The Ultimate Salon Blowout – Beat Your Frizz This Summer

Fix Salon Client Stephanie before and after her Ultimate Salon Blowout service.

The number one requested specialty service this time of year is our Ultimate Blowout. This is a salon treatment that reduces frizz, gives added control, and lasts for up to 13 shampoos. That’s right, thirteen shampoos. How much time did you spend smoothing your hair out this week? If you had to stop and count then this is the service for you.This treatments shouldn’t be confused with Japanese straightening, which is permanent, or Keratin treatments which have questionable health effects. The Ultimate Blowout treatment is an entirely unique service that is simply a brilliant way to give more life to your favorite salon blowout.

So how does it work? For typical salon guests, we book one and a half hours of service time. First your hair is shampooed with a cleansing wash, then the smoothing activator is applied throughout your hair. The activator is left on for 15 – 30 minutes, depending on the amount of smoothing desired. At the end of the processing time, your hair is thoroughly rinsed and then the sealer is applied. Finally, your hair is dried in your preferred style: smooth, round brushed or ironed curled. This final step seals the shape with heat activation from the blow dryer and heat tools. The end result will not eliminate your natural texture, but will make blowing out easier than ever before.

The texture of hair fibers (straight, curly, or wavy) is determined by the shape of the protein bonds that create it. In permanent texture services, like perms and Japanese straighteners, these bonds are broken down and restructured in a new shape to give the desired end result. This process is pretty aggressive and potentially damaging. Our Ultimate Blow out service is temporary. It gently relaxes the bonds, elongating them, and encouraging a smoother form. Over time, the bonds relax and revert back to their original shape.

Our curly client Stephanie took the Ultimate Blowout challenge. She received the service and let us check in with her via video testimony to track her progress. Visit the Fix Salon Facebook page to check it out. Stephanie has naturally wavy and ringlet curl. She prefers her hair to have a smooth blown out look. Stephanie loves getting her hair blown out in the salon, but has a hard time recreating the look at home. Sound familiar? During Stephanie’s Ultimate Blowout Challenge she realized that she was able to blowout her own hair more easily getting the same salon results. The treatment was such a success that Stephanie shampooed every third day causing the effects to last for over a month!

The Fix Salon Ultimate Blowout starts at $150. Book the the service anytime in the month of May and you’ll receive a complimentary home care kit including Shampoo, Conditioner, and Stay Sleek styler.

Color Correction – Christin’s Path to Peach

Pastel hair color–it’s everywhere right now! We’ve seen pictures of celebrities or images online of pinks, lavenders, baby blues. At Fix, it is a common request from our clients of all ages. To do it successfully, the process aligns itself with a classic color correction process. It can be time-consuming and expensive, but it certainly makes you stand out in a crowd. Today I want to share Christin’s story to peach. It’s a perfect example of what steps it takes to go from a dark hair color to a light hair color, whether it is pastel, blonde, or even light brown.

Here’s what Christin looked like before we began:

In order to get a perfect pastel, the hair needs to be lightened as much as possible. Christin had been coloring her hair at home, so our first step was to lighten her existing color to pale blonde. It can be a delicate process to make this happen. You can never be sure if the color is going to lighten easily or with bands of color. That’s why I am a huge believer of test strands. This is where I take a small section of the hair and treat it with lightener to read how it will perform overall. It took a few applications, but it lifted pretty evenly giving me the result pictured below. You can see the lightened hair in contrast to her original color.

I then repeated the process on the rest of Christin’s hair. Again it took 3 separate applications of lightener to get to blonde. After each process I applied a protein based strengthening treatment to help maintain the hair’s health. Here is Christin at the end of the lightening process.

Next up, choosing a peach formula. This, too, can be a tricky process. I have two goals when I create this type of formula. First, it needs to be the peach my client has in mind. Color shades can vary drastically, so I want to ensure the results match the client’s expectations. Second, I want it to be set in the hair to give it the best longevity of color. Again, here is where I depend on test strands to see what my final formula will be.

Before applying the pastel formula on Christin’s hair, I applied another strengthening treatment. This infuses protein into the hair, in turn giving color molecules a place to embed and creating a longer lasting color. It’s a non-negotiable step that creates healthy, beautiful end results.

After the first color application, the pastel peach was pretty, but too light. This happens sometimes when laying color back into the hair. Sometimes color has to be laid in a couple of times to get a real, pure tone. Here is Christin after her first peach application.

We then went on to add a second layer of color. This application did the trick. We achieved an amazing color, but a little strong in intensity. Christin loved it and wore it for the next 6 weeks. Here’s how it looked.

When Christin came back to the salon 6 weeks later the color had lightened up. She decided this time she wanted to go for a softer peach. After tweaking her formula a bit, I loved the final color.

This color was beautiful. And because of the series of salon treatments performed on her hair, we were able to achieve the look while also ensuring her hair was in great condition. Christin has been peach for about 10 months now and gets tons of compliments on her look.

As you can see, this type of service is time-consuming. From beginning to end, our Intense Peach look took three appointments lasting 4 hours each time. I charge $100 per hour for this service, so if you do the math you quickly realize this is a big investment. Choosing to do this in a salon with an experienced stylist ensures that you will get the precise color you want and keep your hair shiny and healthy. I’ve seen many hair lightening “home jobs” and it’s not pretty. People who try the “do-it-yourself” route usually end up in the salon to get it fixed, so why not just do it the right way from the start?

If you are considering any type of color correction service, going from light to dark or dark to light, a consultation is imperative. If any stylist tells you he/she can perform this type of service in one day, I would go somewhere else. Remember when you are lightening hair from brown to blonde we are working with a fiber. There is only so much you can ask of that fiber in a short period of time. Slow, control lifting is the best way to get where you want to go and still have hair to show at the end of it. Ask your stylist if they have any pictures of clients who have received similar treatments so you can see the end results.

It’s also worth mentioning the value of salon treatments through any color process. Every time a chemical color service is performed on a hair strand, that fiber is weakened. Without protein based treatments, your hair will not survive the correction course and the color will fall out much more quickly.

Drastically changing your color can be a rewarding “feel good” event. Take the time to find a colorist who is experience in color correction. To help with the process, read my post How to Find Your Perfect Stylist. Then go for it! Changing your hair color can give you a new outlook on life and your identity. Embrace it!

How to Find Your Perfect Hairstylist

is2009083100470A great hairstylist is a girl’s best weapon–if you have the right one. If you don’t, they can be your worst nightmare. We all want to have one of those amazing experiences where our hairstylist gets us, the salon is cool, and our hair turns our fabulous. So how do you make that a reality?

I want to share a few tips to get you closer to the perfect salon experience. From finding the right hair stylist to learning how to communicate what you want without feeling like you need a translator, here is what you need to know. So get out your notepad and pencil, we’re going to school…

Understanding Salon Types

There are basically two types of salons in the world: commission salons and lease salons (also known as booth rental salons). Commission salons are generally big salons that attract clients to a consistent brand they have created. In Seattle we have Gene Juarez as an example. The benefit of this type of salon is the consistency in their message and culture. Typically the salon staff is trained consistently so they are all competent in the same techniques. Continuing education is a big part of this type of salon, meaning everyone stays current on trends, products and skills.

In a lease salon the draw is usually the stylist over the brand of the establishment. Each stylist is renting their station from the salon owner and running their own business. The salon owner can set the aesthetic of the salon, but aside from that he/she has very little say over how each stylist runs things day-to-day. Skill set and techniques can vary throughout a lease salon because there is not as much emphasis on team education. Continuing education is at the discretion of the individual stylist. In this type of salon a stylist’s unique creativity can shine as they are not bound by performing set techniques that represent the “look” of a large branded commission salon.


Finding the Perfect Stylist

A great way to discover a talented stylist is to find hair you like and ask who did it. Every head of hair is a walking billboard for a hair stylist. Keep your eye out for hair that stands out to you and then ask “Who does your hair?” Everyone loves a good complement and will be happy to give credit where credit is due. Ask enough people and eventually you will hear the same name or salon mentioned. Additionally, many salons and stylists offer referral discounts. When you call to book your appointment mention the name of the person who referred you and see what happens!

Go Online. Websites like Yelp and CitySearch can be effective resources for finding your hair stylist. You can start a search with a specific neighborhood and then start reading reviews. Each salon or stylist’s Yelp page will also tell you details like hours, payment options and possibly images of their work.

Look at Hair Brand websites. Do you have a favorite haircare line or color line? Go the manufacturer’s website. Many of them list salons or hair stylists who use their products. At there is a “Salon Finder.” By typing in your zip code you will generate a list of salons and stylists using Redken products. You can also find Redken Certified Colorists and Designers who have taken the time to get tested and certified in their understanding of all facets of the brand.

Ask the receptionist. If you have narrowed down your search to a specific salon, but not to a stylist, ask for the receptionists advice. Their job is to help direct you to a well matched hair guru. Let them know a little about what type of style you’re going for and they will point you in the right direction.

Making the Most of the Initial Appointment

For your first appointment with a new stylist I always say less is more. Book a 15 – 20 minute consultation before committing your locks to a service. It’s like a coffee date before diving into a full-blown dinner date. You will have the opportunity to get the vibe of the salon and the stylist making sure they are a fit for you.

For this first appointment, do a little homework to ensure you come prepared. Bring pictures of hair you like as well as pictures you don’t like. Whether they are pictures of you or images from magazines or online, it’s a great way to help communicate what you are looking for. Words alone are open to wide interpretation. If you say you want to be red, there is a wide range of reds to choose from. But when you bring in a picture of the color you are after, you can effectively show exactly what you want. Keep in mind, from a hair stylist’s perspective, we can’t make you look like Jennifer Aniston. We can use her look as our inspiration for you and personalize it to your hair type and lifestyle.

Be sure to discuss cost and time investment. How much time do you want to spend in the salon? What is comfortable for your beauty budget? Your hair stylist should be able to give you an accurate price for service for your first appointment and future appointments. If your dream look is starting to sound too time consuming and pricey, don’t be afraid to ask for some other options that fit your budget.

Also, ask how often your potential stylist attends continuing education. Believe it or not, I know many hair stylists who haven’t taken one class since they stepped out of cosmetology school. The science of hair continues to advance, product options improve, and techniques evolve. If a stylist isn’t offering you the most current options, you could be cheating your hair of beautiful, healthy end results. Some states require continuing education for stylists and others, like Washington state, do not. I feel that every good hair stylist should attend at least one class a year. Hands-on classes where attendees actually perform new skills and product knowledge classes are the most valuable.

Lastly, inquire about the stylists’ availability. What days is the stylist in the salon? How far out do they normally book? These factors can greatly influence your ability to sit in their chair. Can you get in on short notice or will you need to schedule weeks out for your appointment? Are they in the salon on days and hours that fit your availability? It’s great if you feel like you connect during the consultation, but if your stylist isn’t available when you are it can create an ongoing challenge.

By covering all of these bases, at the end of your consultation you will have a good idea if this is the hair stylist for you. If it’s right, book your appointment and put your trust in their suggestions and creative approach. Someone recently asked me what my favorite type of cut is. My response is, I love a variety of cuts when my salon guest trusts my vision and professional opinion to give them what they are asking for. My most difficult cuts are those where a guest is second guessing my approach and changing their initial expectations midway through the process. By doing a little work up front, you are going to have an amazing experience that will lead to a lifelong relationship.

Welcome To My Hair Fix

Welcome to “My Hair Fix”, a blog I have created to help provide education about your hair, your salon experience, hot tips and techniques to make your hair beautiful. After over 15 years in this industry traveling across the country and working in my salon I hear many of the same questions from clients regularly. Haircare is one of the fastest growing businesses in the country, this means that product technology, available services and styling tools are evolving and improving at a fast rate. If you aren’t submerged in the world of hair on a regular basis it can be tough to keep up.

This blog is designed to be a resource of education from someone who is submerged in the world of hair. I love it. I am fortunate to have amazing clients that inspire me every day and trust my vision for their hair. I have also worked with Redken as a design and color educator for 10 years. This experience has aligned me with a science based industry leader that I can continually learn from, staying on top of the latest hair innovations.

There is a lot of information about hair out in the world. Sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate between fact and fiction. There are some resources more valid than others. My intent is to empower readers with information to make educated choices about their hair needs. What are the best treatments on the market, new salon services pros and cons, quick home hair tips, how to find the right tools for your hair, and the best color options for your are just a few of the topics that will be covered. I love to answer questions and look forward to hearing what’s on your mind. Over time I hope to create a library of great hair information.

Now, read on. Let me know what you think. Stay in touch with email, Facebook or follow me on twitter. I am excited to see where we go!


Mandy McCullough

Choosing the Hair Color That Is Right for You


Hair color. You know you want it. Now you’re in the salon chair and your stylist is asking you the BIG QUESTION…..What type of color do you want today? Permanent, Demi-Permanent, Semi-Permantent, Gloss, Glaze, Tone. The choices can be overwhelming to say the least. Never fear, this post is going clearly define the types of color available and lay out the pros and cons based on your hair type, maintenance, investment, and lifestyle.

Every hair color available can be placed in one of four categories; permanent, demi-permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary. Each one provides different longevity and specific end results. In addition to understanding the differences, it’s also important to consider what you want to get from your color.

  • Permanent Color–Permanent color is the super hero of hair color. It can lift and deposit natural hair color and cover grey hair as if it never existed. This type of color starts with two components: color and a developer. The color can come in a tube or a bottle and is activated by the developer. Developer is basically super oxygenated water combined with conditioners and chemical components to effectively create the consistency needed for the color mix. When the two are combined, a chemical reaction takes place, swelling the cuticle, altering natural pigment molecules and depositing new color molecules. The good news is that the effects of this type of color are permanent. The bad news is the effects of this type of color are permanent. This means that as your hair grows, there will be an obvious demarcation between your natural and treated hair. Once you apply permanent color to your hair, you cannot color it back to your natural color. Unfortunately color manufacturers have yet to recreate natural hair color. Permanent color is always slightly warmer in tone. The only way to go back to your natural color is to just grow it back out. Trust me on this. You can color it close to your natural color, but never close enough that you won’t see regrowth over time.
  • Demi-permanent Color–There are many varying terms for demi-permanent color. Some may call it semi-permanent, maybe a toner, or a glaze. Whatever it is called, here’s why it’s so great. Demi-permanent color is deposit only. This means it cannot lighten your hair. It’s considered deposit only because it has no alkali source, therefore making it acid balanced on the pH scale. Demi-permanent color can contract the cuticle giving it incredible shine and making it feel super healthy. Like permanent color there are two components that combine to activate the color process: the color and the developer. The developer is much more gentle than developers used in permanent color. Once combined, these dye molecules penetrate the hair cuticle but do not develop deeper in the center of the hair fiber. Rarely, can grey hair be covered with this type of color, but it can be blended. This means it can take on a cast of the tone of the applied color giving it the appearance of highlights or dimension in the hair. If you don’t want the commitment of frequent salon visits, this is a great color choice. Demi-permanent color lasts approximately 6-8 weeks and fades gradually overtime. A shorter longevity means little to no regrowth line. Keep in mind that at the end of the 6-8 weeks the color is never gone, just faded. In the salon, as long as the affected hair is still present, we consider it “color treated”.
  • Semi-Permanent Color–Semi-permanent color, like demi-permanent color, has a short life span. This dye molecule is larger than a permanent or demi-permanent molecule, therefore it cannot penetrate deeper than the surface of the cuticle. Semi-permanent colors are generally bright, fun, pop color. It is only one component and when you open the container what you see is what you get. Manic Panic and Fudge are two brands of semi-permanent color. If you are looking to make a bright, bold statement this is the best color choice for you. With that said, know that in order to get the most impact of the color, your hair typically needs to be pre-lightened to a pale blonde to get the effect. Because this is a larger dye molecule and is truly just staining the cuticle, the life of the color is short. You may have bright hot pink on day one, faded pink by day two and baby pink by week three. Removal of this color can be a challenge. Lightener or bleach, which is used to remove most colors, in this situation can sometimes drive the color deeper in the hair. It takes the knowledge of an experienced salon professional to accurately remove semi-permanent color.
  • Temporary Color–Temporary color is any hair color product that lasts until you shampoo your hair. Tinted shampoos and conditioners are a couple of examples. If you remember your mom or grandma putting a “rinse” on her hair? That is also a temporary color. These are pretty forgiving products and are generally used to enhance the tone of hair or neutralize brassiness in blondes as their color oxidizes. Like anything else, too much of a good thing can be bad. If you overuse a temporary color product you can get an excessive deposit of the tone. If someone with blonde hair is using a tone correcting purple conditioner to eliminate yellow, when they use too much they may end up with lavender hair.
  • Lighteners–Last but not least, I want to touch on lighteners, otherwise known as bleach. Lighteners have come a long way over the years. Science has added conditioning elements to these products so that many times the hair can become healthier after a lightening process than before. Lighteners are the only product that can accurately remove artificial pigment. In the salon world we live be the rule “color can’t lift color”. That’s why when you decided to dye your hair black for that guy in the band and then decided it was a huge mistake (the guy and the hair color) you can’t just put brown hair color on top of it and expect to make it better. In many color situations, lighteners are the best and only choice to achieve your desired end result. Even permanent hair color has its limitations. If you are medium brown or darker and dream of being a hollywood blonde, color will never get you there. You need to use lightener. If you don’t believe me, call me when you used “pale ash blonde” on your hair and it became a lovely carrot orange. I will then suggest you come in to the salon so we can lighten it further with lightener (assuming it’s still in good condition).

Box color vs. salon color
Now that I’ve shared all of this information about color with you, please be thoughtful of how you use it. As a salon professional and colorist with 15 years in the business, I have around 30,000 hours of experience. I know not only how to choose the appropriate type of color for your hair and how to formulate it to react with your natural hair color, but I also know how to apply it in a manner that leaves your hair healthy and beautiful. Box color can save you money initially, if it goes well, and at first it might be great! But over time, there is the tendency for build up of color on the midshaft and ends, resulting in root color looking lighter than the rest of your hair. Or in the case of going lighter, the midshaft and ends become lighter than the base, causing porous and damaged hair. Eventually you will need to visit a salon to correct it. My color correction services start at $100 per hour and it usually takes more than one appointment to get color to an ideal place. So before you buy that box color at the grocery store, make a consultation appointment with an experienced colorist. Talk to them about what you would like your color to be, what type of investment is in your beauty budget and what type of maintenance schedule fits with your lifestyle. Trust their judgment. As you can see there are many types of color to choose from and one of them is perfect for you.