Ovation Salon Pro Blog

The Ovation Salon Professional Blog is an extension of our quest to deliver good hair days. The articles are meant to educate stylists on how to create the happiest, healthiest hair possible. Tired of frizz? We’ve got some prevention tips. Want to know which foods to eat for longer hair? Done. Looking to pump up the volume while blow drying? Look no further. Whether it’s hair tips and tricks, hair health information, product updates or usage instructions, the Ovation Salon Pro Blog is the place to come for all things healthy hair.

2015 Holiday Gift Sets are Here!

Shakinah Brown - Thursday, November 05, 2015

The countdown to the holiday season has officially begun! Are you ready?

Personally, I can’t believe it’s that time of the year already. Like most of you, I find shopping for the perfect holiday gift to be a difficult (and stressful) task. Doesn’t it seem impossible to find presents that have that “wow!” factor? Stress no more because Ovation’s 2015 Holiday Gift Set is here! Make your gift list, and but this item next to everyone’s name because:

3. The value is phenomenal!

Anyone who is an Ovation fan knows the Holiday Gift Set is the best deal of the year. The total price of the gift set is valued at over$125, but we’re selling them for $59.95! No, we haven’t gone mad- we’re embracing the holiday spirit! To make life that much easier, each gift set is packaged and ready for giving! Think of it as our way of saying “Thank You” for your support and loyalty. Also think of what the gift of beautiful, healthy hair could do for someone special!

2. We’ve launched new products!

‘Tis the season for giving; why not give you a chance to try Ovation’s two newest products? We are excited to share our new Leave-In Detangling Spray and Wet/Dry Brush with you! Infused with avocado and acai oils, the Leave-in Detangling Spray works on all hair types to release knots and reduce breakage. Combined with our new Wet/Dry Brush, managing your hair just got easier.

1. Sharing is Caring <3

Remember the first time you tried Cell Therapy? How about the first time you noticed your hair becoming thicker, stronger, and longer? One reason our clients love to give the Holiday Gift Set is because they want to share their experience with the people they love. We hear these stories all the time! Clients also tell us about family members who are amazed at how much Ovation products helped to improve their hair’s condition. The gift of healthy hair goes a long way.

Don’t wait until the last minute to buy. Our Holiday Gift Sets are available while supplies last! If you are purchasing for yourself or a loved one but don’t know which set to choose, give us a jingle: 888.411.3252 (option 1), 7:30AM-5PM (PST) Monday through Friday. We’re happy to help make this gift giving season as easy as possible.

Happy holidays in advance!

--Shakinah

 

 

 

New Clients Testimonials- Ovation Hair Products!

Shakinah Brown - Tuesday, September 15, 2015

We couldn’t be more thrilled at the positive feedback we receive from our new clients! We don’t claim to perform miracles, but we are confident Ovation’s product line will help you achieve thicker, stronger, longer hair you will adore. Still need convincing?

New Client: Sharon- Fredericksburg, TX

“My hair was damaged by using a hot iron! Heard about it on Laura Ingram's show and decided to try it! I was getting highlights to add body, but now I no longer even get highlights. I use your volume spray and the heat protection spray and the regime you suggest and it's AMAZING! My hair has volume, and it is healthy looking! I was also getting highlights to cover gray, but now, after years of spending that money, I am finding out what my hair REALLY LOOKS like! I am 65 and have short hair and it's never looked better! I love it!!!!!!!”

If your hair is dry and damaged like Sharon’s, it’s time to incorporate a deep conditioner and heat protectant into your routine. These products provide moisture to areas of the hair that need it the most. Sharon initially purchased our limited edition Summer Essentials Kit- but fret not! Our Thermal Protection Spray, Volume Enhancing Spray, and Intensive Repair Hair Mask are always available at www.OvationHair.com.

New Client: Kandi- Everett, WA

“This is the first product that has worked to combat my dry, frizzy hair. I love it.”

Kandi is a fan of Ovation’s Moisture Cell Therapy System. The three part system features Cell Therapy® Hair and Scalp Treatment, Moisturizing Shampoo, and Moisturizing Conditioner. The systems are a great value and the best way to get started with Ovation products. With five systems to choose from, there’s something available for everyone!

New Client: Becky- Las Vegas, NV

“I loved it so much I bought it for my sister and mom!”

Many of our new clients try Ovation because they hear success stories from family and friends. We believe healthy hair is a gift that keeps on giving so we’re always excited to launch our seasonal Holiday Gift Set! What makes this set so great? Aside from the phenomenal value, we include new products for our clients to try. One of the new items is our Wet/Dry Hair Brush - which is now available online. The Wet/Dry Hair Brush will pair nicely with our new Leave-in Detangling Spray. Look for the 2015 Holiday Gift Set premiere in November.

Whether you are a newbie to Ovation Hair or a longtime fan, your support and feedback are priceless. Share your Ovation Hairspiration with us by calling our testimonial hotline at (888) 580-3332. Spoiler alert: soon you’ll be able to share your testimonials online! Isn’t that exciting?! Stay up-to date with all things Ovation at ThickerStrongerLonger.com.

Until next time,

Shakinah

Product Pusher or Endorser?

Brenda Stearns - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

One of the most common statements I hear Hair designers make is “I’m not a salesperson and I don’t feel comfortable selling products.”

We are experienced in hair - and with that experience, comes our knowledge and expertise to use and recommend the best products available to deliver our clients the desired results they are seeking. In a way, we are ambassadors of our favorite products. With so many options available to our clients, it is our responsibility as professionals to help them navigate the barrage.

Recently, we have seen incredible changes in product technology, innovation and advancement in hair products. We have also seen a change in the terms and buzz words that identify the various cuts, colors and styles today.

As a stylist, our clients consider us the experts and often look for us to provide them with the best suggestions, product recommendations and healthy hair habits for their locks. We should try to make a conscious effort to communicate our experience and knowledge as well as our professional opinion. 

Have you ever considered how much you talk to your clients during their appointment? A lot. What are you discussing? Their hair or The Voice? Conversations should start with a consultation for each and every client whether it be 1 minute or 15 minutes. Each client should have the opportunity to communicate their hair needs with you before anything begins. It is important to take time to connect and open up conversations about how they are feeling about their hair before they head to the shampoo bowl.

Typically, the shampoo bowl is where the first introduction of product begins. Taking a moment to discuss the shampoo you are using and why helps keep your client connected. When I begin one of my famous “relaxing” shampoo massages, I often discuss which Ovation Hair Therapy product I am applying and why. This is an easy way for me to introduce my clients to the amazing product and help them achieve thicker, stronger, longer hair. Pretty simple? Without selling, I have just sold them (hopefully) on the benefits of the product I chose.

When you are styling out a client, how many times have you reached for a bottle (on a shelf full of products), put it in your hand, put it back on the shelf and never told the client (let alone showed the client) which product you used and why. We are moving so fast; sometimes, we forget to share with our client why we chose the smoothing serum, spray or whatever styling product. Let your client hold the product you just used - this really involves them with the finishing and gives them the opportunity to really look at what you just applied on their hair. They are probably going to use something when they do their hair at home. Help them get salon results when they do their hair at home. They will be forever grateful. 

I have found that just by talking about what I am using and why I like to use it will send a product out the door with a client because they had a need and I just filled it for them. If you use products in the salon that you like and believe in, all you need to do is share what you like about them.  I back my product recommendations with a money back guarantee if they are not completely happy with their result. This lets me do the trouble shooting if they do have a problem. 

Be confident in your recommendations.

We don’t have to feel like a pusher of products, we just have to believe in what we use and share with our clients why we like what we use. Your retail sales will naturally increase.

Happy Sharing

Brenda

Healthy Tips to Manage Holiday Stress

Brenda Stearns - Monday, December 15, 2014

The holidays are a wonderful time of the year; however, for many the season can significantly impact the amount of stress we experience.  Rest assured, there are several methods to manage stress and dodge the negative effects it can have on hair, skin and our overall well being. I often remind clients that stress is not the cause of these consequences; it is how we deal (or don’t deal) with our stress that can potentially wreak havoc. We may not be able to omit the cause of stress, but we can definitely choose how we react to it. The good news is, when the stress goes away, our physiology returns to our normal state.

Stress has been described as an imbalance between demands and resources. Sound like something we can all relate to? Emotional stress creates physiological stress. For those that love to understand the science, look up “physiological stress” in Wikipedia for details on what chemical changes occur in the body.

Have you ever noticed a President at the end of term has far more gray in their hair than at the beginning? Can stress really turn your hair gray? There are (as far as I know) no scientific studies to prove this, but seeing is believing. In my years as a stylist I have seen many clients display the negative results of stress such as graying of the hair as well as increased hair loss. Significant stress may spark a change in your body's routine physiological functions and cause a number of hairs to go into the resting phase simultaneously. We see this as excess shedding. The chemical changes stress creates in our body can causeeczema and skin flair ups as well as digestion problems. Stress will inevitably take a toll on one’s physical and mental health. Emotional stress is the most common association we have to our daily experience.

Some people have conditioned themselves to drink or smoke to combat stress; however, those choices make stress harder on the body. There are much healthier things to do! Choosing habits that contribute to greater emotional and physical health will better help the body cope with stress and the physiological damage it causes. Avoiding the tendencies that create increased stress is a very good start.

Below are some pointers that may help with stress management:

  1. Identify what causes you to feel stress. Time constraints, certain people, responsibilities, environment, and money shortages are legitimate triggers. One suggestion is avoid the things that cause the most discomfort. We can't avoid everything, but we can limit the exposure. We can work towards improving time management.  It’s OK to say “no” if a stressful event presents itself. We can make a budget and stick to it with creative (more affordable) giving and entertaining ideas. Most of all, we can spend time in places that help us feel good about ourselves with the people we love. Time is the one thing that can't be purchased anywhere at any price. It's a gift that keeps on giving.
  2. Diet, exercise, and adequate rest are the keys to maintaining optimum health. They are also the first things to go when we are strapped for time. Shaping our schedules around these important elements will help us to deal with stress in a healthful way. Skipping meals, diets rich in sugar, caffeine or alcohol create a great imbalance. Drinking water and eating a balanced diet will keep the body in its best shape and aid in coping with stress. Exercise creates good endorphins and sleep is our best recharger. Not that we shouldn't indulge in the holiday cheer; however, moderation is everything.
  3. Become self-aware. We all know when we are feeling stressed. Sometimes just acknowledging it is helpful. There are daily events we cannot control or change. We can choose to be overwhelmed by those events or learn to soothe and calm ourselves. Bringing our emotions into balance is one action that can restore a sense of control and our feeling of calm. This is an important step in keeping our physiological balance. It is a skill that anyone can learn at any age. Some helpful activities include deep breaths, counting to 10, or group exercise such as a yoga or kick boxing class. Finding what calms you and helps you feel good can keep stress from taking control. A calm mind goes a long way in dealing with all types of stress.
  4. As far as holidays go, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to create the perfect...everything! What memories do you have of holidays past? If you even remember gifts either given or received – you are a step ahead of most.  The majority of people don't remember what they wore or anything about the so-called “perfect” holiday illusion. What we tend to recall are the people we shared time with and the places we were. Keep this in mind when you begin to get wrapped up in the little details. It will help relieve a lot of the self-imposed pressure. Before you know it, this holiday will be past and spring will be here.

To summarize, don't sweat the small stuff. Keeping your balance for peace of mind and well being will be the best gift you can give to yourself, your clients and your loved ones for the past, present and future.

Wishing you happy and healthy holidays and a wonderful 2015!

 

 

 

 

Sulfates: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Brenda Stearns - Monday, November 03, 2014

What is a sulfate? Why are they used in so many every day products?

Sulfates are cleansing agents, or surfactants, which produce lather in the products we use.Surfactants break up surface tension, the bonds between molecules in the outer layer of a compound, allowing two separate entities (Shampoo and the oil/dirt in hair) to interact more effectively. Without the loosening of surface bonds, shampoo would not effectively remove dirt, oil and styling products applied to the hair. Sulfates have been used in the manufacturing of personal care products for many years because of their safety, efficiency and flexibility of use.

So why the controversy? Even the proper spelling is not agreed upon.

Whether it is spelled Sulphate (as in British English) or Sulfate (as we know it), it is an ingredient in many personal care products we use on a daily basis. Sulfates or sulfate derivatives encompass a wide range of very different chemical properties. Salts of sulfuric acids are found in toothpastes, mouthwashes, mascaras, lotions, sunscreens, make-up foundation, hair color/bleaching agents, shampoos, liquid hand soaps, body washes, laundry detergents and yes - even carpet cleaners and engine de-greasers.

Here is a list of the most common cosmetic sulfates:

  • Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
  • Ammonium laureth sulfate (ALS)
  • TEA laryeth sulfate (TLS)
  • Sodium myreth sulphate (SMS)
  • Sodium coco-sulfate (SCS)

There is some belief that sulfates are toxic as well as irritants. Sorting through the evidence is even more complicated when research is often exaggerated, misquoted and recirculated around the Internet as if it were fact. There is a lack of long-term studies on all of the chemicals in these products which makes it difficult to determine the long-term effects.

One concern of SLES/SLS is with the manufacturing process ethoxylation. Ethoxylation is a commonly used chemical process to provide mildness to harsh ingredients, and requires the use of petrochemical Ethylene Oxide, which generates 1.4-Dioxane as a by-product. While this may not appear in the finished product, studies have indicated some suspicions of contamination. SLS is not listed by any authoritative bodies as a carcinogen. Also, SLS has been thoroughly reviewed for its safety by a number of government agencies including the International Agency for the Research of Cancer (IARC), U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP), California's Proposition 65 list of carcinogens, U.S. EPA, the European Union, OSHA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA approves of adding sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and ammonium lauryl sulfate on its list of multipurpose food additives.

As with any product, ingredient sensitivity is expected by some users. Detergents are common causes of skin and eye irritations. High levels of SLS ingestion, either orally or through the skin, is not ordinarily experienced in normal cosmetics use as our usage of these cleansing agents  are generally brief and commonly mixed with water, which dilutes them even further. Most shampoos are made up of a 10-15% SLS or SLES solution. Other ingredients in shampoos also affect that percentage. It is known that most sulfates could be potentially toxic if one swallowed around 16 pounds of these chemicals or were exposed to a mixture with a high percentage of concentration. Some purists feel that it is the gradual, cumulative effects of long-term, repeated exposures that are a real concern.

Consumers and professionals have many options available with non-sulfate technology and products now on the market. As professionals who recommend products to a wide variety of different clients, it is important for us to be knowledgeable about what we have available to work with. For example, clients with baby fine hair are not likely going to have the same fluffy hair they desire with a sulfate-free shampoo. Sulfate-free products may also help with extending the life of hair color treatments. Natural curly and coarse hair gains new spring and vitality without daily exposure to sulfates. Below are points to consider when choosing products and what to recommend to clients:
  • Read labels and be aware of what ingredients are in the products.
    • Become familiar with product ingredients, particularly which ones contain sulfates and what type of sulfates they are, to determine which products are best suited for clients.
  • Determine what your desired result is.
    • Choosing the correct product to achieve the best result for a specific service is important for a stylist. Take into consideration hair type and if the hair is virgin or chemically processed. The final outcome can vary as to whether you use a product containing sulfates or a sulfate-free alternative. Also, inquire about your client’s at-home hair regime.
  • Following manufacturer's directions.
    • To achieve the best results of your product, read the directions! This is very important. Directions are created according performance tests and product safety requirements set forth by the manufacturer. Minimize any risk by using the product correctly.
  • Come to your own conclusion
    • Gaining an understanding about products helps stylists learn which hair types and conditions will benefit from exposure to sulfates and which will not. As products evolve, stylists will benefit from taking a proactive approach to ingredient education to learn what products become available to them.
Ovation has created some of the very best sulfate-free products that are specifically formulated for any hair type. The Legacy Color Therapy shampoo and chelating Clarifying shampoo contain sodium laureth sulfate for a mild, yet thorough cleanse if there is a preference for sulfates. Hair types that are more baby-fine may benefit more from these options. Although our partner stylists are not required to hold degrees in chemistry, we understand stylists work with a variety of chemicals regularly. At Ovation, we believe it is our responsibility to know how our ingredients affect our clients as well as the environment. Ovation remains on the forefront of developing new, safe, naturally-derived hair care products. We will continue to use the newest technologies to develop high quality nourishing and rejuvenating products with demonstrated effectiveness and to support the needs of the professional hairdresser.

The Long & Short of Long Hair

Brenda Stearns - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Remember Crystal Gayle, Cher, Jan and Marcia Brady? These ladies had the hair I envied and exhibit the beauty extremely long hair embodies. Long, silky, shiny hair can be mesmerizing to look at as it flows and sways with each body movement.

If hair grows an average of 1/2 to 5/8 of an inch a month, just imagine how long it took Crystal Gayle to grow her hair to nearly floor length, taking regular trimming into consideration.

More amazing is the natural strength the hair must have to maintain its integrity through years of washing, brushing and styling.

Extremely long hair is something that cannot be attained by most people. One must have patience and take great care. The hair structure must be strong, with superb elasticity and a natural moisture content to allow it to withstand the damage of time and environmental oxidation in addition to the mechanical damage inflicted by day to day wear. Our hair is made up of 65 to 95% Proteins. Lipids, water, trace elements and pigments make up the remaining structure. Genetics play a large part in hair and its structure. We see straight, long dark hair much more often than we see extremely long blonde hair, although some red hair has what it takes to endure and grow to great lengths.

Some of our clients “long” for hair to their waist but may not have the type of hair with the structural ability to withstand time and elements.  Long hair is not always beautiful hair if it is not healthy and shiny. A main of tattered split ends is not flattering to even the most beautiful face.

We can however, help any client in the quest of attaining the longest, healthiest, beautiful hair that they are capable of.

These are 7 of the most subjective topics I share with my long hair clients to maximize their potential:

  1. Cleansing…Use products for their specific hair type. Shampoo scalp only when necessary and avoid lathering ends (they don’t get oily.) Over cleansing strands can strip very important natural oils from the hair and scalp. Shampoo 1-3 times a week depending on texture and natural oiliness. Use fingertips to massage the scalp and increase circulation as well as exfoliate dead skin cells. Shampooing with fingertips, helps prevent tangling.
    Being gentle with the towel and not roughly rubbing or using a paper towel to blot excess moisture is a gentler way to remove excess water. I always ask my long hair clients to never brush wet hair and to be gentle when detangling.
  2. Conditioning… Even fine hair needs conditioning at the last third of the hair shaft. Using a leave in conditioner will give added benefits, aid in smoother combing, and styling and help prevent breakage. Hair that is shoulder length or longer should be treated with a balanced moisture to protein re-conditioner at least twice a month. Using a chelating shampoo prior to this treatment will ensure maximum absorption. Coarse or curly hair requires extra moisture and can be occasionally washed in conditioner in place of shampoo to give it a shinier softer appearance as well as avoiding over cleansing. Final rinsing with cool water will flatten the cuticle and enhance shine.
  3. Diet, Exercise and Supplements… Eating well and managing stress are essential to healthy hair and skin. Eating a high protein, low carbohydrate diet and including moderate exercise will enhance the body’s natural metabolism. Incorporating good fats into your daily diet - such as omega-3s - and avoiding trans, saturated and hydrogenated fats will help improve the natural moisture level in hair, nails and skin. This can significantly enhance the strength and growth rate of the hair. Getting good rest and avoiding stress will also benefit hair growth. Our generation is showing that we are chronically low in some important essential vitamins and minerals due to modern day lifestyle and diet.  Supplements may give a temporary boost to what our body is capable of. B complex, Biotin, Vitamin C and especially Vitamin D can aid in supporting of hair and nail growth as well as our skins outward appearance. Zinc, Iron and essential minerals all play a part in the body’s natural simulation of nutrients. Eating a diet high in lean protein such as meat, fish, eggs, nuts, beans and soy support the amino acids that make up the protein in hair.  Eating an abundance of fruits, vegetables, and grains are a natural source of essential nutrients and minerals. Eating well and avoiding processed foods will create the balance the body needs to grow beautiful hair. When working with clients who are experiencing slow hair growth or hair loss, I encourage them to check with their physician to ensure it is not related to a medical problem. Medications, depression, thyroid and hormone changes can also affect hair health.
  4. Mechanical damage…This can be detrimental to even the strongest hair. Heat styling from dryers, irons and round brushing put great stress on the cuticle and the inner cortex of the hair strand. If your client truly wants extra-long locks, styling should be limited to gentle low or no heat styling. Wet styling with pin curls and rag curling will give hair a beautiful long lasting style with minimal stress on the hair. Avoid tight hair ties and barrettes or pins with sharp edges, they will break the hair. Styling the hair in braids or loose twists will provide minimal stress. Keep combing and brushing to a minimum and be patient while detangling. When hearing snapping and popping audibly, hair is breaking. Using a wide tooth comb or pick when wet and a natural bristle brush when the hair is dry to minimize friction and prevent breakage. Minimize use of strong hair sprays and products with high alcohol content as this dries the cuticle making it brittle and vulnerable to more breakage. Protect the hair from sun exposure by wearing a hat or spraying with a sunscreen. Amazingly, using a satin pillow case will also prevent wear and tear and unwanted friction while sleeping.
  5. Trimming…So many people feel that if they cut their hair, it will never grow long. The fact is, if the hair is not kept with a blunt end, the fraying of the cuticle quickly moves up the shaft creating the perfect environment for the hair to break much farther up the strand, essentially trimming itself. The hair grows from ½ to 5/8 of an inch a month. If the hair is trimmed 1 inch every six months, the length of the hair is still increasing. If hair is trimmed regularly it will have a more uniform, thicker appearance and help control split ends. Finer hair should be trimmed ¼ to ½ inch every 6-12 weeks to keep it strong.
  6. Chemicals…We are fortunate that we can offer clients enhancements for the hair that result in little or no chemical damage. These do not include permanent waving, straightening, or lightening with high lift tints or de-colorizers. High alkaline chemicals alter the natural structure and in turn weaken disulfide bonds. They must be avoided when a client desires very long hair. What we can offer is low or no ammonia color enhancers, protein based smoothing treatments, and low lift color lighteners. These can enhance shine impart healthy hair with little to no damage.
  7. Proper product usage and styling techniques…As a long hair specialist, taking the time to educate and support your clients desire to have long hair will create trust and loyalty. I work with the specific needs of each client and their lifestyle when recommending their products, home maintenance program and styling ideas. Keeping hair in good condition when it is extremely long takes a conscious effort. Often my clients are amazed that their hair can grow very long when in past attempts they could not get it beyond their shoulders. Sharing information on products and ingredients will help them make sound choices for the enhanced condition of their locks. You will be a hero for helping them achieve their goal of extremely long hair.

Long hair can be beautiful at any age if it is healthy. Healthy hair is more youthful. Helping my clients have the healthiest hair they can achieve at any length has always been and will continue to be my goal.

Happy Hairdressing!

Brenda

 

Curl Power

Brenda Stearns - Monday, August 11, 2014
Naturally textured hair is the envy of some and the bane of others. We adore curly haired children with their perfectly spiraled coils. We often associate it with angelic qualities. Why then as time goes on, do those curls become uncontrollable and antagonistic?

Curly hair is unique on each and every head and is effected by so many things. So it’s good to take time to understand as much as possible about its mystique.  

Structure - What makes it curly?

Scientists have different opinions about what really determines curl, but many believe it is the shape of the hair shaft that effects the curliness. A very round shaft limits the amount of disulfide bonds present, meaning the bonds line up with one another resulting in straighter hair.

The flatter the hair shaft becomes the curlier the hair gets because the shape allows more cysteines to become compacted together resulting in a bent shape.

With every added disulfide bond, the hair strand becomes curlier in form. The hair follicle shape determines the curl pattern, the follicle size effects the thickness.

We classify the hair texture as straight, wavy, curly, and yes, kinky is still used to describe that tight corkscrew defined curl. Each of these textures is then classified into Fine, Medium and Coarse.

Each form of curly hair has its benefits and challenges, but they all have one thing in common. Curly hair is affected by moisture inside the hair shaft and out.

Curly hair’s twists, turns and curves create the structure that the cuticle layer must conform to. At every curve or curl, the cuticle is pushed out and upward creating a roughness and an opening on its surface. This creates an environment that lets moisture pass into and out of the cuticle. This also inhibits the natural oils movement down the hair shaft. The lifted edges of the cuticle creates a Velcro effect when it rubs against itself. Friction is increased when combing or brushing. All of this combined makes curly hair fragile if it is not properly taken care of.

As a stylist I like to help the “Curly Girl” embrace her natural locks and enhance the curl. This includes helping clients work with their unique needs. The biggest challenge that most Curly Girls face is controlling excessive volume and frizziness. Helping them create a routine that creates healthy, shiny hair while enhancing their best natural shape will encourage them to utilize and appreciate this magnificent gift.

Product usage is so important for maintaining curly hair’s natural state. When starting with a new client this is my regimen.

Curly Girl Hair Styling Tips

  • Cleanse the hair with a chelating shampoo - This clarifies the hair of silicone containing products, hard water build up and environmental impurities. (Note: If you do color applications, ask that they use a chelating shampoo on their hair up to 3 days prior to this service for best results.)
  • Apply a moisturizing reconstructive conditioner and aid the depth of penetration with heat. This balances the moisture and protein content in the hair.
  • Rinse thoroughly and apply a non-silicone based conditioner for the specific hair type: fine, medium, or coarse. Be generous with this application to ensure even distribution. Using a wide tooth comb, work the conditioner through the strands to detangle and distribute it to the ends of the hair. This is the only time to use a comb on curly locks (detangling hair when it is dry will only result in more frizz and damage). Rinse the scalp well while detangling the ends with your fingers. Always rinse the conditioner out of the strands in cool water to close the cuticle. (For ‘at home’ maintenance, I typically recommend shampooing with a non-sulfate shampoo – and only when necessary. Routine cleansing with Conditioners as shampoos (conditioner washing or co-washing) for weekly maintenance and rewetting, will sufficiently cleanse the scalp. Use the pads of the fingers to gently but thoroughly massage the scalp as this helps loosen dead skin and excessive oil and dirt. Rinse well.)
  • Shape the hair to best enhance curl and face shape. The hair cut is so important. Curls exaggerate every angle and weight line of a haircut. Take the time to work with the curl pattern to create the most flattering shape for the face and hair texture. I do not recommend razor cutting or thinning of curly hair.
This is where the final look is achieved. If you would like to use all of the natural curl, do not comb through. The hair can be detangled with the fingers. Apply a leave in conditioner to over porous ends. Stretch curls with fingers if you would like to relax the curl.
  • Using paper or a micro fiber towel or even an old t-shirt, scrunch the excess moisture out of the hair. To aid in avoiding frizz, do not use a terry cloth towel.
  • Apply your favorite product to define your curl. This is determined by your hair type: fine, medium, course
  • Curly hair will work the best when air dried. Using a diffuser can aid in the drying process, but heat can encourage frizz. Partially drying and not “messing” with the hair while drying will minimize frizz.

Experimenting with different products will help you learn which ones to recommend. I find good results using mousses and liquid gels for fine to medium hair, while firmer gels work best for heavy, coarse hair textures. Adjusting products as the humidity changes can help control unwanted volume and frizziness.

Avoid products containing silicone as many are not soluble without detergents.

Curls are sensitive to change, so let your curly girl know that it may take a couple of weeks for her hair to adjust to the no Shampoo routine. If you are changing from straightening those curly locks to the natural state, it will certainly have an adjustment period. Hair’s natural curl will be at its best when it is not trying to go back and forth from curly to straight.

Trust in your expertise will build loyalty with these specialized locks. Becoming a Curly Girl expert can help you grow your business. For more information on Curly hair I recommend the book “Curly Girl” by Lorraine Massey.

Managing Coarse Hair

Brenda Stearns - Thursday, July 31, 2014

Coarse hair definitely has its advantages like natural strength and body, but it’s rough and vulnerable texture creates the need for a specialized hair care routine. 

In the stylist world we often compare textures to fabrics - fine hair to silk, medium hair to denim, and coarse hair to corduroy. Much like the fabric, when you feel a coarse hair strand one way (down the shaft) it feels smooth, but change direction and there is a noticeable roughness.

Structure of coarse hair: Looking at it structurally and learning about coarse hair’s makeup is helpful when working with its unique characteristics.

  • The cuticle layer of coarse hair is often larger, disc shaped, and has a slightly curved edge. The roughness is directly related to the fact that the cuticle scales don’t lay flat, they are slightly open. This doesn’t allow light to reflect nor does it make it easy for natural oils to travel down the shaft. This is why even healthy coarse hair lacks shine and is more susceptible to damage from brushing and styling.
  • The cortex is what makes up the bulk in diameter of this hair type. It often has a defined medulla which adds structural strength and contributes to the curve and body in coarse hair as well as a slightly faster growth rate. The solid structure of the cortex makes coarse hair easily texturized, colored, and bleached.
  • The cuticle protects the cortex and because coarse hair is porous, natural oils, chemicals, etc. can easily escape and absorb into the strand.
  • There are fewer layers of the cuticle in coarse hair, 5-7 layers as compared to 14 with finer hair types. It is easily damaged by styling and chemical treatments to the point that the cortical fibers are exposed resulting in split ends.
  • Appearing thick because of the larger diameter of the strands, coarser hair often has less density having approximately 80 to 100,000 hairs on the average scalp, under the 150,000 that finer hair can have. This means fewer oil glands to produce natural oils. It can often be very dehydrated and also result in dry scalp conditions.

Tips for keeping coarse hair healthy

  • Over cleansing is the biggest offense of this strong but vulnerable hair type. It is beneficial to use a sulfate free shampoo once or twice weekly, concentrating on the scalp and refreshing in between cleansing with a crème rinse. This will allow the natural oils to build up to enhance shine and manageability while maintaining and protecting the very important cuticle layer.
  • The increased porosity requires a regular routine of reconditioning especially if it is chemically treated. A balance of moisture and protein will help with pliability and strengthen hair strand inside and out.
  • A good hair cut is essential in managing coarse hair. Twist techniques and texturizing help to manage density, however razor cuts are not recommended as they can tear away the cuticle and leave the style looking dry and frizzy.
  • Using cream styling aids like hair masks and deep conditioners instead of gels can help with pliability, control and shine of this naturally unruly hair type.
  • Applying a thermal protectant is advised when working with heat styling and blow drying.
  • This is one hair type that often finishes out better when not completely dried. Leaving some dampness in the hair will decrease frizz and keep it from fluffing out.

The end of summer is the perfect time to encourage clients to rehydrate and protect with the Ovation product line. Sharing the information above with clients with coarse hair will help them stay informed and encourage to create and/or maintain healthy hair.

Do you think your clients can benefit from this info?

-          Brenda, Lead Educator

Tips of the Trade: Medium Hair Type Clients

Brenda Stearns - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Structurally medium hair is the best balance. The cuticle layer is usually 5 to 10 layers and fairly compact making it strong and resilient to the rigors of heat styling and brushing. Because it has a compact cuticle, it reflects light and has a shiny appearance. The cortex which creates the strength and girth of the hair is what gives medium textures that fabulous body. It makes the strands flexible and creates ease of styling with round brushing, curling irons or that ever sleek flat iron look. This hair type also often has a medulla, which can be described as the marrow of the hair. This is only found in medium to coarse hair, rarely found in finer strands. All together this makes a hair strand that is soft, shiny and strong.

Medium hair types are ideal for stylists since hair tends to be extremely durable to everyday wear and holds style well. Since medium hair types are the best to style, they often are abused in our attempt to enhance color and texture. It’s pretty resilient; however, everyone has its breaking point…literally. When ends begin to split, we have pushed it to its structural verge and breakage will occur.

Often, during the styling process, we use a variety of products to manipulate and hold its shape. If hair is not ‘properly’ cleansed, the product residue can leave this type of hair dull, flat and lifeless. Dehydration can cause frizziness and fly aways. To revitalize and keep it looking and feeling its best, I follow this proven care regime to enhance the best qualities of medium hair.

  • Clarifying Shampoo: I recommend using a Clarifying Shampoo once a month – at a minimum. The chelating properties in a clarifying shampoo assist in removing product and environmental buildup.

  • Reconditioning Treatment: After hair is cleansed, I find this is the best time to apply a deep conditioner or mask with heat. The heat imparts deeper penetration into the cuticle layer, improves shine and flexibility as well as protects the hair shaft from styling friction.

  • Sulfate Free Shampoo: For regular hair washing, I recommend using a sulfate free shampoo. Typically medium hair types are able to skip 1-3 days between shampooing. And when they do shampoo, they should focus on the scalp to enhance volume, style and shine.

  • Crème Rinse: Once cleansed, a finishing crème rinse keeps the cuticle closed and prolongs the protection of the reconditioning treatment. On longer hair clients, I focus on the ends of the hair during application, often avoiding the scalp.

  • Thermal Protection: Most everyone styles their hair – and heat is typically the common denominator for go to styling tools. A heat protectant spray is great in reducing and often preventing heat damage.

To recap – here are the basics of Medium Hair Types: 

This hair type holds style well, appears thick and is less prone to breakage (when compared to fine hair types). Hope these tips help you and your clients experience thicker, stronger, longer hair!

Yours in Hair Health!
Brenda Stearns

The Skinny on Thin Hair

Brenda Stearns - Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thin hair can be described in different ways. Some may describe hair that is very fine as thin or hair that is coarse - yet sparse in density - as thin. Many times, fine hair is some of the densest hair, as it can have more than 2,500 hairs per square inch.

So in discussing fine hair, let’s describe fine hair in this conversation as the diameter of each hair strand. We can use the term skinny hair. 

Fine hair is unique in its design. There are many benefits of having skinny hair. It has characteristics that help to make it resilient to all the torture that we tend to inflict upon it on a daily basis. The outside layer made up of cuticle can have from 5 to more than 17 layers. These are much like the scales you see on a fish. They are designed to protect the cortex where all the important things in coloring, straightening and perming occur. Fine hair often has the maximum amount of cuticle layers. This helps to make up for the lack of a medulla that is often missing in skinny hair.  Blow drying and rough combing and brushing, or towel drying can abrade the cuticle layer. Flat irons, curling irons and too hot of a dryer can scorch it. Chemical treatments can seriously damage it.

So what are the benefits to fine hair? Shine! Straight, fine hair is some of the shiniest hair on the earth. So if you’ve got it flaunt it! A healthy cuticle layer is what creates that fantastic shine. Whether you have dark, blonde or any shade in between, fine hair has the ability to reflect light in ways that coarser hair cannot. So help your clients embrace their beautiful fine hair.

Yours in Hair Health!
Brenda