Kim Creekmore: Interview for The Salon Chair Guys, La Mesa CA

This interview was requested and done for The Salon Chair Guys in San Diego California.

La Mesa Salon owner, community leader and stylist, Kim Creekmore

 Since we first met you at the Beauty Gives Back event a few years ago you have been a great resource for all things hair in San Diego whether it's the Facebook Groups you admin (Salon Professionals of San Diego and Salon Professionals of California), advice on changing state guidelines, or just a healthy dose of encouragement. I'm sure everyone who is involved in hair in San Diego should know you but for those who might not please tell us a little about yourself and your hair journey?

I started doing hair professionally in 2006. I went to work at a big salon that gave me a ton of education and crafted me into a very strong haircutter. Through that 6 year journey I started to feel like I was always going to be Kimmy the haircutter and wasn’t going to be anymore to that company.  I wanted more freedom to play bigger, I needed something different and I was certain that even though I was making amazing money, I was burning out fast.

When I left the comfort of that salon, I went to rent a booth in a small salon in La Mesa. It wasn’t great, I didn’t fit in and I felt alienated from the people working there. I was without a team environment, and yearned to share information with other stylists that was given to me. 

The Salon Professionals of San Diego was born out of the desire to bring this big, separated industry together and create a place for people to find educational events to elevate our industry. 

The group has morphed into a place where our community comes to ask questions, give advice, find information on all the craziness with California State employment laws, and has allowed us to meet people we would have otherwise not had a chance to connect with. We launched sister groups to find jobs, one to find models for education, and last year we launched one for all of California and a sister group for their job postings.  

My hope is that if you are a beauty professional in San Diego or in California that you think of us when you need some guidance. My other hope is that we stay united and help elevate one another instead of competing with one another.  My next goal, is to move all the groups onto our website so everyone has access to the information that is available to them. For now all the action is on Facebook and Instagram.  Our Beauty Industry Unites Here

Your salon Cultivate A HairLoveDesign Salon in La Mesa has won several Salon of the Year awards, with the chamber of commerce describing you as "A Hidden Gem Salon in the center of the iconic La Mesa village". Please tell us, how did you build your business and brand to such high esteem and what advice would you have for a new salon owner?

Best of La Mesa
Best of winner 3 years in a row

I created Cultivate in La Mesa with the desire to create a team with a strong culture. I wanted a place where anyone who entered would feel welcome as soon as they passed through our doors. We focus on, and deliver a consultation to the client that they cannot get anywhere else. We put our Egos aside and listen with our ears and our hearts. We go above and beyond to maintain the comfort of our clients through every step of the process. 

Last November we moved away from booth rental and moved into an employment business model. It was the best decision for our business.  I know that you need to create systems that give people guidance and a with that, opportunity to create their own success behind the chair. We were not able to do that in a rental model. Now, I get to nurture new stylists from the ground up and give them personal attention on their journey. 



Cultivating the art of the consultation
Our blurry little ad in the La mesa Courier


~When I give new salon owners advice it sounds a little like this. ~

This journey will be hard, but it will be worth it. Don’t spend a ton of money on fancy decorations and try not to get into debt over it. Make sure you can handle the lease on your own, as there is a really good chance it will be a bit of a challenge to fill your chairs right away. Open a salon if you love the business.  Doing great hair can get you far, but it won’t necessarily be the driver in the success of your new business.

Find ways to create consistency in your culture. Make sure your clients come first. Be all about YOUR business. Decide if you want to be hands off and be a landlord (rent out booths). Or if you have the passion to train and want a strong culture, consider starting small, hiring new stylists (pay them hourly) and train them. Keep going to education, take business classes, technical classes and ask for help.

Don’t play small and give your services away for next to nothing. Calculate how much money you need to make and charge accordingly. SAVE for retirement every week. Pay your taxes, seriously pay your taxes. 

Success doesn’t come fast or for free but the return is worth every bit of heart that you put into it.  

Our Beauty Industry Unites here

With the beauty industry changing so often, going from different trends even faster now with the advent of social media, what would you say the next big thing is? What's the new wave? We keep hearing about baby bangs…lol

Oh dear god, baby bangs… Noooooooo. J/k I love baby bangs on the right person. 

I am actually the worst one to ask about trends. I am all about creating looks that my clients want based on their current challenges with their hair and what their overall desire is. I’ve never been great at following or predicting trends, except the grey hair movement. I love seeing women embrace their natural beauty. It is such beautiful thing to see a woman who has been coloring her hair for years finally say out loud that they want to see who they really are. Ughh my heart, I’m such a softy. 

Oh and social media, don’t get me started. I love it, but it really creates a lot of insecurity for stylists. Listen, you do not need to post 57 times a day to get clients. Be authentic, tell your story and people will find you. And don’t underestimate the power of connections with someone outside of the salon. 

This will be the last question and we really appreciate your time. So before we go please tell us anything you would like us to know or look out for in the next few hair-months. 

Salon Chair Guys, I just want you to know how much I appreciate you for all the support you have shown me along the way. My heart is full. 

I hope to be refocusing on the Salon Professional Meetups so please be on the look out to how we can connect in person. And as I tell everyone when I meet them, if you need something please reach out. I’m open to you. 

5 Hair Color Tips: Preserve Your Hair Color

5 Tips to Preserve Your Hair Color and Prevent Fading

Original Blog Post written by Jen Mc Fall

With summer on the horizon, I see a lot of clients struggle with their hair color fading. The reality of it is, color is going to fade. Period. Unfortunately, that can't be helped. But with a few tips, you can help preserve your color so it doesn't fade out and look dull as quickly!

1. Use Quality Product

I now this seems super basic, like DUH you hear this all the time, right? But the reality is: your shampoo matters. Cheap shampoos and conditioners have cheap ingredients that may clean your hair, but not in the best way. So invest a little more and get yourself some quality products made for color treated hair. There are definitely differences between store brand and professional quality products and how they affect your hair.

2. Wash Less Frequently

How often you wash your hair really depends on your personal preference. Your scalp and hair are unique and unlike anybody else's in this world! But the less frequently you wash your hair, the better. Not only will your hair color last way longer, but your natural oils will actually have time to condition your hair leaving it healthier and stronger! If you're freaking out about the grease pit that your hair will become if you don't wash everyday, don't worry. There is an adjustment period but your scalp will adapt to being washed less frequently and will eventually ease up on the oil production. Plus, wouldn't you love an extra 15-20 minutes in the morning to do other things? So throw on that shower cap (yes, I actually own an old lady shower cap) and give your hair a rest.

3. Avoid the Sun

Embrace your inner vampire! The sun is so incredibly harsh on your skin and hair and it is VITAL that you protect yourself from it if you are going to be playing outside for more than a few minutes. If you're going to be spending a lot of time exposed to the sun, get yourself a good hat. Any hat will do: ball cap, sun hat, one of those twirly helicopter hats. As long as your hair is covered, it is being protected from the harsh UV rays emitted by the sun. So go get yourself a cool cap!

4. Condition Before You Swim

When summer comes around, many people flock to the water. But sea water, and especially chlorinated pool water, can be really harsh on color treated hair. I'm sure we've all seen the dreaded "blonde turned green" from a fun afternoon dip in the pool. One way to help protect your hair is to wet it prior to swimming and throw in some conditioner. That way your hair will already be full of clean water and conditioner and won't have any room to soak up the nasties. True story.

5. Use the Correct Temperature

Did you know heat can fade your color? It's true. Taking really hot showers, cranking your styling tools up to 400°, these can have devastating effects on your hair and hair color. It's best to wash your hair with cool water and when using a flat iron or curling iron, start with the lowest temperature setting and increase the temp until you get the curl hold you are going for.

When the heat really kicks it up a notch, make sure to take extra precautions and protect your hair! After all, you've invested a lot of money to have it colored and treated in the salon, so protect your investment and you'll see great return on the longevity of your color.

xoxo - Jen 

Hair Care After Cancer Treatment

Hair Care After Cancer Treatment

Let’s face it, Cancer sucks. And coping during the healing journey is hard. And on top of that, many people face the added indignity of losing their hair. It is an extension of ourselves and I want to share some ways to help alleviate the sadness and stress in overcoming this traumatic side effect, so you can focus your energy on healing. After all, your stylist can be a blessing, someone to help you through one of the many events along the way, and even though helping care for your hair during this time might be a small thing, it can make a tremendous difference in helping to find a little light in the dark.  

Among the many challenges of going through treatment of any form of cancer, let alone having to face the disease to begin with, people are faced with something that in the grand scheme may seem small but can have a big impact on well-being and healing.

Hair Thinning and Hair Loss --What Can You Do?

If you cannot bear to go bare, wigs are one of the best options, as it allows you to have fun and they are very low maintenance. Before purchasing though, take a few moments to think about what you want to get out of your wig long-term and research the various options available. You may want to consider purchasing the wig before your treatment, but make sure you think about how it will fit as you lose hair. 

Also, call your stylist and enlist their help. Just because it isn’t your natural hair, doesn’t mean they can’t play a vital role in your everyday care and styling!

  • Check to see if it is adjustable. As you lose hair, you may need a smaller size.
  • When you purchase a wig prior to treatment, expert wig shops can help you to match the color and texture. You can also cut a swatch of hair for future matching. Of course, if you’re going to have fun with it, the world’s color and style palate is your oyster!
  • Check with your insurance. Many times, wigs and cranial prosthesis may be fully or partially covered.
  • Talk to your cancer treatment team and other patients for referrals. Find the right shop for you to help make the most out of your wig. 
  • Try different styles. If you want a match, make sure they know what you’re looking for. But, you might just find something totally different that will give you a new look, and possibly a healthy outlook while in treatment. 
  • Consider buying more than one and mix it up. Or maybe you want something for special occasions. 
  • Find out if synthetic or human hair is for you. Synthetic wigs cost less and are easier to maintain, but may not have the look and feel you want. 
  • Wigs can be hot and itchy. Consider going with scarves and/or turbans for a comfortable way to cover your hair loss while still having fun with style. Note: cotton fabrics are smoother and more breathable than heavier fabrics or polyester. 
  • If you think you may want to have your wig styled and/or cut, check with your hair stylist, or make sure to ask any prospective professionals, about their level of comfort and experience with this; not everyone is capable! 

Hair Care: During and After Treatment

  • Be gentle when washing your hair
  • Wash your hair every two or three days, when possible
  • Use a mild shampoo (ask your stylist what ones would be best for you).
  • Allow your hair to air dry, only using a towel to pat the hair removing excess water
  • Avoid heat: blow drying and hot irons, and/or curlers
  • Do not use elastic hair ties. Try using soft fabric scarves to keep it out of your face or off your shoulders
  • Avoid permanent or semi-permanent hair color, and do not use color treatments from the store!
  • Avoid chemical treatments (chemical straighteners and coloring) without speaking with your doctor first, and doing a sensitivity test. 
  • Use sun protection such as sunscreen and hats or scarves when exposed to the sun
  • Cover your head when cold to prevent loss of body heat
  • Choose a soft pillow case-satin works great

Cold Cap Therapy 

Cold Cap Therapy is an innovative treatment that narrows the blood vessels in the scalp so the chemotherapy or radiation treatment doesn't damage the hair follicles. Your head is covered with cold packs usually -15 to -40 Fahrenheit before, during, and after chemotherapy. This may help with limiting the amount of cancer treatment drugs that reach the hair follicles (which is one of the factors in hair loss) and can help to prevent major loss or thinning. 

It is important to note that Cold Cap Therapy is not for everyone, and is not a guaranteed solution. In multiple small studies, cold caps were considered highly effective in 50 to 60 percent of women who used them (according to Women who got only anthracycline chemotherapy had slightly better results with cold caps than women who got only taxane chemotherapy. One study from 2000 found that 92 percent of women getting anthracycline chemotherapy only, had no hair loss compared with 88 percent of women getting taxane chemotherapy only. 

If you’re interested in trying Cold Cap Therapy, talk to your doctor about all factors involved and determine what treatments you will be part of and the health issues you need to be aware of. 

Find a Caring Hairstylist! 

*This might go without saying, but if you will be enlisting the help of your current stylist, or are looking for someone new, you want to make they are comfortable with helping you on your journey and will help alleviate your fears and address your needs specifically. 

  • Book a consultation over the phone or in the salon
  • Try to be prepared with dates you will be undergoing treatment and what kind of treatment you will be part of
  • If you want to have color or any chemical service (perms, chemical straightener) please request a patch/sensitivity test (done 48 hours prior to service) and talk to your doctor first.  
  • Bring pictures, not only of immediate hair wishes but what you may be looking to achieve long-term
  • Ask about prices
  • Bring a friend for support! Getting your hair cared for, even by a professional, when going through chemotherapy is not your normal salon day. 

When Hair Re-Grows

When new hair begins to grow back, its texture and coloring can change. You may notice your hair grows back thinner, courser, and sometimes may grow in curly or straight when it was different before treatment. The color can also change when your hair begins to grow again. Coming back curly or straight. During treatment, new chemicals are introduced into your body and key nutrients are depleted. This can cause breakage and any number of subtle differences in your natural hair. It can take time to notice your hair begins to return to your pre-treatment texture and color, so be patient. Talk to your stylist about ways to utilize the new changes for a style you will fall in love with. 

Many people recommend to begin cutting your hair shorter before treatment to help cope with the changes to come. It will also help when your hair begins to grow back, as you can expect approximately ½ inch per month of regrowth (note: everyone’s hair is different, but you can keep a hair journal to measure for your typical results). 

Before after and during your treatment, take recommended vitamins (with doctor’s approval) and use quality products-this can make a big difference. When you’re ready to start thinking about new styles, treatments for your hair, and color, ensure your scalp and hair is in good condition. 

Everyone’s experience with cancer treatments vary, so take the time to find out what will work best for your hair, but also for your healing. When your spirits are high, your healing journey may be easier. Just breathe and know that you are not alone, and when it comes to your hair, there are caring individuals who will give you a hug and do what they can to make you feel as good as you can. 

If you are looking for a quality La Mesa hair salon experience, contact Cultivate today. We are cultivating the art of active listening to bring you beautiful and healthy hair. Book your free consultation today.

Sources used for this article: www.Cancer.Org and

Hair Color Gone Wrong

Hair Color Gone Wrong - When DIY Hair Does Not Turn Out The Way You Imagined

“So You’ve Turned Your Hair Orange. Now What?”

You needed a quick change and hit the grocery aisles for a new DIY hair color, but it went wrong. Whether it was a major life change, such as a break-up or new job that prompted your need for a change, or you just needed some instant gratification, the box color did not deliver on your vision. 

Even though you read the fine print, checked the color comparison against your own hair, and trusted that it would take your dark brunette to that desired level of fun blonde, it doesn't always work. 

Sure, you have a basic understanding of how hair color works, can follow application directions and are patient enough to wait 30 minutes for the magic to happen. But the final reveal takes you off guard. Instead of salon beautiful color, you find two inches of your roots are blond and the rest is a very reddish gold. Panic sets in, tears form and you run to Facebook to post a very scary picture of your new hair.

Can’t relate to the disaster of going blonde from a box? Putting on a pretty chocolate brown has its downfalls too. What box hair color doesn't take into account is past color services or your natural underlying pigment (The underlying pigment is often that orange-red you see when someone who has dark hair has unsuccessfully gone blond), it also doesn’t tell you what colors you should avoid, or how your hairs porosity will affect the color.  

*Did you know that if you use an ash brown on over processed blond hair, likely you will end up with green hair, porous hair rejects all warm colors. And having some warmth makes the hair brown. 

Whatever your situation is, it is clear that it needs a color correction, and if DIY got you into it, it probably isn't the answer to getting you out of it!

What steps can you take to find someone who knows how to fix it, How much money can you expect to pay for the color correction? And should you dare try and fix it at home?

Not all salons are color experts!

If you are resorting to home hair coloring, maybe you haven't really found someone you trust with your locks. Not all salons are known for their color expertise, but that doesn't mean that someone in the salon isn't. Make sure you do your due diligence and call or stop by the salon and ask to speak with someone who specializes in color corrections. Color corrections should be left to someone with extensive color training. Although it may look simple, hair color requires extensive knowledge and training. There are so many components that go into the perfect color and that is not something that can be found in a box or by someone without that formal education. 

Just because stylists are required to attend beauty school doesn't mean they actually have the knowledge to help. They may even make it worse or cause irreparable damage. But, how do you choose a new hair stylist in la Mesa? My recent article helps you understand what to look for when evaluating new hair stylists.

How many visits should I expect to have before my hair is fixed, and will they cut it?

Choosing a color correction stylist and having a consolation is the first step. They will be the ones to tell you how long the process will take, and whether or not you may have to cut any damaged ends. 

While most at home color does not end up as a worst-case scenario, it almost never turns out how you want it. Most subtle color-gone-wrong can be fixed with a few color processes and a good conditioning treatment. The lighter you try to go, or if you’re using bleach, may require more in-depth services, multiple visits, and a shorter cut. 

What I can never recommend is trying to fix at home. If you are already unhappy with the DIY color, chances are high that whatever you do to fix it will not only not work, but will make the repair even more costly and damaging. 

A few things to consider

  • Box color is developed for the average consumer, It never takes in to account your unique texture and thickness of hair, or past color history. 
  • It will continue to darken as you apply it leaving the roots lighter than the ends
  • It uses a very high volume of developer, and with frequent use it will eat away at the hair, leaving it damaged and brittle.
  • It eventually loses its shine and leaves a matte color behind. 
  • It is almost impossible to remove.  
  • Color corrections will be expensive if something goes wrong. 

How much do color corrections really cost? 

Color correction prices range from stylist to stylist, but often you can expect color corrections to be priced by the hour. This allows the stylist to use as much product necessary to achieve the desired result without adding surprise charges at the end. How many hours you will need, and the price will vary depending on things like these.

  • How long your hair is.
  • What your desired end result will be. 
  • How many steps will be needed to send you home with hair you can live with.
  • Processing of each color step can take up to an hour. 
  • Application of each step, it can take 20 minutes to over an hour
  • How many times you will need to come back to the salon to achieve the desired result
  • Haircut pricing 
  • Deep conditioning or Olaplex treatments 

Also keep in mind that you should have an Olaplex treatment or a deep conditioning treatment to keep your hair in the best possible condition since it is being processed multiple times. These treatments usually cost thirty dollars and are absolutely worth it, do not let your stylist skip this part. You will also want to ensure you have, or purchase, product that will continue the care at home. 

After Color Correction Care:

You should plan on investing in you home hair care whether you have had a color correction or not, but especially after processing your hair.

Ask your stylist what they recommend and go with those recommendations. 

You may need: 

Color safe shampoo and conditioner 

Protein shampoo and conditioner to help rebuild the keratin protein in your hair. 

Color-infused shampoo and conditioner, usually purple, blue, red or brown (depending on the color issues). 

A leave-in-treatment

Thermal protectant

A shine serum or spray.

A take-home deep conditioning treatment 

This could get expensive, but will save your hair and future services!

Just remember, you are not alone! The box hair colors are not in the business of building a relationship with you, they are selling you a dream on a budget and we all want that dream! Sometimes it works, but most often it is a disappointment. 

Don’t panic, if instant gratification and budget was a factor in your choosing to try it at home, you may have to take a deep breath, understand that your road to repair might be slow and cost a little more, but will totally be worth it in the end. Be patient. Take the right steps, and choose a stylist with the right education. You will know!

And, if you have not found the person to care for your beautiful tresses, Book a complimentary consultation at Cultivate, award-winning La Mesa hair salon.

Kim Creekmore the Story 

Kim Creekmore the Story 

I entered the hairdressing world officially at 26 years old. By traditional standards, I started my journey late. 

My first real hairdressing job was with one of San Diego top salons. I specialized in haircutting there and quickly developed a love for short precision haircutting. I was the “go to” person in the salon at that time for all pixie and stacked bob haircuts, and I couldn't get enough. Fast forward 6 years I left to develop my own brand (HairLoveDesign). I knew that I wanted to start building a retirement and grinding away for someone else wasn't the way I was going to get there. I had no idea at the time that leaving that job would throw me into some of the most amazing experiences I have been able to be a part of. In 2014 I founded Salon Professionals of San Diego, a local Community group. We have been involved in numerous educational and fundraising events, and the possibilities for growth seem endless. We strive to bring a large community of independent hair artist together. 

Has it been a smooth road what were some of the struggles along the way?

I'm happy to report that It really hasn't been very challenging. My husband who is the diligent one with the spreadsheets and tax reporting skills keep the money side of our business strong. I get to do what I love every day,. My best friend keeps my blog writing in check and my team creates beautiful hair and help me run our community outreach group the Salon Professionals of San Diego. 

Tell us about your business/company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?

I opened Cultivate in January of 2016 after working in the hairdressing industry for almost 10 years. I knew there was NOT a need for another salon in La Mesa, but I knew that WHAT I had to offer our community was missing. Cultivate was developed with the client consultation at the heart of it all. We believe that the reason most people are unhappy leaving a hair appointment is because they felt they were not listened to. At Cultivate, we put the art of active listening into motion with every single client. We sit and ask a series of questions to develop a story about the client's hair and their daily hair care practices. I know that most people, and especially other hairdressers think that they are having a consultation, but most open the dialog with "What do you want to do today?" a habit hard to break. At Cultivate we believe these series of words hinder the ability to find out the true challenges that clients' have. We have a proven formula to really hear and deliver the best hair you have been dreaming about.

Where do you see your industry going over the next 5-10 years? Any big shifts, changes, trends, etc?

Our industry is changing. Clients have so many options and the ability to see everyone’s work on platforms like Instagram and Facebook you have to be at the top of your game. Clients are looking, searching and reviewing looking for the best stylists out there. Groupon's have also played a large role in the decline of client loyalty. They provide an opportunity to check someone out at a discount. Got are the day’s where you are guaranteed a client for life. Inside information: Salons often run Groupon’s to build their clientele if they are new or having a hard time holding on to repeat business. 

So beware and read the reviews. 

Is there any pricing information that is relevant to our readers? If so, and if you would like us to share it, please include details (in bullet form) below. 

How do you, personally, define success? What’s your criteria, the markers you’re looking out for, etc?

I define success as the ability to wake up every morning do what I love and make great money doing it. There is a lot of money to be made doing hair. I like to believe that what you can dream you can achieve. However, you have to have a financial goal and the systems in place to get there. Consistency is key. There are 20+ salons in a 1-mile radius of Cultivate. How do we stand out? We listen to you. 

Salon Products Vs The Grocer 

Why Purchasing Salon Products Is Better Store Brands and Knockoffs

My name is Kimberly Creekmore, Owner of Cultivate, La Mesa premiere hair salon and founder of Salon Professionals of San Diego. I have been in the beauty industry for 10 years. If you ask my family and my friends, they would tell you that I have been doing hair for as long as someone would let me get close to them with scissors, hair color or a pair of clippers.

I am passionate about my industry and even more passionate about taking care of my clients and friends. I wanted to start addressing some common questions and problems that people have when visiting their hairdresser. I asked my clients, friends, and Facebook followers to help guide this and the next 4 articles that I will be sharing with you. The second most requested topic; salon products versus store bought brands and knockoffs.  

With so many options on where you can purchase your home hair care products, it is no wonder so many people are overwhelmed when choosing their shampoo or styling products. Marketers are experts at choosing colors, branding layouts, and keywords to grab your attention. Big name stores will carry approximately 600 different kinds of shampoo, conditioner and styling products, and this doesn't include the different skin care options available. Some claim to be a variety of things such as sulfate free, organic, alcohol free etc; but what does it all mean and how does it affect you?

Your Stylist Knows Your Hair

When consulting with your hairstylist, he or she will be looking at your hair type and asking questions on how you are styling day to day, and what challenges you are having with your hair

This gives them a strong understanding on what products to recommend.

If you have fine, frizzy hair and desire volume, volumizing shampoo may create more frizz. Store bought brands make claims that could have the opposite effect on certain hair types. Hair stylists understand the complex chemistry involved and can recommend the right combination fro you -- such as using a light smoothing shampoo with a volumizing spray to create volume in the desired areas. Your stylist should be able to come up with the best possible solution. 

The number one complaint I hear from new clients is that they can never get their hair to look the same when they get home. They often feel intimated when trying to recreate the look with the products already on their vanity.

Salons Know the Product Line They are Selling

  • Most salons provide brand product knowledge training for their stylists 
  • Training makes the stylist an expert in that brand
  • Allows stylists to make accurate recommendations based on hair type and manufactures direction

Home hair care is like baking a cake!

In order to get the best at home styling experience, it is recommended that you purchase the items used to create your style while in the salon.

I like to think about beauty products like ingredients, you need to start with a quality shampoo/conditioner, something for smoothing or volume, and you may need a finishing product like a shine or hairspray.

If you opt to use something from a big name store that leaves a buildup and use that finishing shine from your hairdresser, the combination may leave your hair greasy and unmanageable. However, if you purchased the recommended shampoo and conditioner with the finishing shine, your result at home would be successful.

Why Inexpensive Shampoo is not the Best Option

You can compare shampoos like you can compare a cheap bottle of wine to a more expensive bottle. Both are made from similar ingredients and processes. Higher end salon products are typically more costly, but they are also used with a higher quality list of ingredients and sold only to professional salons. Inexpensive brands require more product, wasting money, and have fillers and preservatives that are harsh on your hair.

Can you trust what the bottle is telling you?

Is that sulfate free, color safe, $4 bottle of shampoo really making your color last longer? 

  • Remember marketing sells products en masse
  • Lesser known ingredients may be stripping color and creating buildup
  • Any professional brand bought at a big name store or on Amazon may not have the same consistency, concentration, or color you would get when you are purchasing directly from the salon 
  • Products may be old and often are more expensive at a big name store or on Amazon
  • Your hairdresser works everyday with the salon product and gets real life results and feedback on how it works

When shopping for products at home stores or online, read the labels and keep in mind some of these key items to make the best choice. 

Alcohol in your product isn't always a bad thing

While some of the alcohol in your product can cause dryness in your hair and on your skin, alcohol may also trap desired moisture and create healthy barriers on the hair that will provide the look you want.

Here is a list of the good and bad alcohols you can use as guide

Below is the “bad alcohol” list

  • Alcohol, ethanol, ethyl alcohol
  • Isopropanol, isopropyl alcohol, IPA
  • Methanol, methyl alcohol
  • Benzyl alcohol (usually used as a preservative, ok if you see it towards the end of the ingredient list)

Below is the “good alcohol” list

  • Myristyl alcohol: emollient
  • Cetyl alcohol: emollient – Stearyl alcohol: emollient, emulsifier
  • Cetearyl Alcohol: mixture of cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol: emollient, emulsifier
  • Behenyl alcohol: emollient, emulsifier
  • Lanolin alcohol: emollient, emulsifier  May cause allergic reaction in some people.

What is a Paraben?

Parabens are widely used in hair care products as a preservative. Recently they have been associated with being “estrogen disruptive” and have been found present in some malignant breast tissue. However, the U.S Food and Drug Administration and the world health administration deems them safe at low levels.

That being said, when you are typically using over 15 different hair and skin care products during the day; how can we know that we are staying at safe levels? The most common parabens are butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben.

What is a sulfate and why is it bad?

Sulfates are cleaning agents (detergents) and you will find them in most industrial and home cleaning products, also know as Sodium laurel sulfate (SLS).

Commonly seen in

  • Engine Degreasers
  • Floor Cleaners
  • Bath Products
  • Anything that creates suds

In the same way that SLS dissolves the grease on your car engine, it also dissolves the oils on your skin, and can cause some of the following conditions:

  • Dries hair and scalp
  • Can cause or can worsen eczema, dandruff, and other scalp conditions
  • Can Clogs your pores 

*The FDA grants the Cosmetics Industry the right of self regulation, They can use almost any product for their shampoo as long as it is not in itself known to be carcinogenic. 

Your Salon Purchases Helps Small Businesses

Since most salons are operated by local small business owners, your purchases help keep that small business thriving. Product sales make up 5-15% in business revenue. This income can go towards bringing in more eduction, services, and benefits for you.

Please Support your Local Salon Hair Stylists!

When purchasing your home hair care products, it’s hard to say that the products from the big name stores are terrible. Any soap, really, will do the job of cleansing the hair. However, if you are looking for styling results, soft, healthy hair that shines, consult your hair stylist. They have the education and expertise to steer you towards the best product for your budget.

Pro Tip:

Keep a jar on your vanity, and use the saved change for more expensive products.

If you are looking for someone to listen to your hair needs and challenges, and create a look to fall in love with, book your free consultation today!

Cultivate La Mesa is a 5 Star business on Yelp!


*Sources used in this article found:

How to talk to your Hairdresser

How to talk to your Hairdresser

My Name is Kimberly Creekmore, Owner of HairLoveDesignLLC and founder of Salon Professionals of San Diego. I have been in the beauty industry for 10 years, If you ask my family and my friends they would tell you that I have been doing hair for as long as someone would let me close to them with scissors, color or a pair of clippers.

As someone who prides them self with being extremely passionate about my industry and even more passionate about taking care of my clients and friends, I wanted to start addressing some common question and problems that people have when visiting their hairdresser. 

I started a thread on FaceBook and asked my friends and clients  “If they could read an article about hair what would they want to read about?”

The most liked answer was How Do I TALK Hairdresser (so my hairdresser doesn't have to ask 423 questions). Well, The answer is simply this. If you are fortunate enough to have a hairdresser who sits you down to ask you questions about your hair each time you come to visit you have found your self a diamond in the rough. The truth of the matter is that so many hairdressers start the conversation with “what do you want to do today?” and therefore, so many of you have found that is it really hard to communicate clearly what it is you want with your hair and ultimately leave unhappy with the result or without the change you desired. Chances are you love your hairdresser, so it seems like a logical choice to just wait a couple weeks till the color fades and the hair grows a little, so you can enjoy your hair fully.

What I want to give you today is a format to communicate effectively with your hairdresser in-case they ask you the dreaded question “What do you want to do today?”


Don’t let them take you directly to the shampoo bowl or leave to mix your color without initiating conversation first. 

Tell them “ Hey can we go talk about my hair”  this will startle them,  just reassure them you want to talk before you get started. 

They may at this point start asking questions. This is a survival instinct because they are nervous something may be wrong. Most of us were taught some consultation skills in beauty school, but quickly forget once we get busy. Say to them, “ I wanted to tell you what I like and don’t like about my hair” Proceed to tell them all about it. 

A hairdressers JOB is to find out what challenges you are having and how to fix them so to start with this question is key. 


Tell them about ALL of the products you use in your hair and which ones you seem to like best, and also which ones you haven’t liked so much. You can be generic and tell them you have been using a conditioner for dry hair and a mousse for volume. Don’t feel bad for using XY&Z products you bought from the grocery store. Chances are they haven't been recommending things that are for your hair type and you have been guessing at what would be best in your hair. 


Most people keep it simple and want  Wash and Go hair. I think this is great, but if on Monday you wash and air dry,  Wednesday you straighten and Friday you curl, you may need a product to help you achieve those things. And It allows us to know if we should cut shorter layers or leave them longer so you can put everything in that early morning ponytail.


If you want to wear your hair in a certain style, ask to be taught how to use the round brush or curling iron. Chances are if you watch how they do it, you will not be able to recreate a similar look at home. Get your hand on the product and put it in your hair your self, ask to use the blowdryer so you can see and feel how the round brush should be used and most importantly make sure you feel comfortable before you leave. At this point, it is critical to consider all products being use to create this look, Sometimes going home and using that mousse when you really needed a smoothing cream will lead to disappointment.  It is possible that you will need to schedule a blow-dry, styling class with your stylist, or ask if they have a bit of extra time to really go through styling with you. 


Make sure to ask based in the discussion what they are planning on doing today. You don’t need technical hairdressing terms, you just want to know how long it will be, where you think the layers will sit, and How the bangs will look. Certainly, you want to make sure they address any challenges and how they plan on fixing them. 


If something wasn’t quite right last time or is seeming not right before you leave, let your hairdresser know what is bothering you. We would love to read minds but unfortunately, that is a skill we don’t posses, so please give us a chance to make it right. As a person who’s career lies in the fate of good yelp reviews and client referrals, we only want to make our clients happy so we can thrive as a stylist and provide for the family. Please be open and share what’s on your mind, and ask for that re-do if you are not happy. 

Stylists, If you are looking for advanced hairdressing or salon business education or if you would like to have a format of your own to communicate more effectively with your clients, please find me on FB on our Group Salon Professionals of San Diego  or you can email me

Choosing The Right Hair Stylist For You

How do you Choose a New Hair Stylist?

Many of you have probably been faced with the challenge of finding a hairdresser. Maybe you, or your current stylist, have moved to another city, they no longer work at the salon you love, or you have made the decision to not return for any number of reasons. The dreaded day comes; your hair and you are in need of service. But how do you go about choosing the right person in which to place your trust?

You’ve thought about just running by the nearest quick hair shop for a “trim.” But that is simply a necessity, you want to build a relationship that will last, and find a stylist you can count on every time. It is a daunting task. Not only will they need to have the skill and expertise, but you want someone who stays current with today’s ever-changing looks, and you need to hit it off instantly, or your search continues.

Don’t lose hope. With so much information available online, it’s easier than ever to find a new stylist, and once you find someone, with the right questions, you can be sure the relationship will be a great match.  

Finding a Hair Stylist Using Google

Using search engines like Google will return a wealth of stylists from which to choose. A good hairdresser, and/or salon, will continually update their website with content and pictures, so make sure to include specific search terms to get the best match.

For example, if you have curly hair, your search term should be Best Curly Hair stylist San Diego (or specific city). If you have short hair or want a new shortcut, search for Best Short Hairstylists, and so on. This way, you will find a professional who specializes in what you need and what you’re looking for.

Getting a Referral for Your Next Hair Stylist

A personal referral is by far the best way to find a new stylist. When your friends, your neighbors, and your colleagues recommend you go to visit their stylists or rave about how wonderful they are, it is a clear indication of a great experience. And bonus if you already love your friend’s hair!

Or, if you see cute hair pictures from friends and colleagues on social media and love their style, ask them who they see.  Chances are they’ll rave about them (they must love it if they take the time to show off their style on Instagram!) and you will already love the stylist before you ever meet. And the stylist may even have a referral program that will benefit you and your friends!

Hair Stylists from Yelp & Other Review Sites

Turning to sites like Yelp and Angie’s List is one of the best options to search for your new hairdresser, or find more information once you have found a candidate, such as their hours, website information, rates, and most importantly, what others are saying about them.

It’s important to read as many reviews as possible; don’t forget to check the reviews not recommended as well: look for a link near the bottom of the page that says Other Reviews That Are Currently Not Recommended. Of course, you want a 5-star stylist, but if you read carefully, you will get a good idea overall. If every reviewer has the same problem, chances are it is true.

Same goes for the good stuff, if they're raving about the same great things, it’s probably safe to place your trust in them. But if there are a few bad reviews, don’t let that sway you…Keep reading and look for the pattern. And when searching on Yelp, use the same specific search terms to find your perfect match.

Have you Checked Facebook & Instagram?

Maybe you started with Social media, or have found a hairdresser on Yelp or through Google and want to know more about them. Checking their business Facebook and Instagram pages will give you a current, visual representation of their work and personality. It will also allow you to see more reviews, and most importantly if they are interacting with their clients online.  Sometimes salons will even offer specials on their Facebook page.

Tip: be wary of salons that do not keep their business social media accounts active and up to date. Their level of social interaction, or inaction, could be indicative of how committed they are to their craft.

Hair Stylist Blogs and Websites

Checking their website for stylist biographies, hours, pricing, pictures, community events, online scheduling, and just all around information is critical. Is the website mobile and user-friendly? Can you access the phone number or address quickly? If they do not care enough to ensure their information is easily found, will they care about your hair? All of these are important in making sure you find a salon and stylist that care about all the little details because it means they will take the same care when providing you service.

What to Consider When Choosing a Hair Stylist

  • Location: Is the salon near your home or business? Or maybe it’s easily accessible from the freeway.
  • Parking: Does the salon have secure parking or metered street parking? Is it in a busy area where parking can be hard to find?
  • Accessibility: Does the salon have wheelchair access, if needed; is it easy to access, well lit for night appointments?

Before committing to a haircut or color service, do your research. And once you arrive at the salon, ask for a tour, they should be proud to show you their space and engage with you!

Scheduling with your Hair Stylist and Your First Visit

  • Make sure to call at least one week before your desired appointment date.
  • Did they return your call or text in a timely manner, or were you able to book online?
  • Did they sit down with you and have a consultation about the style you are looking for, and/or what challenges you are facing?
  • Did they make product recommendations so you can try and recreate the style at home?
  • How was the salon environment?
  • Were you greeted right away?
  • What conversations were happening in the salon? Were you comfortable?
  • Did they offer any complimentary value-added services, like a neck massage or extended scalp massage at the shampoo bowl?
  • Did they inform you of other services offered at the salon? For example; waxing, massage services, or skin care?

Ask about their salon background;  What do they love most-cut, color, or both, what do they enjoy about their salon? By engaging with them about their profession, you can determine if they are right for you. Plus, you want someone who is just as excited about giving you the best style, as you are about getting!

At the end of the appointment, you should feel exhilarated and happy! If you didn’t receive the style or look you were hoping for, or are unhappy, make sure to communicate with the stylist right away. Often, they want to ensure your happiness and will work to that goal.

Pay attention to your instincts. Your stylist is someone who you should feel a bond. You don’t have to become best friends, but if you don’t feel safe enough to talk openly and assertively about what you want, they may not be the right match. By going in with an open mind and asking a few questions, I am sure you will find a stylist that you rave about to your friends and colleagues.

If you are looking for someone to listen to your hair needs and challenges and create a look to fall in love with, contact Kim Creekmore at kim@hairlovedesign.comor visit Instagram @HairLoveDesign


Cultivate Your Pay-it-Forward Spirit!

Join us and the Salon Chair Guys in collecting school supplies for San Diego Kids. Hair salons can do so much good as a community by banding together, and we know we have the best clients in La Mesa! Cultivate your art of giving and help us by bringing new school supplies to Cultivate La Mesa on Friday.


la mesa salon community service

And if you don't have an appointment and need one, call today and book on elf our best stylists in La Mesa.