Hair Q & A

Shaun’s Q&AOur resident hair expert, Shaun Thomas, answers your most frequently asked questions.

Q: Is there a difference between the styling tools I buy in stores and the ones for sale in the salon I visit?

A: Most definitely. While the styling tools (hair dryers, flat irons, brushes, etc.) sold commercially are sufficient, the tools that your salon retails are more than likely going to be better for your hair and your hair type. Also, many commercial irons have metal barrels or plates, which are prone to uneven heating, thus leaving “hot spots” that can burn the hair. Unless you are looking to have a head of hair that resembles something from The Addams Family, I’d suggest looking for irons that have barrels and plates coated in ceramic. Tourmaline is another substance used to coat the barrels of curling irons and the plates of flat irons. This material produces negative ions to help boost shine. It is also used in some hair dryers to boost shine and decrease drying time. Most of these ionic and specialty hair dryers and irons are only sold in salons, though some beauty supply stores open to the public have less expensive, adequate versions.

Q: Does the sun have any adverse effects on my hair?

A: Let me put it to you this way-if the sun can fry your skin, what do you think it can do to your hair? You should protect your hair, as well as your skin, from all the free radicals and UV rays that are thrown at you. The best defense for your hair is a hat. If you are a water baby and a hat is totally out of the question, then your stylist can recommend some products to shield your hair from the sun’s rays. Or you can go with good old-fashioned SPF 30. Yes . . . sunscreen in your hair! Apply a creamy sunscreen to damp, towel-dried hair. It will give better protection than sprays or oils. Also, this added moisture in the hair will help discourage the minerals in saltwater and the chlorine in pool water from absorbing into the hair as much. Reapply to your hair as often as you would to your skin!

Q: I have been going to the same salon for a long time. My problem is that I have grown weary with my stylist, and there is another stylist at the same salon whose work I admire very much. I don’t want to step on any toes, but I would like to try the other stylist. How should I deal with this issue?

A: A professional salon and a professional stylist should make the transition smooth. The first step in the process would be to speak with the receptionist when you schedule your next appointment. Politely explain that you would like to try another stylist in the salon. This should not be an issue, as ultimately you are the client whose patronage supports the business and without whom the doors would close. Once the appointment is scheduled, the next thing to worry about is actually walking in and sitting in the new stylist’s chair. Your old stylist, if he or she is a true professional, should extend polite salutations. Then all should be well. There are, however, situations that do not go so well. Should your old stylist decide to be petty, politely tell him or her why you decided to change (without sounding offensive) and that you are being made uncomfortable by the confrontation. Should your old stylist still choose to be a raving lunatic, run straight to the owner and let him or her know the situation. Hopefully, it will be dealt with accordingly. Now, if your old stylist is the owner, and he or she is making you uncomfortable, I suggest you just pack up your gossip rags and make a beeline to the next salon where business is conducted in a professional and orderly manner!

E-mail me at with your questions. If you keep ‘em comin’, I’ll keep ‘em answered.