Warm Balayage at Orl’o Salon

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My beautiful client had four requests: keep the length; keep the long layers; keep the movement; and don’t make her hair feel sparse on the ends. Because her hair is fine-medium, I decided on a technique to create longer layers while keeping thickness at the ends. For color, she requested some warmth and a little brightness, we did balayage and a color gloss to ad shine and bring the whole tone together.


Photographer- Photo By Cassie

At the sink, I started with the Orlando Pita Play Full Foam Volumizing Shampoo, which I love. It’s light weight and has proteins that the hair really needs. It also has no sulphates, which is even better for fine, color-treated hair.

Now for the conditioning treatment…

Big Revival Bodifying  Hair Mask. THISSSSS!!! Is what we call hair crack…  I literally have clients with fine hair buying this three or four jars at a time- especially women with color-treated hair.

 

For styling, I used Orlando Pita Play Body Breakthrough. It’s ideal for her very long, fine hair. This product can be used on wet or dry hair and provides body that lasts.

I really believe a woman’s strongest asset is her individuality, so I always pay attention to the client’s natural beauty and try to compliment it.

Any questions, please feel free to ask! For an appointment please call Orl’o salon : 212-242-3266.

Have a great hair day!

Antonio Francisco Gonzales

My Client Salon Makeover

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My client requests subtle highlights and longer layers. Her hair is dark and curly with lighter ends from a previous color, so we decided on balayage that was natural yet had a obvious pop of color. As for the haircut, she generally wears her hair straight so I decided on layers that were not too long.

 

Photographer- Photo By Cassie

At the sink I used Orlando Pita Play, Pearl Foam Smoothing Shampoo. With this product, a little goes a long way. As you pump the product into your hands, the smell alone gets to you. When you start shampooing you can feel the product almost caressing the hair. It’s lovely!!!

The Silk Slip Smoothing Conditioner is everything! It tames the most difficult head of hair. You can literally feel the coarseness melt away.

And the Satin Pillow Over Night Hair Mask is a luxurious product and the hair loves it. The smell. The way the hair is so easy to comb and the shine. This line is a must have for curly hair.

For styling I used Orlando’s Anti-Frizz Well Behaved Serum. This makes the most unruly hair with frizzy attitude, and makes her behave like a the good girl she was meant to be 🙂

At the root I used the Body Breakthrough Volume Boosting Spray. Honey, this will add life and lift to any hair type. It supports the root like the earth supports a tree (I know, I’m dramatic)…

I love coloring brunettes. There are so many ways to enhance darker hair and so many tones can be used. I hope you like this and feel free to ask any questions and make an appointment at Orlo Salon: 212-242-3266.

 

Antonio Francisco Gonzales

 

My Free NYC Makeover

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On my daily commute to work, I’m always observing people’s hair on the train. I love some of it and sometimes I think: “I wish I could do their hair!” As a result, I decided to start my own project called The NYC Makeover. The idea is to offer a makeover to strangers in the street whose current look does not highlight their assets. We then do a consultation on the street and I give them my card to follow up with a makeover.

Here is my first makeover of a lovely young lady I met in my neighborhood in Washington Heights. I thought she was so beautiful but her hair was not!

Before

 

Her existing color consisted of layers and layers of black and red "box color"

 

The beginning of her balayage

1) First, thank you for saying yes to my makeover offer. Were you surprised when I asked?
– Yes. It was totally unexpected! I thought “who was this crazy person.”

2) What is the biggest challenge you’ve had with your hair over the years?
– Apart from never getting the right color, calming my frizz and curls have been a huge problem. I love my hair straight so that makes it even more difficult. I never know which products I should get so I just use the same thing I’ve always used.

3) What is your worst hair experience?
– It was when I tried to go from black to red. My hair ended up being 4 different colors, I was so mad, LOL!

4) How did you feel when you saw your finished hair in the mirror?
– I felt like a whole new woman. It really brought my confidence back, I’m so happy.

5) What is the most important thing you learned about your hair during our makeover experience?
– That I have to treat my hair with love and care, if I don’t I will never have the long gorgeous hair I want.

6) Did you think lightening your hair would work so well?
– I didn’t think that lightening my hair would take that much time, even though I had 4 different colors on my hair. But every single time Antonio did my hair, I would always come out looking better. The result are flawless.

7) Will you listen to my advice and use good shampoos and conditioners no matter the cost?
– Of course. It’s really important to look after your hair if you color and blow-dry often. Thanks to your advice my hair is still stable and hasn’t been falling out.

8) What do your friends say about your hair?
– Everyone love’s it. I look like a brand new person. Every time I walk down the street, I get compliments on my hair. An acquaintance recently asked how much the wig cost me because my hair looked so good!

 

This was a lot of fun for me. This transformation was not an easy one, but it was a fun challenge.

Readers I hope you enjoyed this and stay tuned for my next NYC Makeover, who knows it may be you!

Is All-Natural Haircare for you?

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It’s proven that a green diet promotes a healthy body and mind. Knowing this, the beauty industry has flooded the market with products containing every mineral, vegetable, and fruit and boasting of their amazing effects on hair.

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The question is, do all-natural ingredients have the same positive effect on the hair as on the body?

Yes and no: There are certainly advantages, but there are some disadvantages, too, which may surprise you.

The common shampoo ingredient Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is the number one reason most people make the switch to natural products. A very common reaction is scalp irritations from SLS. SLS has also been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, and endocrine disruption. Most people I know go SLS-free for these reasons. Even with the scientific results, however, we don’t all make the switch. If you personally have any concerns, it’s totally up to you to switch.

Recently I had a new client in my chair for a blow-dry. After styling her hair I noticed it was very limp and oily. I thought the assistant at our salon might have used too much conditioner and didn’t rinse well enough afterwards.

A few weeks later the client returned for a haircut and I personally shampooed her hair and used only a tiny bit of conditioner. When I started cutting her hair, I observed a strange residue layering it. As we talked, it turned out the client was only using all-natural shampoos and conditioners. Her products were so intense that they left her hair feeling almost gummy and lifeless.

We returned to the sink and I shampooed her hair twice with a clarifying shampoo. It stripped her hair of the product buildup and transformed it, giving it movement and shine again.

The basic problem here was her shampoo wasn’t cleansing enough, so it kept depositing oils. Her conditioner did, too.

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My concern here was the possibility of hair loss: If the hair is coated that much with oil, can you imagine the scalp? And where does the hair come from? The scalp, of course, so it’s vital to keep it unclogged.

I advised her to find a new all-natural product with less oil and to invest in an all-natural clarifying shampoo and use it every two weeks. Here are my recommendations of clarifying shampoos for the “health conscious” person.

The first is the Clarifying Cream Shampoo by Ouidad. It contains no Parabens, sulphates and phthalates.

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The second  Lisas Hair Elixir ‘s by Carol’s daughter. It contains no parabens, sulphates, petroleum, mineral oils or artificial colors.

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Another factor when choosing a shampoo is whether or not you color your hair. If you do color, remember that color-treated hair is very different from virgin hair, and you’ll want to be careful that the shampoo is not too aggressive for your hair type and color. When I worked in a salon in L.A., there was an essential oil counter where they would mix all these lovely varieties into body oils, creams, and perfumes. Believe it or not, we also used the same oils to remove hair color. Even the smallest amounts of some oils can release color molecules, which will cause fading. This is especially true for blonds. Hairstylists spend time perfecting blond tones with glosses to give you the coolest blond or warm tones, and you don’t ruin want to ruin that!

Chemical-infused shampoos do have negative affects on hair color too. Depending on your hair type, SLS may fade hair color. In my experience this mainly happens with very fine, brittle hair. In this case, it’s fine to use a shampoo that is low in SLS or has no SLS.

Here is my my recommendation for shampoo that is not as “natural” as those above, but close and great for fine hair. Full Foam Volumizing Shampoo by Orlando Pita. I use this every day in the salon on my clients with fine hair. It’s paraben free, sulphate free and not tested on animals.

a338871-001Conditioners can also be an issue. People tend to stay away from conditioners and hair masks that contain parabens and silicones—and rightfully so. In this day and age, who needs unnecessary chemicals? For the plant lovers I recommend the Phytoelixir Intense Nutrition Masque.  It contains no Paragons or Phthalatesphytoelixir-mask-intense-nourishing-mask-ultra-dry-hair-reflexionHowever, when I have a very dry, breaking, damaged, or frizzy head of hair in my sink, I tend to pull out the big boy. Sometimes I need a little technology in my mask to fulfill the task. (Oh yes, some freestyle rhyming!) The combination of high-grade silicones, moisture, oil, extracts, and proteins can really bring life back to the most neglected or overtreated head of hair.

For my clients with fine, mature hair, I swear by the Big Revival Bodifying Hair Mask by Orlando Pita. This product is winning the hearts of my clients and beauty editor’s worldwide! It’s paraben free and not tested on animals.

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If you are in major trouble and have thick dry hair then I have the hair mask for you! The Orlando Pita Play Satin Pillow Overnight Hair Mask is everything! With ingredients like Amla Oil, Avocado Oil, wheat protein blend, shea butter, coconut oil, and olive oil, this hair mask can be left in over-night or rinsed at the sink. It also contains hydrolyzed keratin, A natural protective agent that adds visual shine and improved feel to hair. And Neoessence Hemisqualane – 100% Brazilian sugarcane derived emollient that harnesses the power of fermentation to reduce frizz, protect color, seal cuticle, protect from heat, and improve comb ability ( I told you I bring out the big boys).

2309735Realistically, there is something for everyone in the world of all-natural products.

If you decide you’d like to use all-natural hair products, consult with your hairstylist for recommendations, and if your hairstylist can’t offer advice, find another stylist who can.

Do not take hair product advice from the salespeople at the health food store, they are not stylists, so they do not understand hair like we do. When we hairstylists recommend products to you, we make suggestions based on your hair type, your hairstyle, and your lifestyle. In my personal experience, some chemical and/or alcohol is needed to get the most out of a blow-dry or hairstyle. But if a client brings in his or her own chemical-free products, by all means, I will use them.

The decision is a personal one, of course. My job is to share my professional experience and my hope is that you will do some experimenting of your own. This may mean getting rid of every hair product you own and starting over if you’re not happy with the results you’re getting right now. If any of you readers have a product to recommend, or find a new one when you’re experimenting, I’d love to hear about it.

My closing thought—something I tell my clients frequently—is:

“Don’t allow the products you don’t need to prevent you from buying the products you do need.”

Assisting Orlando Pita for Michael Kors at NYFW Spring 2017

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The season ended with a bang for me, assisting Orlando at Michael Kors. Over 50 models and really cool hair. Again, it was about texture. If the model had it, we enhanced it. If they did not have it, we created it.

I love seeing Orlando backstage with this many models because he’s on fire! Still finding the time to be nice to everyone, approve each model, and conduct many interviews.

 

Orlando Pita With the Beautiful Joan Smalls

 

Assisting Orlando Pita for Rosie Assoulin at NYFW Spring 2017

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Watching Rosie Assoulin grow as a designer is so inspiring! Her choice of fabrics, patterns and shapes are modern, sexy and effortless.

For the show, the hair and makeup matched the designs. Orlando Pita instructed us to work with the girls’ natural texture and we created ponytails with delicate flowers sporadicly placed. The models with short hair we added a little of his Gloss Up Polishing Cream to add shine and softness.

In all it was a beautiful show.

Backstage with Trinidadian born model Akua Williams

 

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Assisting Orlando Pita for Monse at NYFW Spring 2017

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The experience backstage for Monse was incredible. The deconstructed yet very sexy pieces were so beautiful. Following Orlando’s directions, we all embraced the model’s natural textures, cropped bangs and cool cuts. One by one under Orlando’s watchful eye, we expressed each model’s individuality through her hair.

I love my job 🙂

Monse

Orlando giving instructions.

 

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You Deserve a Clean Hairbrush

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Would you use a stranger’s toothbrush? No? Well, did you know it’s almost the same thing if your hairstylist uses a brush full of someone else’s hair on you?

As a client at a salon, there are many things you deserve, and I’d like to touch on this important one today. Have you ever sat in your stylist’s chair and observed her reaching for a hairbrush, only to see the previous client’s hair staring right back at you? Working in the beauty industry over the years, I’ve seen many a brunette pay good money for a style, only to leave with someone else’s blonde hair on her shoulders. (Not in my chair, of course!)

If you’ve never considered this possibility, let me offer you some food for thought. We hairstylists sometimes have no way of telling if a walk-in client has a scalp condition. If we do see signs of flakiness, we may use a treatment shampoo and ask the client to purchase it. We know the shampoo will not cure the scalp condition immediately, but at least we are treating it. While the client’s hair is being dried, however, the brush rubs against the scalp, and it may remove any excess debris (e.g., dead skin cells).

Some of it may collect in the bristles. Then the following client walks in, never suspecting that seemingly innocent brush has a dirty little secret. Did someone say “cross-contamination”? That’s why I would never use the same brush twice in a row—and your hairstylist shouldn’t either.

The next time you go to a salon, if you see the stylist reach for a brush full of hair, I recommend you simply ask him, “Can you please use a clean brush on me?” The stylist will either apologize and quickly grab a clean one, or he will start combing the hair out of the brush. If he does the latter, that’s not enough, so I recommend that you insist on a clean brush. If he resists, it’s up to you to decide if he’s worth not having a clean brush. (You know what I think!)

Hair styling by Antonio Francisco Gonzales
Hair styling by Antonio Francisco Gonzales

You’re not being a nuisance by asking this simple question; you have a right to a clean brush every time. Yeah, I said it; a clean brush is your RIGHT. The State Board of Cosmetology requires that clean and dirty brushes be kept separately from one another to avoid contamination, so this is more than just your right: it’s the LAW.

Some hairstylists may roll their eyes and say it’s impossible to use a clean brush on every client. Not true; I have a back stock of fresh brushes so that I never run out. At the end of the day, I replace the soiled brushes with clean ones.

Don’t be afraid to speak up and set the standard; you deserve a healthy scalp, and a salon visit that makes your hair even better than when you went in.

Layage Hair Color Review

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A few months ago a top European hairstylist asked my opinion on layage, a very popular hair coloring technique. Our conversation inspired this article.

Before I share my answer, let’s touch on balayage, a hair painting technique that has been around for decades. Any type of lightening done by a stylist who paints the hair freestyle is based on balayage.

It’s important to know that originally, balayage was not a “look” (as in a passing trend); it started as a way to color hair with blending from the root area that was very natural. There was no need to run back to the salon for a touch-up every month as it grew out. You’re not supposed to look at someone’s head and say, “Ooh, gurl, she had balayage” (as you could with foiled highlights).

Over the years, balayage has evolved. Now it’s more modern, bolder, and popping with vibrancy. Way more dramatic! However, it still has a natural appearance coming out of the root area.

Photographer Al Carlay

Here’s how the layage technique is different: the stylist lays the hair out flat in sections on a special table and paints the color freestyle starting a few inches away from the head.

Layage-application
So now for my answer…the layage technique, sprawling the hair out on a board like a fish fillet, is not necessary. It takes away the ability for the hairstylist to create light strokes where the color begins. Instead, you have a harsher application. This results in a definite “look” that’s too obvious, too structured. In other words, “She ain’t natural looking.”

You can achieve a bold realistic result with a hairstylist who knows how to do a bright, beautiful balayage, end of story. The layage technique was created by people who could not achieve the bold, popping effect with balayage.

 

Here is my client at the salon.  I wanted to keep it very relatable and casual.

Before

After

Photographer Al Carlay

 

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Also, in the salon world, a “new trend” can be a multimillion-dollar money-making gimmick for the product companies to rope hairstylists into signing up to learn something new—the tried-and-true industry trick of giving something old a new name and then pretending it’s revolutionary and that hairstylists should pay to “lead” the trend—and that customers should pay to follow it. (Yawn.)

On a side note: I believe it’s the hairstylist’s job to influence the client’s decision and help them figure out what will look best. And in today’s world (with Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook), it’s the client’s job to show up informed.

Now, a hairstylist can have his or her version of the latest coloring techniques, and a client can have all the money in the world. But if their taste level is off, then it’s just a head of colored hair. Both may think it’s beautiful, until they look through top fashion magazines and realize that something’s missing from the hair color.

Ladies, I wish you success in your search for gorgeous, modern style. Fellow hairstylists, let’s always challenge ourselves to keep learning from everywhere and everyone, not only wait for product companies to direct us.