Posts Tagged ‘shampoo’

Curl Expert Creates
New Curl Line

by Michelle Breyer on Wednesday, May 13th, 2009


For years, curl expert Elie Gerdak listened to his clients talk about their need for products that would keep their hair nourished and stylish between salon visits.

With 30 years of experience as a hairdresser — specializing in curls — he decided to create the dream line that they were asking for. The result is Curl Definesse, a collection of products designed to define and nourish waves and curls.

“The collection combines Mediterranean style with a specialized flair to create bouncy radiance and serious curl envy,” says Gerdak, owner of the two Virginia Elie Elie Salons in Winchester and Tysons Corner Center.

Gerdak spent more than a year working with the chemist the to get the formulas exactly right. The Curl Definesse line includes Daily Shampoo, Conditioning Creme Rinse, Moisture Shampoo, Moisture Conditioning Creme, Leave-in Conditioning Spray, Elixer Boucle Gel for fine to medium curls, Elixer Boucle gel for medium and thicker curls and Polishing Gelee.

elie elie

The Curl Definesse line

Gerdak’s passion for curls began as a child, growing up in Lebanon where curly hair is common. The European master stylist and international curl coiffeur has spent his career developing cutting, styling and care techniques to help curls look their best. His work has been featured in major beauty magazines throughout the world.

In addition to the Curl Definesse line, Gerdak also has created the Moderne for Classic Coifs, a care collection of shampoos and conditioners.

The two new products are available at the two Elie Elie Salons as well as at the company’s web site.

To Poo or Not to Poo - That is the Question

by Teri Evans on Tuesday, May 12th, 2009


The downside of “squeaky clean” hair

Your client has tossed her flat-iron, finally found the right curly cut, and learned how to style her spirals. So why are her locks still frizzy, dull and dehydrated? And why has her freshly colored tresses turned brassy in a matter of days?

Curl-centric stylists say the answer may be found on the back of the shampoo bottle.

“You have to turn the bottle around and look for sodium laurel — or laureth — sulfate; it’s in the ingredient list,” says curl guru Lorraine Massey, who started her own line of sulfate-free cleansers in 1999. “If you see that in there, then put it down. That’s one is the harshest [detergents] of them all and just strips the hair of any vitality.”

Although many traditional shampoos contain sulfates (which are a classification of foaming agents also known as surfactants), curl experts say these harsh detergents steal the moisture that your tresses so desperately need.

“We’ve been addicted to lather, but you don’t need synthetic substances to cleanse your hair or wash your body, for that matter,” Massey says. “Sulfates harden the hair. They irritate the hair cuticle and dry it out. It’s like washing your hair with salt.”

Originally, soap and shampoo were similar products in that they both contained surfactants. The first commercial shampoo, Breck, was introduced in 1930 with thick, billowy lather. Over the decades, more sudsy shampoos emerged, as did the advice to make your hair “squeaky clean.”

Sodium laurel sulfate is quite irritating and can be rather drying to the skin, but companies have come up with milder versions like Sodium Laureth Sulfate, says Jim Hammer, a cosmetics chemist and product development manager at Pharmasol Corp. in Easton, Mass. But with any detergent cleanser, the flip side of removing oils you don’t want is that you also remove oils you do want, Hammer says.

“Squeaky clean is a myth,” says Chaz Dean, celebrity stylist and founder of Wen Hair & Body Care products and Chaz Dean Studio in Hollywood, Calif. “People thought squeaky clean meant clean hair, but squeaky clean really equals stripped and dried-out hair.”

How does this happen? Sulfates create a dense lather that strips away sebum, the oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands that prevent your hair from drying out. You’ll find sulfates in countless cleaning products — ranging from car cleaners to laundry and dishwashing detergents to shower gels and toothpaste. And, of course, shampoo.

“By cleansing your scalp [with sulfates] you’re robbing it of all the natural, essential oils and beneficial bacteria; you killed them and washed them down the drain,” says Dean, who launched zero-lather cleansing conditioners in the mid-1990s. “The bad and harmful bacteria replenish at a much more rapid pace than the beneficial ones. So, you open yourself up to a dry, flaky and sensitive scalp and psoriasis because you stripped the beneficial bacteria and left a minefield open for the bad bacteria to have a field day.”

Dean began to realize the harshness of sulfates nearly two decades ago when he was in the early stages of his career, starting out as a colorist.

“At the time, I started putting vegetable color in my clients’ shampoos and sending them home with it,” Dean recalls. “That would help a little, but their hair still looked brassy. I then started to put it in the conditioner. But then the shampoo would strip the color back out. It was a vicious cycle. That’s when I knew I had to eliminate the lathering factor. The No. 1 reason the color was fading was because anything that lathers is going to strip.”

While shampoos contain about 8 to 10 percent detergents — a fraction of that being sulfates — Hammer says cleansing conditioners use cationic surfactants, which contain softening and anti-static properties. They are technically surfactants and will cleanse the hair, but they’re not a detergent in the classical sense — you won’t see the foam as you would with shampoos. Cationic surfactants are more related to a conditioning agent, so they don’t have the stripping effect of a normal shampoo.

A handful of hair-care companies and curl-centric stylists, like Massey and Dean, have been touting the benefits of sulfate-free cleansers for more than a decade. But many people have only just started to embrace them after the recent, intensified focus on the environment.

“People are becoming more responsible now, with global warming,” Dean says. “They are becoming more aware of what we’re doing to the environment and ourselves, and how we can change.”

But change can be uncomfortable. While curl experts see a shift toward sulfate-free products, they also still see plenty of resistance.

“Every person I encounter, even if they have interest, still has to be convinced about why and how this works,” Dean says. “They have to hear it over and over, until they’re finally ready to take the plunge and try it. People are afraid of change and shampoo has been around for so long that it’s just what people know.”

Although sulfates are still widely used, Hammer says a lot of companies are interested in moving away from them.

The marketing mantra of “wash, rinse, repeat” was firmly embedded in the mind of Kelly Foreman, until she realized how sulfates were stripping her color-treated, curly locks. Two years ago, she launched her own sulfate-free product line called Mop Top.

“Curly hair, by its nature, is dry anyway, and you have to be very careful with the chemicals you put on it,” says Foreman. “The lack of moisture is the direct result of using a surfactant too frequently.”

Forman’s Gentle Shampoo does contain coconut-derived surfactants, which she says are much more gentle than sulfates. Her basic recommendation is to start with a sulfate-free shampoo every seven to 10 days — and then adjust based on how your tresses respond.

“I personally shampoo once every three to four weeks,” Foreman says, “The rest of the time I just use conditioner.”

Based on customer feedback, Foreman is now reducing the amount of surfactants in the shampoo even further — cutting them in half. She also plans to launch a zero-lather cleanser this fall because of customer demand.

“It’s an exciting time to be in this industry,” notes Inga Tritt, who launched The Original Little Sprout in 2003 as a sulfate-free hair and skin-care line for children.

The idea for her own product line emerged after a frustrating search for sulfate-free products that actually worked on her young daughter, Maya’s, curly locks.

“I used to use products I found in the health-food store because I didn’t want to use anything I had to worry about on Maya,” Tritt says. “But they didn’t perform. They left her hair fuzzy and dry.”

Tritt’s sulfate-free shampoos do contain some foaming agents, but they’re derived from beets, coconuts, almonds and sunflowers.

“For curly hair, a sulfate-free shampoo is a win-win because not only is your hair going to look much better, but your frizz is going to be considerably reduced, also” says Tritt, who is introducing a sulfate-free shampoo for adults this fall.

“A lot of times, with traditional shampoos, they will add extra mineral oil, petroleum oil derivatives or by-products to help counteract the drying effect of sulfates,” Tritt says. “But you don’t want to feel that residue. People are starting to get it. They’re becoming more savvy consumers and educating themselves.”

Take Jessicurl’s Jessica — yet another example of an educated curly whose relentless research resulted in her own line of sulfate-free products.

“I was spending all kinds of money and doing my hair over and over again. and trying to get it to look right and not understanding why it didn’t,” says McGuinty, who launched Jessicurl four years ago. “Well, there’s no way it could look right when I was stripping it with sulfates, then loading it with silicones to calm the frizz that sulfates cause.”

The Jessicurl line includes two sulfate-free cleansers that contain more gentle surfactants derived mostly from sugar and coconut . The Hair Cleansing Cream has a minimal amount of lather for dry, coarse, or color-treated hair, and the Gentle Lathering Shampoo provides a bit more lather for fine hair that tends to easily become weighed down.

As the demand for sulfate-free products has encouraged the growth of small, independent companies like Jessicurl, the giants in the beauty industry also have begun paying attention.

“Businesses that are responding and going green are making the money,” Tritt says. “The ones that are still old school are going to fall behind really fast.”

“It’s not political at this point, it’s moral,” adds Massey. “It’s about getting real and if something doesn’t feel good, it isn’t. Since when was it acceptable to have mediocre blow-fried, dehydrated hair? At what point did you look in the mirror and say, ‘This is okay?’ It’s not acceptable. There are solutions now, and it’s really going to make a difference when you really want to make a difference. It’s up to you.”

In Defense of Shampoo

Curl expert Christo of New York’s Christo Fifth Avenue has built his entire career — and his Curlisto product — around helping curlies maintain healthy hair. That is why he is very frustrated by what he calls the unfair “attack” on shampoos.

“I would never do anything to harm curly hair,” says Christo. “Sulfates are just one small ingredient along with many other good ingredients, like proteins and amino acids, etc. You need them to cleanse your hair properly, remove the buildup and maintain the hygiene of the hair.

“There’s not one ingredient that harms the hair or is good for your hair. It’s the combination in a formula.”

Sulfates are a common detergent in shampoos, dating back to when the first bottle appeared on store shelves in the 1930s. Although a number of hair-care companies are opting not to include these detergents in their products today, some curl experts say the shift away from sulfates is nothing more than a gimmick.

Only a small fraction of the ingredients in shampoo are detergents, including sulfates, according to Jim Hammer, a cosmetics chemist and product development manager at Pharmasol Corp. in Easton, Mass. He says many shampoos also contain a combination of nurturing ingredients that will provide enhanced mildness, even in the presence of a sulfate.

“The word ’sulfate’ has become part of a marketing scare, and there’s a lot of propaganda,” adds Jonathan Torch of Toronto’s Curly Hair Institute.

“You can’t just look at that one ingredient. I would never use anything that would irritate the scalp. When people say they have an itchy scalp, they’re not rinsing out the shampoo properly. You have to spend a lot of time getting the water all the way down to the root. I haven’t found anything better or that remotely comes close to [sulfates].”

Torch’s product line includes a Treatment Shampoo and a Silk Shampoo, both of which contain ammonium laurel sulfate.

“There may be a product with one drop of sulfate and 20 drops of silk amino acids to counteract anything that could happen from that one drop.” Torch says. “Concentration is important. Quality is important. All these things play into it. So, it’s an art and it’s a science.”

Rather than skipping shampoo altogether, Christo emphasizes the importance of continuously feeding curly hair the moisture it needs.

“You’re going to gain a lot more by focusing on treating your hair with deep conditioners,” Christo says. “If you think you shouldn’t shampoo your hair at all, then you’re going to end up with no shine to your hair, and it will eventually cause damage to your hair.”

Shampoo is critical to cleansing the pores of the scalp and allowing the roots of your hair to breathe, according to Ouidad, author of CurlTalk and owner of New York’s Ouidad Salon, the Curl Education Center.

“If you don’t use shampoo to get rid of your own natural oils, not only does the hair become dull but the hair root starts dehydrating, and it starts shrinking,” Ouidad says. “The hair becomes weak.”

The key is moderation, say the curl experts. Shampoo once or twice a week rather then every day.

“It’s not going to damage your hair,” Christo adds. “It will bring the luster back to your hair that a no-sulfate shampoo cannot do, unfortunately.”

Curl Care Tips from Matrix

by Staff on Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Matrix deep treatments

Matrix Curl.Life

How often should curls be shampooed and conditioned?

If the curl is:

  • Fine and loose: Shampoo and condition every day, but take a day off once in a while.

  • Thick and tight: Shampoo and condition every second or third day. Rinse in-between days.

  • Fine or thick and kinky: Shampoo and condition once or twice a week.

Why Do Products
Stop Working?

by Michelle Breyer on Tuesday, May 5th, 2009


You’ve probably heard it dozens of times from clients. They finally find their Holy Grail styling product or conditioner. It gives us the shiny, defined ringlets we’ve longed for. Then, overnight, it stops working. Their curls turn to frizz. Their hair feels like straw. They want you to tell them why?

Has their hair become immune to the product?

The unanimous answer is no. If a product isn’t giving the same results it once did, the culprits could be product buildup, hormonal changes, environmental damage and even the weather.

“There are many reasons why products can seem to stop working,” says curl expert Christo of Christo Fifth Avenue.

A major culprit is product buildup, and improper cleansing.

“You can have too much of a good thing, especially with products designed to control and give weight to curls,” says Ethan Shaw, a curly hair specialist at Ann Kelso Salon + CitySpa in Austin, Texas. “Eventually they can leave a substantial film on the hair.”

A clarifying shampoo. or a vinegar rinse, should be used once or twice a month to remove buildup from products. Products that contain oil, silicones and waxes are especially susceptible to buildup, creating a barrier that can prevent products from doing what they are supposed to do.

Jonathan Torch of the Curly Hair Institute in Toronto, Canada, says protein can also affect how products work over time.

“Some proteins can cause the hair to become brittle, and can cause breakage if they build up,” Torch says. “The smaller the protein molecule, the deeper the penetration into the hair. The larger the molecule, the easier it is for it to buildup as the protein adheres to the outside of the hair shaft.”

Seasonal changes can have a major impact on the effectiveness of products.

“The weather does have a huge effect on how your looks, and how products seem to work,” Shaw says. “Humidity, or lack thereof, can give or take away curls.”

Many times, people may not realize their hair texture has changed over time. It may become coarser, curlier or thinner. Hair tends to change every seven years.

In some cases, the length or style of the hair may change over time, requiring different types of products. A light gel that may have worked perfectly in a short curly style may not be heavy enough for longer ringlets.

“Just think of how different your hair was compared to when you were a kid,” Shaw says. “It’s natural for your hair to get more or less curly, and more or less coarse, especially with gray hair.”

Because of that , the formula of a person’s styling products will have to change as well as the way she uses them, Christo says.

If you’ve been using the same products for several years, and have noticed a change in how they work, consult with your stylist. There may be different products better suited to the changing needs of your hair.

Ouidad, of the New York curl salon Ouidad, believes it’s a fallacy that people need to change their products over time — a creative marketing strategy perpetuated by product manufacturers trying to sell more products. She said she constantly tests her products on her clients and on herself, and she believes good products continue to perform over time.

“When there is a change in the way it works, it is most likely from an extenuating circumstance, such as a medical condition or a chemical process such as color or straightening,” Ouidad says.

Helping Clients Embrace Their Curls

by Michelle Breyer on Monday, May 4th, 2009


Stylists can play a big role in helping clients embrace their texture.

Every curly can relay a salon horror story. Be it the unsatisfactory cut, the use of the wrong products, or an altercation with a “diva” stylist, it’s no wonder so many curlies straighten their tresses so they don’t have to deal with the “madness” surrounding curly hair care.

But a stylist can play a key role in helping her clients embrace their texture rather than curse it. We asked five stylists to weigh in on how they get their clients to rock their curls, kinks, and waves.

The first thing any stylist should do is to reassure their clients about their hair, and help them see its beauty.

“Sometimes, curly clients want their hand held,” says Ron King of Bo Salon. “They want to know that it’s okay to have curly hair.”

Often, someone with curly hair doesn’t even know they have a natural curl pattern until their stylist tells them.

But making the transition from going from straight to curly might seem daunting to someone who has spent her life hiding her texture from the world. Mahogany, a stylist at Head to Toe Salon in Minnesota, finds the best solution is to teach her client how to walk the line between straight and curly before adjusting 100 percent to a curly lifestyle.

After a consultation to make sure you and your client have similar expectations, the next step is to give a curl-enhancing cut. What that cut is depends on the stylist.

“It’s not about the amount cut off, but the technique,” King says. “I cut curly hair from the inside out because not one curl is alike. When it’s cut straight, it’s too even and you are often left with a round or geometric shape.”

Taylor Weatherford of Curltopia Salon in Georgia uses the C-cut developed by curl expert Kristen James. She says it enhances the natural curl pattern and shapes the face. Barbara Morin, a Devachan certified stylist from Electra’s Beauty Lounge, suggested the dry Deva cut developed by Lorraine Massey.

For those stylists unfamiliar with curly hair types, there are plenty of places to get education.

“Curly clients want to know you can give them soft touchable curls,” Morin says.

Products — and training in how to use them — also are key to helping clients learn to love their curls. This includes shampooing, conditioning and styling products.

“You have to break the barrier of thinking that you need to cleanse your hair everyday,” says King of Bo Salon. “The curly cuticle is porous, and by allowing the natural oils of the scalp to come back to the hair, you are helping to tame and smooth it.”

Most important, says Mona Harb of Lofty Salon & Wellness Center in Vienna, Va., is to send a positive message that they are lucky to have the head of hair they were given.

“I tell them to embrace it, love it, because it’s yours,” Harb says.

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