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When Stylists Get Sick

Well, it finally happened to me. After 11 years in the industry I hit a physical roadblock and had to cancel a week's worth of clients. 

For a lot of people, sick days aren't so bad. Some people even get paid for those days they call in with the sniffles and there's usually someone your employer can call in to cover your shift. But for an independent stylist?? Well, it's not that easy...

Until this last week, I have only cancelled a handful of times in my 11 years behind the chair. I even only missed one day when I got 2nd degree burns on the palm of my hand (darn hot glue guns!); one day to rest and then bandaged and back to work! Why didn't I take more time off, you ask? Well, it's complicated. Let me try to explain.

Currently, I am booking 6-8 weeks ahead with my clients. That means, that my books are FULL with no openings for the next 6 weeks at least. Cue intense pain (which I was hopeful would only last over my long weekend, but alas - no such luck!). Realizing the truth of the matter - that I would not be able to work on my Tuesday back - I had to call my clients and cancel them. Then my Wednesday...and eventually the rest of the week. 

Now....where/when can I rebook them? I don't know when the pain will be over, so I have to wait until I'm better, first of all - but remember that whole "I'm booked 6-8 ahead" thing?  Yeah - some of you are already getting it - this means I now will have to work after hours and days off to catch up - that, or my clients have to go to someone else (even if I worked with other stylists in the salon - clients tend to want to see THEIR stylist, not a replacement!) 

Now - I have to be careful - my back is not 100% better but without work, I don't make any money (it's okay Mom, I do have a savings account if it got that bad!) but I also don't want to dive in too fast and hard so that I end up hurting myself further (and then needing to use that savings!) So, I will plug along, working as much and as hard as I can (without being stupid about it - I am, indeed, only human - surprised?!)

My priority first and foremost is to take care of myself. Secondly, I want to make sure I'm not compromising my work so that my clients can enjoy a high level of satisfaction with their appointment that they have come to expect. 

With all that said, I am heading back to work tomorrow. I will be taking it a bit easy and fitting in my clients that I had to cancel as soon as humanly possible. Then I will be returning calls from clients looking to book. (Just a warning, in case you didn't read it already - it's going to be 6-8 weeks) 

I want to thank every single one of the clients I had to call and cancel. Each of them were nothing short of understanding and compassion (and though I'm sure there was some tension over those greys poking out another week, they never made me feel bad) As someone who likes to make people happy, it was nice to feel that kind of support when I felt like I was letting people down.

Thank you, everyone,  so much - I love what I do and the clients I have.

New Hours, New Rewards Program and New Prices!

There were some big physical changes made in the salon over the holiday season and now it's time to make some changes in operations of the salon. It's all happening July 1st 2015 and here's what you can expect!

New Hours

Trying to balance life and work is a struggle for so many people and I have struggled with this dilemma for years. Enough time in the salon; enough time to get those life chores done; enough time with my family and enough time for me - constantly trying to find a balance.

When things aren't working, you gotta try something new, right?! So, my new hours will be:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 7:30am-5pm

That's right! 7:30 in the morning is when I'll be starting - good thing it will be summertime for the adjustment period - it's definitely going to be needed! 

So, I won't have evenings or Saturdays available anymore and I get it - there's going to be some clients that just can't make it happen. And I'm going to miss them for sure but, overall, this adds almost a full 10 hours to my work week over what I'm working now! This allows me one day for shop maintenance (supply store runs, cleaning etc) and weekends with my family and to get all those household chores done.

New Rewards Program

Salon Bucks will be done - there's a new kid coming to the block. Of course, I will still be accepting any Salon Bucks that clients may still have - there's no expiry on them but I know the new program will be a popular one!

As with Salon Bucks, there will be no cost to you but, one common headache with the Salon Bucks was holding onto them and keeping track of where you were stashing them. You also only received one when you pre-booked your appointment.  With the new Rewards Program there will be nothing for you to hold on to and they never expire. You can get rewards every time you're at the salon and spend a minimum of $20 - whether to get your hair done or pick up products and YOU get to pick the reward!

Your card stays filed in the salon and gets a stamp for every $20 you spend. Families in the same household can even all use one card to save faster. 

Cash in at $200 - Receive one free 300mL shampoo OR 300mL conditioner OR any styling product (value of $10-25)

Cash in at $500 - Receive (1) litre shampoo, (1) litre conditioner AND (1) styling product (value of $80-100+)

New Prices

Raising prices is always awkward. We all need to make a living and we all deserve to get paid what we're worth. I enjoy not charging people an arm-and-a-leg or taking their first borns (we don't really want or need more kids anyways); I have never wanted to be a salon that only an elite group could afford.  

That being said, I know my worth and it's been three years since I got a raise, so it's time. I use high-quality products and continue to educate myself, going to classes, seminars, buying books, dvds and webinars and these cost money but they also keep my brain on top of the hairdressing game. I have 11 years experience and am still charging less than most in town with a junior stylist. Consultations are always free, so don't hesitate to call and ask for a quote - most clients won't be affected more than $5-10.

Check out the new prices starting July 1st here

The On-Going Saga of My Husband's Hair

Haven't shared much about hubby's hair for a while now. We last left him with cornrows, which actually lasted almost a month!! This was basically to buy the time for him to make a decision: to dread or not to dread.

He'd thought about having dreads and if ever there was a time, now was it!  His hair was long enough, really well-textured from the perm and he had the advantage of living with his stylist who could work well into the evening to get the job done LOL

So, we went for it and, to be honest, that was actually last year!  I'm not sure I even remember how long it took but it was definitely HOURS.  Many evenings in a row of sectioning, flipping and matting his hair and then.....the maintenance!  That's what I'm going to share with you today - before a good clean-up/tightening and the after.  This process took about 8 hours to complete. Whomever (it is 'whomever', right? not whoever, in this case? - I am a stylist, not an English teacher) said that dreads were 'easy' was lying.  Sure, you can have matted hair that's all tangled but good, nice-looking dreads take a lot of commitment.  Not sure people really understand that.

So, without further ado, here's the befores and afters.  

So, there you go!  I put it in black and white so you could really see the texture of the hair.  We also didn't tidy up the ends at all - 8 hours JUST to tighten the root.  Dread Heads Care.

No Poo?

"Have you seen this no poo thing?"

Uhhhmmmmm......WHAT?!  That, my friend, is a somewhat surprising first line to a Facebook message from a client!

The rest of the message goes on to say she'd recently been reading and hearing about the 'no poo' method of hair care.  If you still haven't figured it out - it's 'poo as in 'shampoo'.  No longer using the bubbly in the shower.....  

Now some people probably just gagged a little at the thought of not washing their hair - most of them are probably daily-washers - but let's stop for a minute and think about this.  When did it become normal to wash our hair every day? Or even every other day, for that fact?! 

Well, you can retract that gagging right now, because it's only been in the last 60 years or so  that we, as a culture, have become obsessed with suds-ing up our coifs.  Think about it - ladies used to get their hair done in the salon once a week by their stylist, go home and come back a week later to have it washed and done again.  What do you think they did during that week?  They certainly weren't washing it!  

In school for hairdressing, most students are taught to wash twice and condition once for clients.  But we've moved away from that now.  Clients are, indeed, washing their hair on their own between visits to the salon! *Collective Gasp!*  We don't need to wash and scrub away a week's worth of styling products and sweat etc; bringing me to the part of today's blog where we discuss WHY use No Poo and let you know what I think it.


Why Your Hair Gets Dirty In The First Place: Supply and Demand

Aside from actual dirt and dust and such, your scalp wants to make oil. And no matter how much you wash, it's not going to stop.  In fact, quite the opposite is true. The skin has sebaceous glands that produce sebum (oil) that coats the surface of the scalp, creating a thin film we call the acid mantle - this acts like  a protective barrier for your skin and this makes our skin happy.

As we brush and run our hands through our hair, as well as naturally through the force of gravity, this oil travels along the hair strand.  As it spreads and builds up, our hair feels heavy, clumps up and feels greasy; this makes us unhappy.

We wash our hair.  

And the oils go down the drain too.

Therefore, our sebaceous glands get to work and start making MORE oil as it has all been stripped away.  You wash your hair as it's feeling greasy.  Your glands work harder to make more oil.  

Getting the picture?


The No Poo Method

There's a few ideas about how to do the No Poo Method (NPM? lol) but the gist is this: You don't use shampoo again.  You rinse as you like and scrub your scalp during showers (well, you should be doing that, at least).  Once a week you use baking soda to do a deep clean. (I'm presuming that you could at least condition after this, though I haven't read that anywhere yet).

So.....not washing your hair for a week and just scrubbing?  Ain't got no problem with that even one bit!  I've done it myself for certain! The production of oils will gradually reduce as you wash less and less.

Once a week using baking soda to deep clean........yeah...definitely not too good with that.  See the thing is this, your hair and skin have a pH of 4.5-6.2 (even if you don't know the pH scale, stick with me, you'll still get the point) Baking soda has a pH of about 8.  Okay, so what does this mean?

The pH of baking soda is so much higher than the pH of our skin and hair that it will be very drying and suck all moisture and oils away, really just kinda stripping it.  It's high enough on the pH scale to swell the cuticle layer (the outside, shingle-like, protective barrier for your hair) which can weaken and damage hair.  And it can remove colour from the hair (including artificial colour, whether from the salon or the box).

So, pretty much you now have to do so much repair to your hair, you have to wonder if it was worth it *Side rant: This principle applies to those who love to put oils in your hair (avocado, coconut - doesn't matter) it may be "so moisturizing" to your hair, but how many times are you washing it to get it all out?? Think about that for a moment..... 

So, I could totally get on board with this concept,  if you just switch it up from baking soda to a good quality, deep-cleansing shampoo.  One to try is Joico's K-pak Clarifying Shampoo. It does a deep clean, so you wouldn't want to use this type of shampoo all the time or within a week of colouring your hair.


More Reason To Use The NPM (lol - like that?)

There's  a few other reasons people are choosing No Poo. One is because of ingredients in some shampoos that build up, or coat the hair, like silicones.  Most of the time, this is a problem with lower-end, drug-store shampoos.  I may be die-hard Joico but ANY salon-brand is going to be better in my books (and this means ACTUAL salon-brands, not "just like from the salon" brands)  This is not to say that all drug-store shampoos are filled with silicones and the likes, but they are more likely.

The last reason I found for people using the No Poo Method is environmental - washing the chemicals down the drain and throwing away packaging.  For this I have two answers:

Joico Structure Cleanse Shampoo and Conditioner : a new line from Joico for those that like "natural" shampoos.  Free from sulfates, parabens, silicones, glycols, animal derived ingredients, gluten, DEA & MEA, artificial colours and dyes and is 100% vegan.  It also doesn't dry hair out like most health food store brands I've seen and it lathers!!!! A HUGE deal for me, personally, hair doesn't feel like it's cleaned unless there's bubbles!

As for packaging Joico is in a league of their own (this is a quote right from their site here):

"Here at Joico, we are at the forefront of materials production. In 2011, we will launched new packaging created from a hybrid bioplastic resin, making us one of the first beauty companies to use this new and innovative material. The new packaging is a composite of post-consumer recycled plastic and thermoplastic starch derived from plants, which unlike other bioplastics, will not contaminate recycling streams. As a result, Joico is reducing its packaging-related greenhouse gas emissions by more than 75 percent. This initiative is just one of many at Joico. We also manufacture bottles with up to 70% post-consumer recycled plastic and cartons that use 100% recycled paperboard. We print information on the inside of our cartons to eliminate paper inserts. And we’re committed to finding new ways to shine bright, clean and beautiful…now and for generations to come."

How cool is that???

In conclusion:  it's not a bad thing at all to cut back on washing your hair (especially if you find it's dry but also if it just gets super greasy after one day!) the more important thing to think about is what you do use when you do in fact, wash your hair.  Look up pH balances of things you hear are good to put in your hair and think about what it's going to take to get it OUT again. Make sure to rinse your hair (using warm, not hot water will help prevent dryness) and scrub your scalp once in a while, even if you never use shampoo - just to get dry/dead skin off the scalp.  

Do what works for you but remember - the rest of us have to look at you and smell you, so be hygienic!!!! LOL

Do you have a No Poo method that's different?  Do you have a story to share about not washing your hair, or even washing it too much?  Did you find another way to solve the dilemma of overly dry or overly greasy hair?  Share with me below!


Weeks 4,5 & 6 - Editorial Styling Course

Wow!!! Time is flying by!  Have to be honest here, I'm finding it REALLY hard to fit this course with Vivienne Mackinder into everything else I have going on....especially as the styling gets more challenging.  I have already learned an immense amount and I'm not even half-way through!

So, I'm summing up 3 weeks here, which will finish up the setting portion of the course, with what I think you really want.....PICTURES!  So, I'm streamlining it today and just sharing my submission pics and the results of each.....

Let's go!

Week Four - setting with an iron (now this is with a marcel iron as opposed to a spring handle - the kind most people know/recognize)


Spring handle above on left; Marcel handle on right.

Barrel Curl Set

I, unfortunately, lost the original "front" pic to turn in (never said I was a whiz with a computer!), so I ended up having to use a pic in which the hair hadn't been properly touched up for the photo as I was just testing lighting.  I still, however received a 10/10 

Vertical Barrel Curl Set

I had to play with lighting quite a bit for these ones to really enhance the movement of the hair as the model's hair was so dark and overall I was quite happy with this look.  In the end I got an 8/10 as the shape of the hair (when you look at the silhouette) could've been more flattering to my model and I agree and can see what she was talking about - needed a little more oomph, especially the side and back views.

Vertical Curling

Overall really happy with this one, though it really was a challenge to roll the hair vertically through the sides.... ended up with 10/10

Week Five - this was a week of random sets that weren't using typical rollers and they were some challenging ones for sure!  Hairstylists will understand when I say..... FINGERWAVES!!!!!AAAAAAHAHHHHHHHHH!  LOL

Finger Waves

 This was my second attempt at Finger Waving, which was especially good since I had a bride coming in for them in about a week's time.  I got 6/10 for my mark as I could make the wave a more consistent strength, with more motion between ridges and, to be fair,  I"m not sure you could ever NOT need more practice with these guys!  At first, I was really disappointed (being the keener that I am) but when I looked over my grading sheet, I realized that my score was a "Satisfactory - keep practicing" I felt better.  One up would have been "Good - room to grow" and one down would have been "Weak - go back to basic technique and slow down".  For how often I do them, "Satisfactory" is actually pretty good, right?

Marcel Waves

 These waves were created using a curling iron, as opposed to rollers or setting the hair.  This....oh...this was a challenge!!!  I received another 6/10 - again, more consistency; even strength in ridges, even space between ridges, stronger wave motion and more balance around the head.

Pin Curl Set

 Whew! Back to my 10/10 scoring!!!!  Vivienne really liked this one from me....and so did I!  Beautiful retro look!

Rag Set

I LOVED this one!!!  Vivienne said she loved the front styling, for a fun, tighter rag set with an afro feel.  I loved how I got some great triangle shapes in the profiles and back, but they could have been a bit sharper.  Loved working with this texture!  I scored an 8/10

Week Six Hot rollers and velcro rollers!

Hot Roller One

Beautiful!! 10/10 scoring!!!!

Hot Roller Two

Yay! Another 10/10!!!

Velcro Roller

And finishing up - a 10/10!  Yay, Me!

Upcoming next is braiding and twists - looking forward to it as I have always enjoyed braiding.

Here's some other pics from these last few weeks to enjoy (no air-brushing has been used):

From my Barrel Curl Set, Week Four

Simply making the shot to black and white gives her an Old-Hollywood Glamour look.

Change the lighting a little and you have a stunning, more modern and artistic look, with the same hair style.

Live model with a variation of the Rag Set, Week Five


My beautiful client on her wedding day with her sister, sporting Finger Waves from Week Five.

Some shots of first attempts and end results of practicing:

Onward and Upward from here!!!

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Skills Canada Competition


Jessica's First "Bombage" attempt...


Ahh ms jessica. For you the wait is worth it. Very few have the talent, focus, and creative mastery that you do. I know I am not alone in saying that if the queen is down, we are down with her. We need you for the long term to make our hair dreams come true, so if time off to repair and rest is what the doctor ordered, so be it. Don't go crazy trying to overcompensate for the injury by working yourself to the bone. We need our queen with scepter in hand ready to rule and tame the mane. Our greys will wait and the split ends will hold knowing that soon is better then never. Which reminds me, I need to make some royal change when I get to enter your court. Hmmmm, time to google cool queen photos. Much love little sister from all your patrons!

I simply have to say, "BRAVO!!" Putting in all the time and effort is not what most would do. I am happy to hear I am not the only nut job out there!!!! LOL!! It is not so much about the money ay. It is a deep satisfaction in knowing you did the best that was in you to do with what you had to work with!!! I am a Joico lover too!!! I am not nuts about working with ashes, but after seeing this amazing transformation, I am about to tackle this very same beginning to finish on my daughter's brown-colored hair. She is hoping for the final outcome to be as beautiful. Wish me luck and thank you so much for this incredible layout of steps and knowing their is " the end of this dark hair journey!!" God bless you...keep up the excellent work!!

great the finished look.hope you keep it like it on youtube?

Well Jessica, good for you again! I love following these course assignments that you do. When I come in for the blonde touch ups in April, I want the Ashley blow dry!! That is stunning. And well done with the nine row brush, I hate that brush and I am not a stylist!

Hi, I was wondering if you can use this treatment & process on box dyed black hair? I have asked in salons & been told you can & that it should lighten to dark brown. My worry is that because my hair has been dyed black for about 3 years now & also is very fine & thin that the treatment will damage or even make it fall out :/! I have been several different colours over the years, including blonde for about 8 years so my hair has been through alot!