Courtesy of Billy Lowe
Real Beauty: So, Billy. Fall is upon us! With Fashion Week coming up, we're in the mood to spruce up our look. Talk to us about fall hair and makeup looks and about what kinds of beauty trends you're seeing and anticipating this year.
Billy Lowe: I know, right? We're going to see a lot of bold color with hair. Blonde is either going to be very a extreme blonde, or there will be a lot of dark brunettes.
Another thing we're going to be seeing for fall is ponytails a lot of ponytails, they're hot, hot, hot, and it's a quick and easy look that can be done in as little as two minutes! This season, the ponytails are higher up than they have been in the past. We're used to seeing a low, classy pony, but this season they're fun and playful and high up at the occipital bone. Note to your readers: To find your occipital bone, draw a line to the back of your head, starting from your nose. That's where you're going to place your pony!
RB: That's a great tip! We love ponytails, too, so that is exciting. Let's talk specifically about hair. Give us your top three tips for getting a great cut.
BL: Number one: Get a referral. Number two: Collect inspiration pieces. Take in tearsheets from magazines as visuals of what you want, and try and put some words on paper and describe what you're actually seeing in the photo. For example, "short" may mean something different to you than it does to your stylist. Same goes with "long" and "long layers" It's important that you don't just have a bunch of words put together, but that you actually have a visual to accompany it. Number three: Make sure the stylist can repeat back to you what you're looking for. If he or se can repeat back to you what you want, then he/she has heard what you've said and is going to give you a great cut. Any stylist that's gong to go off on his or her own artistic tangent is just trying to be too artsy-fartsy in my opinion.
RB: What would you tell someone who doesn't have a lot of time to spend on her hair and wants a low-key style?
BL: A lot of "perfect" cuts and styles depend not only on hair type, but also on the climate and where the person lives. A certain style is going to react differently in dry Arizona than it's going to look on the damp coast of Oregon. In general, longer layers are always easy (for those whose hair will allow that; those with a strong wave pattern or tight curl clearly won't). You can also look at different services that will make your hair easier to handle, like a Brazilian blowout or keratin straightening. These act like a hard candy shell over your strands; they don't change anything structurally, they just create a shell that's sealed after being blown dry and straightened. And they typically last up to 12 weeks, making either of those a great option for someone looking to save time.
RB: Do you have any thoughts on at-home color jobs?
BL: Yes. Don't do it yourself! And here's why: Boxed color looks really great on the shelf, but what the viewing audience doesn't see is the hours and hours and hours of photos that go into getting that one perfect photo. A $6.99 box of hair color can turn into a $400 color-correction upset, and then the client ends up spending more time in the salon than is actually necessary. So, if she just goes and orders a single process color, or a glaze, or even a color-enhancing treatment, that's a great way to get amazing color without breaking the bank. She may have walked in and spent $100, but she's going to leave looking like a million.
RB: Got it. Okay, so see a professional colorist for the best results. Do you have any tips for finding a good colorist? As someone who's styled huge celebs like Ellen DeGeneres, Debra Messing, and the cast of Desperate Housewives, we trust your opinion, so spill the beans on how to find a great stylist.
BL: Great question! The biggest thing you can do is ask for referrals. After that, my next biggest rule is to not do walk-ins. You don't know anything about the salon or any of the stylists when you do.
RB: It can be really intimidating to try someone new though.
BL: Totally! And that's why a referral really works best; it's like you're meeting someone through a friend, rather than meeting a stranger whose work you've never seen. So this way, if you talk to someone first about their stylist, you already know something about him or her, and you can get a little bit of info about what that person loves about that stylist. And remember that each successive visit to that salon is a little like perfecting a recipe: That lasagna may not come out perfectly the first time, but it'll get better each time you try it again.
RB: Let's say you end up hating your new 'do. Is there a good way to go back to the salon and ask the stylist to fix something? That can be so awkward!
BL: Oh God, yes! But every customer should feel comfortable going back in and doing that. You know, when a salon professional leaves school or a mentoring program, the client becomes the mentor. We have to learn from our clients! A lot of times the client will just move on because she's unhappy with her look, and the stylist never knows what happened, when it was really a simple thing that could have been fixed. (Like, "Oh, I'd rather my bangs look more choppy.") The client truly becomes the teacher, so it's always perfectly appropriate for the client to go back and say, "A little more off the top," as long as it's not a completely different cut or style. And try establishing a good groundwork first, by bringing in pictures and talking about your desired style together.
RB: Okay, last question, we promise! We've all heard about specific haircuts that are right for specific face shapes. Are there any rules about this?
BL: No rules I say, break them all! A lot of hairstylists get hung up on the rules of the game, and for so long we've seen pictures of the heart-shaped face and the styles that suit her; but, I can give everyone the perfect long-layered cut, or the perfect asymmetrical bob. However, if the client can't repeat that look when she gets home, she's going to be really frustrated, it's going to look bad on the stylist, and she may never go back. What a good stylist should try to do is tap into a person's lifestyle to find her a perfect style. We take into account how much time she has in the morning, which tools and products she's comfortable working with, we find out what she's doing in her everyday life, and then we try to create a look that she can manage at home, and that she'll be happy and proud to take care of.