How a little trim goes a long way

Amanda used to wear hijab to represent her culture and Muslim faith. The hijab in Arabic means modesty, and by covering the hair, arms and legs and chest, it makes the statement that the person is modest.

“It’s just a way to represent myself and who I am because I can’t do it just by my looks, I don’t look Middle Eastern. It was kind of a mask in a way or a sign to show who I am. It was really empowering because people would approach me and say you don’t look Muslim, tell us about yourself, tell us about your religion. It was a way to communicate with the people and tell them who I was both verbally and non-verbally.”

Then September 11th happened and Amanda’s father asked her to take it off so she wouldn’t become a target.

When Amanda stopped wearing her hijab, it was obvious her hair style was in need of a fresh look. “It was down to my butt.”

Amanda’s hair was beautiful. But maintenence became a burden and she decided that it was time to try something new.

Amanda has even more daring plans for her hairstyle in the future.

“I have actually thought about cutting it really short and perming it into a Medusa-like thing. I went to a wig shop with my mom and tried on a bunch of hairstyles. I tried on short black wigs and everyone at the wig shop told me to cut my hair and dye it black and I was like, ‘No, I can’t do that, that is too drastic.’ I have to go in stages, but at least now I’ve got the courage to experiment a little.”

Even though she lost one form of self expression through the hijab, it seems that she has gain another in hair styles. Although the two are different, one can always find joy in the smallest and largest changes. Sometimes it’s nice to just make yourself over.

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My daughter the hairstylist: Keeping me current

From the time she was ten years old, Alyssa’s mom gave her full creative license with her hair. She experimented with everything from Sun-In to streaks of turquoise and pink.

When Alyssa was about 15, her mom helped her get a job as a receptionist at a salon. It was a kids’ salon called Hair Depot. “I loved it, and one of the girls here encouraged me to start beauty school.” She ended up getting her high school diploma at the same time she got her beauty school license.

Alyssa worked at Vidal Sassoon and a few other places for a couple of years. And even though she was still very young, her mom knew she was a creative and talented hairstyling powerhouse.

Mary, her mother, however, wasn’t as creative as her daughter. But she’s always been a good businessperson, so when Hair Depot went out of business, Alyssa and Mary saw it as the perfect opportunity to open their own hair joint.

“We called it The Cut. We wanted to create a neighborhood atmosphere, a really comfortable salon where people could come in their sweats and bring their children,” Mary explained. “Our goal was to provide the same quality of service, but in a more comfortable setting and at a better price.”

Alyssa gets a lot of enjoyment out of being a stylist, but says a lot of clients can be resistant to change. Mary admits she used to be one of those clients but says working with her daughter has opened up her eyes.

“After opening this salon and working with young, cutting-edge stylists like my daughter, I’ve learned that there are a lot of styles for older women that can make them look much younger and more contemporary, and beautiful and free. A lot of women get stuck in a permed style that makes them look older.”

Mary and Alyssa both agree that it’s really important for women to be able to try something new. After all, it’s just hair, and it will always grow back.

“When I cut my mom’s hair, I don’t listen to her at all. If you don’t pay me to do your hair, you’re just my canvas and I’m going to do whatever I want to. My mom’s got conservative ideas about her hair, and I push her to make changes that I know will look good—but the changes are still pretty conservative.”

Mary responds, “If I didn’t have Alyssa as a daughter, my hair would probably still be one long fuzz ball.”

Mary has loved every style that Alyssa has given her—especially when she does something that she didn’t want her to do.

“In those cases, I usually end up loving it more,” she says. “At this point, I trust her to do anything with my hair.”

For herself, Alyssa can’t stay with the same hairstyle for very long. She is constantly updating her look. “I can’t understand why someone would want to stick with the same thing for years and years.”

“It can be scary to get a new look,” Mary says, “Hair is like a security blanket, especially if you’ve had one style for a long time. I think a lot of women have a hard time changing with the times.” For older people, they are used to the same style—they’re afraid they won’t know what to do with something new.

Alyssa has a very professional take on how to work with different types of hair, “Style has more to do with the hair texture than the face shape or your age. If you have really thick hair and you cut it short, it’s going to look poofy, and if you have thin hair and you try to grow it long, it’s just going to be flat and stringy.”

Everyone has something different about their hair, that’s why it’s important to communicate with your stylist about what you want. Mary and Alyssa both think you should be able to really trust your hairstylist, no matter who it is. Mary’s just happens to be her daughter!

If you live in the LA area, visit Mary and Alyssa at their cute, cozy salon, The Cut.

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How my simple haircut made a dramatic difference

Stella usually goes for the same ol’ haircut, but this time she was ready to try something completely different. She has a lot of parties and different events to go to this year, so she thought she’d get a new ‘do just in time to make all those long-lost friends and relatives ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over her bang-up job.

“I have always gone with the long layer cut, which I like and it works for me, it works for my lifestyle. But I thought I would just try something different for the holiday season and dressing up.”

Solution? Bangs!

Stella hasn’t had bangs for a really long time, but when they’re hot they’re hot. How could Heidi Klum and six-year olds all over the world be wrong? Stella was stressin’ before her appointment and ran around asking people, “Should I get bangs, should I not?” Looks like the word on the street was that she should definitely rock it, because she went ahead and had them snipped.

“I was trying to just fiddle with my hair to see if it would work or not in front of the mirror. My hairdresser talked me into it, and we decided to do it on one side to get the effect rather than going full blown. It makes my hair day a little bit more fun.”

(Who knew we could dedicate our entire day to hair? Maybe we should dedicate all sorts of days to makeup, outfits, shoes and jewelry, too.)

“Getting my hair done now, as an adult, I like it much better than when I was a teenager.”

Stella likes the big-girl life, paying for her own cut n’ color makes her feel special, like she’s giving herself an ice cream cone. She recommends finding a great stylist (one that you can trust not to slap you with a mullet if they feel like it) and then to stick with them. That way you’ll always be pumped for your next appointment and know that your hair will be looking fab.

MORE TIPS & TOOLS

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Simple style for moms on the go

Mom jeans. Mom hair. Mom no-nos.

For Kristine, having two kids was no excuse to go mommified. But being a mom left her without a lot of time for self maintenance, or those monthly trims to her pixie cut. She had to find a new hairstyle that matched her lifestyle.

Enter longer hair.

Besides requiring fewer trips to the salon, letting her hair grow out meant that she could pull it back whenever she needed to… because with babies come parks, play dates and spit up.

After her second pregnancy, it was time for phase two of her upkeep plan.  When she welcomed her daughter, her hair became more wiry, drier and really lost its luster. Next thing you know, grey started showing up.

“I met a wonderful hairstylist and she said, ‘You need to do something with your hair. Even though you’re staying home with your kids, you need to get some highlights,'” said Kristine.

Kristine had been so used to her brown hair that highlights made a huge impact. She was encouraged when people said things like, You look so great with blonde hair, it looks beautiful.

Hair color has become one of Kristine’s favorite mom maintenance tricks.

“When winter comes I like to go back to a cooler color, since in the winter my face lightens up and my skin gets paler and the blonde doesn’t look as good,” she said. “I spend a lot of time in the sun all summer long when I am off with my kids, so my hair gets blonde very easily in the summer.”

Kristine is happy that she’s found a stylist that listens to her and knows her hair.  Getting the right cut and having the right tools has “Let me have hair that matches my lifestyle.” Who doesn’t want that?

There is a very fine line that a woman walks between feeling like they have “mom hair” (i.e. lacking all “wow factor,” sex appeal, and well, just plain old sass). But something as simple as highlight and a new blowdryer can make you feel like a million bucks. So the question is… Do you have mom hair?

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6 hair color rules from a stylist to the stars

Nanci has been in the hair coloring business since the 70s, and she’s seen it all. Sometimes she wishes that she could redo all the people whose hair she screwed up along the way. But you’ve got to learn somewhere. “Coloring your hair is like driving a car. If you don’t think about it in advance, you’re going to hit a brick wall.”

There are so many people who use hair color at home, thinking that if they open up a box, mix it and throw it in their hair, they’re going to get the color on the box. When it doesn’t turn out that way, they are surprised. “People need to understand that color doesn’t really work that way. Color breaks down and separates the pigments, then takes the natural color out and then re-deposits a new pigment. If you don’t keep that in mind, you don’t think like a colorist, you may come out with a result that’s not so great.”

Rule 1: If you can afford it, get a professional coloring job.

You only have one opportunity to do hair color right and that’s on the first application. With a clean palate, you can create anything you want. If you messed that first application up, then it becomes a corrective hair color situation.

Also, if you get your hair done professionally, it’s safer to try a dramatic new look. Whether you want to go dark or light, a colorist can help you transition to that point. For example, you can try lowlights or highlights first, and if that isn’t dramatic enough for you, do the whole enchilada and go the whole way.

Rule 2: Make gradual color changes.

The biggest problem is not choosing the right color. For whatever reason, people always choose a color that’s too dark. When you’re choosing a color in a store, always choose the lighter color because you can gradually go darker, but once you go dark, you cannot go light. Color does not lighten color. There’s no way.

Rule 3: Stay within your color family.

My natural hair color is dark brown, level four. Basically there’s a level system, and the level system identifies everybody’s hair color. There are three families of color: black, brown and blonde. Within each category, there’s a light, medium and dark. Levels one, two and three make up the dark family; four, five and six make up the brown family; and seven through ten is the blonde family.

People will wake up one morning from a dream where they saw themselves blonde and so they have it in their mind that they can be blonde, but they really can’t. For example, if your natural color is dark brown, try light brown. Dark blonde probably won’t turn out right.

Rule 4: Only color what you need to.

Most hair colorists over-process the hair by pulling the color all the way through the ends and reapplying bleach to what’s already been lightened. Therefore, you’re not really getting a highlight/lowlight technique. You’re just getting an over processed color that’s all over and a huge line of demarcation, which is the line between natural color and applied color. Only go as far down the hair as you need to; don’t process hair that’s already been highlighted.

Rule 5: Color all the way to the scalp.

Always apply color as close to the scalp as possible or else you’ll be left with immediate roots. Highlights are supposed to be subtle and easy to grow out. Also, be sure to sandwich two foils together so you’re not processing hair that doesn’t need it.

Rule 6: If you’re not comfortable with your colorist, just leave.

If you’re a client in a chair getting a consultation by a stylist and she takes a phone call from her boyfriend while she’s smoking a cigarette outside, then that’s a red flag to run. It really is. If the stylist isn’t listening to you tell her what you want, that’s another cue – get up and leave. Don’t be embarrassed or worried about what they think of you. Just get up and walk out. Say, “Thank you, it’s not going to work out.”

People change their color according to their mood, that’s why there’s so much messed-up color walking around—because people change their moods a lot. If you feel inclined to color your hair, go ahead and do it. It can definitely help you come out of your shell. But do Nanci a favor and do it right.

For more advice, check out the following links.

Nanci Says
Visit Nanci’s hair color site for in-depth information on the hair coloring process, including tips on what will work for you.

Mom Hair: It’s Not What It Used to Be
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What Color?
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