Thursday, December 10, 2015

Happy Curling To You

HairQueen News

It's officially the holiday season and that means tis the season of holiday parties and family gatherings.

Do you have your outfits picked out for the the events coming up in the next few weeks? What about your hairstyles?

If you need inspiration, check out these winter hair trends.

Trends of the Season

This season, there are two primary trends: braided updos and hair accessories.

Braided Updos:

Hair accessories:

Or you could combine the two styles for a very trendy look!

Question of the Month


"I want to curl my hair for a holiday party.  What can I do to make sure my curls will hold throughout the evening?"


It is all about the foundation.

To have your curls last throughout the evening, here are my curl tips for you.

For best result if possible start with unclean hair rather than a fresh shampoo, one day of unclean hair is fine.

  • Use a light hold hairspray and spray your entire head roots to ends.
  • Using a curling iron or hot rollers make barrel sized sections equal to the curling iron or rollers size for each curl.
  • Let all of the curls cool completely.
  • Remove the rollers or clippers gently and do not undo the curls.
  • For styling, depending on the desired look, use your fingers to loosely break up the curls and place them as desired and then spray them to death with a strong hold hairspray.
  • For a more formal look, lightly loosen each of the curls with a vent brush and then gently backcomb each curl from root to end and finally using a teasing brush lightly brush each curl to it's desired final look and spray the finished look to death with a strong hold hairspray.

If you must shampoo your hair, do a light shampoo and no conditioner.  Towel dry, use a detangler if needed, work at least a quarter size amount of gel from roots to end, comb it through all of your hair and blow dry as if you are going to have your regular daytime style, so use brushes as usual.  Make sure the hair is completely dry and then follow the bullet points above. 

Or call me for a holdiay hair party appointment, 510-545-2955.

Happy Curling To You.

Product of the Month

To help you look your best during your holiday parties and get-togethers, I'm extending the 10% discount on all shine hair products that I offered last month. I highly recommend these products to add a little extra shine to your hair:
  • BY Shine Mist Spray
  • BY Opulence
  • Framesi Argan Oil 

Runs Businesses with Scissors

Pat yourself on the back. 

You made it through another year of business!!! 

Now it's time to enjoy the holidaze season and all your hard-earned work.  But before you do take stock, what went well, what was difficult?  Did you take time to work on your business as well as in your business?  Do you have a plan for 2016?  If so, jolly good. If not, in between the flurry of the season, take a bit of time to sketch out a plan for at least the first quarter of the year.  Need help?  Contact me and let's work on your situation together.
Please feel free to get in touch with me via email at 
or call me at 510-545-2955.

Happy Holidays and a Very Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Little Changes Hair and There

HairQueen News

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and as we approach the holiday season, it seems we are reminded everywhere of the importance to take time to reflect and say thanks for the blessings in our lives.

One of my practices is to do a daily action list, with an action partner.  We do this electronically, it helps us to both stay on task with our personal and professional goals.  This month I started adding three to four gratitude's at the end of my list.

This small change has added a delightful sense of happiness to my day.

The list looks something like this:


  • Good health
  • Great clients
  • Good tea
  • Friends and family

Trends of the Season

The holidays are also a great time to try something new with your hair. Updating your hair doesn't need to be dramatic. The trends for this holiday season show that little changes can have a big impact.


Since the start of fall, many celebrities have opted to update their look by chopping off a little bit of hair and adding bangs. Check out the before & after pictures:


Many celebrities who have been known for the long locks are now choosing to go for shorter cuts instead.

Product of the Month

This month, get 10% off on all shine hair products to help you achieve that perfect shine for your holiday hair.

  • BY Shine Mist Spray
  • BY Opulence
  • Framesi Argan Oil 

Balayage color

Problem of the Month


"I want to do something different but I don't want to cut much off" :).


"Mmmm, something different but don't cut much off, OK.  Here are some options, depending on the length of the hair, layers or bangs can be added, then there is color.  Peek-a-boo accents, high-lights or low-lights, a demi-color, balayage, etctera are just a few ways to go.  With color there are so many choices, talk to us the hairstylists, we can consult with you for a new and different look.

Runs Businesses with Scissors

Calling all Business Owners, Thanksgiving is not only a time to reflect on our personal lives, but also to reflect on our professional lives as well.
  • How has your business changed in the last year? 
  • What changes do you foresee for the year to come?
Now is the time to start planning for those foreseeable changes.

Just remember most plans need to be adjusted as time goes on.
  • What plans are you working on for the holiday season? 
  • How can they be adjusted and improved?

Never stop working to perfect your plan, when you do, the plan has a way of surprising you...

For help and guidance with running your business from behind-the-chair, the counter, the treatment room or the kitchen, give me a call and let's review your situation.

You can reach me via email at or call me at 510-545-2955.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Plan Your Beautiful Self

HairQueen News:
Can you believe it's already halfway through October? Where did the year go? The holiday season will be here sooner than you think and now is the time to start planning for your holiday hairstyles.

Trends of the Season:
Looking for some Halloween hair inspiration? Check out these spooky hairstyles!

Want to wear one of these hairstyles to a Halloween party? Book an appointment with me so we can create your Halloween look.

Product of the Month: Hairspray

All my hairsprays are on 10% Off this Month.  Stock up for the holiday season.  Hairspray is your friend at any holiday party.  Check with me next time you are in and I can advise on the hairspray that is perfect for you.

Problem of the Month:

Question: Why is my hair is dull? Help :(

Answer:  Dull hair can be caused by a number of factors.  First it might be that you need a good hair cut to get rid of dull and split ends.  Second, there could be build-up from overuse of hair products.  I recommend using a clarifying shampoo about once or twice a month. Thirdly, as we age we lose our natural oils from our scalp.  It is important to brush and clean your scalp to keep the scalp healthy.  Brush your hair and scalp before you shampoo and massage your scalp in the shower to get it nice and clean.  Finally with a clean scalp and freshly cut hair please use professional products for continuous shine.

Runs Businesses with Scissors:
October is the start of the holiday season and that means it's time to plan for your year-end. How did your business perform in 2015 and how can it improve in 2016?

Ours is an ever changing industry on both sides of the chair.  Besides planning for business, it is also a good idea to plan for a creative boost.  Is it time to take a class in cutting or color, to keep up with the hair trends as well as the business trends? As owners we strive to do it all.  After all, the pace of the leader is the pace of the pack, whose leading your pack?

If you'd like help pinpointing areas where your business can improve, feel free to email me at or call me at 510-545-2955.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

'Tis the end of summer....

HairQueen News:

I've been back in Oakland for a few weeks after a three week-long vacation in England and Ireland. It was an amazing trip, part heritage, part reunion, part tourist and very inspirational.   

I am so grateful that I was able to visit my old stomping ground, London, as well as to visit places new to me.  To name most of them, I was in London, Oxford, Cornwall, Mautby, Much Wenlock, Dingle, Mulingar, Galway, Dublin and Essex. My husband and I did a home and car exchange through I highly recommend this as a way to travel and experience life in new places beyond the usual tourist sights.

I found myself looking for new and different trends in hair and clothing from what we have here in the Bay Area, where I live and work.  Quiet honestly, I saw a lot of similarities between America and the British Isles.  The big name brands scan the oceans and the street fashion is similar in an urban way.

One of the highlights of my trip was that in Galway we stayed in a castle and I must admit to being very taken with a real life Rapunzel experience.

I was also very taken with the castle owner and his man bun.

Anyway, with summer coming to an end, I'm eager to hear about where my clients and friends vacationed to during the summer. Book an appointment with me so we can get your hair ready for the fall and winter seasons as well as catch up on our travels and life at home.

Trends of the Season:
Here are some hair trends straight from the Fall 2015 couture fashion runway shows to inspire your own fall look.

Low Ponytails

Deep Side Parts

Hair Accessories

Product of the Month:

Also with Fall and Winter approaching it is time to think about holiday styles and the upcoming party season, so my product of the month now through October is good old hairspray.

I have BY Hairspray by Framesi in both light and strong hold as well as a BY Shine Mist Spray for a little extra shine.  I also carry Kenra Hairspray in a travel size for your purse and travel toiletry bag.

All Hairsprays will be 10% Off - so you can stock up for the party season.

Problem of the Month:  

Send me your questions and I will answer them here.

Question:  My scalp has been itchy. What should I do?

Answer: Itchy scalp is a problem of the scalp. It can be caused by poorly rinsed hair when shampooing, a change in diet or products or both, sun exposure, stress and poor brushing.  First make sure you brush your scalp before you shampoo, use a shampoo for dry and itchy scalp, wet your hair and scalp thoroughly, lather the shampoo and massage your scalp, rinse thoroughly and follow with a conditioner for your hair type.  Most shampoos these days are very mild but you must rinse thoroughly to remove the shampoo residue from your hair and scalp.

Runs Businesses With Scissors:

Time to gear up for the busy fall season.  The economy is improving, our clients have more disposable income, yet they are stretched thin with the juggling act of working and taking care of day to day life.  We must be on our game and prepared for what our clients want and need and for changes in our businesses, "when it rains it pours".  Clients come and go, staff come and go, and we must keep the business moving forward, growing, and changing.  It is when we stand still that we have lost.

A common question salon owners ask me is, "How can I find more stylists?"  I ask them, "What are you prepared to do for a stylist?"  We must help our stylists build a career and we must treat our own work as a career not just a job.  We must work on our business, not just in our business if we are to have our business in the future.

Need a little help with running your business from "behind-the-chair"?  Call me at 510-545-2955 or email me and tell me your situation.

It's tough out there but because you're out there you can compete in the race.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Across the Pond

HairQueen News

Greetings from England! If you haven’t heard, I’m currently in England and will be back in California on August 25th. England, in London, is where I started my hairdressing career as a Saturday girl in a small boutique salon; I feel like I have come full circle.  Whilst in London I will be observing the London fashion and hair trends for inspiration and ideas to bring home to America with me.    

In the meantime here is some information about a new trend: the colombré.

Trend of the Season
We all remember the ombré trend last summer, where the bottom half of the hair is lightened to a blond color, leaving the top half natural. 

Ombré hair
So now that the ombre trend is officially over, what’s the latest trend for 2015? Thanks to Kylie Jenner, the answer is colombré
Kylie Jenner

Colombré is when you color the bottom half of your hair and leave the top half natural. It’s a quick upgrade for anyone who is still sporting the ombré look. Plus, it’s a fun way to add color without having to worry about roots! Check out the examples below.

Colombré hair

You can choose to add only one color like the top two photos, or add multiple colors like the bottom two photos. As a Certified Framesi Hair Color Educator, I can help you choose the color (or colors) that will work best for you. So if you’re searching for a new back-to-school look, consider going colombré! 

Runs Business with Scissors

Now that we’re in full swing with summer, it’s a great time to start planning for the end of the year. If you need guidance in how to prepare your business for the fall and winter months, contact me to set up a consulting session.

Funnily enough, Fall is often the time stylists move about from salon to salon.  As owners we must be prepared for our staff to explore their options and have a continuous recruitment plan in place.

In cosmetology school, they teach us how to pass the board; the career planning, business planning part we must take the time to develop on our own.  As a stylist and owner I have found it invaluable to have a team of people to help me with working "on" as well as "in" my businesses.  Like continuing education for hair we must have continuing education for business.  I rely on my coach and marketing person to keep me on track and on my game.  I offer one on one coaching and consulting, and in the Fall I will be offering group seminars.  Stay tuned for more details.

In the meantime, stay cool, prosperous and have a fun summer!

To set up an consulting time please call 510-545-2955 or email me at

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tis Summer

HairQueen News

It’s July, and that means it’s officially summer!

Before you head to the beach or spend hours swimming in the pool, make sure you’ve taken care of your hair. The summer months can cause a lot of damage to your hair if you’re not careful, but a little extra time spent of your hair before you head outside can make a world of difference.

Summer Hair Care Tips

  • Wear a cute hat while you're outside. It's easy, protects your hair, and looks great!
  • Use the warm sun to naturally dry your hair instead of using a heated hair dryer
  • A fun trick is to mix a little conditioner and water into a spray bottle and spritz you hair before heading to the pool. This will prevent your hair from absorbing the chlorine or salt water!
  • Use a swimming cap while in the pool to protect your hair from the chlorine
  • After you get out of the pool, be sure to use chlorine-removing shampoo
  • The easiest way to keep your hair hydrated is to keep your body hydrated, so don’t forget to drink lots of water during the summer!
  • Try a new look for the summer by adding some highlights to your hair
  • Don’t forget to also take care of your skin during the hot summer months by using sun block

Product of the Month

A clarifying shampoo is great year-round to remove all the buildup weighing your hair down, but it’s especially important during the summer months. Clarifying shampoos are an easy way to make sure the pool won’t turn your hair green from the chlorine. This month, I’m offering my favorite clarifying shampoo, Kenra Clarifying Shampoo at 10% off.

Here are some quick updates for everyone:

The new is up! Be sure to explore my new website to learn about what products and services I offer, sign up, for my newsletter, and make an appointment!

Finally, just a quick reminder for everyone that I’ll be out of town (out of the country, to be exact!)
during August 3-24. 

Also, Swans Studios is excited to welcome our new stylists!

Curly Hair Expert - Issac Frank
The Blow Dry Babe - Brenda Maria
And our own Lorenzo Carmagnola

Runs Business with Scissors

Summer is the time many business owners and professionals take time off to go on vacation. A relaxing vacation is a great way to take a break from the chaos of everyday life, and you’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to go! Not only is a vacation relaxing, but it’s also beneficial for your health. So if you haven’t yet planned your summer getaway, I recommend looking for a little time in the next couple of months to take a break and refresh.

Around Town
Photo: Ray Chavez
Here in Oakland, we’ve had a quite an exciting start to the summer with the Warriors winning the NBA Championships last month. The team practices at the Oakland Convention Center across the street from Swans, so it’s very exciting to see them win! We also had the Warriors celebration parade on June 19th. The city was filled with people, music, and lots of energy! Go Warriors!

The Warriors parade took over downtown Oakland for the day, but that didn’t put a damper on the weekly Old Oakland Farmer’s Market. With delicious locally-grown produce for sale year-round, I recommend making a Friday afternoon appointment at Swans and exploring Old Oakland Farmer’s Market before or after your appointment. The Farmer’s Market is right outside Swans on 9th St every Friday from 8am to 2pm.

Jack London Square is also hosting some great outdoor summer activities. Every other Thursday, you can enjoy an outdoor movie at the waterfront with family and friends. On Friday evenings, you can participate in an outdoor dance lesson in the plaza. The former presidential yacht, the USS Potomac, is docked at Jack London Square and is offering sightseeing cruises of the bay throughout the summer. They’re also offering free tours of the bay once a month!

Enjoy your summer around Oakland, and don’t forget to take care of you hair!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gray Has It.

Hair Queen News

My wonderful daughter said to me recently, "mum you should make your blog more about your clients", she's right, but that is harder than it sounds. However, I am going to make a valiant effort to do that and I need your help.

What would you like too see in this blog, what would you like to read about? But before you answer, I do want to make sure that if you did not already see the article that I mentioned in my last post, here it is. Rise and Shine in Silver’. 

Sorry but I just could not resist re posting.  It was an interview by Sophia Markoulankis of the San Francisco Chronicle, Style Section about the decision to embrace natural gray hair color.

Gray hair is all over the news these days, there is the Granny Gray trend for young people choosing to go gray, can you imagine?
Click this link to see photos of this trend, Granny Gray Hair Trend

Then even more shocking is the trend for men, Silver Foxes, mmmm, men are silver foxes and the women are granny gray...

No matter, the idea is we can embrace our gray or choose to be gray, or dial it back a bit with low-lights.

Here are some pictures of the growing out all over color process. It can take up to a year or more to grow out a full head of hair color in order to transition to natural hair color with low lights.

Preparing to low light. 
Step one till next month.

Note the gray at Julie's temple after the low light.

Stay tuned as we transition Julie from all over color to gray with low lights.

Finally, don't forget to let me know what you would like to read about in my blog, please!

Runs Businesses with Scissors

In business sometimes changes occur unexpectedly and often they occur all at once.

Since the release of the SF Chronicle article:
  • I’ve had a flurry of new hair clients. 
  • It was around this time that my new marketing person had a family emergency and was not available to work for me. 
  • Then after 20 months one of my tenants took a new position. 

At first, I was tempted to panic, but as I wrote in my April client newsletter,

“If you panic with every change that comes along it will add stress and unnecessary strain. So stay calm, ready, willing and able to adapt to changes”.

In short order the changes that transpired in my business at Swans Studios are: the barber is moving into the front studio and two stylists will occupy the open studio, phew. I put the word out in my networks and I hired a new marketing assistant, (I am relying on her for some fresh ideas).

I guess I have learned something about the ebb and flow of business from all my years in the trenches.

If you need to check-in about the state of your business, or changes you suspect are around the corner, or changes you want to make, call me soon and lets take your business to the next level!

I will be in England from August 3 to August 24, my appointments before I leave are filling up fast.

If you would like to meet before I leave, give me a call at 510-444-6700, or email me at

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Embracing Your Gray Hair with Style

Rise and shine in silver.

Hair Queen News

Me and my low lights
Gone are the days when blonde, brunette and auburn tresses ruled. Today, the hot trend in hair color is au naturale gray. Sprinkled with variations from white to silver, more people are embracing their salt and pepper hair.

The decision to go gray is very personal. If you’ve been dying your salt and pepper hair and would like to return to your natural coloring, there are three things to consider: the transition process, the cut and the desired look.

The Transition Process
The process of applying lowlights to counter the dye or highlights that are present, is individual based on the client’s graying growth pattern, length of hair, final desired result and commitment to the process.

The Cut
Unless you are interested in cutting off all of the colored hair, a good cut during the transition process will be very important because a good cut can help your ends to look healthy, can help to disguise the grow out process and is easier to style.

The Look
Do you like your natural salt and pepper pattern? Do have a vision for how you want your hair to look? Once the transition is complete, you may decide that you want the gray dialed back, in which case lowlights would be added. You may have large strips of white that you want keep or you may want strips added.

Myself and a client Rosemary Mark, whom I worked with to transition her from all over color with highlights and lowlights were recently interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle about the two-year process we went through to help her return to gray.

Here are a few quotes by Rosemary,

“I applaud women who go gray. You have to have fortitude to do it. I still question whether I should be gray, but I am often stopped on the street, with people commenting on my hair and eye color.”

Wearing gray hair comfortably and gracefully may not be for everyone, but a positive attitude can bring beauty to any look.

“When I’m 60, I don’t know how I’ll feel about the gray when I’m all white. I want to embrace it, and I want it to be my look, but I still have to feel good about it,” says Rosemary.

Rosemary recommended me to the SF reporter because I had helped her transition gracefully.  I really enjoyed talking to Sophia Markoulakis and I am thrilled with the article.

If you would like to grow out your highlights, return to your natural gray or enhance your current gray, please give me call and lets schedule a consultation.

Julie gives up all over color

Follow this blog as I transition my client Julie from all over color back to her natural color with hints of grey.

Let's Begin 
After the first Low Lights 

There will be more pictures 
and updates coming soon!

Book an appointment:
Phone: 510-444-6700

Runs Business With Scissors

You may wonder how I was able to obtain an interview with the SF Chronicle.  In this case it was truly a personal connection. Years ago I was advised, "relationships first, result second".  Turns out this was good advice.  I have both a personal and professional relationship with Rosemary Mark.  You may wonder how to navigate the client, friend relationship, this is just one of the roads I have traveled in my professional salon career.  

Give me a call if you would like to know more.  Business owners have many questions and a good one to ask is how do I do that?

Give me a call at 510-545-2955 and let's work on your results.