Tuesday, October 25, 2011


For the past four years, I have been blogging about most things beauty related. As time passed and my experience progressed creatively and, more importantly, personally, it has brought about a change in my writing and my perception of beauty that continues to evolve to this day.
Professional change:

As my last experience in NYC, I worked for one of the best hairstylists in the world at O'rlo Salon (Orlando Pita). Working at O'rlo salon along with George Casson and Joey Martino was a life changing adventure in many ways. Let me explain.

When I interviewed for the job at O'rlo, I was interviewed by Orlando himself, which is unheard of in my industry at that level. Orlando said "I've looked over your resume, and congrats on being featured in Allure magazine, but why make a change now?"

My answer was simple. I promptly replied by saying "There's so much more to hair that I have not experienced." Orlando smiled.

Little did I know I was in for a hair-raising experience, literally! Working at O'rlo was easily the most challenging endeavor of my career. I was shown a side of hair styling that left me humbled. The message was clear: being a good hairstylist consists of three major things.

One is your God-given skills (Orlando was self-taught).

Two is that quality comes first. I was encouraged to do half my usual amount of clients on a daily basis, but to do all the work myself (no assistant doing my color or blow-drys).

And three is that as a good hairstylist, it's all about producing the best quality work possible. Put skill and quality first, and then money after. In other words, a great haircut should be able to stand on its own, without the help of smoke and mirrors

(and chandeliers, marble bathrooms, and chinaware, for that matter). What can I say? There's only one Orlo.

Yes, I was blessed with clients who would sacrifice financially to afford my prices, in exchange for my creative view. And I also enjoyed my success outside of the salon (editorial, Fashion Week, etc.). However, I always felt like something was missing. My co-workers and friends knew it too, because I did not keep it a secret.

That leads me to my next topic.

Personal change:

After moving to Miami and having some time off to reflect, what was missing came to me like a hurricane. As much as I enjoy working on women who can afford to have their hair done, what about the women (young and old) who can't afford everyday luxuries like clothes, food, and a place to live? Does this make them "less beautiful" than others?

As I came to the crossroad of my love-hate relationship with my purpose as a Hairstylist, I realized my biggest challenge would be to exist in an industry that sends this clear message: that to be beautiful, you must look a certain way.

I've decided to commit to finding a way to break away from this fallacy.

This quickly brought about my new mantra. I repeat it to women everyday: "A woman's strongest asset is her individuality."

For me, this mantra is meant to remove the myth for our young women that to be beautiful (and accepted), you must look like everyone else. Please know that you are beautiful as you are and you don't need me to make you feel beautiful. A blow-dry only lasts a day, but inner love for yourself lasts a lifetime.

Being blessed with creative abilities, I find it important to work through organizations to share my creative gift with women who cannot afford the pleasure of my professional experience. This means extending my hair care to women and girls in orphanages and hospices.
I invite anyone who knows of any group of women in South Miami that can use my services. It would be my pleasure to help.
I invite you to write me with any questions, and I urge other hairstylists to make a difference by sharing their skills with the less fortunate.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I am fortunate to experience so many wonderful people, places and moments through my love for hair. Being a hairstylist, my job is to educate, create and inspire women, but for me that's just the beginning.

More than pruning the tresses of ladies and the crown of gents, I truly believe it is my responsibility to help people of all ages feel better from the inside out. Whenever I can, I also love to help raise money with my styling skills. Which is what makes the story I’m about to share, so positive and fun.

Let me introduce you to a very special friend of mine, Lexi Lehrman. I first met Lexi when she accompanied her mom and brothers for a haircut. Within no time I was taken with Lexi’s politeness, smile and her overall positive energy. As I got to know her, I learned that this dynamic 13 year old had raised over $40,000 to support the fight against breast cancer and was the founder of the Love Lexi Fund (www.lovelexi.org).

Let's jump into my Q&A with Lexi so you can hopefully give her your support.

Antonio- Hey girly!

A- Can you share with us when you realized you wanted to devote your time to help others?

L- Well, when I was 8 years old my mother and I went to Dunkin Donuts and I saw a pink donut and thought to myself “everybody loves donuts, they should use them to raise money for charity!” On my way home I looked outside the window and saw a pink breast cancer license plate and looked at the pink donut then looked at the license plate again. I immediately associated the two and thought instead of waiting for someone else to use the donuts to raise money…what about me?

That night we went online and found the Susan G. Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Chapter. I sent them an email asking if they had a way for people to donate online in honor of someone and that my birthday was coming up and I’d like to raise money instead of getting gifts. The next day I got an email back and they said no, but to hold on and see what they could do. They got back to us a little while later and asked if I’d test out a new “Friends Asking Friends” online donation program and everything took off from there.

A Birthday Party with A Purpose was born and I raised about $3,600 for my 9th birthday! It was very exciting!

A- In what other ways do you raise money for cancer?

L- From this first experience, I quickly learned the gift of saving a life is much greater than receiving any birthday present. So now for my birthday, or even the holidays, I ask friends and family to donate to the Love Lexi Fund instead of presents. Don’t get me wrong, I always appreciate the few that slip through! But I honestly don’t really NEED anything other than love, food and a roof over my head. And absolutely NOTHING compares to the feeling when you’ve truly helped make a difference in someone else’s life. I know you know what I’m talking about!!!

A- So I see you're an artist, how did you come up with the idea of combining art with your cause?

L- Well, if there are two things I love to do they are helping people and creating art. My birthday parties turned into painting parties when I tried to come up with something to do that was fun for my 10th birthday. Since I love to paint and my friends wouldn’t be watching me really “open” any gifts as an activity, I figured I’d give them something fun to do. So I asked each one of my friends to paint their own interpretation of the breast cancer ribbon. Even the guys had fun! Then we went bowling. At first I thought I’d sell the paintings to raise money, then a company called Mail America stepped up and offered to make them into posters. I put them all together in a collage and poof! The first Love Lexi poster! We sold them at the Komen Race for the Cure that October (which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month) and raised all kinds of money with 100% of the proceeds going to the Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Chapter!!!

At that first race, it was incredible to have so many people come to our Love Lexi Tent, see the poster and begin to cry. I knew I had discovered my mission. I called it Art For The Cure and it is now a project that has taken on a life of it’s own! I pick a theme for the poster each year and have had some incredible opportunities to paint additional posters with incredible artists like Romero Britto and Ferdie Pacheco, who’ve helped me raise even more money. Many people still ask for the “Peace for the Cure” poster I did with Ferdie, who was Mohammed Ali’s fight doctor!

A- I was fortunate enough to donate haircuts to your last event, tell us more about it and the upcoming event on October 15th?

L- This year has been a tough one for me. My Auntie Mary was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer around my birthday, I was so sad I couldn’t pull together a painting party. But a few months later, when my aunt was going through a particularly tough time, I heard my mom tell her that she was her “wing girl.” Bam! I had it. I asked the Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale chapter executive director, Bobbie Meyers to help me pull together some survivors for a painting party and told her my theme. She loved it and helped me immediately. So this year my theme is “Every Survivor Needs A Wing Girl.” We had each of the survivors paint their “wing girl” stories at Painting with a Twist in Miami – who donated everything. Although my mom brought pink Champaign and I made pink cupcakes, your gift certificates for all the survivors to get a chance to be styled by you (we gave them a copy of your Allure Magazine article LOL) was really the big hit of the night!

I decided to send a canvas to my Auntie Mary and do a “wing girl” painting and poster with her. She drew it and I painted it. The two “angel” hearts represent her daughter, my cousin, Missy and my Nana,

her and my mom’s Mother.

We lost them both a few years ago. Not to cancer but it sure made us very aware of how difficult it is to survive losing someone so precious.

I’m very grateful that all the survivors who painted with me are planning on joining me on stage at the Race for the Cure that day!!! We will be promoting “our” poster (my painting is the green one with the pink ribbon) and we will be selling them hopefully like hot cakes (as my Dad might say).

A- What advice do you have for kids (and adults) who are considering devoting time to helping others?

L- All I have to say is find a cause you really believe in and try your best! My mom gets all mushy about it and is always encouraging my brothers and I to do things that “nurture your soul.” And it is true…mushy but true. This work really nurtures that good feeling you get by making a difference. I’m Jewish and in the Talmud it has a passage (roughly translated) “If you save one soul it is as if you save the world.” I think just about every religion has a belief that supports that thought. I think keeping that intention in mind is what can motivate us all to do good things together.

I love you Antonio, for every kind and thoughtful thing you’ve done for me. This interview is a wonderful gift to help me connect to more people. I want to encourage anyone to come join us online and join Team Love Lexi to help raise more money!!!! http://miamiftl.info-komen.org/goto/JoinTeamLoveLexi


Friday, October 7, 2011



Tuesday, September 13, 2011



Who can say that they have done hair for the best music videos Madonna ever made, and now more than a decade later grace Lady Gaga with the same fierceness? Orlando Pita can!! I am so happy to report that my former employer and friend Orlando has always and still is creating hairstyles that is inspiring the next generation!!

Just a few unforgettable moments by Orlando Pita.


Friday, September 9, 2011


I really focused on texture with this hairstyle. With so much perfect looking hair on the streets its nice to see hair that's just slept in and messy.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011


After we completed the last shoot with the black wig,the photographer asked me to put the models hair up for some last minute photos. I quickly took off the wig, twisted her hair threw in some pins and ran out the door!

The results were not too bad:)

Antonio Gonzales


Tuesday, August 23, 2011



I wanted to take a beautiful blond and transform her. I had a wig that was brown so I decided to color it black using Aveda hair color. After coloring it I applied a shine treatment by Sebastian (Cellophanes) which contains no Peroxide or Ammonia.

Then I cut the wig dry using a razor. Here you have the finished product..



Antonio Gonzales


Wednesday, August 17, 2011


A new client arrived for an appointment and the first thing the entire salon noticed was her very dark hair and her very orange ends.
As I started my consultation I could feel the extreme damage and fragility of the ends with my fingers. We talked about her haircut, then it was time for a serious color conversation. She instantly admitted she’d viewed some “do-it-yourself” Ombré color videos on YouTube, and this was the result.

For those of you who don't know, “Ombré” is a french word describing the transitioning of color from light to dark or from one color to another.Its generally used to describe the color on fabric but was taken up to describe hair color.

This look on hair has also been around forever, sometimes intentionally sometimes not. It was just made more marketable to get the attention of fad hungry fans.

Whose fault is it that this young lady ended up with broken orange hair? Is it the client for not realizing that a color technique like that is for professionals only? Or is it the person who made the do-it-yourself YouTube video promising perfect results? Sadly, I would say both. Perhaps the client was naive, but the “professional” in the video should have known better. Unfortunately, this merry little video mayhem maker was looking more for attention, rather than delivering great results for viewers.

Work with what you’ve got!

There are many things that can be taught in do-it-yourself videos. Hair coloring that requires a professional is simply not one of them. Understanding color chemistry and the reaction to color on hair is one of the many vital keys to achieving good results. Not only is the chemistry of color important to know, the correct application cannot be self-applied. Even if you ask someone else to apply it, if they have no knowledge of hair or color, this still remains a formula for disaster.

The lesson to be learned here is to work with what you have and can afford. If you see a hair color that you must have then save for it. It may mean not going to the bar on Friday or buying those new shoes. It may even mean you are better off without it and leave your natural color. As a hairstylist, I can assure you that color correction one of the biggest tickets to get written in any salon. When a client walks in with an "at home” color job gone wrong, it can cost her $300 to $1,500 (yes…fifteen hundred) to repair a $10, and in this case YouTube video, mistake.

Speaking of the Internet…

During a live online interview recently, I was asked to assess someone's hair and make a decision on whether they should relax it or do a Keratin treatment. I quickly admitted I was in no position to answer the question. It is impossible to assess someone's hair when you can't see it, touch it and have a meaningful conversation about the person’s expectations, lifestyle and interest in maintenance. In all candor, I will admit to violating this rule. In the past I have had readers ask for recommendations on hair color, but only after they've provided extensive information on their hair, color and current color formula, did I respond. However, I always have included a strong disclaimer: “Unless I can see your hair in person, there are no guarantees Honey!”

Antonio Gonzales


Wednesday, August 3, 2011


One of my clients came into the salon I instantly noticed something very different: her hair was soooo thick! I commented, “Darling, your hair is gorgeous!” She smiled and casually shrugged it off. Two months later, she admitted she was pregnant. Let me tell you honey, the next time you even think you are pregnant, book an appointment and I will do the rest! LOL!

Image courtesy of my client Beatriz Royo at BHH Portraits.

Pregnancy and hair can be a very complicated. Between the chemicals to avoid and the weight gain that can’t be, I encounter many challenges with my clients as they prepare to go through the changes that happen during pregnancy. So, even before you are pregnant and you start thinking about having the stork deliver you a bundle of joy, here are some helpful tips:

A) If you have short hair, think about whether or not you would like to keep short hair as you gain weight. I recommend growing your hair a little to create some soft layers against the cheek and neckline. As time passes and you get closer to giving birth, apart from thinking about what makes you look great more importantly, think about what’s easy to manage.

B) If you have long hair, I would recommend making little changes to your style. As you gain weight soften your look by taking the length up a bit and add layers (if you don't have any). While length is good to have, there is no need to condemn yourself to a ponytail during pregnancy or after. If you have bangs you may want to consider growing them out. Having a fringe (bangs) can be a bit annoying once the baby arrives and you have much less time for yourself.

C) If you're a Blond that's a natural Brunette and you plan not to color your hair during pregnancy (which is advised) here's some advise for you. Start going darker gradually while planning to become pregnant, this way you won't have to worry about missing color appointments in your first four months of pregnancy and showing extreme roots.

D) Whatever your hair texture, start working with your hairstylist on techniques to achieve quick, easy styles. You can even invest in some beautiful hair bands or clips (no butterfly clips please).

I'm looking forward to hearing the pitter-patter of little feet :)

Antonio Gonzales


Sunday, July 31, 2011


U.S. Domination Is Over

Long wavy curls have dominated the hair styling world for way too long.

Not only has the style been abused, it actually takes away from a woman's individuality, having women of every ethnicity looking, the same with long lovely locks. It encouraged women to hold on to their long hair in order to feel they were sporting a modern look. In actuality, it has women who should not have long hair feel like they should. But to what end? To wear an unflattering look to feel like they belonged? The choice is theirs.

Now some feel that the next fad is the short wave bob, boring!!

As hairstylists, it is important to help our clients maintain their individuality. A woman's hair should only not reflect the latest fad, but be an expression of the woman herself. In other words…there should never be identical copying of hairstyles for every woman big or small short or tall. I see Fashion magazines promoting a certain haircut as the latest trend for everyone, bad idea, that's so 1980's. Explain to the client that if she's walking down the street and sees 10 other women sporting the same popular style, then it's time to rethink her hairdo (or hair don't).

I'm happy to report that we are turning a new page.

The Long & Short Of It

With new fads around the corner, I want to share my views on what I'm seeing coming forward. Are you ready? Brace yourself. Chic short hair!

This fad is for the woman who feel's secure enough to rock this “new” style (no matter what their friends say). This fad will also challenge us hairstylists. It is not only about taking hair and drastically cutting it shorter, it is about working on the client who is ready for a change and for whom the change is appropriate.

Add your personal creativity, listen to your client and take into consideration the reality of her lifestyle needs, then create a style that is made to fit. Make sure of you are offering her this short chic look that it suits her facial shape, neckline and shoulder width. Add your personal creativity, listen to your client and take into consideration the reality of her lifestyle needs, then create a style that is made to fit.

What is very different about the previous “Victoria Beckham cut” (which dominated the streets for way too long)

compared to this cut is its sophistication, strength and femininity.

The techniques we use to achieve this cut are important, its about sculpting the hairstyle be it wet or dry, via scissors or razor. Strong shapes are important but keep away from the drastic A-line or bulky graduated bobs. Styling results that are very versatile also are important, it's about precision without being dated, bulky or “Beckem”.

Only a great hair cut can be easy to style in different ways.

Color will also play an increasing part in this refreshed short style. Trends now show it's not about chunks of highlights or a slice of pink. If you want pink, go for it!

Antonio Gonzales


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


On the Train, on the bus or on the beach, its curls, waves, curls!!!! I am forced to repost this article to once again show the birth of a style that women of all races have embraced. The problem is that the fad is long gone and we need to let it die a natural death...

Hairstylists if your clients are asking for waves of this type be upfront, tell them that the look is dead and should be left alone. I know its not easy to deny a client a hairstyle that she (and her girlfriends) think is the trend. As a friend of mine said, once its a trend its old news!!

There are many versions of this style that are still safe to play with, but remember the messier the better. I wrote this article over 5 months ago, so if you forgot here it is(for the last time).

Minding my own business on the Q Train last week I noticed something interesting. Three girls were sporting the same hair do. All three of these girls were actually of different ethnicity which I thought was really cool. The look was longer hair with waves starting around the cheekbone area and gently falling around the face to the ends.

How sweet (I thought to myself) all these sisters are working the same look. It’s a look that's really easy to re-create but my only concern is that it’s already being over used on reality shows. Can I bear seeing every woman of all ages wearing it in NYC as well? It got me thinking so I started doing my research. When did this look go mainstream?

Well to my surprise as I looked through countless styles over the years it brought me to this image which was done by Orlando Pita in 1997.

Three years later Orlando Pita did Madonna for her music album and did these gorgeous waves that really matched her country and western style.

It seems like this style has changed a bit and has since changed size curl while becoming a little more coiffed (this look is too done for my liking).

Since then following the feel of longer sexy hair, we created the following looks for Fashion week (with much guidance and help from Orlando) for Oscar de Larenta's fall collection which was reminiscent of Farah Fawcett meets Dynasty.

The same week we worked on the Diane Von Furstenberg fall show giving a more textured messy feel that was still sexy. Orlando's words were "no tight curls please!" (we all smiled).

One week after my Q train experience I'm at the salon and noticed a version of these two looks that pushed the limit with texture and sex appeal. And to my surprise guess who styled the hair? Orlando (smile). So now, a look that may have started over ten years ago is being re-vamped and its sexier than ever!

Ladies its all about texture. Try braiding your hair when you go to bed, in the morning take pieces of hair and style with your iron as usual. In other words, messier is better. Or you can even do your hair the night before with the curling iron and sleep on it, and before you leave home use some Elevate by Orlando Pita to give your hair that texture that only the beach and a good roll in the hay can give (without the salt or the straw). Even braiding the hair in smaller sections and going over it with a flat iron can create the illusion of a messier slept in texture.

I wish you all messy sexy hair this summer!


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