1970s Shampoo Nightmares

Model: Anik, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981, Hair: Ian Robson. London - Willie Christie's Studio

Model: Anik, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981, Hair: Ian Robson. London – Willie Christie’s Studio

This blog post, 1970s Shampoo Nightmares, has been requested by my friends on #HairHour – 10 Feb 2016. They thought it “would make a very interesting read!” I’m not too sure about that, you’d better judge for yourself!

Without meaning this to be a biography of my early years as a hairdresser, or a fucking history lesson: I’ve got to say this starts in the period between 1970 and 1980, maybe it was when Jimi Hendrix died in September 1970, or when Andre Mizelas (of Andre Bernard) got shot in November 1970, or maybe when Vidal Sassoon created his line of hair-care products in the early 1970s? The thing is, there was an imperceptible wind of change gently blowing – just like there is today, and it’s difficult for me to put a date to it, let’s say the early 1970s.

It was a time when most, if not all, London salons had their own line of self branded hair-care products for sale – I’m talking mainly shampoos and conditioners. They were formulated by so called, cosmetic chemists in small laboratories come kitchen sink factories. The name David Gold rings a bell, I don’t know why – the smell of coconut comes to mind when I think of the name! Salons bought their shampoos and conditioners by the gallon (4.5 litres) from the labs who personalised it (branded it) with ridiculous flavours and the salon’s name. These shampoos and conditioners were absolute crap – or were they? If you washed somewhere between fifteen and fifty heads of hair a day, six days a week, for three months solid, believe me, it really was absolute crap!

I say ridiculous flavours: lemon for greasy hair was typical and obvious, pineapple and orange were slightly less obvious and sickly. pine for normal hair, didn’t smell toilety, but of the woods. almond and coconut for dry and damaged hair. And the colours of course were pretty vivid: yellow, orange, green, pink and spunk white! As a creative junior I liked to mix them and create ‘cocktails’ – my favourite being a pina colada: 3 measures of pineapple, a dash of pine and lemon, 1 measure of coconut – the end result being clean hair, a happy mixologist and an oblivious client!

A junior’s morning job would be to: decant the shampoos and conditioners into the various ‘clean’ 2 litre glass carafes with cork stoppers, that sat behind the backwash like grand apothecary jars.

After a flutter with Lamaur (my favourite: apple pectin shampoo) and Wella, Ricci Burns (where I worked) ditched the laboratory and went down the innovative product road and embraced Redken products (first UK salon to do so); on the other hand, Vidal Sassoon was heavily into self branded products and I think they were the first to go into major production (with Helen of Troy Corporation), selling in the USA and Europe in 1980. This was the beginning of celebrity hairdresser branded hair-care and beauty products.

Today there are a plethora manufactured by ‘global’ beauty companies like: Procter & Gamble (Vidal Sassoon), L’Oréal (Jean-Louis David), Estée Lauder (Bobbi Brown – Makeup Artist) and Unilever (Tigi for hair salons, Toni & Guy)…

And you may ask: are salon (professional) products better than High Street (retail) products? Sadly, No, they’re not better! But I know it’s what hairdressers, salons, have always wanted. Unfortunately, expensive, celebrity/professional shampoos aren’t better – £3.99 or £39.99 there’s not a lot of difference; you don’t get what you pay for!

The trouble is, there’s such a lot of bollocks talked about hairdressing products; in the end it’s all about money, the bottom line, sales, turnover… I remember all the fuss caused by Wella in the mid-late 1970s, when they removed Lifetex conditioner from their professional range and allowed Boots to sell it at half the fucking price that a salon could buy it for in the first place (supermarket purchasing power)! (Get your arse down to the supermarket, but talk with your stylist first!)

There have always been well-known ‘celebrity’ hairdressers: Marcel Grateau (Marcel wave), Antoine (original short bob cut), Raymond Bessone (Mr. Teasy-Weasy), Andre Bernard (royal hairdresser)… Vidal Sassoon… However, it is today’s branded High Street beauty products, celebrity culture and consumerism that have changed the hairdressing and fashion scene for the worst – maybe those carafes of shampoo weren’t so bad after all?

101 beginners tips for starting your salon blog


Salon Blogging – 101 Beginners Tips

I’ve written an article for @thephorestword: Salon Blogging – 101 Beginners Tips, partly as a thank you for a brilliant video answer to a question, and partly as an add-on to their blog post: Is It Time You Started A Salon Blog?

If you are thinking about getting yourselves a salon blog, Start off by having a gander at: Salon Blogging – 101 Beginners Tips

Things Your Hairdresser Really Wants You To Know

Things Your Hairdresser Really Wants You To Know

The bohemian M. Pring returning to normality. Eton 1980

The big problem for me with articles like Cosmopolitan’s 10 things your hairdresser REALLY wants you to know, is that they are usually stuffed full of hackneyed truisms like, ‘Number 3. You get what you pay for;’ and unfortunately, they don’t really come up with the goods. What does your hairdresser really want you to know?

Have a quick gander at 10 things…

First, hairdressing isn’t just about cutting and styling hair, it’s principally about communication – And The key hairdressing skill is the ability to listen; if your hairdresser is doing all the talking during the opening consultation, something is very, very wrong.

Second, hairdressing is both a personal service and a craft, I know that’s obvious, but it’s how your hairdresser combines those two that distinguishes them. For instance, you don’t want all personal service and no ability do you? Or maybe you do?

Third, your hairdresser has no favourites – I love you all equally. And that maybe is too much flannel!

Okay, now I’ll go through Cosmo’s 10 things:

1. Can you do my hair like this picture? Most hairdressers love pictures of hairstyles, they’re great conversation starters. You want a hairdresser honest enough to speak frankly and with the ability to create something suitable for you and your hair. All photographs need interpreting and put into context: who’s the person. why was the photograph taken. what are they selling. is it their normal, everyday hair. has the image been digitally remastered…? You don’t want a hairdresser who just says, “Yes” then proceeds to fuck it up!

2. I want to grow my hair: I used to say, “If you want to grow your hair it’s important to get it cut regularly to prevent it splitting.” But actually, that’s mostly bollocks – as with all things hairdressing, it very much depends on your hair. If you want to grow your hair, Don’t Get It Cut – it’ll grow faster! Do keep it in good condition though, and see your hairdresser very occasionally (4 months-ish), for style correction and a quick check through.

3. The truism, “You get what you pay for:” A salon is only as good as its worst hairdresser – one of my banalities! Looking for a new hairdresser? Recommendation is key, so chat with friends, and if you see someone with a great hairstyle, ask them where they get it cut – you’ll soon find a hairdresser or salon coming to the fore. Before making an appointment go in and have a look-see, get a free consultation with the stylist and pick up a price list – and let’s face it, if the stylist is good you’ll normally have to wait for an appointment.

4. The untruism “Salon (professional) products are better than High Street (retail) products:” Oh that that were true; it’s certainly what hairdressers desire and have been gunning for. I know it’s a cliché to say ‘economy of scale,’ but it’s the reality; big supermarkets (inc. Boots UK) have a much bigger buying power than your local independent hairdresser. There are hundreds of hair products on the market, your hairdresser, the expert, can talk you through them and recommend the right products for you. “Full of hidden chemicals,” is scaremongering. Talk with your stylist.

5. What is your hairstory? Make sure you talk with your hairdresser before you get your hair washed; this is called an opening consultation and is Very important. It doesn’t matter how well your stylist knows you, you should always receive and opening consultation. Having said that, a good hairdresser will know your recent hair history just by looking at it, and will confirm that by talking you through it. If your stylist is not listening during the opening consultation, run away quickly!

6. & 7. Condescending Hairdressers: I found numbers six and seven of ’10 things…’ (‘colouring and lightening are opposites’ and ‘you can’t lift colour with colour’), slightly patronising. Inferior hairdressers often use smoke, mirrors and bollocks to explain technical matters! Salons who use specialist colourists don’t usually have this as a problem.

My #7. Describing colour: Don’t try to describe your hair colour over the phone, it is virtually impossible. The colourist will want to see you, it’s also a good idea bring in a photograph if you want to discuss a colour.

8. Unhappy with your hair? Most hair issues are resolved at the opening consultation, but if you are not happy with your hair at any time, Tell Your Hairdresser As Soon As Possible; you Will get it sorted out – usually for free. A good hairdresser wants & likes to be informed of issues so they can improve themselves.

9. Client etiquette: Of course etiquette works both ways. So yeah, don’t be late, equally, tell your stylist if you’re on a schedule. Also, holding a mobile phone to your ear is distracting and awkward. But remember this: You are always right!

10. Love me, recommend me: Yes, the hairdressing industry does rely heavily on word of mouth recommendations. And Yes, you will normally receive a discount off your next appointment for referrals.

10 things your hairdresser REALLY wants you to know was written by Annie Davies for Cosmopolitan magazine on 3 June, 2015 @ 10:44 AM

Hair Loss – How can I stop my hair falling out?

hair loss | Michael Pring losing his hair, Eton 1979

I got asked a question by Anne this afternoon, “How can I stop my hair falling out?” Here’s my potted reply!

Firstly, I’ve got to say, check your diet. Eating a healthy well balanced diet is very important for healthy hair, skin and nails. Hair loss is often exacerbated by inadequate nutrition – vitamins for the hair: A, B complex, E and C. Minerals: iron, iodine, zinc and copper. Get them from food, not pills; however, for a quick fix belt and braces approach that won’t kill you, take a multivitamin and mineral tablet!

Hair Loss Is Often Very Upsetting

The general name for hair loss is Alopecia. Hair loss is very common amongst women as well as men. In fact, 98% of women who have given birth suffer from postnatal hair loss, which is natural, normal and almost always grows back.

The main cause of hair loss amongst women is hormonal (postnatal hair loss) and the main cause of hair loss amongst men is pattern baldness (Alopecia Androgenetica) which is caused by genetics and stress. The common causes for hair loss are (not in any particular order): hormonal, genetics, stress/ anxiety, poor diet, mineral deficiency, illness, scalp infection, medication and severe trauma (i.e. after surgery or illness).

Don’t confuse hair loss with natural moulting. It is normal to lose around 100 hairs per day, if your hair is long and you wash your hair once a week, you could notice quite a lot of hair in the plug hole! Once a year you might find you are losing extra hair caused by natural moulting. If you have problems with hair loss, you or your hairdresser will normally notice a bald/thin area. The first course of action is to start taking a multivitamin and mineral tablet, visit your doctor and/or trichologist.

The Solution

All I’ve got to say is, minoxidil lotion (Rogaine®/ Regaine®)! Regaine is an effective hair loss treatment for men; obviously it’s suitable for women too.

I have looked around for an affordable, effective and an all-natural product to help my clients who have thinning hair and baldness; I found and I recommend, Pro-Genenesis and OnlyHairLoss.com – with over 100 products to choose from!

They say, “The Pro-Genenesis Hair Enhancement System is a clear, topical solution prepared by a special curing process which concentrates the biologically active components of select plant enzymes, while preserving their natural organic state; specifically formulated to stop abnormal hair loss and promote the growth of thick, healthy hair for *men and women*.”

OK, let’s face it, out of the profusion of hair loss remedies that are marketed, only a very few actually work; always stop, think and proceed with caution before you actually buy.

How To Get Rid Of Static Electricity In Your Hair This Winter

© Model: Penelope Savalas, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981-ish, Hair: Ian Robson. London

I was with a client this frosty December morning and she asked the question, “When I brush my hair, especially after straightening, my hair turns static and I can’t do a bloody thing with it; how do I cure it?”

OK Katherine, well you know what it’s like when you walk across the carpet in a department store, step on the escalator and touch the handrail, Zap! You get a shock created by static electricity. The electric charge is generated by two materials rubbing together, you and the carpet, and discharged, usually from the fingertips, via the handrail!

It’s basically the same with the hair; when you brush your hair it causes the hairs to have the same charge and they repel each other, just like two magnets, the same poles repel. In hair, the same charge repels – it’s normally positive (+).

The cold frosty mornings of winter are usually the worst times for static electricity to occur in your hair, it’s caused by the lack of moisture in the air so the electrons move more freely.

How To Fix It

Add some moisture by washing your hair with a hydrating shampoo like, Redken’s Clear Moisture Shampoo. Always condition; use a compatible conditioner i.e. Redken’s Clear Moisture Conditioner. If you want, you can use an extra rich conditioner twice a month.

For your thick wavy hair Katherine, use up to 1.25ml (1/4 tspn less is better) of grapeseed oil applied to wet hair after washing and conditioning and before drying.

Blow-dry your hair with an ionic hair dryer, which helps to reduce static. If possible, use a natural boar bristle hairbrush like the iconic, great British hairbrush, Mason Pearson; however, I use and recommend the Denman D5 (used to be called Royal Denman).

Before straightening use a heat protector something like, Redken iron silk 07 ultra-straightening spray – there are others like the ghd Heat Protect Spray!

After styling and especially for fine, straight hair use a microscopically small amount of Frizz-Ease hair serum on the ends of your hair.

Finishing products like Elnett Satin hairspray (the only one I’d recommend) help fix the hair.

Moisturize, use a hand and body cream to keep your skin hydrated.

Ground Yourself Katherine, walk naked outside. Now you are static free and you look electrifying ;D

Model: Penelope Savalas, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981-ish, Hair: Ian Robson. London