Tales from the Hair Chair
Are stylists Scissor happy… or doing Damage control. How much to cut?


So you haven’t had a hair cut in a year and only want to cut 1/2 an inch? Then your hair cut is kind of pointless. Let’s face facts. Your ends are probably damaged several inches. Cutting just a tiny bit barely solves the problem.. And your hair will only feel better for a short time. You will only be getting some of the damaged ends fixed.

Also something to consider is not everyone’s hair CAN grow long. If your individual hair strand is fine or brittle or both then at a certain point that type of hair wont stand up to that long of a life. That hair has been around a long time and is too fragile to live through that wear and tear. Every hair has it’s limitations and it varies from person to person.

As stylist we really DO want to make you happy and give you what you want. It’s our job to!  I often talk on this blog about reasonable expectations also. We can’t work magic unfortunately. Certain hair types just weren’t meant to be long. And I am sorry about that. But there is only so much we can do.

I am also sorry that some stylists in this industry just do what they want. That’s not honorable. If someone comes in with 3” of damage and only wants 1” cut.. I’ll do it. But I often show the client the damage line and explain hair cuts more often and you MAY get to that point again with more healthy length. But once at the point with that much damage the split and broken ends keep splitting and creeping up the hair strand. Eventually, much of the hair strand may be ruined. This could cause much more of the length being split thinned or just breaking off.

Once again, this doesn’t go for everyone. Some people are blessed with super tough hair that can withstand a lot. But more often then not.. regular haircuts are best for maintaining the health of your hair. It’s really not a marketing ploy. I don’t even know you reader! ;) Having a license in hair in cosmetology, we are essentially hair doctors. At least that is how I consider it. We aren’t just crazy people that have a mad fetish for cutting peoples hair off. (Disclaimer: I can’t speak for all hair stylists. Just maybe the ones I have met.)

Good Shampoo and Conditioner & The haunting of Pantene

I have a personal problem with Pantene. Pantene has been messing with me since my very first salon job as an assistant in a middle class suburb of Detroit. People there thought they were treating themselves by purchasing the most expensive drug store brand they could find. Client after client showed up with their fried out waxy pantene coated hair. I had to clarify every single one of them.

I’ve felt like a parrot with this speech in the salon. I HATE store bought products. Here’s my speech:

Store bought shampoos and conditioners are made by companies that make things such as floor wax and toilet bowl cleaner. Even the herbal, ‘healthy’, and organic ones are not made by people that study hair. Sure they may make your hair feel clean and not tangley. So why not just save your money and use them? Most of what I see in clients that aren’t using a professional salon brand is that they are dry dry dry! And just because your shampoo says professional on it doesn’t mean it is. Store bought shampoos are like detergents. They can be very abrasive and drying.

The major problem with being cheap about your products lays in conditioners. Aside from just plain not being moisturizing enough they use waxes and oils that just coat your hair. That may seem all fine and good when you rinse your hair and it feels slick and easy to comb through. But that doesn’t mean it’s conditioned. What’s happening is you are sealing your hair off from any nutrients and moisture. Over time using these products your hair becomes more dry and brittle. Ever notice when you get in the shower and it takes a few minutes of the water running on it before it really feels wet. Yeah, coated!

So what should you get that won’t break your budget?

Well first of all since you are used to using crappy product you’ve probably been using too much. Professional brands tend to have a thicker richer lather and go a bit further. Be smart about choosing your shampoo. Buy stuff that is for your hair type. (thick, coarse, dry, fine, colored ect) Most brands have something that will fit into any of those combinations. If you are someone that wants organic there are a ton of brands out there that are now that are fantastic. (Kevin Murphy and ABBA are my two favorites right now) If organic doesn’t matter but price does there are some brands that are on the more cost sensitive side. They are not as cheap as store bought but they also won’t leave your hair feeling like tinsel. (Try Redken, Bed Head, or MOP)
If money is no object and you want to be completely spoiled try Kerastase, l’oreal serie, Rene Furterer, or Phytologie.

Remember that advertisements are designed to get you to buy things. I’ve worked on photo shoots and lighting and photo retouching gives hair completely unrealistic expectations. Those people have fantastic advertising teams.

About a month after quiting the pantene infested salon I was at an outdoor festival. Some lovely people were handing out sample bags of Pantene shampoos and conditioner. I politely declined. Later in that day I had run into the best friend of an x-boyfriend. We were having a lovely conversation when just then some stranger thought it would be funny to throw one of those little satin pouched Pantene bombs into the crowd of people and directly into my face. I blinked for a second not knowing what had just happened and glanced at the ground to find…. clenching my fist and shaking them at the heavens I screamed “CURSE YOU PANTENE!” The old acquaintance stepped slowly away from me. I’m sure in fear about my mental stability. To this day every time a client says they “just use pantene” it feels like to me that they just hit me in the face.

If you cut your hair it grows faster and other stupid things people say.

I’m sure you’ve heard someone at some point in your life tell you that if you cut your hair it grows faster. Now lets think about that logically just for a second. Does that make any sense to you? It’s just ridiculous!!!

The saying should be “if you cut your hair it grows healthier”. Now that I can get behind. If you are growing your hair out you should absolutely be getting trims every 6-8 weeks. The reason: those pesky split ends! You have to remember that the ends of your hair have been there the longest. More wear and tear. They tend to be dry, frizzy, brittle and broken. The longer you let those split ends hang around the higher up your hair shaft it creeps. So even though you haven’t gotten your hair cut in 6 months and you feel like it’s getting long chances are you have a couple extra inches of damage that you wouldn’t have had otherwise if you would have gotten trims.

Let’s do the math….

The average persons hair grows about 1/2 and inch a month. So at 8 weeks your hair is about an inch longer. A trim should be about 1/4 of an inch giving you 3/4 of an inch of healthy lenght. So after 6 month you’d have about 2 1/4 inches of healthy longer hair. Now if you don’t get trims your hair would have grown 3 inches but you’d probably have to get about 2 inches cut off because it felt like tinsel. Giving you one measly inch. I made pictures:

I hate when people come in and say they haven’t gotten a hair cut in a year and they only want and inch off. Their hair feels absolutely terrible. And when you blow it dry it looks terrible too. I’m not a magician.

Another aspect of this stupid myth.. Yes, if you have short hair you will have to get it cut more. Not because it’s growing faster. It just tends to loose shape after a month. 1/4 of an inch can make a neat cut turn into a sloppy one real fast.

The number one hair damaging mistake!

Wanna break your hair off? Do you want a line across your hair where it just snaps right off? Do you want your hair to be more frizzy? Well here’s how to achieve such a look!


Everyone is doing it! For all you lazy people that wanna straighten some curl. Or maybe it’s just to hot or annoying to blow dry! Let’s get to some serious hair breakage! Comb that dripping wet hair back into the tightest pony tail holder you can find and wrap that puppy around so tight that your eyebrow touch your ears!

Seriously though.. Here’s why this is BAD! Your hair had a hydrogen bond in it that is broken when your hair is wet. This is why when your hair is wet it seems longer. Wet hair is also in a more fragile state. It’s stretchy. Next time your hair is wet and you are coming through it.. take one of those hairs that you shed and stretch it! eventually you can stretch it to the point that is will snap. The amount of stretch that your hair can handle is determined by your texture and damage. This is called your elasticity. When your hair dries that bond hardens and your hair “shrinks”.

So what happens when you tie it back wet is this… Your hair is trying to shrink but the pony holder is holding it in that unnatural position. Science does it’s job shrinking the hair back up causing your hair to break because the tension is too great. You get hundreds of broken hairs. Some by the root causing frizz and some by where the holder was. This is true for barrettes and clips as well.

Remember, your hair is delicate!