Friday, June 27, 2008


Copyright © 2008 Antonio Gonzales, All Rights Reserved


Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Copyright © 2008 Antonio Gonzales, All Rights Reserved


Sunday, June 22, 2008


As a hairstylist, I see all the hair types, textures and challenges that my clients may have on a daily basis. These can be anything from growth, to color, to cut. From my point of view, there is another approach to healthy hair. That is choosing the right person behind the chair to create a healthy environment where the client feels comfortable enough to express themselves. The salon experience has changed and is changing; clients want their moneys worth, and deserve it. A calm and clean environment, sanitized hair brushes and combs, a delicious, organic green tea… these are just a few elements I provide for my clients. Then, I answer their questions. You all deserve an educating experience, so ask away.

You should enjoy your salon experience, which brings me to the topic of HEALTHY HAIR. I would like to give you my opinion as a hairstylist as you approach your healthy hair issue. From my experience, I often have clients who consume an all natural/organic menu and want to do the same with there hair: to use all-natural ingredients. It's very obvious with food, but is this possible with hair products?

As we all know there are chemicals in most hair products. But, there are all-natural products as well, some of which I highly recommend. It really depends on you and your challenges, maybe dryness, frizzing, lack-of volume, or even oily scalp. If you have virgin or chemically treated hair, go right ahead and find a natural product that works for your hair. The organic product lines available are multiplying fast. These products do work, but sadly not for all hair types especially for chemically treated hair. Honestly, I wish it did. In fact, if it did, I guarantee you I would sell it!

If you choose to use a non-organic shampoo for your hair and go with some chemical, the one chemical to be aware of is Sodium Laural Sulphate. This is an ingredient that creates “sudsing” (bubbles) in shampoos. During the past 10 years, I have seen more and more people that are allergic to this ingredient. The negative reactions are scalp dryness and flakiness. Sometimes, the effects are mild. But, they can be severe. There are many product lines that have shampoos without Sodium Laural Sulphate. Some that I have worked with and recommend are Mop Organics products, and most recently is Alpha Parf semi de lino shampoos, which comes in a hydrating and volumizing product. Keep in mind a huge percentage of the population is not allergic to this ingredient. As for conditioners the organic/natural approach is safe, but is it moisturizing enough? From my research, this can be challenge, so be sure to find something that works and has enough moisturizing agents to make your hair shiny and strong.

For chemically treated hair—even the all natural hair colors—the natural hair products may not be sufficient. Remember Color treated hair is very different from virgin hair, so be careful not to work against your investment. When you color your hair, you add a pigment that is being placed into the cuticle. So, the question is how to keep color from fading while hydrating at the same time. I remember working in a salon in L.A., and there was an essential oil counter in the salon. They would mix all these lovely oils and create body oils/creams and perfumes. What we also did was use the same oils to remove unnecessary color build-up off of the hair and it worked, and, yes… they were using stronger potions than normal. But, the fact is that you need to be aware of the effect the oils have on your color. Even the smallest amounts can release color molecules which will cause fading. This is why we also reccommend not washing your hair 48 to 72 hours after getting it colored.

As for styling products, go ahead and use all-natural ones. They do work. Realistically, there is something for everyone. However, it’s a proven fact that the healthier approach is better for you and the environment, so the choice is yours.


Copyright © 2008 Antonio Gonzales, All Rights Reserved



I must admit, I enjoy sharing my growing knowledge of my profession with you. It feels good to see that people are enjoying writing their beauty secrets and their beauty questions to my personal email: Please keep the questions coming, and I promise to share all of my knowledge with you.

I decided to start writing this blog because as avid readers of beauty information, my friends and I sometimes feel a disconnect with what we're reading. We often wonder if we're alone. As my clients and I chat about our products and our hair, we've realized that the information out there is not only overwhelming, but some of it isn't realistic. Information should feel reachable to everyone, regardless of how much money they make. As I do with my clientele, it's important that one give a wide-range of advice, keeping in mind that we're all talking to real people with very different beauty challenges. It's important as consumers for us to own our individuality without selling our souls to use the Q-tip that a celebrity uses. Know it's just a Q-tip, and it has nothing to do with the celebrity.

Over the years, part of our culture, or should I say the world, has become very celebrity-driven. I would like to share problems and solutions that are real and that happen every day to us all. Do I really need Sarah Jessica Parker's endorsement of baby wipes to help me figure out which one to use? Actually, my own clients come in with questions and great remedies that I trust for all types of products! So, I hope you enjoy my topics, finds, and personal stories and look forward to hearing yours.

Copyright © 2008 Antonio Gonzales, All Rights Reserved


Friday, June 20, 2008


Copyright © 2008 Antonio Gonzales, All Rights Reserved



Summer Fashion in the City

Now that summer is almost officially begun in these parts, I thought I would share with you some quick observations about summer dressing in the city. I have been walking and observing through different areas of Manhattan on typical weekday mornings, uptown, downtown, etc., and here are some thoughts about the fashions I have seen “going to work”.

I have 3 words: boobs, boobs, boobs. I have not seen so much cleavage since my last trip through the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. I am astounded by the proliferation of cleavage that is parading around the streets (and presumably in the offices) of NYC. I know that styles of late have some lower necklines, but please, I am not a prude, but for a sense of decorum, please put a black or white tank top under that revealing top. It’s really difficult for your fellow office mates to concentrate and take you seriously when your poitrine is out there in full view. Rein those girls in! I don’t care if you take your shirt off after work, but while in the office you should project a bit more modesty.

Guys, that goes the same for you. I know that you worked on that chest all winter and are now ready to show it off, but please leave the low cut V-neck T-shirt and muscle T for the jitney after work on Friday!

The flip flop pandemic: For some unknown reason, the otherwise fashion- minded of NYC have chosen to walk in this ridiculous plastic foot wear. I am not talking about the thong sandal. The thong sandal will always have a place in summer attire. I am talking about the $5.99 version with the white plastic sole that you get at Duane Reade or Target. I saw a gentleman waiting for the bus the other day and he had it totally pulled together for the summer; beautiful white linen shirt and pants, Prada sunglasses, the perfect leather bag, gorgeous grey hair, and THERE THEY WERE, the plastic flip flop! He had this great look going on and in my mind he ruined it with the plastic foot wear. I would take a “Reef” style sandal or a woven leather sandal over the plastic. Plastic flip flops are made for the shower. They should stay there.
Bag awareness! Be conscious of what your “bag” is doing to your attire: during the summer months, some women dress in shorter skirts or skimpier tops. (see above!) More than once this week, I have seen someone walking down the street with their bag draped crosswise across their body. Everyone does this, it’s a comfortable way of carrying a heavy load, but through the natural process of walking, the garment being worn becomes twisted and rides up well past the point that it should, giving passers- by a fashion view that the wearer never intended! This is one time that checking yourself out in the reflection of the buildings
pays off!

Peace to All,



Tuesday, June 17, 2008


“What is that smell?”

This is often the reaction from clients when the sickeningly sweet smell of Perm solution is in the air. My reaction is always: “It's a hair salon. What the hell do you expect, to smell Roses?” :)

Frankly perms have always gotten a bad wrap (get it), and do you know who's to blame? Hair stylists and clients. From the get-go perms always smelt bad and always will. So now that we are over that hurdle let’s talk about its purpose: it is designed to create curls, body, and texture. What happens after that is really up to the people behind the box. Education on perms has come a long way; we now know that not everyone wants to look like Shirley Temple on acid, with curls that are just not appropriate for public viewing. It was also a big relief once the 80's passed and the need to have tight curls and big hair faded with Dynasty shoulder pads… well, I actually miss the shoulder pads.

It may surprise you but perms are still being done in salons today; even I still do perms. The quality of perms—like everything else—has improved: they are far more gentle on the hair. Even color-treated hair can be permed without clients wondering if they are going to hear the sound of more than a dozen perm rods hitting the sink with the the hair still in them (believe me… it has happened). No, now the conditioning perms that are on the market are really turning heads, so everyone’s perming again.

In addition, what has changed is the fact that we now know we can’t depend on a head of tight curls to save the day. We tried. The results were disastrous! Ok, I will stop recounting how bad it was, as I’m sure you get the picture. (LOL!) Now, when we perm hair, we do expect it to be wash-and-wear. We also know that to have versatility, some work is needed. After all, why should we go through all this trouble for you to walk around with hair that, well, is just curly. Have fun with it! As an example, I have some clients that perm once a year, mainly in the summer. It’s the perfect solution for fine flyaway hair during the heat.

[To be continued in PART 2…]

Copyright © 2008 Antonio Gonzales, All Rights Reserved



In the five years that Stephen Kazanjian has graced my chair, we've had so much fun sharing tips back and forth. I know hair and he knows everything else. Now Stephen's agreed to share some of what he knows with you. This is the first post from Stephen, enjoy and learn how you can take five years off your appearance in preparation for that special event. Honey when I heard this, I knew that this was a match made in heaven.

Thanks darling.

I have always been very conscious of my physical appearance. I think it stems from the time when I was quite young and asked my mother if I was attractive. In true motherly fashion, her response to me was that I had a lot of friends and was loved very much by her and my father. This told me her answer was no. Consequently, I decided to do something about the way I looked and over the years have devoted significant time and effort to maintaining my appearance. There are those outsiders (and some insiders) who might say this stems from being extremely vain. Absent years of extensive counseling to delve into my level of vanity, I tend to think my desire to stay as attractive as possible stems from the fact that I feel much better about myself and the world around me when I look my best. I don’t think I am alone in this regard which is why the phrase “a bad hair day” means so much to so many.

Given my desire to look my best, I am frequently asked how I have maintained my appearance throughout the years (I admit to being 45). My response is “There is a highly trained team of professionals, consultants and advisors on call 24 hours a day to make sure I look flawless whenever I am out in public.” In reality, it is all done with mirrors (and various products). I am in no way a trained professional on this subject but I have developed several skin care regimes that seem to work well at delaying the march of time as it crosses over my face. As a result, when Antonio asked me to write an article for his blog about a product I like, I could not say no, especially since Antonio is one of the highly trained team who probably feels like he is on call 24 hours a day.

Given the number of products I have tried over the years, I found it difficult to write about just one. Since my claim to fame (aside from making the perfect martini) is being able to help any man’s face look at least five years younger with my beauty regiment, Antonio and I decided this would be the ideal topic for an article. While my perspective is for a man, the process can work on women as well. Women’s skin tends to be more sensitive than men’s so I suggest women be more careful and alter the products for those that are for a woman’s complexion.

This procedure can be done no more than once a week, involves a few relatively easy and painless steps and takes about one hour. I typically start with an unshaven face. The first step includes a thorough cleansing of the face and neck area. According to Victoria Principal, your complexion does not stop at your chin so why should your beauty regiment. I like to use both Biore Warming Anti-Blackhead Cream Cleanser and Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion. The Biore has a slight texture to it which removes surface dirt and then the Kiehl’s is able to get deep down dirt. First I wash my face and neck with the Biore product like I would with any soap. I then use the Kiehl’s product on a large cotton (not cosmetic) ball. I apply a slight amount of pressure as I am rubbing the cotton ball over my face to really clean out my pores. You may see dirt on the cotton ball, so I recommend replacing the soiled cotton ball with a fresh one until all of the dirt is removed.

The next step is to exfoliate the face and neck to remove a layer (or two) of dead skin cells. My new favorite exfoliation product is Kiehl’s, Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub - Skin Buffer for Men, although I have also used Freeze 24/7’s Ice Crystals Anti-Aging Prep and Polish with great results. With both products, apply a small amount to a wet face and rub in a circular motion for two to three minutes, avoiding the area around the eyes. Rinse thoroughly after finishing.

Given the granules in any good exfoliation product, they are hard to thoroughly clean from your face so after this step, I typically shower to remove any granules which may be left on my skin. After my shower, I shave. I know that men’s facial hair is all the rage right now but a clean-shaven face always looks younger than a face with a scruff, especially if your scruff has as many naturally highlighted (gray) hairs as mine does. After I shave I cleanse one more time with the Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion on a cotton ball. This process removes any dirt that might have been hiding under a hair follicle and any bacteria your blade may have placed on your skin while shaving.

The next step is a facial mask to tighten the skin and close the pores. I prefer a clay mask as they tend to really tighten the skin, although I have used other types of masks. My current mask of choice is Yon-Ka Masque 103 Purifying and Clarifying Clay Mask. This is for normal to oily skin but there are other masks for dry skin. Apply a layer of the mask to a clean face and neck, again avoiding the eye area. Leave the mask on until it hardens completely (about 15 minutes) and try to avoid talking or making facial expressions while using the mask. Then remove the mask with a damp warm wash cloth. Make sure you get the entire mask off your face and neck. The last thing you want is to walk around with green clay on your face.

If your face has as many lines as mine has, you will want to use an anti-wrinkle cream. I recommend Freeze 24/7 Anti-Wrinkle Cream. Apply a small amount to the forehead and wrinkles around the mouth and on each cheek. Wait two to three minutes and then moisturize. Depending on the time and type of day, I have two products I like to use on my face for moisture. If I am going out during a sunny day, I use Kiehl’s Facial Fuel SPF 15 Sunscreen – Energizing Moisture Treatment For Men. My good friend, Anna, has always said that SPF is your face’s best friend. On cloudy days, and when I am heading out after sunset, I use Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Moisturizer. Both products leave my face with a matted finish and never feeling oily or looking shiny. Many beauty aestheticians are of the posture that a shiny face is a healthy face but I think it simply looks oily, especially on a man.

The results from this procedure vary depending on your age, how much damage has been done to your skin over the years and on your skin type. Antonio has flawless skin so it would be hard to help him look much younger but a mature man with a few wrinkles who has led an “active” life like myself can look anywhere from five to ten years younger. The effects on most men will last anywhere from four to six hours depending on how many cocktails are involved after the treatment is completed. Over time and with the proper care, the effects can become more permanent. If invited back to write again for Antonio, I will share some of my other secrets for long-term care, shaving and fighting problem skin.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


My niece Jasmine.

When it comes to haircolor, there are usually concerns for women planning their pregnancy. I am no doctor, so I leave the decision up to the client and their doctor to decide weather or not to color their hair. There are different options for women with grey hair versus women without. Here is a basic breakdown on hair color:

It takes permanent color with ammonia and peroxide to cover grey hair 100%. Demi-permanent colors, which have a low level of peroxide and no ammonia most times, are less harsh on the hair but will BLEND greys when used with heat. So, the safest is a vegetable-based color

like Sebastian Cellophane's which has no ammonia or peroxide, but, as a result, will not blend greys well. This color was big in the early ‘90s. One of my favorite choices was Redality. It comes in several different shades, gives great shine, and is even safe for kids.

If you have highlighted hair and are afraid of not being able to highlight during pregnancy, start introducing low lights into your color. Instead of going darker dramatically, you can ease into the process, while still having a lighter feeling. As you gain weight, putting lowlights around your face will have a slimming effect

Some of the demi-permanents I know are: Color Touch by Wella, Herbatint, Dia color by Loreal, Color Wear by Alfaparf, and Shaes EQ by Redken.

It comes down to this: consult your doctor, not your hairdresser, on this one.


Click OLDER POST at the very end to see the complete page of my archive.

Copyright © 2008 Antonio Gonzales, All Rights Reserved



Recently I was invited to share the company of a group of inspiring beautiful young girls and their mentors in order to share information on what I do best: hair. We sat in a circle and they all had questions prepared for me on their beauty challenges and concerns. We had so much fun! I fell in love with the idea that "girls change everything," and at the end of the program, I left with a sense that I had just left the company of strong eager girls that were willing to learn and make changes in their lives.

Thanks, girls.

The Girls Program

New Settlement's Girls Program provides a safe space and supportive yet challenging environment for girls and young women to gain leadership skills, express themselves creatively, explore college and career options, and learn to protect themselves against violence, unplanned pregnancies and STIs. All classes are free and open to the surrounding community, but participants who are accepted to the program are expected to make a serious commitment to respect each

other and instructors, keep their grades up, attend the program regularly, and actively participate in trips, performances and projects. High-school-age participants have an opportunity to earn a modest stipend for regular participation in our college-prep, sexuality, and health and financial literacy programs.

The Girls Program is made possible, in part, by the generosity of the Liz Claiborne Foundation, Pinkerton Foundation, New York Women's Foundation, Theodore Luce Charitable Trust, and the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.

To learm more contact the program at 7187168000 Ext 133



I decided to put three products to the test and share my experience with you from a hairdresser’s point-of-view. The three products are: Alfaparf Cristalli Illuminating polish, American Crew Classic wax , and Garnier Fructis brilliantine shine wax.

After using the three, it was clear to me which was my favorite. I tried them on short, towel-dried hair, medium-length dried hair, and as a finishing polish on long blow-dried hair.

The Fructis shine was my first favorite. The hold was not as good, but, it smelled great. Also, it is water-based, so it’s easily removed from the hair, and cheaper too. As you already know, you can find this product at every corner.

The American crew classic wax was thicker than the first. The smell was not my favorite (which is just my opinion) and it had less shine. Also, it was not as easy to remove from my hair.

The Alfaparf illuminating polish had a great smell, was easy to apply, and worked great on short, fine, or thick hair. On short hair, it was great for creating texture without feeling like super glue. I also used a tiny bit on the ends of a blow dry: it was perfect! The shine was incredible, it was easily removed from the hair with one shampoo, and it’s not expensive.

So, Alfaparf: you get the AFG stamp of approval.

Copyright © 2008 Antonio Gonzales, All Rights Reserved



Over the years of using so many pastes for styling short hair, I have narrowed it down to three of my favorites. Enjoy!

The first is the fiber by American Crew. This product has been around for sometime now. It is made by a company that really took the male haircare market by storm long before most companies did. At one time, this was being used by a majority of my clients, especially men, as well as women with very short hair. The fiber is a paste that gives great hold to short and/or textured cuts. It was introduced at a time when a product like this was needed, and at that time, it was by far one of the better pastes. It worked well, but other companies started making their own pastes which were not as thick or dry. Compared to other products’ sales, American Crew was left on the shelves. Now, I think it’s time to re-vamp this product, American Crew.

The second is by Bumble and Bumble. This product line is hands-down one of my favorites. The Sumo Tec—unlike the fiber by American Crew—is not as dry, and the hold is great for more textured hair cuts, even long mens’ cuts. Frankly, I have seen it used on all hairtypes. The disadvantage with this paste is that one has to work hard to get it off their hands and onto the hair without having it looking like… bird poop. It’s better applied on well-towel-dried hair. Otherwise, it slides off the hair and stays on your hand. Don’t get me wrong: I still use it, but not as often.

Now, I have two words for you: Shaper Paste.

Shu Uemura recently launched there hair care line and I love it. The Shaper paste is nicely packaged, good for the hair, smells clean and a tiny bit goes a long way. I can use this on all hair types as well, even on damp hair. For me, most importantly, it can be easily applied, washes off easily, and delivers great hold. By golly, it works!

My newest product comparison:


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