Friday, February 12, 2010

Consulting With Your Stylist

As I've said before I'm a hair and makeup artist.  A professional working in film and television for over 10 years.  I've styled celebrities, presidents, news anchors and everyday women.

Business women, stay at home moms, divas with nothing to do except to look fabulous... The average women are my favorite types of clients because I truly enjoy the transformation process.  I take pleasure in bringing out the very best look buried beneath the surface.  And feel a sense of purpose when that woman learns to keep it up.  With that being said, lately I've been bothered by those kitchen beauticians and salon horror stories that sound much like this:  "I told her/him to take an inch, but look how short she/he cut my hair!"  "This is not the color I asked for!"  "I can't believe he/she charged me for this sh@!"  "My hair fell out after she/he gave me extensions!"  "I look terrible!".

I could go on and on about the rantings of unsatisfied customers but the one thing that rings true to every good style gone bad is that "they didn't listen."  Granted, there are terrible stylists out there masquerading as professionals, but most good styles gone wrong are due to poor communication... on both the stylist and the clients part!  So before trying out a new stylist or salon let me give you a few tips on how to consult with a stylist.

Your stylist should ask you questions pertaining to your service.  I will use hair extensions as an example.
Let's say you have shoulder length hair and you want long flowing locks instead.

1.  Before moving on any further, Why do you want them?  Is your hair thinning?  Do you want fullness all over, or only in the back?  It is important for you to explain to your stylist why you want them.  Do you want to secretly be a temptress with sexy flowing hair? Do you have a professional career and want just a little extra length?  Be sure to tell your stylist if you want layers, or volume or a sleek funky hair cut afterwards.  Don't be afraid to tell your stylist a little (or a lot) about your personality.  Bringing a picture is always a good idea as well.

2.  What type of hair are you adding?  Straight hair?  Curly hair?  Straight hair that waves when wet?  The texture of the hair greatly matters when deciding on which hair installation service you want.  Be sure that you choose a texture that greatly matches your own, especially take notice of how it reacts when wet.  Does it match your texture when wet?  When it dries?  If not, you will have to give it extra care and groom and maintain it daily.  Which brings us to...

3.  How well can you manage the hair once installed?  Can you use a curling iron, flat iron or blow dryer well?  The quality of the hair you purchase is the most important thing.  I prefer to use the highest quality hair.  Virgin hair, which means that it's hair that has never been chemically processed.  Or Remy hair, which is virgin hair that has been altered chemically with color or permanents.  If you buy cheap hair, know that its flowing shiny luster will not last long and you will be required to use heat and/or styling products every day to keep your hair looking nice.  If you know that you don't like to use products and curling irons or rollers everyday, then buy hair more suited to your own styling experience.  You like bone straight hair?  Then don't but wavy, you will have to flat iron it after it's washed.  You like long curly hair?  Then buy mousse and conditioner or it will look like a dry mess after a while.  You get what you pay for.

4. Do you want a more permanent lengthening or do you plan to take them out everyday? There are several ways to add length to your hair.  A quick and convenient way is to use clip-in hair extensions.  You may purchase prepackaged clip-ins. They usually come in 5-8 pieces with wefts varying from 2-8 inches in width.  Or your stylist can customize clip-ins for you incorportating highlights and show you how to install them yourself.

5.  Bonded/Glue-  This is a quick and  temporary extension method to add streaks of color or volume and length lasting up to 2 weeks. A special adhesive is used sparingly on the wefts of extension hair and bonded close to the scalp.  To prevent damage to your hair always use the special adhesive remover when taking them out.  I also highly recommend using a hot oil hair treatment after removing this type of extension.

6.  Weaving or Sew-ins-  A hair weave is sewn in a clients own hair that is braided down into cornrows on her scalp.  A large curved or straight needle and thread is used to sew wefts of hair for the desired look.  It takes from 2-4 hours.

7. Hot Fusion -  This method of extensions is achieved with a tool similar to a hot glue gun using colored adhesive sticks depending on the color of the clients hair.  Hair is separated into tiny sections and the extension is installed strand by strand like tiny micro braids. This process is the most expensive as it gives the client the most versatility in shampooing and styling and it's very time consuming.  It takes from 5-15 hours.  The adhesive  should be removed by your stylist to prevent any hair damage.

8. Cold Fusion/ Micro-Links -  This is my favorite type of extension to perform on any client. The method contains no heat and no adhesive.  Using a copper tube and hook, the client's hair and extension strand are pulled through and clamped together flat.  The results are long lasting.  (8-12 weeks)  Depending on fullness desired it can take from 3-8 hours.  Your stylist can remove them with a plier type tool that reverses the flatness of each copper tube.

All extensions do not cause hair damage.  Styling has risk, as long as you hire a stylist that is experienced and trained and you follow the home care instructions; you should have no hair damage.   Although I used hair extensions as an example, most of this example can be used for getting other services as well.  Remember, the more detailed the information you give and the questions YOU ask your stylist, the better your overall experience will be.