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E41 - Magic 4-Product Potion

Curl Next Door Episode 41 - "Magic 4-Product Potion" with Luis Pacheco from TO112


Hosts: Stephanie Podolak and Tamara Robbins Griffith


[intro music]


Stephanie and Tamara: Curl Next Door!


[sound of doorbell]

Tamara: Woo.

Stephanie: Woo woo. Welcome to our season three finale.

Tamara: Oh, 

Stephanie: Thank you for listening and tuning in to Curl Next Door Podcast season three with Stephanie Podolak.

Tamara: And Tamara Robbins Griffith. 

We've done fewer episodes this season, but, you know, juggling other careers, busy lives and we're really glad you come along for the ride with us. If you'd like to support us on Patreon we'll put the link in our show notes and, you know, we've had some great guests this season, some interesting bios, classic Curl Next Door stories, and some really good conversations and it's interesting as we've, you know, launched the podcast a couple years ago to see kind of the changes in the world and like how our conversations and what's happening in the beauty industry and the world at large kind of are all like moving in a certain direction together, maybe.

Stephanie: Awesome. Well, so for our season finale today, we have a few things up our sleeves, but we're really excited about our guest interview, which we'll introduce in a little bit. But I wanted to do, do, do, do, do share a Curl Desk story that I came across from the Smithsonian magazine, uh,

Tamara: Mm.

Stephanie: journalist named Victoria Sayo Turner. This is from June 13th, 2023. Okay, so just for some context, I know often people wonder why do we have different skin colors? Why are nose shapes different?

Why are our eye shapes different and we've learned that it's usually because of where our ancestors lived. So more humid environments or sunnier environments, or drier or colder, would impact what your body features look like. This article in the Smithsonian 

the uh, headline is curly hair, keeps the head coolest. And a new study suggests that our hair may be evolved to prevent our brain from overheating.

Tamara: Hmm.

Stephanie: There's long been some questions around why we have so much hair only on our head. 

Tamara: Right. 

Stephanie: we have hair all over our bodies, but why is there so much on your head? It's suggested that the head hair may have evolved to stop our ancestors', large brains from overheating. And a test was done. To assess whether different hair types versus no hair at all could impact your body heat. And so there was a research mannequin that was thermal and it was heated up to 95 degrees.

And actually it doesn't say if that's Fahrenheit or Celsius. oh, I'm gonna as, I don't know, I don't even wanna assume that. 

Tamara: Don't assume it. Do you know what they say about assuming?

Stephanie: I know you know what, this is a US article, the Smithsonian's American, so let's assume it's Fahrenheit. And the scientists measured the temperature on the mannequin's head when there was no wig versus with human hair wigs that had straight strands, loose curls, or tight coils.

And it was determined that, it was hottest. When, so the biggest, the starkest difference in heat was between hair versus no hair.

Tamara: Right.

Stephanie: So adding straight haired, a straight haired wig cut, the heat gained by more than half compared to a bald head. And then the curlier, the curl, the 

Tamara: Yeah. 

Stephanie: the head. So the tightly coiled wig led to the coolest head.

Tamara: Right. Which kind of makes sense cuz if we think of a lot of very hot places in the world, you're more likely to have curls and coils

Stephanie: that's

Tamara: versus. Like if you think of the Nordic countries.

Stephanie: right. It's just I don't think the study had ever been done before, even though theoretically what you just said makes sense. Anyway, I think it's super interesting,

Tamara: Yeah. Well, yeah.

Stephanie: evolved from hotter climates.

Tamara: And also like maybe that's a i, I don't know if it's a hidden advantage in the summer you're like, oh, great, it's summer now. My hair's gonna get like super extra frizzy. But maybe just, maybe we are cool. We are cool.

Stephanie: maybe our heads are cooler. We keep a cool head in the summer compared to bald people or straight haired people. That's 

Tamara: It's a benefit over those straight haired people.

Stephanie: Yeah, it is a curly hair benefit. There you go.

Tamara: Awesome and interest. And so we can link to that story. And also we have an amazing guest today and, we're gonna tell you all about him. But I noticed too, like he's got a website for his salon, which has blog posts and also a website for the product line, which has blog posts.

And there was a really interesting blog post that, they put up about humidity and, and how to deal with kind of curls and humidity in the summer. So they just posted that recently. So we can share that as well with some, some tips about, dealing with frizz and the humidity.

Stephanie: Very good, and I think we probably should introduce him so people know what this humidity post is all about.

okay. So we don't really wanna be that mysterious about it. We're really excited to introduce our guest, Luis Pacheco. He owns Medulla Salon in Toronto and is the founder of TO112 which we will talk more about during the interview.

Here we go.

Tamara: Woo Woo.

[Sound of Doorbell]

Okay, so today we're chatting with world renowned master colourist, hair expert and educator Luis Pacheco. Luis is also the creator of TO112, a haircare line he's gonna tell us more about in today's episode.

And he comes to us with decades of experience in the beauty industry. And I'm not gonna spoil the interview anymore. But I think this is a great way to wrap up the season. Welcome.

Luis: Thank you for having me.

Tamara: How does it feel hearing about your, your life's accomplishments?

Luis: It sounds kind of, I don't know, kind of surreal really. 30 years, my goodness. Time flies, I guess.

Stephanie: Well, why don't we start there? Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to start working in the hair industry?

Luis: Well, you know what, actually that's been a topic, that I've been talking about a lot lately. it actually started when I was a really young kid. My mom would take me to, I was okay. I was born and raised in The Azores. I moved to Canada when I was 13, so I did my early part of growing up in Portugal.

And, my mother would always bring me to the hairdresser with her and it was like a, kind of like a safe haven for women. To, not only get their hair done, but I always noticed that my mother always behaved different in that kind of setting. Because at home, you know, a traditional Portuguese home, My mother was always a bit more, I, I don't know if, if subservient is the right word, you know, when dad was around, but it was always nice to see my mom in all, in all the other women in that kind of light.

So, um, I think that was like my very first sort of, exposure to what, like salon life and, and salon atmosphere. And it just sort of stuck with me. I, I, I've always wanted to be a hairdresser, but oddly enough I am not a hairdresser. I don't even know how to do hair. I don't know how to cut hair or blow dry hair.

it was just kind of like serendipitous. I, you know, I moved out of the house at a really young age. I was 17 and, um, I really just needed to find a job to make enough money to go to the next rave. you know, this was the nineties.

Tamara: Amazing. I sold, I sold snow cones at raves.

Luis: Oh 

Tamara: purple contact lenses, and my friend had a snow cone booth.

Luis: I probably bought a snow cone from you.

Tamara: Amazing.

Luis: Honestly, but I mean, that was like my, that was my goal. I mean, let's, you know, let's make enough money, let's find a job, make enough money, and uh, and go to a on Saturday. And let's keep it at that. Cause we, that's a whole other episode.

Stephanie: Yeah,

Luis: Uh,

Tamara: It's a different podcast

Stephanie: that's right. 

Luis: yeah. So I just happened to I learned at a job as, as an assistant, um, at this salon called Robert Gage. Um, at the time he was like, he was, he was actually on the cover of Toronto Star once and his title was Mr. Glitter. He was like hairdresser to the stars and, I assisted the hair colourist there for four years. And the funny thing is that both my dad and my grandfather are painters. So I also grew up around, paint, you know, the mixing of paint, like the, the whole concept of mixing yellow and blue and magically creating the colour green, that like, sort of like blew my mind. It was like magic to me.

so it was just, yeah, like I said, like really serendipitous how I ended up working at a salon assisting and then, Went to school cuz Robert Gage basically gave me an ultimatum. You can't be an assistant for the rest of your life. You either go to school, get a diploma, get a, you know, start doing real hair, or I will fire you.

so I decided to go to school, got my diploma, and then I worked at another salon for nine years that closed down in 2007 and that's when, I mean, I was left with two choices and that was, Work somewhere else or open my own space. which, uh, at the time it was called Hair on the Avenue at 112 Avenue Road.

and yeah, that's how my hair colouring. It was, yeah, it was very serendipitous. I didn't plan for it. It was always something that I wanted. My parents never told me to be this or that. I just sort of, I just kind of manifested it, I guess.

Tamara: Yeah. Well it sounds like it came to be pretty naturally over time with all these influences and, and then, you know, we're in an environment, I think you're practicing a lot and then have a, an eye for, for colour, right.

Luis: I know it's funny cuz sometimes you find yourself in situations and you're like, Oh, I wonder how I got here. But, and then you realize that, oh, maybe subconsciously this is how I ended up, you know, being drawn to colour because of, of the way that I was exposed to colour and at such a young age.


but yeah.

Tamara: So, so we found you, I mean, I, I know some of, I know Hair on the Avenue. I remember that. Um, and of course your current salon. We, we live in Toronto, so we know your salons, but we. We found out your product line was really interesting to us cuz we're always trying new product for our hair and talking about it on the podcast.

So at what point did you decide, I think I'd like to start a product line and you know, what made you think I should start a product line?

Luis: Well, actually the On the eighth anniversary of the Salon, I actually wanted to shut it down. I thought, I, like, in my mind, I felt like I. I went through this like eight year sort of like artistic cycle and I was just sort of done with the concept of Hair on the Avenue and people were just, we had just won an an award for Best Salon in the City that year and people thought I was just crazy.

So instead I just rebranded it Medulla and Co. So our salon is now called Medulla and Co.. Now back to, the product, it seemed that every seven years I, I would always sort of detour from hairdressing or hair colouring, because a, I'm a super curious person, which sometimes gets me in trouble.

But I've, I've always been sort of interested in that, like in the sort of like mystical aspect of things, which have led me down very different paths. and, um, one of them was, I, I decided to take, um, a, a holistic nutrition course, uh, I think 15 years ago. not because I was interested in nutrition, but because they're, a large component of the program had to do with Herbology and Ayurvedic medicine.

and to me it was, you know, all potions and using herbs and tinctures and things to, you know, deal with ailments and the idea was always like, I need to get, I wanna get out of hairdressing.

Tamara: Hmm.

Luis: Uh, I guess in the beginning there was always like this part of me that felt that my job was very superficial.

It was like, you know, it's just about making people look pretty and that's that like, I'm really not contributing anything to the world, which is not how I feel now. I feel that my job actually is a, does a lot of great things for people, but, in, instead of moving away from the hairdressing world, I would always sort of bring back something that I, I'd learned from my detours.

So, I, I started creating these tinctures and, and rinses using, the knowledge that I had, you know, taken away from my holistic nutrition course. And I would, I started to apply them at the. You know, there was like a specific tin teacher for blonde people or for curly hair, or for brown hair, or people that had like, uh, scalp skin conditions or what have you.

And I kept like notes and notes and notes and notes and notes. And I don't know if it, if it was somebody that suggested it to me. why don't you make something out of us, like actually make a, something that lasts longer than 24 hours? Cause when you're dealing with super natural things, you know, there's really no longevity in it.

And at that time, there was a, a huge gap in the industry. It was either super natural and it did not work, or it was like heavily concentrated with chemicals and it did a beautiful job. However, at the end of the week, our hands like they, they'd be blistered and broken and bleeding because of, the over washing.

So, um, I, I thought, You know, there has to be some sort of like middle ground. Like we can, we can bring like the Ayurveda concept and the herbology concept and the tincture concept and the science component of it and, and sort of combine them. And basically that's, actually part of our name TO112.

Uh, the "TO" is an abbreviation for Tamanu Oil, which is basically the ingredient that spearheaded this whole thing. And then the "112" is the beginning of the Fibonacci sequence, which is a, a mathematical equation that you know, that is seen in weather patterns, flowers, It's basically, I mean, they call it the the golden ratio.

It's what makes things beautiful. A lot of artists use that ratio in order to create things that are beautiful to the eyes. So, And just coincidentally, our address that we were working out of was 112 Avenue Road, in Toronto. So " 112 And I just like, oh my God. That's kind of like, you know, that's how we came up with the 

Stephanie: Yeah. Love 

Luis: It's like, it's the address of where it started and also the, you know, the combination of science and nature.

Tamara: Yeah. I love

the golden mean. I use it all the time in design, and it's not because I feel like I have to adhere to a rule. It's just, it's so pleasing. Nine times out of 10, it's just what looks better?

Luis: It's, it's proper composition, right? We use it in photography. We, we, and I actually use it in how I colour hair. Like, you know, when I'm doing like a fade or something or what you would traditionally call an ombre, I always use that sort of ratio so that it looks pleasing to the eye. Otherwise, it, it can look just.

Just like a root or an over overgrown out hair colour, you know, there has to be like this perfect dimension that, you know, makes it pleasing to the eye. And that's, and that's, uh, the golden ratio,

Tamara: Mm-hmm.

Stephanie: Very

Luis: I learned. You know, I learned that the golden ratio I learned in, I'm drawing a blank, but it was a book and it was about demons and Tom Hanks played the memory.

Tamara: Oh yeah, yeah.

Stephanie: the DaVinci, one of the

Luis: The DaVinci code?

Stephanie: Yeah. Angels and Demons, I think it was 

Tamara: my 

Luis: Was this the second one? Yes.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Luis: DaVinci code, I think. 

Tamara: The probably the only good thing that book was you, Dan Brown's contribution to the 

Stephanie: right. That's right.

Luis: and two one, 

Tamara: the Fibonacci sequence to the masses.

Stephanie: That's right. Um, wow. Um, so how long did it take you to get to where you wanted to go with the product? Was it a lot of testing and trying out the line? 

You had all this research that you had done. And this passion for it. Was it hard to get to your final product? What was that like?

Luis: Well, yeah, initially, like you don't know if, even if we have a lab near us, like what lab to use, what fragrance company to use. Cuz it was important to, to me to use natural, fragrance is, so yeah, so the, the research part of it took I think years, and finding the components like the fragrance, the lab, the packaging, and it's crazy cuz you think packaging is like, it's a one stop shop, but no. One company does the bottles, the other company does the nozzles and then the nozzle has to have, the dimension of the squirting thing depending on the product, do you want it to squirt mist or do you want it to like a spray or something? It's just, it takes a long time. It took a long time, but initially I just, the idea was just to create three products and it was a, like a cleanser and a conditioner and a protector.

and I, and I really wanted to just sort of Complicate the whole beauty industry. Cause when I looked at my retail wall, it was like 48 different products. Right? And the reality is that you don't really need that much. we started with the first three products which were, the all hair types.

Yeah, so the processes, you, you, you come up with a fragrance and you bring it to the lab and you tell them, you know, I want it to do this and I want it to, I want to add, you know, in our case, Tamanu oil because of its antibacterial and antifungal, antiviral properties and whatnot. And they sort of make you a bunch of test, like, like samples, and then you try it and you, I give it to all my staff and they try it, and then I get their feedback and then we adjust it, we send it back and we say we want it to be more fragrant or less fragrant. We, it needs to be thicker, thinner, whatever. So that takes some time. And then, and then it goes through stability testing. Right. so that you know how long it can like, so you know how the shelf life Exactly. and then once you've nailed it, that's, you're good to go. So while that's happening, you're looking at packaging and the right colour that goes with the smell and, you know, it's just, a lot of it goes into it.

Cuz for me, like scent has a colour for me. So whatever the scent is, the type on the. On the bottle has to match it. Otherwise it just kind of like irks me. So after all of that hard work, you know, we got this shipment and I hid it in the basement for a whole year. Cuz I was too embarrassed to share it.

Tamara: my God. No, no, no, no.

Luis: Oh, I was so, it was like a baby. I was so, I was embarrassed. I was like, what if, what if they hate it? What if they hate the smell that I chose? What if, what if they don't? What if the, like, what if they're like hypercritical about it? So I just like kept it in this really dark room for like a year. You know what, I'm just gonna bring it out.

and now we're, we're like 36 SKUs in and it just sort of became addictive cuz it really, it was only just, it was only meant to be one shampoo, one conditioner, one protector for all hair types, to keep the scalp healthy. To keep the hair healthy and to sort of debunk the whole idea of like making people feel that they're not good enough and having an offering a product that would, make them feel better about themselves.

I remember walking into Vogue Magazine, uh, for an interview. You know, and just looking around and just seeing all these like, beautiful pictures of young, gorgeous, 

Tamara: Supermodels. 

Luis: yeah, supermodels. And I'm like, okay. I'm about to tell them that the beauty industry is completely fd up because you know, what they expect us to look like and behave and the things that they make us do is like completely outrageous.

And I, and for a second I thought, oh my God, I think I'm gonna have to like, make up a story and lie so I can be cool like the girl who's gonna interview me, but I'm like, you know what? I'm just gonna go for it. And I'm just gonna tell her how I feel. and you know what? It's like six years later and, and I feel like the industry is finally sort of, you know, speaking our lingo,

Tamara: Mm-hmm.

Luis: you know, 

Tamara: up a little bit.

Luis: Yeah, totally. And it's really nice to see like, you know, people embracing their curls for, for once. Listen, there's fine hair, there's coarse hair, there's curly hair, there's straight hair. Uh, it's just a matter of, of, maintaining it, keeping it healthy and, and making the best out of it.

But you don't have to completely transform yourself.

Tamara: Mm-hmm.

Luis: Is is the idea.

Tamara: There's definitely more diversity, I think in the in representation now in media, and that's a step in the right direction. It's still a high, high standard in a lot of cases,

Luis: Totally.

Tamara: it's nice to see it progress.

Luis: I know, but for years, like you would have a rep come in and try to sell you a product that would change something about a person. So the message would be, there's something wrong with you, but hey, we've got a product to fix you. You know, when in reality you were just perfect just the way you were, 


Tamara: I love that.

Stephanie: Totally.

Tamara: So, Luis like how do you go about deciding from your product line what to recommend for specific clients? And we know on the website there's a prescriptive quiz. So how do you, how do you assess, what do you think is the more, most important thing in kind of assessing someone's hair? And tell us how you came up with the quiz.

I think we all grew up with magazine quizzes, so who doesn't love doing a quiz, but

Luis: Yeah, cuz we always, yeah, we love quizzes. Cause we, we always love to know how smart we're,

Tamara: tell us. Yeah. And to give

Luis: or what the, 

Tamara: give us a formula.

Luis: Tell me the truth. it's, again, it was sort of changing the narrative of like, you know, the idea of washing your hair and not your scalp. You know, you know, for the longest time, like the, the, the narrative was, you know, go as long as you can without washing your hair.

It's, it's, you know, it's healthy for your hair or whatever, but the reality is that, you know, your scalp is the, is the continuation of your skin and it needs to be clean of like, debris and the elements that are in the air and oil and all of that stuff. I mean personally, when I'm recommending a product to somebody, always ask the client, what, what type of face cleanser do you use? Do you use a face cleanser for oily skin, normal skin or dry skin? Uh, and that's usually the type of shampoo that you should be using. Cause that's, again, a continuation of your, of your face. And then your hair can be completely different. Like your hair could be fine, or it could be curly, it could be dehydrated and then you can sort of like mix and match. You can use a shampoo for, uh, dry scalp and use a a conditioner. That's light for fine hair. Yeah, so there's been a little bit of that sort of like reeducating people on how to treat their hair and their scalp, like wash your scalp and condition your hair.

Do not put conditioner on the scalp

Tamara: Mm-hmm.

Luis: cuz that will lead to inflammation. And inflammation leads to baldness.

Tamara: I tell my children too. I tell them that also. I say like, I know this, I dunno where I learned it, but I didn't know it leads to baldness. But I always have to tell them like, don't slather the conditioner all over your scalp. It's not, that's not where you need it. Focus on the ends. And then the shampoo, focus on the,

Luis: On the, on the scalp. Yeah. But a lot of people don't, a lot of people just think the shampoo is to wash the hair. So they're basically stripping the hair of like these beautiful natural oils and, and really not focusing on what's on what's really important, which is a scalp, you know, we wanna keep the scalp, you know, happy, healthy breathing so that it can, be this a perfect platform for growing healthy hair and then the conditioner is about keeping the hair, you know, hydrated or conditioned or whatever it needs to be.

Stephanie: So your product is inspired by nature and the brand is very sustainably minded.

Could you tell us about how you weave in sustainability into the product development or the packaging, or if you're working on any new sustainability initiatives, we'd love to hear about it.

Luis: Well, yeah. Well that one, that one is a hard one for me because, listen, in order to wash your, like, we're, we're, we're very privileged people in the west. I mean, can walk. 10 seconds and have access to clean drinking water. And the reality is that a lot of people don't. And in order to use our products, you have to use a lot of water. So I mean the first thing I thought, like, how can we sort of like offset that? And uh, I guess years ago we partnered up with, uh, water org. so that was one of our first things we did was for every body lotion, that body wash that we sell, a dollar is, is donated to water

And, and that organization, I think is led, it's led by Matt Damon. Um, Helps bring, healthy water to communities and countries that, don't necessarily have the same access that we do. Um, and as far as packaging, I mean, I'm not gonna lie, at first it was difficult. It was difficult to find sustainable packaging.

Uh, but luckily again, because, you know, things are changing, and the big corporations are listening, We're, we're slowly, changing our packaging to, recycled ocean plastics.

Yeah. So yeah. So we started that with the ultimate hair cream. and that's what we plan to do with with every refill.

Tamara: well that's, that's exciting. It's great to be able to reuse these ocean plastics cuz it's pretty devastating what's happened to our oceans and all the pollution when you can do something with it. I know we see it in interior design too. But circling back to your, your product line though, like what's the one product that's kind of, do you have a favourite or something you think, you know what, you should try this. Cuz really it's like the crowd pleaser.

Luis: Oh my God.

Tamara: It's like asking you to pick a child.

Luis: Oh my goodness. You know, I, I'm gonna tell you something like the, the, the latest thing that we, listen, I'm proud of the ones that we got, you know, awards for, for, you know, innovative beauty products or whatever, like the Collagen Mask. Uh, I love the sea salt spray because it was something that I sort of like came up with while sitting on the beach one day. but honestly like we, we just launched the anti-breakage detangler and the purpose for, for that product was just to help us colourists detangle, the, the back combining that we often do when we colour hair but we wanted to add some extra strengthening component to it, uh, in order to prevent breakage while untangling the hair.

Tamara: I

like that product by the way. I, I've used it especially on my daughter because she finds having her hair brushed very painful and unpleasant.

Luis: I know, and that's the thing and, the reason why I'm not gonna get sappy, but I got really emotional one day because it was actually the first product that we launched that crossed cultures. We actually saw people of different cultures using our brand, our product. And that that product just happens to be one of those things that can be used in so many different ways.

Like, uh, yes, it can be used as a detangler, but it can also be used as a beautiful curl enhancer. Um, it can be used as a, like a, you know, like an anti, if your hair is damaged, like it can be used as a. Anti breakage product. So it's sort of like morphed into this like comp, like bigger thing that I didn't even know it was.

And it's really interesting to see people interpret something that I thought of into their own, in their own way and use it. They've completely hacked the product and, and I'm totally in love with the fact that.

Tamara: That's cool. 

Luis: because every time I see like somebody using it, you know, doing a little video using it and why they're using it, and I was like, oh my God.

Yeah. Like that totally makes sense. I never thought about that, but yay me. Yeah, so I guess my, my today's favourite, like, I think if you were to ask if I had favourite child,

That would be the anti, uh, anti breakage detangling spray. And you love it too. So you got 

Tamara: I do. And I do, and I, yeah, I just think it's, yeah, it's, it's a great detangler and then it, if I spray it in when the hair is damp, then you, it dries in really nice curls and, and my daughter's hair isn't quite as curly as mine. It's more wavy. But still, like, it's the same thing about, about tangles and, you know, brushing it when it's wet and then letting it dry.



Luis: Uhhuh and what does it do to your curls? It just like defines them and it hydrates them.

Tamara: I've been really into using the mousse on my curls, and then a little bit of that oil like afterwards just to scrunch the crunch out after it's dried.


I'll have to try the. Yeah, I'm a hacker. We're, we're all product hackers, but I'll have to try the detangler on, on its own in my hair, just as an experiment too,

and see what 

Luis: it. I I think you're gonna love it. 

Tamara: I wanted to make sure that you were able to tell our listeners where they can purchase your product. Obviously in Toronto, if they go to your salon, and on the TO112 website, is it sold other places?

Luis: yeah, well it's sold at

and, um, we sell it at Medulla and co on Davenport. Uh, Gee Beauty carries our product. Uh, alibi. 

Send them to our website. We have like in Montreal, like there's like I think 900 salons that carry them, so it's no problem finding

Tamara: Yeah.

Okay, we'll, we'll, we'll try and help them.

Luis: Awesome.

Stephanie: Yeah. So we like to wrap up our interviews with a fast five, a quick q and a. We're gonna ask you a question and you should say the first thing that comes to your mind. Are you game?

Luis: I'm scared.

Tamara: It's not gonna be 

Luis: be


Tamara: like explicit or crazy.

Luis: What are, I

dunno. I 

think maybe you should be more 

Tamara: What do they call it? A safe podcast? We don't, we try and have no swearing on the, we bleep out the swearing.

Luis: I'm, I'm a very complicated person, so I'm Okay. Go. I'm

Stephanie: hopefully you find them easy. Tamara, do you wanna start?

Tamara: Who's your favourite curly-haired celebrity?

Luis: What's that girl from? The girl from Euphoria.

Stephanie: Oh, 


Luis: Zenday.

Tamara: Yeah.

Luis: Uh,

Stephanie: Her hair is gorgeous. 

Luis: I actually have a weakness for curls. I'm not, that's like a thing for me.

Tamara: I know we, we forgot to talk about curly hair today. There was so many other things to talk

Luis: Oh my God. Yeah. I am like, I have a weakness for curly hair. Like I, yeah,

Tamara: is do you have texture on your hair?

Luis: uh, I do, but not as much. I actually, um, when I was. 12. I was obsessed with, uh, Joey McIntyre's curly hair from New Kids on the Block. So I went to Fantastic Sam's and I made them perm my hair. And it was like three months before my confirmation and I came home with this big Afro and my father made me shave it off the next day.

And then I swear to God, like in three months, in three months, I had like a little of the, a little bit of the perm left and then my straight hair and it looked like, I can't say it on your podcast, but.

Tamara: Oh,

my God, we can use our imaginations. That's like a traumatic story, uh, difficult relationship with, but you love curls even though they weren't accepted by your 

Luis: ex. My father just thought it was a really bad idea

Tamara: Okay. Sorry, I, I took us on a tangent. We need to be in the fast five go

Stephanie: Okay. Right fast five. Back to it. Okay. If you could do anyone's hair, who would it be?

Luis: oh my. I don't know. Like, do they have to be Alive 

Stephanie: Alive or dead Famous,

Tamara: Walk into your salon, sit in your chair. You're like, oh my God. This is what I've always wanted.

Luis: I forget her name too. she got arrested for stealing.

Stephanie: Winona.

Tamara: Reese


Oh, Winona. Winona Rider. Amazing. She'd have stories to tell. I bet. All the nineties. All the nineties gossip.

Stephanie: I know. Good one.

She's having a come back though. She's having a 

Tamara: Yeah, she's on the

Luis: I, I love her. You know what I did? Juliette Lewis's hair, and that was like a, I did, and I was like completely beside myself, you know, like, she was like such a, a nineties po, you know. Cult icon, Natural Born Killers, like Basketball Diaries. And,

Tamara: Oh my God.

Luis: she was ev like everything you imagine her to be, that's what she's like in person.

Tamara: that's what I think she, I think she, she would have a hard time pretending to be someone else cuz she seems very

Luis: sh sh she can't.

Tamara: Yeah.

Stephanie: She's having a comeback too. She's in tons of stuff now.

Tamara: That is how she is. Right? Okay. Uh, okay. Focus, focus. I know it's Friday. We're gonna do this. If you, if you were stuck on a desert island, like you're going to a Survivor, what's the one hair product you'd bring?

Luis: Uh, the sea salt serum

Stephanie: nice.

Tamara: Natural. You're on a beach, so why not?

Luis: Yeah, I just want your sea salt serum. It would be perfect.

Stephanie: Okay. When a client sits in your chair, what's your favourite thing to do with their hair? Do you have a favourite treatment or dye style or anything?

Luis: well, I just, honestly, oh, this is gonna sound so lame, but, I just really love to sort of amplify what they have naturally and sort of bring out. there's so many like optical illusions that you can do with, with hair colour as, fixing skin tone, like, you know, bringing attention to like, the best features in their face and all of that stuff.

So, um, yeah, I guess that would be like my favourite thing to do. But, it's again that magic of like, as soon as that pigment is on their hair and watching their skin tone change, For the better Is like completely mesmerizing still, still for me,

Stephanie: That's 

Tamara: That's so, that's so cool. So, and one last one. So if you, if someone says to you, one of your clients or friends says they're, they're thinking of embracing their natural curls and, you know, maybe stopping with the straightening, what advice would you give them?

Luis: Yeah, you just need to sort of hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Cuz curly hair is naturally dehydrated. I mean, it just comes with, with the curls. Um, so just bring back the hi, the hydration

Tamara: Mm-hmm.

Luis: and uh, just hydrate and just stay away from the blow dryer for the rest of your life and the flat iron. Honestly, it's, it's just so, it's like I have this one client and she straightened her hair for the first 20 years that I knew her, and I kept on telling her, I'm like, Carmella, just, you have the most beautiful, curly hair, just like, just lur.

She's like, oh, I don't know. It's just like, you know, nothing works. I'm like, well try mixing this with that. Whatever, like, and then you'll find your potion, like with curly girls, like, you know, there's that magic 4-product potion.

Stephanie: Yep.

Luis: I'm like, just try it till you get it. And she's been, and, and she's been wearing it curly and it's healthier. It's not breaking, it's growing. It's, it's thick, it's gorgeous. It's beautiful. So, yeah. So the advice is, you gotta put back the moisture and rehydrate it.

Tamara: Mm-hmm. Well, thank you so much for talking to us 

today. We. We. really love trying your products and I think it's always amazing to talk to the creator behind the products. So we know just a bit, have a bit more context of, uh, how they work and the inspiration. And it's super fascinating to us as sort of product junkies and uh, people who spend a lot of time thinking about our hair.

Thinking about hair. And believe me, we also understand how like, How deep the, the proverbial roots are and that it's so much more than just superficial beauty. It's kind of how we identify ourselves, and we wrapped up the end of last season by talking to a psychotherapist about how our looks and our hair affects how we see ourselves in the world.


Luis: But it's changing and it's changing so rapidly and it's so beautiful and I'm really happy to be here for it. Uh, because 20 years ago it was very, very different.

Stephanie: Yeah, agreed.

Luis: yeah, it was very, very different and kind of sad.

Tamara: Well, I imagine the experience that women have in your salon today. Like think about your, how you felt as a child in the salon with your mother, and there was that little bit of liberation that they experienced. And fun they had, and now it's like so much more than that. It's just freedom and freedom of self-expression and hopefully freedom to like fully embrace who these people are and then you help them do that.

Luis: Yeah. 

Tamara: Woo.

Stephanie: That's a great way to end it. Thank you so much for your time. It was so great to meet you. 

Luis: Likewise.


Stephanie: Well, that was great. Luis is so interesting and has such an amazing life story.

Tamara: Yeah, he really does. And, and the thing is that I think, we talk a lot about how curly hair is. different and our, our struggles with styling our hair and cutting our hair different than anyone with straight hair, but at, on some level, it's, it's hair, right? And we need to take care of our scalp and we need to feel good about ourselves and kind of embrace whatever there is.

And there is some conversation and, and parts of this industry where it's, it is universal. It's not so, it's not so super specific. I mean, they have in the, in the line and we can talk about the products we've tried. They have some curl specific items, but you know, just because you have curly hair or wavy hair doesn't necessarily mean you can only use products specifically designed for curly hair.

And we've tried a few lines, throughout the show that weren't just for curls and, and I think that's an important lesson is like, especially when you're working on budgeting too. Like there may be other items out there that work great for your hair that are not specifically designed for curls and that's okay.

And they, they could be drugstore brands or they could be high-end brands, but it's just about finding what works for you.

Stephanie: Absolutely right and his explanation of the inspiration from nature and all this great herbology work that he did to infuse into his products, I could definitely see that when I was testing the product and they very generously gave Tamara and I some product samples to try and to talk about. I would say the product line smells so good because there's all these really great natural ingredients.

So, for example, in the shampoo, it's lime clove and it smells delicious. It smells like a spa and the conditioner is clementine ginger. So it's really nice. It's adds a really nice aroma and it feels really good when you're putting it in. I quite like the shampoo and the conditioner. I would say my, my one caveat with the conditioner and I did tell the company.

The conditioner's really hard to get outta the bottle. Like it's kind of stuck, like I had to stick my finger in to scoop it out. It's so thick and it won't come out the nozzle. But, um, they're both really great products, but the one that I've been using the most and the bottle's almost empty is they're ultimate hair, hair cream, which I have been putting in my 4-product.

What did he call it? The Magic 4-Product 

Tamara: Yeah.

Stephanie: Uh, the, the two, the TO112 Ultimate Hair Cream has been part a mainstay in my Magic 4-Product Potion, it's been a really great layer. I quite like it a lot, and it's a perfect size for travel. I mean, not for carryon, but it fits into my cosmetic bag really well.

Tamara: Yeah, it's not too big. And I kind of like that in a way about the shampoo and conditioner too. Like especially when you're trying something new, you don't always wanna buy like a giant one liter bottle. I mean, it might be more economical to buy like giant one liter bottles, but. I think for a lot of us, we're seeing what works for our hair.

So it's kind of nice to have, try something out and it's not so huge and see if you love it or not.

Stephanie: That's a great point cuz these bottle sizes are eight ounces. They look like little stubbies.

How did you feel about the product?

Tamara: yeah, I really, I try, I got into a few other things. I'm actually ex, I haven't tried the hair cream yet because I just got distracted fit ADD with my curl shelf. Um, but I was really enjoying the Curl Mousse. Just as I was getting into like testing out different mousses and foams it, they sent it to us and I was like, great.

I can compare the difference between mousse and foam. And, um, I, it's kind of nice like the lightness of it, cuz I still get a bit of a cast, but it's not as hard as like a gel

Stephanie: Yeah.

Tamara: Um, and then I was using their serum to just a little bit on my hands when I was kind of scrunching out the cast.

Which was a

really nice nice combination. And then again, he talked about how much he really liked the anti breakage detangler, which I was like, amazing. I'm gonna use this for my daughter. Because you know, that's such a thing with kids, like they can be so sensitive about having their hair brushed and tangles and you know, it becomes painful and you don't want it to be a painful, unpleasant experience.

So I find some kind of detangler is really helpful for for her. And then it looked nice in her hair, so he really inspired me to try that. Almost like a leave-in. Spray and see what happens if I put it on my own hair when it's, uh, damp, cuz I detangle in the shower. So for me, like when I put in conditioner, I use a wide tooth comb in the shower, so I don't typically need to detangle my hair, uh, after I get out.

I'm just more styling it. But, but he inspired me to, to go back and try that product again. And just overall, I think it's a really rich moisturizing line. But I love the fragrance. Like I think all his, his years of spending time playing with potions and herbs, like lent just like beautiful subtle fragrance not overpowering, but very pleasant.

That's giving you that kind of spa feeling.

Stephanie: Yeah, definitely agree. Definitely agree. He also reminded me I need to be more careful with where I put my shampoo and where I put my conditioner because I. I think I've been a little lax. I need to make sure I don't condition my scalp and that the shampoo should stay closer to the scalp.

It's a good tip.

Tamara: Yeah, yeah, you should really get in there, I think, with the shampoo and like, clean your scalp with your fingers, give yourself a bit of a head massage,

and then try and put the conditioner on the ends. Like, I, I try and do that. I mean, you know, when you're busy and you're just in the shower going through the motions, You can't be like scientific about it. But yeah, the notion is important to remind people. And then as I referenced earlier, so on the website, there's a section that says "Read". So if you click on it, it's their blog. And then they have a great article called "How to Humidity-Proof Your Hair This Summer", written by Tina Deganutti but yeah, we'll post it on our Facebook so you can read it or just go play around on the blog. There's some other fun blog posts.

All right. Well thank you everyone for joining us this season. We hope you loved listening to Luis and his passion about hair and beauty and all of this stuff.

Stephanie: Have a great summer. We're taking the summer off. We'll be back next fall. Thanks for tuning in curlfriends. 

Tamara: Bye.


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