From the diary of a hairstylist: by Crystal Casey

  • Brazilian Blowout. Myths, Facts & why you need it.

    Brazilian Blowout. Myths, Facts & why you need it.

    Brazilian Blowout has become a household phrase. From the stay at home moms to the career gals flaunting it down 5th Avenue. But, with the hype comes the dramatic myths. Everything from, you can get cancer from it (HARD EYE ROLL) to it makes your hair permanently straight. 

    I am here to set the record straight! By the end of this post you will be more educated & clawing your way to your local salon for your Blowout. 

    Lets get started...


    Brazilian Blowout is a straightening service.


    Brazilian Blowout is actually a semi-permanent SMOOTHING service. It softens hair texture, making it more manageable and easy to style. It will not take the kink & curl out of naturally curly hair, but may relax the curl to more of a wave. Naturally wavy & otherwise lightly textured hair will see a more straightened effect.


    Brazilian Blowout contains formaldehyde, which can give you cancer & other long lasting health effects.


    Brazilian Blowout contains no more formaldehyde than nail polish or any other daily cosmetics that you wear. Such as: Hair Gel, Eye lash glue, multiple types of makeup, lotions, deodorants, etc. Formaldehyde is mainly used as a preservative & with any chemical processing, there is always a chain reaction of bonding the treatment to the hair. Formaldehyde in cosmetics is used mainly to preserve the product, kill microorganisms & prevent growth of bacteria or other pathogens. 


    Moving on to other questions....

    Can you receive a Brazilian Blowout service if you your hair is chemically processed?

    YES! Brazilian Blowouts are great for color treated hair! It locks the color in & in cases of previous over processing, it can correct the look of damaged strands!

    What hair types work best for Brazilian Blowouts?

    ANY! According to Brazilian Blowout, being a good candidate isn't about your hair texture, its more about the condition of your hair. Fine, thick, wavy or curly. Extreme damage may be an issue for this service so consult with your stylist first!

    How does Brazilian Blowout work?

    Brazilian Blowout breaks down the current protein filaments in your hair that make up your hairs natural texture, then temporarily realigns the protein structure to create smoother & shinier hair.

    What makes Brazilian Blowouts different from other keratin treatments?

    DOWNTIME! Unlike other keratin treatments, this service does not require you to shield your hair from water, sweat or hair ties for days after leaving the salon. So you can hit the gym & the shower in the same day!

    How long does Brazilian Blowout last?

    With proper care & maintenance it can last up to 12 weeks. Proper care meaning you are using the correct shampoo & conditioner. No sulfates & no sodium chloride is a must! 

    How long will this service take?

    Depending on the thickness of your hair, it usually takes 90 mins. 

    Will I still be able to curl my hair?

    YES! You can curl, crimp & wave to your hearts desire!

    Let's recap...

    • Brazilian Blowout is a semi-permanet SMOOTHING service.
    • No Brazilian Blowout will NOT cause cancer or long term health effects.
    • All hair types are welcome including color treated hair!
    • There is zero downtime with Brazilian Blowout.
    • Brazilian Blowout will last up to 12 weeks
    • Receiving a Brazilian Blowout service will take about 90 mins depending on the thickness of your hair.
    • You can still style your hair however you want, including curls.

    If your salon doesn't offer Brazilian Blowout be sure to check their salon locator to find a salon near you! 

  • The price we pay.

    What you are about to read touches a very sensitive subject, a subject that 80% of couples fight ( & ultimately get divorced) over, a subject that people avoid & most times are in denial about. 


    As a hairdresser one of the first questions I get asked is "How much will this cost?" if they don't ask it, then I do. The reason I ask "Whats your budget for this?" is not so I can take all that they have, its so I can work within the budget I am given. If my guest is showing me pictures of $250 hair & their budget is $175 then its my job to say "I'm sorry but for your budget, Im afraid thats not possible, instead we can do this or this." In some cases my guest will allow themselves a larger budget & sometimes we reach a compromise. 

    I know I am not a cheap stylist. I have done my research, I know what surrounding salons charge for similar services. When I first opened my salon I put myself at the lower end of the scale, but didn't cut myself short. As I furthered my education, grew my salon & became more "in demand" my prices went up. 

    But, what I really want to touch on today is for clients. 

    Let's start with price quotes. I really struggled with this when I first opened but, I have it down to fine science now. Pricing depends on many things, those things are:

    1. Length of hair & thickness.
    2. Previous services & your goal color.
    3. Treatments ( no GOOD stylist is going to let you leave with brittle hair).
    4. Amount of product used. 
    5. How long your appointment is going to take, time is money. 
    6. Technique used to achieve goal results.
    7. Is this considered a color correction?

    Giving price quotes via message or email is not my favorite thing to do. However, I will do it. I just make sure the quote covers lowest to highest & everything in between. 

    Next up, Color Corrections. Color corrections for me have a base price of $200 & go up from there. Usually its $100 an hour after the first hour, however...every circumstance is different. Hair is completely unpredictable things can go amazing & your black box hair color can lift to level 9 yellow no problem or I can color remove you twice & your hair reverts back to black....(that has happened to me it turned into a 12 hour correction)

    Specialty Colors: Ombre, Balayage, color melts, fashion color....pretty much everything that anyone ask for anymore is a specialty color. These are colors & techniques that need tremendous extended education. 

    Education is not cheap. My first year in business I took lots of independent classes & attended some hair shows where I was almost on education overload. I spent $5,000 in 8 months doing all of this. In the end it was totally worth it. I invested in myself & my profession & my clients could see the difference. I spent countless hours on periscope watching other stylist, learning from them, absorbing all the free education that was at my fingertips. 

    There will always be those people who respond with, "Wow, you're too expensive!"  Or "That's way too much, I can get a cut & color on my long, thick hair for $75!" (of course in a case like this I want to ask why they are looking for a different hairdresser then... haha) but, my response is usually "Good hair isn't cheap & cheap hair isn't good." 

    I don't really feel like I should ever have to explain WHY my prices are what they are but, I do hope this small break down will help some of your understand. 

    My salon expenses are about $2,231 a month. This includes my rent, my product, my phone, advertising cost (website, Facebook etc) this doesn't even begin to touch on the countless free photoshoots or color models I do to have material to advertise with or to get my name out there. 

    My personal expenses are about $2,863 a month, this includes my car, insurance, groceries, gym, cable, electric, rent, student loans etc. 

    Neither one of these totals reflects health inspections, license renewals, what I pay in taxes, new tools & equipment or holidays. 

    They also do not reflect the travel I do to educate, or the travel I do to go to hair shows/classes to learn.  new trends. These are bare minimum totals. 

    So my bare minimum monthly totals are around $5,094 give or take the time of year or any travel. 

    My tools range from $80- $1,500.

    Products, I spend about $350-$400 a month.

    When I expanded my salon it cost about $4,500

    Owning a business or even renting a booth is not cheap.Those stylist who are commission employees, they more than likely have money deducted for product & they do have to buy their own tools. 

    Please remember this the next time you want to tell me or another stylist that we are "too expensive" we have bills to pay just like you. This is our job, our career....this isn't a hobby & we aren't playing dress up just because we like pretty colors. Being a hairdresser is incredibly complex, its chemistry, its electricity, its geometry, its public speaking & its art. 

    Ps- for those of you worried about my spelling & grammar...I'm not. If you could read & understand this post, I did my job :)

  • DIY: How I made my own Lighted Retail Shelf

    DIY: How I made my own Lighted Retail Shelf

    So when you're opening a salon there has to be space for RETAIL. A place to display all those delicious smelling products that you use on your clients. Those things that are better for their hair than those drugstore products they've been using. 

    When I put my deposit down I knew exactly what shelf I would be using for my retail shelf. It was an Ikea shelf from my old apartment. Of was RED. Doesn't exactly jive with the pink,black & white I was going for. 

    Sooooo, I painted that bad boy black...not just chalkboard. 

    I used this Rust-oleum chalk board paint as a base (bc it scratches off easily) then covered that paint with actual paint on chalkboard paint I got from Target. (I totally forgot to photograph that paint, but its the only one Target sells)

    This was the end result. 

    My original idea was to write the retail names & prices on the ledge of each shelf in chalkboard marker. Then my dad had a better idea, we had some signs with LED lights in them that we were pulling apart to put underneath each shelf to light up the products. Those signs just happened to fit perfectly with the legenth of the shelf. I now had an entire lighted retail shelf with lighted signs. I measured the signs, picked a font & printed the names of each of my retail products. 

    I hid all the wires by taping them to the top of the shelf with black duct tape, and running them into a wire hider along the back of the shelf. Those can be found at Lowes & Home Depot for about $13-$21 depending on legenth. 

    Now the chalkboard paint seems like almost a waste since I decided to go with lighted signs. BUT, I can still write on the side of the shelf to welcome all new clients to my salon. A little something to make them feel special! 

    You can also find LED lights like this at Ikea possibly Home Depot or Lowes. 

    All finished product photos are by: Chelsea Anderson Photography 


    I'm gonna be honest, shit is about to get real...if you cant appreciate brutal honesty, now is the time to avert your eyes. 

    Ladies & gentleman, technology is upon us. It is real. It is here & its not going anywhere. 

    Online marketing is the biggest marketing tool out there right now. Social media, SEO, websites, goggle, etc. 

    With that being said, wether it is a styled shoot, a real wedding or a paid gig. Once those images are released of course you want to show off your work. Who doesn't? BUT, it is completely UNACCEPTABLE to NOT tag a vendor because they are "competing business" If thats how you feel you shouldn't be working with them in the first place. Or because you're too lazy, no one is ever looking for that quality. It is completely UNACCEPTABLE to LINK a vendor or just simply type their name out in the comments section of the photo. Vendors who participate & promote you & refer you should never be seen as an after thought in the comments section. EVER. Or left out because you want people to focus on your business & not theirs. They put their time & money into this shoot or job just like you did. When you work a wedding or other event it is a chance to network with other vendors, tagging is a way for you & them to get thier name out there & seen on other businesses pages. Tagging=networking, wether you know it or not. 

    The life of a freelance vendor is not an easy one. It takes YEARS to build a name from scratch.

    If I tag & promote you & you cant or wont do the same for me....then Im sorry, but I cant work with you or promote you/refer you anymore. #sorryimnotsorry 

    Excuses: they are just that. Excuses. "Oh Facebook wouldn't let me tag your business page" just didn't do it at all?? "oh it would only let me tag you from my personal page" Soo, you just tagged my personal page but didn't tell anyone WHY??? So now I am just a random tag on someones wedding photo...for all they know I could be the bride!!"Oh it wouldn't let me tag you from my phone"  Well then maybe you need to have some patience & wait until you get home to an actual computer before you start posting pictures that many other vendors were involved in. Because I'm pretty sure you didn't shoot that picture, cull all the images, edit the photo, make the floral arrangements, do the makeup, do the hair, make the dress, borrow the dress, plan the event, make the jewelry, build the building, set that place setting, make the cake etc. Because if you did...well damn

    So when you post that image (or blog) & tag only the people you know personally & talk about your work. You look like a dick. You just left out like 6 other people who worked their asses off to do their job. If you cant figure out how to tag people, well you better learn. YouTube it. Ask someone. Read a forum. SOMETHING

    The first couple of times its whatever, I'll go in there & tag my business myself, but after time number two....Its plain disrespectful & outright RUDE. Oh, & if you are going to mention someone & you "cant tag them" maybe you should make sure their business name is correct?

    Example: I have been tagged as Crystal Casey of High Voltage Hair. High Voltage. Crystal of High Voltage. WRONG!!

    I am High Voltage Hair by Crystal Casey. THAT is how you tag me on Facebook, that is the name on my business cards & my website. 

    If you don't care enough to actually look at the business card I gave you, or to even make sure you are getting my business name correct, well I guess when I tag you I should half ass your name too? NEGATIVE. I'm not that person, I make sure that I tag every single vendor involved & if something is wrong & I cant tag the person. I double check to see if they even have a Facebook to tag (because who doesn't right?) or I let them know they are untag-able. 

    Your business page has settings.

    Its called tagging/posting ability. Mine is on, if you feel like yours might not be. Check it out. 

    BUT, this doesn't even matter if someone just does not give you credit. 

    Take this image for example: Now, take away the makeup (by Beauty+Baubles: Jenn Brousch) the flowers (by Studio Posy) the hair (by High Voltage Hair by Crystal Casey) the beautiful bridal gown (from Maya Couture) the venue (Monticello Arcade) & Michelle Amarillo's sweet planning skills (from Michelle Amarillo Event Planning) What are you left with???

    THIS is what you're left with...

    You're left with just a normal looking couple & as cute as Trish & Caleb may be...which image do you prefer? The professional image (by Debbie Laughlin Photography) or the one that looks like a random stranger took it on the beach??

    THIS is what a styling team & full vendor list can do for images. So when you post an image from an event or styled shoot etc. that you were involved in, remember YOU & your specialty didn't make that picture all that it is. EVERYONE INVOLVED DID.

    So please, credit everyone, tag everyone. Give credit where credit is due. Don't be an ass hole. Everyone works hard & deserves credit for their work. 

  • Kim Porter Cosmetics: Product Review

    Its no secret that Kim Porter from Makeup by Kim Porter & I work together quite often. I get the chance to glance inside her kit & get a front row seat to her fabulous makeup line Kim Porter Cosmetics. Recently we had a bride who wore bright red lipstick on her wedding day & she spoke of the "Lip Lock" Kim had used on her. She raved about how her lipstick stayed all night & didnt even come off on her wine glass! I immediately knew I had to own this "Lip Lock". Two days later I drove out to The Makeup Studio & picked up my very own Lip Lock

    Review: I LOVE IT! I wear it over pretty much every lipstick color. I wouldnt recommend applying it to glosses, colored glosses or "glass lipsticks" as the Lip Lock sort of turns your selected shade a little bit matte. You will feel a slight tingle when you apply it, don't worry, that means its working. When I apply Lip Lock over my reds I dont have to touch them up AT ALL. Give Kim a shout at to make your appointment & get your very own Lip Lock. Dont live in the area? Thats ok! She will ship it to you! 

    Look for Kims work on the cover The Wedding Planner Magazine of Hampton Roads

  • Blonde instant gratification

    Ok, so tonights blog is kind of two topics rolled into one. 

    First lets start with instant gratification. When did our generation become so impatient? We'd rather have instant gratification rather than quality. If it's quality you want...why not wait for it?? If someone is booked weeks even months in advance, wether it be a a tattoo artist,make up artist, hairstylist or nail tech. That means they are GOOD & they are booked up for a reason & you obviously wanted to book with them for that same reason. So don't be impatient & box color your hair or go to someone else with less talent & end up with a horrible tattoo, a nail fungus or make up 3 shades darker than your face to quench your instant gratification. Just wait.

    With that being said-Lets talk about being blonde

    If you have box colored your hair & then decide you want be blonde (or have a super blonde ombre) Then I would hope that you decide to take the professional route and see a stylist for this, for the sake of your hairs integrity. Even if you get your hair professional done but have been dark for an extended period of time, going from dark to blonde is defintely something that should be done by a master colorist or a stylist who specailizes in color & blonding. DO.YOUR.RESEARCH. If your natural color is dark, then yes there will be some upkeep. Every 4-6 weeks your roots will need to be touched up & after extensive lightening to your hair, you may have to lose some legenth. So a haircut during each step of your lightening journey is reccommended to keep from having to cut of inches upon inches once its all done.

    OMBRE is defintely a skilled color technique. Again, DO.YOUR.RESEARCH. Look online, talk to friends, read reviews & check out portfolios. Once you find someone you like, if you have questions....ASK! If they arent available within a week of your final decision on wanting blonde ombre, just wait. Ask to be put on their waiting list in case someone cancels an appointment & let them know your schedule. I've had too many clients come to me with a bad ombre job just bc they wanted it when they wanted it. 

    The above also applies to Balayage. Balayage is the french word for "hand painting". Balayage hilights are also a specality technique & all of the above mentioned applies to this skill. 

    Last but not least- YOU WILL NOT BE BLONDE FROM DARK OVER NIGHT. It is not realistic to expect to have platinum blonde hair in your first appointment after having black box color on your hair. Or any box color on your hair for that matter. Becoming blonde is a process, your hair must go through many stages of lift before you can get to your desired color. Also, though it is our job to get your there, it is also our job to keep the health of your hair in tact & any good stylist will tell you during consultation that there are no promises made & that it will be a process. If they dont, then they are completely unrealistic as you or inexperienced & you should RUN. Ombre is no exception to this rule, actually when it comes to ombre, I as a stylist, am more concerned with the health of the hair since most of the lightening will be taking place on the ends of the hair. The most processed & oldest parts of your hair. In most cases these ends are already damaged by heat & previous color. 

    So please keep all of this in mind when making decisons on blonding your hair. Be realistic & be patient. For yourself, for your stylist, for your wallet & most of all for your hair. 

    This is Erin, I have been doing her hair for a year and a half. Erin sets up her appointments like clock work & uses professional, salon quality products on her hair. This is the perfect example of what Balayage Ombre can look like when done properly on top of professional color. 

    This is Nicole. When she came to me she told me she wanted to be "Gwen Stefani" blonde. She said she understood that she would have to cut most of her hair of because there was previous box color on her ends. We cut her into a bob, and this is her hair after he second process of lightening. 

    This is Mary & this has been our journey so far. When her stylist moved away mary came to me we took her from red to dark, dark brown. Then from dark brown to blonde. This is before, 1st appointment & 2nd appointment. By the end of her next appointment she should be fully blonde. 

    Can you believe these are the same person?? Yep ombre over box black hair color and by the second process we had her to a beautiful honey blonde.