Ask the Experts - The Teals

Owners of Teal Salon in Portland, OR, Ryan and DeAnnalyn Teal are highly driven, award-winning artists who are very passionate about their craft.  As educators and platform artists, they advocate intense continuing education and on-going creative inspiration. These industry leaders work hard to offer fresh and creative solutions for their clients and today are answering your gotta-know questions about your hair.

Q: Can I highlight my hair at home? If so, do you have any tips on how to do it without bad results?

Naturally I recommend having a professional do your color every time, especially with hightlights as it’s difficult to do well at home. If you are set on a home application, remember a few basics: With highlighting, a little goes a long way. Color never lifts color, you have to use bleach or a lightener to lift.  When highlighting avoid leaving it on long and definitely never sit under a dryer. Above all, write down everything you do or use on your hair. Colorists document everything, why shouldn’t you?

Q: What products do you recommend using to make my curly hair go straight?

To go straight, start with a straightening shampoo and conditioner, then work in a straightening serum or balm while your hair is damp. Blow dry small sections at a time by flat wrapping the hair to the shape of your head with a Denman brush, with light tension to undo the natural curl. If you still need more control, use a thermal protectant and flat iron your hair where needed.

Q: How about when I want to make it curly again?

For a nice curl, use a good mousse and diffuse-dry without touching the hair too much.

Q: Do you recommend shine-enhancers for curly hair?

Yes, a good gloss product will add luster and help define the curls. Don’t use too much though, as it will tend to weight the hair down. Pomades are usually too heavy, so look for a lightweight gloss product and work it into the hair, not just on the surface. For shine, consider having a clear gloss applied right over your color. It will help your color stay fresh and add natural looking shine to your look everyday.

Q: I have long hair that falls to the center of my back. In the past, I've bought the wrong size curling iron for my hair length. What's the best way to determine the barrel size I should get?

The size of the barrel dictates the size of the curl not the length of hair. If you have tons of long hair, consider taking smaller sections when you curl. A larger diameter curling iron should be used for a soft wave or bend while a medium sized iron gives a good basic curl. Smaller irons are better for shorter hair or very tight curls on smaller sections. 

Q: What's the correct way to use a curling iron, including products? I see so many stars with long, curly hair and I just can't seem to get the technique right. Or, should I use rollers instead?

You can use a larger curling iron for soft waves or a medium one for bouncy curls. Hot rollers can also work. Either way start with a good thermal protectant to curb heat damage and consider a pliable working spray. Spray each section before curling, making sure to not “fish hook” the ends.  Work slowly and create the curl with the iron or hot rollers and allow it cool before touching it. Once the entire head is done, carefully work back through with your fingers to lightly break everything up. A small amount of gloss will help define and a medium to heavy hold spray will help keep the look.

Q: I'd love to try extensions, but I don't have the money to spend on really expensive ones. Are any of the clip-on kinds good?

I love the clip on kinds, I’ve learned how to apply the other brands but I fall back on clip-ons all the time because it’s easy, especially for special occasions or when doing session photo shoots.  With the other methods you have to be committed for a while.

Q: I am starting to get some gray hair but not enough to color my entire head. Is there something I can do to cover a few strands?

A little gray can we woven over the top to help blend if needed. Do remember that gray reacts differently than the rest of your hair. You may have to go one level lighter or darker to cover. When dealing with gray, talk to a qualified colorist about your specific hair.

Q: Is curly hair going to be as popular as it was years ago? How is it different now?

Yes, curl and wave are here for a while. It’s the other end of the fashion pendulum after so many years of stick straight hair. Curl is different in that it is looser and not fuzzy or frizzy like before. It’s touchable, shiny and healthy looking. Products for enhancing or creating curl are definitely better as are the tools.  There’s a lot more product and tool knowledge at all levels to help you create these looks. Talk with your stylist to get a feel for all the ways curl or wave can enhance your look.

Q: I wish I had the nerve to have my hair cut really short (it's currently about shoulder-length). I think I'd look good, but what if I don't like it? Is there any way I can predict how I'll look in short hair before I actually "do the deed"?

If you wear your hair in a ponytail and look good, then you will likely look good with short hair. No matter what you do, first consult your stylist and show them samples of what you are interested in doing long term. Ask if they think your face shape and hair can do that style. If not, ask what it can do. 

If you are still really hesitant to make such a drastic change, consider lots of smaller changes. Take your shoulder length hair a little shorter or into a new shape. Next take it up an inch or two then to your chin and see what you think. If you like it and want to go further you can. If it’s just too much for you, stop and allow it to grow back out again. Who knows, you may find a mid length style you like better! If nothing else you got try on several style in the mean time. It’s sort of like a lease to own program for your hair.

Q: I have my hair cut into a jaw-length bob with bangs. I like the way it looks, but I'm wondering how I can wear it when I want to dress it up. Any suggestions?

A classic way to dress up your bob is to slick it back. Liberally apply slick gel and distribute it through your hair. Run a fine toothed comb through your strands directing it all back close to the head and tucking the sides behind your ears.

A pin curl set all over or even just around the bottom of your hair can also be fun. Apply a medium hold gel on wet hair and comb through to distribute well. Take a section of hair and wrap it around your finger or fingers (depending how big you want the curls. Place you finger with the section of hair wrapped around it against your head and anchor the section with a bobby pin. Wait until your hair is completely dry, and then undo the pins and finger brush through the curls to lightly break them up.

Q: Are there any tips for figuring out whether I should part my hair down the center, on the left or on the right? I know that some people can wear their hair anyway they like and it looks great. I can't seem to do that.

There are several factors to determining your part. The natural growth pattern of your hair and your face shape both play a large role. To find your natural part, comb your dry hair straight back off your face like you are doing a ponytail, then allow some slack and push your hair forward. Your hair will move or buckle to where it wants to naturally part.

Sometimes if you leave your hair in the natural part, it hair can look flat or too thin, so parting your hair on the opposite side can give you some much-needed lift.

As far as face structures go, if you have an oval shaped face you can part your hair most anywhere your hair will allow and it should look good. Wider or rounder shaped faces need some height on top so it might be advisable to go against your natural part to gain some lift.  Longer faces will elongate even more with a center part so a side or deep side part is a good idea in this case.

Q: I have a slight natural wave to my long hair and I love these wavy styles I see celebrities wear, but I can’t seem to get my hair to look the same. What can I do?

There are two ways to get wave. One is to activate your natural wave, which you are fortunate enough to have. I suggest applying mousse all over on damp hair, then splitting your hair into three sections; the top of your head, the middle area and the very back or underneath part. Use a diffuser on your blow-dry and set each section of hair one at a time into the diffuse and allow the hair to completely dry without moving it around. This encourage your natural texture to show and will likely have a soft ripple effect throughout your hair.

For more of a structured wave, start with already dry hair. Divide your hair up into the three sections outlined before, then take vertical sub-sections. Spray each section with a soft working spray and curl it loosely with a large or extra large curling iron. Let the curl slip back out of the iron and allow it to cool. Once your entire head is curled, either leave the curls intact or break them up slightly by running shine serum coated fingers through them.

Q: I want to try something different with my hair but my school won’t allow anything weird. What can you suggest for when we go clubbing?

For everyday wear look into having some layering done to update your look. Maybe even some bangs. There are lots of great cuts you can do that can be worn one way during the day and changed up for a night out on the town. For clubbing, consider pumping up the volume with texture! Lots of fun curls can make for a wild finished look. Also clip in hairpieces can give you an edge to both your color and texture without having to permanently change your hair.

I’ve always been told that I would look good with red hair. I’m naturally a dishwater blonde with some red in my fair skin tone. I am ready to make some sort of change but red, especially bright red makes me a little nervous. How can I know if red of any shade is right for me?

We absolutely love reds so we naturally say YES! On the other hand a big change should always have some thought and research behind it. If you have not changed your hair in the past two years, it’s definitely time for at least an update…and if you are going to update, now is the time to consider all options. Trying on wigs can give you a rough idea of what color might work for you, but a good colorist will definitely have the answers for you.  If red is a possibility, consider having your blonde highlighted and add some coppery reds in as a lowlight. It’ll add some dimension but keep you in the blonde range with a few bits here and there for fun. If you decide you like the red, then have more added the next time or even go for an all over red right over everything.

Q: I hear that it’s bad to brush your hair when it’s wet. Is that true?

Yes and no. It’s always bad to brush your hair wet or dry if it’s done incorrectly.  Healthy hair can stretch quite far when it’s wet and not be damaged but it’s never a good idea to yank or pull on your hair. I suggest using a detangler on damp strands then work through your hair slowly in smaller sections starting at the ends, brushing or combing in the direction your hair grows and working through a bit at a time until you reach the roots. If you prefer a brush, make sure it’s a good quality tool with no rough spots that your hair can get caught in. A wide toothed comb may be a better idea if you have curly, thick or coarse hair. 

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