Sunday, January 30, 2011



Hair Care : Man Up!

When I was a child growing up in Trinidad, all my mother could afford was a haircut with the local barber. This was not at all your traditional barber; he was always a bit liquored up and would cut my hair on a bucket in the back of his house [smile]. As I entered my teens, growing my hair meant freedom. It was an introduction to understanding my individuality and an originality of appearance (as simple as it may be).

Today, after having worked with all hair textures and lengths, I endeavor very hard to share my knowledge with my male clients helping them be themselves through their hair. I would like to take this opportunity to help other men understand their hair and feel comfortable going into any salon and knowing precisely what to ask for and how to ask for it.

I’ve had the privilege of working with an endless selection of men's hair products and testing those very products continuously for several companies. I pride myself in specializing in men's hair color with an open mind to the needs of my clientele using several painting techniques to achieve a hair color that's masculine, long lasting and natural.

Having been on the radio to discuss men's hair while also contributing endless articles to online beauty websites, I have decided to create a “go to” place for all men to learn about their hair and move forward in embracing their own originality.


Saturday, January 29, 2011


South Beach...Aqui Vengo

Before I share the details of a new and exciting chapter of my personal life with you, I want to thank some very special people in my professional life here in New York.

Working with legendary hairdresser Orlando Pita,

the famed and fabulous Joe Martino,

and the very inspirational George Casson, has been transcendent. I will forever be grateful to them for opening my eyes to a new vision in the world of hair, for furthering my training in details and techniques I didn't even know existed, until this experience.

A simple "Thank you" simply falls short when I think about how generous and loving they've been with their the time, patience and limitless skill. Assisting Orlando during two seasons of Mercedez Benz Fashion Week were easily the most challenging times in my career and I loved every minute of it!!

Orlando, you will always remain an amazing personal and professional inspiration and I look forward to following your continued powerful impact in our industry.

(deep breath)

My clients know how important it is for me to consistently work towards bettering my skill and broadening my scope in an industry that I love so much. It is this passion that I am following as I move to Miami Beach, Florida and dare to take on hair where humidity, heat and the sun might be a challenge for some...but for me, It will be a labor of love. I am much more at home in the tropics being from Trinidad & Tobago!

South Beach is where you will find me now, passionate about my clients and making new friends while always cherishing those I won't be able to see as often. I remain forever grateful and proud of my time as a member of team Orlo. Now you all have an excuse to visit to South Beach...come play with me!

Antonio Gonzales


Sunday, January 23, 2011


As beauty professionals, using effective products and having the ability to direct my clients where to purchase them is all-important. I believe that it's my job to share my knowledge and guide them away from unnecessary or overpriced items (not to mention overly aggressive salespeople). With that in mind, one thing makes this aspect of my job easier: geography. New York is obviously one of the best places on the planet to acquire top-level hair tools and products to help any salon professional or at-home novice feel and look beautiful. Some of these items encompass the latest, chicest brands, while some may represent the best of the old-school "old faithfuls" on today's market.

On my first trip to New York in 1989—to attend an international hair show at the Javits Center—I was exposed to a world of haircare, cutting-edge tools, and out-there, talented hairdressers the likes of which I'd never seen (and in some cases, haven't seen since!). It blew my mind to see so many stylists under one roof, learning and shopping all together. On that trip, following the show but before we left the city, we remembered one item we had neglected to pick up. My friend Anthony assured us, "Don't worry—I know exactly where to go: Ray Beauty Supply!"

Long before Sephora and Ricky's there was Ray—then and now a favorite beauty supply shop for many visiting hairdressers from around the world. I recently visited on of my beauty-supply runs, and took a moment to chat with Mike, a manager at the store.

ANTONIO GONZALEZ: Who initially the company, and how long have you actually been in business?

RAY BEAUTY SUPPLY: Hi! I appreciate that you're taking the time to honor my store! It is a special store indeed... it's owned by the Mastrangelo family. Perry, the father, purchased Ray Beauty from a family named Ray, and has been running it for 50 great years—and hopefully will for 50 more.

I love coming to your store and hearing a Trinidadian accent. It reminds me of home!

Yeah, we do have a Trinidadian working at our store. He's the repairman, cashier and all-around complainer, but we love him and he does a great job!

I find many other beauty supply stores so overpriced. How do you manage to keep your prices fair?

We try to give everyone a fair price while keeping the roof over our heads and paying our employees good wages. In today's world it gets harder and harder, especially with Internet sales, where someone sells from a garage with no overhead—and very little knowledge of the industry, as well. We really aim to keep our customers happy.

What do you offer customers that other, more "glitzy" beauty supplies don't?

Our helpful staff has great knowledge of an industry we all love. We explain things to both the novice and professional the same way, leaving everyone more informed. For example: People tend to buy tools by reviews they read. Now if it turns out they're not satisfied with that tool, then what happens? By working with a knowledgeable supplier, making a purchase becomes easier. We honestly care more about the person then the profit.

Approximately how many different brands do you carry?

We offer over 30 brands hair-care brands and 25 different brands of professional equipment. Plus, we also special-order products and equipment.

In a fast-changing economic climate, can we expect to have Ray in our lives for years to come?

We really hope so. With the state of the economy, though, it is getting harder. We once employed 12 workers; now we're at only five. But we keep the faith.

You are definitely one of the unsung heroes of Manhattan's beauty industry. I sincerely thank you for all these years of top-notch service.

Let me again thank you, and we look forward to seeing you again real soon!


Saturday, January 22, 2011


Personal Training at its Peak!

Growing up in the tropics, I was always a very skinny kid. I thought that being thin was a curse. Through my teenage years it just seemed as though everyone else was gaining weight but me. While residing in Los Angeles in my late twenties, I started going to the gym despite the fear of being killed by a barbell. I was persistent, hoping to achieve results.

Upon relocating to New York City, I sought the assistance and expertise of personal trainer’s employed by some of Manhattan’s leading gyms. I had even explored the possibility of personal training at home. Instantly, I started seeing results and loved every minute of it regardless of how much I despised lifting weights (especially alone).

Over the years I’ve been to some of the least expensive gyms and some of the more luxurious. Some trainers were exceptional while others were just getting by (even at the fancy gyms in Chelsea). After seven different trainers, I reached a point where I was quite comfortable with my body and the way I felt; I figured my physique could not possibly get any better.

And then I met David Cole.

Someone recommended David to me and also suggested I tour Peak Gym. Being one to try anything new once, I decided to give it a shot. From the onset, I noticed something very different about David’s techniques aside from the fact he had nothing to prove. I’ve had trainers who proceed with routines as though I was preparing for a triathlon. I’d be all over the gym like a chicken without a head.

David was very focused on me and refrained from small talk with his colleagues and/or other clients (which I’d experienced first-hand at other gyms). It was as if I was the only person in the entire gym. He carefully assessed my body and explained that he is a “personal trainer” and that I would receive “personal training”. He mentioned that it would take time for him to familiarize himself with my capabilities.

With each exercise, he blew my mind away with his knowledge, consistency and ability to teach and most importantly, listen. I started seeing the change in my body; muscles I had never seen before started to appear from head to toe. Literally. David had somehow managed to push my body while remaining cognizant of how far he could go.

Here’s more on David Cole.

A : When people are working out alone, what is the biggest mistake they make?
D : They don’t plan. Start with the basics; three sets of three exercises will keep you from doing your favorite body part to death, which creates asymmetries and could injure you.

A : What is the first thing someone should do when looking for the right trainer?
D : If you have the opportunity to do so, watch them work. Make sure their attention is on their client(s) and not their cell phone.

A : Why did you choose Peak Gym (which I love)?
D : I was actually invited. However, I’ve stayed because the management takes such pride in the establishment. It’s more than just a gym.

A : I can’t seem to count how many different muscles I’ve discovered on my body since training with you. You mentioned having researched various body types and several techniques (i.e. Bruce Lee, Arnold Schwarzenegger). Tell me more.
D : I’ve learned a lot about how what works for one individual doesn’t necessarily work for another. A lot of trainers haven’t caught on and just have their clients do what they’ve done. This is not always productive. I do like to show people everything I can. However, I try to teach people how to learn what works for them. This includes the difference between the burn, the pump, fatigue and failure.

A : You have a knack for “serious boundaries”. Was that part of your school training?
D : It has to do with reading people. I’m an open book, but I would never discuss something that would distract a client or bring negative energy. The other day I told you about a fight I had with my wife. I knew you would laugh, but I wouldn’t tell the same story to many of my female clients because their initial reaction would have been “oh no!” We don’t want that in the gym.

A : I have always seemed to get my way with trainers (not doing legs). You were different.
D : When a client doesn’t want to do legs, it’s often an easy out for trainers. There’s a lot to watch and a lot of responsibility when you load someone with the weight required for a great leg workout. If your trainer is okay with you not doing legs, then ultimately he is not doing his job.

A : How many times a week do you workout?
D : I’ll workout at least five times a week, even if it’s for ten minutes. It’s not quantity, it’s quality!

A : How should you divorce your trainer?
D : With notice! Remember, you’re somebody’s paycheck. All the private trainers I know get paid in advance. Whether you pay $50.00 for training or $150.00, that could be someone’s rent. That being said, simply say “I can’t justify the expense”. This is something everyone can relate to. We all know the 50-inch TV is better than the 42-inch TV, but is it worth the price? I think this is both polite and it doesn’t diminish the value of the service.

I can safely recommend David Cole to anyone and know that they will get their money’s worth.

Thank you David for restoring my faith in your profession.

Davids contact.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011





Monday, January 17, 2011


Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago I was surrounded by so much amazing music. From Calypso Rose

and Denyse Plummer

to East Indian music, I absolutely loved it all. Apart from the local rhythms, international stars like Diana Ross

Shirley Bassey

and the Three Degrees were

all equally inspirational to me. Although their musical flavors were distinctly different, these divas had one thing in common. Their hair! Be it 100% theirs or not, as they performed you could not help but love their hair!

Genetically gifted with direct African decent or beautifully bi-racial, these talented artists proudly wore their hair voluminous, sexy and soft. As they sang, their hair gave love as well. From medium length hair, full hair to the waist or a fierce Afro, these looks signified sexiness and completed every performance.

Sadly, today I see far too many women in New York wearing their hair chemically over processed, or tucked under slicked wigs and unfortunate hairpieces. Such camouflage is the opposite of what strong black women represent, and frankly, most of it is painfully visually unappealing. It removes all originality when women try to conform to what they think society wants them to look like.

The truth is, women of African decent possess a beauty that many are willing to go under the knife for. Their luscious lips and strong cheekbones, together with their personalities, allow them to uniquely shine.

As a man who grew up in the Caribbean in a very Afro-centric village, I urge women today to reconsider these flat wigs and over processed hair. Give your scalp a break, grow out your hair and let's celebrate that beautiful texture. Let’s have fun and braid it or blow it occasionally. Celebrate the legacy of your rich heritage and be part of the movement to bring back the Afro!

Channel your inner Donna Summer baby!!

If your scalp and hair are healthy and you want to add some spice to a night on the town, add some hair that's big, soft and sexy! Walk down the street with a smile and attitude because your hips and your hair are moving to their own special beat.

Can a strong black woman really feel sexy while wearing a slicked wig or severely broken hair? I honestly believe wigs hide a black women’s true beauty. I would prefer to see healthy hair any day, but that's just my opinion.

Love to the Afro!

Antonio Gonzales


Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Very early on, before becoming a hairstylist, I would usually enter a salon and innocently request a hairstyle from a magazine or choose a celebrity’s style to cut and paste onto myself. Back then I hardly gave any thought at all to whether or not the cut was 'right' for me. By that I mean, would the cut work with the shape of my face, the texture of my hair and all the other variables that should have gone into creating a style for me as an individual.

Ironically enough, it's those very concerns that go into creating the iconic styles I and virtually everyone else, at one time or another, have sought to adopt for ourselves. Rest assured a great deal of planning, decision making and care has gone into every style that has caught our eye on a cover, runway, screen or red carpet. The results are well worth the effort.

That's why today, after 20 years of refining my craft, I do everything in my power to gently guide my clients to seek their own personal identity and hairstyle as opposed to wearing someone else's’, regardless of how famous or currently fashionable that someone might be. After all, it's my job to help them celebrate their personal beauty by creating a great haircut just for them.

Here then is a list of the variables I consider for everyone in my chair before beginning to create that unique haircut for them;

1- What is the general shape of the face? Is it oval, round or square?

2- Is the forehead narrow or wide and is the hairline high? Keep in mind the shape of the forehead determines how much fringe you can wear successfully.

3- The ears are next. If they protrude and your hair is fine you may require a little lift as opposed to a straight and slick look. Remember, we're creating something for you and your ears are your ears so we must embrace what's given us. But with a little help from layering we can soften the ear area.


4- Now for the cheekbones. Are they pronounced? If not, opening up layers around the face will be helpful, while heaviness in this area will work against you.

5- On to the nose. If it is somewhat sharp care must be taken to create a haircut that does not make it look even sharper in profile.

6- The chin. In the case of a bob, for instance, the length should be guided by the shape of the chin and will make all the difference in the world.


7- Saving the best for last, we finally consider the neck and shoulders, so vital to any haircut. Nothing quite sets off the right haircut like a long sexy neck so we never should hide that kind of neck with too much hair. With a shorter neck, opening up the neck and shoulder area with layers will create the sexiness we seek.

I don't believe in encouraging my clients to try for someone else's look, not when they can look so much better as themselves.

I wish you beautiful hair.



Sunday, January 9, 2011

My recent work.

Recently I got together with a very creative group of friends to make this video. We decided a freshly shaved head for the model would be best, Hope you like it!

Director- Liman Cheng
Creative Direction- Reginald Pointujour
Model- Adrian Zuniga
Hair- Antonio Gonzales
Makeup- Haruka Hirooka
Music Editor- Michael Wang


Monday, January 3, 2011


When it came to shopping, I was an avid "emotional shopper," always hoping the buzz of acquisition would make me feel better. It always did—for a second—but never much longer. Little did I know that the ripe age of 39, I would discover that happiness is an inside job. Why the hell didn't I get this memo before?

Now a shopping experience means that I'm buying an item (or service) after careful consideration, usually something that I've found to be original with quality and creativity. After not buying jewelry for many years, I began a careful, conscientious search for a simple piece that can almost disappear around my neck... a piece devoid of bling but having an artistic quality.

After seeing Gabriel J Shuldiner's last collection I became very excited, because it was exactly along the lines of what i wanted and I found it to be quite affordable. As I looked through the rest of his collection, I realized I was buying a piece of jewelry that was a small part of an incredibly creative collection. Here are more pieces from my very talented friend Gabriel.


Saturday, January 1, 2011


A quick trip home to see my niece and nephew in beautiful Tobago coincided with a huge snowstorm back in New York, resulting in my being stuck for days in the Caribbean (there are worse places to be stranded, right?).
I had given the kids new haircuts and love looking back over these photos of them smiling, happy with their new looks. The one thing that's expected of me during my visit (apart from devouring every local fruit I can get my hands on) is to educate the kids on looking after their hair, since they are on the beach daily and therefore especially prone to sun and salt-water damage. Needless to say, as I hadn’t been to Tobago for almost a full year, I had my job cut out for me.

One factor relevant to my niece and nephew’s hair care is their ethnic background. Their mother and I are of Portuguese, Venezuelan and African descent, while their dad is Swiss. My nephew’s hair was white as a baby, and now at 13 years old it’s medium-brown with blond highlights (from daily surfing in the sun, no doubt). Now, the front of his hair is straight, gradually curling toward the back of his head. He asked that I keep the length of his hair, but said he dislikes the weight he feels at the back of his head. His hair was very uneven from a previous cut—very long at the back and short over the ears and long again at the front. He loves when I cut his dry hair with the razor (he's fascinated by this!), so I didn’t have much of a choice in terms of tools.

Starting at the back of his head, I razored with a scooping effect, starting close to the scalp and moving through to the ends. With this technique I avoid removing unnecessary bulk, while also helping the hair to grow in with increased movement while remaining light in density. As I moved forward I maneuvered the front of the blade closer to the ends (there not being much weight in this area). In other words, I focused primarily on the shape as I moved to the front of his hair. Any fringe responds better to a dry cut than a wet one, so for him, the former is always an advantage anyhow. I also find I have more control when cutting the fringe dry. When it's wet, so much can go wrong, resulting in an undesirable, lifeless fringe. I then just styled it with a little Moroccan oil and he was off to the waves.

My niece—who has the most beautiful long, dark tresses—hadn’t had a cut since my last visit: Now
that's commitment! As you can imagine, her ends were quite dry and the layers were really grown out, leaving her look a little drab and faded out. I had her shampoo, towel-dry, and comb some Moroccan oil through from roots to ends. After assessing the situation, I decided to cut her hair wet with scissors, as this makes it easy to see the weaker, wet ends lying limp. As I continued my cut, the layers around her face began to dry a bit… perfect conditions for me to then apply the razor. I had barely finished the cut and she was running off with her friends.

I recommended that she always add a little Moroccan oil to her ends before entering the ocean, as it helps condition the hair while she’s in the water, protecting it for a long wait until my next trip home! With salt-water contact, the oil helps so much to avoid tangling and maintaining a gorgeous shine, shine, shine!

Antonio Gonzales


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