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Last updated: August 04, 2017

5 Things We Learned From The Salon By InStyle and Matrix

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When you get an invitation to a free education event, you take it. When you get an invitation to a free education event taught by Nick Stenson, held at Chicago’s House of Blues, you BEELINE over and get ready to soak up the best tips and tricks in the biz!




This exclusive event with Nick and The Salon by InStyle Design Team, Michelle O’Connor and Dilek Onur-Taylor, was unexpectedly hands-on—they invited everyone up to try techniques onstage, during the show! And we didn’t only get new styling, cutting and coloring ideas. We also got all the info you need about The Salon by InStyle, like how they offer full-time hairdressers medical, dental, paid time off and a 401k. Plus, they give you bonuses of up to $1,000 based on performance. Once we heard THAT, we were ready to join! Check out five of the top tips from the team!






1. Learn a super-versatile cut.
Dry-cutting these long layers will give her movement and shape…plus, “it looks expensive,” Dilek said. Watch her describe the technique!



2. Pump up your natural-haired beauties.
Why does Michelle love working on textured hair? “The fun thing is the way I can manipulate it,” she said. For this look, she used her hands to prelighten—no brush in sight. “I stretched the hair so I can have a controlled material to work with,” she said. Once the model was lightened, Michelle used two different tones—a Level 8 warm-neutral and a Level 8 copper-gold—and alternated the formulas, starting at the hairline and working back. “And I took sections, not slices,” Michelle said. “Everything was with my pinkie, I kept it really organic.”



3. Practice your updos—and stay on trend!
When he was starting out, Nick had to do a bride’s updo and he was SO not prepared. “It was ugly,” he said. So practice! And keep your eyes on trends for all ages. “The girl whose hair you are doing for homecoming doesn’t want the same updo you did for a wedding her mom went to a week ago,” he said. Point taken. Try this little trick from Nick to give you a new technique for your updos.



4. Color is calming down.
“Color is moving towards a little more dusty, a little more smoky, a little more mysterious,” Nick said. “For me, that’s really difficult as a colorist. I feel like it needs to be bold and strong…but we’ve moved from that trend a little bit into something that’s more subdued. You can never see where the color starts and stops, everything is about having fluidity.” For a slightly smoky, grown-up blonde, go with a Level 10V for a violet cast. That tinge of purple is what makes the color serious, but still kind of fun.


5. Pull out your crimper.
Yes, the ‘80s standby is back. Michelle crimps skinny strands before updos because the crimper offers texture that lets you mold the hair into nearly any shape you want. She crimped this model’s locks before demonstrating a super cool DNA-strand braid (and let audience members hop onstage to try it themselves!)—check it out!





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Check out all the photos!