There’s always a First – Danielle DeGraaf’s Competition Photoshoot Journey

There’s always a first; first impression, first job, first car, first house.  We use these ‘firsts’ to mark time, to look back on, laugh about and grow from.  They are also something that no one can experience quite like you did that very first time.

In order to let everyone who has been so supportive of Danielle in this first experience know how the day unfolded I planned to wrap up this blog series with some final questions for Danielle.  Little did I know this really wasn’t the end of the series….

 

Q. ‘Were you nervous the morning of the shoot? Did that last through the day?’

Danielle: ‘Nervous and excited.  I think having sat in on a shoot the year before helped since I knew what to expect.  I didn’t feel nervous through the rest of the day but definitely stressed!’

Q. ‘With a lot of prep work the day before, how long did the shoot end up taking in total?’

Danielle: ‘There was still a fair bit of styling to do the day of the shoot since a couple of the models had more than one look to be photographed.  We arrived at the photographer’s Studio at 8:30am and wrapped up around 3pm.’

Q. ‘What things were you very grateful you did this year for your first photo shoot and what things do you know you’ll do differently next year?’

Danielle: ‘I’m grateful I did so much work with testing my colours and textures beforehand. Having prepped the model’s hair over a period of months instead of entirely on prep day made the colouring process run very smooth.’

Q. ‘You had hired a Makeup Artist for the shoot.  Knowing you have experience with makeup yourself, how did you feel about the makeup looks?’

Danielle: ‘The makeup looks were unreal!  It was definitely the aspect I was most impressed and surprised with.  Florencia (Taylor) made what I had envisioned come to life with ease.’

Q. ‘What was it like working with a professional Photographer who had experience shooting competition hair?’

Danielle: ‘Working with Paula (Tizzard) was amazing.  I think it was a huge benefit for me to have a photographer that has shot competition hair before.  I told her from the beginning to let me know what she was thinking during the shoot and she did just that.   I was very grateful to have her eye that day!

Q. ‘Were there looks that turned out differently than what you had originally envisioned?’

Danielle:’ Yes! My third look did not portray the way I imagined it was going to, which is OK.  This year was all about learning!’

Q. ‘So what happens next? Are you planning for next year?’

Danielle: ‘I will definitely be doing another shoot next year but I’m actually working on an additional look for this years collection.  After seeing all the images together I felt two of the model’s looks flowed great, and the third did not.  After talking with Paula we both decided shooting another look this year would be worth it.  I’m also going to test out hiring a professional model for this additional shoot to see how that goes!  The third look will be finished up mid June.’

Q. ‘I’m sure you are so excited to share your pictures! Why do they have to be kept under wraps and what happens with them after submission?’

Danielle: ‘I can’t share the photos until I hear whether I placed in the competition or not.  If you release any photos before hand you are disqualified under the Contessa rules.  Submissions are due in August and it will be at least mid September before I hear anything definite.  I will have my photos to keep as all the submissions are done online.  Once submitted, the Contessas, along with certain magazines have the right to reproduce the images.  I will also be using the images to enter other competitions!

Q. ‘Since this is a Canada wide competition there must be a lot of photos entered.  How do they break them down and how are they judged?’

Danielle: ‘Submissions are broken down into categories, one for example being by Province and others by the style of the looks. So yes, there a lot of submissions but each contestant may only enter 1 or 2 categories.  Each category is judged on a specific set of guidelines, a great example being the Texture category. Sometimes entires for this category are even done in black and white as it is only the texture that is taken into consideration during judging.  Others, like the Ontario category, is judged on overall look of colour, cut and style.

 

So what’s next for Danielle? Even though the photo shoot itself is over the work is far from done.  Making sure every form, rule and requirement to enter is fulfilled and submitted properly is a time intensive task.  The excitement of the experience though is worth taking care of every last detail.

Regardless of whether Danielle is chosen as a finalist, this was all about a ‘first’.  Dipping a toe into the world of competition hair and choosing whether she prefers dry land or to cannon ball straight in without a backwards glance.

I think it’s safe to say this is a cannon ball moment!

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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The Final Photoshoot Touches with Master Stylist Danielle DeGraaf

It’s hard to believe the day is almost here! Monday April 10th is just around the corner and Danielle has been eat, sleep, breathing photoshoot prep! In this last interview before the shoot Danielle reflects on where she started, how far she’s come and the process that will take place the day of.

“I started planning, or coming up with ideas in late summer, early fall 2016,” she begins, ‘I changed my mind 100 times since then and I’m still putting thought into the concept every day.”

Physically, Danielle has been hustling.  While maintaining her regular Studio hours she estimates having put in a minimum of 40 hours of work for the shoot and that number is still climbing.  With the required looks being more fantasy and avant garde focused, some of those hours were also dedicated to working with and colouring extensions, which is a very common practice in photo based competitions.

When asked what she’d do differently in preparation for her next shoot she was quick to answer, ‘I think the biggest thing would be to decide on my colours and styles and just stick to it instead of changing my mind so many times!’

In the last interview we discussed how styling had been her biggest challenge to date since it is so different from her everyday work.  Interestingly enough, even though the styles are different the products needed to create them are still the same. ‘I learned new ways to combine our products and worked out the exact amount necessary to build the style I wanted.’

Now that the day is so close I asked Danielle to walk me through what her day will look like. ‘The day of the shoot is pretty straight forward,’ she said. ‘All the colouring is done and the model’s hair will be set the day before.  We’ll get to the photographers studio in London around 8:30am. While I’m creating one model’s finished style, another model will be in makeup.’ With 3 models to prep in a relatively short period of time Danielle is thankful to have some help from fellow Stylists who can jump in and be an ‘extra set of hands’ for her when needed.  ‘The goal will be for each model to always be busy, either with hair, makeup or on set modeling for the photographer.’

With the new connections she has made for photography, makeup, education and with other hairstylists pursuing this type of work, I asked whether she’s found the network different from the behind the chair network. ‘I wouldn’t say its far different.  I believe the majority, at least the ones I’ve had the opportunity to meet, are still working and enjoy being behind the chair.  The hair industry has so many avenues and I think competition work is just an example of one where Stylists can come together and share their passion.’

To say it’s been a journey for Danielle is an understatement!  When asked what the first thing she will do after the shoot is complete her answer had me laughing, ‘Cry, laugh, drink (she laughs), I’m actually taking a couple of days off and will probably reflect on my experience and have a glass of wine!’ And it’s a well deserved glass indeed.

You’ll see a follow up blog post about Danielle’s shoot after she’s had a chance to relax and reflect on her experience the day of the shoot.  There has been so much support shown for Danielle throughout this process that we just want to say thank you for every word of encouragement, all the well wishes and to those simply just happy for Danielle and all she has worked so hard to accomplish! Your support does not go unnoticed!

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

 

 

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A Styling Step-Up for Master Stylist Danielle DeGraaf

Like any artist, there comes a time when even the most experienced and successful Stylists have to step up and break their current limits.  Challenging ourselves is the only way to grow and this is exactly what Danielle is doing as she prepares to enter the renowned hairstyling competition, the Contessas.

I sat down with Danielle to find out a little more about her motivation for entering the Contessas at this point in her career. She began by explaining, “I have admired work from the contestants for years, but always felt it to be beyond my capabilities.” Now after accomplishing more and more goals behind the chair, she decided she was ready for the challenge.

In discussion with how styling for competitions differs from her day to day work with clients she notes that the two are very different.  “Competition hair is wild and fantasy like.  Everything from cut, colour, style, makeup, etc comes solely from my own imagination. There really are no limits.”  In comparison she explains that for her everyday clients her goal is to do her best to give them what they want, what suits them and what works for their lifestyle.  Although this still requires a lot of customization and imagination for each client, the range of styles are limited to what is suitable for every day wear.

 

Although the preparation for the Contessas has added a lot of work for her, she shows no sign of slowing down. I asked her how she took her first steps with the process and what she’s working on now in preparation.  “My first step was to get some education on the competition world.” she began. “Once I knew what I was in for I just began looking at past contestant’s work, artists I admired on social media and so on.  After putting together my theme and creating my storyboards to depict the look of each individual model, I started making some colour swatches to test the goal colours.”

In between now and the shoot, Danielle plans to work on the styling necessary to create each models look.  “There is lots to do here as its styling I have never done before,” she told me.  In amongst that practice work she will be spending more time perfecting colours, organizing wardrobe and accessories and prepping models.

When asked what she hopes to achieve in competing she explained, “I hope to grow as a Stylist, to have more confidence and also to be an inspiration to fellow Stylists.”  Contessa entries are due early summer with the awards ceremony in the fall.

Its clear that Danielle has already gained so much judging by how she sees the competition experience as a whole. “Entering competitions requires you to always be at the forefront of what’s new and hot in the industry. Challenging myself in this way forces me to learn new techniques in colour, cut and styling.”

No matter the style, its what you learn through achieving it that makes it beneficial for every client you work with behind the chair. In speaking with Danielle it was clear that it’s not just the pride of the prize but the passion in acquiring the experience that is truly inspiring to her.  In turn, she’s inspiring all of us at the Studio even more.

There will be more on Danielle’s journey towards the photoshoot here on the blog when I catch up with her next time so stay tuned!

 

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

 

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Your Hairstylist is entering a Competition – What does that mean for you?

As a client you depend on your hairstylist being there with great ideas the minute you sit down in the chair at your appointment.  You trust that they know what will look good, how they can change-up your look that little bit to keep your style fresh and your hair looking fantastic.  So what does it mean when in chatting with your Hairstylist at your last appointment she mentioned she’s entering a hair competition? Is it like the Styling Olympics? Fastest haircut? Highest performing colour formulation? If you’ve been left wondering you aren’t alone.  Many clients aren’t aware of the many opportunities for Hairstylists to challenge themselves in their craft, but as with any skill there is always a way to take your work to the next level.  Since we’ve got some pretty amazing competitive work on the horizon I wanted to take a minute to briefly explain what you will very soon be hearing lots more about!

Hair Competition

Ok – the basics!

Even though there are other ways for Hairstylists to compete what I’m referring to in this blog is a photo-based competition. Happening annually in Canada there are 2 large photo-based competitions, the Contessas (Canadian Hairstylist of the Year Awards) by Salon Magazine, and the Mirror Awards by Canadian Hairdresser Magazine.  These competitions bring the best of Canada’s talent together and measure their creativity through the photo-shoot collection(s) submitted by the entrants.  Collections are judged by a panel and finalists are then notified and invited to attend the Awards Night where the winners are announced!

What exactly is a collection?

For photo-based competitions like the ones mentioned above, a collection is a group of images based on a ‘look’ or theme the creating Hairstylist has envisioned.  Generally the looks are fashion forward, sometimes a little avant-garde and differ from the everyday work a Hairstylist regularly does with clients.  It requires a Hairstylist to push themselves creatively on a different level to bring not only the hair, but the models, makeup, nails, wardrobe and poses together to create a feeling to the collection of images that is strong enough to jump out at the judges and grab their attention.  With entries coming from all over the country, getting a collection to stand out is no small task.  Creation of a collection requires exceptional vision, patience, passion and of course practise.

Collections are entered for judging in one or more unique categories, each of which requires different elements to be included in the collection for it to be considered.  Some examples of categories include Canadian Colourist, Provincial Hairstylist, Hairextension Artist, Avant Garde Hairstylist, Newcomer of the Year, Editorial Hairstylist of the Year and many more.

The Bottom Line

So what does all this mean for you as a client? Will your appointments be any different if your Hairstylist is doing these competitions? It really depends on how you look at things.  The short answer; doing competitions demands a different level of creativity and that could very well transfer into new, more creative suggestions for your hair.  The long answer is that any Hairstylist willing to open themselves up to the process of being judged by their peers, on a country-wide scale, spending hours and hours on end creating, practising, testing and measuring their ideas simply for the love of hair, is someone extremely serious about their career.  Someone willing to go that extra mile, try new things and always be pushing themselves towards something bigger than what they are creating right now. Whether you see benefits to that for yourself is up to you but I think it warrants some consideration.

Hopefully this has shed some light on a different part of the Hair Industry for you and helps to make photo-based hair competitions a little more understandable.  I don’t think I even need to remind you to stayed tuned for some pretty exciting updates from the Studio on this subject, but seriously – stay tuned!!

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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What is Toner and why would you need one for the hair colour you want?

We get a lot of questions from clients about what toners are.  As Hair Stylists we use the term so often that sometimes we take for granted our knowledge.  We just head off to mix up your custom formula and breeze back to apply it without taking a pause each time to explain.  I thought I would take that pause here so hopefully next time while you wait ever so patiently, laid back in the sink with that extra towel under your neck for comfort, you’ll remember exactly what a toner is and when you need one! Don’t worry though…..we’ll be there to happily explain it all again!

When are toners used?

Toners are used after lightening the hair.  After you’ve had your foils or your balayage processed, shampooed out and your hair towel dried, you will often hear us say ‘I’m just going to go and mix the toner’.  When hair is lightened it goes through a series of stages, each with their own underlying tone.  These stages take time to move through (hence our favourite ’10 more minutes’ speech) and always result in warm tones of red, orange, gold and yellow before getting to the king daddy, of underlying tones which we refer to as the ‘clean slate’ (a bit more on that later).

What does a toner do?

TonerToners are used to change the ‘tone’ of your hair colour. See why we take explaining them for granted? A correctly formulated toner takes the naturally warm tones of red, orange, gold and yellow and either enhances or neutralizes them.  That’s it.  In the example to the left you can see that toner has neutralized the yellow tones and created a beautiful, cool silver effect.  Since our goal at the Studio is to make your experience with us as transparent as possible we want you to understand we reach for and use a toner only when necessary.

Why would you need a toner?

If after towel drying your hair your desired colour differs from the canvas your hair has presented with after lightening, that is when we reach for a toner.

I’m going to keep this as straight forward as possible and simply say that lightening the hair from point A to point B while keeping it healthy is not easy.  The reasons why your hair might not have been lightened to your target colour in one session will be addressed in an entirely different blog post about colour correction.  This is why trusting your Stylist to have your best interest at heart to tell you when your target colour isn’t achievable today is very important, so we’ll just leave it at that.  That’s another day……with another 1000 words…..

What is the ‘clean slate’?

TonerAs I mentioned before the king daddy of underlying tones to apply a toner to is the ‘clean slate’.  The reason for this is simple – whatever tone you apply to that clean slate will be the tone you get.  There is no pigment left in the hair that will interrupt the colour you are adding to it.  The clean slate is a very, very pale blonde which is about the colour of the inside of a banana.  Once the hair is lightened to that point (and no further to prevent damage!!) the sky’s the limit for what tone you can create.  Silver, pastels pinks and blues, lilac or even more natural tones like vanilla, honey, hazelnut, butterscotch and pearl are all achievable with a clean slate. In the example to the right, the hair was pre lightened further to a clean slate and then toned to this soft, iridescent pink.

So why are you just hearing about toners now? Maybe as long time client you are wondering why are we introducing this process and are using it frequently?  Toners have come a long way in the last few years.  With the very popular technique of balayage in the forefront of our industry, 99% of the time toners are an absolute must after this method of lightening. Colour manufacturers have also dedicated entire new product lines to toners, improving their performance, making them gentler on the hair than in years past and providing entire tonal ranges that make colours options endless.  This has left the door wide open for us as Stylists to carefully test and measure their performance and in turn provide these high performing products to you as the client.

I hope this has answered any questions you may have and if not please pop a comment below and I’d be happy to follow-up!

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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If you weren’t a Career Hair Stylist what else would you be?

Career Hair StylistReflection.  It’s a scary and crazy thing.  I’m forced to admit that I’ve had a lot of time on my hands lately to ‘think’. By think I mean worry, stew and contemplate what catastrophe will occur or more simply put – drive myself crazy.  I know rationally what ‘they’ mean by rest is not particularly what happens in my brain when forced to lay still and stare at the ceiling, but I’ve never really been one to zone out and have unproductive thoughts.  I’m sure you can see the problem.  So as I ‘rest’ one of the things that has crossed my mind many times is what would my career look like if I wasn’t a Hair Stylist? What other profession would allow me to be productive and continue to work right now?

You see, when you can no longer physically do the things you love (in my case colouring and cutting hair) you start to wonder where life could have taken you if you had chosen a different path or even where life will take you if faced with not only with a fork in the road where you can choose left or right, but a solid 3 million ft high mountain which you are either forced to climb (be productive) or sit down in the middle of the road and cry (which would not be productive).  I know I’m being dramatic.  Indulge me a little bit.

And so I wondered.  Then I wondered some more since I have the time to ponder.  Here is what I came up with:

I’d want a career that helped people.

Seems simple enough.  I would want to make a persons day better in some way so that after they spent time with me they would feel lighter, more positive and just all around happier because of the time we spent together.  Many professions have the pleasure of helping people – you just have to have the genuine want to do it. You simply can’t fake this kind of stuff.

I’d want a career where I could form genuine relationships with people.

In order to help people and form a genuine relationship you need to see a person on a regular basis.  That being said you can’t make a profitable career talking to people or that sort of pushes the boundaries of a ‘genuine’ relationship.  For instance, you don’t have a relationship with your therapist since you pay them to listen to you talk.  See my point? Psychiatry or Counselling, not an option.

I’d want a career that gave me the opportunity to teach.

This goes right along with helping people and forming genuine relationships.  Obviously the first thing that comes to mind is a Teacher and although I have a very healthy amount of respect for the profession, the thought of facing a room full of young children that still need assistance pulling their pants up and down or a room full of teenagers that stare daggers at you simply because the hormonal winds have shifted, is for me downright terrifying.  I get enough of the hormonal winds at home thank you very much.  Being a Teacher is not an option.

 I’d want a career where the amount of effort I put in mattered.

This one might seem a little off but it’s very important to me.  I’m an effort person.  I want a career where my effort can get me results.  I don’t want to work alongside 15 other people who are doing the exact same job, all putting in different amounts of effort yet all earn the same wage.  It’s just not for me.  It’s actually occurring to me right now that there are fewer and fewer jobs out there that offer this option.  Interesting.  When did it become a negative thing to recognize hard work?

I’d want a career where I could create my own business IF I chose to do so.

I thought this point was coming from hindsight but I should know myself better.  I always wanted the option.  Knowing that if ever my circumstances didn’t provide an environment that I could grow and flourish in I could take things into my own hands.  This has heavily influenced how I run my business – there is never a ceiling for Stylists who choose to work with me – no end, no limit.  If they have the ambition to take their career in a certain direction or have the desire to do something different from our ‘norm’ you’ll find me behind them applauding and supporting.  People shouldn’t have to leave a job to excel at their career.

I’d want a career that allowed me to express my creativity.

Here’s where things get a little more selective.  A lot of people express their creativity in their hobbies, not in their everyday jobs.  This was important to me mostly because creative people are generally more emotional people.  Don’t shoot the messenger.  I need to let that creativity out on a daily basis and not just outside of work hours. Everyone that is creative has their medium.  Identify it and embrace it.  My medium is hair.  I can’t explain why or how my medium is hair, it just is.  Don’t ask me to sketch, paint on canvas, carve, sculpt, build, compose a symphony or any other creative thing.  Just let me be creative with hair.

 

The consistent thing in each of these points is that I have always wanted a career.  This is what it always boiled down to for me; the difference between having a career and working.  A Career is defined as ‘a chosen pursuit; a profession or occupation’, while work is defined as ‘a mental or physical activity as a means of earning income; employment’.  Can you see the difference? We all need to be gainfully employed but we are lucky if we can do that through our chosen pursuit. A Career.

If I weren’t a Career Hairstylist, what would I be? Simply put – I’d be unhappy.  There are so many other careers I could have chosen but for me they’d merely be working.  I’d be creatively stifled, working only for the end result, and not getting to live out the things above that are truely very important to me.

So at my current crossroad, without the physical ability to pursue my career do I wish I had chosen something different? Not for a second.  I still have a career where I am helping people, forming genuine relationships, teaching, where my effort matters, creating different opportunities for business and the outlet of expressing my creativity.  Do I miss working with hair? Like you’d miss the air you are breathing.  It’s simply part of who I am. But on my 3 million ft climb straight up this mountain I’ve discovered that creativity is best shared, best never taken for granted and most of all best appreciated through the hands of others.

In closing my advice for anyone who feels my words resonate with them; If life throws you a curve ball – just catch it with your other hand.  There is always another way to live happily. 😉

 

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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Hairstylist Tiers – What’s the difference between a Stylist and a Master Stylist?

hairstylist tier

Though more frequently seen in larger salons, hairstylist tiers are an industry standard. So what do ‘Master Stylist’, ‘Stylist’ and ‘Advanced Stylist’ really mean? And why are hairstylist tiers even necessary?

One thing is certain – hairstylist tiers give you choice, but you need to understand what you are choosing! Selecting the right hairstylist can be intimidating. You look at the salon website, scan the portfolio, read the stylist bios……but other than that how do you really know who to choose?

One common misconception of hairstylist tiers is that they are based on years of experience.  This may even be true for a lot of salons but consider this; is a Stylist with 10 years experience equal in talent to another Stylist with 10 years experience? They’ve both probably been to some classes, worked with countless clients and developed their skill set.  So that should make them equal right? 10 years in the industry might sound pretty impressive, but not necessarily.  Years are simply a passage of time.  It doesn’t at all represent what has happened within those years.

I can’t speak for what happens in all salons.  I do caution you that its important to know what your prospective salon bases their hairstylist tier system on.  If it is based solely on years of experience you may be surprised to find out that of the two Stylists with 10 years of experience maybe only one has sought out continuing education twice a year, where the other 10 year veteran may have attended only a handful of classes.  You know the saying ‘Age is just a number’? Sometimes the same can be said of years of experience.  If the salon doesn’t have other requirements for stylists to achieve a certain ‘title’, then you really don’t know what you are getting.

Another thing you should know is that hairstylist tiers and titles are not universal!  An Advanced Stylist at one salon could mean an entirely different thing at another salon.  There are no rules for this type of thing.  Each salon chooses whichever titles they want.  I hate to refer to it as ‘picking a name from a hat’ but honestly, it really is that simple.  Unfortunately, this leaves you doing some research which is exactly why I’m writing this!

To me hairstylist tiers should represent a career path.  As with any job you don’t get a promotion based on being there the longest – you get it because you worked hard, met the job criteria and earned it.  Properly used, hairstylist tiers should function the exact same way.

At the Studio our hairstylist tiers are based on expertise and demand.  Expertise is measured technically with specific standards to meet at each tier before promotion, and demand is of course indicative of a consistent level of customer service being provided.

Here are the hairstylist tiers at the Studio and a little information on exactly what they mean:

Apprentice

Every hairstylist starts here and this tier is all about education! Your service may take a little longer since speed comes with practise.  Rest assured that Studio Apprentices are only able to book services they have completed the training module for so they are well prepared to look after you.  Another Stylist may be overseeing your service and stepping in periodically to teach and/or grade the final result as part of the learning process. For your patience and trust in us you will receive special pricing on Apprentice services.

Stylist

At this tier you will find an eager, fresh and creative hairstylist with a complete and solid foundation of technical skills.  Stylists can offer you flexibility to book an appointment that will easily suit your schedule.

Advanced Stylist

With an Advanced Stylist you can enjoy the benefits of a stylist who has fine tuned their technical skills and holds a deeper understanding of more advanced colour and cutting theory.  These stylists still provide some flexibility in booking your appointment to suit your schedule and are beginning to create a demand for their services. Depending on the point in their career path an Advanced Stylist may work with a Colour Technician to help keep appointment availability as flexible as possible.

Master Stylist

At this tier you can experience a stylist who excels at their craft, are in high demand and have consistently performed the skills necessary to build a clientele. New clients are always welcome and although flexibility in booking appointments to suit your schedule may be limited, your Master Stylist is still as eager to suit your needs. Master Stylist may also work with a dedicated Colour Technician.

 

So which hairstylist tier is right for you?  Simply ask yourself this – which Stylist, after reading the above descriptions, would you be most comfortable trusting your hair to?  That is your answer!

 

I hope this has explained some of the mystery behind Hairstylist Tiers.  If you have any questions please comment below and I’d be happy to answer them the best I can!

 

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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Photoshop Hair Colour – it really happens!

The new era of online living provides limitless hair colour pictures at our fingertips.  Any hair salon or hairstylist will likely have a portfolio of their work on either their website, Facebook or Instagram. Sometimes even all three, showing different types of images on each platform. In our Industry having an online portfolio has become a necessity in representing yourself as a hairstylist.  Unfortunately, the easy and endless options for photo manipulation has created a huge problem, what I call…..photoshop hair colour.  For the purpose of this post I’ll refer to altering images, regardless of what app or program is used, as photoshop.

I’m sure most of you are very familiar with photoshop and basic photo editing.  If you use Instagram (which I’m sure you do) there are countless options when posting your pictures to brighten, sharpen, alter the temperature and lots of filters to make them look really unique. It’s creative, artistic and super fun to do for your personal photos! For professional photos and photos used for advertising, photoshop editing can be necessary to create beautiful, eye-catching images.  Touch ups such as removing a shadow from the face, smoothing the skin, removing that one strand of hair sitting annoyingly on the models forehead – these are all normal edits.  Even after a family photo session there is editing work to be done!

As a hairstylist though, what really makes my crazy (or more so than usual!) is full photoshop hair colour manipulation.  What I mean is professional hairstylists using photoshop (or the like) for full-scale manipulation of hair colour.  Taking an original photo, changing the actual hair colour itself, posting it on social media and taking credit for the work *cringe*. Many hairstylists are 100% against this practise but unfortunately there are some who don’t see it as a problem.  To each their own.  Let me show you an example of what I mean.

Here is a beautiful, unedited colour and cut done by the talented Jen on our Studio staff:

photoshop hair colour

Original, unedited photo

 

And here are some ‘photoshop hair colour’ versions of the same image:

 

photoshop hair colour

Edited to add Minty Green colour

photoshop hair colour

Edited to add Copper Highlights

photoshop haircolour

Added Red tones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These pictures took me no time at all to manipulate and although I’m very aware that they aren’t perfect, I’m sure without the original photo for comparison you wouldn’t give a second thought to them not being the original picture.

Think of scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feed and seeing one of these photoshop hair colour pictures.  Would you even consider the credited hairstylist didn’t give the client this exact hair colour? Of course not!

Be cautious.  Do your research. Unfortunately, things aren’t always as they appear.  If you see a picture online that you love bring it to a hairstylist you trust.

I honestly don’t have a lot of skill for editing and I believe it is something best left to professionals who know how to handle a photoshop program.  All our photoshoot images have professional edits (skin smoothing, stray hairs as mentioned above) where our daily posts on Facebook and Instagram (unless we are reposting one of the above mentioned photoshoot images) are merely cropped and watermarked with the Studio name.  What you see is exactly what the client walked out the door with.

Does having the information about our editing process (or lack there of) make you look at photos a little differently? Would you be more inclined to ask questions? If so, I’m glad!  My purpose is to offer you a little honesty into what in my opinion may sometimes not be an honest practise.

Bottom line?  Find a hairstylist you trust.  You won’t need to worry about a thing!

 

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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Hairstylist Life…..Hair Contact before Eye Contact

 

hairstylistA quick trip to the grocery store.  A night out meeting a few new people.  A binge session on Netflix.  Do these things have anything in common for you? Before this gets too weird let me explain a phenomenon of the Hairstylist Life: Hair Contact before Eye Contact.  Yep – that’s right – those of us who live, eat, breathe and sleep our careers as hairstylists know this debilitating problem all too well. Basically it boils down to Hair Contact before…well….anything!

For most of you this may not seem like such a big deal.  ‘So what? You notice the hair?’ Just for interests sake let’s have a look at the definition of ‘notice’:

Notice [noh-tis] verb: To pay attention to or take notice of

Believe me when I tell you – we don’t ‘notice’ the hair.  We painstakingly, obsessively, analyze, overanalyze, formulate, recolour, recut and restyle the hair all within the first 30 seconds of setting eyes on it all while appearing in the throes of a catatonic state.  Seriously.  This is the Hairstylist Life.

Let’s take the example of a quick trip to the grocery store. True story.  I was running in quickly to grab some bananas and as I’m approaching the produce section a beautiful haircut catches my eye.  I don’t know whether I’m still walking or have now stopped dead in my tracks in danger of being cart rear-ended but I don’t even care.  I am transfixed by this haircut.  I’ve already broken down the first 3 steps of how I would replicate it, thought of two different clients with the right hair type that I could give it to and rolled over the possibilities of who the stylist was that created this beautiful piece of art.  I have taken memory still shots, calculated my cut angles and I’m only coming up on 25 seconds.  The haircut turns to the left, I reach the 30 second mark and I am quickly transported back to the real world where I will now make eye contact (or simply notice that there is a head and body attached to the haircut).  Huh.  That’s when it hits me that it’s a client. I just made hair contact before eye contact with a client whose hair I have been cutting for the last 4 years.  I was to my car before I even realized I forgot the bananas.

One of my favourite things to do is binge watch on Netflix.  Whether at 2am when sleep won’t come or on a rainy Sunday afternoon, the dangerous autoplay keeps me tuned in far longer that I should be.  While I’m sure lots of you love a good Netflix marathon, I doubt your partner, in the throes of desperation, screams ‘can you STOP talking about the hair!!’ while trying to coexist in your viewing space.  For instance – did you wonder how long Gemma’s hair could stand up to those highlights during the first few seasons of Sons of Anarchy and notice the exact episode when she had to start using extensions for those blonde pieces? Your hairstylist did.  When Joey and Dawson had their emotional breakup while standing on the dock of the Creek were you thinking about how much James Van Der Beek needed a haircut and that he was dancing precariously close to the edge of mulletville? Your hairstylist was.  Or lets see…..while the entire school was chanting ‘Donna Martin Graduates!’ were you obsessively fantasizing about flat ironing Donna’s frizzed out, desperately in need of a trim hair? My guess is no – you probably weren’t but your hairstylist definitely was!  Just a side effect of the Hairstylist Life!

We won’t even get into the embarrassment of being introduced to someone for the first time and spending the first 30 seconds of hair contact time mute, left eye twitching, right hand reaching out to touch said strangers hair and suddenly snapping out of it to realize you violated their personal space before even saying hello.

Hair Contact before Eye Contact is simply part of the Hairstylist Life.

Being a hairstylist isn’t something we can shut off when we leave the salon – it follows us, invades our minds and inevitably makes us better artists because of it.  Inspiration can and does strike anywhere.

So be kind – we realize we are a special breed and that those who love us have a special appreciation (or tolerance) of our constant obsession.  And really – even with the embarrassing experiences – I would change a thing. It’s the Hairstylist Life.

 

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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Consultation Confessional – Never ‘lie’ to your Hair Stylist!

Does this sound like a consultation you’ve had with your hair stylist?

‘Remember that perm you had two years ago? Or what about those highlights from about 18 months ago? You threw a box colour over those a month later because you changed your mind and couldn’t get an appointment with me right away, remember?  Oh and how can we forget the trouble we went through stripping that colour off! Once we got close to your natural colour you decided to leave it alone for awhile and let it grow. All so long ago! Your consultation is just full of memories  – we’ve been through a lot of hair colour together!’

consultation

As hairstylists we call a conversation like this ‘hair history’.  It’s the story of whats happened in the lifetime of your hair and what we use to formulate your colour before we begin your service.  For clients who have been with a Hair stylist for a number of years this consultation is far less complicated.  We know your history, the services and colours that your hair has endured.  Great stylists even have notes from the consultation and formulas on hand for reference! But what if your a first time client going for a consultation?  OR what if you are a regular client that had a little ‘mishap’ since your last service? What happens then?

Your very first consultation with a new hairstylist should be DETAILED.  Questions which may seem silly to you can in fact hold very valuable information that we need to anticipate how your hair will react during your service. For returning clients, your subsequent consultation (yes – there should be one) will contain lots of questions on your experience with your hair since your last visit. So if a hairstylist asks you ‘Is there any hair colour on your hair right now?’ or ‘Have you had hair colour since you were last here?’ and your answer is ‘NO’, here’s a few scenarios on how this will all play out:

Scenario 1:

There really is no hair colour nor has there ever been hair colour on your hair. Congratulations! You are officially a hairstylists dream client and have won the ‘We can make your hair ANY colour you want!’ Prize.  Seriously – you are a catch! A hair colour virgin!  We’ve heard of you but until now thought you were a rare mythical creature only seen in our hair colour dreams.  Yes, we are excited.

Scenario 2:

There is no hair colour left in your hair because its all faded out – and anyway that was 6 months ago. Those highlights that you covered up with said colour – you can’t see those anymore either. What difference would it make now?  So considering all that you answer ‘NO’. Visually this may be true – you aren’t ‘lying’, you honestly thought the colour was gone.  Red Flag!! Let’s say you are asking your hairstylist to put some highlights in your hair.  After sitting forever to have all the foils put in your hairstylist comes to check to see if you are ready to rinse and oddly asks you ‘Are you sure there isn’t any hair colour on your hair?’.  There staring back at us from the confines of that foil is the exact line where your new blonde goes from beautiful and light to orangey and dark.  That’s the old hair colour. Oh and look there where it goes from beautiful and light to white and shredding.  That’s those old highlights. Yep.  We could have formulated for this – had we only known.

Scenario 3:

You want to confess but are afraid to hurt our feelings.  Or your embarrassed or you just feel some things are better left unsaid.  For example, you didn’t prebook your appointment last time and couldn’t get in when you needed to and your roots were a nightmare.  You did what you had to do and threw a ‘rinse’ (aka Box Colour) on or went to another salon where they could fit you in right away but have vowed to forget the whole thing ever happened and never speak of it again.  So you answer ‘NO’.  Red Flag!! See the results from Scenario 2.  They apply here as well.

Let me fill you in on a little secret: ‘We can tell you did it’.  Seriously.  There are very, very few cases where we look at the hair during consultation and can’t tell whether it has been previously coloured or not.  But as in these scenarios above when we ask you ‘Is there any hair colour on your hair?’ and you say ‘NO’, we tend to believe you. Actually we want to believe you.  The hair history you give us at the beginning of your appointment helps us get you the hair colour you want.  If we have all the information (no matter what you really wish was better left unsaid) we can anticipate problems and account for them.  We can realistically tell you what is going to happen, considering your hair history, and exactly what your options are to get you to where you want to go.

Moral of the story?  Spill your heart out in the consultation.  We don’t judge.  Tell us every single, little tiny thing you’ve ever done to or had done to your hair.  Have long hair? Get comfy – that’s a good 3 to 4 years of story telling you have ahead of you.  Spill it sister. We’ll just be here listening and taking notes!

 

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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