Expert Advice

Holiday Cover Story: Winning Design

Rosanne Ullman | August 7, 2014 | 10:34 AM
Photo 1 of 6
Alvarez demonstrates the disconnected lines technique that is trending this season, and uses Biomega Freeze Baby as a texturizer to hold on contact and style the look.
Photo 2 of 6
Photo 3 of 6
ON THE COVER Hair: Luis Alvarez for Aquage Photography:Luis Alvarez for Aquage Hair tech: Lauren Reminick Make-up: Wanda Alvarez Fashion styling: Patric Chauvez Location: Aquage Academy,
Photo 4 of 6
NAHA Student Hairstylist of the Year 2014 Nicole Gary has worked in Aquage’s show production team for many years but just completed her cosmetology license this year.
Photo 5 of 6
Photo 6 of 6

Last year’s holiday season was all about the pixie cut,” Luis Alvarez says. “What we’re teaching at the Aquage Academy and what’s trending right now are three grown-out haircuts where the internal lines are purposefully, strategically disconnected. There’s always a geometric structure, but the shape holds together without looking like it is a fresh haircut.”

The three cuts are the longer, looser pixie; a short-to-mid-length, tousled disc bob; and longer, looser, layers.

“The result is a casual look that is very modern,” Alvarez explains. “It dresses up well for holiday styling and celebrations. The key is that the stylist and ultimately the client will do most of the shaping during the finishing stage.”

For the cover model’s long pixie style, Alvarez, who is co-founder and vice president/creative director for Aquage, used a diffuser to allow the hair to dry softly and organically. Then he went back in to tousle and shape with his latest innovation, the new Biomega Freeze Baby hair spray from Aquage.

“We’re using hairspray as a texturizing product to make hair look effortlessly random but controlled,” he says. With the right product, it is easy to educate the client to use hairspray to style and get volume, lift and texture  simultaneously; it’s easier for them to retouch the look when they’re out.

Alvarez emphasizes that the look still requires a great haircut with enough internal disconnection so hair will behave properly. “You can’t do it with a really clean bob or to last year’s over-texturized designs and  get the same effect,” he says. The fact that Freeze Baby also “holds hair on contact” is also key.

“Freeze Baby holds on the first burst, without being sticky, so you can move it around,” he explains. “You lift the hair where you want it to be locked in, whatever the shape is. Freeze Baby incorporates a new resin system, new technology so that no matter how you use it, it’s going to hold hair but still let you adjust.”

To see Alvarez creating the MODERN SALON Holiday cover look, check out the video below.

Another trend Alvarez is spotting for this holiday season is all about creating simple, elegant contrasts that make a big impact. You don’t always need an extravagant updo or a lot of bling to craft a striking holiday statement, he says.

“Imagine putting up a blonde ponytail-based updo, but wrapping with a few strands of a black hair weft  to accent your client’s little black dress,” he says. “Or the opposite—blonde wefts interwoven into a brunette design. It’s a cool, special-occasion look that lets clients dial up drama without a big investment or commitment.”

This holiday styling tip was inspired by a more intricate concept of contrast that Aquage Show Production Manager Nicole Gary developed for her NAHA-winning submission in the 2014 NAHA Student Hairstylist of the Year category. See two of her images in “Black Lace: Always in Season,” on page 56, and the entire collection at Gary will also be featured in the NAHA winners portfolio insert in the September issue of MODERN SALON.

Excerpted from MODERN SALON HOLIDAY 2014, an exclusive custom edition with CosmoProf and Armstrong McCall to help salon pros plan and grow holiday business. See the complete digital edition at

More from Expert Advice

Spencer Stevenson, aka Spex, is a world-renowned hair loss expert who offers unbiased advice based on his own research and experience.
Expert Advice Sponsored by Hair Restoration Laboratories

6 Truths for Stylists From a Hair Loss Expert

April 23, 2019

Spencer Stevenson has been battling hair loss for years. He’s had five hair transplants and figures he has spent close to $45,000 on hair loss solutions. He has become one of the world’s foremost hair loss authorities, pledging to provide honest, ethical and unbiased advice for hair loss sufferers. For the first time, he shares his insights into hair loss with salon professionals.

Load More