To style or not to style, that is the question…

…And here are some answers.

When choosing a product for that incredible hairstyle of yours just created by your favorite stylist, it is important to know 3 things:  the texture of your hair, what your new look needs to support that style and the amount of effort you are willing to put forth to create that look.  Let’s look at these, one at a time.

The texture of your hair… This is the first thing your stylist wants to know when creating that style and/or color, it gives a world of information that helps your stylist determine how to best achieve the desired results.  It’s also what you need to know when choosing which product is best for you.  Whether fine, medium or coarse, L’Oréal Professionnel Texture Expert styling products will have what you need.  Let’s find out how to define your texture.  Take one strand of your hair and rub it between your fingers.  If you don’t feel anything = it’s fine.  You feel something gently between your fingers = medium.  The strand you feel has a strong and wire-like feel = coarse.   SMOOTH ULTIME – cream blow styling lotion – will take coarse hair and make it feel silky and smooth, while EXPANSION styling mousse will take fine hair into the world of fullness.

The needed support for that new style… Whether the change is subtle, or a complete makeover, your new look demands the right products to show it off.   If you are desiring a bit of lift at the root, VOLUME ELEVATION or LIFT EXTREME may be what you need.  Combine with DENSITE and you have the perfect foundation to beautifully voluminous hair.

Time and effort… Whether you love spending time on your hair, or are rushing out the door dripping wet, you need a product that speaks to your lifestyle.  Texture Expert products have just what you need to achieve your desired look in the amount of time you allow yourself the effort.  Our curl enhancers are a quick and easy way to creating beautiful bounce.  From ELASTICITE to SPIRAL EXTREME, your curls have never looked better!  Perhaps though, you prefer to play, then welcome to our wide array of products; creams, pomades, gels and sprays are all at your beck and call…

… Ask your stylist for advice on what’s best for you or log onto to find a salon near you that carries L’Oréal Professionnel Texture Expert.

Houston, we have liftoff

No, I didn’t become the first hairdresser in space.  I did though, orbit the Earth on the spaceship LP.  Well, me and over 300 of my closest hair buddies.

Yes, L’Oreal Professionnel took all of us to the moon during our annual Sales, Education and Marketing event.  This was 5 days of learning, yearning and sharing.  From cocktails to reports on sales, both here at home as well as the world picture.  We were inspired by an Enigma, embraced change from within and were schooled on strictly business.  It was a powerful, empowering, exhilarating and exhaustingly good time.

A cocktail party was offered up by LP the evening of everyones arrival and it was a great icebreaker; getting to visit with friends from all over and meet new ones in the process, then a chat over dinner with a few more, allowing our minds to prepare for the coming days in an open and happy state.  Over the next two days we were presented with where we’ve been, where we are going, new tools to teach and be creative, as well as numerous calls to action.

In twenty-ten, LP became the fastest growing professional line on the market and the Number One brand in the company’s portfolio.  WOOT!  The jubilation and collective exhale felt great.  Our goal though, is to be Number One across the board…and achieve we will.  We owe much to the launch of iNOA, our ammonia-free permanent hair color.  It took the industry by storm and continues to grow, forging a paradigm shift and elevating the industry to new heights (I will speak more on iNOA at a later date).  We also though, owe a great deal to the amazing team amassed by LP; these are my brothers and sisters, working hard to elevate our industry with the best tools in the business – from the best team in the business!

Team breakouts during these few days included color swatch challenges and new product introductions, collection work and education gadget play (they gave us projectors!), but they also included HAA; Hairdressers Against Aids.  This is an amazing initiative that I will also soon speak at length on, but suffice it to say that Hairdressers Against Aids is a movement a longtime in coming.  I am proud to become a voice in the fight to end HIV/AIDS.

There are so many highlights at this event, that it is hard to say one was above all others, but our company dinner and collection presentation was certainly near the top.  How do you feed 400 hungry and slightly tipsy hairdressers?  LP does it well.  Great company and food, champagne flowing and for dessert – “Spring Illusion”.   Our spring/summer color and design collection created by Shelley Mohr, Jason Backe, Kristjun Holt and Joe DiMaggio.  Beautifully creative and thought provoking…it hits at the core of what my industry is all about – creating beauty.

Two other standout events were Strictly Business and Embracing Change.  Strictly Business is in essence, what our industry needs to survive.  Scratch that…ANY industry needs to survive.  Before the recession businesses ran high and wild, thinking their plan for success was strong.  Once the recession hit, it exposed the underbelly of deeply flawed planning countrywide.  Strictly Business is a comprehensive plan to teach tried and true business success models, and we at LP once again, lead the way with offering this program to our industry to partner and create success.

The other standout is Embracing Change.  Tanya Chernova is a bright and shining light of enthusiasm, empowerment and reaching ever upward.  Her program gives you the tools to understanding others, while discovering yourself.  LP brought Tanya to us so as to further enhance our tools in teaching and learning.  An accomplished business woman and coach, Tanya inspired us to truly work, create and be what we know we can be…

…and I was fortunate enough to have experienced her twice.  What an honor and what a goal; to do as she does is an opportunity I look forward to creating.

I mentioned it was hard to pinpoint that one thing rising above all others, but find it I did.  It was in the I am happily part of – Team NorCal.  Everyone from my region showed up for this incredible event, and I thank them for being the team of professionals they are.  I am proud to stand alongside them and look forward to sharing in their successes for many years to come.

Yes Virginia, they cut hair in the great northwest too…

…and cut hair we did!

Earlier this year I scampered up to Portland and Seattle for L’Oreal, to share the passion I have for the cut and was privileged to meet and work with some wonderfully talented designers.   Jody and Richelle, comrades in L’Oreal, were my booking agents, handlers and women of wisdom – teaching me ropes I was to soon grab hold of (that is another story, saved for later).  I visited five salons on this three day trip; all of them passionate, talented and involved in the learning experience.  Not meaning to give short shrift, and desiring to honor all for their hospitality and commitment, I list them now:  Tres Bon was first up and a great way to begin my trip.  Teal, followed by Pigment, began day 2, while Teze and Paule Attar rounded out my travels.

Tres Bon, located in Portland, has an energetic and young staff eager to learn.  Many of the staff are in the early years of their career and are looking for that much needed education and direction to grow.  Many of my peers have recently had the pleasure to further Tres Bon’s knowledge and creativity and, knowing how well L’Oreal supports their salon family, Tres Bon will continue to grow.

It isn’t often one gets to step into a space wherein one of your team members, designers of the highest caliber, works.  I had the chance to do this twice in one day.

The following morning I had the privilege of visiting Teal Salon.  This urban setting houses upscale service and talent, mentored by Deannalyn and Ryan, L’Oreal Portfolio Artists and incredible talents to boot!  Teal too, has a young staff and their talents are growing at a rapid pace due to the strong educational structure put forth by the Teal’s.  Presenting education in front of such talent is an experience rarely shared, but one I will always cherish and seek.  I cannot speak enough about Teal and my reverence for them, so I will ask you to see for yourself.  After all, they aren’t called the coolest salon for nothing.  Again I say, a privilege it was to share among talents I revere.  That evening I would have the further honor of Joining Ryan, Deannalyn and Tuesday, their daughter, in breaking bread and talking on our favorite subject.  Something about serious conversation regarding hair just turns me on to no end.  Thank you for such fine food, wine and company.

After leaving Teal Salon, I ventured to downtown Portland and Pigment.  Tina Helmer has put together an incredible team in a front-and-center location, challenging the downtown trollers to find a better place for their style.  Bradford Vinson anchors the color department, as well as being an incredible Portfolio Artist, and was only too kind to partake in my design class (he would also join me for the last day of my trip to Seattle).  When next in Portland, visit Pigment and checkout the beautiful window displays (Tina, you are good) and talented staff.

The next day Bradford and I drove to Seattle and it’s outlying areas.  Bradford went to Tacoma and I was carted to Teze Salon in Puyallup.  They were in the throws of a move to their new location, but were eager to learn and share.  Imagine my excitement at having over a dozen wonderful designers fully engaged, hairs flying and all!  A truly wonderful experience and I look forward to seeing Teze Salon’s new digs soon.

Last, but certainly not least, Paule Attar Salon and Day Spa. This presentation was a collections class given by Bradford and myself.  He of color, I of design.  We had the opportunity to show our work on two models, and one of them was Paule herself.  I love this place and Paule Attar especially, having had the privilege of showcasing uphair styling there in the past.  Someday soon, I plan to visit the spa section of this fabulous place…pampering the priority.

Again, this was all achieved; five presentations in three days, and my time north, though quick, was incredible.  Honored to share always, especially in front of such talent, and even more so when those talents are L’Oreal peers.

Thank you everyone, for such hospitality.

DavidK at SOHO

To work alongside the talented people I do on a daily basis is an honor.  To be present amongst pure talent is a blessing from another source…

…David Kinigson is pure talent.

I was fortunate this past October to be at L’Oreal Professionnel’s SOHO Academy, wherein I assisted in “Alternative Inspiration: The Cyberhood Collection” by DavidK Space.  Pure, unadulterated cutting at its finest!  An incredible opportunity for any stylist, especially wherein yours truly is concerned.  To talk theory, to breakdown the cut, to challenge the very universe I roam is a space I take up residence as much as possible.  DavidK lives next door.

The art of the cut is an ever evolving theoretical study and, in my career, I have been fortunate to be influenced and inspired by many incredible designers.  Some directly, while others from a distance.  First and foremost (everything always comes back to her) is Diane Gentellalli.  She pushed, prodded and engaged my creativity to a level standard not met since…by anyone.  It was an euphoric experience to study under such genius.  Indeed, my work has since come back to the roots laid by her; the influence being so strong.  There were many ‘tweeners (Fekkai, Sassoon, Llongueras, Mascolo, MaBurra, Sahag) leading up to meeting David, some direct and others inspired, and the path could not have been any different, varied or greater than the one I walk now.

For one thing the influences and mentors above allowed me to develop techniques I can call my own.  All artists and craftsmen develop their own style and approach based on their teachings, whether direct or indirect, conscious or not.  We call these techniques ours, but they aren’t.  These are but the skills honed through tireless practice and study, bringing in one while discarding another.  Don’t get me wrong – I own my approach, but I am an amalgam of many.

In Joining L’Oreal Professionnel, I was introduced to Michael McCune.  It is important to mention Michael as he is the creator of our TextureCutting program.  (I shall not delve into it’s defining principles at this point, leaving it for another day).  TextureCutting too, draws it’s influence from afar, but is now thoroughly imbedded in many a conscience, mine included, as a singular theory to hair design.  In meeting Michael I found a peer speaking the same language and living the same approach to hair as I.  We have shared theory, technique and verbiage over these past few years and his ideas have further developed my skills as I have continued to explore the cut.  In working with David Kinigson I witnessed a furthering of my approach to design.

David’s 2 day course at SOHO academy took his students away from pragmatic fundamentals in hair design to a more internally inspired, yet thoroughly technical approach to design creation.  To speak and think logically with one’s approach, but to draw internally – from the gut, from the heart.  David has written a school curriculum textbook that breaks down everything related to hair; be it technique, presentation, professionalism, etc.  I have it and wish I had it back in school.  This stuff just wasn’t taught back in my day, only learned through experience.  What a resource for the young up and comers!  David’s time at SOHO did tap the internal hairdresser, but he tapped it through logic and passion.  His passion to share is glaring, and anyone having the opportunity to share in that passion, is truly indebted.

David was surrounded by a stellar and talented team in Parker, Melrose and Anita (with many others lending hands), and it was plainly evident how much an influence he has on everyone; their talents and confidence anchored in knowledge and practice.  I especially shine a light on young Anita for hers is a talent a year plus removed from school, but showing wisdom many more years removed.  A rising star indeed.

David’s is a TextureCutting approach expanded upon through his years of study and dissection.  He shared techniques that allow anyone, using any approach in cutting (be it vertical, horizontal, etc.), to take that cut to a new place previously unknown… Finished.

Yes, finished.  Just when you think there is nothing left in the fridge!

Hello, Twenty-Eleven!

First and foremost I bid a very Happy New Year to each and everyone of you.  It has been a spell since I last posted, having fallen off the blog wagon for much of 2010.  I have, following this post, a couple of others to share, but do not plan to dwell on the past, other than to say that last year brought much in the way of excitement.

I look instead, to this year in front of us and, though it be cold and wet outside, the sun will shine bright and warm.

Many happy days ahead and a very Happy New Year always.

Room for one more

Hello readers!  I would like to tell you about a marvelously quaint salon in San Diego…FREELANCE.  Owned and operated by a wonderful couple, Basil and Janet not only share in the duties of running a salon, they share a mutual passion for hair.   The passion shows all the way through to their staff.

FREELANCE SALON is located on Fifth Avenue at Pennsylvania in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego.   Balboa Park is just a stones throw away and surrounding the salon are some delectable eateries. But the most important place to be is in one of the many salon chairs.  The staff is wonderful and their craftsmanship is second to none.  From cuts to color, relaxers to styling, FREELANCE has the talent and education you demand.  The reason I tell you all this is because, for a few days each month, I call this gem home.   Packed to the gills, but they found a place for me (and I thank you).

That’s right, I now ply my trade at this wonderful new locale.  April was my first visit there and my clients really enjoyed the new space.  Quite a few questions and raised eyebrows from them, wondering why I made the move, but happy clients just the same (for the record, since your’e probably asking too, it was just time to move on).  Everyone there, especially Diane and Abby, helped my clients to feel at home.  And they have all your favorite products to choose from.

For those of you yet to visit me there, or if your’e looking for a new home for your hair, visit FREELANCE…they will take great care of you!

beautiful is what you are

Canadian Clothing, Photos and More…(oh, my)!

Hello, avid readers.  Recently, I was fortunate enough to be part of a photoshoot for a Canadian clothing firm’s catalogue.  Mark’s Work Wearhouse was shooting in sunny San Diego because well, where else does one find sun this time of year?  The shoot was great fun and I hope a relationship forms with them and their PR firm – Watermark (big thanks to Tanya), so I can remain employed.  Many thanks to the wonderful makeup artist  Erin Svalstad, for recommending my talents.

And speaking of photos, look to my gallery for the latest of my works.  To refresh, back in January I worked on a shoot with Shana Schnur that I called “yarnplay”.  Together with a wonderful team (Jensee, Nora, Libby and Liz), we created some seriously beautiful imagery, and hope that upon viewing, you will think likewise.  Shana just exhibited some of these pictures at the Visual Arts Gallery in New York, a great accomplishment for anyone!  We plan on sending images out in hopes of sharing them with others.  Come July, when I’m back in New york, we will shoot again.  And this time, I hope to expand the shoot over a few days, being sure to squeeze as much creativity from all as I can.  Did I say more?  Indeed, there is always more to share and I will do just that.

I’m working hard in the areas of L’Oreal, Salon Marzia and QOD…no rest for the hungry!

Classes and shows are in full swing now with L’Oreal and beauty abounds.  My travels have me visiting some dynamic salons filled with wonderful designers.  I love sharing with my peers and this is the perfect outlet, allowing me to delve into the creative and educational worlds I am so passionate about.  Being an artist for L’Oreal keeps me focused on ever sharpening my skills, which only serves to better care for clients and share with stylists.

I’m building and building and building at Salon Marzia right now and, should you know of someone needing some beauty guidance, feel free to drop my name.  My greatest ability to build a client base is by relying on all of you.   Friends, brides and event followers all need their hair done and I am the one to do it.  Whether in San Francisco, San Diego, points west, east, north or south, I am ready available.

Having added QOD – the premiere Brazilian Keratin system, to my folio, I am now ready to tackle the latest craze in the beauty industry and, if you suffer from frizzy, bulky, worn-out hair, or just desire to lessen your curl, call on me.  I am excited about this new technology, and even more excited to see QOD takeover the relaxer industry.  That is why I work so hard with the company to assure it’s success.

That’s about it for now…a bit rambling, but I am just that excited!

beautiful is what you are

Spring/Summer 2010 Summit

Follow me, walking backwards:   It begins with some jazz in the background, sleeping dogs surrounding me, it’s raining outside and I’m still wiped out from the midnight landing after a six hour flight I waited five hours for to actually get off the ground.  Are you with me so far?

Why is it that a supershuttle ride from SOHO to Newark Airport takes 20 minutes, while the reverse takes over an hour?  I’m just sayin’!  Anyway, I missed the wrap session at our summit to catch that shuttle which, given that I saw Noah building his ark while buckets of water crashed all around us and umbrellas flew by without their owners , picked me up at 3pm – only to deposit me at the airport where I promptly began the 5 hour exploration of my exhaustion.   That said, to all my L’Oreal teammates I didn’t get to say goodbye to; there you go and all the love I have to spare.

Two days of practicing and sharing in the newest of collections soon to a salon near you.  Jo Blackwell and Suzi Bond created the BEAUTIFUL colors while Michael McCune and Kristjun Holt knocked out the OH-SO-TIGHT designs.

Our coming collection (see blog title) is called “LOGBOOK”, referring to the escapism and desire to remove ourselves from so much of what this recent past and present have been giving us.  What with recession, wars, job losses, a failing political system and now a horrendous earthquake – we look to escape and forget.  This collection, inspired by the runways, evokes the desire to explore, getaway and enjoy by creating the world we truly want to have; one of recline and repose, of exploration and adventure…and always of looking good!  The color schemes evoke sunrises and sunsets, the undulating waters we love to wade in and the ease and simplicity of life when experiencing such events.  The design element is destination based, the places you will find those experiences.  Rio, Ibiza, Sedona (can we all go…now!) – all have the freedom of movement and relaxed structure representative of vacations.  Put them together, pack your bags and kiss the world goodbye.

We spent two days working on the collection; practicing what we preach and preaching what we practice.  Time now to practice more; preparing for the moment we, as L’Oreal artists, are sent out to share with our fellow designers and clients alike.  On a personal note: feel free to ask me about the collection as I will most assuredly begin planting the seeds of change for the coming sunshine.

My Saturday began with the earlybird special, a 7:30 flight to New York.  For those of you having traveled west to east, you know it’s an all day affair.  Upon arrival I made my way to the Four Points Sheraton in SOHO – quaint and cozy, where all of us hairdressers stayed for our summit.  I also met up with the team of talent that helped knock out an incredible photoshoot that night.  And my room doubled as the photo studio – an incredibly cozy affair, given that New Yorkers seem to never travel alone.  At it’s peak the room had THIRTEEN bodies, piles of clothing and luggage, and beauty equipment galore.  Good thing the average height was around 5’5″, even while including our 5’10” beautiful model, Libby and my ever so grandly statured roommate, Laurant (he was so great and patient while we invaded his space).

The photo team consisted of the aforementioned Libby, the fashion styles of Liz Wachstein, incredible makeup of Jensee Etania, the creative eye of Nora Kobrenik and my new and dear friend, the ever so talented Shana Schnur, behind camera.  This incredible team and their support crew (did I mention New Yorkers travel in packs) so capably translated my vision – and added theirs for the better, in creating such beautiful imagery.  I cannot wait to share these images with you all!  Soon, I will post them everywhere and for everyone to see.  For now though, a sneak peek.  

Well, that was my weekend…three days full of hair and of little sleep.  Creativity busting from it’s seams.  A truly wonderful time was had and I send my heartfelt thanks to everyone for making it so special.

Beautiful is what you are!

Pre-summit Portland

Portland, Oregon and Jody Lampi were the gracious hosts of this Spring/Summer sneak-peek and educational, held for the first line of offense in L’Oreal’s quest for hair world dominance.  And both hosts were front, center and on top of their game.

I arrived direct from San Diego in the wee hours of the night to find my roommate had yet to arrive (or so I thought – the hotel not being too keen on organizational skills).  Unpack, brush the tooth and off to bed it was for me; the next morning, and over the coming days, I will be with peers as we further hone our skills and soak in the new collection: LOGBOOK.  More to come with regards to this newest of collections after the coming weekend’s beauty summit.  Oh yes, we hairdressers (at least us L’Oreal acolytes) partake in summits.

This gathering of the hands was spread over three days and attended by brothers and sisters in hair from parts west and northwest.  Dawn Mink, the trainers trainer, shared with us the latest techniques, in both color and design, of the coming season.  It may be raining and raining and raining, but we were thinking spring and summer and vacation. Whether refined or the adventurous type, this collection travels well (I just love these little collection hints…don’t you)!

An adventure of an other type was presented by our resident foodie – Vivian Grimaldo, and she did not disappoint.  Vivian was in charge of our menu and took on this task with serious gusto.  We went Peruvian, Thai and the kitchen sink, eating to our hearts content, and discovered new flavors and dishes and a Portland I had not known before.  The food was INCREDIBLE!  I tip my hat to 50 Plates, Pok Pok and, last but not least, Andina (a must visit again, when next northbound).  Thank you, Vivian and thank you, Portland for a happy belly (and a special thanks to Viv for a delectable birthday dinner at Andina).

Fond memories, inspired education and lasting friendships made for a great stay.  Thanks again, to each and all.

Brazilian Keratin treatments and the New Year

Mark my words, it’s going to be a BIG year for QOD, or Brazilian Keratin system.  A BIG YEAR!  And why, you say…

…This treatment – for ridding your hair from unwanted frizz, or for softening the curls in your hair, is not like those straighteners from the recent past.  QOD is not a permanent treatment, but rather a semi-permanent system designed to treat your hair with the utmost care, focusing on it’s health and allowing your hair to show up again, frizz and all, after a spell of three to six months.   Take a little curl out or take it all away, your choice.  You, your hair and anyone having to ever wait on you will be oh, so happy.

This system, specifically QOD (pronounced quad) – the system I use, is a deep conditioning treatment that also happens to smooth the hair’s cuticle while enriching and strengthening it’s bonds.  The depth and strength of QOD allows for the most incredibly supple and moving hair, providing a beauty only worn by those fortunate few (with that perfect hair).  And if you color your hair, all the better reason for this treatment.  In fact, the greater the hair’s integrity has been compromised, the better the outcome after just one session with QOD.  No longer will you need to fight the frizz that comes with humid weather (why do you think it comes from Brazil?); QOD will have you traveling from Las Vegas to Miami without fear of the ever unpopular frizz explosion!  Maintenance is at a minimum, while your beauty has just been kicked up to max.             Check out this newest of relaxer techniques…you – will – love – it!

beautiful is what you are