Monday, June 18, 2012

Is Ombre over?

Well if you don't know what Ombre hair colour is by now your head may as well be in the sand. It's everywhere in North America. So much so I have not seen a hair trend catch on so fast and so universally then this. Why? Every age group can where it. It's customized depending on how much contrast you like and finally it's LOW maintenance. What is not to like?

Well as a hairstylist, I loved the idea of this technique and seeing how many variations that can be achieved. I personally am getting a little bored with it. I have spent most of my life trying to be different and non trendy. I want to keep one step ahead if not ten in many cases. When something becomes so trendy that the drugstores are coming up with kits for it...for me it's over and time to move on. It has become the Rachel Cut of the 2010's That being said...It's also not going anywhere any time soon. One thing I am trying to do is keep it fresh. Toning the bleach blonds into lovely pastel pinks, blue and grey. changing the base colours and doing more subtle gradual lightness to the ends.

I was in London this past April and I was surprised to see the lack of Ombre. So this very may well be the choking last gasp of this trend. I doubt we have seen the end of it.  Here is my variation of Ombre from my latest Dark Materials Collection

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Do's and Don't to growing your hair.

So day in and out I usually get at least three clients daily who are trying desperately to grow their hair out. Whether it be for change, a disastrous haircut or for a lower maintenance do. It is a daunting task requiring a lot of patience. I myself usually am in some sort of hair growing flux. Just to end up chopping it all off when I have reached my goal. So as a stylist I do give my clients recommendations on how to make this process as painless as possible.

Fun Facts.

Hair has different life-cycles. People with thin hair have shorter cycles 3-4 years for turnover ( naturally falls out and replaced) Thick hair can grow from 5-10 years or more.

Hair grows average 6 inches in one year

Eyelashes have a turnover of 4-6 weeks. that is why they never grow the same as hair on your head.

Hormones ( testosterone) is responsible for hair growth.

 Pregnant women excrete a hormone that stops thier hair from turning over ( falling out) and after the baby is born they stop producing it. This can cause all the hair that was supposed to fall out during this time to fall out quickly in a short time.

It is normal to lose up to 100 hair a day.  When your hair gets longer this can seem like a lot more. But because we SEE long hair in the drain as apposed to short hair that goes down it. 


Get your hair as one length as you can handle. Longer layers are OK but one can go much longer in between haircuts if you have a simple shape. This is especially true for those women with fine or fragile hair. More layers make the hair look stringy on the ends when you grow them out. Hair has more strength in numbers.

Do as little as possible to damage your hair, this includes washing, blow drying, colour, highlights, hair extensions, over layering or thinning/texturing the hair. You may even need to cut out as much damaged hair as possible before you try to grow some real length as it will just end up looking very fried and split.

Colour your hair as infrequently as possible. Use demi permanent colours as they promote shine and seal the cuticle of the hair. Highlights should be spaced out to 4 times a year. The lighter your hair the more overlap will occur that may cause breakage. Do this minimally. Try only touching up the roots only.

Try hair clips, accessories and a curling wand or rollers. These are there to help you disguise a grown out cut. Keep you from becoming bored.

Get a really great conditioner. Keep your ends from getting dry.

Do invest in a good serum to seal the ends of the hair and help prevent fly away hair. 

LEAVE IT ALONE! I must emphasize this.

Drink lots of water, hydrate your skin, hair body.

Hair growth comes from hormones. So there is nothing one can apply on their hair to make it grow faster. Or repair damaged hair. It is dead, you can only prevent your hair from getting worse.

Get a small trims if your hair is really damaged. If you need to put the fear of god in your stylist when you say trim...this means 1/2 inch or less. Show them your inch...a hairdresser inch is usually double.

When your hair does get long, then shape it, layer it. But continue to keep it healthy. Remember long hair is what it is. Long. It will require more manual "styling" to have...well a style. A haircut will not do it all for you. So most women will get bored of long hair.  Yes, it is cheaper, low maintenance, and easy to care for as you can put it up. One must reconcile that it does get boring and laborious to style differently everyday. You are forewarned.


Cut you hair...this is simple. Do not believe in the hairdressing propaganda that "trims" make the hair grow faster. It makes their bank account grow and that's about it. How will cutting off the very hair you waited so long  to grow off  make it longer? If you're doing all of the above, ( not damaging, colouring, highlighting etc) then one could possibly go 6 or more months without cutting. I once went two years. I only dyed my roots and trimmed my fringe.

To grow out your hair it needs to be as healthy as possible. Hair is dead when it grows out of the scalp. It sees every shampoo, flat iron, highlight, sunny day, chlorine pool, tight pony tail, back combed, braided day that you live through all year. It needs as much TLC as you can give it. It can only handle so much.

You will not be able to grow out

Do drastic colour changes and corrections frequently.
Bleach and tone or over highlight your hair.
Over style it.
Use extensions frequently for long duration. Clip in or otherwise.

Want more tips check out this blog with more great tips.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Spring Forcast Hair

Ok I know, it's January. I already have clients coming in and saying, "I feel so blah." I'm looking forward to spring more so this year as I will be travelling to Europe in April. What am I excited about? Fashion and shopping. Oh yes!  history, architecture and fabulous museums. I always get inspired when I travel. It's nice to see what is happening somewhere else. Even town to town, style is different.

Let's talk about hair trends for spring. I will say, I am not on board with everything I am seeing. However one thing I can say is that there seems to be something for everyone, although derivative of everything we have been seeing in the last 2 years.

Trend Wet Look. Buy some gel ladies, it's back. Wet look bun's, chignons, slick backs, and partings. Severe and messy; it's all inclusive. So for those who cannot bother with a blow dryer or have been rocking this all their lives? I find this to be my least favorite.

Trend Powered Pastel. Kevin Murphy kinda brought this back. Coloured matte hair powered, for temporary colour fun. Ombre your ends or slick all your hair back and add some the hairline. Interesting and non permanent

Trend MESSY, Yeah messy back combed up dos. Hair in general. The frizzy ratty mess the better. Editorials have been doing controlled mess for a while. So if you don't want to look like a hot mess, DO NOT do this while dressing down. You need to play up the contrast with great dramatic eyes, and a dress.

Trend Short Bangs,  Baby bangs, shorter pixies like Michelle Williams. Cropped and rocked out.

Trend 90's Texture, Remember the Meg Ryan? Well if you do you most likely will not participating in this one. But for the under 30's this shag is a nice option to the pixie.

Trend Waves. Yawn.... of all kinds, on long hair, on bobs (flapper style) this is a sleeker polished look for those who don't want to look like they just rolled out of bed.

Trend Retro Glamour. So anyone who is into rockabilly or pin up culture, it is now hitting more mainstream fashion. Victory rolls, finger waves, pin curls, 60's Bardot beehives.

Trend Colour, Ombre...yes still . Now this has become so popular it's literally boring me now. Dip dye, high contrast, crazy colour, sunkist. It can be customised to any length or age. But to be frank if you want to look on trend this is THE look.

Trend Colour, Block Panels. Again, this is a easy update. we first saw this in the ear;y 2000's making a comeback so soon? Yes.  This is best if it's done with a high contrast colour or pastel synthetic colour. Clip in or tape in some hair extensions if you want a no commitment.

Trend Colour, Airbrush. I know this sounds crazy. But for the bold you can stencil colour onto the surface of your hair. Brocades, lace, paisley, zebra, cheetah, polka dots. Hey why not?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Beauty hits and Misses Part 2, Hair Care

Ok so to round out the end of year regrets and triumphs, here is part two of  MY beauty hits and misses, hair care edition.


1. Frizz Ease 3 day straight. It's a spray keratin that helps lock in you flat iron form humidity and re curling. It works and was great in the summer.

2. Kevin Murphy, Hair Resort. beach wave and texture, smells amazing!

3. Loreal Everpure shampoo. I like the tube, it's rather thick, but decently priced for sulfate free shampoo.

4. Batiste dry shampoo. cheap and it works

5. Fructis, Instant Mask Repair, nice thick conditioner, made my very damaged hair feel soft. Smells lovely. good for dry thick hair.

6. Rusk 2.5" curling iron, any curl iron is great really I like the Rusk products. they are pro quality and you can usually find them anywhere.

7.  Loreal Elnet hairspray. Amazing and cheap, industry favorite.

8. Sebastian Laminates Cellophane's. I was blond for most of the year. I used the platinum to tone my hair every 4 shampoos. Semi colour, adds shine. easy to use. it is a pro product and pretty pricey, but one could get it on it works much better then most colour enhancing conditioners.


1. Kevin Murphy Texture Master hairspray. It is a sticky super hold hair spray. Unless you want to look like Amy Winehouse or Robert Smith, it is not workable to the average Jane. nozzle gets clogged every time I use it.

2. Kevin Murphy Colour Bug, temporary fun colour powder. I'm waiting for more shades. They only have three and I liked it for a day then I never used it again.

3. Loreal, Sublime Mousse hair colour. This stuff was weird. I liked it in someways, east to use, no mess, no bad smell, but the results were just so so. I used black and it turned out 3 shades lighter. So coverage was not great.

4. mini crimper. I used it twice, it is now for photo shoots only.

5. loads of Big Bow clips and hair bands fascinators  I don't know why I would think I'm allowed to wear something Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, or your average 16 year old would wear. I am having a hard tie reconciling that I'm 38.

6. FHI heat iron. I have bought many of these irons since the company launched. The quality in my opinion has gone down. I had my last two for less then 6 months before everything was falling apart and the thermostat failed.

2011 Beauty hits and Misses Part 1, Cosmetics

Every year I end up looking at my graveyard of cosmetics and it got me to thinking that even I can be a sucker for good marketing, cute packages, and empty promises. I generally do my reaseach when purchasing something now a days but every now and then I will buy something spontaniously and yes, I am most time disappointed. But sometimes I am pleasantly surprised.

This years HITS

Illumasqua Foundation, High coverage, looks natural, great skin tone. I use this for photo shoots and evening make up

Sephora Cream lip Stain, l I usually stay clear of store brands, I know its generally really overpriced for the quality, but this was a pleasant surprise. It had great colour selection, and didn't dry my lips like other ultra matte' do.

L'oreal True Match Foundation, very affordable, medium coverage. wears beautifully, blends nice, and does match my skin.

Benefit Coralista Blush got this as a bonus and I love the colour. I am told is goes with every skin tone they are right.

MAC Matchmaker Foundation, AMAZING! Great medium coverage and it matches. No NC this or NW that. Just pick your level ( mine is 1) and it adjusts to your undertone.

OPI Crackle Nail polish ( Black) I ended up using this all the time. Love it over glitter nail polish or over clear.

Paula's Choice Skin Care LOVE this line. Its my new standard. Very easy and affordable. Addresses every skin care need. I have had the best skin ever from this line. Mail order only.


MAC Zoom Lash, clumpy, dries out after a month

MAC Wonder Woman Opulash Mascara, didn't show up on my lashes, dried out fast.

MAC Superslick Liner, Pure show (gold) seperated and didn't show up on my pail skin, irritated my eyes.and made them water, weird because the black does not.

Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick 64, too sheer for me, lasted about 5 minutes, bled around my mouth,  even with a primer and liner.

Nars Sheer Matte foundation. even with a primer, I look like a dried up dusty old woman. For oily skin only

Make up Forever HD powder, AWFUL! I may as well use baby powder on  my skin. was not translucent at all.

Make Up Forever Primer, wasn't terrible, just expensive and didn't do much more then a moisturizer would before make up. nothing lasted longer or smoothed out any better.

Touche Eclat YSL. I know... almost blasphemous. But it really is just OK on me. I have seen it do wonders on other people. I am going to try the peach next time. I think my dark circles need more coverage. the search continues. MAC and L'oreal also make knock offs so I will try that too.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin moisturizer SPF15. This was supposed to be my new daytime moisture with SPF and AHA. It cannot be used near the eye, ( my bad) because it burns like crazy. So I ended up getting separate creams instead of the all in one. It's actually better. So much for time saving.

Sephora Kat Von D Eye shadow Love and Fury. It is OK, but I ended up using it twice and only for one of the shadows. the rest were too glittery.

MAC Penultimate Brow Marker. Dried out after two applications. was not smudge proof.

MAC Liquidlast liner. I love the colours, the texture is thick and hard to work with. I dilute it. It gets thicker over time so after a month it's nearly useless. It does last though...for days.

Marc Jacobs, Daisy. Bottle is cute, smells like ass on me.

Frugal Best in Beauty All Time

1, Baby Oil.
This is my go to for everything. Great for moisturizing after the bath, removes make up, removed wax, removes latex bonding glue. eyelashes and weaves. shines your shoes, quick hand lotion, shave your legs, massage oil...the list goes on and on.

2. Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly.
cream for chapped chip, lips, hands, elbows, cuticles DIY  lip glosses and many more uses

3. Brown Sugar
Cheap and plentiful is amazing when you add it to a baby oil or you favorite cleanser as a exfoliating BODY scrub in the shower. Not recommended for the face.

4. Baking Soda
brush you teeth, use with water or cleanser to mix into a paste for a gentle facial exfoliate. Under arm deodorant, use to remove product build up in the hair before shampooing, foot soak

5. Apple Cider Vinegar
hair rinse to add shine and close the cuticle after a colour. dilute with  rose water and distilled water and it's a great toner for acne prone skin, drinking it is supposed to treat age spots, rinses away dry dead skin fro the scalp.

Winter hair woe is me...

Yes it's upon up another Canadian winter. Harsh temperature changes, hats, dry scalp, fly away static hair. Just when you think... Hurray no more humid frizzy hair days. They make way for parched summer hay textured hair and flaking scalps. What to do? Well here are some steps to help combat those winter woes.

Start in the shower.  You may need to change up the routine and start using a more moisturizing conditioner. add a leave in as well depending on you hair texture either a cream (thick, course or curly hair) Or liquid spray for normal to fine types. It will add more moisture and protect the hair from and dryer damage. Try to use cool water. I know its cold out there! but really hot showers actually case the hair, skin and scalp to dry out and cause flaky dryness. if you ca find it try Wen Cleansing conditioner. This stuff is amazing for any hair texture and colour. Its a one step cleanser/conditioner/leave in. It does NOT lather, or contain sulfates, detergents. Will not strip colour or moisture from you hair. It feels amazing and doesn't leave a trace of greasiness on the hair.

Washing hair daily is a no no. It is a great time to start using the dry shampoo. The more you wash they dryer you hair will get.

Go darker or richer with you hair color. Add a clear rinse or tone the hair down a couple of shades with a demi permanent. Garnier has a great selection of ammonia free gloss colours. if you don't want to go darker, try a gloss. It will close up the cuticle and add tons of shine to the dull locks. It can be done every 4 weeks to keep it up. darker hair will reflect more light and make even the most damaged hair look better. The lighter you are the dryer it will look if you don't like to style it.

Try to allow your hair to dry naturally if you can manage it. Blow dryers damage the hair and with the lack of humidity can cause the hair to get static. To prevent this. try not to shuffle you feet across the floor it builds up the electrical charge. Use a dryer sheet. Rub it on your hands and then rub through your hair. Static Guard sprayed on you brush or hands will also do the trick. Use natural bristle brush as apposes to nylon or plastic brushes. Ceramic or tourmaline irons a re great. The will neutralize the positively charged hair and remove the static.

Moroccan Oil is on every one's lips these days. This expensive little bottle of oil is turning up everywhere and there are many imitators. The line now boasts an entire regime around Argan Oil but does it actually work? We as consumers have to remember a couple things. All a company needs to take off is a couple celebrity endorsements and the marketing placebo will take effect. The ingredients say it all. Argan oil is a fantastic moisturizing oil that contains many anti oxidants, but so it Olive, Almond, Brazil Nut, Hemp Seed basically any nut really. It's fat and it will coat the hair. Hair my friends is dead. and antioxidants will do very little to "revitalize" it. One would need a great deal of this oil to coat the hair for and real noticeable benefits. And that would be outrageously expensive.

 The other main ingredient is Silicone. Serums have been around forever and they deliver some smoothing effects to the hair. End result leave it looking shiny and feeling soft. Is it a miracle? Not really. Just overpriced oil. Check out the health food store and get some pure almond oils or cold pressed olive oil. Any cheap silicone spray, serum will work as well. Like anything this is a fad. If you like it by all means use it. But there are some cheaper options out there. Just remember that if you hair is thick, curly or coarse use a serum. If it's fine, thin, use a spray.

Cheap serums.. Citre Shine, Frizz Ease, Sebastian Laminates, L'Oreal Ever Sleek Serum, One and Only Argan Oil Treatment.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fall Winter 2011 trends to watch!

The 70's are back whether we like it or not. It seems it's not localized to the early Hippy/Boho and Mod inspired as in the past but also the Glam Rock mid 70's and the Disco/Punk rock/New wave latter 70's for fashion. I find the hair and makeup seems to be all over the place again this year and does not mesh with the fashion trends. So at least that keeps it modern. There is a lot of choice. I will be happy when the tired Kardashian LA look is over. Let's keep our finger crossed.

Hair. the mid length bob with minimal layers and heavy fringe. Kate moss has been rocking this for a while but it's big this season either blown straight with volume or tousled waved. For long hair, Braids and Bouffant styles are all the rage this season for those wanting to get away from the top knot and surfer girl looks this summer. Amy Winehouse RIP, beehives and Bardot volume gives a nice sex kitten touch. Pixie cuts with lots of texture and softness in the fringe are a great option. Hair colours are going darker and richer are usual. Still in the copper range. For blondes more natural golden/honey shades are great for fall. Perhaps try ombre but with a darker shade like copper, or pinky coral.

Makeup. The metallic bronze, bright orange, and gunmetal smokey eye with nude lips for the evening. Nude makeup, neutrals ( very 70's) looks great on everyone. The strong lip and nude face is big again but with brighter/darker shades. orange, red, purple. Eyebrows are BACK. The last two seasons everyone was reaching for the bleach and the no eyebrow look that Karen Elson and Lara Stone pioneered was everywhere. For fall think Brook Shields meets Liz Taylor meet Audrey Hepburn. Not my favourite and I personally will not be partaking. As I have no eyebrows to speak of. I find this trend strange as it does not reflect the 70's theme. Brows where plucked and thin like the starlets of the 30's or natural. I find that fashion always has a 4 year flow then a backlash that goes against the former trends. So hey maybe thin brows in a couple years? Thick liner and nude lips are still rocking, might be the Amy Winehouse as well. Blush seems to be nonexistent in most of the tears I have seen. But contouring and pale complexion was big. ( also not very 70's)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thinking about Keratin Straightner?

Well I have been thinking about writing about this for ages. I will preface this with...This is MY opinion on this subject as a beauty pro. I get clients asking me about this service time and time again. It came out a few years ago and has steadily replaced Japanese Straightening and the number one smoothing service around. It claims the following for the clients...

That it causes no damage, is fairly natural as it used a form on protein similar to what our hair is made of. It can be used to repair damaged hair, used in conjunction with other chemical services without adverse reaction. Its semi permanent so one could get this done approximately every 10-12 weeks. So there are no lasting effects if one should want to stop. It cuts drying time down to half. It does not straighten course hair but will make it smoother, easier to dry straighten, and anti humidify it as well.

Marketing this to the stylist goes as such...

Product is inexpensive ( less then 10 an application) and needs very little to perform full service. All profit! Can be performed in the same time as an average colour/ blow dry time depending on hair and can charge upwards of $400+ per service. Clients needs to purchase special keratin shampoo and conditioner for service to last. More Profit! It's safe.

The reality...

The service is expensive, and is only semi permanent. It requires the full service to be done again at the same price within two to three months.  After one month most clients see a significant loss of smoothness as this is a coating that wears off after you wash you hair. You MUST use the keratin replenishing shampoo or you will lose the effects faster. It does not do a thing for thick coarse curly hair. This is mainly for fine to medium texture frizzy hair. Some may get away without styling or blow-drying their hair. Yes it will be faster to dry but by minutes. Many surveys have shown that a large amount of clients have had adverse reactions. Anything from allergies, breathing issues during the service, hair loss, and breakage. After the service is performed you cannot get you hair wet for three days. Nor wear it up on tucked behind you ears as that will kink in for the duration of the product. And finally the main ingredient next to the Keratin is formaldehyde. Its helps in the bonding process and as the hair is ironed it releases a toxic gas that the stylist and the client will be exposed to. Many company's have tried to down play this danger and say they do not have it in their product. Trust me they do have some for. It many have a slightly different chemical name or smaller %. But it is still an active ingredient.

As a stylist there is no way I would expose myself to performing 3 to 4 of these services a day breathing this stuff in. Especially if there is poor ventilation in the salon. In fact I am not a fan of many chemical straightening products. I am always shocked at the length women and men will go to to save precious minutes in the morning.

further reading, viewing.
Good Hair a documentary by Chris Rock ( yes that one) About the Afro-Carribean culture in America's obsession with so called "good hair" i.e. Silky straight hair.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

New cheap and cheerful spring beauty

Spring is in the air! It makes me want to shop! New New New everything! However my pocket book right now says But don't despair. There are plenty of money saving products out there that will save you some bucks and you can still look fab!

Colour! Now I am still a big advocate of demi permanent colour. It's the most forgiving and least damaging option out there. However, for some that will not cover any greys. L'oreal and Clariol have come out with Foam Permanent hair dye. It promises the easiest application ever. No mess, and 100% grey coverage! Now most important thing to remember is getting the colour right! When people complain about bad's usually the wrong shade or bad application. Be safe. Pick the most neutral colour. Ash colours will be darker, and anything that says "gold" will be really warm (red brassy) The only concern I have is retouching the roots with mousse? Strawberry blonde and copper are very trendy now. I would still stick to demi if you decide for a change down the road, it is harder to remove permanent.

Highlights should be left to the pros. Grown out colour is great and the cheapest way to go through the summer. For those who wish DYI Ombre. It's actually a really easy technique called balliage. Literally hair painting. It works best if you have naturally blondish hair. Just chose a colour that is really only a couple shades lighter to start. If you have colour or dark hair or you want something more extreme go to a pro or you will look like a tie dyed tiger. Another fun option is doing a bright semi permanent or temporary shade on the ends. Pastel shade are nice like yellow, orange or pink. They will wash out in a few shampoos. Works best on blonde hair. Use Manic Panic and dilute it with conditioner so it is not so neon!

Try youtube for more vids on DYI Ombre!

You want an instant update for make up. Completion is important. Our skin is usually oily in the summer. Using a concealer and a bit of powder/bronzer is all most people need. I like using a Mineral foundation like L'oreal Bare Naturale. $15 It is everything, foundation, concealer with a dewy finish. It feels like nothing on. I am kinda old...:( so I like that it doesn't crease or look cakey. Bare Essentuals $30 has the best mineral foundation. But it's a bit more pricey. Worth it! Almay also has a new Mineral foundation out there for sensitive dry skin. Almay Wake Up $17. Don't forget the Moisturiser with SPF 15 or higher!!

Update your lips. Bright colours is an esay way to add a pop of colour.
Cargo has a great lip gloss Quad $24
Rimmel lasting finish, $7 Bright pink In Vogue, coral Alarm,
Mac new line of Sheen Supreme lipstick. High pigment gloss in intense colours. $14.50

Waves and texture are super easy for the summer. Start with a wave or beach texterizer. Kevin Murphy Beach Resort $22 great for any hair type. Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, $25 or Garnier Surf Hair comes in spray or cream $10. This works best with layered or textured hair. You just apply liberally and allow to dry naturally. This is supposed to be messy, beachy, matte waves or curls.
If messy is not your bag, and you are more sophisticated. Good old hot rollers will do the trick. use the old school ones. Modern waves are not about root volume it's more about curling the mid lenghths and ends. Try watching some podcast to get the visual how to. has a series of DYI podcasts. for ideas.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Trending For Spring

Been while and many new changes have happened in my life. I have changed salons after nearly 6 years in the same location. Change is good. Now that we are well into February everyone seems to have the blahs. The cold weather the drab colours and just being plain old sick and tired of staying in and doing nothing. I find as a stylist this is my quietest time of year. the calm before the storm if you will. After March break when we get the first glimpse of what is to come for spring...the calls start to flood back in. I NEED A CHANGE!!!

Well some things to look for this spring is simplicity. The 70's is a huge trend. Long hair, straight, wavy, curly you name it. Centre parts, texture and neutral tones. Think brown honey wheat and copper!

If long is not your style, the wavy shoulder length bob is going to be huge again this year. Ombre (grown out) colour will still be a hit as well. Don't forget the super cropped pixie cut think Rosemary's Baby era Mia Farrow will be great to freashen up some dull locks.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Haircolour cost WHAT?

I was on Yelp the other day and noticed that there was lovely young lady giving rave kudos to her stylist but could not justify why her highlights cost 145 dollars ( pretty standard btw in mid to higher end salons in Toronto) I decided to demystify how salons charge for services.

There are several factors to take into consideration. As a client you definitely want to research what you want before hand. The quality you expect from the stylist, and your budget. With colour for instance. You have to consider...the service

Most salons operate on a scale of Junior to Master stylist/colourist. Let me explain further what you can expect from these people.

Junior's have less then 2 years experience in most cases. They are the interns. They have gone though all the necessary training to be a hairdresser. They just lack the experience with real clients. They can be very skilled, but sometimes have trouble communicating or interpreting what the client wants. It is totally normal to have them ask for guidance from a more senior stylist. If you do decide to go this route. It is safe to say don't have super high expectations. They are still learning and that is reflected in the rate you pay. So you may not want to get more then a trim, basic cut, or basic highlights/colour from them. If you are adventurous, let them go wild you may be very pleasantly surprised!

Intermediate, and Senior Stylists/Colourists have 5+ years on the floor experience and have taken master classes and are much better at colour correction and creative colour/cut techniques. Some may even work as trainers for a manufacturer, doing trade shows, private in salon classes or winning competitions. You will pay a premium for this experience.

You should also feel more confident that less will go wrong. Beware the "Primadonna hairstylists." You should go for a consultation for big changes. Bring pictures of what you like, communicate your expectations, ask how much it will cost BEFORE. Ask about maintenance and after care. If your stylist cannot answer your questions, or you feel uneasy that they do not "get" what you want, or they are vague with costs, thank them for their time and leave. Remember paying more does NOT mean you are getting better service. Do your research.

Most salons will have a price list or menu one can look at to get a general idea of STARTING rates for each service and stylist. It is the minimum charge. You pay for that slot of time for that service and that is the minimum it costs. Price can go up from the following things... complicated service (corrections) overly long or overly thicker then average hair. You are paying for the extra time and product this hair takes to do over the average.

Other things that can inflate price is location of salon. Trendy, boutique, or franchise salons can have a higher price structure. Owners may charge way more. Almost any stylist working in a salon with more then 15 to 40 years is going to be charging Master prices. There are also hidden costs. The colour product ( can reach into 25 dollars or more just for the dye per application) the salons commission, chair rental and taxes ( HST and GST now in Ontario) this all factors in on the final price. Also, it is totally normal for a salon to NOT include a blowdry in a colour service. That is a separate service that needs to be booked in or they offer complimentary blow off with a assistant. Again not always the case either. Ask your stylist about their polices.

I find that all problems in the salon are from miss-communication. We don't ask enough questions and assume that we are in good hands. We assume the price will be the same as before or somewhere else. We have unrealistic expectations of what we can have and we overestimate the skills of the stylists in some cases. I always likened this to how we trust and assume doctors always know best or know what they are doing or have homogeneous knowledge. This is also not always the case. The more prepared one is less sticker shock occurs.