Posts filed under Curly Hair

The $30,000 Pyramid

"So, what do you love about your hair?  What don't you like about it?  And when did you last get your haircut?"  I asked to begin the consultation with Leslie, a new client. Through Squaw Valley Writer's Conference in "07, I met a group of women writer's from the Bay Area.  Some of us have remained in contact, some have read at the readings I've held at the salon, and a few have even become clients.  One of the writer's that I had become a client, referred her friend Leslie.  Her curly hair was lovely, and way over due for a cut.  The longest layer on top reached to about her chin, sagging her beautiful face down "I'm one of those annoying clients, who wants to keep some length, but feel it's too heavy up here,"  she replied, pulling at her hair on top.  "I just got it cut six weeks ago.  That isn't very long is it?"

"No, it isn't, not for curly hair." 

"I feel like always leave with the same haircut."

"What attitude do you want your hair to have?"

"Ooh, that is a good question.  I've never been asked that.  Hmm.  Well, what do you think I have?"

"Long hair."

"Yeah, I feel like I look like a hippie, but without the hippie."

"Do you want to move into something a little more edgy?"

"What does that mean?"

"Edgy means to me a stronger shape."

"What does that look like?"

"Okay well, let me get my hands in here.  I think if you brought the length up to shoulder length, then took this hair away from your face a bit, slightly off center, then layered out this top, we'd be getting somewhere. I want to round out it out, so that you don't have a pyramid shape, and I'll do some dry cutting."

"Sounds, good.  Yeah, I've had the $30,000 pyramid quite often."

"You are funny." 

"Well, you come up with all kinds of names when you've had this kind of hair for a long time."

She removed her glasses, which was as slight discomfort, because she could not say anything. And so we cut, and cut and cut.  I asked at one point I asked if she would like to put the glasses back on.  No, she said, she was enjoying not seeing.  Then product instruction, then I twisted the hair and diffused.  Her hair looked fabulous.  Bouncy, full, sassy.   

I unwrapped her, she reached for her glasses, and as we spun the chair around, she exclaimed, "Oh wow.  I love it." She remained in the chair a bit, wanting to take in her image a bit.  We laughed about her looking for reflective surfaces to gaze in, on her way home.  We agreed it was a transformation. Carey's photostream

Posted on July 13, 2008 and filed under Beauty, Creativity, Curly Hair, friends, inspiration, new clients, Salon Life.

Flat Iron Allure

I've been at war with what I do for a long time.  The beauty industry can seem so shallow, and full of itself, everybody taking themselves much to seriously.  At times, it can feel as though I am participating in the this large web of nonsense, which can make most women feel like they are on the outside.  And yet, for 27 years I've been standing behind the chair, helping women feel good about the way they look, is a very powerful act.  Because some of these women don't get approval, or made to feel beautiful at home, or at their work, it's vital to their self-esteem that they get it somewhere.  And if I haven't achieved this one thing for my client, than I have failed at my job. I had a client come in the other day, who I've seen for a couple of years.  She's made a couple of changes with her style, usually encouraged by her.  And when she does, she is firm about it.  The last style change, she brought in a picture of herself, long ago.  Her hair just sat in a long, bowl shaped, heavy look, almost looking like a wig.  "Outdated."  I thought to myself.  But I went with it, knowing I'd be able to update the look by letting her know it would look that much better if we made some adjustments. The idea of growing her hair frizzy, curly, hair out was unappealing.  But we began a six month process of growing it out.  We have achieved what she was going for, a feeling of more femininity.  We continue to talk about cutting off the medium brown, colored hair and letting her white hair show.  The color is pretty, I just wonder about the texture and being white.  I would like to see it.

The other day, I decided to flat iron her hair.  She has so wanted straight hair, and yet, she has only chemically straightened her hair once.  I'm relieved, perfectly smooth hair has always been difficult for me to accept.  Well, you would have thought I had made her world perfect.  She loved it!  Ohhing and ahhing out the door.

Then the calls started.  One the next morning, one that afternoon. She could only speak to me.  I called her back and got her machine, after a couple of rounds of calls, we spoke.  "Rebecca, I love my hair."  I laughed, and said, 'Great!'  "No, you have to understand.  I feel pretty.  I have never felt this way about the way I look."  Her husband dropped his jaw.  Men are looking at her.  The calls continued about setting up appointments to flat iron her hair, and then having to change them.

She feels conflicted about this, and I do to.  Her hair needs to be cut, if she is going to be wearing it straight.  Will she do it?  And, she feels at some level, she is fighting her hair. And, now with all the phone calls, it's a lot to manage if I have to be the one to make and move her appointments.  Regardless, the fact that she feels pretty, makes it all worth it. 

Posted on March 21, 2008 and filed under Beauty, Curly Hair, Hairstyling, inspiration, Salon Life.

A La Carte

Okay, my post from two days ago, was a bit of a rant.  Just me, trying to find my place in the social order.  It's looking like I'm the crone, the oldest in the bunch.  I can delicately support those younger than I.  I needed support when I was their age.   In our day long, salon pow wow, with the consulting firm went well.  As I suspected, it will take time to implement the changes we would like to make.  It was good to be on neutral territory.  People did feel comfortable enough to bring up issues with the people they have grievances with.  We did the Myers Briggs Test. It helped to identify what kind of people we are individually, and as a group. I being the only introvert, by five points.  But the majority of the folks there have no follow through.  Interesting to note. And they are all extroverts!  So, they feed off the salon being loud and busy.  What is my work here?  Take deep breaths.

I gave a two-hour class the other night at the salon.  I was coming off the flu, and still a mess, looking back.  I pulled my inner resources together and gave the class anyway.  This class had been scheduled for eons though, I needed to follow through.  As it turned out, the other stylist is an extrovert, and loves being the star, so she held center stage most of the time.  We taught what we had learned at Terri Dougherty's class.  And when it came time for the haircut demo, I completely started making up my own haircut. In my flu stupor, I even said, "Forget the diagram, it's wrong."  And I proceeded to give the model the cut, incorrectly.  I felt I couldn't let the model know that.  I let everybody know afterwards.

From that mistake, I learned the correct way to do the haircut.  It's from this year's collection, inspired by food.  This haircut is awesome for curly or straight hair.  It's called A La Carte.  Three sections and your done.  Not for the Sassoon followers.  I'll put up the pictures, soon as I get them.  We had four fabulous models, all very different from each other.  A great time was had by all.  Another humbling experience to add to the list.

Posted on January 25, 2008 and filed under Curly Hair, Definition of Humility, Hairstyling, Salon Life.

Hair Flying

I've got twenty minutes to write.   Well, hum, I could write about salon politics, which seems to be prevalent.  Or I could write about a new client I had last week.  Luscious, thick, curly hair.  Lovely personality--witty, smart, creative and pretty, in a non-traditional way.  Her look was in-congruent with what seemed to be an alternative profession by dressing conservatively. Her voluminous hair sat heavy on her head, dragging down her already long face.  She was open and clear she wanted to keep length, so we did.  We layered, textured, channeled and lifted her hair, which took time.  A slight a-line, layered bob was the desired shape. 

To see her hair come to life by releasing it's swirls and arcs, and hair flying, an onlooker would think it was a well-thought-out choreographed dance piece.  Her hair came to life as we partnered in the dance.  We I handed her the mirror to look at the profile, she said, "I love it."

I thought to myself as she left, "This is the type of client I want to attract!"  

Everything about the experience left me fulfilled.  Boundaries existed, but they didn't color the whole event, and both of us appeared to be free in the time we shared.  Beautiful.

More please!

Posted on December 3, 2007 and filed under boundaries, Curly Hair.

Curly Hair

Springy, bouncy, frizzy, coarse, or fine doesn't matter, curly hair is the most challenging hair for me to cut. Specifically, the coarse or frizzy head of hair, where the client isn't product oriented. But I love cutting it's twists and turns. I never knew how to cut it before.  Clients would leave with haircuts that looked like pyramids, cones, or entirely too bulky.  I didn't know about texturing or channeling fat curly hair.  The finesse of cutting curly hair has taken years to develop.

And, still, it can leave me baffeled and doubting myself. Everything I've learned about curly hair has come through watching other hairstylists, some online training, and working with it for 24 years. This is where personal growth and professional developement step in.  Perhaps I should attend a class. 

Curly hair, the definition of humility. I bow to you.

Posted on November 16, 2007 and filed under Curly Hair, Definition of Humility.