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Understanding Your Hair Texture

Those of us blessed with naturally textured hair know that it definitely has a mind of its own. While a gorgeous cascade of curls can be incredibly swoon-worthy, an untamed “bird’s nest” is decidedly less so. Textured hair requires its own unique care that starts with the cut and extends through everyday styling.

A guide to understanding hair texture

By embracing curls with the proper treatment, they will embrace you right back. The key is understanding your hair type and texture and adjusting your approach to highlight your hair’s unique attributes, rather than trying to fight against them. Go head-to-head against a curl pattern and you’ll come out the loser, every single time.

Textured hair cannot be defeated, but it can be worked with and its powers used for the greater beauty good. Here, we will get into the different types of textured hair and how to care for them properly, so that we can all stop working against our natural curliness and learn to embrace it.

Types & Textures

These two terms are often used interchangeably by the beauty layperson, but they do not mean the same thing. Most people get confused with where hair type ends and hair texture begins and how density plays a part. Put very simply, your hair type is whether it is straight, wavy or curly. Your hair texture is whether it is fine, medium or coarse, and your hair density refers to how many hairs are actually on your head.

To give you an idea of the starting point for determining whether you are “normal density,” natural blondes tend to have an average of 130,00 total hairs on their head, redheads about 80,000 and brunettes roughly 100,000. Therefore, it’s completely possible for hair to be fine, curly and thin, straight, coarse and thick, or wavy, medium and normal–or any combination of those.

Different Hair Textures do different things

If that has your head (and hairs on it) spinning, you’re not alone. One of the most widely recognized ways of “typing” hair was developed by Andre Walker in 1997 and it has been widely credited for the majority of subsequent hair typing systems. Walker’s system consists of breaking hair down into several categories and subcategories based on curl pattern, texture and density combinations. You start with:

  • Type 1-Straight
  • Type 2-Wavy
  • Type 3- Curly
  • Type 4-Very Tightly Coiled/Kinky

 

From there, each type has a defined set of subcategories, for example:

  • Type 1a – Straight (Fine/Thin) – Hair tends to be very soft, shiny and difficult to hold a curl. Hair also tends to be oily, and difficult to damage.
  • Type 1b – Straight (Medium) – Hair has lots of volume and body.
  • Type 1c – Straight (Coarse) – Hair is normally bone straight and difficult to curl.

the LOIS hair texture grading method

Another popular, and slightly more complex method of “defining” your curls is the L.O.I.S. system, which stands for:

L: Bend

O: Curl

I: Straight

S: Wave

Hair is further classified by texture (which, remember, means the thickness of each individual strand). Beyond the curl pattern and texture, natural textures can also be classified by how prone they are to frizz and the level of sheen (light reflection). Typically, these classifications are broken into five types:

  • Thready
  • Wiry
  • Spongy
  • Cottony
  • Silky

Get To Know Your Hair

Let’s start with curl pattern. Here’s what you’ll need to determine your curl pattern:

  • A freshly washed and completely dry head of hair with no product in it.
  • A piece of thread.
  • A piece of white paper.
  • A low pain threshold.

First things first, take a good, long look at your hair and determine if it’s a uniform type throughout. It’s very possible to have different curl types in different areas of your head. If that is the case, select a good length strand from the type of curl most prevalent across your head. Pluck the hair out and lay it on the paper, next to your piece of thread (which should be stretched out straight).

Comparing your hair strand to the thread, here is a quick guide to bend, using the LOIS method:

  • L: Your hair has a sharp bend to it, like the letter “L.”
  • O: Your hair coils around itself, and looks like an “O.”
  • I: There is no discernible bend to your hair.
  • S: There are little peaks and valleys in your hair strand, similar to the letter “S.”

Next, we will move onto the frizz assessment. These two barometers will play the biggest parts in determining the best care and styling routine for your hair type. For example, the amount of frizz your hair is prone to balanced with the level of natural sheen is highly indicative of your hair’s moisture levels. Knowing this will help you adjust your care and styling routine accordingly for the best possible results.

The next time you wash your hair, pay close attention to the following:

  • How quickly/easily does your hair get wet?
  • How long does it take for your hair to dry (naturally)?
  • How much does your hair frizz when you air dry?
  • Does your hair reflect a lot of light in its natural state? How about when you pull it back into a style?

Now that we’ve taken some time to assess those points, let’s get the breakdown:

  • Thready: Hair has a low sheen with high shine if the hair is held taut (as in a braid), with low frizz. Wets easily but water dries out quickly.
  • Wiry: Hair has a sparkly sheen, with low shine and low frizz. Water beads up or bounces off the hair strands. Hair never seems to get fully wet.
  • Cottony: Hair has a low sheen, a high shine if the hair is held taut and has high frizz. Absorbs water quickly but does not get thoroughly wet very fast.
  • Spongy: Hair has a high sheen with low shine with a compacted looking frizz. Absorbs water before it gets thoroughly wet.
  • Silky: Hair has low sheen, a very high shine, with a lot or low frizz. Easily wets in water.

Getting to know our hair on a slightly more intimate level makes it easier to determine the proper cutting, styling and care techniques to employ in order to get the best possible results. Each of our hair is utterly unique and it’s not until we begin to understand it a little better that we can learn to embrace it.

Taboo Topics for Salon Conversation

 

There’s always been this “anything goes” rule in hair salons and barbershops that very little on the conversation docket is ever really considered off limits. Like in the movies Steel Magnolias and Coming To America, it’s where some (if not most) of the best conversations occur. Behind closed doors, salons and barbershops turn into microcosm communities and tight-knit social circles.

But as much as we love talking about this and that, there are a few topics that are a bit taboo for the both of us to be discussing. It’s not that we don’t care about how you feel on a specific matter; it’s more along the lines of utilizing our time together in the most efficient and productive way possible.

And maybe, when we get everything important discussed, and after we take into consideration the people around us who may be in earshot, we can broach the taboo topics. We can see what each other is comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings on, because, at the end of the day, we’re still your stylist, your ear, your sounding board and your friend.

Politics are not a great salon conversation topic

Politics

Especially during an election year, it can be a bit challenging to avoid the political conversations. From constant updates on social media to nightly mentions on the news, this taboo topic is in our lives 24/7 it feels like, and what a better reason to take a break from it all!

Instead of talking about politics, let’s plan on talking about the products that are being used on your hair and our recommendations for aftercare. To ensure that your hairstyle (and even color service) is going to look the same after your appointment, we need to educate you on how the products work, how to best use them and more importantly, when to use them. Consider this the insurance policy on your beauty investment.

Religion

Let’s explore the thought that faith is intensely personal and can ignite situations pretty quickly. The last thing that we want in a salon is the second crusade. Religion is another one of those taboo topics that we should do our best in avoiding, even if we share the same religious beliefs.

Religion is not a good salon conversation topic

Instead, let’s talk about routine and maintenance. We need to go over how often you should be washing and conditioning your hair, especially if you’ve received a color service. If you’ve received a new set of bangs that day, then you’re going to need to know when you should expect getting those trimmed. When we say you should book your next appointment in four to six weeks, it’s because your roots have most likely made an appearance, your hard part will be grown out and your overall style will be in need of reshaping by the time.

Gossip & Negativity

Mean Girls is a great movie, but being a mean girl (or guy) is not a great character trait to embrace. While there is a definite therapeutic benefit to discussing issues you may be having with someone or conflict happening between other people, there comes a point where discussing and “venting” ends and speculation and mudslinging begins. We don’t have time for that. We also don’t have much time for negativity.

We care about you, and not just how you look, but also how you feel. What makes us really happy is to hear about all the positive things that are happening in your life. But we know everyone has down moments, obstacles that need to be conquered and roadblocks that need passing. Absolutely, without a doubt, we will lend advice when asked and a shoulder when needed, because we are here for you.

Negativity is can be a bit infectious and before you know it, everyone is running down the rabbit hole of pessimism. If we can curb the negativity, let’s do it from the get-go.

Instead, let’s talk about how you’re going to “get the look.” This is where we, as your hairstylist or barber, can teach you techniques that we’ve mastered. Like how to properly hold your hairdryer, create waves with a flat iron or style an amazing pompadour, giving you these tips and tricks is going to be more beneficial for in the long run than discussing what so-and-so did.

Off Color Humor

Being vulgar is a quality that doesn’t have a place in salons and barbershops. Sure, we all like to joke and have a good time, but let’s save that type of conversation and behavior for another location, like maybe over drinks or at your next barbecue. We’re here to make you look and feel gorgeous and handsome and when either one of us is crossing that line into the crudeness, it makes the situation and people involved look less attractive and fouler.

Instead, let us show you some others way to style the look that’s been created for you today. A daytime, nighttime, and special occasion style can be created out of a good haircut, and by equipping you with the right knowledge and training, we can show you just how versatile your cut can be.

Sex

And since we’re keeping off color humor out of the salon, can we please try to keep all the “between the sheets” conversation…between the sheets? This is the type of subject matter that can leave other clients in the salon who are within earshot feeling very uncomfortable. If it’s something you really want to discuss, then maybe we can meet outside the salon at a later time and date.

Sex and romance are not great salon conversation topics

Instead, let’s discuss your next and what will want to achieve the next time we see each. This is especially important if you’re going through a massive color transition or corrective color overhaul. If you’re growing your hair out for your wedding in 6 months from now, then we’re going to talk about what is going to be done the next time we see each. The more proactive we can all remain with your overall look, the more beneficial it will be in the end.

Quick Takeaways To Remember:

  • Talk about how products work and when to use them in place of politics.
  • Talk about routine and maintenance instead of religion.
  • Talk about how to “get the look” instead of gossiping and dwelling on the negative.
  • Talk about how to make the look versatile instead of being vulgar.
  • Talk about what to expect at the next appointment instead of sexual encounters.

 

5 Questions To Ask Your Stylist

 

Walking into the salon can be exhilarating and even just a tiny bit intimidating at times. When you sit in the styling chair, we immediately start asking questions, including the most important one of them all, “And what are we doing today?”

But this beauty interrogation isn’t one-sided by any means. We want and encourage you to ask us questions as well. Sometimes it may be a bit difficult to know exactly what to ask so we put together the five most important questions that will provide you with the information you need to seriously up your beauty game at home.

Consider All Ideas

The Question: What would you do with my hair?

Let’s say you’ve come to your appointment with a clear idea of what you’d like done. You’ve pinned pictures to Pinterest boards and even have some magazine pages dog-eared. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ve walked into the salon without knowing exactly what you want, and that’s also okay. One of the questions we love to hear is “What would you do with my hair,” because it gives us the opportunity to collaborate with you and show you what makes us so good at what we do—creativity.

Hair Salon questions to ask your stylist

Will It Work

The Question: Will this new cut/style or color work with my lifestyle?

If you’re working a very corporate job that frowns on the idea of purple hair, then maybe getting purple hair isn’t the best idea. If you work or spend a lot of time outdoors, opt for a cut and style that will hold up well to the elements (contrary to popular belief, wind-blown waves don’t work for everyone!). And most importantly, if you are trying to keep your beauty budget it check, then getting a service that requires regular,  labor-intensive appointments probably won’t do your bank account any favors.

Level Of Upkeep

The Question: How much maintenance will be required?

Love how a graduated bob looks but can’t imagine going to the salon every four weeks for a trim? Then how about we explore some other options that will make sense for you. The same frame of mind goes for creative color, bangs, and undercuts. Styles and color services that require a lot of upkeep translates into more frequent trips to the salon. If you don’t have the time, it may be time to change your frame of mind.  

5 questions to ask your hair stylist at your next appointment

Product Prescription

The Question: What products are right for my hair type?

Choosing the correct product for your hair type is crucial in helping you to achieve your desired look as well as a preventative measure against damage caused by styling. For instance, men or women with thin/fine hair should always use a heat-protectant spray prior to using a blow dryer or flat iron. When a color service is performed, a color-protecting shampoo and conditioner are a must-have to keep color looking vibrant. We stock our shelves with products from companies we trust and products we know that will protect the integrity of your hair. Remember, your new look is our walking billboard, it’s in both of our best interests to keep it looking fresh!

Getting The Look

The Question: How can I recreate this style on my own?

Speaking of getting the look, we have a few tricks up our sleeves that we’d like to show you because nothing is as important to us than giving you the skills and knowledge to keep your style looking great well after you walk out of the salon.  From how to properly hold the hair dryer to teaching you which brush to use, when. Since while you are strutting your stuff around time you are also advertising our work and the standards of the salon, we really want your hairstyle to be a testament to what we can create.  

Again, please feel free to ask these questions as many times as you feel necessary. If you have any additional questions, then, by all means, please ask. We are here to help in anyway possible and passing along our information is our utmost importance.

 

Wait! Before You Book That Hair Appointment…

In a perfect world, every client would find their perfect stylist on the first try. Maybe you stumble across their Instagram feed or website and discover that they create looks that you love, went to the same concert you did last month and have a sense of humor to boot. You book your first appointment and as your eyes meet in the mirror, it’s love at first consultation.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.

It can be very difficult to find your perfect stylist, and sometimes, even though you may click with one on a personal level, you just can’t communicate effectively when it comes to your desired hairstyle. We’ve seen this happen time and time again, and while we would love for every new client who walked through our doors to stay with us for life, we would much rather you be 100% sure that we are a good fit for you, before you commit. Here are a few things to consider before you book your first appointment.

How Did You Find Us?

Was it via social media? Did you spot our work on the street? Did a friend who heard that we were pretty top notch refer you without being a client of ours themselves? You’d be surprised at all the different ways that people find their way through our doors and some are better than others. If you found us via social media, be sure that the look that caught your eye was created by us. Sometimes we share looks from other stylists that inspire us, so you want to be sure that we can recreate that look that you saw us post.

research to do before you book your next hair appointment

 

Did you see one of our lovely clients on the street and just had to know who did their hair? This referral method is the best one since you are seeing our real work in its natural habitat. This gives you the best indication of what we can do and whether or not it will work for you.

If you got what we affectionately term a “telephone referral,” from someone who just heard that we were great, stop right there. Do not pass go and do not collect $200. You need to see our work before you proceed.
Would you book a photographer for your family holiday portrait without seeing their portfolio? It’s the same with stylists. Check out our past work to see if our tastes and styles are a good fit for each other.

Check Pinterest before you book your hair appointment

 

Do You Know What You Want?

Some clients know exactly what look they are going for, down to the precise angle of their bob or fade. Others sit down and say, “Do whatever you want,” and most are somewhere in the middle. If you are a new client, we are going to need some time to get to know each other better, so it’s best to do your research before you book. Scroll through Pinterest or Instagram to find examples of looks that you love. Pay close attention to color and cut, but don’t worry too much about whether or not the hair type is an exact match. 9 times out of 10 it isn’t, but we will be able to make the proper adjustments to customize the look for you or (and sometimes this is just the way it goes) we will tell you if your desired look just won’t work for your hair. Here are a few great questions to ask yourself before you try out a new look:

  • What do you like best about your hair, now?
  • How much time do you want to spend on daily styling?
  • How much money do you want to spend on maintenance/styling products?
  • Do you have any length considerations?
  • Do you have any style restrictions due to your workplace dress code?

Our very first priority is making sure that you love the way you look when you leave the salon, so make sure that you have at least some idea of what you want before you book.

Know what you want before you book your hair appointment

Do You Have Product Preferences?

Some products just don’t work for some people. While we worked hard and did a lot of research before deciding on what color and product lines to carry, we recognize the fact that every once in awhile, there may be a client that they just don’t work for. If you’ve had a less than stellar experience with one of our products in the past, definitely let us know. There could be a lot of factors at play and we will want to talk it through, first. If everything else about us seems on point, but you are wary of our product lines, book a consultation. We can explore a few different scenarios and find a solution that will work for you.


Are You Comfortable Saying “No”?

This one is really important. A lot of new clients are a little hesitant to challenge the opinions of a stylist right off the bat. It makes sense; we haven’t had time to build up that kind of trust just yet. But think of it this way. By being honest and upfront about what works for you and what doesn’t, we will get to know each other a lot better, a lot faster. As much as we hope that we develop a friendship over time, our first concern is making sure that you are happy with our service, so we need a clear understanding of what you do, and don’t, want.

Now that you’ve had a chance to think about a few key things and prep yourself, we certainly hope that you decide to book an appointment with us (which you can do, HERE ). Even if you don’t think that we are the right fit for you, feel free to drop us a line and let us know what you are looking for and maybe we can point you in the right direction.
Hope to see you soon!

Make the Most of Your Appointment

In this day and age, your time is valuable. Here at the salon, we want to make sure that your experience is everything you hope it to be, and to really make certain that it’s just that, we’ve put a list together of some things to keep in mind to make the most out of your hair appointment. Here’s a breakdown on how we should spend our time with each other the minute you walk through the door.

 

A Timely Fashion

If you’re running late to your appointment, for any reason, please call the salon and let our front desk know what time you’ll be there. You could be stuck in traffic, left work late, have a babysitter issue— life happens. Call us either way. In case we don’t have enough time allotted to perform the service(s) you’re requesting before the next person scheduled after you arrive, we want to get you rebooked before available appointments fill up. We also want to make sure you’re okay and not send out a search party!

 

Loose Ends

After you arrive and get checked in, this is a great time for you to use the restroom or finish up any phone calls you may need to make. Also, if you have any texts or emails you need to send, we recommend you do that as well. Sometimes we need you to be looking straight ahead for a period of time during your appointment and we don’t want to interrupt anything important you need to send out. And if you’d like something to drink, please let us know right away because once we get started, it may be difficult to for us to stop.

 

 Let’s Talk

Let’s not kick your appointment off with talking about what’s been happening in each other’s life. We have time for all that. The most important thing we do the moment you sit in the chair is discuss what we will be doing to your hair and address and answer any questions or concerns either one of us may have during your consultation. No matter if it is your first time at the salon or if you’ve been coming to us for quite some time, we need to know things, lots of things, to keep your hair looking, feeling and performing to your liking. Questions like, “What’s your morning routine like,” or “Have you had any trouble styling your hair since your last appointment,” or “Do you have any allergies or are you taking any medication that may make your skin sensitive,” are just a few of the many questions we should be asking you. Once we get through all that, then we have some time to catch up and chit-chat until we begin styling and finishing your hair.

Realistic Expectations

If you have a specific look you’d like for us to create, please have a visual aid for us to reference. You can utilize Pinterest, save a photo to your phone or even show us a screenshot. But, and this is something you may find upsetting; we may not be able to recreate it exactly for you. You may not have the same hair texture or face shape of the person in the photo or we may not have the type of training or education just yet to create it. Please don’t be offended when we are completely honest with you. We will do our very best to translate and recreate your example or come up with something that meets in the middle.

 

Staying Focused

There are two types of hairdressers, those who like to talk while they work and those who don’t like to talk while they work. It’s not that we are being rude or don’t want to engage with you. Some of us perform at our very best when we can remain completely focused and immersed in our work. It’s only an uncomfortable silence when there’s a misunderstanding.

 

Styling & Finishing

Here’s where some of the best conversations can happen. During the styling and finishing portion of your appointment, this is where we can really give you some solid advice and teach you how to style your hair like a pro. Things like teaching you how to properly hold your blow dryer and why this product will perform better than that product. This block of time in your appointment is where you get to learn our tricks of the trade and be open and honest with us on your skillset. It gives us the opportunity to come up with ways on how to advance your skills and teach you how to properly use the products we are recommending and prescribing for you to take home.

 

Before You Leave

After you’ve been styled and we’ve answered any questions you may have, please get your next appointment booked in advance before you leave. Our schedules fill up quickly, especially during the holidays and during the summer when people are going on vacations and attending weddings. When bridal season is in full force, that’s when our books become, well, booked and it can happen all in the matter of a single phone call. Also, the subject of tipping can be surprisingly sensitive and awkward for a lot of people. Some people don’t know whether it’s expected or how much to give. The general rule of thumb is that tipping is always, always appreciated, but never expected. Just like a nice gesture after an enjoyable restaurant experience, a tip is a good way to let us know that you appreciate our work. If you’re unsure, just ask!

 

We hope your next appointment (or your first appointment) with us is extra enjoyable and if there is anything else we can do, please let us know.