Reviews of Haircutting and Colouring Videos
Paul Mitchell Block Coloring
One of the best DVDs on the market. Considering the low price—$30, compared to average $60 for the same format, you really get you money worth.
Do not assume that just because the famous company releases an educational material like video, it must be good. But so far I have watched two Paul Mitchell’s DVD and I was very impressed.
Linda Yodice is a very good teacher: a pleasing personality, good-looking and full of enthusiasm for what she does. She always shows the actual techniques starting with mixing colors to application with good close-ups. Her speed is good: not too slow and not too fast, very neat and to the point. They also cut all the repetitive stuff so you don’t get bored watching the same action again and again.
This DVD explains 3 main block coloring patterns: horizontal, vertical and diagonal. This technique is very versatile, takes less time than traditional foil application and can be adapted to any style. It does take some practice to master it though, Linda makes it look rather too easy.
A few words about the color. Linda naturally uses Paul Mitchell color for all her work. I had an opportunity to play with it a little (unfortunately not enough to get a full scope) and I can say the color is decent. I am not really thrilled with it like I was with Schwarzkopf as I did not like its texture very much but the results were very good, even on the doll head. I especially liked their reds: better than in any other color line I played with so far. It is a line that is on the warm side which is a good thing if you predominantly work with warm tones, do lots of gold blondes and reds. You might want to look for different color line like Schwarzkopf if you most often look for ash/neutral color results.
I liked their lightener a lot, highlights looked very natural even without any toning.
The rank: 5 stars
My Bella Color Coloring Technique
Sharon Sovinski is a salon owner in Burbank and she came up with this “new” multi-foiling coloring technique that will make you lots of money. At least that’s the claim. Is it really that special that clients will beat a path to your door? Let’s have a look.
I won’t mislead you into describing this “innovative” technique and tell you straight forward that her techniques is the one that is known as block coloring. She never calls it that. In fact she claims that she invented it. It might very well be, I don’t know. There is Paul Mitchell DVD available on the market that breaks the process down. I don’t know who came out with it first and I don’t care. I look at every DVD in itself for what it’s worth.
Well, actually in all honesty her DVD is not bad. Considering that she made it within her own resources, unprofessionally, it is pretty good. She works on her real client with very long and thick hair. She shows the mixing process and application, she does not explain well the concept behind the technique but you kind of figure that out by yourself. The idea is to put blocks of contrasting colors close to each other so they will produce a stunning finished results. The results indeed are very impressive though not many people will look for them.
The recording shows a cozy interaction between Sharon and her client while she applies foils. Not the whole process is shown and she never mentions how long it takes, which is a thing many would like to know.
Pros: real salon setting, actual work on a real client rather than a model, the process is done on long hair which is rather unusual.
Cons. Well, there are some. And I don’t mean that the whole recording was not done professionally, I can deal with it as long as it is presentable. No, we’ll look for real cons.
First, I was surprised to see that she uses liquid color (like Clairol in bottles, not in tubes). What’s wrong with this, you might ask? Well, in my experience, 2 things. First, it has high ammonia content that is not good for the hair. Second, it’s rather messy to work with. And when they show close-ups on application, you can see that color bleeds on the scalp. Her application is fast but not very neat and a little messy. You probably would not tell it from the way she acts. If this is a color she uses on a daily basis I’d stay away from her salon. Once I worked with cream colors, I would not like to go back to bottles.
Update. Actually there is one case where the liquid color works best. When I wanted to cover highlights with a natural looking color I was amazed to find out that Color Charm in fact produced the best results. So it is definitely a tool to have.
Overall: an interesting video, a different slant on block coloring technique performed in a real salon environment. Price: $60.
Rating: I’ll give it 4 stars.
Hairmaven’s DVD on Haircutting
Hairmaven (Russel Mayes) is a well-known hairstylist in internet community. He runs his own website and a forum that have plenty of activity, which is quite unusual thing for such a specific topic.
Anyway, Hairmaven owns his own salon in Los Angeles and has plenty of experience. He is an excellent teacher. In fact he is one of the few who actually explains the reason why to do things certain ways. His forum posts are very informative.
So, when he released his own DVDs showing how to do basic haircuts, people became interested. The price was right so I took a plunge and bought them. Here is my take on them.
These DVDs are excellent, probably the best on the market. If you buy a set of two DVDs you’ll get what is called “classic” and “modern” versions of the same haircuts. They are somewhat similar, the “modern” version is usually performed with the razor or with scissors point-cutting technique. If you really can’t afford both, just buy the classic DVD but I’d recommend you get the 2 set as it is interesting to watch how the classic cut is adapted to more edgy style.
Hairmaven’s style is very good, the haircuts are shown from start to finish, not just one side and he comments on every action. It is an excellent learning tool. Lots of close-ups, even some goofs are not edited out.
This “all steak and no sizzle” approach is refreshing indeed. You really feel like you got your money’s worth, it’s one of the few educational materials where at least one third of it is not a model’s clowning before the camera (or whatever it is called).
He actually shows some new cutting techniques (well, at least they were new to me) that now I use in my daily work. For example my haircutting on long hair improved dramatically when I started using square and v-layering. And his cutting of graduated bob (a curse for many hairstylists) is worth the money alone.
Highly recommended. I think you’ll enjoy watching them.
Rating: 5 stars.
David Foote Videos
This is a true antique, collector's item and I own them.
David Foote made some basic haircoloring and foiling videos. I’ve got one on general haircoloring and two on foiling. General haircoloring video is good but there is no really new information there, just a good reminder how haircolor works and some basic rules to remember. He explains color wheel and level system.
Foiling videos are excellent. When I bought them I was still struggling with foiling so I was looking for good presentation. David’s videos fit the bill perfectly. I liked his way of foiling which is different from “traditional”. I was having trouble with “traditional” approach, so I was very glad to see that his method was different. He shows sectioning, and actual application process. He uses paper for his method but you can also use foil. He gives lots of useful tips and explains why he does this or that, which is extremely helpful.
I started using his method and my foiling has improved dramatically. I am still far from being a super fast foiling Speedy Gonzalez but the quality of work became very good and that was what I was after: results rather than speed.
The best video tape was depicting his foiling technique that is called Shadowing: applying highlight and lowlight in one foil. I now foil like that all the time and I am very pleased with the results.
His videos contain no fluff whatsoever, which is a good thing.
P. S. Since then I found another foiling method that is even better. The thing about it that rather than fighting gravity like in traditional foiling, one works with it. And it is fast, if you are looking for speed. I actually combine that one with David's method. The results are superb.
I highly recommend these videos (if you can get them). I got them by emailing David personally and he and his assistants were very helpful.
Rating: 5 stars
Beth Minardi Color DVD
Aah, the shark of haircoloring. Now we are going to have some fun with this one. Beth Minardi is a famous hair color expert who owns a huge salon in New York and is famous for making heaps of money. Her philosophy is never do in one day what can be done in a week or a month. She charges hefty price for everything she does. She also runs a column about haircolor in one of the hair magazines and a similar column on internet (which are good).
The DVD cost $100 (a deal, of course). So you would at least expect a decent quality production, good-looking models (not a requirement but a nice thing to have) and a proper presentation. Well, you will find none of the above in this fluke. It is so obviously a bunch of shootage from her seminars put together in a hurry which nobody even bothered to edit. The camera shakes all the way through, application processes are hurries through, there are no close-ups, and no explanation or reasons for doing thing (well… there are some but they are very basic and obvious). This bunch of baloney is masked by giving us exact color formulas for which personally I don’t care as it’s never been a problem for me to figure out a color formula, I’d rather learn a new philosophy or technique. There are no new techniques presented in her DVD.
Compared to this rubbish Sharon Sovinsky’s DVD should be considered a highly artistic studio creation.
Now you see the reason for the intro. She so obviously glides on her reputation. An overpriced DVD with very little value, a disappointment and no return customers. At least I won’t be buying anything from her again. Unfortunately many people are so blinded by her authority and reputation that they’ll probably hang on her every word.
So the verdict is no, save your money.
Rating: 1 star. I always wanted to find a product that truly deserved one star. Considering her budget and reputation, she deserves one, not two.
Martin Parson’s DVD on Haircutting
Martin Parson is famous for his fabulous updos in the hairstyling business so it’s interesting to see him doing something besides that. Well, he is also a good haircutter and he presents a system of haircutting in his DVDs.
His system is rather simple. There is nothing really new to learn as far as technique goes but a few tips and tricks that make the watching worthwhile. His haircuts tend to be rather the same but his technique is very good and results are excellent. He calls his haircuts different names but it’s basically just different variations of the same haircut.
The haircutting process is shown from beginning to end and he wears a suit. He has a good personality so that makes the video pretty good.
The video is shot in studio setting and the haircuts are performed on good-looking models. That part of it is fine.
I highly recommend you get Martin’s templates for different haircuts. That systematizes the whole approach to haircutting. They show relation between a general look and a degree of cutting angle. They are not proper templates but just a good visual tool. And they are free to download.
I don’t remember the price, I think it was the usual $60 for a DVD or less. I don’t regret that I bought it but be warned that this DVD is more to polish your skills rather than learn a new technique.
So I think it’s good. I’d buy another DVD from him.
Rate: 4 stars.
Teri Donnelly Method Series
Here’s a good one. I just thought that I don’t have anything that deserves 3 stars rating. So I thought about other videos I watched and remembered this. Ahh, a perfect fit.
Teri Donnelly claims that she had a method, the angle-grid “a visionary tool that maps the movement of the cut”.
What it turned out to be is Redken’s 3 things to consider in haircutting (I don’t remember their name for it) but that’s what they are: an angle at which you hold the hair, the infamous 0, 45, 90 and so on degrees. Then overdirection or none. And finally the finger angle of the cut.
It all makes good sense while you are reading it but for some reasons it’s hard to implement and actually visualize. Though idea is good, I won’t deny that.
The video I watched was either very badly edited or just a cheat. The haircutting process itself is barely shown, no close-ups, the action is hard to follow and her explanation are incoherent.
I really don’t think there was something revolutionary there. I like the idea but the presentation is very much to be desired. Hence 3 stars.
The verdict: not recommended. You might get the idea of the method system from Redken site (even there they could do much better with presentation and show actual haircuts).
Update. I don’t recommend Redken site either anymore. They started charging to show you some basic information that used to be free. Lots of it is very basic and obvious stuff so nothing new there. I am not going to support that kind of business. But then for some reason that brand never appealed to me. I don’t like that tough look on all their models.
Rate: 3 stars.
Jim Jones Videos
Jim Jones is a famous barber who is mainly famous for teaching clipper techniques. He also released a video on razor cutting. His videos are very good. What I like about him is that he is very fast but the finished results look good. He is not fussy about sectioning, etc, in fact he just grabs hair and cuts it.
His clipper techniques are very good. If you start practicing them your clipper cutting skills will improve. He shows how to use clippers and combs, how to hold them while at the same time entertaining the viewer. He uses real models some of whom are his family members and do not have exemplary hair to work on.
The Art of Razor Cutting video is excellent. It has good information regardless whether you are looking to learn how to cut with a razor or just want to refresh your skills. Not only does he show how to hold a razor, he also shoes some razoring techniques that are not widely known. His approach to cutting is almost exact opposite of Hairmaven’s, yet it is good. Personally I love watching how the same look can be accomplished by using different techniques.
He shows you only half of the haircut and sometimes skips parts of it. Regardless, it’s worth watching.
Rate: 4 stars. Highly recommended.
Martin Parsons Design Techniques for Cutting
Martin Parsons invented a new way of cutting hair that is absolutely wonderful. It is simple, easy and makes perfect sense. It is his balance points system, you’ve probably heard about: the round, roll and flat part of the head but Martin designed a complete system out of it. using his system allows you to create beautiful cuts in very short amount of time.
Well, his system does take some getting used to but it is well worth it. Just some points to consider: his system does not use any clips, the hair is just combed out of the way, the use of sections that are very comfortable to work with, quick checking and there is measuring involved. Remember those inch marks on your comb? You will start using them regularly.
Martin is famous as an “up-do guy” but I have not seen his up-do videos. I only know his cutting system. It seems he uses his balance points system for his up-dos as well. It is also hinted that you can use it for foiling, colouring and permanent waving but those methods are not released on DVDs. It is possible to figure them out though.
His blow-dry system is quick and uses no clips.
This one is highly recommended. You do learn some new information and it is extremely well presented.
Rate: Obviously 5 stars.
Color Concentration by Kathy Partin
The concept of color concentration while not completely new is fairly unknown among cosmetologists. The reason being that it goes against manufacturing instructions. But the idea behind the concept is actually quite simple. The concept is to use higher volume of hydrogen peroxide while decreasing the amount of this oxidizing agent. The result is longer lasting color, less fadage and improved color appearance.
While I was fascinated with the idea I did not like the presentation. This DVD is poorly made, the sound was very bad and the so-called “video” is actually a collection of static pictures. You do have to see Kathy Partin and hear her reading the stuff.
The whole idea can be expressed in one paragraph. There are two basic ideas: use higher volume of developers (60 volume is suggested) and mix permanent oxidative colors with demi colors. She does not go into how to determine the exact ratio. She does, however, gives the formula to determine the working volume of hydrogen peroxide in the color formula. I think that was the best part as it explains the concept in a way that it makes sense.
I am going to give you one example of a formula that I first heard from a colleague of mine a few years ago. For better gray coverage use so-called pigment packing (color concentration). Instead of traditional 2 oz. color and 2 oz. of 20 volume use 2 oz. of colour and 1 oz. of 40 volume peroxide. It’s supposed to improve coverage, especially on gray resistant hair and it makes reds last longer.
Just spread this idea to using 60 volume peroxide. Occasionally you can use 70 or even 80 but you must be very careful with that. Be sure to add a packet or 2 of “Sweet-N-Low” or Sorbitol into your formula when working with higher volume of peroxide. Also, it might be a good idea to add a product like Chi Silk Infusion. Kathy is pushing her own Color Zen (a blend of oils and a form of sugar) but it is rather expensive.
I first got exposed to the idea of using higher volumes of developer in balayage. In case you don’t know, balayage is a technique of applying highlights (or lowlights) directly on hair shafts without using foils. You can use highlift colour, and regular colour. With bleach, though, since it is processed at the room temperature and not enclosed in the foil, even 40 volume is usually not enough to cause sufficient lift. So 100 volume peroxide is often used. Be careful though. It is quite possible to cause serious damage to the hair. Always strand test first.
So if you can close your eyes to the presentation, you can learn one of the best coloring concepts, not just techniques or formulas. I would like to see more live videos in this DVD and a better script. But we have to deal with what we’ve got. The information is quite solid and that’s what really counts.
Rating 3 stars.