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Stylist Q&A: Candy Diaz talks hair tips and advice

Curly haired woman
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Prose
September 17, 2018
Home Salon Stylist Q&A Stylist Q&A: Candy Diaz talks hair tips and advice

When it comes to all things hair, who better to consult than the professionals themselves. They know all the in’s and out’s on hair trends, what works best for each individual hair type and can offer advice on the looks and hair care that best fit your unique lifestyle.

In this series, we chat with our favorite hair professionals to learn just that. They talk to us about hair tips that really work, the advice they give their clients and their career journey.

Meet Candy Diaz: A Prose stylist based in New York City who specializes in styling hair for bridal, print, commercials and film. Candy is a curly girl who has been doing hair since a very young age.

When did you first know you wanted to become a hairstylist?

When I was younger I used to sit on my stoop and braid my neighbors’ hair and so I became the go-to person. As a kid I always knew I wanted to do hair, but for a good amount of time I had what I saw as a “legit job” just to pay the bills, because becoming a hairstylist initially doesn’t really pay. At 26 years old, I was working in health insurance and finally decided I was ready, so I went back to school to become a hairstylist while I worked full time. It was a long journey of knowing until ultimately doing.

What steps did you take to establish yourself as a hairstylist?

I went to Empire Beauty School for my certification and then right out of school, I began working for a new, at the time, startup called DreamDry. I worked my way up from being a shampoo assistant to basically running my own salon and becoming the manager of the DreamDry location on 57th Street in Manhattan. That was my first run at being a hairstylist and from there I learned so much about the industry. After DreamDry I worked at other salons, on sets, and now I continue to do a lot more bridal.

What is the best advice you can give to stylists starting out in this industry?

Take pictures of your work. Portfolios are super important and they help you see your growth. Hair is a really saturated industry and you need to continue to build your own confidence and always try to be better everyday: whether it is a better person or a better stylist. Be humble. If something comes it comes and if it doesn't then that means it wasn't meant for you.

What keeps you motivated?

My family. I try to be a better hairstylist for my family and I hope one day I can buy my mom a house with this career. My biggest goal is to take care of them like they’ve always taken care of me. As a stylist you are definitely not a doctor but for them to have my back and believe in me comes full circle and gives me a lot of pride in what I do. I always have my family on my mind and when I make it, I think it is super important to give back to them and the community. I take my job very seriously and although people joke that, ‘your hairstylist is your therapist,’ I feel like that is a true statement. I get to do weddings and get involved in a lot of intimate moments in people’s lives; I treasure those moments and try to make them the best possible without anything going wrong and I think when all that comes into play it makes me a better person and a better hairstylist. I also think we all have our own insecurities and I always try to make my clients feel comfortable in their own skin and if I can help them feel beautiful, then that makes me feel complete.

What do you think is the biggest hair mistake people make?

I think that people don’t realize that when you are doing certain things to your hair, such as coloring and over-processing, then it is almost like getting a cut. When you skin your knee you have to treat it properly and apply Neosporin on it. When people color or permanently straighten their hair, it is also like getting a cut in that you’re changing the outer layer so you have to treat your hair well and heal it. I think that comes full circle with Prose and the brand that it is - it helps heal and repair hair.

What is your go-to hairstyle when you're short on time?

As a stylist and curly girl, my go-to style is a ballerina top-knot. I make sure to I throw a mask in there as well, so that while it's up and pulled away I am still conditioning it in the process. More likely than not, I also add two cornrow braids on the side of my hair, put on a pair of hoops, lipgloss, and I'm on my way! This is a protective style and although the hair is being pulled back, it's not being damaged which is important.

Do you have a secret tip or trick you’ve learned firsthand as a stylist?

Always carry long bobby pins in your wallet or in your purse. If you know how to braid hair, you can create a quick side braid or ponytail and keep it in place with two bobby pins. So, for example, if the day gets humid and you’ve got to put away any flyaways, then a braid and bobby pins will get you very far.

What healthy-hair tips do you share with clients?

It depends on hair type and texture, but my biggest tip is just to be a little bit more gentle with your hair. We tend to be so aggressive. When at the beach or running errands take a castor oil or hair protectant and keep it in throughout the day. Also, get your hair trimmed regularly. People want these lengths and locks and they forget that the longer they wait to get a haircut the further their ends break and split and the more they are going to have to cut off later. I would say, bite the bullet, cut your hair often and don’t be mean to it.

What can someone who colors their hair often do to maintain their hair health?

I think that it is important to do a cold rinse after you shampoo and condition. I always say that shampoo and conditioner is your Neosporin because it is a better way to get people to understand what they are doing when they are conditioning their hair — essentially they are healing their hair and getting it back to a healthier state. In the process, it's really important to close your wash with a cold rinse to seal the cuticle and to lock in the nourishments in the hair. It makes a difference and helps with shine. This way, you’ve got this beautiful color, you’re locking in the moisture and since you’ve done a cool rinse, once you blow out your hair it affects it in a way that it looks shiner.

 

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