Fifteen Tips from your Local Cosmetologist

My Background in Cosmetology:

I went to Blackstone Valley Tech in Upton, MA where I studied Cosmetology alongside my academic classes. My schedule would alternate every other week with my program and regular classes. I worked in the school salon during my junior and senior year—junior year is when all students begin in the salon. I worked with clients performing chemical services (color, perms, lightening, relaxers, Keratin Blowouts), haircuts, conditioning treatments, hair styling, nails, and skincare. When I was not in the salon, I spent time in the classroom learning about the particular areas covered, had many projects and exams to study for. I learned about anatomy, physiology, chemistry, electricity, infections, and disorders. Massachusetts requires students to reach 1000 hours before being able to take the practical and written exam. Once I reached my 1000 hours during my senior year, I booked the test and received my license in June of 2019!

 

My 15 General Hair Tips!

 

1. It is important to keep up with haircuts

Even though haircuts do not make your hair grow faster, they keep it healthy. Haircuts help avoid breakage, split ends, and frizz. Keeping up with them will keep the hair growing better and avoid these issues from progressing. I understand that it can be a high expense to do this, but I would say to at least get 2-3 cuts a year to prevent damage.

2. Try to use good quality products

I know that some hair products can be very expensive, but higher quality does make a big difference. Inexpensive ones can contain cheap ingredients that can cause more build up and can be drying to the hair. If possible try to invest in higher up brands, even just for products that you use the most. It is okay to have a mix of both types of products. If it is hard to afford higher-end products, which I totally understand as a college student, then at least do some research on what cheaper brands are better than others to get the best quality!

 

3. What to know when getting your hair lightened

    This service can require lots of maintenance and can be a long process depending on what you are trying to achieve in your hair. It can be very damaging to the hair, causing dryness and breakage. It can be harsh on light and dark hair but is more damaging to darker colors. Darker hair colors take more damage in the lightening process because the lightener has to be used at higher strengths, has to sit longer, and can require multiple processes or services. Blonde and lighter colored hair requires less lifting because the hair is at a lighter level, so it has fewer stages to process through. It is important to know what you are getting into when choosing to do these types of services so that you understand the costs, what your hair will be going through, and how it will be after it is chemically changed. 

 

4. Washing the Hair

 When it comes to washing, shampooing, and conditioning, I recommend trying to not do it too much. Shampooing the hair every day can cause it to be dry and constantly strips the hair of its natural oils. If possible try shampooing every other day, then just rinse it the days in between or whatever works best for you. All hair types are different, so it all really just depends, but definitely try not to shampoo every day if possible.   

 

5. Information about The Global Keratin Treatment

This chemical service helps eliminate 95 percent of curl/wave, decreases frizz, cuts blowdry time in half, and lasts three to five months. Keratin is one of the major proteins that helps build and strengthen the hair structure. There are many different types of Keratin treatments, some contain formaldehyde in the treatment and others do not. Pricing can vary depending on hair length, texture thickness, and density. The treatment can be very great for many clients, but very expensive, so it is important to be fully informed about the service. I have had this done before myself and I saw great results. I have wavy/curly hair myself and was able to still keep it with the service, which is what I wanted, so there are lots of options depending on how the service is done. 

 

6. Hair prep when using hot tools

For thermal styling whether you are curling or straightening it is crucial to use a heat protectant on the hair. Heat can be very damaging to the hair, especially for those who color and lighten in. Try to put the tools on the lowest setting possible to help reduce damage. When it comes to curling, it can be helpful to use a little hair spray beforehand, so that the curl has a strong hold. It is very beneficial to spray the curls after a row has been curled to keep them set and formed. 

 

7. Care for colored or chemically treated hair

    It is best to use shampoos and conditioners that are designated for color-treated hair. These types of products help prevent discoloration to the hair and do not contain sulfates. Color-safe shampoos help protect the hair color and to keep it more maintained. Sulfates can be very damaging to colored hair and can create build up. When it comes to hair that has been lightened, it is beneficial to use a purple or blue shampoo to help keep up with the tone and avoid brassiness. Purple helps the cool tones stay in the hair, while the blue helps it maintain the desired warmth. Using these shampoos will keep up with the maintenance of hair from chemical services and prevent additional costs that would be needed to the hair, like toning and enhancing the hair color.  

 

8. Try to avoid box dye

    The issue with box dye from the store is that it contains a high content of metallic salts and other chemicals. These contents can be very tough and harmful to all hair types and colors. It becomes an issue if one goes from using box dye to going to the salon to get it colored or lightened. The metallic salts can cause a dangerous chemical reaction when mixed with these high-quality products and services. It can be a lengthy and difficult process trying to remove metallic salts, adding on more expenses. It is important to be honest with your stylists about box dye if you have recently used it, to avoid any negative reactions and to keep your hair protected. Getting your hair colored can be expensive and time-consuming, but it is definitely worth having better quality hair color used that will not hurt the hair. 

 

9. Use a clarifying shampoo

    Clarifying shampoos are great to use at most once a week to help take away any possible build-up that can be stuck on and weighing down the hair. I like to do this, then follow with a hair mask that sits for a few minutes while showering, then I rinse and scrub in the conditioner to the ends. One of my favorite brands that I use a lot which has amazing masks is Joico, their masks really, really get the job done. A clarifying shampoo can definitely be a bit drying so that is why I do this, or I spray a leave-in on my hair when it is damp. I like using the It’s a Ten leave-in or the HydraSplash line from Joico has a nice one too that I use! Anyone can benefit from using this type of shampoo—it just helps keep the hair more healthy and free of heavy buildup.  

 

10. Always use a heat protectant 

    As I said before, heat protectant products are key with any hot styling to the hair. This applies to blow drys, curling, straightening. The most common heat protecting products come in sprays, creams, and foams. Always make sure to look at your products and see which ones fulfill this need. Lots of styling agents have multiple benefits, so it is helpful to have products that can do more than one purpose, which helps save money from buying many different products. 

 

11. Know your products

Knowing your products and what works well will help you achieve the best outcome when styling your hair! Do the research about ingredients, certain brands, and what they help target. People with very fine hair tend to work better with sprays or light foams because it is so easy for the hair to be weighed down. Thicker hair has more versatility with products, but can still get weighed down or greasy. Textured and coarse hair can handle more than finer hair, but need very specific products, whether the goal is to keep or reduce the texture. I have thick wavy/curly hair, so I tend to use a curl cream or foam to maintain my texture and enhance it. My favorite ones that I have been using recently are the Curl Re:Coil Curl Activator Cream and Curl Mousse Gel by AG Hair. 

 

12. Avoid shampoos with sulfates

Even people who have natural hair with no chemical services should still stay away from products containing sulfates at all costs, if possible. Those who have chemical services are more advised to this, but people who do not should still try too. Sulfates gradually create loads of build up on the hair shaft and cuticle. This build-up even goes onto the scalp and skin, which can cause irritation and discomfort. Pores can even get clogged from sulfates, causing acne, especially to those who are acne-prone. It is best to not use shampoos with no sulfates or even ones that contain less than others.

 

13. Importance of Soft VS Hard water

Soft water is rainwater or chemically softened water that contains only small amounts of mineral water, which allows soap and shampoo to free lather. Hard water is usually in well-water and contains minerals that reduce the ability of soap and shampoo to lather. Hard water can be harsher on hair that has been colored or lightened. Those whose towns or cities have  Hard Water should definitely use a clarifying shampoo once a week to help with this and some salons provide treatments that can help with this as well. This is also why it is important when it comes to using color-treated shampoos to prevent the discoloration from water minerals. 

 

14. Blow drying the hair

For blow-drying the hair, it is important to use enough product and the right ones for you. If you want it to be more straight, there are ones that are meant to target that desired look. It helps using a concentrator and a vent or round brush to keep the heat targeted and make the hair more straight. For textured hair, it is great to use a diffuse if you are looking to keep the natural curl. When diffusing, let the hair rest, and move the dryer around until the hair is on the dryer sides Once it gets like this, starts to scrunch with your hands and hold sections with the diffuser for about 30 seconds then let go and repeat. You can comb it out when you are done, a bit later, or just leave it depending on the texture type. 

 

15.  Be specific during consultations

The consultation is one of the most important parts of a service, no matter what you are getting done. Make sure to be very clear and specific with your stylist about what you want for your hair. The stylist may have a different perception compared to what you are thinking, so lots of detail is extremely helpful for both of you to be on the same page. Pictures are great to bring for your stylists to see so that they know exactly what you are talking about and imagining.