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Pointers from the Professionals – Andrew Light, professional hairstylist

He may have started cutting hair in his college dorm room, but, eight years of experience later, Andrew Light can now tell you the ins and outs of almost every aspect of hair styling. Working at Stilisti, a luxurious salon on trendy Newbury Street in Boston, Light believes that great hair is not only a destination – it’s a journey.

His personal journey certainly shows that. After training in the Boston area, Light also completed the Vidal Sassoon Creative Cutting Class in San Francisco and has even received personal training from the former creative director of Vidal Sassoon and a number of other salons. In 2010, Light traveled to Berlin to attend the Davines World Wide Hair tour. He uses his own talents to teach others, regularly leading classes for junior stylists. In addition to seeing a range of clients in the salon daily, Light often travels to do hair for weddings and other events.

At Stilisti, Light joins a range of other hair care experts to bring clients a spa-like experience in one of Boston’s most chic neighborhoods. In addition to the talent’s cutting edge techniques, clients can enjoy an intimate, relaxing atmosphere as they watch the city’s fashionistas pass by outside.

Here, the hair care expert, who specializes in coloring, spills the secrets you need for your best tresses.

Q. How did you get into hairstyling?

A. I started cutting my own hair in college while studying music, which lead to cutting my friends’ hair. By the time I finished college it seemed like a natural transition.

Q. What is your favorite part of the job? Why?

A. I love being able to be visually creative every day, and making people feel good about themselves. I also love meeting people from all different walks of life – these are all fulfilling aspects of doing hair that I can’t imagine getting in another career.

Q. If a woman comes in with no idea what she is looking for with a new cut, how do you decide what would look best on her?

A. This is probably the trickiest part of the job. I have to consider head shape, hair texture, face shape, as well as what the client is willing to do. Coming to a compromise with all these considerations is the best recipe for a great haircut.

Q. Are there any universally flattering cuts? What are they and why do they work? Or, why not? 

A. The most universally flattering cut is the bob. The bob is a sleek, sharp cut that accentuates the cheek bones and neck, [and gives] an air of confidence. It can also be tailored to pretty much everyone in a way that is uniquely flattering.

Q. Can hair coloring make a woman look younger? Older? How?

A. Hair color can do just about anything. By adding depth it can help a younger woman look more professional, and by covering grey it can smooth the texture and add reflection, revitalizing the hair for a younger look.

Q. What are some of your favorite hair color trends right now? Why?            

A. Right now we’re seeing a lot more natural-looking color and a lot of dimension. I enjoy the effortless look of this, as well as seeing more healthy hair as a result.

Q. What tips would you give to a brunette going blonde? Blonde going brunette?

A. In both cases I would strongly recommend changing the color in stages. To go blonde from brunette in one step could potentially damage the hair irreversibly – I can’t stress enough the importance of being patient with this process!

Going dark from blonde is something I almost never recommend. I have found there is usually an emotional motivation to do so, and if done in one step the darker color will always get brassy and it is also very costly.

If someone comes in wanting to go darker I will recommend leaving a few highlights and toning down the blonde. Even if the client had shown [me] pictures of dark brown, they will love the slight change.

Q. What are the best ways women can make their color last between treatments?

A. Product. Once the pH of the hair has been changed, a color-safe shampoo has to be used to preserve the color.

Avoiding daily shampoos is also a great way to help color last, and it’s better for the hair and scalp in general.

Also, using heating tools like a blow dryer or flat/curling iron will make the color fade or get dull if no styling product is used. A thermal protector is great, but I also recommend a light styling cream or gel be used in addition to fully coat and protect the hair from heat.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing lrstewar@gmail.com.