As I've shared with you again and again, the subject of fashion and beauty is not an easy one for me. I easily get overwhelmed by anything having to do with this subject. In particular, my hair seems to throw me into an irrational state of whether I am pretty or not. Clearly, this has to do with my childhood and self-esteem issues - all of which I've seemed to place in my hair!
Recently, I was introduced to Sonya Dove by fashion consultant Kimberly Seltzer. Sonya is the co-owner and creative director of The Doves Studio in Santa Monica, CA. She is a very highly-regarded stylist, and travels the world teaching others about hair. She is one of the world's experts on color. And as fate would have it, I also trusted Sonya enough to cut my hair which is a miracle. She is kind, a perfectionist, a good listener, and is really smart about hair.
In my next post, which will appear right before Christmas, I will show you my before and after shots of what Sonya did in terms of giving me a new look with my hair, my hair color, and make-up (actually, someone else in her salon does that). I think you will see an amazing transformation (at least, from the outside in). I am a strong believer that inner beauty is what truly makes you shine.
In the meantime, Sonya has given you some outstanding tips and advice for the holidays and beyond.
Q. Sonya, when did your love affair with hair begin? And was there a moment when you knew you would become a hairstylist that defined your life?
A. I knew i have always wanted to work with people since I was a little girl. Originally at school I wanted to be a Nutritionist but I could not get a degree in biology which is what i needed, so at the time I was dating Christopher Dove, he was 15 and myself 13 years old. His family suggested to me that I go to Cosmetology school with Chris as this was what he had planned to do. The day I started I realised this was such a love. I not only could help people look good but also make them feel good from the inside out. I belong to a company here in the USA called Beauty Changes Lives, and this truly is a great statement as a new look can change your outlook on life and about yourself.
Q. Originally from England, you are the co-owner and creative director of The Doves in Santa Monica, CA. What is your salon known for?
A. The Doves is known for excellent quality hair color, cutting and styling work. We are also very proud of our warm, friendly, family- like environment because we are teachers in the professional hair industry as well. We encourage our staff to collaborate and consult with each client in order to give the right result for the client. Overall our clients enjoy that we are a very professional salon and focused on giving the customer the best possible service.
Q. What do you find most women come to a hairstylist for?
A. Most people come to a stylist for advice on a style and color that suits their face shape, skin color and their lifestyle. However, what most women want, is to feel as though they have been heard. They also want knowledge of what is best and why. This is why we consider the consultation process to be the most important step in our relationship with our client. Many women are looking for a change. They either want their look to be "updated" or changed completely to meet with a personal change that they have gone through.
Q. As a hairstylist what do you feel is your most important role when working with your client?
A. The most important role as a stylist is to be a very good listener and try to determine what the unspoken need or desire is. For example, sometimes as a stylist you have to use a bit of psychology to sort through what the client's personal needs are and then use your professional ability to give them the look that meets both their physical and emotional needs.
Q. You and I have had several discussions about hair and self-esteem. How do you feel hair affects one's self-esteem, or do you feel that self-esteem is basically a separate issue?
A. Hair is a big contributing factor in self-esteem as it is something that a client has with her everyday. Hair can help "hide " the way a client feels about herself physically; knowing that you have the best cut and color and that your style really works for you can give you an amazing boost of self-esteem. Self-esteem is something that comes from within the person, as a stylist I can not give you self-esteem, I can only help with giving you a new outlook on your physical appearance and often times a new look in the mirror will help with a new outlook on yourself.
Q. What are some of the characteristics of hair as we get older? What are some of the things we can do to improve our hair look as we age?
A. Hair changes a lot as we get older. Two main factors are hormones and stress. It can get dryer naturally or may become dryer through the use of hot tools, such as a flat iron, too hot hairdryer, etc. Also going to different stylists everytime and not getting the same consistant service can put stress on the hair. As we get older skin tones change and it is not advisable to go too dark with haircolor. Or have a few soft highlights to break up the solid feeling. The use of deep treatments can be a good idea especially if the stylist recommends a certain one as they will be able to diagnose what the hair needs. This could be a mixture of protein and moisture or one or the other. As far as styling, a softer look is always a good idea and if the hair is very straight some face framing layers are good.
Q. Sonya, the holidays are a very emotional time. I'd like you to speak to the fact that beauty is an inside and an outside job. How do we balance them?
A. The holidays can hold memories both good and bad for people and the holidays are an emotional time for people as well as stressful time. Most woman spend much of the holiday time doing for others and feeling or looking tired. During the holidays is an excellent time to treat yourself to a new look and some pampering. Often this helps boost a woman's feeling about herself. Treat yourself to a simple blow dry for a special occasion so that you feel great. It is always nicer to have someone do your hair for you and the result will look amazing.
Q. What do you feel is the real message behind beauty?
A. The real message about beauty is to always understand and know it is not only on the outside but you have to feel beautiful on the inside. Inner beauty is more radiant and can get you through anything. Many women can relate to this. Sometimes when I am not dressed up so much, wearing less make-up but feeling positive inside and confident, I get so many remarks on how amazing I look and it always shocks me. Inner self-esteem, beauty and confidence shine very strongly and empowers others by them witnessing this.
Q. If you had to define your personal philosophy on beauty - what would it be?
A. My personal philosophy on beauty is to share with others your story, as this can help others to see we are all very similar at the end of the day. Many people do not think I have low self-esteem because I am in the beauty business and I come over as very confident but that is because I am talking about hair - I am the expert in this field. What has helped me build my confidence is to share with others and this then gives them an opportunity to open up and at the end of the day we can help each other.
Q. And finally, why do you feel that you are a Spirited Woman?
A. I feel I am a spirited woman because I have learned over the years to share my knowledge, compassion, empathy and love. I have also had to learn how to embrace them all when given back to me; this in turn has given me a blessed life which has had many ups and downs. I have also learned how to create strong boundaries for myself which I deserve and need in order to flourish to my full potential as a woman.