Few people would disagree that hair is an important part of our appearance and sets the tone for our entire look – a great hairstyle goes a long way to making us look and feel good. I caught up with award winning hair stylist Alex Lapira, whose career in the hairdressing industry spans over 19 years.
With a masters in cuts and also in colouring, his knowledge of hair and scalp is unparalleled. He also studied trichology to become a hair doctor. He is not only a superb hairdresser but also teaches levels one, two and three in Habia; the highest awarding body in hairdressing. Nowadays, Alex owns his own salon where he practices hairdressing. He gives us the insight on what’s trendy and what’s not, and provides us with a number of hair care tips. Let’s just say, what Alex doesn’t know about hair isn’t worth knowing.
1. CHOOSING TO WORK AS A HAIRSTYLIST CAN SOUND LIKE A LOT OF FUN. THE TRUTH IS, BEING A HAIRSTYLIST IS A HARD JOB. WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST AND BEST PART OF THE JOB?
The toughest part of the job is having to face people’s problems daily. Whilst sitting in a chair for hours, a personal relationship between the two develops. Hairdressers have to be instant therapists as well as confidantes. This can be exhausting at times as I have my own personal problems to deal with.
The best part of the job is when I carry out makeovers. It’s very rewarding when I see the change – a change which transforms someone to make them feel truly happy and beautiful. It’s the best feeling in the world when clients leave the salon feeling more confident than ever!
2. MANY PRODUCTS USED BY HAIRDRESSERS INCLUDE CHEMICALS WHICH MAY REACT DIFFERENTLY WHEN MIXED TOGETHER. THIS IS ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS WHY PROPER TRAINING IS A MUST FOR HAIRDRESSERS. DID YOU EVER HAVE A BAD EXPERIENCE IN RELATION TO THIS?
When one starts in the beginning, it is easy to get carried away whilst experimenting with things you know about enough. Experimenting is good, but can result in a mess at times. The worst part is when a client experiences a hair dye reaction despite previously carrying out that same chemical service on a regular basis. The body can develop immune reactions to certain molecules over time, so one can develop allergic reactions at any point in his/her life. Hormone level fluctuations can also heighten the risk for chemical reactions. The body reacts by swelling; both the scalp and the face. Reaction could be instantaneous or could take up to 48 hours to show. Unfortunately, these are things that can happen… things that we see… dangerous things that a hairstylist must know how to deal with.
3. WHAT IS YOUR NUMBER ONE HAIR CARE TIP AND WHAT ARE SOME HAIR CARE TOOLS OR PRODUCTS EVERYONE SHOULD USE?
The use of natural products is the best way to provide proper nutrients to the hair and scalp. Create your own natural hair treatment from vegetables and oils which you can find from your local grocery store. Try mixing an avocado, pure olive oil and an egg yolk together. Add aroma therapy for a more pleasant smell. These three ingredients are extremely nourishing for the hair follicle. Packed with healthy fats, avocado is a natural moisturizing and hair conditioning ingredient. This mask will result in silky, soft and shiny locks. Flaxseed oil and coconut oil are also other options which improve the strength and shine of the hair and scalp. Even though many people think that it’s just the hair we should treat, the way we treat the scalp can have a huge impact on our hair. After all, it is the scalp which is the host of the hair. A good environment is required for one to have healthy hair.
The scalp is sensitive, unique and reacts to environmental pressures, including stress, hormones and the seasons, which all have an effect on the hair follicles. An overall balanced diet is necessary for a healthy scalp and healthy hair. One must consume enough vitamins to make sebum, the oily substance created by our sebaceous glands which provides a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp.
4. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DANDRUFF AND DRY SCALP?
Dry scalp refers to the small white flakes of scalp which are caused by over-shedding of the scalp due to poor quality hair products or dehydration. Dandruff is not caused by dryness, but rather by the production of excess sebum, i.e oil, which irritates the scalp, causing it to flake off. In this case, the person must first regulate the oil production to cure the problem of dandruff. Dry scalp and dandruff need to be treated in different ways, so it is important for one to diagnose the cause of his/her flaky scalp before resorting to purchasing an anti-dandruff shampoo over the counter.
5. HOW OFTEN SHOULD WE WASH OUR HAIR AND IS IT TRUE THAT WE SHOULD FINISH UP WASHING OUR HAIR IN COLD WATER?
Cold closes the cuticle and seals in moisture from the conditioner, which helps the hair look shiny and healthy. It also causes the sebaceous glands to fall asleep. Since sebaceous glands produce sebum (oil), this is especially beneficial to people who normally
have an oily scalp. Hot water opens the cuticles and speeds up production of oil.
Normally, to keep the hair healthy, men should wash their hair three times a week in the morning, when their testosterone levels are the highest, whilst women should wash it twice a week in the evening when their oestrogen levels are the highest. The levels of testosterone/oestrogen have an effect on blood circulation. An increase in blood flow into the capillaries of the scalp speeds up production of keratin, which makes hair.
Stress, medication, bad diet and wrong environment can cause these capillaries to get blocked, making production of keratin dormant. This can remain dormant for up to four years, after which hair begins to fall out. Once the hair falls out, there is no more keratin to produce a new hair. This is when one starts to experience hair loss.
6.HOW OFTEN ARE WE REALLY SUPPOSED TO BE GETTING A TRIM? IS IT TRUE THAT IF YOU WANT YOUR HAIR TO GROW YOU SHOULD GET REGULAR TRIMS?
You should trim your hair once every one to two months. A trim is anything between half a centimeter to one centimeter. On average, hair grows between one centimeter to one and a half centimetres a month. If you go too long without trimming your hair, you will suffer from damaged split ends which will eventually break off anyway.
KEEPING UP WITH TRENDS
7. HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOU STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST TRENDS?
Keeping up with the latest hair trends is easily done through monthly magazines, blogs, fashion shows and cat walks. I work for a very high fashion brand which provides me with seasonal collections three months in advance. In the beginning of summer, pastel colours were launched; peach, lavendar and blueish colours. Diluted pastel colours which we call powdery hues took over the trend a few months later.
8. WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE SOME OF THE BIGGEST STYLE AND COLOUR TRENDS IN 2018?
I am currently anticipating the launch of the winter collection in January/February. Brown is very fashionable at the moment, but 2018 will take brunette to the next level; brunettes with reds, peaches and blondes – a total infusion of browns, reddish browns, copperish browns and golden browns. We are going to see plenty of lights again. If you’re a blonde struggling to fit into this latest trend, implement shades of browns into your highlights… Blonde highlights mixed with dark low lights make for a beautiful hair colour.
With regards to styling, the 1990s hair trends have made a come back in 2017. Short hair, full layers, shaggy cuts and curls have began to resurface, and we’ll be seeing more of these styles in 2018.
9. IS THERE A WAY TO KNOW IF A HAIR COLOUR WILL SUIT YOUR SKIN TONE WITHOUT MAKING A HAIR DYE MISTAKE?
Choosing a hair color is quite tricky but never impossible. Firstly, it is important to figure out your skin tone which will reveal a lot. Once you speak to your stylist to help you figure out which shade works well for your skin tone, you may easily go ahead with the shade. Pale skin is complemented very well with warm colours like golden blonde, brown and copper. If you have an olive complexation, you can introduce platinum as a light, whilst introducing shades of brown in between. Shades of red also suit the olive skinned – warm shades of red which can be striking nonetheless.
10. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO PROLONG HAIR COLOUR?
Use colour-protecting products daily in order to maintain the health and vibrancy of your hair. Invest in a shampoo and conditioner that protect and seal in colour. If you’re blonde, occasionally wash your hair with violet shampoo to remove unwanted brassy tones. Red, copper and brown shampoos also exist and act as pigment boosters. Sun, chlorine and salt water can leave your hair a mess, stripping pigments right out of it and cause it to look dull and dehydrated. Try avoid contact, and when impossible, make sure hair is tied back to ensure minimal contact.
11.WHAT’S A SIMPLE WAY TO CHANGE YOUR LOOK FOR THE WINTER IF YOU’RE NOT READY FOR A MAJOR CHANGE?
Changing your hair is always a risk. If you’re not looking for a major style revamp, but want to change your look nonetheless, opt for a slight colour boost such as lights in the crown area not to be too invasive. A fringe might also be a good idea, but chop it long enough to push off your face if you hate it. If your hair is one length, shape some layers into the front. Remember, it’s all about layers now. Not ready to even go this far? Don’t worry, sometimes even just a trim will do the trick.
12. HOW CAN HAIR BE STYLED TO MAKE ROOTS LESS NOTICEABLE AND EXTEND THE TIME BETWEEN COLOUR SERVICES?
When hair colour is blonde, and the colour of the roots is base four or five, which is dark, I suggest lifting up root colour. Colour your roots to base seven, a lighter shade, and then opt for blonde highlights on top. In this way, you won’t have that much of a contrast. With regards to styling, a fringe always helps hide regrowth at the front of the scalp. Opt for a side parting, trying to make it look as undefined as possible. A messy parting disguises the stark colour difference and severity of roots becomes less noticeable. Nothing calls attention to roots as much as a straight parting at the centre of your head.
© 2017 – VIDA Magazine – Philippa Zammit