Hair Doctor Help!

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San Joaquin Stylists Answer Your Questions

By Lindsey Rodrian

We’ve all been there. Your best friend attended beauty school. You decided to try a new salon. Your roommate said she’s a professional when it comes to box colors. That uh-oh moment inevitably greets most women, in a variety of forms. A botched haircut, a devastating bleach job, a DIY makeover gone wrong. It was one of those situations so horrible that your friends acted as if they didn’t even notice the extreme change. Recovery was long and painful. If you’re lucky, you found a rock star stylist to help you along the way. She was honest whether you liked it or not, safe, and had your hair’s health in mind. Thank you, you saint.

As celebrities go from dark to light, and pastel, and grey, and friends make appointments hoping for instant gratification, these said stylist turned saints are as important as ever. Get down with your bad self, but make sure to stay in a realistic realm and always consult one of the area’s talented stylists. Whether you cut your bangs and are now crying in the bathroom before you go out, picked up a box of color at the grocery expecting to look like the girl on the cover, or are simply looking for some tips to grow your locks luscious and long-we have a message of help, hope and haute… just for you.

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Q & A

If you’re like us, we just can’t stop asking our stylists questions! As soon as we’re seated the brain-picking begins… “I read this online, is it true?” We’ve compiled a few of our favorite FAQ’s covering everything from the best products and common misconceptions to high maintenance colors and adventurous styles.

Q. I’ve let my previously dyed red hair fade; can I put blonde highlights over it?

A. “There are a few things you can do- if your hair was a solid color before and had a solid red- you can do a strawberry blonde with highlights if you have naturally dirty blonde hair. A gentle bleach wash will brighten and lighten the hair to give it some tone. The goal is to always keep your hair in good condition while taking [it] from style to style. It may take a few times but it’s better that way.” — Melanie Clardy, Cosmetologist, Perfect Balance Day Spa

Q. How can I keep myself in the realistic realm of hair goals?

A. “Communicate with your stylist! We’re beauticians not magicians. Celebrity looks are not always very realistic- especially in one appointment. Also, pay attention to your own hair, texture, and face shape to know what’s best for you.” — Ann Staley, Alter Custom Hair Design Owner and Stylist

A. “This is a really big part in a stylists’ job: how to make your client feel beautiful in their own skin. That’s the number one thing for me. I always try to compliment their strengths and suggest that they don’t become married to the photo of the hairstyle you want. Everyone has a different texture and type of hair, plus some of these photos are photo shopped- it’s not even real!” — Melanie Clardy, Cosmetologist, Perfect Balance Day Spa

Q. What are your two favorite products right now?

A. “We love the Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo for texture and body; and Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight for smoothing… [it] reduces your drying time, too!” –Abbie Castillo, Lead Hair Stylist at The Spa at Wine & Roses

A. “There are so many great products out now it’s hard to choose only two–Aquage Up All Night Mousse and Kenra Dry Thickening Spray #4!” –- Iva Watson, Salon Sirah Owner and Stylist

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A. “I really love All-Nutrient’s flat iron spray. It’s great for protection and gives a beautiful shine without the grease and it’s a very simple thing to do if you don’t have a lot of time. And J Beverly Hills’ Root Booster Foam.” — Melanie Clardy, Cosmetologist, Perfect Balance Day Spa

Q. I’m trying to make myself look younger- what’s a good way to go- color, cut, etc.?

A. “The whole package! Cut and color are both important factors in going for a younger look. Our stylists will consult with you and together you can choose a cut and color that achieves the look you are going for.” — Abbie Castillo, Lead Hair Stylist, The Spa at Wine & Roses

Q. Why is it important to consult a professional when looking for a light grey/pastel color?

A. “To get those colors you have to go all the way with bleach to a pale, pale white. If you have dark hair there is no way you’re getting that color, or else you’ll have some serious damage. There is also a risk of the color going green, so if you have blue toned silver, and are not light enough it will mix with the yellow and turn to green. It’s a big process!” — Anne Oliver, Owner of The Head Quarters Salon

Q. Does wearing your hair up cause a lot of breakage?

A. “Tricky question, some hair that’s extremely fine shouldn’t have stress on it at all, but for most we recommend covered bands and bobby pins with covered tips to prevent any breakage.” –- Iva Watson, Salon Sirah Owner and Stylist

A. “If you wear it up in the same spot with a clip it can definitely cause breakage and even more so if your hair is heavy.” — Anne Oliver, Owner of The Head Quarters Salon

Q. Does leaving conditioner in longer make it work harder?

A. “It sure does! Leave conditioner in for three to five minutes- don’t focus on roots unless you have some breakage.” — — Ann Staley, Alter Custom Hair Design Owner and Stylist

Q. What are important things to consider before investing in a high maintenance style or color?

A. The biggest thing is time- do you have it? Fashion colors don’t last very long and they really fade quickly. I’m a mom of two young boys and even I have a hard time finding time for my hair. Talk to your stylist about what you really have time for and what you can do- would you use products? Together we can figure out a way to cater to you and find the best look to go with. — Melanie Clardy, Cosmetologist, Perfect Balance Day Spa

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Q. What is the best type of brush to use?

A. “It depends on what you’re doing. For a blow out use a round brush. Definitely get a backcomb brush, great for creating volume. There is a wet brush that is great for gently de-tangling fine hair without breakage.” — Ann Staley, Alter Custom Hair Design Owner and Stylist

Q. I want to go blonde- how long should that transformation take if I’m currently dark brown? How can I be sure it’s being done safely/correctly?

A. “There is no easy answer to this question, it depends on many variables, and you should consult a stylist. But you definitely want your stylist to use Olaplex with this color choice. Going blonde is not something to be rushed, you should allow as much time as possible.” –- Iva Watson, Salon Sirah Owner and Stylist

A. “First, don’t try this at home- it will be a disaster and you’ll end up spending quadruple the amount for color correction. It also matters so much what you already have on your hair. If you currently have a box color on your hair it will need to be corrected- but if you have had professional services it will be easier. Be patient and expect many appointments to get your desired result!” — Anne Oliver, Owner of The Head Quarters Salon

Q. My hair is oily at the roots, but dry at the ends and has no volume- tips?

A. “Focus on shampooing the roots and not so much the ends, and do the opposite with conditioner. Make sure you have volumizing shampoo and conditioner- it will keep hair from getting oily and add volume. Oh, and use dry shampoo between washes for both volume and to kick oil.” — Ann Staley, Alter Custom Hair Design Owner and Stylist

Q. What can be done to avoid brassy tones that come in after I get my hair colored?

A. “Glazes or glosses help control brassy tones. It is also important to use a shampoo and conditioner to preserve your color. As well, you can get a toning shampoo and conditioner and alternate it with your color care shampoo. Another trick is to use violet toned shampoos. You can also add in low lights, and cool tones. We also recommend an Aveda product, Blue Malva, which is designed to take the brassiness out of your hair.” — Abbie Castillo, Lead Hair Stylist, The Spa at Wine & Roses

A. “Follow up your color service with a glaze to help seal the cuticle. Try not to wash your hair in hot water, cooler is better. Use a sulfate free shampoo to help hold the color. There are also shampoos for home use that have tonal value and can treat brassiness.” –- Iva Watson, Salon Sirah Owner and Stylist


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“Bangs aren’t for everyone! Our stylists can help give you a look that will look great on you if you are growing your bangs out, as well as suggestions on how to style your bangs so they don’t drive you crazy.” — Abbie Castillo, Lead Stylist, The Spa at Wine & Roses

“Product is key in your at-home blow out. You need a good serum like Moroccan oil that can coat your hair, be a heat protectant and smooth the cuticles; a volumizer, like Bed Head’s Queen for a Day; and a good round brush. Also be sure to have a good ionic blow dryer! First dry your roots with your head flipped upside down for added volume. Then, separate your hair into sections and blow out each. Finish it off with a finishing spray.” — Ann Staley, Alter Custom Hair Design Owner and Stylist

“To avoid damage from straightening your hair keep the temperature low. Coarse hair can take 400-450 degrees while fine to medium hair shouldn’t go above 300-350 degrees. But I say, better to be safe than sorry! And if you’re using a professional tool it’s best to keep it on [a] lower setting… and always use a heat protecting spray!” — Melanie Clardy, Perfect Balance Day Spa

“We would never recommend the use of a brush on wet hair. Keep a wide toothed comb in the shower and comb through with a small amount of conditioner. If your hair is fine you can use a small amount of leave-in conditioner, spray it in your hand and rub it through the ends only, not the top of the head. When you comb through always start at the bottom and work your way up!” –- Iva Watson, Salon Sirah Owner and Stylist

“Stimulate your scalp with a soft bristle brush and give yourself a little head massage every night to help hair grow longer and faster.” — Anne Oliver, Owner, The Head Quarters Salon

“Protein is so important, to eat, not just to put on your hair via product. It helps keep shine and prevent brittleness. Vitamin C and Vitamin B are also very important, whether you get them from supplements or your diet alone.” — Ann Staley, Alter Custom Hair Design Owner and Stylist

“When choosing a high maintenance color, you need to keep in mind how often you will be able to maintain the style/color, the cost, and of course, the health of your hair.” — Abbie Castillo, Lead Stylist, The Spa at Wine & Roses

“Use professional products! When you’re purchasing from a grocery [store] the majority of the products contain sulfate and water- which means you’re stripping the color you just paid for down the drain and making your hair brittle and dry.” — Melanie Clardy, Cosmetologist, Perfect Balance Day Spa

“To tame flyaways use a boar bristle brush for hair. They are known for being great for detangling and conditioning the hair. When purchasing a new brush look for something that says static free. Spraying a little hairspray on your brush can help, or even rubbing a fabric softener sheet on your hair.” –- Iva Watson, Salon Sirah Owner and Stylist

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San Joaquin’s Salon Round Up

Visit these local salons and reap the benefits of being pampered by talented, passionate, and creative experts.


Alter Custom Hair Design

2222 Grand Canal Blvd., Stockton – (209) 451-3280

Walk in to this Stockton salon and be instantly charmed. The cozy mid century décor housing sassy, fun, and super talented stylists make this spot especially unique. Owner Ann Staley opened the salon over a year ago and filled it with stylists she’s worked with for over 10 years. The team even offers Client Education Classes, welcoming the public to enjoy an evening of honing their skills with their own beauty tools and a bottle of wine. For only $25 you can learn from the pros, and dig in on education customized for you. How fun!


Perfect Balance Day Spa

401 W. Pine St., Lodi – – (209) 333-8117

You can find Perfect Balance Day Spa tucked in a beautiful historic building near downtown Lodi. Serving the Central Valley for nearly 30 years, they’ve recently expanded offering additional spa services and space to meet their high demand. The highly trained stylists are well versed in specialties like color correction, creative coloring, and all things in between. Whether it is Cinderella hair extensions, Keratin straightening treatments, deep conditionings, or a cut and color- they’ve got you, girl.


The Spa at Wine & Roses

2505 W. Turner Rd., Lodi – – (209) 334-6988

No introduction needed for this Lodi gem- as this hotel, restaurant, and spa continues to impress visitors from around the globe and locals alike. Their beautiful grounds induce instant relaxation and a sense of “getting away” as you choose a salon service ranging from a classic cut and color to highlights and specialty treatments. Partnered with Aveda, the Spa offers environmentally safe hair care executed by top professionals dedicated to creating your perfect look.


The Head Quarters Salon

1929 Country Club Blvd., Stockton – (209) 465-1610

Anne Oliver opened the Head Quarters Salon in 2012. With 30 years of stylist experience she set out on a mission to build a kick-butt crew and did just that. The family salon prides itself on affordable quality. The kind, talented staff will ensure you look your best, and enjoy the time you’ve taken for yourself. Stop by for a cut and color, highlights, roller sets, and more.


Indulgence Salon

7610 Pacific Ave., Stockton – (209) 478-5859

Lou and Sue Meyer opened the doors to their posh salon nearly ten years ago. With it, they welcomed seasoned stylists boasting 20 years of experience, and passionate newcomers that keep abreast of the latest trends. The warm, welcoming salon offers cut, color, perm and straightening treatments, and all hair services for all ethnicities. The staff enjoys treating clients to the luxury of a high-end salon with the affordability of today’s economy.


Salon Sirah

2401 W. Turner Rd., #390, Lodi – (209) 334-1133

Salon Sirah has been styling San Joaquinians since 1987. In 2009, Iva Watson and Jane Sales became owners after many years at the salon and decades of experience. Their 19 stylists, one of whom is a barber, offer color, cut, hair restructuring, extensions, special occasion styles, and more. Iva and Jane take pride in their team, who they note are well educated and passionate about their craft. The comfy, clean salon welcomes clients of all ages to come enjoy the relaxed vibe while receiving some much deserved pampering.