I thought I’d do something a little different for this month’s column. Instead of reviewing new products and dispensing haircare advice, I’d like to talk about some of my experiences in the world of hairdressing. There have been so many wonderful memories and there have been moments so touching that remembering them brings a lump to my throat and warmth to my heart. Some people drag themselves to work every morning completely devoid of enthusiasm, but I feel lucky to have a career that I am passionate about. I don’t watch the clock at work, counting down the hours until I get to come home; I sit at home watching the clock, counting down the hours until I get to go to work again.
How did it all start? You have to go back to when I was a little boy. When I was in third grade, my teachers discovered that I had a streak of creativity. I became interested in creating things. Painting and drawing fascinated me; so much so that at the end of high school I had decided to go to art school. Sadly, I became aware of the scarcity of jobs in the art world, and by the time graduation rolled around I had abandoned the thought of college.
Hair itself I never gave much thought to, it was never something that entered my mind until much later. I was, however, fascinated by the local barbershops. I felt like I was part of a fraternal order, when I, as a boy, sat in the barbershop among the old men. They would talk politics, and discuss things that I was too young to understand. I loved the smell of the lotions and potions that the barber dabbed on his customers, I loved the smell of the barbicide that was used to clean the combs, and I loved the Clubman talc that would be applied to the neck duster after the haircut.
There was one man in particular who lives in my mind as a hero. His name was Roy the Barber, and he had a small shop down in the basement of a building in downtown Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. I remember sitting in his barber chair, that regal throne of my childhood, watching the feet of the passersby through the window that was at street level. Roy the Barber did more than cut hair; he was a fountain of knowledge. He was an Oracle, and all the men in town would congregate in the barbershop to hear his opinions on the world. He was also a very funny man, he always said things to you in the middle of the haircut that would make you smile and the rest of your day was always brighter after having met him. If there was a seven-year old boy in his chair, he would say after the haircut, “There you go, you look ten years younger!” Even to a fifteen year old high school student, he would say the same thing, just changing it to, “You look twenty years younger!”, or he’d say, “You’re wife won’t even recognize you when you go home.” I always loved that one, and despite hearing it every four weeks for several years, it never got old. And Roy himself never seemed to get old. I always thought the barber and his shop would be there forever. After high school I moved away and spent several years away from Mount Carmel. I had recently gone through the long-hair phase, and looking back I think the only reason I had let my hair grow was because I knew Roy the Barber couldn’t cut it. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I returned to Mount Carmel after seven years away. I couldn’t find Roy the Barber or his shop; perhaps I wasn’t even looking on the right street. But small-town life had changed, and the changes seemed to come overnight. I visited the old high school, and for the first time I had been stopped at the entrance by a security guard and was ordered to show identification. They told me there had been bomb threats, and they told me that the doors had been taken off the bathroom stalls because kids were taking drugs. The day I was there, the police were doing locker searches. They even had a drug-sniffing dog at work. Suddenly, my old school seemed as alien to me as a lunar moonscape.
The lazy, hazy days of summer may be gone, but fall is the hot time of the year when it comes to new and exciting haircare products. Manufacturers want to make sure their products hit the shelves in time for the holiday shopping season, so just about every professional haircare company will offer something new for the fall.
Aveda has revealed their new Scalp Benefits Balancing Shampoo and Conditioner, which is designed to create a healthy moisture balance for the scalp and to increase blood circulation, which is a common factor in male and female hair loss. These products are gentle enough for everyday use, and are recommended for anyone who suffers from dry scalp or for those who are experiencing hair loss. As with all Aveda products, the Scalp Benefits line contains flower and plant essences and are never animal-tested.
TIGI has expanded its ever-popular Catwalk line of products to include Fashionista Color-Safe shampoo and conditioner. While there are hundreds of color-care products on the market, Fashionista is the only one I know of that has a grape scent, very reminiscent of the grape Bubble Yum I used to chew as a kid. These products also contain an anti-static ingredient for smoother and sleeker hair. Okay, so it’s not “brand spankin’ new”, but it’s been a slow year and it has taken me a few months to compile a list of noteworthy new products, since just about everything that came out this year is just a re-vamped re-packaged newer version of crap that’s been around for years….
Paul Mitchell introduces Super Skinny Daily Shampoo and Super Skinny Daily Treatment, which promises to smooth and soften the hair via an exclusive “smoothing complex” that penetrates the hairshaft to displace water and constrict the hair, resulting in reduced drying time. These products are geared towards those who possess unruly hair that is in desperate need of taming.
A similar line of products promising smoother hair is Silky Sexy Hair, by Sexy Hair Concepts. The line consists of Silky Shampoo, Silky Conditioner, Frizz Eliminator (a styling aid which repels humidity), Drench (a leave-in conditioner for dry hair), and Remedy (a leave-in treatment for chemically-abused and over-processed hair). These products contain silk protein, silicones, and other various nutrients that will leave hair with a silky feel and increased shine.
Alterna, famous for its collection of hemp-based products, recently came out with Hemp Seed Damage Control, which will strengthen the hair (which means reduced breakage), minimize split ends, control frizz and add shine. Alterna gets my vote for all-time favorite professional haircare. line, because every single product they have ever came out with has given me amazing results. Hemp Seed Damage Control is no exception.
I’d like to think that I’ve seen everything one could see in the world of hairstyling, but just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes something that totally blows your mind. When people get into serious hair trouble, I’m the one they come to. And I mean that quite literally…it seems there are days when my co-workers get all the easy and low-maintainence clients, and I’m inundated with people who’ve attempted to cut, color, or perm their own hair and in the process have turned it funky colors or have made it fall out, break off, or turn to mush. And yes, I have seen hair turn to mush. This month, I dedicate this column to all you daring and courageous do-it-yourself hairstylists who keep me in business and make my day interesting. This is your survival guide for overcoming hair disasters of Hindenburg proportions.
PROBLEM: Bubblegum stuck in hair
CAUSE: Most likely happens to people who fall asleep with gum in their mouths, or the gum gets stuck in the hair when attempting to spit the gum out. Most victims are children, although I have witnessed this happening to adults.
SOLUTION: Solidify the gum by gently rubbing an ice cube over it. Then, using small household scissors, cut away as much of the gum as possible without cutting off any hair. Use an oil (mineral oil seems to work best) to loosen the remaining gum and slide the loosened chunks down the hairshaft to the ends. Do not shampoo until all the gum is out, otherwise hair will knot. Apply a leave-in conditioner or detangler and gently comb out remaining tangles with a wide-tooth comb. Peanut butter, mayonnaise, and bacon grease have all been used in the removal of gum, due to their high oil content, but they are not recommended because food products may attract insects.
PROBLEM: Child takes chunk out of hair with scissors.
CAUSE: Your child finds the scissors and attempts to play hairstylist; usually the day before school pictures.
SOLUTION: If the chunk missing is in the back or near the ends of the hair, a hairstylist can easily fix the situation with minimal loss of hair. But more likey, your child took out a big chunk in the front hairline close to the scalp. The stylist may have to fix this by giving him/her a style with bangs, in order to cover the missing chunk. For boys, I would suggest a cut in which the hair is worn forward, such as a Caesar cut, which consists of closely cropped or faded sides blending up to a scissor-cut top which is left longer in the front.
Every now and then, a person should toot his own horn, it’s good for the ego. I spend alot of time analyzing and forecasting trends, and its quite a thrill to see your forecast come true. I wonder if weather forecasters get the same satisfaction….In 2015, I had written in one of my columns that choppy, wispy, and uneven bangs were on the way out. I even went so far as to prophetize that by this year, the trend would lean towards a long solid bang. Many readers wrote back scoffing the heavy-bang prediction, saying that it would never come true. I was happy to see the return of the blunt bang on the cover of the American Salon magazine. Several articles in other May issues of fashion magazines raved about the appearance of the blunt bangs that had graced the Spring runway shows. While other stylists are satisfied following trends, I find my satisfaction in creating them.
This installment of Hairdressing Diary focuses on a photoshoot I conducted in 2015. I was preparing for that year’s NAHA (North American hairstyling Awards), and I had a few ideas I had been throwing around in my head that I wanted to try out. I decided to enter the Avant-Garde category, which consists of hairstyles that border on the eccentric and sometimes bizarre.
I had worked out my ideas on paper a few months prior to the shoot. I made a list of the supplies I would need, and then tried to construct a budget. My original idea involved elaborate underwater lighting and costumes that revolved around a mermaid theme. It soon became clear that there would be no way to finance such an undertaking. I was a “starving artist”, so to speak, so I had to come up with a new idea that would not put me in a financial mudhole. I found my inspiration in an old cemetery, of all places, in the form of a large statue of an angel. I knew I had to recreate that sculpture, but at the time I had no clue as to how I would go about it. Later that evening, I began constructing the wings that would later be used in the shoot. They had to look like stone, but at the same time be light enough for the model to wear for several hours of shooting. I stayed up the entire night making the wings out of papier-mache, which I painted gray using acrylic paint. I found that the paint looked authentic on the wings, so I tested it on my skin, and it looked very convincing. The only question was, could I use this paint to cover an entire body? I dismissed the idea of using theatrical make-up, because it always appeared moist on the skin. I needed something that looked like a statue, and acrylic paint was just what I was looking for. I bought six tubes of paint, estimating that it would take at least that much to cover a person.
Brazilian Hair extensions can cost anywhere from R3000 to R6000, depending on the type and brand. When paying this price, you will definitely want to get the most out of your money. The only way to do this is to take care of your extensions utilizing the recommendations from the top hair stylists. Plus, you will want to keep them looking great for as long as possible. Below, you will discover several tips to make your hair extensions last longer.
Shampoo For Hair Extensions
People with hair extensions must choose their shampoo carefully. In fact, some shampoos contain ingredients that can be harmful to Brazilian Hair extensions, as well as your real hair and scalp. One such ingredient is sodium lauryl sulfate, a foaming agent and emulsifier. This ingredient is well known for causing scalp irritations, hair loss, dry hair, and fading hair color.
Shampoos that are designed specifically for hair extensions will maintain proper moisture levels, while preventing tangles.
It is only natural for Brazilian Hair extensions to become tangled. The only solution is a detangling brush that is designed specifically for Brazilian hair extensions. A detangling hair comb will also work and will probably work better near the attachments.
Proper Brushing Technique
A dentist will tell you to make sure that you are always brushing your teeth directly after eating. Well, the same thing can be said about Brazilian Hair extensions. Any hair expert will tell you that brushing your extensions multiple times can loosen tangles, as well as keep your hair looking silky and shiny. If you have ever dealt with Brazilian Hair extensions before, you probably already know that they are extremely notorious for tangling. And, brushing is one of the best ways to ensure that your hair stays tangle-free.
If you do experience tangles, it is best to start at the bottom of the extensions and work your way up towards the scalp. Try using your hands to loosen the tangles before running a brush through your hair. This will make your Brazilian Hair Extensions last twice as long. Be sure to keep a firm grip on the hair near the attachments to prevent the Brazilian Hair extension from being pulled out.
Do Not Wash Frequently
It may seem kind of gross and you might be surprised to learn that over-washing your Brazilian hair extensions can cause them to wear out much quicker than normal. This does not mean that they do not need to be washed. Just make sure that you are not over-washing them. It is true that hair extensions are made of human and synthetic hair. Since they are not actually tied into the scalp, they will not receive any of the natural oils that your real hair does. This means they do not need to be washed as often and this is even truer for the clip-on style extensions.
Even if you find that you are wearing your clip-on extensions on a daily basis, you should be able to make it a month or two before you actually have to wash them. If you do transition from curly to straight, use a flat iron or curling iron rather than washing.