Thursday, December 30, 2010


Having long hair that’s layered correctly is honestly one of the best feelings in the world. Great layering can leave you feeling so sexy—hair that flows with incredible movement. Done correctly, the cut should look even better three to five weeks after your salon visit. For those unfortunate enough not to have had good experience with long layers, it can be frustrating to articulate exactly what you want in a style and cut.

As hairstylists, we have the advantage of knowing the verbiage to adequately describe the layering process, but even then it takes more than adjectives and verbs to achieve a successful layering effect.

The interesting thing is that if you ask two stylists to do long layers on the same person, you might be surprised at the different approaches they take and the outcomes that result. In other words, consider it a blessing to find a hairstylist who can achieve the feat with panache, because someone else might very well leave your hair looking as if you made love to a weed whacker!

When having your hair layered, it is crucially important to know two things: what to ask for and how to recognize when your hairstylist is off to a “hairy start.”

I cut my models hair dry with a razor rather than wet. The reason was because of her hair texture, cutting it wet would have been to aggressive and would have removed too much bulk.

Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when having your hair layered. Remember that no one knows your hair better than you do, so be mindful of your instincts while recognizing that the hairstylist has the upper hand. Together, great layers are totally possible.

1) During the consultation, share the aspects of your hair that have been most challenging for you in the past and why. This allows the hairstylist to be conscious of areas that he or she should pay particular attention to in their approach.

2) Share whether you air- or blow-dry your hair. This is valuable information and can affect the initial approach in any cut and style.

3) Ask the stylist if he or she will be cutting your hair dry or wet. This too can greatly influence how it will be cut.

4) Depending on your hair’s thickness and texture, have the stylist determine if a scissor or razor should be used.

Here are signs to be aware of. Some relate to mistakes I’ve made in the past, which I’ve learned from as I’ve grown professionally.

1) Cutting either wet or dry on hair that is coarse or fine, the stylist should concentrate on thin sections at a time, for an even, precise flow.

2) If your hairstylist cuts your hair and then hands you to an assistant to blow-dry and then return to dry-cut, beware. I know how I cut each section of hair, so I’m the one who can optimally blow-dry each section. A great assistant may know how to do a beautiful blow-dry generally, but he or she wasn’t the one cutting. This is a recipe for disaster.

3) If you want your hair cut with a certain tool, your hairstylist should be capable of doing the initial cut with a scissor or razor. They should also be able to provide either a wet or dry cut, depending on your personal preference.

I believe layering is an expression of you—the style should reflect your personality! Don't leave the salon feeling like you have someone else’s cut and style. Ask all the necessary questions to ensure that you get exactly what you desire.

Antonio Gonzales


Friday, December 10, 2010


Someone recently reached out to me regarding a hair mishap. Forgoing the idea of reenacting a cheesy before-and-after makeover—where the person looks drab and bland without makeup and then they’re given better lighting and great makeup for the “after” shot—I decided to keep it real and take a simple picture of her with my iPhone right before we started and again as soon as we were done.

She originally asked to go lighter than her natural color (an ashy medium-brown), but not too light. Her hope was that, though her hair would be lighter, she’d have the option of allowing her to roots to grow in without too much upkeep. What she ended up with was something she was not prepared for (see images below). What you can’t see too clearly in the “before” shot are the very violet tones running through her hair, with an unfortunate band of orange at the roots. Needless to say, her hair texture was not much better.

Together we decided recolor it a rich, warm brown that added some much-needed darkness to the root area. Our biggest concerns were it shading red, or going the other direction with muddy ends. I decided to work with Diacolor from L’Oréal, which is a demi-permanent color gloss. This acted as my filler, adding back in the warm tones that were absent from her now-bleached-out hair. My main reason for using Diacolor rather than another product was that it provides great color and tone control. Using red/gold to add that much-needed warmth back in was the first step. I left the filler on for 15 minutes, then rinsed: The effect the Diacolor had seemed promising. I proceeded to the next step—a light shampoo and a towel-dry. Then we dried the roots further with cool air using the dryer. I then gave her the chosen color: a medium brown with 15-volume by L’Oréal Majirel, leaving it on adequately to add depth to her re-growth (which, as I mentioned previously, was a ashy medium-brown). Since there was no gray coverage needed, the 20-volume peroxide I often use was not necessary.

After a quick post-color shampoo, it was apparent that the warmth the Diacolor added was exactly what we were going for. I proceeded to the next step, which was to give her another light shampoo and towel-dry, and again apply some cool air from the dryer. I then mixed another Diacolor gloss for her final color application, leaving it on the roots through to the ends. We then rinsed and dried a front section to see the final result. The outcome? Her hair looked beautiful again! Finally I gave her a deep treatment and—violà!—a soft brunette with a smile. : )


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


My recent styling and cut on a pilot for Skorppio Vodka.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A reNew Lease on Hair

Like most New Yorkers, I use the subway and commute to work in the city. On a daily basis, I see women adding finishing touches to their makeup while the train is in motion. I know my NYC ladies would prefer to finish their makeup at home, but as New Yorkers we all know that time is of the essence. Observing these divas I’m witness to a swift stroke of Mascara, a soft puff of blush and the smacking of some sparkly lip gloss.

I think to myself – “that’s fine, but what about the hair”. Everyday I'm surrounded by dead ends, “fly aways” and static staring at me crying for help. I know time is an issue for my busy ladies but there’s no excuse. There are plenty of ways to condition your hair without expending too much time wetting it and having to wash off a conditioner in the morning. Actually, there is only one product that can do this quickly and effectively – Renew by Orlando Pita.

A few years ago, this product took the world by storm and won numerous awards for its groundbreaking ability to condition hair in a non-conventional way. It features the exceptional, penetrative ingredient Quaternium, known in the skincare world for its long-lasting conditioning.
Renew is a dry conditioner for all hair types that delivers quick conditioning agents without wetting your hair. You can condition your hair with Renew anywhere – on the train, in a cab or even at Starbucks!

All you have to do is take the cap off and spray. That's it! It’s easy to use and because it’s dry no one has to deal with a "wet" on-the-go conditioning juice like back in the eighties. Did someone say curl activator?!?! Here are just some of the benefits Renew has to offer.

For women with virgin hair
(no chemicals) looking for a light conditioner for their ends, I highly recommend Renew to add shine and vitality. Renew also works well on hair that’s been slept on taking away any static or “fly aways”. And for women that use dry powders which can leave their hair with a matte finish, I recommend a little Renew for shine without having to use heavy silicones that make hair oily. Ladies with fine hair, this is the answer to all of your problems. Renew will add shine and “oomph”!

If there is one product that I think every woman must have this Winter, it’s Renew.

Thanks Orlando!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010



Monday, November 8, 2010


Recently I ran into a friend of the salon Teddy Charles and just had to have a" Kodak moment".

Teddy was not only trained by my boss Orlando Pita, he was recently in charge of making Lindsay Lohan look timeless and sexy for her recent cover on Vanity Fair magazine.
Teddy is an inspiration to me and I look forward to seeing more of his work on magazine covers to come.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


With so many hair products on the market, it can be overwhelming to ascertain what works and what doesn't. During the past 20 years of my experience using different hair products I've become a virtual connoisseur of gels, shampoos, conditioners, etc. Today I want to share with you my experience with hair masks in particular. In the past, hair masks were oil-based and potentially damaging; when used too often they stifled the scalp and made the hair limp, leaving it difficult to style. Nowadays, water-based masks are lighter, with added nutrients that are safe for the scalp, leaving your hair in mint condition. Here are a list of the best hair masks at various price points. All should help considerably in restoring you mane to its rightful, virginal state... well, almost.

Love conditioner by Davines

When I lived in LA some 12 years ago, I used and loved the Davines color line, the entirety of which has since improved, with a focus on making hair feel loved. Love by Davines is the first mask I want to write about. The packaging is sleek and easy to hold in the shower. In other words, it's not a weirdly shaped chunky tub that slips from the hand easily, potentially causing you to waste some of this precious product!. Its effect on color-treated hair is amazing, because of its superb conditioning qualities. It also works great on thick, kinky hair that requires a treatment with strong conditioning agents. Although it's a rich mask, it rinses easily, leaving the scalp free of product buildup and your hair smelling great for days (literally)!

Age Recharge by Kérastase

Well my darlings, if you want a product that you will be hooked on for life, this is it. It's my "go to" product for blonds... it helps enormously with detangling and preventing further breakage, with extremely consistent results. If you have very dry hair I recommend using it as a weekly treatment as a regular conditioner. Remember, a little product goes a long way. Out of the vast amount of masks that Kérastase offers, I would say that this is the best and only one I fully

Moroccan Oil hair mask

This mask took the country by storm with it's promise to condition frizzy hair and leave the driest hair full of moisture. I am here to say it delivered as promised. Unlike the MoroccanOil itself, the hair mask is not too heavy, and is buttery in consistency. After use it leaves the hair in better shape to withstand hot tools and the sun, and it's easily one of the best-smelling masks on the market. I look for any excuse to use this product; I even use it as a styling cream on the ends of curly hair.

Biolage Intensive Therapy mask

This is a product that I'd suggest to women across the US, since it's so easy to find. It's an intensive treatment for stressed hair that can be also used as a daily conditioner. Plus, it's affordable—which in this economy is a blessing. However, I would recommend a little heat for this treatment to work as well as with the previous masks. Towel-dry your hair and place a plastic disposable shower cap on your head. Follow by heating your hair through the cap with a blow dryer.


Keep in mind that hair masks in general should not be left on the scalp overnight unless directed. The reason for this is its potential to irritate the scalp when left for long periods. Before using any mask I recommend you shampoo and towel dry your hair, removing about 50 percent of the water prior to usage. Before applying the mask your hair should feel damp to the touch—not dripping wet and not too dry.

Also, take your favorite mask with you on vacation, and use it before entering the ocean or pool. Take it to the gym and use it in the steam room for an even deeper treatment. Basically, you should never leave home without a small jar of mask to help save your hair from the harsh elements that are determined to harm it!.


Homemade treatments

Who does not love the best of all worlds. This is not only affordable, you can use all organic fruit and oil insuring you are getting the best Making your own hair treatment. First whisk one egg white, half an ounce of lemon juice and half an ounce olive oil in a bowl. Then crush five mint leaves and an Avocado. Combine all ingredients and whisk for five minutes. I recommend shampooing with Green Tea Clarifying Shampoo by Aubrey Organics. Start by applying your treatment to clean partially towel dried hair, or as an intense treatment you can use the treatment on clean dry hair. Leave in your hair for five minutes and then rinse well. If you have stressed thirsty hair leave in for ten minutes and then rinse well. This treatment is so rich you will need to shampoo afterwards, trust me. When you are done, you would be amazed at how your hair will feel and the softness and shine will last for days!!


Ripe organic avocado: Famous for its moisturizing properties

Virgin organic olive oil: Used all over the world in many home hair-care recipes for soothing the cuticle

Organic egg: A fantastic source of protein

Fresh mint: Great for preventing static on conditioned hair

Organic fresh lemon: A natural hair-brightener **this option should not be used on color-treated hair**


Friday, October 29, 2010




Picture it. 1989. Trinidad. It was a hot day in the tropics and my first day working in a salon with one of my first instructors, Anthony Medina. It was a busy day – color appointment after color appointment. Because Trinidad is so multicultural, every hair texture imaginable was waiting to be processed – Afro Caribbean (a term I don’t particularly care for), Asian, Caucasian, East Indian and a hodgepodge of others. Even some chemically relaxed hair was thrown into the mix. Meanwhile, these women had two things in common. Apart from being born in sweet Trinidad, they were all aware of the chemicals in hair color and weren’t overly concerned about a few gray strands. They were agreeable to having a semi-permanent hair color that did not give gray coverage yet accentuated their own hair adding shine and tone, possibly staining a few grays. Sure it would only last a good two to four weeks (8-12 shampoos), but shiny hair was more important.

The other ladies with a serious case of gray roots were there for a permanent solution. They needed full coverage and truly did not have a healthier alternative (and still don’t for that matter).


Today, women of all ages with a few gray hairs no longer embrace the healthier choice; the thought of a few gray strands has become … well … taboo. Even if they are not using permanent hair color, they’re opting for demi-permanent color (glosses) which have peroxide and possible traces of ammonia (depending on the brand). This brings me to the heart of the “gray” matter. At what point did the dependency on stronger chemicals in hair color with more coverage outweigh a healthier solution (no ammonia or peroxide)?

At what point did women shy away from a more natural look (accepting the early stages of graying)?


I believe, along with leading colorists in the industry, that a “gloss” is merely a demi-permanent color application with little peroxide and little to no ammonia. Yes. These are a healthier alternative to permanent hair color, but they still have peroxide. Did you get that? They have peroxide! So why do hairstylists insist on using them daily as a “healthy approach” to coloring hair?

You’ve heard it before, right? “Let’s just throw a quick gloss on your hair at the sink for shine”. That translates to “let’s just use a product that adds color and gives some shine using peroxide which will aggravate your cuticle causing some dryness (when used too often)”. A good rule of thumb – “GLOSS” is just the word “LOSS” with a ‘G’ in front of it. Cut your losses short!

It’s a fact that when we do highlights with bleach, we’re aiming for a color we have in mind – be it a muted wheat beige blond or a sparkling golden blond. Glosses can assist in tweaking traces of unwanted tones, but they are also used to correct problems that could have been avoided altogether. Examples of these are as follows:

Not lightening hair enough …

Scenario 1

If the desired color is a beautiful light beige and the bleach is not left on long enough, the result is hair that is too gold. At this point, glosses with stronger peroxide added are used to help rectify the problem by lifting the unwanted tones on already dry lightened hair and depositing beige tones instead. It doesn’t sound like a big deal at first, but what happens two to three weeks later?

The unwanted tones start peering through and eventually require more highlights which results in dry hair.

In this case, the possible solution could have been a high lift tint with the necessary tones to give you your desired color. High lift tints are permanent hair colors used with 40 volume peroxide that possess the ability to lift your natural hair color (if it’s not too dark) giving you the desired tone all-in-one. This takes longer and requires some serious color knowledge, but it’s not as light and bright as bleach.

If bleach is needed, then it could be left on while being watched closely as it lifts. Keep in mind that bleach will lift once it’s moist so patience is needed.

Scenario 2

If the desired color is a pretty light golden blond and the bleach is left on far too long or with too much heat, the result is hair that is too white with no gold tones which were needed to yield the expected outcome. What now happens is that a gloss is used in hopes of replacing all of the gold tones that were removed. A gloss is left on longer than necessary (on the already lightened hair) causing further dryness.

In this case, a high lift tint could have been used as well (provided the natural hair color is not too dark). Also, one could substitute the bleach with a weaker volume peroxide and no heat on the highlights.

So why this dependency you may ask? Well … I’ve seen it over and over again in magazines, online and in salons. Glosses are a big part of the problem when used too often or incorrectly.


As a hairstylist I feel responsible for this dependence on chemicals and I propose to stop this lunacy one article at a time! Don’t get me wrong. I do love permanent and semi-permanent hair color and believe that we need it. However, I will modify the outlook of my blog by adding entries that welcome natural hair color, informing both men and women of the healthier options available.


Let us agree that a few gray strands do not classify someone as “old”. Your hair should not define you in any way. It is nothing more than an accessory. If you want more from your hair, use hair products that promote healthy hair, blow-dry less and color only if you must. Say no to chemical pushing dealers! The second solution is glazes, glazes, glazes.

A glaze is a semi-permanent hair color with no peroxide and no ammonia that deposits pigment and shine. I personally like Cellophane's by Sebastian. It’s applied to towel dried hair, covered with a plastic cap and placed under the dryer. The heat is what causes this color to stain the hair. It does not cover gray, but enhances your natural hair color staining grays just a bit. To somehow convey what a glaze is, I would suggest one think of the glaze on a cake – shiny, translucent and temporary. A gloss, however, is more like the gloss coating on a car – more permanent with shine.

I look forward to writing more about this topic and getting your feedback on these issues.


Friday, October 8, 2010


Grays, frays, trays…I know, I know…there are more important things in life than stubborn grays. But for those of us that do want to rid ourselves of those “natural highlights”, here are seven ways to get the coverage your want.

1. Ask your hairstylist to use Gray Magic in your color formula. This is a product that we used in beauty school many moons ago and it’s still on the market. It helps foster better coverage. A few drops could change everything!

Some hair color companies make a color line specifically for hard to cover grays. It’s generally the number followed by a double N (NN). The double N signifies the ability to penetrate stubborn grays. This really works!

3) Clean hair is always a good thing.
If you were going to paint a wall and wanted it to last, what is the first thing you would do? Clean the wall of any old paint and debris so that you can allow for a proper application, right? Well the same is true for hair color.

4) If your desired color is one with more Golden tones or Red tones, always be sure that half of your formula is from the N series. In order to get coverage, half of your formula being is critical. Then add any desired tones you may want. If you’re 100% gray, I tend to add a little more N than usual.

5) Leaving the color on long enough really helps. Permanent color can sit on the hair for up to 45 minutes (or even longer). If you are not getting coverage in 30 minutes, try 45.

6) Ask your hairstylist what shampoos they are using at the bowl after coloring your hair. Post Color shampoos are designed to safely remove unwanted residue from your color after it is fully processed. Many product companies use Post Color Shampoo like ALFAPARF and L’Oreal. Do not use regular color safe shampoos. The aforementioned are better used 2 days after getting your color done.

7) Mix different levels of color. If your desired color is a level 7 (medium blond) and it’s just not covering the gray hair enough, add a squirt of level 6 to the formula. Actually, you can always squirt an inch of one color level darker to all of your formulas in order to ensure better coverage.

If you have any of your own suggestions, please feel free to share.

Here’s to hoping you’re covered!


Sunday, October 3, 2010


Pedigree Sneaker Gallery

45 Willoughby Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11205
at Adelphi St.

On a recent stroll through Fort Greene, Brooklyn (my new neighborhood), I came across a shop that totally caught my eye: Pedigree, a footwear fantasia with a selection I found utterly mouthwatering! Walking by, I was pulled in by my love for a pair of kicks that are modern, comfortable, and plain-old hot, and Pedigree's got 'em in spades.

I introduced myself to the owner, and we began chatting about the fashion/beauty industry and our mutual love for it.

One thing my new friends and I have in common (apart from a passion for fashion) is a commitment to making an impact in our industry from a humble place. We agree that tooting your own horn can only get you so far. What matters is walking the walk—not just talking the talk.
ANTONIO GONZALES: I adore Adidas Y-3 for its style and comfort, and you easily have the widest collection of styles I’ve seen. Is Y-3 an important line for Pedigree?
ASIO HIGHSMITH: Y-3 is an instrumental and influential brand for Pedigree Sneaker Gallery. It really sets the tone for our vision. The Yohji Yamamoto and Adidas collaboration has set a new lifestyle standard that is consistent and fresh. We can dig it!

AG: What led you to open a store like Pedigree in this particular Brooklyn neighborhood?
AH: The inspiration for Pedigree came from our travels and experiences, and the lack of access to cool stuff that you usually can only find in Manhattan or just somewhere else. We wanted to create more than just a “sneaker store,” and we believe strongly that we can do it right here… in Brooklyn!

AG: What do you look for in terms of style when choosing women’s footwear for Pedigree?
AH: The most important elements here are form and what we like to call “FUNKtion.”
AG: Is diversity elemental to Pedigree’s mission statement as a retail location and a brand in itself?
AH: I like to think of it as “thoughtful diversity,” and yes, it is definitely one of the elements we cherish most. It just feels like the communities here in Brooklyn are so much more in tune with their cultural differences than just about anywhere else. We use that harmony as our reference and foundation when we go to showrooms or collaborate with designers.
AG: What are the latest footwear trends that are reflected in Pedigree’s inventory currently?
AH: The Y-3 Boxing shoe and mold has made a significant impact on fashion recently. If you pay attention to today’s styles people prefer a more fitted, slimmer look from top to bottom. Alexander McQueen’s final collection is up in here, too.
AG: Are there any trends that you feel are on the verge of becoming really big in the near future?
AH: That is, are there any style predictions you'd like to make?
Pant-sagging—everybody is doing it!
AG: The music I heard in the store is great—what’s your goal with the selection you play?
AH: Since we have a DJ booth in the store, you never know who might be spinning, so we’re pretty organic with the music flow.
AG: Have there been any celebrity sightings in the store that you can share with our readers?
AH: As far as celebrity sightings, we’ve had quite a few. But if they’re not talking, we ain’t talkin’!
It's been nearly one year since I began working at a new salon and eight months since I relocated to Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and I'm happy to report that both moves have had a profoundly positive effect on my life. As I get to know Brooklyn I feel more and more at home, and as I keep an eye out for style in a 'hood I find very fashion-forward, I'm coming across shops that I love and proprietors and designers whom I'm really enjoying getting to know.

Antonio Gonzales


Friday, September 17, 2010


Here is Orlando Pita doing a demo for the look to created. This was a fun show as usual and I loved the clothes.


Monday, September 13, 2010


Today at Carolina Herrera Orlando created his magic and I was so happy to be part of it!


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