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?

A trim and a gloss.

Posted in Products on October 25th, 2012 by Reagan

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You’d think working at a salon I could get my hair cut and/or colored any old day I fancy, but you know something? No one (including myself) ever has time. I have spent the last two weeks at work trying to squeeze a trim inbetween clients or during someone’s lunch. It finally happened today. Kristen spritzed down my hair with leave in conditioner and cut a totally straight line across the back. No time for any shaping and I did the world’s quickest blow dry on myself in order to look presentable for my next client. If memory serves…Kristen remarked how my ends were just “falling off” at the sight of the scissors. They were ready.

As for the color…I wrangled Carla into glossing me last week. Same story. She tossed on a gloss at the sink, hoping to layer it a few times for the perfect tone, but after the first round I realized I didn’t have enough time.  I don’t know what else she had in store but to me it looks perfect as it is.

And by the way, I still haven’t done any highlights since June, I’m totally going to make it to my goal for no highlights til December..and even beyond!

Treat your gloss right with color safe shampoo!



Whittemore House Movie

Posted in News on October 11th, 2012 by Reagan

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A few months after I started at Whittemore House, we filmed this movie to tell the story of the salon. You think you’re going in to any old salon to get your hair done, but crazy things happen in that place! I had fun playing the part of the waitress, a color client, one of the leg ladies, and a dancing girl in the mirror. It’s fun to remember the two days of filming and how silly we all got by the end of the second day.


Also, Hey Anna and Rubi!

Whittemore House featured in The Cut.

Posted in Press on September 3rd, 2012 by Reagan

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New York Magazine’s blog “The Cut” did a little write up about my salon last week. They interviewed my fellow stylists/colorists and myself about our beauty routine and called us “The Hot Girl Factory”. I don’t mind a description like that one single bit!

There’s a cool little slideshow of all my amazingly stylish Whittemore Teammates, go here to see the photos and read the whole story!


Photos by Elizabeth Lippman

Story by Christina Han

PS I’m wearing this lipstick in the picture.

Androgynous Hair trends.

Posted in Celebrities, News on March 7th, 2012 by Reagan

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The other day I was consulting a male client who wanted his hair cut like one of the girls I work with. Yes, she has a long pixie, but you still don’t see a guy pointing to a girl for hair inspiration every day. It’s happened a few different times, with both men and women. Men are wearing more feminine hair cuts and clothes (skinny jeans, etc.) and women are also going more simple with hair and wardrobe (blazers, trousers and oxfords are everywhere!). Ultra layered cuts are definitely making their exit and more natural, flowing styles are what I’m doing more every day at the salon. Women are wearing more soft, natural looks..less “done” altogether.

Whenever I think about how the lines are blurring more and more with men and women’s styles, I think about the late 70s and early 80s. Specifically David Bowie. He looked very much like a beautiful woman. (I mean that in the nicest way)


Also, if you take away their beards and sexy hairy chests, the Bee Gees all have lady hair.


Annie Lenox was all about the dude do.


Ok, both Annie Lenox and Jamie Lee Curtis look crazy similar to David Bowie. Also in a good way.


What do you think about the newest “androgynous” hair trends?

~In case it wasn’t obvious, this was one of my all time favorite posts to write and research. Thanks to David and the Bee Gees having such nice, slender legs and chests.~

My bad hair habit confession.

Posted in News on January 29th, 2012 by Reagan

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Confession: I pick my split ends. The worst part is, I actually know how bad this is for my hair, but I can’t stop myself once I get started. I don’t really split them, I just pull them off in one satisfying pluck. I’m pretty much staring my hair straight in the imaginary hair eye while I do it…silently apologizing each time I snap off an end.

I try to “meet my hair halfway” by only plucking at the front bits. They’re my short guys anyway, I don’t mind if they are a little more damaged. But truthfully, they are getting slightly velcro-y. And this bad habit needs to stop.

Do any of y’all have a seriously bad hair habit like mine? Do you trim your own bangs (don’t do it!), twist with your fingers, or maybe skip haircuts? I know a few girls who have bald spots from nervously pulling out their own hair!

PS nose shot!

Louis Vuitton

Posted in News on January 19th, 2012 by Reagan

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I’ve been excited for this Louis Vuitton ad to come out for months! The blonde model in the ad spent almost a whole day at my salon getting the most perfect platinum hair for this campaign with one of the owners, Victoria. My bosses are both color masters, and I love watching the process of their work. If you could have seen the color in person, your jaw would drop at how flawless it is. Not a single spot. It is so evenly white, it looks like it’s her natural color. So beautiful!

Have you ever had platinum color? I am too scared of the possible damage and upkeep, but I’ve always been a little tempted to try it. It’s so striking!

Has a client ever made you cry?

Posted in Answers on September 30th, 2011 by Reagan


Me crying at work because I’m cold.

I got an email yesterday from some girls who are in beauty school. They have been dealing with some rude clients and wondered if a rude client has ever made me cry?

Yes, yes they have.

When I was an assistant, there was this really mean old lady who had done every plastic surgery known to man at least 15 times. I don’t know if this was the reason for her hating the world, but I just don’t know. I’m open to it. Anyway, I was about to blow dry her hair when she stopped me to ask how old I was. I answered “21″, she said “give me someone else. you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re too young. i just don’t want to deal with this today.”. I said that I’d go find her someone older (haha) and while I walked around the salon looking for someone older than 21 to blow dry her hair, she sat there muttering loudly about “someone so young shouldn’t be working here. they don’t know what they’re doing. my day is just too busy to have a bad blow dry”.

I went to the back area and started crying. I felt so bad. This lady was a repeat offender, though, and had made at least 2 or 3 other assistants cry before.

Nothing else comes to mind as far as crying, but there was another time maybe 3 years ago where a woman was equally rude. She was the kind of woman who thought she was super fabulous (but wasn’t), so she acted like a diva wherever she went. I think she probably left the salon and called all of her friends to brag about how she just yelled at the girl blow drying her hair.

Anyway, In the first 5 seconds of the blow dry, she said “Stop! Aren’t you going to do it this way?”. I said “yes, but I’m first getting these frizzy hairs in the front so they don’t dry on their own”. She started flipping out and saying I didn’t know what I was doing and ran out of the salon with wet hair. Then in the doorway, she turned around and yelled “If you want to learn how to do a REAL blow dry, try going to the Upper East Side!!”.  And that was the last time I saw her and her ugly knock-off Coach handbag.

The funny thing, is that I did learn how to do a blow dry at a salon on the Upper East Side. That is where you go for an old lady blow dry. I can do that if you want to look like a news reporter, but I would much more prefer to make you look like a Victoria’s Secret model, if you will only let me.

In both of these cases, I didn’t do anything wrong. It was just nasty people taking out their nasty attitudes on me.

So, chin up! Just make fun of the rudies when they leave. There are other ways to get your point across besides stomping around and being rude, so in my opinion, they deserve it.

The chat follow up.

Posted in News on September 30th, 2011 by Reagan


Hairlings, I have really enjoyed all of your “chatting” comments. I really learned something! Honestly, it is quite awkward to ask at the beginning of an apointment “are you a chatter or do you want me to shut my trap?”, so I never know for certain if the client is a chatter or not, unless it is the most obvious body language ever. Or I guess mouth language. Either one.

So, I wanted to tell you that if I happen to be shampooing my own client, and they don’t initiate the convo, I’m going to zip it and let them enjoy their head massage. Because you guys are so great and told me you like silence during the shampoo!

Also, I had to laugh when one commenter talked about how it is so straining to try and have a conversation during the blow dry. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to embarrassingly nod my head cluelessly at what the person in my chair is saying, because I can’t hear a word with the 20 blow dryers going at the same time in the background. I always feel rude saying “what?”, “pardon?”, “I’m sorry?”, “say it again, please?”. So I try my best to read lips and strain like a 90 year old to hear the gossip. (it’s almost always gossip that is hard to hear because they are talking more quietly than normal when dishing goss’.)

This is how happy I look when I can hear my clients. (also this is how happy I look when I’m dancing.)

Have a great great great fabulous weekend, guys! I’m working some hair magic for a short film this weekend. The film is about an underground music scene in the late 1950s-early 1960s. Cannot WAIT to do that hair.

Do you like to chat at the salon?

Posted in News on September 23rd, 2011 by Reagan


My friend, Jana, did a mini interview with me about my job a few months ago. One of the questions she asked me, was how to avoid sounding rude if you want to get your hair done in peace and quiet, instead of chatting with your stylist the whole time you’re in the chair.

I only wrote a few sentences when answering Jana’s question, but it was really such an important one. The personality and social part of my job is a big chunk of it. If I’m not memorable to my clients, they might call the salon when they need a clean up and say “give me anybody”.  But I also really enjoy talking to my clients. There are times when I look at the schedule and see a specific person that I love to talk to, and it makes my whole day.

So, I try asking a few questions at the beginning of the appointment, and depending on how they answer, I’ll know if they are chatters or not. I’ll say “What do you do for work?” and they might say “I work in finance” if they aren’t a talker. And if they ARE a talker, they might say “I work in finance. I work downtown at _____. I specialize in _____” and then go on from there. Usually I try out two or three questions and if they are still just ‘yessing’ or ‘no-ing’ then I think they probably want me to shut the H up. But if it’s been 5 minutes and I already know where they went to college, how many roommates they have and what their favorite Italian restaurant is, they are probably chatters.

If you’re not a chatter, my best advice is to bring a prop. The best props are a book/magazine or a laptop/phone. You can just pretend to be busy with those guys even if you’re not. I used to blow dry Joy Behar’s hair, and she would bring in several of these items. Newspapers, her blackberry and a little note book to write all of her ideas in. She has the hair of pretty much 6 adult people, so she really needed all that material. I think we only said 10 whole sentences to each other ever. She is friendly and sweet, but very busy. She was a pro at getting her downtime without any mixed signals.

I had two experiences recently with this. One girl at the end of her haircut said “I love it! Plus you’re a talker, so I’m for sure coming back to you.”, and the other pulled out her book while I was getting her a tea. I didn’t say a word to her until I needed more information about how she wears her bangs.

Most people aren’t so obvious with whether they want to talk or not, so I’m curious, what do you like? Do you come to the salon excited to catch up about your vacations, kids, work/love life? Or do you want to close your eyes and have your hair combed and snipped/blow dried in peace?

[Photo: Jacob Breinholt]