Hair Answers: Confidence

Posted in Answers on May 14th, 2013 by Reagan

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Q by Kim: I’ve been a hair dresser for a couple of years. I still struggle with my confidence level with people. Sometimes I don’t feel “good” enough in my skill level, but many people like my work. Any advice?

A by Reagan: Yes! I have great advice, if I do say so myself. I’ll break this up into three parts.

Part 1, Self peptalks. Sometimes a bit of a project comes in and sits in my chair. It could be that their hair is harder than normal, that they want something particularly challenging, or maybe that the client themselves are just a little picky and difficult. This certainly isn’t every-day, but it’s not all that uncommon either. In any case, here is how I handle it…I walk away while the client is getting shampood, and give myself a pep talk. I usually say (in my head so my co-workers don’t think I’m a lunatic), “Hey, Reags! you have done this a million times! She/He is going to LOVE your work!”, etc. Sometimes I also tell myself that I’m pretty and good at making nutella sandwiches, which isn’t related to hair, but I’m just a believer in speaking kindly to yourself in general. And it’s nice to hear those things sometimes.

Part 2, Ask lots of questions. Sometimes I humble myself by picking my co-workers’ brains. There is a girl I work with who is a ninja at men’s cuts, so I ask her what she did with that one guy’s hairline. Or if I see someone use a certain product for curly hair that I wouldn’t have thought of using..I like to know why. It helps so much to have a nerdy little industry chat with people whose work you respect.

Part 3, Continue your education. I still take cutting classes. I still go to hair shows sometimes too. My salon provides styling and cutting demos that are so informative. Trends come and go, and as long as you want your craft to stay up to date, take classes! Work on models! Practice on your friends! One of the most talented editorial stylists I’ve ever worked with used to ask me all the time if she could try things out on me. Keeping my skills honed definitely helps my confidence.

Bonus, Trust yourself! Early on, all I cared about was pleasing the client..whether it was at the salon, at a wedding or out on a shoot. And I never felt completely sure of the results. Now, I realize that I attract people who are coming to me because they want me to work my true work on them. I listen to their requests, but do my very own spin on it. They booked me for this job because they like my work and they want my perspective, after all.

What do you think? I have a lot of friends in various careers who feel a lack of confidence from time to time..have you experienced this?

The Hairdresser On Fire Holiday Special! Part 1.

Posted in Answers on December 12th, 2012 by Reagan

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Happy Holidays from Hairdresser On Fire! Here is part 1 of our 3 part Holiday Special!

I hope you enjoy!

Hairdresser on Fire – Holiday Special – Ep. 1 from Joe Varca on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for part 2 and 3 with special guests and cheery ideas for fancy holiday party hair!

And please check out Mairzy Dozy right here!

How to find a stylist/colorist.

Posted in Answers on May 31st, 2012 by Reagan

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It seems like people are always writing in to me asking how they can find the best stylist/colorist for their hair. My answer below.

Fly to NYC and come to me!


..ask people with sexy hair!

Imagine you’re walking down the street when suddenly you spot someone with good hair. You’re staring, they look nervous. Before they start running away, you need to take the opportunity to ask them the most majestic of questions…”who does your hair?”. You find out, you make the call, you go to them.

Something to keep in mind before assaulting a stranger or friend for their stylist’s info. Most importantly, they should have similar hair texture and style to yours, or at least to what you’re going for. If you are a girl with Michelle Williams hair, asking a girl with Kardashian hair who she goes to might not get you very far. Just because someone has a great precision bob, it doesn’t mean that stylist will be right for someone with long Zooey hair. Get what I’m saying? Sure hope so!

With color, it’s the same. If you like low maintenance and natural, go to whoever the low maintenances and naturals go. If you’re a punky, go to whoever the punkies go to. Simple as that.

Word of mouth is the very best way to go, but you can always refer to magazines and the internet for a suggestion. The problem there is that you can’t always trust that it’s an honest review. Something to think about, my friends.

No Poo.

Posted in Answers on May 10th, 2012 by Reagan

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I’ve had “no poo” on my mind all week, so it’s funny that I got a question asking me my thoughts on it.

What is no-poo?
Basically, no-pooing means you don’t shampoo your hair, at all. Instead of using shampoo and conditioner in the shower, you just scrub your scalp with water to loosen up and rinse any dirt. Some people use baking soda to clean their scalp in the shower, then follow with diluted apple cider vinegar.

Why no-poo?
Shampoo strips your hair of it’s natural oil, making it necessary to shampoo regularly.  The more stripped your scalp is, the more you need to shampoo. There are chemicals in shampoo that turn people off, and it can be extremely drying. People claim that after a few months without shampooing, their hair becomes shiny and healthy without the use of any styling products. No-pooers argue that people only started using shampoo in the 1930s, and if there wasn’t a need before that, there’s no need now!

My Thoughts on it.
I’ve never joined in on the movement, but I see why people do. All I can comment on really is what it’s like from behind the cutting chair. Hair that isn’t shampood feels so different from hair that is shampood. It’s a little alarming at first, because it is so coated in natural oils, almost like it has a shield around each hair. There is a heavy-ness to it, but not the same as flat or weighed down hair. When you wet down their hair before cutting, the water at the base of the shampoo bowl looks like a rainbow from all the oils. Kind of like when a car leaves an oil spot on a drive way and the sun glistens on it, haha.

1. It is so kick a** to stick it to the media and be freed of product handcuffs.
2. Less chemicals in your life.
3. Shiny, healthy hair.
4. Saving money on products.
5. It sounds kind of cool.

1. It’s a little bit gross. I’m supportive of my clients’ who choose to not shampoo but I have to wash my hands really well after they leave.
2. It takes a few months for your hair to adjust to not shampooing. These months are horrendous from what I hear.
3. Buying hats to deal with con number 2.
4. Your head smells. Not strong and not even necessarily bad, but it smells like a head and that never goes away.
5. I would miss that squeaky clean feeling. I know I would. Even if it’s a little bad for my hair, it sure feels great when it’s clean as a whistle!
6. You can’t color treat your hair. You need shampoo to wash out the dyes. But chances are if you don’t like chemicals in your shampoos, you don’t like chemicals in your dyes.

I find no-pooers so fascinating! Many of them that I know have tried it out for a year or two, but eventually went back to regular shampooing.

Do you no poo? Would you consider it?

Does your hair texture change?

Posted in News on January 18th, 2012 by Reagan

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After talking about bi-texturals, I thought I would talk a little about shape shifting hair!

I’ve heard that a woman’s hair changes every 7 years. It can become thicker, thinner, more brittle, curlier, less curly, etc. For me, that is definitely true. When I was a little girl, I had really loose wavy hair, then in middle school it was on the straighter side with tiny ringlets around my face (in the Southern humidity). Since high school, my hair has traded off being wavy-curly-wavy-straighty and thicker or thinner depending on the year.

Our texture can change for many reasons, but most of all it can be blamed plain and simply on hormones. But if you have had a baby, a surgery, an illness, a weight gain/loss, change of diet or any major change in atmosphere, you can expect that your hair might have a slight fit over it.

Has your hair changed over the years?

PS this picture is an example of how I would like my texture to shift next. I set it in tiny rollers for this permed look but don’t have the patients to do this every day!

And here is a funny/ugly photo of Jake forcing me to smile.

Hair Answers: Half and Half Hair

Posted in Answers on January 17th, 2012 by Reagan

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I have a few clients who literally have half curly/half straight hair. Meaning, the hair that grows from their crown is straight, and the hair that grows underneath is curly (or the other way around)…two completely different textures. It creates a problem with cutting and daily styling. After getting an email from a girl with this type of hair, I thought it would be a good idea to post about it here! She and the girls I know can’t be the only bi-texturals!

This can be caused by damage, or nothing at all! I know some people who after doing the Keratin treatment a few times experienced entire straight sections, I know people whose hair was damaged from bleach and lost wave, but I also know people with perfectly healthy/virgin hair that just likes to do its own crazy wonky thing! Silly hair!

First thing, make sure you find the right hair cut. This is very important. The first time I saw a girl with straight underneath and curly on top, I thought she had been given the most uneven haircut ever. It turned out it wasn’t uneven, it was just cut wet. Once the hair dried into it’s natural state, the curly hair shrunk up, leaving a huge gap inbetween the length and the layers. She had been unintentionally *shelfed! I undercut the length on this particular girl to make sure she is never shelfed again. So, make sure you explain very well to your stylist how your hair behaves naturally. Have a real discussion about how the hair cut may fix it (or at least enhance it). For example, using a razor to cut internal layers on the straight portion can encourage wave!

For styling, unfortunately you can’t just go natural (unless you like the bi-textural look). My suggestion is to use a curling iron to blend the straight parts with the curly parts. You don’t have to do every section, just the most troubled! Curl a few pieces from the curly section as well to blend those with the straighties. So it doesn’t look like the photo of me below!

*Shelfed [shelft]

1. A situation where a hairstylist has intentionally or unintentionally created a severely chunky layer not coordinating with the client’s length, simulating a shelf.

2. A person(s) who became victim to a stylist whose refusal to blend heavy layers ends up in an incredibly shelfy and unmanageable hairstyle.

“Have you seen Lisa’s new haircut? She’s been shelfed!”

A peek into my kit: Pins

Posted in Answers, Products on December 15th, 2011 by Reagan

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For our “Pins” segment, I’ll be covering a broader area than just pins. I’m including all the things I use to secure different styles. Before you get started, you want a pin case. This one below is great. I didn’t use my own picture because my pin case isn’t organized very well right now.
You can get this one here.

I like to bring a big clip to hold the hair while I’m blow drying/curling. This clip holds the thickest of the sections and never falls.

I make sure to always have lots of two prong clips for setting. Also, if you are doing a shoot or a show (or even a wedding) the make up artist will want to front of the hair pinned away so it doesn’t get in the way during the make up application. A lot of times I’ve used a piece of tissue between the hair and the clip to prevent a mark, but there are also special clips just for that purpose if you don’t want to deal with the tissue.

Bungees are the best way to get a smooth pony. They hold the hair tight tight tight! See my bungee tutorial here!

I go through these little bands like crazy. I use them mostly for securing braids and ponies. Make sure you have clear (pictured, but hard to see) for your blonde clients.

Japanese bobbies. I’ve written about these before. Normal bobbies don’t come near these guys. They are expensive, but one box comes with hundreds, and you non hairstylists will likely have a life supply by getting one. You hairstylists will likely have a few months supply. Let’s be real. We go through a lot of bobbies!

Last up is hair pins. I also like Japanese because they are easy to form without being too flexible. They are very comfortable to wear. The longer I do hair, the more I find myself using hairpins instead of bobbies. Go here for a quick hairpin tutorial!

Tomorrow I’ll choose a winner! Also, We have a new tutorial all edited and ready to go. I’ll probably post it Monday, but I just had to tell you!

All photos by Jacob Breinholt for Hairdresser On Fire. Except the top one.

A peek into my kit.

Posted in Answers, Products on December 14th, 2011 by Reagan

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I got an email from a young stylist asking for a peek into my kit. She wanted to know what I would bring with me on a job outside of the salon. I’m going to break this up into a few posts so that I can get into more detail with out it being too long and boring, but in the meantime, here is a peek!

I’ll be breaking it down into pins, products and tools.

Looking forward to seeing in the comments what other stylists bring along with them too!

Photo by Jake Breinholt for Hairdresser On Fire.

Hair Answers: Too much flat ironing.

Posted in Answers on September 28th, 2011 by Reagan

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Me on the far right, in 2001. Addicted to the flat iron. (and bleach and lipgloss and cheerleading)

Q by Allie: Hey there Reagan! My name is Allie and i absolutely love your blogs. I am a teenager with a similar hair texture to yours except slightly curlier/frizzier. I feel like all teenage girls nowadays flat iron their hair daily which is obviously super damaging. do u have any cute hair ideas that dont involve too much heat!? hopefully u see this cause i really need some help here! thanks.

A by Reagan: Allie, I was a flat ironer too! The flat iron became really big when I was in high school, and I guess it’s never left the high school scene! In my experience, the flat iron is what destroyed my hair. Before the flat iron, my hair was so thick and perfectly healthy. Before I knew it, the flat iron had wrecked my hair so much that the only way for it to look smooth was to keep flat ironing it every day. It wasn’t until I finally cut off lots of length and left it alone that it got back to health. Pheeww! Bad memory!

Anyway, Allie, I love you. Do you know how much I hate unecessary damage on hair? Because of over-heat styling, overdue haircutting, over-processing color treatments or whatever it may be. Just treat your hair nice and it will be so much more glorious resulting in tons of boyfriends or girlfriends or jealous people! I am constantly trying to show my clients how to keep their hair healthy, so thank you for this question.

So to answer your question finally, I say look all over this blog! I am really into just enhancing your hair’s natural texture. Maybe by blow drying only the roots and letting your ends dry how they naturally would, or just curling a few pieces around your face to feel jazzy. You could also let your hair air dry before putting it in a bun, a pretty ponytail or a braid of some kind. And don’t be afraid to use product. Product is always a great way to cut down on styling time AND damage. As always, I love Redken Outshine for almost every hair texture and styling purpose. But I still think it’s freaking sick and disgusting that they call it polishing milk. Milk?? Are you kidding me?

I have an idea! What do you say you and I run around dressed like hamburglars and steal all of your friends flat irons so they are forced to stop doing it? No? That’s illegal?

Brides with Bangs.

Posted in Answers on August 31st, 2011 by Reagan

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I recently got an email about brides wearing bangs, asking if I thought it was a good look. Yes, I do! But I don’t know if I’m the type of girl who says you should completely avoid dating your wedding. I mean, it will be kind of fun to look back at the pictures and know know that what you wore was what you wanted, instead of not wearing what you wanted because you were too afraid of the occasion being dated. I wore my hair long, down and wavy with a nod to the 1940s (with sort of a victory roll on the side). I also wore a big champagne colored sash which will forever go down in 2007 wedding history. The point is, it was what I wanted to wear. (Actually, I got married in Vegas and it was the only dress I tried on. But I did my hair myself and I did like it.)

So, maybe sweepy bangs wont be around forever. Maybe you have Zooey Deschanel hair and that wont be around forever either. But if you love your bangs, and you don’t feel like yourself without them, you should just wear the bangs.


..If you are afraid of looking like you are hiding under your big heavy bangs in all the pictures, then maybe you should try curtain bangs. Which is basically the beautiful bangs you already have, just parted down the center. You’ll have the comfort of the bangs that you know and love, but you will also be able to see your forehead!

So I know none of these above ladies are brides at the moment, but I do know that they all have the beautiful “curtain bang” that I love so much. I wear curtain bangs whenever they get too long to wear all the way down. They’ve been too long for that for several months, and I’ve enjoyed so much the curtain look.

I am interested to hear if you wore bangs to your wedding. Or if you will. My friend Maggie has had bangs as long as I’ve known her (6th grade) and she is getting married in just a few months. I am so curious what she’ll do with her bangs. Frankly, I can’t picture her without them!

PS this question came from Bosnia! Crazy!