The Social Media Renaissance of Artisan Stylists

By Danni Gess

I don’t know about you, but since the mainstream acceptance of fashion colors, I’ve been seeing an incredible evolution in the hair industry. An artistic freedom has been unleashed that can only be described as a Renaissance.

Skilled in their craft, creative, and highly motivated, the Artisan Stylist is what I call the exciting new kind of beauty professional that was born from the likes of Instagram, Periscope, and YouTube.

By definition, an artisan is a person who has the creativity and trained skill to create an exceptional product. We, as beauty professionals, have always understood our value but the embracing of these social media artisans speaks volumes to the level of increasing respect for our industry’s artistry.

Though there are hundreds, if not, thousands of stylists that have showcased brilliant work worthy of mention, I decided to feature three whom I follow, that are predominately creative color.

Ash Fortis, aka xostylistxo, is an Instagram sensation with 57k followers and a ton of recognition from major publications such as Modern Salon, Beauty Launchpad and The Colorist Mag. The first time I saw her work was when a co-worker showed me some pictures from Instagram. The juxtaposition of modern edginess and sweet feminity of her color choices had me eyeballing my tubes of fashion colors with unbridled glee.

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this part of her collection she named Moonstone.

She shared with me some of the  current looks she is working on and what direction she see the trends are going.

“Hologramic hair is with a silverized base. I choose colors that would help give the look a three dimensional effect. I also place blocks of colors through the hair…I predict that silver and metallic colors will be very popular…Dusky Metallic. I think more hair stamping, like what I am doing with the digital hair feathers and pixels”

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I’m not going to lie, I’m a sucker for the digital feathers. It’s a brilliant, modern take on that popular feather trend. I’ve heard more than stylist say they missed that trend. Come on!… Admit it! You want it back. Ha! Well, the feather trend has sailed on BUT, I can see this catching on.

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My inner geek completely fell in love with the Pixel Project spearheaded by Philip Ring, aka Philipdoeshair. Shockingly bold and modern, Philip shared that his inspiration came from an old Vidal Sassoon Bauhaus book that featured  Annie Humfrey and Mark Hayes creation in the 1980s. A Sassoon devotee, that drive for excellence shows in every delicious detail in his creations. The concept of taking a flat graphic and somehow create a fluid design is, to me, ground breaking.

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I remember when Philip was working on his pixel technique because I was trying to figure it out at the same time. My first attempt was, shall we say, uh…unimpressive, so I was green with envy when I saw he cracked the code.

S’all good, my friend. I bow to your brilliance. <grin>

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Jordan Glyndmeyer, aka PinupJordan, came to my attention in an education forum over a year ago. I feel like I’ve watched her artistic “voice” develop to the point that I can spot a PinupJordan creation in a lineup. A prolific Instagramer, Jordan has quickly accumulated nearly 20k “Mermaid” followers that embrace a bold color story with a classic pin up bent.

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My favorite thing about following Jordan’s feed (aside from the obvious)? I love a good success story. From a small town hairstylist to a booming entrepreneur, she is always looking at new ways to expand her knowledge; how can you NOT be inspired to push yourself?

Much like the difference between a Monet and a Rembrandt, each of these professionals have a unique artistic voice that have striking differences and yet they all have legions of fans that await their newest creation. Social media has created a platform for gifted professionals to share their work independently without having to partner with a corporate name. It’s  a brave new world!

How long the fashion color trend will last is uncertain but one thing is for sure; It has unleashed a movement that, I believe, is here to stay.

Are you an Artisan Stylist showcasing your work on social media? Comment below and tell us your experience!


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The Guy Tang Effect: The Newest Balayage Tools From Pravana…Should You Get It?

“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist” ~ Picasso

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By Danni Gess

 

Ahhhh Guy Tang…..

Be still my beating heart.

Nothing gets to the heart of a Hair Junkie more than a person that pushes boundaries and encourages professionals to try something new.

Uh, yeah, I may be fan-girling it a little.

But, with that being said, when Pravana teamed up with Guy Tang to create the Pure Enlightenment Balayage Kit and ChromaSilk 5 Minute Toners I did not jump.

Nope. Kept my feet on the ground….well, okay, I picked up the toners. <grin> which I will elaborate on a another post BUT I was wary of jumping on the newest trend 100%.

This Balayage kit, which has been touted as a “Game changer in balayage” by Guy Tang, is marketed as a freedom from foils and a sanctuary to blondes. I know everybody has their favorite service to do, but foils is not one of them for me. I’m a very visual artistic girl, I like to paint…watch the hair transform; interact with the process. A “game changer” would be a welcomed addition in my life however, as always, I wanted to see some feedback from some of the Hair Artist that I respected before I make the investment.

Jason McDonald, owner and highly sought after stylist of Head Strong Creative Design in Pensacola, Florida, has experimented with quite a few different clay based lighteners. I’ve followed his work (as have many stylist) for some time and knew he could give me a good comparison. He found the Pure Enlightenment not only mixes easily but goes on smoother than comparable products. He also felt it has better lifting power than most. With common complaints that clay-based lighteners tend to not lift as high and doesn’t spread easily, this one-two punch may very well, make it the Holy Grail of clay based lighteners.

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He added, “Pravana’s kit also comes with enough accessories to help even the novice freehand artist become proficient…” The kit includes a DVD, manual, paddle, application brushes, 16 meche sheets, lightener and pre-dedicated developers.

Hmmmm….I’m intrigued so I pressed on.

Educator and Creative Director of Salon Embellish in Phoenix, Arizona, Philip Ringhas been making waves in the industry with his Pixelated Color creations but when it came to Balayage, he hadn’t found a product that he felt he could get the desired results. On his first attempt with the Pure Enlightenment he knew it was a winner. “It was creamier!” which can totally effect the control of the application. He expressed it was the first time he felt “100% proud of my Balayage”.

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I relate to this so much! I want to feel that way about all the work I do but when working with certain tools, you just know you are being held back from achieving a certain standard. When you find something that works it’s like the hair gods have gifted you with superpowers!!!

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I had one more person that I KNEW would be playing with this product in creative ways.

Shannon Keel, aka The Hair Doo Chick, is an educator and salon owner in Lee, Florida. I swear I’m not a stalker but I regularly go through her facebook and instagram feed and geek out over her hair painting and color melt techniques. Am I the only one that thinks a Herringbone pattern made with lightener is just beeeeaaaautifuuuul….?

Ehem, uh…so, it seemed obvious to ask her opinion on the product.

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“I loved Guy Tangs lightener … It has a smooth texture and the consistency stayed the same throughout my painting. I also had wonderful lift”.

As for the quality of her clients hair after using it? “It felt lovely”!

Yup. Three times a charm.

So it looks like I’ll be investing in the Pure Enlightenment Balayage Kit. I’m sure it will pair beautifully with the 5 minute toners that I’m obsessing over (again, I’ll be sharing that on a future post so stay tuned!)

So what was YOUR experience? Will you be investing in this product?

Beautiful Thursday: Truth and Lies About Olaplex

“Olaplex is a bond multiplier containing a single active ingredient, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate. Olaplex works by finding single sulfur hydrogen bonds and cross linking them back together to form disulfide bonds before, during and after services. Disulfide bonds are broken via chemical, thermal, and mechanical processes.” ~ Olaplex.com

By Danni Gess

 

In the hair industry, there is a mystical aura surrounding this product. Over the past year we have seen Youtube videos, Instagram pictures and glossy magazine articles that extol the products benefits, but is it really the stuff of fairy dust, unicorn blood and dragon scales or is it just another product promising the world and delivering nothing?

Let me first preface this by saying that I use this product, not only on many of my clients but on myself as well. I am a natural level 5 and have an obsession with being REALLY blonde. Over the years, particularly before I became a colorist, I had pushed limits to try and achieve this blonde including an unfortunate incident where my hair fell out like needles on a old Christmas tree.

For many blondes this is a real thing. Over highlighting, too strong a lightener, flat ironing, can create a big fat plate of spaghetti hair.

Spaghetti Hair :  /spəˈɡedē her/ (n) Hair that has a disintegrated  cuticle which leaves the hair feeling slimy when wet. When dried, this hair typically falls away.

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When presented a new product, I am the first person I test it on. Nothing goes on my client’s head until I am certain that it is a product that will add value to their service. For An addition to a color service starting at $15 ($30 for the take home) I wanted to feel confident that Olaplex is something that will bring results. So, based SOLELY on my own head of hair (though I’ve done hundreds services with the product) here is what it can and cannot do.

  1. It CAN protect your hair from unneccessary damage….when used responsibly. When I do my roots, I am using Olaplex. There are times when, inevitably, the lightener overlaps onto my previously lightened hair. In the “old days” this would create some hair breakage. Luckily, having a short funky haircut helps with this because it goes unnoticeable. However, now I can honestly say I have no breakage. To the point that I’m seriously considering growing my hair out, which I will only do if I have healthy hair.

  2. Olaplex is NOT a conditioning treatment. My hair is still dry. This does not shock me. Not once have I read that Olaplex claim it is a conditioning treatment or a mask. So if your stylist is claiming it will put moisture in your hair…refer him/her to this blog.
  3. Your hair will NOT be Teflon after using it in a chemical service. Olaplex has strengthened my hair over time because I use the #3 home care product. Olaplex IS going to give extra insurance when lightening your hair BUT when you get home and style with heat and exposure to environmental elements, your hair gets damaged. If you need to strengthen your hair, maintain what you invested in by using the number #3 at home product. It last about a month (I have short hair so it lasted MUCH longer)
  4. Olaplex works BUT if you are putting olaplex/lightener onto spaghetti hair and expect a miracle, I have a bridge I can sell you! Do yourself a favor. If you have mushy overprocessed hair, go to a salon, do an Olaplex treatment, purchase the at home #3 and a good mask. Stylists, when they come back in a month, not only will you be able to SAFELY work with their hair but you will have a client for life!
  5. Alas, It is NOT made of unicorn blood, fairy dust nor dragon scales. It’s just science which is equally awesome. However, don’t get confused. It ain’t magic. When people start claiming it can do stuff that it is not designed to do, it makes my job difficult. Not only do I wind up having clients that are disappointed when rainbows and sparkles aren’t glinting off their noggin, but as an industry, it creates a culture of mistrust.

Lastly, I have a little bit of friendly advice for my fellow stylists. I understand that we all learn differently and sometimes having someone TELL you how to do something seems reliable but seriously, not everybody knows what they are talking about. AND you are the person that suffers the consequence if you do not use the product correctly. Personally, I did this crazy thing called “reading the directions” and “research”. You’d be shocked at how awesome these two actions can be!

Have you used this product? What was your experience? Have questions?

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