Find out how you (yes, you!) can refine your finishing skills so clients can enjoy a longer lasting, picture-perfect look this season.
Everything from how the hair is towel-dried to the products used on it can make a lasting impact on the finished result. In other words, don’t think this is when you can cut corners. “Whenever I’m teaching hairstylists, I always stress that so much of your finished result is a result of what you do in the prep,” says Kristjan Hayden, creative director for Aveda Canada. “Be careful about the kinds of products you use and how you’re setting the hair in consideration of your end result. Make sure you’re setting yourself up to be able to finish it properly.”
While blow-drying hair can take a big toll on the arms and wrists, it is a critical component of the finishing process, and can make or break your final results.
You may think you’ve mastered the art of blow- drying, but Carole Lemire, owner of Soho Hair, a Sassoon-inspired Wella salon in Edmonton, Alta., has taken it to another level. With three stages of drying—wrap, tension and beveling—she says taking the time and having patience truly pays off. “We use [these techniques] for short, medium and long hair, including men’s and curly hair,” she says. “It really controls the hair and makes the cut look a lot better. That’s what finishing hair is really about—blow- drying, so you have a smoother hair cuticle and can see the shape a lot better.”
While many stylists tend to rely heavily on a round brush to smooth things over, Lemire advises against it. “If you use a round brush for everything, everything is going to have volume,” she explains. “You really can’t see your technique and shape very well, because it’s easier to hide mistakes with a round brush. That’s why we use the wrap drying, tension drying and beveling so you can really
see your haircut. Once we refine, texturize and personalize it, if we feel the client needs a round brush, then we will use one to give her more body.”
Both experts agree that the key to setting hair all comes down to cooling it off. “I would recommend that the hair dries and cools in the position that you ultimately want it to end up in,” says Hayden. “Same if you’re round-brushing or flat-brushing. After I’ve heated up a section and run my brush through with tension to get it all smooth (using the cool-shot button), I can actually see the shine; like a little layer has been created.”
For those who don’t prefer the cool-shot option, Lemire suggests “removing your blow-dryer for a few seconds, so the hair cools down before you take your brush out.”
As for setting upstyles? “I don’t recommend using a lot of product,” says Hayden. “I recommend not using any hairspray until you get to a certain point in the style where it’s all assembled, and you get your client to weigh in on it. Then, as part of my finishing, I will go in and start securing it with more pins and use a finishing spray, as opposed to a working spray. In finishing, you want to pay attention to things like, is it going to hold? Does it have enough shine? Do we want to add a dry shampoo to add a bit more texture?”
“If you’ve been styling with a lot of product, it’s really hard to go back and change things since you’ve been setting things through multiple steps,” adds Hayden. “I know that’s a big fear that a lot of stylists have and express when I’m teaching upstyling classes. What do you do if the client wants to make changes at the end? Just don’t back yourself into a corner by using too much product that you won’t be able to make adjustments to in the end. That’s a key one and a real lightbulb moment.”