Beauty trends come and go, but style is forever. When it comes to keeping hair styles up to the latest, San Francisco’s Cinta Salon is setting the standard for hair, skincare and beauty services across the board. The bustling, downtown salon is most well known for cut and color, and for establishing an individual approach and design for each and every client.
Rated “San Francisco’s Best Hair Salon” by Allure Magazine in 2009, Cinta Salon is coming up on its 25th year in business in 2016. So we couldn’t think of anyone better than Salon Director and Mentor stylist, Sara Watson, to tell us how to achieve the hottest hair for fall. The England native and Cinta veteran spends as much time educating on trends as she does creating them. In our sit-down, she gives us the latest on Fall upgrades, tips, tricks and trends.
What was your background before joining Cinta?
My background is that I’ve always been into art and creativity. Prior to doing hair, I trained as a pastry chef, because I wanted to do wedding cakes. I loved the decoration side of it. I wanted to do design stuff, but after I did the course, I realized that I didn’t want to bake; if I could make the little flowers all day, I would have been happy. But I’ve been cutting hair since I was 10 years old, so when I was thinking about a career and what I really wanted to do, I thought, “I really want to do hair. I’ve done it for so long.” I actually came here as an assistant through the training program about 15 years ago, and I really put my whole heart into it. I became an educator, then I progressed to becoming the Education Director. Then I started overseeing career paths, and that progressed into what I do now.
Walk us through a typical day in your life at the salon.
As the Salon Director, I oversee the running of the company, but I’m still a stylist behind the chair as well; I do cut and color. So the average day for me is coming in and going through emails, responding back to people. If there’s a new hire, I will do the paperwork and orientation, then go over what we expect for the culture and professionalism of this salon. I’m down on the floor and making sure everything is running the way it should be operationally, and checking in on our guest service lead on anything that needs addressing. Often times I’ll be sitting with stylists and seeing where they’re at in their career and how we can get them to elevate their career path. I also address any challenges or concerns that they might be having. Then I’m on the floor with guests in the afternoon and doing my best to make sure that guests are leaving with great hair, great color and full service.
What hair techniques can you use to elevate a client’s overall look?
I think a lot of elevation of look is really about giving tips on how to style hair differently so clients aren’t doing the same thing all the time. A lot of people aren’t ready to commit to a hair color change or a cut change, so we show them how to do some styling. Texture is really “in” right now, so we’re doing a lot of curling iron work. We’re showing them how to use the curling iron to achieve different looks as well as which products will help to give them texture and that lifted “beachy” feel. We’re seeing a lot of that. Obviously we always want to work with their lifestyle and hair texture to give them what’s current and what will work for them.
What trends are you seeing in hair color for fall?
We’re still seeing a lot of balayage, which is the hand-painting technique of a plain color. But it’s definitely a much more subtle look than it was two years ago. Two years ago it was very contrasted, very dark, very light on the ends. Now we’re seeing a much more natural, “I’ve been on the beach for six months and I got these beautiful natural highlights,” look. We’re really seeing what I think is true balayage, which translates to “childlike” highlights. People are definitely going more natural with highlighting.
The other thing we’re seeing a lot of is pastel hughes in hair. It’s very subtle so it can appeal to a lot of clients. We make them understand that it’s not a bright pink; it’s a soft, rose-petal pink. Putting a few of those in someone who is a blonde can really elevate them to the trend that’s happening now. It can be quite subtle or it can be an overall tone that’s happening with the hair. And a lot of them are very fashion focused, so they last only a month; it’s not something where all of a sudden you’re stuck with pink hair. You can do it in a permanent way; however, the trend is very, very soft. So the colors are more apricot, rose petal, really soft sea foam green, or ocean blues, teals – the colors you will see in the ocean. It’s no longer the manic panic, but more of the soft tones. I think the soft hues are beautiful. I love the balayage. I think it’s here to stay, actually.
What hair cuts are in trend right now?
I think sometimes San Francisco, especially, is not one of the most cutting-edge hair cities. You go to London, you go to New York and people really follow the trends more in terms of haircuts. But we’re definitely seeing more long bobs; less layers, and more “heavy” haircuts, but still with texture. My prediction is that bangs will come back again. I was in England and I’m seeing a lot of people with short, choppy bangs. So I have a feeling they will come back.
What beauty “accessories” such as lash extensions or mani-pedis are essentials for the fall season?
I think lash extensions are a must for everyone because they really do bring the attention to the face and the eyes. We’re also seeing a lot of fuller brows in makeup and trends right now. For people who tend to have lighter colored brows, tinting them darker can make such a difference in making them look fuller, because you’re getting some of those baby fine hairs that you wouldn’t normally see. When you add color to them, it can actually add thickness to the brows.
If your brows are already darker, but thinner, our estheticians would work with you on how to get your brows to grow back in, and also showing you how to use pencils and pomades to kind of fill in areas where they’re finer. Obviously you’re only going to be able to go as full and as thick a your brows will allow you to, but using pencils will make a big difference.
How do you stay on top of industry trends for the upcoming seasons?
We bring on top artists into the salon and we do full-on training days, which we expect all the staff to be in. We do it for cut and for color. These people are from top companies who are working with trend councils and will predict what is going to be in the following year. But what tends to happen is that a lot of those trends don’t come around for about two years after they’ve been predicted. It almost takes a celebrity to have it for it to be more mainstream.