Sam Villa Goes to Canada

Sam Villa
Sam Villa

Sam Villa

I really enjoyed working recently with a Canadian Redken distributor—Maritime in Halifax, Nova Scotia. First, I LOVE the lobster up there! But also, I find Canadian hairdressers receptive, hungry for education and highly skilled. I had the honor of presenting the award to the hairdresser who will represent the Atlantic region in Redken Canada’s National Session Stylist of the Year competition in Montreal.

A lot of the 800 stylists who attended our show were “repeat offendersâ€â€”they came to a class I did there two years ago—and this time they brought friends, students and employees. That was a huge compliment to know they appreciated the information I gave them. This time around, I emphasized three points:

1. Communication is critical today.
2. Disconnection is the strongest element of design.
3. The finish is really important, and you can maximize your impact if you “blow-dry as you go.â€

To drive home these points, I tried a format I’d never done before. I had two models on stage so that I could present both a short cut and a longer cut. I alternated between the two models, doing one step of each cut at a time, and while I was cutting one model, a Redken artist was blow-drying the other model. This demonstrated that these haircuts take only 15 to 20 minutes. But that doesn’t mean you should book shorter appointments! Use the extra time to communicate with guests. Find out more about their lifestyle, or teach them how to recreate the look at home.

The disconnections today are not aggressive, so they’re very marketable. Take large sections; it’s no longer about spending an hour cutting small sections. Think about putting a lot of paper into a paper cutter. The edges are soft, not as sharp as when you put in just a few pieces. Then, by blow-drying as you go, you get a quality finish, and it’s a new experience for both the client and the hairdresser. As artists, we get enthusiasm from challenging ourselves to do things differently, and that enthusiasm is what keeps our clients coming back to us.

Toward the end of the program, I did a finishing segment. Prom girls wear their hair down today, and they’re asking for curl that has visual character, that piques your interest. So I demonstrated how to form a glam curl: Start at the center back, take diagonal forward sections, twist the curl on the barrel of the iron and pin it so that it sits on the hairline. You’ll get a sleek top with a curl that spirals, twists and waves all at the same time.

When you communicate with clients, you discover that they like to have options. The long-hair cut I did can be dressed to look like a shorter cut. That evening, in our theatrical presentation, I showed just the opposite—how short-cut clients can attach wefts to have long hair whenever they want it. Our model began the show as a ballerina with long hair, and then threw off her ballet clothes and the wefts in her hair and ended the show dancing to rock music—with short hair!

- Sam Villa

Sam Villa has more than 25 years experience as a platform artist and educator for major salon professional companies. Part of the Redken family for the past 11 years, Sam is Redken’s Education Artistic Director and Design & Training Consultant and appears on as a spokesperson for consumer consultations. He is in constant demand at international and domestic trade shows and in-salon programs, where his progressive teaching approach enables stylists to absorb new techniques quickly and for practical use in the salon. In 2008, Sam launched his website,, along with his own brand of digital media education and styling tools for salon professionals.