Going to the beauty salon and getting your hair done is ‘an experience’. It's your experience. But have you ever wondered what it's like for the hairstylist, who's there day after day, handling all kinds of clients? Whether you hop around to different stylists, or have one that you’ve faithfully gone to for years, you know that they have a very special job… making you look as good as possible. But as we all know, their job is so multifunctional. When I realized that 3 of our all-natural beauty product manufacturers here on the ANB site are also hairstylists, I knew that I had the opportunity to find out what we’ve all wanted to know... 'the inside view' that can only come from 'doing hair'! What really goes on in the lives of hair stylists? I think you’ll be fascinated by what I learned.
The three 'stylists', or 'hairstylists' (and by the way, this is what they each said they preferred to be called) are as follows:
• Gina Rafkind of VedaSun
• Robyn Atticks of Shear Miracles Organic Salon & Products
• Krissy Ferro of Ferro Cosmetics
In the case of Gina, she says that you may also call her PHD – Professional Hair Designer :-)
It seems that each of these ladies was destined to get into the beauty business, it was no fluke. From early on, they were each doing hair and makeup up on friends and family. Krissy began with a Barbie “head doll” (remember those?), while Robyn grew up watching her mother work as a hairstylist and wanting nothing more than to follow in her footsteps. Gina took the path of earning a 4 year degree in Fashion Merchandizing (without any regrets) then one day walking out of a store and noticing a big sign across the street on a building that said ‘Learning Institute of the Beauty Sciences’. She decided to walk in and see what it was all about. Before she knew it, she says, “…I was writing out a check to secure my spot in the school. The rest is history. Guess it was meant to be!”
Asked if they would recommend this job to others, they all emphatically agreed that they would. But they also agreed that it’s not right for everyone. People skills are a must, and creativity is a plus. Gina pointed out that “There is always a need for good hairstylists. And if you’re good, you will most likely never be laid off!” Sounds pretty recession-proof to me. She went on to say “…cutting and coloring hair is an art. I believe it can be learned to an extent, but I think the people who really do well in this field really have a natural talent to an extent”. As for ‘being a people person’, after visiting Robyn at her salon, I can attest to the fact that she is indeed that. She told me, “My job rocks! My clients become my friends”. From a client’s perspective, I know that when my hairstylist has a nice personality and relates well to you, they do become friends. Whether you ever see them outside of the salon or not, if they are nice and do good work, you begin to look forward to your visits, and spending time with them. It makes the whole experience so much nicer.
The flip side of ‘becoming friends’ with clients is that it could be misconstrued or taken to an uncomfortable place. Krissy shared this “I’ve had a few (clients) that were weirdly obsessed with me, booking strange appointments just to get in sooner or coming in for me to fix ONE little thing”. Through my own experience working in salons, I can remember stylists telling stories of clients that seemed to come to them more for psychotherapy sessions than for hair services. There's something very vulnerable about giving your 'looks' over to another human being. This person sees you at your worst (hair wet, curlers, foils, or whatever the case may be), then sends you out looking your very best, while spending time pampering you, saying nice things, and putting their hands through your hair. It can be a very nurturing experience just having someone else wash your hair, let alone everything else they do for you. Perhaps there's some deep psychology to this, but I'll let someone else figure that out.
Being a hairstylist can be a position filled with growth and fulfillment. In Krissy’s case, she has made many close friends with women, and has learned several life lessons through watching their lives unfold through the years. Robyn’s joy comes in the form of helping someone with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities or someone struggling with cancer to find a way to continue to look and feel beautiful by using professional quality products that are truly good for them. Gina has experienced growth within herself from realizing that she cannot please everyone, and has realized the importance of not taking everything personally. As she says, “I know that growing older has something to do with this. But I have learned that as long as I give every client my best, that’s what counts. I learned that not every one is going to like what I do and all people are not an energetic match for me and I am not attached to the outcome. If they come back, wonderful! I am happy to service them again. However, if they do not come back, that’s ok too.” Good words to live by.
As previously mentioned, part of a hairstylist’s job of course is to converse with their clients. Being open to your clients' needs can lead to some interesting, if not strange places, as our stylists shared with me. When asked what ‘secrets’ Krissy has heard, her reply was “Affairs, affairs with same sex friends, killing someone in a horrible accident, the most perfect life is usually the worst life”. Gina recounted the time that she was working on one of her clients, “She knew another client who was having his hair cut by another stylist. Once he left, she told me about him cheating on his wife. This is the kind of stuff I never imagined I’d hear.” Robyn said “I sell one of the best personal lubricants that is not only 100% organic and natural, but also was developed for a ND who specialized in female issues. We named it ‘Peter Butter Gina Jam’ and it comes in ‘flavors’. This brings up some very interesting conversations and I’ve been told that I’ve saved many a client’s sex life”.
Krissy takes the cake though with interesting conversation when she told this story, “Oh no – well, one woman whom I did her manicures regularly first started coming in to see me very insecure, overweight and with a troubled marriage. Then she started losing weight, looking great, and her marriage became so good she started sharing every (gross) detail with me about her sex life. THEN began to tell me about what she did at work that day - she was a hairstylist in a salon up the road and also did waxing. She and her co-worker decided to do each other’s bikini waxes, and then began to tell me how the wax developed into an ‘experience’. I became very uncomfortable and switched the topic. THEN before she left - invited me to come to her home… as a present for her husband!!!!
There are also funny things that happen while going through a hairstylist's day. Sharing a good laugh with a client can be therapeutic for everyone. Robyn related something that happened not long ago while she was shampooing a client, “…the water hose slipped out of my hands and like a wild snake, proceeded to get the entire salon, myself and my client soaked!! That was embarrassing, but entertaining to the clients who witnessed it”. Gina finds it amusing to try and cut the hair of those that fall asleep during their haircuts. She said “…possibly the trickiest of all was when I had to do a foil highlight on one of my clients, who was pregnant at the time, who fell asleep. It takes some fast and good maneuvering to slice and weave in between those head bobs”.
Another funny story that Gina recalled was about hair spray, “Before using hair spray on a client, I always spray it first away from them so to make sure it’s not clogged and shoots into their face or somewhere else it’s not supposed to go. So one of my clients, as I was using hair spray on her, said ‘Can I ask you a kind of a funny question?’ and I said, ‘yes of course.’ She said, ‘Why do you always spray the air before you spray my hair?’ I started cracking up and so did she after I told her why. So now we both smile every time she comes in when I use hair spray on her as I ‘spray the air.’
There is no ‘guide’ (that I am familiar with) that teaches us how to be a client. It’s a trial-by-error, learn-as-you-go path that we all take. Most of us do the same things as everyone else does, yet we wouldn’t know it unless we heard it from those that work with ‘us clients’ all day, every day. According to the stylists, most of us are pretty realistic about what our hair can and cannot do. But as Robyn points out, “…at times, they (the client) think their hair cannot do a certain style or thing, and all they need is a good haircut for their hair type”. She goes on to say, “Lots of clients think that both sides of their hair should lay the same. For example, one side may flip up naturally and the other side may turn under perfectly. Almost no one’s hair cooperates on both sides.” Whew! I thought it was just me. Gina tells us that when it comes to hair care, what most of us are concerned with is finding a product to add volume, finding a product to add shine, and finding new and different products that work with our particular hair type. Turns out that most of us get bored with what we use eventually.
Robyn makes a point to say that we shouldn’t expect our hair to look as good as it does after we visit the hairstylist. But the more time that you put into styling, the better it will turn out. It seems that the best way to achieve that ‘just styled’ look is to learn from the pro while you are in her chair. In my opinion, the best stylists are the ones that teach, as well as style. As Gina says, “I think clients definitely need to be educated on how to blow dry and style their hair to get it to look a certain way, and also what products will help them achieve that result. Many comment that it never looks as good when they do it and I give them the brush and blow dryer and say ‘Show me what you do.’ Then I can see what they are doing and give them a tip or two to achieve more of what they want, and they leave very happy.”
So what are the biggest sins (or mistakes) that we as clients commit? Krissy doesn’t mince words when she says “Coloring at home, and using cheap (toxic) shampoos and styling products”. Robyn is equally straightforward when she says, “Turning their heads upside down to blow dry their hair and expecting it to look like they styled it. This is not styling their hair!!” Gina’s take is that most of us use too much product. Her advice is, “Usually, less is best. You can always add more product if you need it, especially when dealing with styling aids such as gels, wax and mousse. They also need to learn how to use the product – this is the job of their hair stylist! If someone is using a volumizing spray gel for instance, they need to spray it at the root area to achieve the lift and volume, not the ends. If they are using a smoothing serum to straighten their unruly, frizzy or wavy hair, then they need to know to put that on their hair about midway down to ends, not on the root area because it could make their hair look flat or greasy.”
Krissy’s advice towards shampooing is that, “…you do NOT and should not wash your hair everyday. #1 because your scalp produces vital oils that maintain the health and preserves color, and #2 why waste the energy? - both your energy doing it as well as the electric and water use? Also, use good ionic dryers and irons - they use less energy, cause less damage, and preserve the health of the hair.” And on the same note, Gina adds, “…buy professional salon products. I see such a difference when people start using quality products. I see a difference in their hair color lasting, and the way the hair looks and feels. People pay a lot for their hair services so they shouldn’t skimp on their hair care products.”
When it comes to using organic or all-natural beauty products as opposed to the usual toxic ones, I wondered how these stylists first got involved and whether using these types of products has been met with any kind of resistance. Robyn said, “The beauty industry is in dire need of a revolution! Salons are one of the most toxic places to work or frequent. This should not be the case, especially since we are here to enhance people's beauty, not destroy it! I have a passion to make known this need and to provide what salons & clients need to have a healthy place to relax, get pampered & look & feel gorgeous! It's funny, but I only meet resistance from stylists, not clients! Stylists either do not believe that the current ‘chemical’ way of doing things is harmful, or they do not believe that the natural way is better. Surprisingly enough, some stylists do not like change! (Isn't that what our industry is about?) My mission is to overcome these non-truths by getting as many stylists (and their clients) to give the natural products I provide a try. I am convinced that if they try them, they will never go back.” Amen!
Krissy believes that “The industry has been run by large companies interested in profits only, and not the welfare of women’s health. We care about the health of women first.” She goes on to say that “The resistance usually pertains to people thinking the chemical claims are false, or that natural products don’t perform as well. Our answer is letting them know certain truths about certain companies and the FDA’s lack of policing anything, and letting them know the good companies that create natural products actually perform better.”
Gina says, “…the more natural and organic, the better! I’ve always cared about what goes into my body and in the past few years, due to an auto-immune disease I had, I became much more aware of what I put onto my body as well. I also am concerned about our environment and all the toxins that we have dumped into this world. I have not met too much resistance about going natural in beauty care. My clients are actually very happy to hear that I am using more natural products on them. I think more and more people are becoming aware of the harm that toxic chemicals can do to our bodies and to the earth. They are reading a lot more about this because there is so much more information now available, especially on the internet.” As for the reason for this resistance she says, “I’d have to say it’s usually about the price. But again, it’s just a matter of educating people why these products are more expensive and why they are worth buying over cheaper ones.”
Haven’t you always wanted to ask a hairstylist for their top advice on a simple at-home remedy for better hair? Well we have three great ones for you here. Robyn suggests buying a shower filter (or whole house filter) to remove any (harmful) chemicals that are currently in the water. She says that you will be amazed at the difference in your skin, hair and ultimately health. Krissy advises using a beer hair treatment to give your hair shine and bounce.
Gina’s recommendation is a hair oil that you can easily make yourself. She advises, “Use an oil such as Sesame or Jojoba, and massage a little on your scalp and hair prior to shampooing. Give yourself a nice head massage and even leave it in for 10-15 if you can before you shampoo it out. I even use a little before going to bed and leave it on overnight. I then shampoo it out in the morning. You can make a nice aromatic scalp massage oil by adding pure essential oils to the Sesame oil or Jojoba. You would add a total of 9-12 drops of essential oils per ounce of oil. Some nice essential oils to choose from are Lavender, Rosemary, Ylang ylang, Patchouli & Geranium Rose.”
Being that it’s the beginning of a new year, I thought it would be good to add a list of what’s in and what’s out when it comes to hair styles. The following are Gina’s thoughts on what’s coming, what’s here, and what you can stop doing now.
Trend Forecast for 2009:
It seems the movement for '09 is headed to more romantic and carefree styles - a bit ethereal and goddess-like, and a bit disheveled, in a perfectly imperfect way (Keri Russell's new shorter haircut is a perfect example of this). Longer hair will still have subtle graduation and longer layers for softer waves and the more romantic look. Short bold styles are in with a soft, feminine edge (Rihanna) and also shorter, boyish cuts for spring. As for color, red is hot now - earthy reds and violets, but can be subtly done for everyday wearability.
For the spring I feel color will still be strong but shift to more dimensional coloring. Not stripey, but subtle paneling of color to give shimmer and dimension. I also see lots of texture happening in the spring so products will reflect this. Hair styles, including ponytails will go from smooth and sleek to a bit tossled with more of a matte finish.
Celebs to keep an eye on, still: Katie Holmes, Gwenyth Paltrow, Keri Russell, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Victoria Beckham
What's out (in my humble opinion) - severely flat-ironed hair, 'perfectly done' or 'every-strand-in-place' hair, having roots 'on purpose', 'high-maintenance' hair
The main thing to remember is even though there are trends for every season, it still comes down to giving your client a 'wearable' hair style - one they feel comfortable wearing and that they will be able to do themselves at home. It has to be right for the client's personality and face shape and hair texture. Trends are great and inspiring - you can take bits and pieces of these trends and transform them into a look that will suit your client.
I’d like to give my personal thanks to Krissy, Robyn, and Gina for their help with this article. Hair is something that is such an important beauty feature. Beautiful hair can virtually transform how we look and feel. Going the natural route with our hair care is also very important, because it will maintain our health and good looks in a real way, rather than just superficially. The ladies that helped with this article know that, and that is why I highly recommend them for their beauty expertise and the products that they manufacture. The following will give you some insight into what they do in their spa or salon, what inspired each of them to create their product line, and some information about a few of their very special products. Please visit their websites for even more products and information. My wish for all of you is… lots of great hair days, and many fun trips to your favorite hairstylist!
Robyn Atticks - Shear Miracles Organic Salon & Products: http://www.ShearMiracles.net (Owner of Natural Beauty Company, Hairstylist & Teacher to her clients, teaching them about the importance of using all natural and organic products, Educator to salons and spas in the use of her own professional line of products (the first ever professional line of hair, skin, and body care for salons and spas, that is 100% organic and wild crafted), and Representative and Educator of an incredible line of non-toxic hair color.
Inspiration: There were no products that were of salon quality & that were 100% pure on the market. There was a need & I knew it was my destiny to fill it.
Products: Shear Miracles Organic Hair, Skin & Body Care is made for salons & spas to provide a high quality product for their clients that uses only beneficial, 100% organic & wild-crafted ingredients. All of our products are made especially for the salon or spa when they order, so none of our products are sitting around in a warehouse somewhere, assuring the freshest possible product. Being shipped directly from our master formulator, there is no middle-man. This helps us keep the cost down for the salon & their clients. We never use GMOs.
Calming Shampoo & Conditioner has a wonderful Lime & Chamomile scent and is made for normal to dry hair. This conditioner has also won the ‘Beauty with a Conscience’ Award from Natural Solutions magazine.
Pump Up the Volume is a mousse that is a favorite among clients who want to add body to their hair.
Miracles Happen Milk & Honey Cleanser, Hydrator & Moisturizer is our most popular skincare line & we have been told that once you start using it, you won't be able to stop!
Krissy Ferro – Ferro Cosmetics: http://www.FerroCosmetics.com – Showroom: 5711 Transit Road, Buffalo, NY 14051. Mineral Makeup Boutique offering full makeup services, instructional classes, training center, facial waxing hair removal, makeovers and group events. (Owner of Natural Cosmetics Company, Hairstylist, Cosmetologist)
Inspiration: The need for all natural HIGH PERFORMANCE cosmetics to answer the doubts most have.
Products: Our products are created from only natural pure minerals and ingredients. We don’t compromise how many minerals or ingredients it takes to make the product perform well to save money, many products contain several minerals, but address the many facets and needs of a cosmetic such as how smooth it applies, how even it feels, coverage, color, variety, etc.
Popular products: Ultimate Foundation- the first full coverage/matte finish foundation- never chalky, very soothing, weightless full coverage.
Eye Candy Mineral Eye Shadows made from pure micas, last all day, reflect light, and allows women of all ages to stop wearing just mattes because of their age - huge variety of finishes and colors that blend unique tones together for one of a kind colors.
Crystal Mineral Veils - for a dewy, illuminated look that minimizes lines and pores, and helps reduce the age of mature skin.
Gina Rafkind – VedaSun: http://www.VedaSun.com /Spa: Mane Attractions Hair Salon http://www.ManeAttractionsHairSalon.com Offering hair coloring and cutting services, facials, reflexology, aromatherapy scalp massage & facial waxing services. There is a more detailed list of services at the website. (Owner of Natural Beauty Company, Hairstylist, Co-Owner of Spa, Certified Reflexologist, Currently giving foot reflexology treatments, Aromatherapy facials, scalp massages, and waxing services.
Inspiration: I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease in 2003. Grave’s Disease is an autoimmune disease. I was told what I should do by my doctor. My inner feeling was to do more research before I did anything and that’s what I did. This lead me to discovering all about toxic chemicals that are out there and that are in so many products we use, including skin care products, household cleaning products, hygienic products and more. I discovered Aromatherapy and was so impressed with how it amazingly helped me reduce my stress. I read every book on it I could get my hands on and also took an Aromatherapy Home Study course under the supervision of Kathy Graf of Aroma Studio. Then I started developing products and I loved them so much I wanted to share them with others. I also share with people other life-enhancing tips to incorporate into their lives to live a life they love. I’ve been in remission from Grave’s Disease for a year and I contribute it to using more natural products, eating more natural and organic foods, relieving stress and to just an overall inner energetic shift that I have gone through dealing with the perception of life itself. Oh, and I almost forgot the big one, becoming aware and listening more to my inner guidance and gut feelings!
Products: My products were developed out of my own life experiences. VedaSun carries truly natural skin care, for face and body, containing many organic ingredients and pure essential oils to create your aromatic spa oasis at home. At VedaSun, my mission is to be your Aromatherapy Luminary and enhance your awareness practice of using your senses as a pathway to presence. Your senses help you connect to your body’s healing powers.
Aromatherapy is more than just nice smells. When you use essential oils, the true essence or plant energy engages your energy, connecting it and you in a synchronistic dance.
One of my best selling products is my Body Oil which comes in two different scents: Balance and Shanti (99% organic). Be sure to inhale and experience the aromatic oasis as you feel this oil’s silky smooth texture glide over, hydrate and soothe your parched skin. I love using them in the shower. I massage it on after I shower onto my wet skin and then pat dry with a towel. They contain pure, aroma-therapeutic essential oil blends that ignite your senses, uplift your mood and illuminate your pathway to presence. I personally developed these blends to help relieve my anxiety and stress and they have worked wonders for bringing me back into balance.
Another bestseller is my Calendula & Rosehip Face Serum. This golden serum is loaded with organic ingredients and soothes and hydrates all skin types. You massage the serum onto damp skin with wet fingertips. The more oily your skin, the more water you use to work the serum in. The more dry your skin, the less water you will use. It can be used as a day moisturizer under makeup (wait 5 minutes for serum to penetrate before applying makeup) and at night. It can be used under a cream moisturizer for added hydration. I’ve also discovered it’s great for cuticles and lips too!
Please visit Sharon's Site:
SharAmbrosia All Natural Spa Store