Posts filed under hairstylist


Today I have a shoot in Marin County.  It's for a permanent makeup artist.  There will be five models, I will step in with the hair. I am going to meet the fashion pr woman in charge of the shoot, Annette Harding.  I responded to an ad looking for fashion interns to help out with a fashion show she is planning for the end of May.  The purpose is to raise money for a non-profit organization called Stop the Spray.  "They" want to spray all of California with poison to kill of the apple moth(can't imagine what it will do for every other living being).  I let her know I'd like to come up with the concepts for the hair and makeup, so today's shoot she invited me in on so we could meet.

My mind is reeling with ideas, and creating a challenge for myself by using no artificial products.  Creating netting with hair, by crimping, teasing slightly than using egg whites to harden the hair over organic shaped forms, and then attaching them to the hair.  I'll start playing this weekend.

Meanwhile, I am sending out photos to clients who have modeled for me, printing all of them, so I can see how everything is translating to camera.  I'm waiting patiently for images from the professional photographers.  I am trading with Dee Conway to choose and print images for my portfolio.

It is crazy energy in the salon. I have moved clients to accommodate the shoot today, and the fashion show the other day.  This of course takes finesse.  I must talk to others in the industry to see how they deal with this situation.  It feels delicate.  I must scramble to find time for a client I needed to move for today.  Three out of the four days I work, she is not available, so I think I must come in on a day off.  Time with my daughter is squeezed, and I leave next week for three days to the mountains.

I have to remember in times like these that it's not quantity, but quality.

Posted on April 18, 2008 and filed under Creativity, hairstylist, inspiration, Salon Life.

Relationships and Break Ups

Oooh!  Time got away from me this week.  As I reflect back on the week, it seems like the predominant theme was break ups.  People are stressed about what is going on in the economy, the war in Iraq, the housing market, and relationship.  I felt helpless to say anything that would make a difference, yet when there is only the two of you, the client and the hairstylist, there is a discomfort sometimes in sitting with what is. One client was married for years, and assumed that meant that they would be together forever.  Apparently not.  My client is the one that needs to move out, find a job, because she is the entrepreneur in the family.  Her whole life will now change, because the other sees no way, but out.   My client had stripped the beautiful peacock colors, and the deep red base from her hair, leaving a pale peach color.  She felt she needed to look more conservative to look for a job.  I couldn't help but feel, she needed to retreat from the world,  she wanted to fade into the background and not be noticed.  I felt sad.

I cut her hair, and occasionally I would ask a question, but there was nothing to say.  My client was devastated, and a bit numb, like it was hard to access feeling around it.  And then I realized, we never really did talk about her wife, except to say how wonderful, and talented she was.  But no guts.  I knew one side of my clients life, the side that she presented to me, and the rest was barracaded, no entry allowed.  And it's not my job to pry.

I said some awkward something, that sounded like keep your chin up.  Uggh!  I felt terrible. I was uncomfortable.

Then, a stylist is in the break room sobbing, because she is breaking up with her guy.  I was moved by her ability to emote, and just let the feelings be there.  And all I did, was ask what's up?  You look down. That's all it took, and the tears came flowing down.  I felt relieved, and I thought back to my client, and hoped that sometime, somewhere, she would let herself cry the tears that need to be shed.

Through the evening, when the day was done, and the unusual warm night touched my skin, the salon is a place where hair is cut and colored, beauty is tended to, and yet we all walk in with our history, our stories, and our humanity.  By interacting, interfacing, we touch each others lives, no matter how we are feeling about it.  And try as we might to have it be about the hair, sometimes the stuff underneath needs to be experienced, and dealt with in the most delicate way.


Posted on April 12, 2008 and filed under hairstylist, Life, Salon Life.

Online Magazine Launch

Yeah!  The Cutting Chair, has officially launched.  We have all been waiting with abated breath.  I know this online venture, as well as a coming out in print version, will do well.  They have high hopes of being a leading hair, fashion, and lifestyle magazine.  I think they can do it. This mulit-faceted site is in it's infancy, but already has come out with some strong visuals, fun content, and tips of the trade, for both clients and professional stylists.  I have written four articles for them.  Two are in this initial launch under articles.   How Green Does Your Salon Grow?  Things you can do to clean up your act.  The other, Interpreting the Runway:  Translating Trends into Wearable Hair.   We will see if others make it in at a later date.  Writing articles is new to me, but I found I enjoyed the research, and getting them in and out. Unlike the book, which is taking eons to bake, writing needs the time to mature.  It calls for a patience, particularly the book, that I didn't know I had.  Kind of like child rearing.

But back to the magazine.  Log on and see what you think.  Let them know what you would like to know more about.  Let's help make this ambitious project a great success.

Posted on April 9, 2008 and filed under Beauty, Creativity, hairstylist, inspiration, writing.

A Tech Geek and/or a Hair Piece Guru

Okay.  Now I have ideas of what I want to do on this blog, pictures, sound, movies.  I'm ready to personalize this, and attract more viewers.  I have the color scheme, I'm working the tape recorder at work, I'm going to have a theme per month and interview people, while having there hair done.  But do you think I  know how to do any of it.  That would be, "NO!" So, anybody out there know of a tech person, that can teach me a few things?  I need somebody now.  Somebody that can do a little research as well.  Send that person my way please.

It's just like the creative process to throw a few wrenches in the mix, and you've got to work with them.  Same with the hair.  I'm working on my concepts for this shoot coming up.  I've got hair everywhere in my dining room, I've got head shots of the models wearing the clothes for the shots, taped to the wall.  And pins, hair elastics, grips, thread, hairnets, combs, brushes,  and a can of hair spray, on the dining room table.  I'm executing a few ideas.  One of the models, I feel I need to see again, the picture is not telling me much.  I visualize something very different for her hair, but I am not sure her hair will accommodate my wishes.  I need to talk with her.

I've teased, sprayed and stuffed a hairnet with hair, to make stuffing for a hair piece I want to add on the one of the models hair, but it's still not quite large enough or, holding the strong shape I want.  Any of you hairdressers out there know how to work with hair pieces?

My daughter worked right besides me, asking me "Mama, is this how you tease?"  She had it right.  I took a picture of one of her do's, I'll post soon as I get the photos.  We have two digital cameras, I broke one, and it's being repaired.  My partner had the other at work, the old regular camera needs a battery.  Thankfully, I had a throw away camera to at least capture some snap shots of the style concepts I'm working with, to show Juarez.    We are back to the technologically challenged part of the story.

Posted on April 4, 2008 and filed under Creativity, Editorial, hairstylist.

A New York Calling

I'm having the itch to move to New York.  I know it is a tough place to live i.e. weather, expensive housing, and noise.  Could I actually break into the hair world there?  This desire has nothing to do with practicality.  It's purely a feeling that perhaps I've outgrown this area, and standing behind the chair.  It would not only be a jump professionally, but the challenge could be quite stimulating.  I'm wanting to move into the editorial world, styling hair for fashion photography, and New York is where it's at in the field, or LA.  But LA is still west coast.  In order to go, I must really develop a great "book", and establish and nurture relationships there.  And I still want to freelance write as well. Can a family of three actually live comfortably there?  How much does one need to make to be comfortable there?  If I go, I want to live in the city, just for the experience, although I hear Brooklyn is great.  But I've always lived in the burbs, and if I'm going to go east, I've got to be in the city.  I want to study more with Giovanni Giuntoli.  He is a gifted hair artist, and a kind person, and I think can take my work to a whole other level.  I'm still integrating what I learned in his workshop three years ago.

Three years ago, in that class, I had the feeling that editorial was the direction I would head in.  And now, I am becoming more serious about it.  I told my partner a couple of days ago, don't worry, last month I wanted to move to Mexico, and this month it's New York.  Tomorrow may be Paris...well, as a matter of fact, Paris is one of the cities included in the master plan.

Could I just travel there instead of moving?   Perhaps.  I do plan to do hair for fashion week, once or twice a year.  I can see how it feels,  how viable,it is.  Does anybody have a relative there, or currently travels there regularly?  Are there any hairdressers reading this who know the industry there?  I'd appreciate any feedback.

Going feels like an expansion into fully realizing myself as a creative person.  It excites me to no end right now.  Creating beautiful hair, inspires me.  

Posted on April 2, 2008 and filed under Beauty, Creativity, Editorial, hairstylist, inspiration.

Editorial Learning Curve

I'm working with hair pieces for this shoot coming up, now on six models, instead of the original five.  I just got the photos of the models dressed in some of the clothes.  Very trendy!  My goal is to execute hair that completes the picture.  I want the finished styles to compliment the total look, but I also want to challenge myself to be creative, and think high fashion.I'm looking forward to this shoot, to developing my skills of hairdressing for camera.

I just completed a shoot on Thursday.  The team-talented photographer Christian Pollock, stylist Krystle E. Hatchett, and her wonderful assistant, and I, are all in the process of developing strong "books".  We tested two models, one lovely female, and one Italian male.  It took me four hours to complete the models.  I felt less pressured about time, even though I know I must improve my time, and will, eventually.  More important to me right now though,  is the ability to execute the concept. 

Now, the stylists were more involved in assisting, and assuring I got the concept, which I was really grateful for.  I don't know if it is normal to have the open dialogue, but it felt necessary to know what the picture was in their head.   I was grateful for the feedback, and communication, I don't know how it could have happened any other way.  Krystle had a strong sense of what she was doing, and what she was going for, and her lovely assistant Kory was a dream.

We had fun, and I learned a great deal.  In case of low lighting, bring readers that are at least 200's.  Practice, practice, practice on as many , and as many looks as possible.  I experienced utter discomfort at times with my learning curve, humbling to say the least.  I need to develop my eye, to know what I am looking for, and how to achieve the end result...only through experience.   I certainly was unabashed to ask for advice.  It's just the way it is right now.  But also I felt self-assured in my abilities to communicate, and work with a team.  Christian was great to work with, easy going, and I like his work a lot, he's got a great eye, and definitely an upbeat manner about him.

I didn't stay for the shoot itself, as it was after 8:00 pm, and I needed to head back to the East Bay.  But the models looked great.  We created a 40's look, i.e. soft wavy hair, on her, with moist, clean makeup on her, and rough, gangster look on him.  I look forward to seeing the shots, and will be sure to post them.  And I want to work with Christian again.

Posted on March 31, 2008 and filed under Beauty, Creativity, Editorial, hairstylist.

Delfina Piretti

juchitan_market_place1.jpgyoga-edit.jpgdelfina-na-marcilena-edit.jpgShe is one of the most lovely, beautiful, talented people I know, and she is a client.  When she sits in my chair, I know I am in for a rich time.  She is an artist, and just returned from Xuahaca, Mexico, and other small towns, like Juchitan. She loved it, walking the streets, going to local markets, and seeing how the women dressed.  The land is barren, and yet the women wear the colors of a rainbow.  You won't see them wearing jeans and tennis shoes, but rather, embroidered dresses, ribbons and flowers in their hair.  And if they are feeling down, they will be sure to dress in the brightest colors.  And, as only traveling to another country can do, she was led inward to her own soul.  Delfina offered, ""Chronicles of travels through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (which Juchitan is a part of) inevitably speak of fascination. Oddly enough, however, rather than express their wonder at the place, the architecture or the natural surroundings, chroniclers confess to having fallen irremediably under the seductive spell of the women." (La Tehuana /Artes de Mexico)

Juchitan is known for being a place where the woman are a cultural phenomenon in and of themselves, with their bodies, their clothing, their community rites and everyday activities, they create an environment, and rhythm of life that is unique to it. They are mythical in the most classical sense of the word, because their worldly existence and living rituals sustain and reproduce that myth. Thought these women are clearly Mestizas, the mythic voyage toward the Tehuana is a voyage to the roots,to the origins. An awed leap not only into the cultural wellspring constituted by the idea of Mexico, but to the buried mythic foundations of culture where matriarchy was apparently the rule. 

When i asked Na Marcelina about this she said it shouldn't be misunderstood that the women 'rule' the men. It's a place where the women are equal to the men, and mostly hold the position as the  primary  breadwinner.  When i asked Na Marcelina about this she said, 'It shouldn't be misunderstood that the women 'rule' the men. It's a place where the women are equal to the men, and mostly hold the position as the primary  breadwinner.'"

The land, the color, the people, the conversation, hearing another language, eating the food, all of it stimulating the mind, the psyche, and remembering what has happened before, and seeing, for brief moments, what the future holds.  Delfina is an artist, and is open to what life brings her, and is not afraid to go after what she wants.  By being open, she was led to an 78 year old Shamana, a wrinkled-faced woman with eyes full of life. She gave a healing, and repeated several times, ""you are the architect of your life".  She then fed her soup, and shared her own story, and gave her a healing.  The "session" lasted four hours and left Delfina changed.

Delfina added, "I needed to hear this for my own healing.  In shamanic tradition they teach that we co-create the universe.  For women it is important to feel empowered to realize our dreams against all odds. This is my wish this for all people. In my work as an expressive arts therapist, I use many mediums to assist in healing and finding greater ease and clarity on the journey called life."

Changes can be hard, and painful, and not to be taken lightly.  Delfina is brilliant at being right where she is, and feeling.  By telling me her story, I feel changed and open, and was reminded, our soul takes us on a trip we can't always understand.  Somehow though, I believe we are led to what we need and ultimately desire.  Upon returning home, and feeling a bit blue, and getting a haircut, she said, "Maybe I will go get a flower and put it in my hair."

Thank you Delfina.

To see some of Delfina's art, check out :

The Insipid Pair of Jeans

Nobody dresses anymore, men or women.  Jeans is all I see, and I find them utterly boring!  I find it very sad.  Everybody looks the same. I do love fashion in and of itself.  The eccentricity, the fabric, the design, the minds that think up new twist on old themes, all delight me.  Even if it is something I don't like, I can appreciate the idea, the concept, the color, or the fabric.  It's pure fantasy!  I appreciate beauty, I always have, and I always will.  When I go to work, with thought to what I am wearing, I feel I adds something to my environment.  It makes me feel connected to my own creativity, to myself, more grounded somehow.  It makes me feel as though I am participating with the life, and the world around me.

I'm not trendy by any means, and I certainly don't buy what other's say is in fashion.  I will look at magazines for inspiration though.  What is happening in fashion does dictate what is going on with hair, they are connected.  And I feel it is my job to inspire my clientele with these images, to inspire them to change, to grow.  And if  I am wearing jeans, I just don't see how it can happen.  Jeans are not me.

I'm not talking about people being uncomfortable, I'm not talking about people buying, buying, and buying.  I'm talking about caring, and tending to their own inner life, to their own joy, to the place that inspires them, and dressing from that place.  Jeans feel to easy.  And, are they a cop out?  Are people just to afraid to look different from anybody else?

Have people become apathetic?  The world is filled with violence, and hatred.  Beauty, love, and speaking up to injustice is the anecdote.  And it starts with ourselves. 

Posted on March 14, 2008 and filed under Beauty, Creativity, hairstylist, inspiration, self-expression.

Beauty School Graduates

The beauty industry turns out thousands of new hairstylists a year from beauty schools all around the world.  And I'm sure you can see the diamonds in the ruff.  Those that handle themselves with enough poise to manage building a clientele, and that can see hair, see where they are going, and most of all, have the courage to continue. Graduating from beauty school is just the beginning.  However, I just attended the San Francisco Institute of Esthetics's and Cosmetology graduation.  And I was inspired by the work these graduates executed on non-professional models.  Color placement and balance were good, the hairstyles were right for the models, and some were adventurous.  These graduates had to put on a runway show, and the hair had to hold up.  The place was packed with people, and employers of top salons were there to spot new talent for their salons.

I was glad I attended.  I felt sort of protective of the new beauty professionals, and touched by their genuine attempt to make the audience proud of their work.  Beauty school is not easy, and being new in the industry is painful.  It's a long haul of making lots of mistakes, learning from them, making little money, and wondering how you can possibly stay with it.  It's hard work, but one of the most fulfilling industries around.  Hairstylists are one of the most satisfied in their work.  But you have to keep challenging yourself to grow, and learn new things.

Thank you graduates for helping me remember where it all started for me, for sharing your creative journey with me with a freshness I hope you never lose.  May you find your own expression through hair, and learn to trust your instincts.

Color Analysis

I attended an evening about image for men and women.  The event is called "A Follow Up."  Anybody who has ever had their colors done by Jennifer Butler, and guests, may take a bag of outfits that they question whether or not they work, and Jennifer will say yeah, or nay.  Watching this process is quite remarkable.  She invited me along to talk about hair, and the changes I would make with the hair of volunteers who were willing to get up on stage.  Jennifer is the queen of color analysis.  I have seen many artists, and she is fabulous at identifying what to accent, finding the feminine within a woman, and the masculine within a man, not to mention what that person's color palette will be, what line designs work best with a particular body type.  This, I'm sure only scratches the surface of Jennifer's repitoire.

Her art seems to consist of her ability to see the essence of a person, and also what quality in that moment does a person want to emphasize, i.e. maybe the client is job hunting, dating, on the board of a women's league, or a high- powered corporate leader.   She seems to operate from a high level of intuition, along with years of training, and a background in fashion. 

She will put together a book for you, that is all about you.  It becomes a valuable resource, whether you are just now dusting of the precious jewel of you, or a veteran fashionista.  Just the few events I have attended, I have seen major transformations occur in people.

The evening was filled with laughter, and ahahs.  I was able to witness not only somebody who is truly gifted, and is living from her essence, but I also saw a generosity that spilled from her to her guests.  Part of the evening consists of the opportunity to let go, and give away the outfits in the bag.  At first, you can see the reluctance of some to let the garments go.  Then, as Jennifer gave the item to somebody else, and seeing how it was so right for that person, people began to see the magic in letting go.  People gave away everything from very expensive, designer clothing, to T shirts and purses.

I think it is a vast body of knowledge that can be helpful to the hairdresser.  Knowing the line designs of clothing, proportions, color, tonal values and how they work with hair, and why is vital information to a hairstylist.  I want to know more for own self-expression, but also in being even more skilled at my craft in helping people manifest their inner beauty on the outside.

I walked away with a confirmed feeling that although color analysis has been around a long time, it will continue to change people's lives as they step into who they really are meant to be.  And, the person who offers the service with as much experience, knowledge, and intuition as Jennifer, is the professional I will see. 

A Salon

Today is the day.  I have gathered some writers for an evening of wine, cheese and crackers, and words, in the salon where I work.  It's happening.  I can't believe it.  I am moved by the amount of support I have in my life, and a lot of that support is from my clients.  How can I thank them?   How can I let them know that without them, I don't know where I would be?  Their love and loyalty has helped to heal a broken soul.  I have come out the other side, resilient, passionate, and a great deal more self-confident. Self-confident enough, that I will share my pages with them, and let them see what goes on this heart of mine.  I will share my short comings, my thoughts about standing behind the chair, my feelings as I am doing so.  I hope for their hearts to be touched by my story, to tap into the universal story.

What compels me to do these things.   I'm not sure.  But I do know it is what I am here to do.  To create a salon has been one of my deepest desires for a very long time.  And to realize my writing life does not have to be seperate from hair, seems the ultimate synthesesis.  I don't have to run from hair to find myself.

Thank you to my loyal partner, friends, clients, coworkers, and SGI community.

Posted on February 28, 2008 and filed under hairstylist, inspiration, Life, Love, Loyalty, Salon Life, self-expression.

High Heels

giselle-3.jpgCordelia AfterZ- CoilsI've often wondered why it is people find high heels attractive on women.  It visually seems off balance to me.  It makes women look like they are teetering, distorting their body into a forward position.  They certainly can't run.  Although maybe they would just kick them off.  Or, maybe they would be dropped at the curb by their lover, so they wouldn't have to walk.  Not so attractive either. The idea of heels on hairstylists is another idea I haven't been able to wrap my mind around.  So we stand all day, at least four days a week at the least, and wear heels?

 I remember when I first started doing hair 27 years ago, I wore spike heels to work everyday.  The older stylists I'm sure thought I was crazy.  They wore cowboy boots.  Oh, yeah those are better for your feet.  There weren't many options for fashionable, comfortable shoes then.

A couple of the stylists at work wear heels everyday.  I marvel at how they do it.  They can't walk very fast.  They have beautiful legs, no apparent varicose veins, unlike my legs, which have squiggles all over the place. 

 Is it cultural?  Both are second generation from other countries.  Some of it seems like they just don't think it's sexy to not wear them.  I missed that part of the beauty school program, where we needed to dress sexy for work. 

These same stylists tell me that in the large, more prestigious salons, you are expected to wear high heels.  And they are unkind if you don't adhere to the off-kilter, sexist, misogynistic, dress code.  I guess I wouldn't last two minutes in a salon like that. 

Yes, as hairstylists we get to play, and be creative with our dress as our self-expression.  It's fun.  Where I draw the line  is when it comes to discomfort, and deformity.

These Z Coils are my favorite!   They are an example of my kind of shoe for work.  I'm not saying I don't wear heels, I just don't wear them 24/7 at work, where I stand most of the day. 

I've already blogged about them, but here is a picture of them.  Cordelia and Giselle turned me on to them.  Here are pictures of them too.

Posted on February 15, 2008 and filed under Beauty, hairstylist, Salon Life, self-expression.

The Best Hairstylist: Have you found one?

Going into a salon to get your haircut can be a mystifying, multi-faceted, complex experience, leaving one fulfilled as they walk out onto the sidewalk, looking for every possible reflective surface to peer into, or not.  One would think to get a haircut would be simple-- go in, put on one of those all so attractive smocks, tell the stylist what you want, shampoo, cut and blow dry.  Done.  But how do you find the best hairstylist for you?

Do they have style?  Do they communicate well? Are they skilled?  Are they ego driven and full of attitude? Do they listen to you? Do they give a great shampoo? Do you walk out loving your do?

These are a few of the things I would look for.  I love going to stylists who are highly creative, who aren't afraid to try new ideas, who are easy to be with, upbeat, postive and communicate well about what they are going to do with my hair.  I want to go to a stylist who is kind.  But I don't want this, if it means I need to deal with too much ego, personal drama etc.

It's not just somebody who works on my hair.  They are touching me, I want somebody I hope to go back to and develop a relationship with, somebody I can trust.   This relationship is personal and professional.  Do I give this to my clients?


Posted on November 10, 2007 and filed under hairstylist.