other brands and approaches in the curly world. If you are to become a committed curl champion, this book is must-read material.

I will share more of what I have learned from Lorraine and about the DevaCurl world in a number of future postings.

Full disclosure: I have been engaged by the DevaCurl brand to provide limited consulting services. I am compensated for these services. This compensation does not support my writings of this blog nor does DevaCurl have any expectations relative to the Deva-related content I post here. If you have any questions regarding my paid work for Deva, please contact me via email.

Salute to Stylists Contest Reveals Boom in Curl-Friendly Stylists and Salons

by Michelle Breyer on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Recently, launched its two-month long Salute To Stylists contest, asking for your vote for your favorite stylist. Here are your picks for winning stylists!

Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner Sandy Marino of Santo Salon & Spa in Pepper Pike, OH!

Regional Winners:
Region 1 (WA, OR, ID, MT, WY):
Tracy of 7 Salon, Bellevue, WA - 2 reviews

Region 2 (CA, NV, AZ, UT, CO):
Melanie Brown of Curls Gone Wild, Gilbert, AZ - 96 reviews

Region 3 (ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA, MO, WI, IL, KY, IN):
Natalie of Natalie Clark Studio, St. Louis, MO - 5 reviews

Region 4 (NM, TX, OK, AR, LA):
Anna Craig of Trashy Roots Salon & Spa, Round Rock, TX - 102 reviews

Region 5 (TN, MS, AL, GA, FL, SC, NC):
Stacy Hill of DyeVerCity Salon, Augusta, GA - 127 reviews

Region 6 (MI, OH, WV, VA, MD, DE, PA, NJ):
Sandy Marino of Santo Salon & Spa, Pepper Pike, OH - 155 reviews

Region 7 (NY, CT, RI, MD, ME, NH, VT):
Julie Washington of The Estuary Salon & Day Spa, South Portland, Maine - 25 reviews

Region 8 (Ontario, Canada):
Nadine Bastien of Aphrodite’s Sanctuary, Toronto, Ontario - 4 reviews

The number of reviews were calculated from 12/15/10 to 2/15/11

Vicki Vela-Cambruzzi

Business is booming for Vicki Vela-Cambruzzi at Curls On Top in Laguna Beach

If anybody had told veteran stylist Vickie Vela-Cambruzzi five years ago she would be opening a salon dedicated to curlies, she would have told them “Get out of town!”

That was before Vela-Cambruzzi, a curly herself, saw the light. Or in her case, experienced the magic of a Deva cut, a cut at the hands of “Curly Girl” author Lorraine Massey at a hair show. The cut was her best ever—changing her whole perception of her curls—and she saved her money to go to a DevaConcepts Curlaboration to learn the dry-cutting technique herself. Less than a year later, she opened Curls On Top Salon in Laguna Beach, a salon focused on the needs of curlies. Business is booming at the 1-year-old salon, where curlies travel from outside California to get a Deva cut. “It’s been incredible,” says Vela-Cambruzzi.

Many curlies grew up at a time when few stylists knew how to work with curls, and most now have numerous war stories to tell about the bad haircuts and the botched chemical services they received. When launched 13 years ago, a handful of stylists and salons focused on the needs of women with wavy, curly and kinky hair. Most stylists once viewed curls as something to “fix” by straightening it or shearing it short.

Vela-Cambruzzi is part of the growing legion of stylists who have made curls their focus to help girls—and guys—with curls love their natural texture. This trend has been fueled by rising demand from women who want to work with their natural texture as well as the increased availability of curl training, thanks to curl specialists like DevaConcepts and Ouidad.

During the two-month Salute to the Stylists contest, which wrapped up yesterday, more than 315 new salons were added, promoting the skills of stylists around the United States and Canada.

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.

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.”

How to Choose the Curly Hair Products that Fit Your Needs

by Lilly Rockwell on Friday, July 31st, 2009

The Styling Hutch in Plano, Texas, has made a name for itself for its expertise in cutting curly hair. So when owner Claudia Phillips was looking for a line of products to use and sell at her salon, she wanted to make sure she chose one that covered the gamut of clients who walked through her door — from wavy to super kinky.

After using products by Ouidad, a New York stylist who has been a pioneer in curly hair care, she decided to get her salon certified to use Ouidad products and cutting techniques. Phillips says she tried several lines, but across the board, nothing else compared to Ouidad.

“The fact that I can use the whole line for all of our clients was my major consideration,” Phillips says. “There was something for everyone, and it really works. Clients go out looking good, which makes us look good. People come from the other side of the Dallas Metroplex to buy more products.”

Walk into a random selection of salons, and you’ll see that the hair-care products stylists use vary dramatically. Their product choices often are influenced on such factors as the type of salon a stylist works for, the season, the clientele, environmental leanings, nearby competitors and even the economy.

For many stylists, picking which products to use can be an overwhelming task. How do you cut through the marketing hype to pick which products to offer clients and which ones to discard? Stylists say this task is made especially difficult when dealing with curly hair. A product that works well with wavy hair won’t necessarily help someone who has tight corkscrew-shaped curls. And often the choice may go beyond the product to the type of support a company offers, such as training.

aveda be curly hair products

Some salons carry one line, such as Aveda, exclusively.

In some cases, a stylists may work for a salon affiliated with a certain line of products, such as Aveda, Redken or Bumble and bumble. Others stylists may have more leeway, picking products based on the preferences of their clientele and their own personal likes and dislikes. That may mean picking and choosing products from a variety of brands to find the products that meet particular needs.

Some stylists have intricate methods they go about to select hair-care products.

Teresa Callen, who opened her Menlo Park, Calif.-based Image Arts Salon this year, said she frequently receives sample shipments of new hair-care products and sends some time through them to decide which ones to use. But this can be a chore, she says.

“When you work with a product you have to know it as intimately as the lines on the back of your hand,” explains Callen, who has worked as a hair stylist for more than 25 years and specializes in cutting curly hair. “Some of it is trial and error.”

Callen acknowledges she has made “a ton of mistakes” over the years.

“I first use them on my head, then I have my friends use them,” Callen says.

This process takes two to three weeks, and then her friends deliver what they don’t use and provide feedback. She also has a few select clients try the samples.

“Some clients are brilliant at giving feedback and they love to get new products,” she said.

jessicurl hair products

Jessicurl is among the lines Teresa Callen sells in her salon.

Callen currently offers Jessicurl and DevaCurl products, but keeps a close watch on which products sell faster than others. If sales drop “so bad I can’t move it off the shelf,” Callen’s solution is simple: she stops carrying it.

Picking the right product line can really enhance your business, Callen says, bringing in customers that are loyal to that brand. “In the long run, it can be lucrative,” to stick with a certain product line, she says.

Other hair stylists prefer to switch it up, bringing in new lines to attract clients.

That was the case for American Mortals Salon, a 9-year-old salon in Philadelphia. Co-owner Kimberly Bond says she tried a wide variety of product lines before pursuing Bumble and bumble, after watching one of the company’s “Hair Stories” videos, which documented the company’s history.

“We were riveted,” says Bond. “It was the first time my husband (co-owner of the salon) ever related to something like this. It was amazing to witness a company that had a culture so similar to our own culture. They created a product line based of need from their stylists’ experiences.”

American Mortals made the switch three years ago, and retail sales have responded dramatically, tripling from what it was before they became affliated with Bumble.

“We’re selling more retail than we ever sold before, and we have better access to training,” said Bond, who is a big fan of the company’s Curl Conscious line for curly hair.

Hair stylist Cristin Armstrong, who works at New York City-based Takamichi Salon, loves to try new products.

“I try to keep current and ask my clients what they are using,” she says. “I’m always curious what people are using and what is new.” Armstrong spends time researching new products as well, pouring over reviews online and flipping through style magazines to learn about new products.

Hair stylists said they learn a lot about new products by asking their clients what they use. If they hear a certain name pop up frequently, stylists say they will try it out on their own hair and look into carrying it at their salon.

Some stylists prefer to develop and sell their own products, a trend that has been particularly apparent in the curly niche. Curly hair guru Jonathan Torch, who opened the Toronto-based Curly Hair Institute in 2005, has designed his own product line Curly Hair Solutions.

Torch said developing the product line was key to improving his business. If somebody has curly hair, it needs cutting very seldom, while straight-haired customers may need their hair cut more frequently. Curly-haired customers are more apt to buy styling products and targeted shampoos and conditioners more often, he said.

Salons and stylists that cater to both curly and straight hair say they must offer a wide range of products for their clientele because their needs vary.

Tiffany Anderson-Taylor is in charge of retail sales for Essentials, the St. Petersburg, Fla. salon where she works.

“The lines we carry we felt were more appropriate to handle everybody’s needs,” she said.

Her salon carries DevaCurl, Aquage and Brocato product lines.

“Deva was one of the first to stand up and say ‘look, curly hair is different and you need to respect it for being different,’ ” she said.

In some cases, the decision is based on more than just the product in the bottles. It may be the brand recognition, the business support or the training that help a stylist or salon make the decision to choose one brand over another.

Bond was attracted to the business support Bumble provided as well as the continuing education. “You could see they really supported their salons,” she says.

Being a Ouidad-certified salon has helped The Styling Hutch attract clientele from around the country, says Phillips.

“That affiliation gives us credibility among our curly clients that we know what we’re doing with curly hair,” Phillips says.

Sometimes a salon has to take competitive factors into consideration, such as diversion. This refers to the controversial practice of professional hair-care products finding their way into grocery stores and pharmacies because of lax distribution processes. Walk into any supermarket, and there will be an aisle full of brands that used to be found exclusively at salons — a trend that angers stylists and cuts into their bottom line.

Essentials will only offer products that can’t be bought at your local supermarket, which enhances the allure of the salon, Anderson-Taylor said.

Now that many consumers are paying attention to how “green” their purchasing habits are, many stylists prefer to offer products made organically. Stylists say it’s important to read the product labels to figure out which products truly adhere to organic principles and which don’t.

Cala Renee, who runs her own salon in Beverly, Mass., says she carries the DevaCurl line in to cater to her curly-haired clientele, but also liked the product line’s emphasis on natural plant-based ingredients.

“I searched for a line that is all organic,” said Renee, whose salon specializes in curly hair.


Cala Renee carries Sukesha products in her salon.

She also carries Sukesha, which contains no sulfates and focuses on plant-based natural ingredients. And she offers the Aquage line, which uses organic ingredients from seaweed and algae extract. “I’m trying to go as green as possible.”

Representatives visit her salon every two weeks, she says, pushing new products. Like many stylists, she uses the products on herself first before she’ll consider using them on her clients.

Still, no matter how great a product is, if it’s too pricey, she doesn’t offer it, adding that a salon’s price ceiling can change depending on its location. She also monitors what her competitors are carrying and at what prices.

With all the attention Renee pays to the products she carries, she said she still isn’t sure that they ultimately drive clients to choose her salon over others.

“I don’t necessarily think it’s the product line that gets the people into the salon,” Renee said. “I think it’s the reputation of the hair-cutting and curly hair specialists.”

She hesitates a moment and adds, “And then, they love the Deva.”

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

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)