The Magic of Makeovers?

Is there magic to having or styling a makeover? I don’t think so. The results might be “magical” but to reach that point there are many layers of creativity: skin tone; hair colour; make-up; clothes; type and shape of hair; face shape; lifestyle.

For thirty years I got to do many makeovers on CityTV. I earned an excellent reputation for accomplishing fantastic results. When it was a solo appearance, the stylist got to choose the “model”. One of my secrets was to find a subject that looked tired and was not a “pretty, young thing”. A pretty girl’s before shot would look too good – not the best contrast on television. I would also see if this lady had warm or cool skin. I would then have a discussion with the make-up artist not to do a “natural” look. It’s so important to understand that the television lights blank out colours, so it’s always been my point to add colour not only to the eyes and lips but also the foundation. Coyly, I have always felt that on television the make-up is most important in a “before & after”. If the women has grey hairs, this is not a problem if she has cool skin, but if her skin is warm, the client looks drained. I used to carry an edge, some copper and golden mousse to counteract.

As far as hair shaping is concerned, the first thing I do is to ask the lady the following questions: What is she afraid of? What does she not like? What is she capable of when she looks after her hair at home? All these questions are far more important than the latest trend. Trend is nice to include in the after look, but far more important is suitability.

Point of interest: Right from the moment I went to hairdressing school in London, UK we were taught that the most ideal face shape was oval. Our job was to create a cut or hairstyle to shape a square or round face into an oval. 25 years later I was working on this first time client from Malaysia. To my eye she was a stunning beauty, flawless skin and hair, full lips, almond eyes and an oval face. I told her she was a perfect beauty. What she said next blew me away: “not in my country, my face is too long, my face is not round enough!.” I was shocked, but that night as I reflected, I realized, for example that in China where there are a billion people, most had round faces. Obviously the majority of the population would look at the round face as ideal.

I want to thank CityLine producer Chrissie Rejman and her team for all the wonderful shows over my 30 years. Chrissie named my associate, make-up artist Jean MacDonald and myself “The King and Queen of Makeovers”. When I participated in the multiple “Mega Makeovers”, which I loved doing because we prepared them “in-salon” and had total control, our own colourist and make-up artist. It was revealed to me that when the CityLine staff were looking at the “before” photos of the volunteers, they would choose those they thought were the most difficult for any stylist to do, as “this is a Robin Barker”. I was flattered but also loved the challenge, as I mentioned earlier, the more contrast between the before and after, the better, both for the client and the look.

As a hairstylist, one of the joys of everyday work is that you cannot get bored that easily. Everybody has a different personality, their tastes are different. Some will love avant garde, or trend, but many are conservative and others favour wash n’ wear.

See also my “10 Points fo a Perfect Haircut” and Makeover Gallery.

 

Before

Before

After #1

After #1

 

 

 

 

 

 

After #2

After #2

After #3

After #3

BOBS

I had just finished my Hairdressing Course in London UK in ’61 Vidal Sassoon was modernizing hairstyles & hair cutting with his brilliant geometrics, first the blunt “guillotine” then the graduated bob. Creative hairstylists have revealed many almost endless variations of the bob. In the Canadian Competitions, “The Mirror Awards” and “The Contessa’s” I have have found that many of the entrants seem stuck in hard edged bobs, probably because it’s early in their career. I wonder how many young stylists today know that the first bob in North America is credited to Irene Castle, a dancer who decided in 1912 to rid herself of the Style de Jour “The Gibson Girl”. She turned out to be quite the trend setter after bobbing (like a horse’s tail) off her long hair. See here a photo of the “Gibson Girl” and the first “Castle Bob”.

 

Gibson_Girl_by_Charles_Dana_Gibson Irene_Castle_from_Who's_Who_on_the_Screen copy

A little later came the late  ’20’s The Flapper flounced, sometimes using the Marcel waving iron, finger waves with or without pin curls.Many Hollywood Stars bobbed their hair,  one of the big looks was Louise Brook’s cut.

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This is a photo of my Mother in the late 20’s, she had worn this graduated bob since a teenager. At this time she had dated the Prince of Wales (The Future Duke Of Windsor), note the mini bangs, how “to-day” is that? She had this look in England prior to Louise, her name: Elise.

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Here are a selection of some of the BOBS that I have created & photographed since 1965, please see “hair gallery. I counted over 45 variations of this length. Some blunt, some layered, some edgy, some spiky, some softly curled, some coloured and/or hi-lighted.

 

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My first influence as a student hairdresser in 1961 were the Coiffeur Parisians. Somehow they made any length of hair seem feminine. Then came Vidal, say goodbye to the BeeHive !! Can you imagine what our dollar bill would have looked like if Vidal had gotten hold of the Queen in the ’60’s. However I consider myself very fortunate to have my training before Sassoon, because in my opinion, I see so many stylists caught in a time warp and not knowing how to shape sexy long layered haircuts or even softly shape bobs. There is so much more to hairstyling than the Classic “Bob”. As a Yorkville, Toronto, hairstylist I have never lost my attraction to beautiful women with lovely long hair. Please see my earlier blog “The Perfect Haircut” to explain why so many hair-do’s are dependent on the stylist and client working together as a team. To arrive at the best suitability for the clients face shape, personality and hair type . Is the hair thin, limp, thick, curly, frizzy, straight or just hard to handle perhaps because the client does not have the ability to manage her hair.It’s the answer to K.I.S.S, Keep it simple stylist.

The following is the latest bob cut from a shag on my lovely wife Megan.

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Long live lovely Ladies, long sexy hair and long live the magic of “The Bob”

 

 

Growing Out Short Hair

Twenty years ago I remember that Vogue forecast that short haircuts were “in” for Spring. Then that Winter they acclaimed that long hair was “it”. This was before hair extensions, this meant that fashion followers had a serious problem because the average hair growth is half an inch per month. It takes at least two years to grow hair long from short. I will soon be writing about the evolution of fashion and hairstyles.

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The top photograph of my lovely wife Megan was shot in February 2014. She wanted her hair very short and very blond (too pale for her, I felt). I said, “we are now going to grow your hair”. Twelve months later, February 2015, the rebirth of the shag.

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Shag: Hair grown in from a short haircut

Shaggy: Messy hair at any length

Beach Hair: Messy, unkept; looking like two-days old.

There are two ways to grow in one’s hair. Let the whole head of the hair grow in and it will naturally grow into a shag. Or as Megan demanded as we grew it in, “I want short bangs and the back cut off”, the bob.

If you have a round or square face, cutting a short bob or having full bangs might not be the best choice. If you let the back grow in a couple of inches longer than the jawline,  keep tucking the sides behind the ear until they become as long as the back… voila! Your hair is longer than your jawline. No bangs or side bangs would be favourable.

Have your hair cut with gravity and natural flow. NEVER allow a hairstylist to pull the hair forward if you wish your hair to grow longer at the front.

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Megan loves her new cut, I love both, especially the colour: L’Oreal non-ammonia INOA in light copper-blonde.

Having been a hairstylist since 1960, you can imagine how many bobs I have cut and photographed! This year is only the third time that I recall that the shag has been forecast. In fashion, there has always been a type of bob in style, there is always long hair and always will be. Vive la différence!

Update

There are a number of videos and a few slide shows to come. One of them is a collection of hair shots of my lovely wife Megan. After so many years of Hairstyling I’m still amazed at the variation and shapes one can achieve, hair is fun.One day Megan all of a sudden decided she wanted to try blonde. The one thing I can honestly say is that we have both enjoyed every look we have done. Anytime one goes blonde from deep colours, it’s what we call “a big job”. Thank goodness she likes the finished result. Always seek advice on the right products. In our case we use L’Oreal Professionnel, not available in Drug Stores. L’Oreal even has bleaches that contain no ammonia, plus the best non-ammonia demi Richesse and permanent non-ammonia colour INOA.

Please note, when a true, honest professional hairstylist recommends a product, they are choosing,for example, a luxury shampoo and treatment for colour-treated hair. Plumping shampoo and styling products for fine limp hair. Anti-humectants, hydrating and moisturizing shampoos, treatments and styling products for overly curly and frizzy hair.

As you will notice, products fill the shelves in the drug stores. They must keep their prices low in order to compete. BUYER BEWARE: To have low prices, all these drug store products contain a much higher percentage of water, therefore diluting and sometimes excluding the expensive and effective ingredients.

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Haircut by Robin, Colour by Helen , photos by Michael LaFond

Hair Stylist and Song Writer

Besides being a Hairdresser, I also write songs, I created, with the help of several great musicians and wonderful singers, a CD at Rogue Studio for my 50th Anniversary Show at The Revival. One of the songs on that CD was brilliantly sung by the great local LauraFernandez6278Jazz singer, Julie Michels, “Reciprocation”. For 4 years I was searching for someone to translate the lyrics into Spanish, it’s a very sexy slow salsa. Through my friend Jaymz Bee of JazzFm, I was introduced to the talented painter, composer, singer DJ & performer Laura Fernandez. See her glamour shot that we did for a video we are putting together and listen to Laura sing her Spanish lyrics to “Deseo” at the bottom of the photo.

Also, catch “Save Humanity” song and video we did. Recorded at Kenny Munshaw’s studio in Kitchener (a super friend), the video by another great friend, Simon Bell. “Save Humanity” was inspired by the “Arab Spring”. It took a year to complete. By that time, I was nervous that democracy would have taken hold and my songs would have been redundant. Today, we know there are still problems in Egypt, Libya, and of course Syria. As a “war baby” and Zoomer, I’m sad to say that I believe there will never be peace in this world of ours. Through the centuries there has been conflict, whether because of avarice, power or religion.

Enjoy the music.

10 Points to a Perfect Haircut

I always feel the responsibility when I’m asked to give a client or personality a “new look”. No more so when it is a performer.

Unknown-5Chloe Charles is an amazing Indie Talent, songwriter, guitarist and lovely singer, check her out on www.chloecharles.com.

Like a lot of Toronto women, she is of mixed ethnicity . Her hair is naturally super curly, with a little relaxer, the right haircut, etc. and Chloe has a new promo shot. While there are a few of us that have a form for new clients to fill out, mostly for promotional records, I developed mine in the ’80s. I was doing a lot of new clients from all the TV makeovers I was performing. It was then I had developed my chart from my teaching classes. I did 2 clients, back to back,who didn’t know each other, and after having a free consultation, said “thanks, I’ll take this to my hairstylist.” That’s why today I charge $65.00 for a consultation, which if they have a haircut then or later, it is deducted from the first time hairshaping fee. What does the chart have, besides personal information and product recommendations?

It has 10 points to a perfect haircut.

  1. Face shape
  2. Head shape and profile
  3. Hairline
  4. Growth pattern
  5. Hair type: curly or straight; thick or fine
  6. Body type including height
  7. Colour season (warm or cool)
  8. Fashion type
  9. Lifestyle
  10. What the client doesn’t want

To me, a perfect haircut is not just a great execution of technique but means suitability for each individual.

Photo by Michael LaFond, make-up Holly McMillan. Gown Ula Zukowska

Layers

I was so lucky to go to Hairdressing School in London, England in 1960. It was the grooviest time. Carnaby Street,the Music & Clubs.

I was a huge fan of the Paris Designers and Hairstylists. Those Parisians knew how to make every female look sexy, how to do back brushed bouffant updo’s, short gamine haircuts and of course the Bridget Bardot Look. Hairdressing got even more expressive in London as this fellow known as Vidal Sassoon was just starting to make his name heard. I feel most fortunate to have learned “old school” methods of hair shaping just before Sassoon. A few years later with an ability to think, a little bit of luck and insight I was able to develop some original techniques and approach to shaping hairstyles. I realized that while many stylists start their haircuts from the nape first, that wasn’t logical (unless it was a classic all one length blunt cut). Clients look at their face for their style suitability, so common sense told me to start shaping hair at the bangs or around the face. The other thing I realized, probably influenced by Vidal, is that if you wish for the shape your cut to go back to the same place that it was carved, then it has to be shaped with gravity and the natural flow. Unfortunately today, 85% of haircutters cut the perimeter of the haircut by pulling the hair forward. When something is too easy in life, it’s probably incorrect. Some stylists even put their clients head down towards the floor to shape it, huge mistake. The other most important thing that happened for me was the day a model came into me with a mess. She had asked her stylist to cut layers which he wasn’t trained to do. He just grabbed the top third of her hair and chopped.

She ended up having a bowl on top of another blunt bowl. In tears she pleaded with me to “ do something “. I thought about it for awhile and invented a new technique by inverting layers in a gravitational line. This blended out the hard line caused by the chop.

The photos attached show the long layered haircut, notice how much hair is in the front (this hair is all lost if the cut is pulled forward), The second shot is from suggesting clients could wrap their hair up at night in rags, something that gals used to do during World War 2. The 3rd pic shows the sexy casual curls from rags.

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New Beginnings

After being a hairdresser for 53 years and an owner for 43 years, last October I handed over my Salon to one of my Staff, Anthony Passero. I get kind of irritated when people say, “ So, how do you like Retirement? “I am not retiring, creative people never stop creating. I love doing hair too much, in fact besides being as talented as ever I have an abundance of experience. I love the fact that I am able to create very edgy looks to more high fashion/sophisticated hair styles. One of the reasons that my clients come back year after year is that they love the fact my hair cuts last a very long time, grow-in beautifully and are easy to maintain.

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