Black Ops, Pittsburgh

Yesterday I went to Sebastian’s Black Ops event in Pittsburgh held at Capristo in Shadyside. Sebastian sent in Design Team member Will Bostock in from Philadelphia to teach a few cuts, a short cut from the Nightshade Masquerade collection and a medium length cut from the Urban Explorers collection. I was thrilled to see the short cut because, after seeing it on a Sebastian video earlier this year, it inspired me to start growing out my top and undercutting the bottom. I love the versatility, the movement, the texture… I can’t imagine having any other haircut at this point in my life. (Although I say that every time I really love a haircut.)

Will had a similar cutting philosophy to the Dove’s, so it was a nice follow up to my class two weeks ago. I really like the intuitive, organic approach to hair, although it is interesting to have someone else explain it because it really is about how you see hair and how you visualize it. Will has a very soothing disposition and it was refreshing just hearing his passion for hair. He talked a lot about staying present within one’s craft and about staying energized and attentive in between those energizing moments we all feel. Something about the way he talked seemed to resonate and connect with many moments in my past with all of the different art forms I’ve dabbled in. Almost spiritual, and reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest, though he is a Philadelphia native.

Sebastian is all about texture, shape and feel. At the class, they went over a lot of different texturizing techniques with a razor, scissors and texturizing shears, as well as an overall approach to cutting where texturizing and creating shape go hand in hand from the very beginning. Here is my cut from the class:


Since becoming a finalist in the What’s Next Awards, I have been sent numerous interviews and I keep getting different variations of: What do you want out of your career? That question has also come up a lot with friends and family. My husband finishes college at the end of the year and we are no longer tied to Pittsburgh. It isn’t that we want to move, but simply that our world opens up a little bit. So all these questions of my future have been bombarding me the last several months. And I kept wanting to say, “I will know by the end of April,” with a frightening certainty. This month has taught me a lot about myself and the beauty industry. A little bit of travel has helped me think realistically about the kinds of cities I will feel most alive in. And I am on track to having a pretty good idea what I want from my career by the end of the month.

Two Days of Training With The Doves

The Doves, Christopher and Sonya, are an incredibly successful hairdressing duo. Originally from the UK, they are based out of sunny Santa Monica and travel the world teaching, training and styling. They have won some of the top honors in the national and international hairstyling community. All the while, they are very down to earth and approachable. This year, my salon met up with some of the other Salon Vivace locations in Santa Monica to spend a few days with the Doves. Some of the more experienced stylists had met them before at prior classes and their familiarity with our company was very flattering. Sonya has such a sweet and gentle nature with so much passion, it is truly intoxicating to listen to her soft British accent. And Christopher is always entertaining, always finding the right balance if playful and attentive.

The first day we went over a long, layered bob hair cut with the razor. Razor cutting is actually something that intrigued me a lot prior to doing hair professionally. In high school and college I used the razor quite a bit and probably tortured quite a few of my friends with dull blades (so sorry to all of you!), but as of late I have primarily been working with scissors. I am excited to jump back in and try some of the techniques from the class. Their cutting style is so intuitive, less architectural than some schools of cutting (think Sassoon). Very modern and right in line with the trends to simplify. I am usually attracted to more structure, more sections, over directing this way and that way, but that is mainly because those styles are counter to my own nature. It is nice to consider returning to some degree back to a more intuitive and natural style.

We returned to scissors the second day for a rounded bob. An oval perimeter is a particularly deceiving cut because it looks much simpler than it is. It is actually one of the easiest cuts to become lopsided, and probably the cut I see the most from people who come to me for the first time needing a hair fix. Christopher showed us his own tips and tricks on how to achieve the perfect oval bob.

Sonya demonstrated some very quick and salon friendly block color techniques. I am very excited to try them on some clients! I always love block color because it is a much more thoughtful way to do color than just lining up foils over an entire head and it is better for creating emphasis and interest. It is getting the hair and its natural fall to work with and not against the stylist. I will post some pictures of the finished cuts with the color techniques later on after I am back in Pittsburgh.

Sonya and Christopher also did some demonstrations for us with the new Illumina line from Wella and baliage highlights. Christopher was also excited to show some new hair styling gadgets. All in all, they were great mentors to us product knowledge, business skills and, of course, hair cut and color techniques! I had a great time with them in Santa Monica and would definitely recommend their classes to other hair stylists. Check them out: The Doves Studio (You can also find them on Instagram and Facebook.)

Here I am with the Doves!

After the first picture and some signals going literally over my head Christopher asked for another picture and they scooped me up.