Celebrity hair stylist Cynthia Alvarez (twitter: @HairbyCynthia) is the name behind some of the beautiful editorial & red carpet looks of Melanie Fiona, Kerry Washington, KeKe Palmer, Alicia Keys & Tamar Braxton to speak of a few.
While it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the hair on these celebs is homegrown, you’ll be happy to know that there was some trickery involved, also known as weaves girlfriends! On Tamar, Cynthia used Capri Silky Hand-Tied, and on Melanie no weave, however, if you wanted to create this look you could use New York Silky Wave both from the Hair Factory.
Don’t waste time feeling envious of these celebs’ hair because perfectly coiffed, full and luxurious hair can be yours too – for the right price that is.
Given Cythina’s current affiliation with the Hair Factory, HKI knew she was the perfect person to answer questions of curious weave wannabees and maybe even drop some new science on current “weavenista’s.” And as a treat, Cynthia also shares her thoughts on weave trends, her favorite weaving techniques and gives us the scoop on her favorite hair products.
Q: How did you become affiliated with the Hair Factory?
A: I became affiliated with Hair Factory through their PR. They contacted me and I’ve been hooked ever since. Hair Factory’s hair has impeccable quality and I’m excited to be working with them. I’ve come across plenty of hair extension companies, but none like the quality I get from Hair Factory.
Q: One of your specialties is color & weaves, so talk about any new trends in hair color…highlighting, low lighting, ombre?
A: A few color techniques that are trending now are Ombré and creative coloring. Ombré has been hot for a while now. The ends of your hair graduate to another color. The effect is really flattering for most women and is very low maintenance. Creative coloring has made a huge splash in the entertainment industry with everyone from Nicki Minaj to Katy Perry. This is a great choice for someone who is feeling risky and wants to experiment with a new look. Manic Panic and Adore are a few of my go to brands when clients want a pop of exciting new color.
Q: Do you prefer using pre-dyed weave hair or dyeing it after the fact?
A: I tend to use both both pre-dyed and virgin hair. Sometimes if a client has a common hair color that is easily attainable in hair extensions, I will go with that. However, if a client has or wants a specialized color, then I will purchase virgin human hair and color it myself.
Q: What’s is the most popular weaving technique(s)?
A: The most popular weaving technique is the sew in hair weave. This method presents a natural look as the hair is woven into firm and petite braids of natural hair, which lie flat across the scalp.
Q: What shampoos, conditioners, etc. do you suggest someone use on weave hair?
A: For weaves, my belief is that you don’t have to break the bank with buying expensive products. Panteneproducts are really great for the girl on a budget. If you want to splurge, I recommend Ojon (seen here: Ojon Volume Advance Volumizing Styling Spray ($23, ojon.com) and Carol’s Daughter products. Both have effective moisturizing agents, minus the weighed down feeling.
Q: How do you properly dry weave hair & how do you avoid mildew?
A: To properly dry your weave after a wash, you should sit under a dryer for a couple of hours. For this, I recommend going to the salon and getting a wash and set. I know no woman wants to sit for that long, but its imperative to dry your natural hair completely to avoid mildew and bacteria.
Q: What hair products do you use to create your masterpieces?
A: I tend to use different hair products. I love Bed Head and got2b for their different array of products. I can use their stuff for my everyday clients as well as for my creative photo shoots. Morrocan Oil products are great for hair that needs extra hydration. I’ve recently gotten into using Oribe hair products and they’ve been amazing! Their hair spray is worth the price. I also, stick to classics like John Frieda Frizz Ease Hair Serum ($8.99, drugstore.com) and Ampro Pro Styl Protein Gel. Sebastian shaper plus hair spray is a go to as well.
Q: What does it mean when you have a bad “batch” of hair? What should you look for and how to avoid it.
A: It’s important for buyers to beware of the hair they purchase.
If you’re ordering from an online store, check their return policy. A bad batch of hair is your worst nightmare. The things to look for are luster and texture. If the hair is too shiny, almost barbie like hair, then steer away. Its coated in silicon to give the appearance of quality hair. Human hair has a natural luster to it, not a high shine. Texture is something else you should take into account. Let your hands feel the hair. Run your fingers through it a few times, rough it up a bit to see if it tangles easily. Feel the shaft of a few strands to see if its smooth. Another important factor to look for is the grey strand. If you look closely, a bad batch of hair will have quite a few of grey or white strands that feel a bit like plastic. This is not a good sign, it means that the hair is possibly processed with a few synthetics.
Human hair extensions are costly but they can last up to a year with proper care. The line I love is Hair Factory’s New York Remi.
Q: Which weaving technique(s) do you think are the safest and why? Cost?
A: A few of the safer extension techniques are the corn row tracking technique, Brazilian knot extensions, and clip in technique.
Corn row technique is a method that helps protect your natural hair by having it braided underneath the weave. The cost can range from $200-1000.
The Brazilian knot is my personal fave because it allows versatility, you can still feel your scalp and the best part is there is no glue involved. The extension is attached to your hair strand by strand with an elastic thread that is wrapped around to secure the extension to your hair. The price ranges from $400-$1500.
Clip in extensions are safe and effective for temporary uses. They are commonly used for special events. They are common among women who want to add drama to their look with out the commitment. It’s also really easy to do yourself, simply back comb the sections where the clips will be placed and you’re secure for the night. These clips can cost anywhere from $20-$300.
Q: It’s challenging to find the right “hair” match….what tips can you share for someone just starting this process?
A: Matching your hair texture is something I really encourage. It helps with your overall look, making your hair look as natural as possible. I recommend going into the store, or checking the textures online, and seeing which one matches your texture the closest. If you’re altering the texture of the hair being left out of the weave, then you could choose a texture that way.
Q: How often can you re-use the hair?
A: Hair that is 100% virgin human hair will last you up to a year with proper care and maintenance.
Q: What projects are you currently working on…any private label products on the horizon, etc.?
A: I have been exploring the possibility of expanding my brand. Its still in the works…. So stayed tuned!
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