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,



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,





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,




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,



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,



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:


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.


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,



Hairstyling Apprenticeship Standards – A Grey Area?

hairstyling apprenticeshipI thought I had a handle on the requirements of both the apprentice and sponsor in the hairstyling apprenticeship process.  Recently I had my eyes opened to some inconsistencies which allow many people to fly under the radar and fast track the system.  I refrain from saying ‘cheat’ the system since most apprentices do so with the consent and approval of their sponsor and the ‘system’ itself.

The hairstyling apprenticeship, for as long as I can remember, required schooling and work hours.  Work hours are spent with a sponsoring stylist who is required to teach and sign off on all the essentials skills in the apprenticeship handbook.  I’ve been through the process as the apprentice and now as a sponsor.  Imagine my surprise while registering with my third apprentice discovering an entire ‘grey’ area I had not realized existed.

Hair styling is classified as a Compulsory Trade in Ontario which after the schooling and work hours mentioned above requires a final exam to become fully licensed.  Traditionally, this is 1500 full time school hours, 2000 salon working hours, totalling 3500 hours.  The new part time Apprentice school program of 480 hours requires an additional 3020 salon working hours for the same 3500 hour total.  Seems simple enough right?  As long as 3500 hours are completed, regardless of the schooling path they choose, the hairstyling apprenticeship is fulfilled and they are able to take their final exam to become fully licensed.  And here’s where it gets interesting.

When completing paperwork for a recent hairstyling apprenticeship I was informed that if I signed off all the ‘skills’ in the handbook the final exam could be taken ‘Whenever I felt as though the apprentice was ready.’  Pardon? Ready as in she has put in her 3500 hours, right? The clarification I asked for didn’t exactly sit well with me; ‘No – she doesn’t really have to complete all the hours – just send her with a letter that says how many she completed and that you feel she is ready to take her exam’.  Well really. Where’s the consistency in that?

Just to clarify – PLEASE correct me if I am wrong.  I would love to find out that this murky grey area I uncovered is but a bad dream and there is actually a concrete system to ensure every hairstyling apprenticeship requires exactly 35o0 hours to achieve full licensing.

Most of you that know me can clearly see I’m a black and white type of person.  At a fork in the road I will go left or right – I’m not into off roading down the middle, throwing caution to the wind to rip donuts in the mud. I realize not everyone is the same but here is what really bothers me about all this.  HOW is this fair to the apprentice and THE CLIENTS? Why should one apprentice work a gruelling 3500 hours when the next one doesn’t have to? Why should one sponsor make the decision that an apprentice has completed ‘enough’ hours when 3500 is the actual requirement? Why should a client have to question whether the newly licensed hairstylist you have an appointment with has in fact completed 3500 hours?

There are provinces where hair styling is not regulated at all.  You could go into a salon and book an appointment with a hair stylist who doesn’t have a license, which you may or may not be aware of.  In that situation you rely on the reputation of the salon you are going to, their education program and the quality of their work to know whether the stylist will serve you well.  Sadly, even though there are governing bodies for hairstyling apprenticeships in Ontario, I encourage you as a consumer to do your homework.  Make your stylist choice based on more then just whether they hold their license.  Learn about their work, inquire about their training and education, ask who their sponsoring stylist was.  After all – finding a great hair stylist is really about trust! Has your hair stylist earned your trust?

Thanks for listening,



Salon Hair Colour vs. Drugstore Hair Colour

The differences between Salon Hair Colour and Drugstore Hair Colour have been debated for some time. Of course as hairstylists we recommend salon hair colour for clients and warn against the use of drugstore colour products for a variety of reasons. One of our priorities is to keep client’s hair in the healthiest condition possible making colours vibrant and shiny, as well as leaveing the hair easier to style. The following information should help in understanding why we strongly stand behind the use of salon hair colour. There is a lot of technical information here but the purpose of sharing the fine details is to show the solid, scientific facts* of why we feel as strongly about this issue as we do!

The facts on Drugstore Hair Colour:

Type of Dyes – Drugstore hair colour contains two types of dyes as mentioned above. Direct Dyes are like food color hair colourtype dyes that stain the hair’s cuticle and don’t get all the way inside the hair because of their size. As a result, the intensity of the colour they provide fades out quickly. Even though this stain fades quickly it is very, very difficult to remove completely from the hair (if you are able to get it off at all) which can cause future problems when you are looking to change your hair colour.  There are professional hair colours that contain direct dyes.  Having those dyes applied in the hands of a professional is imperative so they know how to deal with the inevitable removal process.

Level of Peroxide – Because of these larger molecules, drugstore colour needs to use a higher volume of peroxide to open up the hair shaft so the colour molecule can get inside. Many times 25 volume peroxide is used.

Level of Ammonia – The larger the hair colour molecule the higher the level of ammonia needs to be to work with the peroxide to open the hair up wide enough for the molecules to get in.

Application – Most clients colour their roots once a month if they are covering grey or approximately 6 times a year if they are choosing to maintain a different colour then their natural. With drugstore colour your only option is to use the same formula you have applied to your roots to freshen up the ends of your colour. For vibrant shades, using the same formula on the ends can lead to off toned or less vibrant results.

End Result – Drugstore hair colour can cause damage from the combination of higher levels of ammonia and peroxide which leaves the hair rough in texture, lacking shine and causes the hair colour to fade out sooner. This damage is increased with each application, applied directly over already coloured hair.

Salon Hair Colour differs in many ways from Drugstore Hair Colour but it’s not just as simple as choosing any ‘Salon Hair Colour Line’ and using it. We choose to use Compagnia del Colore salon hair colour because in our opinion not only does it outperform Drugstore hair colour, it can also outperform other professional salon lines as well.

The facts on Compagnia Del Colore Salon Hair Colour:

hair colour

Compagnia del Colore Professional Hair colour

Size of Colour Molecules – 100% oxidative micro pigment colour molecules which are smaller than regular oxidative molecules. They resemble the size and texture of powdered sugar.

Type of Dye – The oxidative micro pigment colour molecules are pharmaceutical grade. Since the molecule is very small it is not necessary to be aggressive with opening the hair shaft. More of these micro molecules can stay inside the hair providing far more vibrant hair colour that will not fade like traditional colour.

Level of Peroxide – Salon Hair Colour lines provide a range of peroxide levels to choose from when creating a colour formula so we are able to add the exact strength necessary. Many times this can be as low as 7 volume.

Level of Ammonia – Since the colour molecules are smaller, a lower level of ammonia works well in combination with the peroxide to drive the colour into the hair shaft without needed to open it up too wide.

Application – There are so many options! As professionals we know that previously coloured hair must be treated differently than virgin hair. When getting a salon hair colour your stylist should be mixing two separate bowls of colour – one for the roots and one for the ends of your hair. Using a different formulation that has less (or no) ammonia and a lower volume of peroxide on the previously coloured hair makes a phenomenal difference in the health of your hair, your hair colour results and how long your colour will last. If your stylist isn’t doing this – be sure to ask them why!

End Result – The combination of all of these factors result in shiny, healthy hair and hair colour that lasts and lasts.  Combine salon hair colour with a knowledgable and technically gifted hairstylist and the sky’s the limit!


We hope you find this information helpful in understanding what makes salon hair colour and specifically Compagnia del Colore so amazing! We have taken the time to educate ourselves on the differences between Salon Hair Colour and Drugstore Colour and hope that our description here helps in understanding why we feel so strongly about it!


Thanks for listening,


*data source:Mags Kavanaugh, Trichologist/Cosmetologist and International Brand Ambassador for Compagnia del Colore


What is a Hair Show?

hair show‘What is a Hair Show?’ I’ve heard this question countless time over the years from clients so I thought I’d take minute here to explain.  Please comment below to let me know your thoughts!

There is always some excitement from stylists and clients alike when news of a hair show rolls around.  I’ve come to understand that from a clients perspective this is the place stylists go to learn new techniques and to prepare for the new trends and styles we will be asked to create in the upcoming season.  For some stylists, it seems to be the place where we promote and market to our clients that we are furthering our education, and how we become more ‘skilled’ stylists just by attending.  I’m only one person and as many opinions as there are on what a hair show really is, I’ll give you mine for what is worth.

Hair Shows are the place where companies SELL themselves to hairstylists.  Whether they are selling a product, image or an idea these shows are filled with flashing lights, big screen tv’s, platform artists sporadically snipping hair between busting out the running man or a pirouette.  These events are called ‘shows’ for a reason and I have always been highly entertained.  There will always be the odd lecture on business, creating photo shoots, marketing, salon design, etc but what part of those lectures (and highly entertaining dance routines) am I able to bring back to the Studio and improve the day-to-day experience of a client? Not much really.

Don’t misunderstand – hair shows are instrumental to the industry by spotlighting new products, networking, providing opportunities to enter hair competitions, building awareness and a sense of community to our industry. They are a place that push stylists to dream big and inspire them to create like the artists they truly are.  I’m sure they provide much more for some stylists that I can’t even begin to comprehend and for those stylists where that holds true I’m immensely grateful that the industry provides the hair shows they do.

What I mean to express is that contrary to popular belief,  hair shows are rarely the place we can learn something to bring back TODAY and improve a clients experience.  Nor do they provide access to the smaller brands and suppliers who may have amazing products to offer, but simply cannot afford the price tag of having a booth at the hair show to get that product in front of stylists.  Classes of true technical education and unknown but wonderful products must be researched and found through hard work and persistence by the salon you frequent or by your hairstylist.  Hair shows are merely a tool, not an answer, in the quest for higher learning.

So, should you be disappointed if your stylist hasn’t attended the latest hair show?  Not really.  For a good look at upcoming trends and new products a good scroll through any industry inundated social media site can keep stylists abreast of what’s going on.  What I’d suggest you be more concerned with was the last time your stylist truly educated themselves.  When was the last time they attended a hands on class, pulled out a mannequin and practised something new to perfection? When was the last time they said to you ‘I’d love to try this new technique I just learned at a class!’? Those are the thing you really want to listen for.

Thanks for listening,



Hair Styling Tools for Curls!

Hair Styling Tools for Curls

The latest thing in the world of hair styling tools comes by many names – Curl Secret and Miracurl just to name a few. Basically the concept is a curling iron that does all the work for you, giving you a head full of beautiful curls without you having to know the technique behind curling, not to mention saving you from burning yourself.

Overall I think the concept behind these hair styling tools is great. Anything that will make doing your own hair easier is a wonderful thing. I know people that have used these irons with success and are quite happy with them but you won’t be finding them for sale at the Studio.

Please understand that this of course is just my opinion. As I said, I know people who are very happy with these hair styling tools and I also know fellow hairstylists that use them on clients and love them. I’ve had a lot of clients asking me my thoughts about these irons so here it goes.

Generally when you are curling your own hair you don’t spend a lot of time sectioning your hair cleanly. Most of us are a little haphazard when grabbing pieces of our own hair before we try to curl them. This is no big deal when using a curling wand (what I prefer to recommend) since you are in control of wrapping the hair and there is nothing clamping or holding it but you, just incase there are a few stray pieces that could snag. An automatic curling iron may be a little more territorial about who’s in control of your hair.

As a stylist when I curl your hair the ends of your hair spend the least amount of time on the iron since they are the most fragile part of your hair and the most susceptible to heat damage. The curling wand works great for you to mimic this technique when curling your hair at home to protect your ends. The automatic curlers treat the whole section of your hair the same heating the ends equally as it would the stronger, more resistant roots and mid lengths. Heat protectant sprays are of course helpful but even they have their limits.

I encourage you to do your own research on hair styling tools for creating curls and find what will work best for you and your hair. There’s a lot of ways out there to curl your hair – be sure the check all your options and of course keep in mind what will be the most ‘hair friendly’!

Thanks for listening,



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