Saturday, June 30, 2012

My Boss Orlando Pita And The Burberry Ad Campaign.

Here are some beautiful images recently created by super talented individuals.
Thanks for the continuous inspiration guys!!

Hair Stylist Orlando Pita
Makeup Artist Charlotte Tilbury
Photographer Mario Testino


Friday, June 29, 2012

Henna Hair Color And Its Challanges.

Why is henna hair color so popular even though it’s a hair stylist’s biggest nightmare? Besides being cheap and easy to find, I find that many women think it’s a great alternative to chemical-based products. Henna is a vegetable-based hair color, which is used around the world by many different cultures. I recall my grandmother swearing by the powers of the all mighty henna. But remember, not everything natural is always good for you.

Here are some challenges to expect if you have henna-treated hair.

Inconsistent color results
The first time you use henna may produce great results.  But this hair color can be incredibly inconsistent. Over time, each application never resembles the first. Henna may have the capability to blend gray hair, but it becomes an overpowering stain on the hair.  It’s almost impossible to remove henna from hair without some serious product, time and slight damage to the hair. When a client walks in with years of henna product on their hair, we approach this as a "color correction."

Going lighter on henna-treated hair
If I have a new client that wants to go lighter and they have used henna on their hair…before even starting, I have to strip the henna using a strong color remover. After it’s removed I have to re-formulate the hair color by taking the root color and the faded henna on the ends into consideration. Even then, there is no way to know exactly how the new dye will react to the pre-lightened henna hair.

Going darker on henna-treated hair
If a client comes in and wants to go darker after having henna-treated hair, there is still no guarantee. I have to undergo the same process as above.

Red tones
Another major problem with henna are the ever present red tones. No matter what color you use, you will end up with reddish-brown tones
(which are never the intended result.) And when it fades you will look like someone slapped your head with a ketchup bottle!!

If you have used henna for a long time and want a drastic change, I recommend bringing loads of cash. It’s going to cost you.

Amazing how something so natural is such a pain in the ….?


Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Guide To Hair Oils.

Trinidad is home to multiple ethnicities and races, resulting in an incredible variety of hair textures. 
 My niece (in the middle) and her friends in Trinidad and Tobago.

Despite the differences, there was one unifying hair ritual across the island. Everyone rubbed oil into hair to keep it healthy and shiny. From coconut oil to Vaseline to Crisco (well…maybe not Crisco), everyone dutifully oiled his or her hair. However, as the years passed, we realized that oil actually stifles the scalp, i.e. - it can’t breathe which results in hair loss.

The Evolution of Oil-Based Products
With the introduction of hair masks, it became common knowledge across the industry that moisture came from water-based products, not oil ones. Hair masks took the market by storm for years leaving oily treatments in the dust.

Silicone, an oil substitute, was introduced to help women fight the good fight against frizz. But once low-grade silicone products flooded the market, interest in them began to wane as over use left hair super limp. 
 When Moroccan oil products entered the market, ladies went crazy!! In Trinidad and Tobago, to this day, you can’t keep them on the shelves...
  Moroccan oil is wonderful for hair. But like anything else, if it’s overused it will have the reverse effect. (A lightweight oil is now available which helps…)

Don’t Do This…
The challenge with oil is…it’s not made to be used everyday, not even every other day. When it’s overused, the hair absorbs too much, which leaves it limp. Some people apply oil every time they style their hair with a flatiron. That's too much. Think of when you pour oil on a piece of fabric. It’s hard to remove right? Hair is similar; it holds on to oil.

The Correct Way to Apply
Always start with the smallest bit of product. Less is more. Work from the ends up, avoiding the scalp.

Last time I was in Tobago, I had my niece put Moroccan oil on her hair prior to swimming in the ocean. When she came out of the salty water, her hair was gorgeous!!
 Avoiding Build-Up
Use an oil-based product only after shampooing. When applying oil, it’s important that hair is clean. Make sure your shampoo is strong enough to remove any excess build-up. If you’re using a Moroccan oil moisture base shampoo, beware it can make the problem worse by adding more oil.

I recommend using Sunday shampoo by Bumble and Bumble about once every two weeks. This will leave the hair and scalp clean allowing you to start with a fresh canvass.
  If your hair is fine, you should be very careful. Moroccan oil is intense and may not be for you. If you have thick hair, you’ll still need to be careful. Remember the idea is for your hair to be soft and shiny with life. Not an oil slick!

Safe for Color-Treated Hair?
If you dye your hair, don’t use oil as it can remove color. I worked with a hairstylist in L.A. who only used natural oils to remove hair color…seriously!

Antonio Gonzales


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Do You Want Healthy, Shiny Hair?

The dependency on permanent hair color is like our national dependence on oil. It’s got to change! ;)

I'm determined to be one of those hair stylists who posts as many articles as I can on cellophane hair products. It's an unsung hero, as it doesn’t get the attention it deserves.  Cellophane is a semi-permanent hair glaze that adds shine and color tones to hair. It contains no ammonia or peroxide and is applied on clean, towel-dried hair. It adheres to the hair with the addition of heat. FYI…without heat, it will not hold.

Here are some FAQs on cellophanes…

What is a cellophane (i.e. color shines)?
This is a vegetable-based color dye, created by the famed salon, Sebastian over 17 years ago.

What is the purpose getting it done?
It gives great shine while adding a semi-permanent color that lasts up to 8-12 shampoos.

Does it contain ammonia or peroxide?
No it does not. It's a vegetable-based color that holds to the hair with the application of 20 minutes of heat.

Can it lift your natural hair color to make it lighter?
Because there's no ammonia or peroxide, it cannot lift your natural hair color.

Does it cover gray?
No. Because lacks ammonia or peroxide, it cannot cover gray. However, if you only have a few grays hairs and your hair texture is not too thick or coarse, some of the darker colors may stain them.

Is it good on highlighted hair?
It's great for highlighted hair! If you are a beige-blond and you're looking for a little pop of golden tone and shine, this is perfect for you. Also if you're a beige-blond and need to get rid of unwanted golden tones, the Pearl color with Clear is a great combination.

Does it protect or hurt hair?
It provides protection from sun, salt, chlorine, and product build-up.

Is it good for brunettes?
Amazing for brunettes!! The colors are rich and the sun picks up on the tones beautifully!

Can it be done on top of permanent color?
Yes. There are many shades of cellophanes that can be applied on top of your permanent hair color to help prevent fading. Finding the right tone to compliment your hair color is important. If you're a cool brunette and hate warmth, don’t choose a warm cellophane color.

Any additional questions or comments, please feel free to write me!

Antonio Gonzales


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Orlando Pita On Using His Product Elevate

Have you ever used T3 Elevate by Orlando Pita? Its a must have and is used by Orlando backstage at most fashion shows around the world. Its that good :)

Antonio Gonzales


Monday, June 25, 2012

My Home Trinidad And Tobago, My Hero Peter Minshall.

As a child I lived in a small village and day after day I was lucky enough to experience something new and wonderful. Some of the things that have stayed with me include the time I learned African dance in the village community center. I vividly remember the African Baptist dressed in their white and blue head wraps and big skirts, chanting in rhythm. And I especially remember the East Indian women dancing on the corner to the beat of the Tassa drums.

During the Christmas season, the sounds of Spanish-influenced music called Parang would fill the streets. But what most sticks in my mind is, of course, Carnival!  The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is regarded as being one of the greatest shows on earth. The steel pan bands, the calypso beats…you have never seen anything like it until you see it for yourself. To describe Trinidad and Tobago's Carnival, I can sum it up in two words, Peter Minshall!

Photographed Noel Norton

I remember the first time I saw his costumes cross the stage at Carnival. I thought to myself, “What is happening!!” It was my first spiritual experience...
Here is a video that shows you the power of Peter Minshall.



Can’t get enough? Here’s more from Minshall.

 He is our first Emmy award-winning designer. And along with four other designers, he shared an award for contributions to the Opening Ceremony at the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

In his acceptance speech on September 14, 2002, at the 54th Annual Emmy Awards ceremony in California, Minshall said: “I want to thank all my ancestors. The African, the Indian, the European, all the others. They made me who I am, a Caribbean, a wonderful hybrid man. They came together and made the mas, a wonderful hybrid art, an original form of expression, never before seen.”


What’s amazing is some of these costumes were created over 20 years ago. Every time I go to the movies and I see costumes that are clearly influenced by Minshall, it makes me smile.

I look forward to bringing you all things from Trinidad and Tobago…my home sweet TnT!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Great Pedicure In Chelsea NYC

One of the things I was super excited to do when I moved back to New York was to get a real pedicure. I hate it when I book a pedicure at these fancy places and they just fuss around…which makes my toes get angry!

Attention New Yorkers. If you’re looking for an affordable but still amazing pedicure, treat your feet to some summer-loving and book an appointment with Michael at Bloomie Nails (219 8th Avenue - 212-366-6119)

I have been going to Michael for my pedicures and absolutely love, love him!! He's friendly, clean and efficient. Generally there’s a line for him, but you can avoid that by booking an appointment in advance.

I normally get a spa pedicure because after standing all day my feet (hoofs) need a lot of help!

Michael starts with soaking my feet in his special concoction of bath salts.

Then he does a thorough job on my cuticles followed by a scrub. After rinsing, a callus eliminator is applied and my feet are wrapped in plastic. At this point I can see my feet coming back to life. While my feet are wrapped, a clay mask is applied to my calves and ankles.

Ooh child…the plastic is then removed and another scrub is applied, more scrubbing happens!! Whatever he uses… it’s nice and minty!!

 ........Sorry I snoozed off for a second, he's still scrubbing.

 After a second rinsing, Michael works his magic and massages my feet until they look and feel like a newborn baby. Michael finishes by cleaning up my cuticles followed with a relaxing hot towel. I walk out feeling younger, lighter and smiling! :)

 When you go tell him Antonio sent you!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Yesterdays Inoa Experience.

Since its relaunch, the reviews have markedly improved! INOA Ammonia-Free Hair Color by L’Oréal is slowly winning our hearts. In the past, people complained about the smell, the stinging and the burning sensation it caused.

Today I used INOA on a client with coarse salt and pepper roots. It was her first visit. The rest of her hair was pretty dark… think of level 1N, black.

After an initial consultation, we agreed that we would like to eventually (in the next 6 months) make her hair a little lighter. Todays focus though was on perfect coverage on the roots and avoid darkening the ends. My aim is to make her roots one shade lighter to start the gradual process of going lighter.

With INOA I always go a level lighter than the actual color I want, because it tends to cover darker. I choose to use a level 4N using volume 20, which I normally would not use, fearing it may be too light. I want to achieve 3N

(this photo of a 4N swatch looks lighter than the actual swatch)

After 35 minutes, I shampooed and towel-dried her hair. I then mixed a gloss using L’Oréal Dia color. I Clear and a squirt of Iced Milk Shake at 10 volume. I avoided the roots and applied the gloss to the rest of the hair.

As mentioned her ends were dark but as we professionals know, using the right gloss with the right volume of peroxide, we can sometimes achieve a lift in dark ends. Even if it's by a half shade…

I left the gloss on for 10 minutes before washing her hair. Remember that we were not trying to achieve lighter ends today, only bumping the opaque color on her ends.

As I started drying it was obvious that the coverage was accomplished. 


Here's what the client had to say...

“Antonio! After I walked out of the salon, a man yelled down the street at me, ‘I want to marry you!’ I’ve never had hair that made random men profess their undying love for me! No smell or stinging, can’t wait til our next appointment.”

I'll keep you posted as I continue testing INOA to see if it stands the test of time. Remember I'm not being paid to write this. ;)


Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Wetsuit For Your Hair.

Before another sweltering, summer day passes, let me help you protect your hair from its main elements: strong sunlight, pool and salt water.

Check out Kerastase Soleil Gelee Aqua-Proof Filtre UV. It gives your hair the ultimate protection it needs on a day like today! It not only acts as a UVB filter, but will also infuse your hair with moisturizing agents. As an added bonus, it's water-resistant for all you who put in the summer hours at the beach.

This product comes as a gel. I recommend first applying it to damp hair (towel dried), then comb through to spread the product evenly. Your hair will have a wet look, which is fine because you are on the beach anyway right?

After combing your hair, you can style it into a bun, a braid or just keep it loose. Feel free to frolic and swim.

After coming out of the pool or ocean, I highly recommend rinsing your hair with water if you'll be laying out more.

At the end of the day you should use the shampoo, Bain Après-Soleil. It's designed to remove the gel.

And now Kerastase has a new product on the market, Aqua Seal Leave In Conditioner. Is a waterproof fluid-cream for sensitized hair. With protection against harmful UV rays it also provides protection against the salt water and chlorine. It leaves the hair feeling great after swimming, tames frizz and is light and creamy. 

Stay tuned for more tips on how to maintain gorgeous summer hair!


Seeing For Someone Else.

 Anyone who can read this post will appreciate this. Today I'm writing in the hopes of inspiring you to share some love with the blind.

I was walking down 23rd Street recently which is a street I often walk down. It was a beautiful day and I was looking up and appreciating the sky. This time was very different though. I had also noticed visually-impaired people walking down the street. A lot of them…all with canes and I thought to my self, I wonder if they need my help? It made me realize how often I take my sight for granted.

I opened the doors and was shown to the office where I would get my questions answered. I was pleasantly surprised that there was a blind man at the desk, answering the phone, filing papers etc. Then I realized he was a blind volunteer there to help his visually-impaired brothers and sisters. He gave me an application form and a pen and before you know it I had submitted an application to volunteer. It was that easy!

Visions are happy to have more volunteers to read emails, take people shopping and other duties that we take for granted. You can also donate money to help.

VISIONS meets all of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Standards and is an accredited charity and member of the BBB seal program for Charity Accountability.

VISIONS is a seal-holding member of the GuideStar Exchange. 
86 cents of every dollar is spent on programs with only 14 cents spent on administration and fundraising. 

I hope this information will touch a place in your heart like it did mine…


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Unisex Products I'm Loving from Spain.

Are you also obsessed with the latest serums, sexy scents, luxury candles and exquisite room sprays? Then check out The Lab Room. 

It’s a natural product line that both men and women can enjoy. Monica Ceño is a friend of ours who owns two spas in Spain. She has just created a deluxe line of skin care and bath salts, all beautifully packaged and recently featured in leading fashion magazines.

 Here are a list of my favorites that I know you'll enjoy. The first is the Tea Tree Roll On (árbol de té) which is a miracle oil. I use it on blemishes and as an after shave, as it heals the skin fast. Then I love the Facial Radiance Serum. Now that I'm at the ripe age of 40, I need a little extra love for my skin and this serum is my daily dose of "self love". It contains vitamin E, lavender essential oils and wheat germ just to name a few.

The Deluxe Body Cream smells delicious with scents of magnolia and lime and can be used from the head down. Oh and the candles, they are a-ma-zing!! Choose from scents like French Rose, Oriental Ginger, Sunset Flowers, Wild Figuer and more.

Overall I love the products and highly recommend you to try them, as the scents are relaxing and divine. And they can be found at Orlo salon.

 Great job Monica and see you soon!!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Your Hair And Cancer

Most of us know someone who's life has been affected by cancer. We know of its wrath but many of us also know brave loved ones who overcame it.
Those who have survived cancer are left with immense gratitude, knowing they have a second chance with their loved ones. But there are still ongoing struggles to deal with. One area where women and men sometimes feel helpless is with hair loss.

So often I've had clients in my chair as their hair starts growing back and they are frustrated with the new texture they are given. Some had stick straight hair and now it's curly and fine and others had curly hair and now it's straight. It's a sensitive situation and should be approached with love by your hairstylist.

If you're reading this and it sounds like you're in this situation, here are some valuable tips on what to ask for and what to stay away from. Remember, find a stylist that's sensitive enough to take the time to give you options.

1) Always start with a consultation. This allows you to figure out if you're in the right chair. See it as a relationship in the making..

2) You will want to grow your hair, but you do have options on how best to approach it.

3) Bring your products into the salon so your hairstylist sees what you were using before you underwent treatment. You'll be needing some help in this area...choosing the right products for your new hair and style.

4) You may want to use natural products. If so here are my recommendations: Hamadi Beauty products offer a wide range of shampoos, conditioners and styling products which boast that they are tested on actresses, not on animals.

 The rejuvenating pure oil by Naturina is an amazing oil that helps add shine and luster to hair. You can ask your hairstylist to add a little to your color if your scalp is sensitive.

 And the Gaia natural baby shampoo is one of the gentlest shampoo I know of, its a nourishing baby shampoo that is pH neutral, low foaming and gently cleanses hair and scalp without stripping it of its natural, protective oils. And it's certified organic!
5) If natural products are not giving you the results you want, here is a wonderful non-natural option. Kerastase Age recharge all the way baby! The shampoo and mask are amazing!!!

6) When getting your haircut, avoid thinning shears and razors. There's absolutely no need to make your hair any thinner.

7) If you're used to coloring your hair, ask your stylist to use colors that are low in ammonia. The less stress your hair endures, the better. If you're covering gray, use Herbatint.
 It covers well and is more gentle than others. You can find at your local health food store. And if you're not covering grey, but want to add some tone and shine to your hair, I highly recommend cellophanes. It will not cover grey, but is an ammonia and peroxide-free glaze that's a safe way to go. It's applied to clean, damp hair and then left to sit under a dryer for 20 minutes. It lasts for up to 8-10 shampoos. Ask your salon if they use it not ask them to get it, they can purchase a few tubes.

And lastly avoid metal hair brushes. Instead use boar bristle brushes or a Mason Pearson.

Please share this article with anyone you think may benefit.

Love to all!


Monday, June 18, 2012

New shopping in the West Village New York.

Today walking through the village I noticed that my once popular coffee shop Doma was no longer. In its place was a surf shop called Saturdays. Saturdays already has a store in Soho and now their newest location is 17 Perry Street between Waverly Place and W. 4th St.

Having some experience in surfing, I quickly walked in and started asking questions. The store has been open for a few days now and is beautiful. It's bright and spacious...they really utilized the famous, big windows that we all enjoyed when it was a coffee shop.

From surf boards to wet suits, the store is ready for business.

And if you're thinking of having a delicious espresso you can get that too, served up by some cute guys :)

 Good luck guys!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Movie watch on Comesse

I'm very excited about the upcoming release of the movie The life of Pi.

On vacation in Hawaii (Kauai) a friend recommended that I read it.  It was excellent!

The book follows the journey of a boy stranded on a boat with a tiger. The way the author describes his spiritual yet horrific journey, hooks you from the very beginning.
This story is a one of a kind, with it's magical moments. I can't wait to see what the movie is like. And from the trailer, I can see it's going to be good!!! And guess who else loved it!!!

My daughter and I just finished reading Life of Pi together. Both of us agreed we prefer the story with animals.

It is a lovely book -- an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling.

Thank you.

(signed) Barack Obama


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