Thursday, January 15, 2009

BeansTalk Exclusive: An Extension Expert Dishes

Celebrity hair stylist Tina Dizon knows how to avoid hair extension mishaps! Dizon, who can be found at Juan Florentino Salon in Beverly Hills is dubbed the “locks doc” and talks to BeansTalk about her secrets and scoop.

BeansTalk: How and why did you become an extension expert?

Tina Dizon: I've always been interested in transforming my clients through color, haircuts, and styles. Extensions are another way to make my clients look instantly beautiful and glamorous. Over the years I kept noticing hair extensions that looked artificial -- they moved in an unnatural way, and/or the color and texture didn't match. I knew with my expertise in all aspects of hair design that I could find hair extensions for my clients that were natural-looking and flattering. Expert extensions make a women feel attractive, sexy, and confident.

BeansTalk: Tell us about the evolution of hair extension -- how has it gotten better?

TD: Ancient Egyptians used wigs or hair pieces for cosmetic adornments. The hair "extension" was coated with beeswax or plant resin so that it could be secured to the scalp or existing natural hair. Today, the quality of hair extensions depends on numerous factors -- human hair vs. synthetic, application techniques -- you're not limited to one style, one type, or one texture. Each individual can have customized extensions combining different techniques and colors.

BeansTalk: Are any of the "older" methods still used?

TD: Yes, older or traditional methods are stilled used to apply extensions. "Weaving" in tracks (several inches long in width), or "braiding" (cornrows) techniques are not as common in the new hair trends but are still used by veterans.

BeansTalk: What makes a set of extensions "bad" (ie. you can easily tell they are extensions, they look like extensions, you have to go through a lot of machinations to hide the connectors)?

TD: There are several aspects that can make a set of extensions "bad". Simply put, if you can tell a woman has extensions, then it's a "poor" job. The quality of the hair used, synthetics or cheap human hair can tangle and become dry. As well as the application, using the right techniques with surgical precision makes all the difference. You want the hair to move, be versatile, and blend with the natural hair.

BeansTalk: What are the cons about having extensions/what's challenging about having extensions?

TD: Poorly applied extensions fall out easily, losing their shape and style, and possibly breaking the natural hair as well. Cheap extensions can mat and tangle easily, and often do not match or move with the real hair.

The maintenance can be time consuming, i.e., brushing your hair more gently, taking more time to style/blow dry, etc.

BeansTalk: What is your preferred method of creating extensions? And how is it done?

TD: I prefer the strand by strand "hot and cold Fusion" and "Micro Locs". The fusion method uses protein to bond small sections of hair together, strand by strand. Hot fusion uses heat to form a smooth bond, while cold fusion uses an ultra sonic machine to form the bond without heat. Micro tubes or locs are very small copper/metal/aluminum tubes that are attached to each natural strand of hair.

BeansTalk: What kind of hair do you use?

TD: 100% Russian and European Remy Human Hair

BeansTalk: How long does it last/how long can you keep them?

TD: Extensions can last anywhere from 2-5 months. The average being 3 months. Much depends on how well you take care of them.

BeansTalk: How are they removed?

TD: Depending on the method used, extensions should always be removed by a professional. The fusion method can be removed by a special solution to break down the bond to the hair. And a special tool is used to "unlock" the micro locs or tubes.

BeansTalk: How do you shampoo/clean them?

TD: Extensions should be shampooed every 2-3 days. A shampoo that is gentle and cleansing, but not overly moisturizing. Conditioning should be done on the ends after shampoo. I always recommend a leave-in conditioner as well. Never condition at the root or the extensions might "slip" out.

BeansTalk: What are the tricks to having great extensions that don't look like extensions?

TD: The highest quality hair, 100% Remy human hair. A combination of application techniques, color formulation, and a professional who specializes in cutting extensions.

BeansTalk: Which celebrities have you worked with? Do you have any anecdotes you can share?

TD: I've styled the Hilton sisters, top Hollywood directors, and other high-profile figures. In general, however, hair-extension work is like plastic surgery -- discretion is the key -- it's better if people believe your look is natural. One time, an aging Hollywood legend mistook a bowl of hair-color formulation for whipped cream and scooped a handful into her mouth, sending me and the assistants into a frenzy. It's the first time I've ever had to wash someone's mouth out with soap.

BeansTalk: What is the price range for extensions? What's the least expensive job you've done on someone? The most?

TD: Extensions can range anywhere from $1,800-$3,000 depending on what a client needs- volume, fullness, length or a combination of them all. The least expensive job was on a client who wanted fuller bangs for $250 and the most expensive on someone who needed volume and length for $3,000.

BeansTalk: Tell us a little about yourself and where our readers can find you.

TD: I was born in Vietnam, raised in Louisiana and have called Los Angeles my home for years. I am a yoga instructor and practitioner, I find yoga gives me balance and a break from the frenetic pace of LA life. My love of travel and different cultures has brought me amazing places all over the world. I fell in love with hair design when I was a teenager, and styled my girlfriends' hair before a night out on the town. That passion translated into a full-time stylist career at Umberto in Beverly Hills. While at Umberto, I also led the salon-education program and was the director of salon assistants for over a decade.Your readers can now find me at Juan Florentino in Beverly Hills. JF is an upscale boutique salon with state of the are equipment in a beautiful environment where clients receive the latest styles. Not only do I specialize in hair extensions, I am also an expert colorist and stylist.

Tina Dizon Juan Florentino 9908 S. Santa Monica Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90212