Grit, Determination and Hypervigilance

December was a tough month for everyone

Thomas Fire:  281,893 acres burned in Ventura, Ojai, Carpinteria, Summerland and Santa Barbara. 1093 structures destroyed and 280 structures damaged

Thomas Fire Map

Thomas Fire Map and Evacuation Areas

Hypervigilance

I live and work on The Mesa.  You can see on the map how the fire circled around downtown and the Mesa.  The Firefighters held the line along Mission Canyon and 192 to protect as many people and properties as possible.  They held a town hall briefing at 4:00 everyday.  We watched on Facebook.  All the agencies involved were represented and answered any questions the public had.  All the agencies complimented each other on how well coordination and communications were done throughout the emergency.  It was really awesome and really terrifying.

The outside air quality was anywhere from “unhealthy” to “not recommended for sensitive groups”.  N95 masks were distributed to the public, free of charge from a group called Direct Relief.  I read they distributed somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000 masks.  We were cooped up.  I had not experienced that kind of cabin fever since the winter of 2013.  Where in Minnesota, there were 53 straight days of below zero temperatures.  But I digress, that’s what got us to Santa Barbara to begin with! Somehow during this time I caught a whopper of a cold which made is much easier to binge watch the news with minute by minute updates about the fire.  I went through two boxes of tissues, but I had my trusty dog by my side…

Then the rain came  

The Rain storm started about 3:30 am on January 9th.  I only know because for some reason Patrick got up, I opened one eye at the time and then went back to sleep.  The estimates are somewhere in the 1 inch per hour range for awhile and 1/4 of and inch per hour during the late morning.  Patrick was concerned about our new retaining wall, which fell during the winter storm last year.  Yes it held.

Then came the devastating mud slides.  I read that the burned chaparral caused a waxy residue to form on top of the charred dirt.  This did not allow the rain to be absorbed and caused the water to run down the mountains and pick up earth and boulders that eventually hit Montecito.  You might not be familiar with this little Santa Barbara enclave, but you might know some if it’s residents.  Oprah moved in a few years ago.  So did Ellen and Portia de Rossi.  Rob Lowe fed Fire Fighters in his kitchen.  But my favorite is of course The Dude, Jeff Bridges.  I do have a six degrees of separation story there, but that’s for another time.  21 people died and I think 2 are still missing.  A few of these souls were in the voluntary evacuation area.  It’s difficult to fathom the terror they must have felt.  This is actually the first time I’ve been able to watch any video of the damage,  it’s just too heartbreaking.

But I’ll always have my dog by my side

And as if this were not enough, the universe provided one last blow, my beloved rescue Berner Louie died after a very sudden and devastating illness.  The Saturday before Christmas, he started to limp and then knuckle his toes.  We brought him in to AVS to be looked at.  They took some X-rays, but the Vet felt that there was nothing really remarkable about them.  She mentioned the atrophy in his legs, but suggested rest, anti inflammatories and some pain management.  He got up under his own power and came home.  By the Wednesday after the Holiday, Louie wasn’t able to get up on his own, and was unable to use his hind legs at all.  We went back to AVS and were told that there really wasn’t any hope.  He no longer had any feeling in his back legs and was unable to go to the bathroom on his own. Louie’s paralysis would most likely be progressiv. We made the gut wrenching decision to let him go.  We try to reconcile our grief with the fact that he had an amazing five years with us and really became the dog he was always supposed to be.  I guess that was his Karma.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Louie “Booboo” Kelly

Grit and Determination

It’s difficult to see the bright side in all of this, but some good came out it all.  Santa Barbara came together with grit and determination.  Everybody pitched in in one way or another.  Mira Bella Salon and Spa decided to give a Direct Relief donation in lieu of our holiday celebrations.  Direct Relief distributed masks, first aid and vaccinations for workers in the mud slide area.  What is not widely known is that the CEO of Direct Relief is a resident of Montecito and was personally impacted by the fire and the flood.

We were joined at Mira Bella by Patricia Noel Studio.  The stylists there worked with us for 10 days while Coastal Village Road was cleaned up and until it was safe to return to their home salon.  They are amazingly busy Hairdressers and brought a buzz to our shop we haven’t seen in awhile.  It was great to welcome and support our hairdressing community and lift the spirits and business of another shop during this really difficult time.  We’ve made some great friends.

The sunshine has returned and along with it some unusually warm weather.  Santa Barbara is healing from the fire and the floods.  We hug each other a little tighter and give each other the help we need.  I think that is the lesson I’m supposed to take away from all of this.  I’m not alone and it’s okay to let others lead and be strong when I just can’t.

Stay strong 805

Natural Hair Texture: where the curls are.

It’s my personal mission to get everyone to embrace their natural hair texture.  I love to work with curly hair, but straight, wavy, or curly I want all my clients to enjoy their hair as much as I do! 

Curl Type

There are a couple of systems out there to help define what “type” of curl you have.  There is the 1, 2, 3, a, b, and c system credited to Andre Walker (Oprah’s hair guru).  Naturally Curly has some great photos of each curl type.  This is the most used method.  There is also the Mizani system which is a simple I, II, II, IV.  I tend to gravitate to just two groups, tight curls or loose curls (I will also accept wavy, but in my mind, it’s really loose curls).

Curl enhancing products

Most naturally curly hair tends to lean toward the dry side.  If you think about it, curlies have more of their hair exposed to the environment.  Straight hair has a veil of hair that protects the hair underneath, only one side of that veil is hit by the sun.  It’s important to support your curls with moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.  There are a lot of styling products out there that can protect your hair form the elements.  Most contain sunscreen these days.  Also, curly hair doesn’t reflect the light like straight hair does, so I like to finish with a shine spray so it sparkles.

moisture for curly hair

Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner

The Enemy

Heat styling is the enemy.  When I style your hair in the salon, I’ll use a diffuser attachment to my blow dryer.  I do that to expedite the drying process so you can see the finished cut or color.  However, on a daily basis I would prefer you air dry our hair.  If you use a micro fiber towel and a curl cream or styling lotion you should be able to get a great curl formation without the frizz.  I’m not against enhancing some wavier areas with a curling iron, please use a heat protectant product beforehand and absolutely do not try to curl wet hair.  Make sure it’s 100% dry before you heat style.

curly hair protections

Protection from the elements.

Coloring curly hair

Our natural hair texture tends to be more porous (like a sponge).  If you want to make your color last longer, make sure to use a color preserving shampoo and conditioner.  There are also color enhancing shampoos to reinvigorate your color between services.  That said, I’m a big fan of shampoo for your secondary issue and condition for your primary issue.  So if your color treated hair is dry, go with the color preserving shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner.

protecting products

Color Hold Shampoo and Conditioner

Perms and Relaxers

Philosophically I’m not a fan.  Remember my mission is to help everyone to embrace their natural hair texture?  I sure appreciate the struggle, I know the grass is always greener on the other side.  If you have straight hair, you long for body and curl.  If you have really curly hair, you lament the lack of control and frizz.  Perms can give anyone curl, but they can also reform curls into a tighter or looser pattern.  It can get all those curls going in the same direction or create natural variations in size and flow.  Relaxing hair is also reforming the curls into a looser to almost straight pattern.  Both of these processes use chemicals to break down the protein bonds in your hair and reformat them into either the shape of a perm rod or a flat iron.  Frankly I prefer to minimize my exposure to these chemicals and I hope you do too.

Embrace your Texture

I encourage all my clients to enjoy the hair that they have.  I’m happy to recommend products to help each and every one of you manage your curly hair and rock those coils!  Let’s discuss the struggles you’ve had with your hair and I’ll tailor a cocktail especially for your hair type and styling preferences.  Would I prefer that you use Alterna products?  Yep, but there are plenty of other options.  I can help.

Sarah Kelly

805.324.7950

Hair Inspiration. Some people who inspire me to be a better hairstylist.

Hair inspiration is all around me. I’m inspired by everything from Architecture to Organic Design.  I won’t go into detail here about my love of all things Frank Lloyd Wright,  but I thought I should talk a little bit about some people in the hair business who inspire me on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, eternal basis.

 

My first hair inspiration, Horst and the Aveda Institute:

I attended the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis because the first hair stylist that inspired me was Horst Rechelbacher. Horst was and will always be a huge influence on the way I go about cutting hair.

I met Horst once at his salon Horst and Friends in Deep Haven.  Maybe I was 16 or 17 and my hair was not as curly as it is now.  I wanted a curly perm so I wouldn’t have to style my hair every morning.  I’ve long forgotten the young lady’s name who diligently rolled my curls, but when she rinsed my hair, Horst checked it and declared in ‘good’ and I was smitten.

Horst, mentor, p3 hair, sarah kelly, santa barbara hair, sbhair

The teacher of all my Teachers

Horst founded Aveda with the idea that great hair was derived from great products and great products came from plants not from petrochemicals.  Horst was on the bleeding edge of organic, chemical free beauty products.  I clearly drank the Aveda koolaid and I’m not sorry.

My teachers at Aveda worked with and were taught by Horst and his legacy lives on.  I felt his work and compassion and drive through my educators.  They were pretty strict.

Matt Beck is in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

When I say that I’m inspired weekly of course I’m talking about YouTube.  There are a couple of guys putting out videos of their process almost every week.  There is a ton of education out there.  When I need some technical inspiration I go to Free Salon Education.  Matt Beck takes some pretty technical concepts and breaks them down to a step by step – how to video.  I also like him a lot because he’s primarily a cutter, and uses color to enhance his haircuts.

Matt is an incredibly humble and gracious guy to share what he knows with hairdressers and do it for free.  I’m really grateful.  Matt is in Pennsylvania and he just built an amazing (professional) studio to create his content.  I’m going to his monthly tutorials group.

Maksim Nikitochkin is in Odessa, Ukraine.

I will probably never have a chance to meet him but he is the most precise cutter I’ve ever seen.  His sectioning is out of this world.  He divides the head shape up with such amazing visualizations of what he wants the hair to do.  Maksim cuts and folds and pushes hair to create shapes that push the boundaries of how hair would naturally fall, but it does!

I also love the depiction of the layers and the angles of the cut, so that you can see how to really construct the haircut.  And can we talk about the sound track!  He really puts the whole thing together in a dynamic and interesting way, no?

There’s another YouTuber who cuts like a machine.  Marina Lantos cuts with such clean, precise sections I’m pretty sure she would put those Japanese robots to shame.

Theo Knoop is from Nijmegen, Netherlands.

I cannot get enough of Theo Knoop.  He cracks me up everytime he says he always uses protection (what he’s referring to is protecting his skin and the skin of his guest, but ya know).  This guy is all about the flow.  He uses specific facial features to inform his cutting.  Generally focusing on the brow  and chin bones to accentuate the features of each client.  I love that he chats with his clients in Dutch and then tells us in English what his doing with the hair.  I also love that he too is a L’anza Stylist.  He really inspires me to use more of their products.  Theo’s style is organic in nature, but his results are usually quite trendy.  I can see most of his guests rocking his styles at the clubs in Amsterdam.

Tony Caito is in Modesto.

Tony Caito is the most generous hairstylist i know.  I first ran into Tony at the Santa Cruz hair show.  He was working with the League of Extraordinary Stylists at the time and had great stage presence.

Tony Caito, Sarah kelly, p3 hair, hair inspiration, sb hair

I’m in the second row, first seat on the left…

Tony is so generous.  He takes time almost daily and often late in the evening to make me a  better men’s hairstylist.  My fades are getting good thanks to this guy.  He runs an appointment only shop in Modesto.  There are no signs on Tony’s shop, only his silhouette on the outside window #businessgoals.  I follow Tony on Facebook and his partner @stylez.santana on Instagram.  I was watching one of Facebook Live sessions and I chimed in on the feed, Tony waved and said “Hi Sarah” I waved back at my iPad……technology.

Those are some of the people who inspire me.  Who inspires you?

Thanks for reading. If you would like to book an appointment with me to see how all these pieces fit together on you, call 805.324.7950 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or leave a message on my voicemail Friday through Monday

Carpe Diem

Sarah Kelly