Tag Archives: brushes

Permalink to We always want what we can’t have…. how to get straight hair.

We always want what we can’t have…. how to get straight hair.

Photo: Simon Gerzina, Make-up: Anita Nouryeh, Hair: Me!

I don’t know about you but my family is cursed with coarse wavy/curly hair that gets frizzy in the summer and dry in the winter.  It is super thick and just takes tons work to look nice.  My sister and I have gone to great lengths to get straight and or smooth hair all our lives and really have stopped at nothing to get it.  In this post I will tell you the best ways to get your hair straight and the pros and cons of each way.  I am going to talk about blow-drying, flat ironing, japanese relaxers, and brazilian blowouts.

Lets start with the temporary ways first

Blow-drying (if my cosmetology teacher is reading, I mean air-forming)

Blow drying is not only an easy way to get your hair straight, but it is also a great way to add volume.  This is definetly the cheapest way to get your hair straight, all you need is a hair dryer which can range anywhere from $25-upwards of $300 [ my favorite dryer is by parlux and is just over $100], a good brush, some clips, and of course practice and patience.

Of course when using any heat styling method you want to make sure that you use a heat protectant, I love Redken’s Satinwear for this, apply it to wet hair and it will help you smooth out your hair and prevent heat damage.

The most important part of your dryer is what is called a concentrator nozzle, it is that little attachment that you probably took off and put back the box and forgot about, well go back and get it.  What this does is it directs the air where you want it to go, which is down the hair shaft to smooth out the cuticle.

Start with clean hair add the products you perfer, heat protectant, blow dry balm, root booster, whatever your hair type needs. If you’re not sure talk to your hairstylist we love talking about products and reccommending things lol.

Now the first mistake people make is that they just go right into blowdrying their hair with a brush, dont.  Not only is this wasted effort, but when your hair is wet is when its the most fragile – brushes can pull and break your hair.  So begin by just doing what is called “rough drying” to get your hair about 80% dry.  Do this by just lifting your hair and just quickly drying it, if you want more volume at the root flip your head over or lift the hair where you want the lift.  When it is almost dry this is when you start to go at your hair with a brush, get a good comfortable round brush and start blow drying your hair in sections.  Sectioning the hair allows you to concertrate on each section to completly smooth it, this is will make your finished product look more polished, remember to keep your brush and dryer moving, I like to tell people to think of their brush as a truck and the dryer as a trailor, they always need to stay together.

- bang tip! – If you have bangs style them first before doing the rest of your hair or else you could end up with a bad bang day.

Flat Ironing –

Flat ironing is another great temporary way to get your hair straight.  This will make the hair more flat than blowdrying and will give the hair a really shiny smooth appearance.

You will need a good flat iron with a temperature control.  This is where I say don’t skimp.  Save up for something good.  A good flat iron will last for years and will cause less damage than a cheaper, lower quality one will.

Make sure you set the heat for your hair type.  Sure a flat iron can go to 450 degrees, but why… you don’t need it, I like to start around 320 for fine, damaged, and blonde hair types and slowly bump it up a few degrees for thicker coarser hair.

I can’t watch people flat iron hair because about 90% of people do it completly wrong.  I watch YouTube videos of people just smacking the plates together over any chunk of hair the iron grabs and pulling it down quickly over and over again trying to get it straight.  This is totally a don’t.

Again you want to start sectioning your hair, start at the bottom and work your way up.  The proper technique  is to take a section between the plates, I like to then take the flat iron and tilt the top towards me about 45 degrees, this will help give you good tension which will help give smoother results.  Now that you have your hair in the proper position SLOWLY drag the flat iron down.  You need to give your hair enough time to heat up, by just quickly running the iron over your hair you will need to go over each section many times, you should only need to go over each section once.  Keep doing this technique until you run out of hair and you will have the straightest shiny-est hair on the block.

Semi- Permanant to Permanant 

Brazilian Blowout

If you guys follow me on twitter or facebook you will know that I LOVE Brazilian Blowouts.  I have had it on my hair for almost a year and honestly I could never live without it.  My hair is naturally very wavy, it was bleached blonde for almost 10 years (read: fried) and has never looked shiny everrrrrr.  Now people think that my hair is naturally this smooth.

So what is it?

Brazilian Blowout is a semi-permant treatment that must be done by your hairstylist.  It can keep your hair smooth and frizz-free for about 4 months, sometimes more.  It is a treatment that includes a liquid keratin (the protein your hair is made of) that is applied to your hair then blowdried and flat ironed to steal.  This treatment takes about 1.5-2 hours depending on the thickness and length of your hair, and your hair will feel amazing the moment you leave the salon.

Who is this for?

Anyone with unruley hair that wants to prevent frizz and smooth out their hair.  This can be applied to even damaged and colored hair with great results!

What makes it so great?

The best thing about the Brazilian Blowout is that it doesn’t last forever.  The reason this is great is because it is no commitment.  Since this product slowly wears away you don’t get “roots”.  Once this wears away it is gone and you can either do the whole treatment again, or if you decided it wasn’t for you (I’d have to question your judgement…) but it’s okay, don’t do it again and no one will ever know!

What else do I need to know?

This can be a costly process depending on your hair and who does it.  It usually ranges in the $250-$500 range but can be more expensive.  You will also need to switch to using a sulfate-free shampoo for the duration of the treatment as sulfates in shampoos will wear the product away faster.

Japanese Straightening

This is my sister’s favorite way of straightening her hair.  It could be because she doesn’t have to pay for it and it requires the least amount of maintenence.. but its totally because she gets it for free…  This treatment is a permanent solution to keeping your hair straight.  Clients love this because their hair becomes “poker” straight without effort (on their part at least) and it lasts until they cut it off.

So what is it?

A Japanese relaxer is a permanent relaxer that uses chemicals as well as flat ironing to get super straight results.  It beings with washing your hair, applying the product, processing, then a good lengthy rinse.  Next the hair is blown dry and flat ironed in the style you want, after a neutralizing solution is applyed, processed, rinsed and then you are back in the chair for another blow dry and flat iron.. phewwww

Who is this for?

This is perfect for people with minimally damaged curly or textured hair.  Usually I make my clients choose between their hair color and their relaxer, but this of course depends on your actual hair type.  I wouldn NEVER do this on anyone with very lightened hair, or overly processed hair.  But if you are just changing your color within a few shades it is totally possible.  However this treatment is not to be taken lightly, and should only be done after a VERY detailed consultation.

So what makes it so great?

This is a great permanant way to make your hair straight with very little maintence.  My sister loves it because it is “wash and go” she can literally let it air dry and know that is going to be exactly the same everytime.

What else do I need to know?

Since this is a permanent process the only way to get rid of it is by cutting it off, so make sure this type of relaxer is what you want before you do it.  Also you will get “roots” with this process and you can usually only do this every 6 months as the stylist needs enough new growth to make sure that we do not overlap the product onto previously processed hair.  This process also takes some time, usually at minimum 5 hours! Luckly you only have to do it twice a year, right!  It is also pretty expensive, usually about $400-$1000 but if these are the results you are after it is money well spent.   Also after you have this treatment you cannot wash your hair for 2-3 days, as shampoo will reverse the chemicals applied to the hair, and one remember the scene from Legaly Blonde when Elle is in the court room? She explains why.. and she was totally right.

Hopefully I have helped you decide which method is best for you, I am hoping to start making some more videos to demonstrate some of these processes especially a flat ironing one!  So keep an eye out!



Permalink to My Hair Kit – tools edition

My Hair Kit – tools edition

I was recently asked on twitter what is in my hair kit which is a great question.

My go to hair kit is very small, which a lot of people think is crazy, but really I think it is totally the other way around, why carry something if you don’t need it.  I suppose I am like the Alton Brown of hair, I hate Uni-taskers.  Also living and working in NYC and traveling by either my scooter, or subway makes you pick and choose what you want to carry since you just can’t throw it in a trunk and go to your job.

Since this is going to be a semi long post I am going to split it into two posts, tools and products.

my list of tools

My favorite dryer (I own 3!)  is the Parlux 3200 dryer, I don’t think I will ever mess with a dryer that is not italian made.. I don’t know why, they just make the best dryers hands down,  coming in a close second (they are ultimatly the same dryer) is the Twin Turbo

yes it comes in other colors, but why bother?


Next I carry the only flat iron I will ever own, the Paul Mitchell Pro Tools 1.0, not only does it heat up super quick, and not pull hair, it has little silicone strips that give you perfect tension to your hair making it so that you only have to go over each section once.

it needs to be in pink!


I only carry two curling irons, I only own three!  I have never felt like I need a different size ever.  Want bigger curls? take bigger sections.  smaller? take smaller sections.  I like hot tools curling irons, but I use the marcel style not the spring and often times I wrap the hair around the iron instead of using it the traditional way.  Many models have asked me why I don’t just get one of the clip-less curling irons, the answer is because then it would be another thing to carry!  I carry a 1.5 inch and a 3/4 inch and thats it, if I know i want to make frizzy hair or an afro type hair style i will carry my 1/2 inch

how i roll


thats it.  seriously.  I don’t believe in hot rollers, you can just use pin curl clips and a curling iron and get better results!  See my youtube tutorial on how to do a pin curl set

The only round brush I will use is by Cricket it is the Technique line .  They never get caught in hair, they make perfect brush sets, they last forever and are super comfortable to use.  My favorite size is the 370.  At my salon I have the 390, 2- 370′s, 2- 350′s, and 2- 330′s.  In my kit for shoots I only carry a 390, 370 and 350 if that. The best part of this brush line is every October they come out with the brushes in pink for breast cancer awareness.. this is when I stock up!  I also carry a teasing brush which i typically use to to tease hair and to brush out curls as well.

heaven in a brush

Wonder which color I own?

I am a comb snob, once I got my hands on the Y/S Park brand of combs I never used another brand again.  The amount of engineering that went into this combs is nothing short of crazy,  the way the teeth are aligned, the way it feels when you hold it.. its just awesome.  and they come in pink!  When it comes to my tail combs I never waste my time with the ones with the plastic ends, not only do they break but what else is it good for.  A tail comb with a good metal end is also an amazing teeny curling iron!  just wrap the hair around and heat it with your flat iron!  I usually carry up to 4 cutting combs and 2 tail combs

last but not least is my clips and pins.  for sectioning I turn again to the Y/S park line, their clips are expensive but last forever and just work…



I think one of the most important things for a session stylist to carry is what I call an “up-do box”  Why on earth would you want to carry all your hair pins in the cardboard boxes they come in, its messy and just crazy.  I keep all mine in a organizer I got from home depot, and it fits perfectly at the bottom of my Zuca Backpack   This box has everything I need, pin curl clips to do pin curl sets, hair pins, bobby pins, and large bobby pins in black and brown, and rubber bands all in one perfectly organized container.

needs to be stocked but you get the idea

My bag of choice is of course the Zuca and since dragging something through the subways and up the stairs is annoying, I refuse to do it and carry a backpack.  This bag is perfect, its organized and even has a pocket for hot curling irons that can with-stand up to 350 degrees!

if it doesn't fit, its not coming with!


That is pretty much what I carry if I don’t know what I am doing at a shoot, if I am going to shoot a fantasy hair style my kit would be drasticly different, but also much smaller