By Michelle Breyer and Alison Shipley
Mixing products, or cocktailing, to get just the right results, is the best way to enhance your clients’ hair texture—and the opportunity to increase retail sales.
Any curly girl or stylist who regularly works with texture will say they are makeshift chemists, creating their own product concoctions in search of the perfect solution for texture. These may include combinations of conditioners, gels, mousses, serums, creams and pomades from various companies to get the right look.
“The benefit of using more than one product in curly hair is to fine-tune the texture and resilience of the curl and the shape of the style,” says New York-based stylist Giovanni Giuntoli, artistic director at Tearsheet Editorial Styling Classes and a Redken session stylist. “Sometimes one product doesn’t give you all the benefits of two or three. It’s similar to giving your hair a multivitamin, compared to just a vitamin C tablet. It helps out more.”
Diedre Boone, owner of The Root of You Salon and Day Spa in Houston, says African-American and multiethnic women have varied hair types and one product rarely does the trick.
“The fact that their hair textures vary so dramatically, we find it necessary to mix together different products on different clients,” says Boone.
Stylists also stress mixing products that complement each other. For example, you might mix a curl enhancer with a leave-in conditioner to provide a softer hold, or a little styling gel with a straightening balm for loose, defined waves.
While using a variety of products can be a great way to customize products, some caution stylists against complicated cocktailing. Luis Alvarez, co-founder of Aquage, believes stylists do their clients a disservice if they created complicated cocktails that are difficult to replicate at home. For example, the company advocates stylists cocktail Aquage’s Defining Gel with its new SeaExtend Silkening Oil on waves and curls because the combo can’t be botched.
However, it’s always good to exercise care, cautions Alvarez, “Be careful with cocktailing because it can go south very quickly. Some of the things we do behind the chair might not be something you want to pass on to a client who may not have the technical expertise to replicate it at home.
The more straightforward the information, the greater the odds the client will succeed.”
Recipes for Success
Just like a good bartender, stylists know their products and what works best together. We talked to some “curl-tenders” to find out what their favorite cocktail recipes are.
Owner and Stylist, Spa Papaleo, Los Angeles, California
Ingredients: Pravana Curves Curl Enhancer, Bold Defiant Design Gel and Detail Shine and Define Polish
For fine, curly hair to give volume and curl definition, begin with damp hair and apply equal parts Curves Curl Enhancer with Bold Defiant Design Gel—place at the base and diffused for volume. Finish with one-part Curves and a dab of Detail Shine and Define Polish to give ends separation and detail.
Farouk Systems Global Artistic Board, Dutch Hair Netherlands
Ingredients: CHI Twisted Fabric and CHI Silk Infusion
Cocktail together a drop of Silk Infusion and Twisted Fabric to a nice transparent mixture, apply evenly with your fingers through the hair for maximum hold, support, definition and beautiful shine. It’s a great cocktail for untamed curly and frizzy hair to create beautiful, thick curls and conditioned definition, but also for the trendy style with volume and long-lasting hold.
Ouidad Certified Stylist, Salon Ciseaux, Winter Park, Florida
Ingredients: Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave in Conditioner, Climate Control Gel and Sun Shield
For thick curl types, separate hair into three sections. Apply a quarter size of Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner to each section. Apply slight pressure when raking the product through the hair—this will allow for a better curl pattern. Begin at the nape and work upward. Next, apply the same quantity of Climate Control Gel. This combination will help keep the shape and shine in the curls. If curls need refreshing, apply Sun Shield.
Owner, Devachan Salon, New York, New York
Ingredients: Mist-Er Right, AnGell or DevaCare Arc AnGell
Lorraine Massey has conjured up just the right cocktail to add control without crunchiness. “I like to put half Mist-er Right and half AnGell or DevaCare Arc AnGell,” says Massey. “You mix it in a spray bottle and then you have yourself a nice spray gel. If you like a stronger hold, add a little more AnGell.”
Founder and Creative Director, Hair Rules, New York, NY
Ingredients: Hair Rules Hydrating Finishing Cream and Wavy Mousse
Hydrating Finishing Cream and Wavy Mousse work perfectly together. The Wavy Mousse is a great pre-blow drying cream when dealing with thick, wavy hair, and finishing the look with the Hydrating Finishing Cream will offer a lightweight hold with just enough moisture and shine, so your blow dry doesn’t look weighed down or greasy.
Hair stylist and Development Team Member for Mizani
Ingredients: Mizani True Textures Cleansing Cream, Curl Balance Shampoo and True Textures Moisture Stretch
Cleanse hair with Cleansing Cream and Curl Balance Shampoo and deep condition for 10 minutes. Detangle and apply True Textures Moisture Stretch. Subdivide each section in one-inch squares; separate the section into two strands. Twist the strands over each other in a clockwise direction until you reach the end, then spiral the curl around your finger, once or twice to secure the strand. Repeat with each subsection, continuing in a staggered bricklay pattern. Mist with water and reapply True Textures Moisture Stretch as needed. Then place the client under a hooded dryer for 30 minutes or when the curls are dry. Untwist the curls in a counter clockwise direction until the strands become unwound.