C´est la vie! Who thinks about hair damage on the way to beach? Do surfers care if their hair gets even blond-er? Will your work-out fanatic client ever think about her ponytail or swim cap? Well, if they´re your clients — they better! It´s your job to know about your client´s lifestyle, how it affects their hair´s health and looks, and to teach them how to prevent damage from their own habits. In fact, Diana Gil-liard, owner of CitySalon in Huntington Beach, California reg-ularly takes her student stylists down to the beach to gather subjects for a hair damage lesson. “We just grab locals from the beach and when we´re done the amount of sand left in the bowl tells the tale of all the damage they put their hair through. I mean if you´re rubbing your sandy hair with a wet towel you might as well run sand-paper all over it!” empha-sizes Gilliard. But it´s a great way to teach, first-hand.
When asked about correcting the after-summer effects of chlorine, salt, sun exposure, rough treatment, ponytails, and sweat, seven stylists we interviewed emphasized the value of the consultation first and foremost. “As soon as I see and feel the hair, I start asking questions,” explains Maria Szymanksi, Sr. Hair Designer at JCPenney Matrix Concept Salon in Spring Hill, Florida. “I ask them about their lifestyle outdoors, in the pool, in the sun, at the beach and then about their styling habits to see how much more abuse their hair takes. When hair is de-hydrolized (the cuticle is broken and the hair is over-pro-cessed from chemicals, sun or combination) I can see it and feel it when it´s dry because it has no elasticity and breaks easily. When it´s wet it feels mushy and slick.” All the stylists reiterate that even when clients don´t tell the truth (and they don´t!) you have to sleuth it out for yourself, so don´t scrimp on the consultation! “When your client gets involved in her hair´s health, she becomes more powerful and the more she´ll want to come back to you,” asserts Don Bewley, owner and founder of the eco-friendly hair care line, Eufora Intl.
COLOR: Green with envy? Or is it chlorine?
When the green-headed monster heads for your chair, don´t run in horror! When hair´s disulfide bonds break down, minerals from sun, salt, and water exposure cause the undesirable fad-ing and discoloration. Experienced stylists agree the removal of that undesirable greenish, dull hue can be easily accomplished at the bowl with a purifying, chelating, or cleansing shampoo made specifically to remove that type of mineral build-up. You can even see the discoloration transfer out of the hair and into the bowl very quickly. Almost every salon line carries a cleans-ing formula like Bumble & Bumble´s Sunday Shampoo, Eufora´s new EDTA-free Urgent Repair Shampoo, Matrix Alternative Ac-tion Shampoo...just ask your distributor. “We always start with the purifying shampoo no matter what. It´s the first step toward hair health!” exclaims Angie Hofelich of Vanitylab Salon in Cleve-land, Ohio. And clarified hair more readily absorbs new moisture treatments and color processes without the build-up that would have prevented proper adhesion. But if that´s not enough fora discolored blonde, whether natural or not, many stylists rely on variations of the quick ‘bleach bath´ to do the trick. Hofe-lich´s prescription: “At the bowl we combine water, shampoo and a little bit of lightening powder. But you have to stay with it because it happens very fast! Then we simply rinse, shampoo and move on.” What if your client´s not blonde? You can usea professional color removal product like L´oreal Effasol to lift out discoloration quickly and follow with a color sealer treatment like L´oreal Power Dose Serie Expert to further seal hair shaft, says Hofelich. Another way: “If discoloration is really bad I will make up a formula of a demi-permanent hair color with a little bit of gold and red (to neutralize the green) and run it through just long enough to see the green disappear. Watch it because it happens within minutes,” advises Szymanski. Sandra Taylor Furst, a stylist at Raymond Marc Salon in Walnut Creek, California and owner of Style Like a Pro (www.stylelikeapro.com ), approaches hi-light touch-ups this way: “I hi-light summer hair wet because it helps to even the porosity of the hair and I never pull any color through damaged ends if they´re especially light (I´ll try to get clients to trim off that damage!) Instead, I put in a few low lights around the perimeter and back of the head. Then, when you highlight the top it will make the hair on the top of the head look even brighter and give more depth so hair doesn´t look fried. And I never put lowlights around the face within an inch of the hairline!”
CUT: Do I have to?
Most stylists agree that a great cut is the best way to rida client of damaged hair. But clients are so reticent to make the change. “Seriously,” says Diana Gilliard, “ask your client if they would rather have their longish straggly, frizzy hair with green hi-lights — or a shiny new bob or long-layered shape to show-off instead?” Now´s the time to have your head full of the latest trends and newest looks to lure your summer-ravaged clients. “Really, the only way to get rid of the dam-age is to cut it,” explains Glenn Sirman, owner of Luna Salon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “I suggest a new style — a new look for a new season. Especially for new stylists coming out of beauty school — they always look a little fried and dried from all the self-experimentation!” Szymanski adds, “I always recommend a good blunt cut to restore hair health.” And if you see whiteness at the ends — no color at all — try to suggest just removing that damage so hair takes color better and looks less wild. “If your clients get a tiny trim when they come in for a hi-light, the effect will be so much richer and shinier,” emphasizes Taylor-Furst. But should you cut damaged hair wet or dry? When it comes strictly to chlorine damage, Emily Shonka has tons of experience: “We cut this kind of damage wet because you can feel the slimy ends only when it´s wet — they show you exactly where to cut!” she explains. Conversely when it comes to other types of summer damage many stylists cut dry like Edmondo Blando, stylist and owner of Salon Vanity in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “Damaged hair from summer abuse needs a good shaping. We cut dry to see where to remove damage and how the hair falls in its new shape,” he explains. Most stylists agree that layering isa great all-over damage cure and to keep the cut less dras-tic for skittish clients. “If you can always encourage clients to get a ‘health trim´ to remove breakage and split ends — Justa teeny quarter inch will do the trick!” urges Hofelich.
While stylists may have different prescriptions for caring for hair to prevent and smooth damaged hair, one fact remains constant: Teach your clients what you know and send them home with high quality products. “So many hair dressers don´t do the face-to-face and tell the ‘why.´ It´s actions not inten-tions that make an impact on how great a client looks every day. You may have the best ideas or intentions, but if they´re not carried through to your client then it never really hap-pened!” explains Hofelich. Diana Gilliard adds, “Clients LOVE to learn my techniques. I don´t just sit and talk about the kids. I show them what and how I am doing different things with their hair. After all, they´re paying you for it!” Also urge clients to think of their hair just like their skin and focus on deep-conditioning treatment whether it´s an in-salon treatment or an at-home professional product. Conditioning treatments are a great add-on, advises Blando who has a menu of versatile in-salon treatments. He uses the Milbon Crede Pliant and the Milbon Nigelle HY 3-step treatments to repair beach frizz. And Blando even creates his own deep-conditioning techniques that keep clients coming back for more. He advises charging the price of a touch-up or a single color process for your spe-cialized deep conditioning treatments. Nick Penna, lead stylist and owner of two SalonCapri salons just outside Boston, Mas-sachusetts swears by his Shu Uemura In-Salon Deep Condition-ing Ceremonies, custom-mixed for each client´s damage and relaxation needs. And every product line has new at-home conditioning treatments like Bumble & Bumble´s new Creme de Coco Masque. Many stylists also find innovative ways to mix up conditioning with coloring to make it gen-tler on the hair. Blando explains, “I mix 10-15 ml of Moroccanoil to one ounce of process prod-uct: perms, color treatments, and especially for scalp massages! It creates an even canvas, an even pH for the color to adhere more evenly and the result is always better, shinier and longer-lasting!” Sandra Taylor-Furst relies on her Kerastase Oleo-Relax in the salon to keep ends moist from the inside out. “It´s great for tangles and as a leave-in for the perfect blow dry, too. It´s not greasy so it seals cuticle down with the steam from a flat iron. In fact, you can iron faster, easier and with less tendency to frizz.” About constant home-care, Szymanski says, “I always give my clients ‘the lecture´ about caring for their hair in the summer.” Most, like Szymanski and Gilliard, advise soaking hair with fresh water before hitting the pool or beach to help halt the absorption of chlorine and salt. But other stylists take it even further by suggesting professional leave-in conditioners to seal down the hair shaft or new pre-swim/sun formulas like Matrix Protective Hair Oil or Daily Mist, Bumble & Bumble Prep Lotion, and Emily Shonka´s Circle of Friends Pre-Swim Condi-tioner, part of her new line of custom-blended hair care or Sandra Taylor Furst´s new Start Fresh Mist from Style like a Pro. In fact, Eufora´s new Urgent Repair Replenishing Treatment is perfect for pre- and post-swim application for hair and skin and Davines offers Replenishing Hair & Body After-Sun Wash, too. Sending clients home with a specific shampoo for weekly clarifying and for daily protection for color-treated hair, like Davines new Alchemic line, is something all stylists agree on.