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?

Don’t burn your hair with the blow dryer!

Posted in Answers on January 7th, 2013 by Reagan


I have but a mere moment to spend on blogging this morning. But I feel that a quick, yet important tip should be shared. You know…with it being cold outside, I like to blow dry my hair a little more often so that I don’t wander this city with icicles for hair. (am I right NYC? the last few weeks have been freezin’!)

However, I will not stand for blow dryer damage. So here is my quick little tip to make sure you’re not killing your hair with your blow dryer: Don’t touch your hair with the nozzle. That’s right, get close to the hair, but don’t ever let the nozzle touch your hair. You will torch the poor cuticle.

That’s all there is to it. Rough drying, round brushing, whatever it is. Keep a little space between the nozzle and the hair.

This photo has nothing to do with anything. And it’s old as the hills. But it’s from when I went to Argentina last spring and it was warm and beautiful there. This is the type of thing I dream of when I’m blow drying my hair during these freezing, grey months.

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!

Avoiding Hat Hair.

Posted in Answers, Tutorial on November 19th, 2012 by Reagan

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Love hats but hate hat-hair?


Well, I figured out a trick and I basically never had hat-hair again. Steps below!

one. Decide where you want your hair parted that day sans hat. I chose the middle.
two. Part your hair heavily to one side (basically anywhere besides step one)
three. Put on your hat.

When you take off your hat, you can shake your hair around and part it back to where you originally wanted it. Voila! No hat-hair! I should have taken a photo of step four, which is “Get a million boyfriends”.

Remember this little tip, because it’s winter hat season and I’m tired of being the only one in this city with cute, non hat-hair. Jk.

Like my turban (turb’)? I got it in London back in the day. Here is a cute winter one I love!


Tips for travel (the teaser)

Posted in Answers, News, Products on July 11th, 2012 by Reagan

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Last weekend I took a trip to Miami. The trip was big enough that I wanted to look cute and go out, but little enough that I didn’t want to check a bag. The thought of leaving my house without every single hair product I own makes me want to weep in my mama’s arms, so where does that leave a girl like me? It leaves me compromising. The sad truth about traveling with hair and rules about liquids is that you probably can’t have your way in it’s entirety.

So here’s what you (I) do.

1. You get some little containers. I got mine at Ricky’s, a beauty supply here in NYC, but you can get them at many other places like Sephora or a local pharmacy. Here are some I found at the Container Store website..

2. You fill them up with your can’t live withouts. For me that’s Creme For Style and Ocean Mist. (And mousse but remember we’re compromising?) I needed a squeezey bottle and a spritzy bottle for these. Obviously shampoo and conditioner can be brought as well if you hate what your hotel provides for you.

My strategy is to wear my hair at it’s most natural state, but enhanced. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve brought a full kit for blow drying…brushes and all, but opted to spend more time enjoying my vacation rather than primping myself. I hate bringing things on vacation that I don’t use (I’ll literally wear 10 pairs of shoes the last day to make sure every pair got worn), so I just don’t bring that stuff anymore. For me, products are they key for wearing my hair natural, so products get brought.

What’s your hair travel plan?

More traveling hair tips to come.

(PS Miami is amazing.)

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?

Hair myth: No brunettes in the summer

Posted in Answers on May 1st, 2012 by Reagan

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I love busting the beauty myths. In fact, I think I’d like to do a little beauty myth series!

First myth up for discussion….

You can’t go darker in the spring/summer.

There is no reason you can’t go dark in the spring or summer, even if you are a natural blonde. Hell, go witch dark for all I care! If you like your hair dark, go dark whenever the heck ya want! Apparently his myth makes me talk like a darn tootin’ Midwesterner.

Shifting focus back to the topic at can absolutely go dark in the spring and or summer.

After all, there is such thing as brunette mermaids too.


My formula.

Posted in Answers on April 13th, 2012 by Reagan

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One of the most common questions I get on this blog is “what is your color formula?”.

It’s like the “what’s your sign” of Hairdresser On Fire. Anyway, here are a few reasons I’ve never revealed my formula….

~I have no idea what it is.
~My colorist has no idea what it is.
~It’s complicated and impossible to do unless you are a professional

The way my colorist, Charlie, works is mostly visual. She doesn’t write anything down, and instead looks at the hair and decides what it needs based on the condition of it, the pre-existing color, and what I’m going for.  I like this because I never know how it’s going to turn out, I only know that I’m going to like it. I try to not guide her too much, and instead let her creative coloring mind and hands maul my hair in a good way. We generally do any and every variation of strawberry blonde there is, because it’s my absolute favorite color in the world to be, and I love that it turns out different every time.

Anyhair, I had a gloss the other day, and I had another colorist at my salon, Carla, do it. I finally got a wild hair and asked her what formula she was using for my strawberry/apricot/warm blonde*, and wrote it down for you. She layered two different glosses at the sink for me, here they are in order of appearance.

Eh hem..

First Layer:
1 oz. 9AA
1 oz. 9RB
2 Caps of O kicker
2 Caps of 8C
A dash of Clear gloss to dilute it.

Second Layer:
1 oz. 9RB
1 Cap of 9V
1 Cap of Red Kicker
A dash of Clear gloss to dilute it.

See why that basically requires a PHD in hair color to pull off?

For all you colorists/stylists out there, let me know if you try this and how it turns out! I’d love to hear back! And maybe I’ll start a trend of asking Charlie/Carla what formula they use each time and report to you here. Then we can laugh at how totally different it is every time. How’s that sound?

*If my haircolor was a food I would eat it.

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!”