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!
Sometimes it is hard to love curly hair. Frizziness and styling difficulty are great examples in which all the fun and love can disappear in a hurry. And, for our curly clients, they struggle with this at home.
Air drying is one of the best ways to keep the love alive. Here are my tip five air drying hair tips for helping clients build a better relationship with their curls.
1. Apply styling product – Mousse, gel or styling glaze are best choices for defined curl, reduced frizz and successful air drying. Experiment until you find the one that is best for your client’s hair. Use a shampooing-in motion for thorough coverage and distribution.
2. Cocktail as needed – Mix products to get optimum result. This is called cocktailing. Mixing gel with anti-frizz serum is one great recipe. Experiment with the proportions. Mixing mousse with gel creates differing levels of hold and crispiness.
3. Work it in and rake it through – “Shampoo” in your styling cocktail. Make sure to achieve good, all-over coverage. Use your fingers, your big rake combs, to separate and define your wet and cocktail saturated hair.
4. Do nothing – The Beatles sang “Let it be.” Make that your theme song. Once you have applied your styling cocktail, let you hair dry undisturbed. Avoid the temptation to scrunch, touch or otherwise interfere with the drying process. Go about your other business, from make-up to breakfast to kids and to work. Simply let the hair air dry how it wants.
5. Reactivate as needed – Enjoy the freedom of your time and the easy of your hair. Dampen your big rake combs (your hands) in the sink and re-dampen your hair if and when needed to pop some life back into it as the day goes on. Let it air dry again to refresh your look.
Your clients will love their curls and love you for these air drying hair tips.
I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles and now New York City. Here in New York, I am a stylist at the Orlo Salon in the Meat Packing district. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in N.Y., I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by shecky’s.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the best cuts 2009.
As stylists, we take so much for granted in terms of our knowledge of everything related to hair. To our clients, we can seem like an encyclopedia. Because clients consider us the “authority,” we must be diplomatic when bringing up potentially embarrassing situations to them. Sometimes clients are unaware there is a problem, so they don’t ask for help, leaving us without a window of opportunity to gently address it. This is where finesse and diplomacy come in.
I know, I know, we all should be aware of our personal hygiene, but at some point, we all have had our hygiene mishaps (dirty nails or bad breath). One area in particular where some clients seem to be consistently clueless is when the hair and scalp are dirty and have an odor. Here are some tips on how to make your client aware of something as sensitive as a smelly scalp or hair.
Don’t feel embarrassed. It is highly likely they would rather know than not. Here are some gentle lines to get and keep the conversation going.
“You may not be aware, but I have noticed you seem to be having a scalp issue. I’m not sure what may be causing this, but it’s important for me to bring it to your attention to assure you we can treat it.”
Notice I say “we.” This way the client doesn’t feel alone at a time when they may feel embarrassed, vulnerable and insecure.
Continue the conversation by asking the following questions until you find the culprit.
“Do you use any excessive oils or inexpensive silicone products on your hair?”
Share with the client how hair oils and silicones can build up on the hair quickly, especially cheap, low grade silicones.
“How often do you shampoo and what shampoo are you using?”
Recommend they increase the amount of times they shampoo, change their shampoo if necessary and that they get a shampoo that contains tea tree or a detoxifying shampoo that can help with keeping the scalp feeling fresh and clean of build up.
“What conditioner are you using and are you rinsing it well?”
Explain that leave-in conditioners are made to be left in. And regular conditioners are made to be rinsed off.
“When was the last time you washed your hair brushes and combs? Do you wear base ball caps or fabric ponytail holders, and when was the last time you washed them?”
Dreaded bacteria is one of the primary causes of a smelly scalp. Hairbrushes and combs should be washed at least once a week, especially if used frequently. Accessories hold bacteria, too, so encourage the use of washable ones so that they can be kept clean as well.
“Are you using hair powders to remove oil, and how often?”
Hair powders are also another culprit and possible cause of a dirty, smelly scalp.
As difficult and uncomfortable as these embarrassing situations may be, honesty is always the best policy when it comes to our clients and their hair. Don’t hold back. Your client may not respect you for not telling them when they ultimately figure out the truth — from someone else. Be the expert they rely on, and you’ll always keep them coming back.
The life of a stylist is fraught with trials, triumphs and many tribulations, especially if you choose to specialize in textured tresses. Yes, some mistakes are inevitable no matter how savvy you are as a stylist — but you may be surprised how many common faux pas are avoidable. And, you don’t need years of experience to figure it out, if you’re willing to learn from the wisdom of those who spent decades creating a brave (and curly) new world.
Here, we turn to leading curl experts, and asked: If they knew then what they know now, what nostalgic advice would they share about styling curly hair? Read on for the top 5 lessons of curl-centric veterans — lessons they learned the hard way, so you don’t have to.
1: Set Realistic Expectations
When Ouidad, the “Queen of Curls,” first started styling curly hair, she acknowledges that her idealism took over.
“I wanted to change the world with the haircut that I gave them. I wanted to fix it all and change it all,” Ouidad says. “But it’s impossible to take a head of hair and change it all completely at once. What I learned is to really look at the hair, study all the curl patterns, and learn exactly how much curls shrink, each section, and how they fit within each other when you cut. It’s not like cutting straight hair, you can’t just change it all at once.”
So, instead of having an image of what you think you’re going to do with the client, like change their life, Ouidad encourages up-and-coming stylists to examine the different hair textures, really study them and understand them first.
2: Listening to Your Client
“Let the client talk, don’t talk over them. Just observe them,” says Denis DaSilva, co-owner of New York’s Devachan Salon. “You win over people when you agree with them. If you try to disagree, you’ll never win. Agree with them, and then change them a little to the right or left according to what needs to be done, but never say no.”
No is not a word your clients are going to accept easily. So, experts say, be certain you understand what they want before you react.
“You’re going to have to really listen,” adds Christo. “You’re going to have to analyze their hair, so you can give them options and ideas.”
3: Don’t Treat Curly Clients Like Straight-Haired Clients
Curl experts say you cannot treat curly clients the same way you treat clients with straight hair.
“Most of the time, people with straight hair will let you do whatever you want,” Christo says. “But with curly clients, you have to take into consideration that she has already tried many things and ended up in your chair because you claim you specialize in curly hair. So you have to live up to those expectations.”
And that can mean a much longer consultation for new clients. For example, Christo blocks out an hour for new clients. “We want to make sure that person is going to stay with us because we know we have all the solutions for them,” he says.
He suggests stylists ask themselves if they’re really comfortable styling curly hair. “Anyone can say they do curly hair, but can they really? Or, are they making disasters out there for us to fix?” Christo asks.
4: Don’t Let Curl-Phobia Get the Best of You
Although you may feel fear when first approaching curly clients, don’t give in to it.
“The first 10 years as a stylist, you’re so afraid of clients. When they want what they want, they make you concerned about that. The second ten years, you learn how to present what is better for them, but the end result is they will push you, even though you gave them whatever they wanted,” DaSilva says. “The third ten years, now you’re smarter. You listen, but learn how strategically to put them in a spot where you can always give them more.”
Especially when it comes to color, DaSilva warns that if you give the client too much control, it will be hard to get it back.
“I don’t have confrontations with any clients, but if they say I want a lot of blonde highlights, I’ll put the blonde strategically in places where they will see more blonde, but not necessarily doing more blonde,” he explains. “If they say I want a little red, I may know that warm brown, for them, is red.”
DaSilva says it’s all about understanding how to interpret and balance a client’s wants and needs.
Curl experts say your words matter a lot when styling curly hair clients.
“If you say, ‘I know exactly what I need to do,’ it just blows up in your face. Even if you do know, it just puts [the curly client] on the defense,” Ouidad says. “It’s essential to talk about how you’re going to work with the hair, what kind of movement you want to put in the hair. You want to be able to verbalize and explain how it’s going to fit and how it’s going to look like when the hair is dry.”
Ouidad says you can ease a curly’s fear by saying things like, “I know layers would be too rough for your hair, or it would shrink too much.” You really want to make sure curly clients know that you’re not going to give them ledges, a pyramid or some other shape they dread — and that you understand their texture.
“Make your client as comfortable and be trusting as possible by saying things that resonate with them,” Ouidad says.
With many women trading damaged, flat-ironed hair for more natural curls or textured ‘dos, a growing number of stylists are now focusing on curly-haired clients and their different styling needs.
Learning about styling curly hair not only brings you new business, but can also keep your chair full during down seasons. With so many products and tools to choose from, we break down some of the most popular ways to break into this niche and to keep your business booming.
Education is Key
Stylists across the country are beginning to recognize the growing trend for textured looks, which has prompted an increase in education. Classes can be found across the country, the most prominent coming from New York’s Deva certification classes, which can last anywhere from one to three days, that trains stylists on the art of dry cutting, the no shampoo method, coloring, and styling curly hair. Ouidad also has a New York certification and aids in promoting a newly certified stylists through their extensive email database of curlies.
If you don’t want to commit to just one brand, there are several ways to gain more knowledge on the art of styling curly hair. NaturallyCurly.com hosts “Texture!” each year at ABS Chicago, drawing hundreds of stylists who have the opportunity to ask questions and watch demonstrations from the biggest names in textured tresses.
Attending beauty trade shows can be the biggest bang for your buck in terms of education with curl-friendly product lines such as Ouidad, Hair Rules, As I am, Jane Carter Solution, Tigi and Mizani showcasing the latest techniques for curls and kinks. These shows are also a great place to catch up on valuable business tips. Premiere Orlando hosts over 50 classes dedicated to building your business as a stylist and salon owner during the three-day convention.
Meetup groups are also an invaluable educational opportunity for both consumers and stylists. One of the largest natural hair meet-up groups comes together in the Dallas area, with over 1,600 curlies looking for advice and education on styling curly hair. Meetups are also great marketing tools, especially for stylists who want to help women transition to natural hair. They have the opportunity to show off their skills to a highly engaged audience.
Getting the Word Out
More stylists and salon owners are finding unique ways to promote their curl expertise through social media, meet-ups, and salon events. With over 500 million active users on Facebook, companies, such as Schedulicity, are helping stylists and salon owners fill their appointment books through their business pages.
Social media can be an especially powerful way for stylists to get new clients. Teresa DeLorenzo of Mademoiselle Salon & Spa in Haverford, PA. says online reviews and word of mouth are her main form of recruiting business.
“Having curly hair is like a cult,” she says. “Two curly-haired women meet and right away they start talking about who does their hair.”
Here are examples of how some stylists have taken advantage of styling curly hair to keep their chairs full:
Niche: The Power of the Deva Cut
Capella Salon, Studio City, Calif.
Training: Honed curl techniques on his own and trained with Lorraine Massey from Devachan Salon
Background: Since starting in the business fifteen years ago, Amiel has noticed how hard it is for curly-haired clients to find someone skilled in styling curly hair. Over half of Amiel’s clientele has curly or textured hair, and he says adding the curl department has definitely increased retail sales in the salon. “I never really planned on specializing in curly hair, but over the years it just kind of happened,” he adds. “It’s just been a fun ride.”
“So many women with curly hair have been getting bad haircuts as a result of cutting curly hair wet and in big sections,” says Amiel. “I end up fixing many hair disasters by other so called ‘curl specialists.’”
He’s become known as the “curl doctor” and invited Lorraine Massey, author of “Curly Girl: The Handbook,” and Deva product creator to train Capella Salon’s team.
How he Markets His Salon: Amiel also teamed up with Massey to create Charity: Water, an organization committed to bringing clean drinking water to developing countries. The project kicked off at Capella Salon’s Curls Night Out, where stylists demonstrated techniques for styling curly hair, and clients enjoyed wine, champagne, and desserts. Massey was on hand during the event to sign books and answer curly questions. To spread the word of the event, Shai used Facebook and NaturallyCurly.com to ensure that all of the area curlies were invited. The raffle at Curls Night Out raised almost $800 for charity: water.
Artistic Educator for IT&LY HAIRFASHION, Pasquale Caselle utilized the looks of Hollywood past with Hollywood present. Each model has 2 looks that depict the importance of great hair color to capture each design.
Hollywood Red Head: The inspiration for model Kelly was to create something to bring out the dramatic looks of past Hollywood hair styles with the glamour of today.
The Color Formula: On a level 6 base, IT&LY HAIRFASHION’S AQUAR&LY 8A (Light Orange Blonde) mixed with 20 volume AQUAR&LY Developer was used to create this dynamic and sultry Hollywood red head.
Style # 1 How to Achieve the Look:
Pure Fluid Experience was applied after gently towel drying her freshly washed hair for added volume. To style, use a medium round brush and blow drying piece by piece to create a bit of bend in the hair. After the entire head is blown dry, lightly tease the root area and smooth with a soft bristle brush. Use Pure Water Drops on the ends to add shine and definition of the loose curls. To finish, spray lightly with Pure Definition Aerosol Spray.
Style # 2 How to Achieve the Look:
Begin by teasing the entire head from roots to end. This is what will create the volume and base for this updo. Apply Pure Water Drops on the ends to create a bit of definition with the curls. Spray the entire head with Pure Definition Aerosol Spray and begin to manipulate the hair up towards the crown, yet not too tight as you want to create a deconstructed look. Secure with pins. Finish with Pure Definition Aerosol Spray.
This year’s prom hairstyles are all about natural, messy and casual looks. Perfectly placed updos have been replaced by long waves, curls and kinks pinned back, braids, twists, romantic, soft updos and messy buns.
Low Curly Ponytail
This look is great for prom because it keeps your hair out of your face during dinner and dancing, but still looks amazing in pics!
Tip: Use a frizz fighting gel to seal your locks so they stay defined and frizz free all night. Another tip is to use clear rubber bands so your look is more elegant.
Side Curly/wavy Ponytail
This is a flirty and fun look—another great look for prom. Easy to achieve and great for dancing. Just grab your curls or wavy pull the hair into a low side pony and put your rubber band on.
Tip: To make this look even more elegant or fancy, grab a few strands out of the ponytail and wrap it around your rubber band. This hides the rubber band and gives you a sophisticated look.
Messy is trendy. These prom hairstyles are incredibly stylish, yet aren’t sprayed in place, which is exactly why we went curl happy over them!
How many times have you fantasized about making sure those glamazons are in tip-top shape before hitting that glorious NYC runway on the holiest of all weeks? That’s right—I am talking about NYC Fall Fashion Week, people! This is your time to shine. Ouidad is giving one lucky winner the trip of a lifetime. One winner will be selected to do styling backstage with Ouidad, the Queen of Curls, at Fashion Week, including a trip to NYC and 2 nights hotel stay from February 12th-14th. Fashion show is Sunday, February 13th—styling prep with Ouidad and team to create runway curls starts at 5:00 PM. Make sure to read all of the rules—good luck! Make sure to visit Ouidad.com for all the details.
NAME OF CONTEST: Backstage with Ouidad at Fashion Week
SPONSOR: This Contest is sponsored by Ouidad - 41B Eagle Road Danbury, CT 06810
SUBMISSION PERIOD: The Contest begins on or about 12:00 PM on January 31, 2011 (ET) and ends at 11:30 PM (ET) on February 6, 2011.
HOW TO ENTER: Go to Ouidad.com and complete the entry form including two sentences about why you are passionate about curls.
AGE AND OTHER ELIGIBILITY: Contest is open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia, 18 years or older, at the time of entry. Entrant must be a licensed hairstylist for at least 2 years as of January 1, 2011.
There is no purchase necessary to enter or win and a purchase will not increase your odds of winning.
Make sure to share your two sentences on the Ouidad Facebook page also!
We’ve all had clients leave our chair unhappy, and thought to ourselves “I wish I could have done that differently.”
Client communications is the key to success in this business—we all need to be great listeners and communicators. If you ask a client what she wants in a hairdresser, she will tell you “a stylist who listens to and understands my needs.” If you ask a hairdresser what happened when a client leaves unhappy, he or she will tell you “there was a miscommunication” or “the client could not explain what she wanted.” Veteran stylist Anna Craig of Trashy Roots Salon & Spa has five tips to better client communication. Anna, a Pravana Artistic Educator and DevaCurl Specialist, with more than nine years of experience, is extremely passionate about client communication and says if you follow her steps, your clients won’t ever leave the salon unhappy again!
Here are 5 easy tips to better your client communication.
1:Confidence! You are the expert, so take control of the situation. Be clear and confident. Never let the client take over the appointment by asking you to see the swatch book or the scissors you will be using. You need to keep the control during the appointment and assure your client that you know best. Make sure you sound and act confident. You know your colors, brands and supplies, so make sure you act like it. If you are unsure about something with your client consult another stylist in your salon, but always be in charge.
2:Consult! Always do thorough consultations prior to the appointment. Some clients lack good communication skill,s so it is your job to ask lots of questions to ensure you deliver the right results. Always ask clients to bring photos of the color, cut or style she is looking for. Ask her about her hair history. Make sure you are aware of what they have done to your hair. Talk to her about her expectations and make sure they understand the reality of the situation. Know their hair type and discuss it with them. Ask them about what products they are using. The more questions the better. The consult should range from 15 to 30 minutes for large changes and around 10 minutes for minor changes.
3:Document! Document your client’s history. Writing down everything you’ve done for your client will ensure a smooth appointment next time. Keeping records of your clients makes the client confident in you and your work. Not only does this allow you to be better prepared for their next appoint but it also helps you keep your clients happy and coming back. This is a great way to book you next appointment “I just noted everything we did today in your account so at your 5 week touch up we will get the same results “.
4:Educate! Educate your client about what you are doing. The more you can tell the client, the better your communication will be. Talking your clients through things helps her feel confident and part of the process, which enables trust. Keeping your clients involved is key because it opens the channels of communication, garnering better results.
5:Products! Know the products your client uses to ensure her results will last. Most clients are uneducated about professional products and the role they play in long-term maintenance. Talk to your client about her current products; recommend products and other maintenance options. You know the benefits of the right products, so do not keep your client in the dark. Share your product knowledge so she can love their hair longer.
Say goodbye to unhappy clients and client miscommunication—follow these 5 steps to get the better your client communication!
As one of the most sought-after stylists in the beauty industry, Jill Leitz possesses an endless passion for creating innovative and conceptual styles that display the perfect balance between texture and movement. After almost four decades in the business, Jill stays on the cutting-edge of the hair industry with her unquenchable thirst for knowledge and training on the latest styles, techniques and theory. From design and color to client building and salon management, Jill has been gifted with overflowing creative talent combined with a strong commitment to educating, empowering, and inspiring fellow salon professionals. As a three-time NAHA award-winner, Jill’s reputation as a innovative and creative force has been recognized in spades by the beauty industry.
Summer is coming—I can’t think of a better time to educate your clients about how to show off their natural curl! It’s the season for the natural look—the perfect time to help curly haired clients maximize their time having fun in the sun and minimize their time messing with their curls. In the world of curly hair, medium curl is the easiest curl to transform and change—good news for medium curly-haired clients who are looking for easy options this summer.
A few simple tips and tricks about handling medium curl, the most workable, pliable type of curl. As with any type of curl, it’s still vital to consider every step in the process—from how to touch it after washing, to selecting the best products and choosing the right techniques for setting the style.
Medium curl has a tendency to go frizzy, so less handling is better. Educate your medium curly clients to carefully and softly scrunch hair with a towel to get some of the moisture out after washing. Then, the choice of product depends on what direction you want to take. There are so many options with medium curly hair— enhancing and molding it into larger curls, structuring stronger ringlet curls, reworking it into a lazy wave, or setting it to dry in its naturally curly state—just to name a few.
I’ve found one of the most interesting ways to transform medium curl is to randomly put a pin curl set into the hair. It’s a quick way to transform medium curls into a beautiful, random assortment of different-sized curls. The most important thing to remember with this technique is let go a little and not to get too meticulous about sectioning.
Divide the hair into random sections—either long, vertical sections or wide, horizontal sections. Take the curl in its natural form, without pulling or raking through it. Gently lift each section out and apply a soft/light product (I use Redken Fabricate 03 to activate texture and give definition). Curl each section around your finger, then curl it back in toward the head and clip it.
Another option is to lift out each section and spray it with a light spray to seal in shine and smoothness (I recommend Redken Iron Silk). Roll each section back on itself so you end up with a stand-up curl and clip it. This transforms loose medium curl into a stronger, more committed curl. This technique also works well by using a piece of tissue shaped like a cigar, wrapping the hair around it, and tying to itself (think rag curls).
After all the sections are set, you can use a diffuser to dry the hair, and then go in with a flat iron and press each pin curl. Talk to and educate your clients. Let them try these techniques while you have them in the chair. They will feel empowered with new options. With a little practice—and the right product recommendations—your clients can easily master these techniques.
Presenting curly-haired clients with recommended products to help them embrace whatever direction they want to take their curl almost always results in the sale of a product or two. It’s a win-win situation, one that motivates, educates and celebrates your medium curly clients to look and feel their best this summer!