Paul Mitchell educator LaDonna Dryer knows a little about working with coilier hair textures. She’s a 4c herself, and her Savannah, Ga. salon, he Said…she Said Salon in Savannah, Ga., has a large clientele of women who have transitioned from relaxers to natural hair. So she brought a unique perspective to “The Truth About Curls” campaign to launch the Paul Mitchell Curls line.
LaDonna believes it’s an exciting time for natural women.
“I see a lot of people making the transition,” says Dryer, who transitioned herself. “I didn’t think I would be natural. I cut it really short and wondered what would happen if I never put a relaxer in again.”
These days, Dryer fully embraces her natural hair, wearing it in a 2-strand twist one day or an afro puff the next.
NaturallyCurly’s own Michelle Breyer asked Dryer to provide her top tips for natural women.
Michelle Breyer: What are some of your top tips to help women who are transitioning?
LaDonna Dryer: One of the biggest challenges when you go natural is to retain the moisture in your hair. Using sulfate-free shampoos is key. They help a lot in terms of keeping the cuticle calm and retaining that moisture. I really like the new Paul Mitchell Curls Spring Loaded Shampoo, which is ultra moisturizing and sulfate free.
The second most important thing is to condition. There are different kinds of moisturizing conditioners, and one size doesn’t fit all. Even baby fine hair may need some type of moisture, but maybe not something as heavy as you’d use on tight coils. I like that Paul Mitchell offers several moisturizing conditioners to choose from. There’s The Rinse, a light conditioner designed to deposit moisture where it’s needed; the Tea Trea Lavender Mint Conditioner, a heavier conditioner; and the Super-Charged Moisturizer, an intense hydrating treatment. You have to find the right moisturizing plan for your hair.
MB: What are some tips for natural hair styles?
LD: Obviously you let it be free. We do something in the salon called the Mo ‘Fro (Modern ‘Fro). Other options are 2-strand twists and coils. When people come into the salon and want something more intricate, I may do a 2-strand twist or coils in the salon, but I show them how they can do it themselves at home.
MB: What other options do you offer for clients transitioning to natural hair?
LD: Blowouts are still big. The client may like the look of relaxers but they don’t want to use chemicals. But I do warn them if you use a flat iron or blowdryer all the time, you will lose your curl pattern. It doesn’t always take a chemical to straighten the hair. If you are natural and like your natural curl, you need to take a break from heat styling so your hair doesn’t lose the curly texture it has.
MB: What are your favorite product cocktails?
LD: There’s a difference between cocktailing and layering products. I may prep the hair with the Awapuhi Styling Treatment Oil and then layer the Ultimate Wave and/or Twirl Around on top of it. It depends on the texture, the style and the degree of dryness.
One guest could come in with extremely dry hair and it’s necessary to cocktail with more shine-inducing and moisture-inducing products. I’ll put her on a treatment program, with regular deep conditioning. The more I do that, the less I need to cocktail styling products.
MB: There are some people with coilier hair textures who wonder whether the new Paul Mitchell products are made for their hair?
LD: I think there are a lot of misconceptions that it’s not for type 4s. I have to admit that before I came to the company, I wondered whether they had products that would work for my type 4c hair. Education opened up my eyes to what Paul Mitchell products can do for hair like mine. Paul Mitchell has had products for a long time that work well for my hair. I think the new Paul Mitchell Curl product made it easier for people with all textures to identify with the products.
MB: Any tips on how best to use the new Paul Mitchell Curl products for type 4 hair textures?
LD: You have to properly emulsify the styling products in your hands and work them through the hair.
For my natural looks, I’ll use Full Circle first. I also use Ultimate Wave and occasionally Gloss Drops. Then, I’ll add the Awapuhi Styling Treatment Oil because I like the way it feels.
For Paul Mitchell’s master associate, artistic director and stylist Stephanie Kocielski, a little education can go a long way toward helping a curly client learn to love their curls.
And clients who love their curls, love their stylist.
“Some people with curly hair hate their hair,” Kocielski says. “They think it’s the worst hair in the world. When you don’t know how to deal with what you have, it’s an issue. It’s our job as hairdressers to help them fall in love with what God gave them.”
This fall, Paul Mitchell launched “The Truth About Curls” campaign to “inspire people to embrace their natural texture and to inspire conversations about what life with curls is really like. The campaign is in conjunction with the launch of the Paul Mitchell Curls collection — products designed to be used the way curlies actually use products.
With the launch of the line, which adds to the tools available to stylists to help their curly clients, there is a great opportunity to teach their clients about how to work with their natural texture.
“Educating your ‘curly’ is a great opportunity for both you and your guest,” says Robert Cromeans, global artistic director for Paul Mitchell. “Education can help create trust between the stylist and the client. Never take for granted that your guest already knows how to take care of their curly hair.”
And the benefits go far beyond the chair, helping bring in new clients,” Cromeans says. When you show your client how to style their own hair so that they can duplicate the curly look by themselves, “they are a walking billboard for you.”
“Curly haired people are naturally drawn to other curly-haired people and when they see great curly hair that is colored beautifully, cut to perfection and styled well, they want to know who the hairdresser is,” he says.
1. Get to Know Your Client
Education starts when the client first sits in your chair. You need to get to know them, asking them questions that aren’t necessarily related to their hair.
“It’s like speed dating,” says Kocielski. “When you get them into the chair, you need to understand who they are and what image they want.”
This helps you understand their lifestyle, their frustrations with their hair and can set the expectations of the cut and styling regimen you create for them.
2. Teach Your Client How to Cleanse and Detangle Their Curls
“Teach them how to tame the lion in one step,” she says of the shampoo, which also works as a detangler, softening their tendrils.
Make sure they’re using enough water pressure to get through the hair onto the scalp. After applying the shampoo, make sure they’re using enough pressure to thoroughly cleanse the scalp. Comb it through the hair with a wide-toothed comb.
“That’s where the magic comes,” she says. “By lightly combing it through, it enables you to detangle the hair.”
She stressed the importance of rinsing before cleansing, especially if the curls are dense. She shows her clients how to squeegee the water through their hair after rinsing.
3. Show the Client How to Apply Products
While the hair is wet, she applies the styling product. She stresses applying the product to wet hair because the curls are perfectly defined when the hair is wet. She pumps out some Paul Mitchell Full Circle Leave-in Treatment, emulsifying it between her hands and applies it to the edges first and then working it through. By showing them how to apply it, they can feel what’s enough and then can do it themselves at home.
Depending on the texture of the hair, she’ll apply either the Twirl Around Crunch-Free Definer or the Ultimate Wave Beachy Texture Cream-Gel. She starts at the bottom of their hair and works her way to the top, taking horizontal sections and placing it in the hair. To define the curls, she’ll show them how to take a section of hair and twirl it with product. Twist and twirl to the bottom of the strand and then move to the next section. Continue over the entire head.
“It’s a very repetitive motion, so guests get good at it quickly and it has a great end result,” Cromeans says.
“At my salon, the clients ask about the technique by name: ‘The Snake.’”
If the client wants a natural curly look, she’ll show them how to use a diffuser. If they want a more defined, consistent curl, she might use a curling iron on certain pieces.
“I ask them ‘What is the overall outcome you want to see.’” she says.
In addition to building business for the stylist, it also is very rewarding to know that you’re truly helping your clients feel better about themselves.
“You can help them conquer the world,” Kocielski says says. “It’s the best feeling. We can help spread empowerment.”
For all those long-time fans of products like Sculpting Foam and Foaming Pommade, John Paul Mitchell Systems has been a curl lifesaver for decades. For stylists, they have provided an invaluable tool to help their curly clients embrace their natural texture. But the company wasn’t willing to sit on its laurels and wanted to create a line of products that spoke to the curlies of the world – women who “describe their curls with sounds,” according to Robert Cromeans, the company’s flamboyant Global Artistic Director.
“While some of our Paul Mitchell products are popular with curlies, they’ve been asking for products formulated specifically for curly hair,” says Nikola Cline, Senior Director of Marketing for JPMS. “It was time for us to create a collection of products that would help people embrace their natural curl rather than fight it.”
More than 55 percent of the world has curly, wavy or coily hair, but not everyone is embracing their natural texture. The Paul MItchell Curls line is designed to provide curlies the tools they need to feel confident about their curls.
Paul Mitchell Curls was designed to be used the way curlies actually use products. Spring Loaded Detangling Shampoo™ was developed to gently clean, hydrate and detangle without any sulfates since 70 percent of curly consumers prefer sulfate-free shampoos and like to do their detangling in the shower. Because guys and girls with texture prefer using a leave-in conditioner to help tame and moisturize dry, curly locks, JPMS developed a do-it-all formula, Full Circle Leave-In Treatment™, which replenishes lost moisture, helps protect damage, and controls frizz without weighing hair down.
Twirl Around™ Crunch-Free Curl Definer features an innovative dual formula featuring a hydrating cream and smoothing gel in a beautiful swirl. With Twirl Around™, frizz will be controlled, and curls are defined and tamed without any frizz or crunchiness.
The secret weapon for creating sexy, tousled beach waves is Ultimate Wave™ Beachy Texture Cream-Gel. This humidity-resistant cream-gel adds loads of texture, and forms and separates waves for perfectly imperfect, frizz-free styles.
After extensive research, the company launched its campaign for Paul Mitchell Curls, titled “The Truth About Curls” inspired by the emotional relationship curly-haired consumers have with their hair – from the joys and the struggles, to the passion and the love they’ve all experienced with their hair.
The company made the decision to push the boundaries of its marketing for the launch of Paul Mitchell Curls by focusing on digital and social marketing to reach out to the growing number of curlies who consume much of their media online. “The Truth About Curls” launches with exclusive partnerships with influential online blogs and web sites, including NaturallyCurly.com.
“During our conversations with real, curly-headed people, we were struck by the highly emotional relationship they have with their hair,” Cline says. “We heard some really honest, cathartic, touching stories about life with curls, and it inspired us to create a campaign that was driven by real people sharing their stories.”
This is the first campaign that directly engages the consumers. “The consumer is the active, driving force behind the campaign,” Cline says.
Curlies cansubmit a confessionthrough the microsite. The microsite also features a “Curl-o-Meter” for users to obtain their “frizz forecast” in their zipcode, user polls, curl confession videos taped during the shooting of “The Truth About Curls” advertising campaign and Paul Mitchell Curls product information. Fans will also be able to ask questions on styling tips and tricks that Paul Mitchell artists will respond to on Paul Mitchell’s social media pages.
Instead of utilizing professional models for its “The Truth About Curls” advertising campaign, JPMS sought out real women and men to feature in its ads. A variety of women and men from all walks of life were shot for the campaign, including a dancer, Paul Mitchell-sponsored athletes and even students from Paul Mitchell Schools.
“This campaign touches the heart and soul of the curly-headed guest,” Cromeans says. “Other curly-haired people can see themselves in these stories!”
The new Paul Mitchell Curl line can be a boon for stylists looking for new tools and added revenue.
“My clients want to learn how to work with their hair,” said Stephanie Kocielski, JPMS creative artist. “My clients are loving the new Curl line. They will buy whatever they need to make it look good.”
And if a client looks good, “they are a walking billboard for you!” Cromeans says.
“Curly-haired people are naturally drawn to other curly-haired people, and when they see great curly hair that is colored beautifully, cut to perfection and styled well, they want to know who that hairdresser is. What a great way to build a business.”
Ah yes, the ever-burning and often polarizing question within the community of stylists who work with curly hair: should curls be cut wet or dry? During The Truth About Curls session at the annual Paul Mitchell Gathering, the artists and educators provided their expert option on the subject matter: curly hair can be cut both ways!
The truth about cutting curls is that a wet cut or a dry cut should depend on the client’s unique texture. Before deciding which cutting technique to employ, a stylist should first discuss how a client typically wears their hair and analyze their texture. Attendees at The Gathering watched how textures with more shrinkage were cut dry using a “stroking” technique to “open up the hair” and create space while other looser textures were clipped wet. Watch how a Platform Artist analyzes and cuts this 3c hair:
The moral of the story is that as a stylist, you have flexibility in how you decide to cut your clients’ curls. Take the time to listen to the client and look at the texture before deciding which technique will work best for each unique curl.
One of the hottest sessions at this year’s annual Paul Mitchell Gathering was not about how to achieve an avant-garde style or speed cutting. This time, it was a lesson in social media for salons. Lead by Johnny Royal of inDELIBLE, the social media company that powered the 2008 Obama + Shepard Fairey viral campaign and the soon-to-be-launched Paul Mitchell Truth About Curls Campaign, salon owners and stylists learned the ins-and-outs of social media and how a prominent social presence can increase business. Here are some tips from the session:
• 94% of businesses have some sort of social media presence. Social media is now a key part of any marketing strategy so make sure you have a presence!
• Facebook is a great way to promote your salon and leverage the social networks of your clients. For as little as $10 a day, you can also distribute Facebook ads.
• If your following is less than 10,000, make sure to manually post to Facebook and Twitter, rather than using an automatic service like Hootsuite. This will ensure that Facebook’s algorithms don’t skip over your posts and keep them fresh in the feed.
• Use Pinterest to humanize your business and show clients your aesthetics and unique brand personality.
One of the most special parts of The Gathering is that the leaders of Paul Mitchell are not only so inspiring and inspired, but also that they are readily excited to share their passion with others. CurlStylist had the opportunity to interview both of the owners of Paul Mitchell, Angus Mitchell and Jean Paul DeJoria, about the launch of their new line of curly products and the re-emergence of texture in the beauty industry. In addition to an exclusive insight into two of the industry’s most influential leaders, we got a glimpse at both of their business prowess and personalities.
Watch here for the interview with Angus Mitchell, son of the late Paul Mitchell and co-owner of the company who is an extremely accomplished stylist in his own right:
The focus of this year’s annual Paul Mitchell Gathering has been the launch of the new product line called Curls, formulated specifically for, you guessed it, curls! One of the sessions offered at The Gathering is called The Curl Experience: The Truth About Curls. The two-hour session is a crash-course in curl styling, care and coiffure for stylists. Cromeans placed a massive emphasis on the democratization of hair care, encouraging stylists not to see hair in black in white, but in wavy, curly and coily textures. “You need to be able to work with anything that crawls through your salon door,” encouraged Cromeans. “Can you imagine if a doctor turned away a patient just because of the color of their skin?”
CurlStylist’s own Michelle Breyer was a featured speaker during this session, engaging with Cromeans in a curl-focused dialogue and answering audience questions about trends in the textured hair market.
Top tips from the session include:
Do not highlight curls like you would a straight-haired client. Use “hand-picked highlights” to create a customized color pattern that will accentuate a unique curl pattern.
Stylists who service curly clients will take home an average of $52/head when the industry average is four.
Encourage your fellow stylists to wear their natural texture. Clients will be more willing to try wearing their curls if they have an example to follow.
Here are some of the top pictures from the session.
Stephanie Kocielski is known around the world for her work as a platform artist and her work on honing the Paul Mitchell education program. Here at the annual JPMS gathering, she uses her enthusiasm for curls and expertise to share about the four new CURL products just launched from Paul Mitchell.
The CurlStylist team is here in Las Vegas for the annual Paul Mitchell Gathering where the world-renowned product line and school is launching a new product and education initiative focused on CURLS. Our West Coast Correspondent Cassidy Blackwell sat down to chat with the one-and-only Robert Cromeans about trends and techniques in texture!
What if there was a product that allowed you to give clients exactly what they want? It could be used to straighten, loosen or defrizz waves and curls without damaging hair or creating an awkward grow-out period. What if this product could be used on any hair type to make the hair softer and shinier? And what if it boosted profits for salons and stylists by creating an entirely new market?
That product, say some stylists, now exists. Keratin treatments have exploded onto the scene, generating buzz among consumers and stylists alike.
A Cure for Frizz?
Three years ago, a handful of keratin companies existed—pioneers like Brazilian Keratin Treatment by Marcia Teixeira, Keratin Complex by Coppola and Global Keratin. At July’s 2010 Cosmoprof North America show in Las Vegas, there were more than 40 companies offering keratin treatment products, from large hair-care companies to small start ups.
“To have a product like a keratin straightener is a breakthrough,” says Stephanie Kocielski, a John Paul Mitchell.
Not so long ago, the only option to remove texture in the hair was to use a product containing sodium hydroxide—lye. Next came relaxers containing ammonium thioglycolate (nicknamed “thio relaxer”), a gentler service.
Most recently, those opting for a straighter look flocked to Japanese thermal reconditioning, a chemical process that permanently alters the internal structure of the hair shaft, rendering it totally straight. Thermal reconditioning (TR) was an all-or-nothing proposition, and many women with texture weren’t willing to commit to it.
But keratin treatments have not been without their share of controversy, either. When they first came on the scene, the formulas contained formaldehyde—sometimes in high concentrations. Formaldehyde is listed as a carcinogen by a number of health and safety agencies. Now many of the treatments are lower or free of formaldehyde and aldehydes, a family of compounds that straighten the hair. Many of the aldehydes are naturally derived and less toxic than formaldehyde. Additionally, some stylists and clients may wear masks to protect themselves from any irritants.
A World of Options
Today’s new wave of relaxers, silkeners and smoothers give clients and stylists more choices than ever.
“It’s all about making your texture—whatever it is—better,” says Sasha Polit, marketing manager for Global Keratin Smoothing System. “If you want to change the texture, we offer that option, but if you want to work with your natural texture, we also offer that option.”
Global Keratin offers Light Wave, for those who want to keep their natural texture; Curly, for those who want more straightening capability; and Resistant, for the straightest look.
Methods vary, but the most commonly-used keratin treatment involves the stylist washing a client’s hair with a clarifying shampoo, applying the keratin treatment and then using a flat iron to straighten the hair and “seal” the treatment.
“In the past, there weren’t a lot of options,” says Darby Shields, associate artistic director for ISO, which developed the Maintamer, a semi permanent retexturizer that softens and smooths naturally curly or previously permed hair. “You either had floppy hair, curly hair or straw hair. There wasn’t a lot in between. It was a big decision for people to do something so permanent with their hair. Maintamer is reversible the next day.”
With variety of new options comes an increased need for communication between stylist and client.
“When they start asking about a treatment, you have to dig deep into what they really want,” says Amanda Jenkins, master stylist and education director at Arrojo Studio. “Can they achieve it without a chemical treatment? I ask my clients to bring in pictures so we’re both very clear about what they’re expecting. It’s all about the consultation.”
Some clients may want their hair completely straight. In that case, Kocielski says she may suggest The Relaxer by JPMS, a sodium hydroxide relaxer that eliminates curl. “Some people think they’ll be able to wash their hair and it will dry straight, but that’s probably not the case with a keratin treatment,” she says. “Keratin treatments can condition and soften the hair, but they don’t always straighten it.”
Price is also an important consideration. Keratin treatments and other types of chemical relaxers cost several hundred dollars, and may need to be redone every three to five months.
For the stylist, keratin treatments have provided a way to make their clients happy and boost their profit margin at the same time. One 32-ounce bottle of the KeraFusion System from De Fabulous can generate $4,000 for the stylist, says Rebecca Letizia, marketing director of De Fabulous.
In addition to the in-salon treatments, companies like Keratin Complex, Global Keratin and Marcia Teixeira Brazilian Keratin Treatment offer maintenance products designed to extend the life of the service and enhance the results. These products can also boost retail sales for the salon.
“These clients will come back every three to five months,” Polit says. “The more they use the product, the shinier, softer and more manageable their hair will be. You’re building
a client for life.”
The PhytoSpecific PhytoRelaxer relaxes or texturizes all hair types with a non-chemical formula. It comes in two levels: one for fine, delicate hair and one for coarse, resistant hair.
Here are a few of the keratin treatments available on the market today:
Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy by Coppola: Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy was founded by stylist and salon owner Peter Coppola. The therapy eliminates up to 95 percent of frizz and curl and instantly adds shine and condition to the hair.
Marcia Teixeira Brazilian Keratin Treatment: This treatment is for all kinds of hair to leave it soft, shiny and frizz-free for up to four months. It can be used safely on just about any type of hair—dry, frizzy, overprocessed, color treated, ethnic unprocessed virgin hair.
Pravana Kerafusion Keratin Treatment: This salon service permanently transforms coarse, curly, unruly hair to smooth, straight and shiny. Or, it makes fine, limp hair voluminous. It contains no thio, no sodium hydroxide, no formaldehyde, no aldehydes. As part of the Keratin Fusion service, Pravana’s Thermal Insulator protects the hair during the texture control.
Brazilian Blowout: Through the use of a Brazilian Super Nutrient Complex and a proprietary polymer system, the Brazilian Blowout improves the condition of the hair by creating a protective protein layer around the hair shaft to eliminate frizz and smooth the cuticle. Results last up to 12 weeks.
Global Keratin: The Juvexin Hair Taming System incorporates a keratin formulation which protects the hair and prevents damage to hair surface. The system is an organic, active complex component, delivered to the hair in its raw, natural state. Amino acids and proteins remain whole to condition hair and protect it from damage caused by environmental factors.
ISO Maintamer: ISO Maintamer Straightening System is a two-step straightening system that smoothes coarse hair, taming unruly curls and waves, un-perming ends and controlling frizzy hair. Maintamer uses a damage-free, thio-free, lye-free Isoamine technology that processes primarily within the cortex of the hair, to minimize damage to the cuticle while altering the pattern of naturally curly or previously permed hair to soften and smooth.
La Brasiliana: Intense treatment that softens, smoothes and relaxes all hair types. Available in Original, Apple and Mocha varieties.
PhytoSpecific PhytoRelaxer: This non-chemical relaxer relaxes or texturizes all hair types. Formulated with molecules from egg and soya, it is odorless and does not contain lye. It’s available in two levels: for fine, delicate hair and one for coarse, resistant hair.