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Last updated: June 13, 2018

5 Finishing Tips From the Master Matt Swinney

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Even if you’re an awesome colorist booked months in advance, or a precision cutter always getting referrals, every stylist needs amazing finishing skills to keep clients coming back. So we turned to the master of finishing, Matt Swinney, for his top tips! Matt’s the Global Creative Director for L’ANZA Global Healing Haircare. He’s ALSO a fourth-generation hairdresser…and he just won the 2016 NAHA Hairstylist of the Year Award. So we’re gonna listen!


Matt opened his salon, the world’s first L’ANZA Hair Healing Center, at the age of 24. And now? He does over $1 million a year in business with only nine stylists, plus haircuts start at $35. “I’m a firm believer in having approachable beauty,” Matt says. “We could charge a lot more, but we don’t, because I believe everyone has the right to look beautiful.” A message we can get behind! Let’s get his tips!



1. Big Hair…We All Care
No doubt, big hair is what everyone wants these days. Matt gives us three amazing tips for getting volume. “I love flipping a girl’s hair upside-down and spraying the Keratin Healing Oil Hair Plumper on the inside and underside of her hair,” Matt says. “To get that look, you have to truly start from the nape up, because if you decide to create volume just on the crown, you don’t have anything supporting it.
Need extra support? Blot the tip of a comb with a little Healing Style Design Foam, then comb it into the roots on dry hair. Next, shoot those roots with your blow dryer. Bounce for days!


Finally, for those who seriously crave BIG hair, use this quick backcombing tip!

2. From Barre to Bar
When he’s not behind the chair, Matt works in the fashion and editorial world. Something he’s noticed that crosses both environments—the need for totally customizable looks that fit each person’s individual lifestyle. That’s something Matt really loves about today’s trends. “Years ago, you had to wear what was in style,” he says. “Now, you wear what’s best suited for your daily adventure. It’s freedom—nothing is boxing ladies in right now. This is the best time to be able to express yourself through beauty and fashion.” So here’s a hair journey Matt uses on many of his clients!


First, give her a high and tight pony that will carry her through her morning group fitness class. Watch what Matt uses!


Then, give that pony a twist, and show her how to go from gym to work to drinks!


3. Upstyling in a Flash
So you’ve gotta put her hair up, but you only have 10 minutes—what do you do?! Here’s what Matt does: Braids! “Pinterest and Instagram have really made that ‘done/undone’ feeling the most popular style,” he says. “Braids are a quick way to make the hair look more styled than it is. If the hair is curled and you just run a couple braids through the parietal ridge of the hair and then you kind of rope them off in the back, it’s going to give a luxurious feel.”


Here’s a great example of a quick, “done/undone” look that still looks chic!


4. Keep Your Clients Coming Back
Matt’s salon is known for helping women grow their hair long and strong. “We take good care of the hair, we cut with purpose, we don’t use thinning shears and we take time to customize the cutting method for the hair type,” he says. “The most important thing for my clientele is that I listen and treat them with respect. Any kind of personal commitment you can give to your client will help you gain their trust.”


We love that advice—and we love this quick tip on one easy way you can show that commitment to your client!


One more quick way to make your client feel like a total babe (and keep her excited to see you again)? Flip her hair over and kind of massage her roots. Let her run her fingers in her hair…then have her flip it back. “That moment when she flips her hair back and looks into the mirror…she’s like Beyoncé,” Matt says. “It’s my job to help everybody feel that way when they leave.”



5. Keep At It!
For those newer to hairdressing, Matt has some advice: Put yourself out of your comfort zone. “As a young stylist, you’re very nervous, and most schools don’t teach you too much styling,” he said. “But once you know how to manipulate the hair, then you can create any style you want.” Matt learned by doing roller sets in his father’s salon. “As annoying as it was to backcomb little old ladies’ hair, it changed the way I did hair, because when I was in hair school all I did was texturize, flat iron and apply pomade (hey—it was the ’90s),” Matt shares. “So keep an open mind and don’t fall into a box.”




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