Hair Care Q&A with the "Blonde Genie" Crystal Pray
Color-treated hair has been around for centuries. Ancient Egyptians would use plant material to color their wigs black, blue, and gold; the Greeks and Romans fermented leeches to create permanent black hair dye, and the Germans colored their hair red by applying a mixture of beechwood ash and goat fat.
Thankfully, we have come a long way from using leeches and goat fat to color our hair, but many are still in the dark regarding how to take care of their hair post-color treatment.
Pray, who specializes in blonde coloring and extensions, completed her cosmetology program at the New England Hair Academy at the age of 16 and went on to earn a degree in Beauty Industry Marketing and Merchandising at the Los Angeles Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). Over the past 12 years, Pray has worked in top Beverly Hills salons, has styled high-pressure photo shoots for magazine editorials, red carpet events, music videos, and fast-paced runway shows. She currently calls eco-friendly Weho salon Loft 647 home.
Crystal with Loft 647 co-founder, Cory Scott
Thriving plants throughout the salon help purify the inside air and absorb toxins from the hair dyes
Q & A
Q: Favorite celeb client?
CP: I had a surreal moment when I worked with Britney Spears. I did her color and extensions. The whole time I was thinking, 'is this really happening? This is the girl I used to dance down the hallways in school to!' But, honestly I love all of my clients!
Q: Does purple shampoo really work? Is it even necessary?
CP: For sure. I recommend it to about 80% of my blonde clients. Purple shampoo neutralizes darker yellow tones to keep it looking more cool. Purple shampoo does not make it necessarily blonder but brighter. It's good maintenance and protects the hair from the impurities of the water in L.A., which can discolor your hair a little bit.
Q: How often should you use purple shampoo?
CP: I recommend only using it once a week. If you overuse purple shampoo it can make your hair dull and gray. Brunettes do not need to use purple shampoo [because] it's not strong enough. Unless a brunette has blonde highlights that can get brassy, purple shampoo is not necessary, and they would want to use a blue shampoo instead.
Q: Do natural ingredients matter? (Considering our hair is technically dead)
CP: I am a firm believer in natural skin care and hair care because your skin and hair will actually absorb it. Using natural skin and hair care over time, your hair will get healthier and stronger - same with your skin. Non-natural products have emollients and sulfates and are just a temporary fix. All natural products are the best! Give me an oil and I'm soaking in it!
Q: What should you never do if you have color-treated hair?
CP: Don't overuse purple shampoo. And don't overheat style. You don't want to be going crazy with the curling iron or flat iron because your hair is already more fragile if it's colored. Opt for rollers or twist pieces or braid it when it's damp if you want to give it some texture. There are so many other ways to get texture without having to use heat.
Q: What hair care regimen would you recommend for color-treated hair?
CP: I'm all about masks, so I would recommend using a deep conditioning mask in place of conditioner once a week. I would also incorporate a pre-conditioning treatment once a week. My favorite pre-conditioning method is to soak my hair in oil overnight and then wash it the next day. You can definitely over-moisturize though, so you don't want to do the masks and treatment too often. I would also recommend using a softer type of towel for drying your hair post-shower, as towels can be really tough on the hair. You could even use a soft t-shirt.
Q: What hair care regimen would you recommend for color-treated hair that is finer and more grease-prone?
CP: I would recommend to just focus the oil treatment on the ends of the hair as opposed to the whole hair and scalp. I would also recommend shampooing twice. Try not to use a lot of product. And always towel dry before you do a hair mask or else your hair will not absorb the product, it will just slide right off.
Q: Fall is coming. What are some hair care tips you can recommend?
CP: I recommend going darker in the fall to give your hair a break. Give it a little rest, ease up on the highlights. Basically do a hair detox. Also, keep up with the weekly treatments.
Q: What are your favorite ways to pamper your hair?
CP: I love to soak it in olive oil- or any oil I can! Yesterday I put oil in it and had it in all day! I will slick it back and wear it in a tight bun all day. You don't have to worry about it feeling greasy or super oily because if it's a natural oil, your hair will absorb it all up.
Q: What are some hair care trends to avoid?
CP: Avoid going platinum, and I'm speaking from personal experience! All my hair broke off. It's so damaging. The bleach and toner on the scalp is just not good for anybody's hair. It's not a fun process; it looks cool but it's definitely more of a temporary thing and I mean it's a trend. If it comes back around I will be avoiding it! Another hair trend to avoid...hairspray overload! Too much hair spray is never good- there is too much alcohol in it and it will dry your hair out.
Q: Favorite artnaturals products?
CP: The sea salt spray!
While I was at the salon, Crystal worked her hair magic and I left the Loft with a fabulous new do! Thank you Crystal for giving my hair LIFE!
Recommended Products: Sea Salt Spray
For more hair care tips, check out our blog It's Time You Jump On The Argan Oil Train (If You Haven't Already)!