Dusty Simington loves working with curly hair.
I love cutting it, I love finishing it, I love everything about it," says the celebrity stylist, who owns Salon Gregorie's in Newport Beach, Calif., the largest independent salon on the West Coast.
Simington's passion extends to all hair types, and has resulted in his creation of Kronos, a new product line designed to revitalize hair.
"Being in the business for 25 years, I've worked with every product under the sun," says Simington, who has cut and styled the tresses of stars such as Tiffani Thiessen, Jenny Garth, Ryan Secrest and LeAnn Rimes. "A lot of my clients shared the same problems with their hair, and they were using products that temporarily masked the situation but didn't address the main problems."
The seven-product Kronos line, which took Simington three years to develop, uses "t-sfere technology" to repair the hair. Simington says he was in a bidding war with several large companies for this technology, and was able to acquire it because of Kronos' ability to bring it to market the fastest. T-sfere technology allows the encapsulation of multiple active ingredients into a single microscopic sphere for a deeper delivery into the scalp, follicle and hair shaft. Each product contains a blend of active ingredients to moisturize, strengthen and protect the hair, says Simington, who was a national educator for other product companies before developing his own.
For curls, he recommends Hydress Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner. Another standout is Liquid Theory, a one-spray-does-it-all detangler that conditions, smoothes and detangles.
"Many leave-in conditioners can make the hair feel greasy and heavy," Simington says. "You can spray on an entire bottle of Liquid Theory and you'll still have volume and shine."
And the superstar of the line is Phyx, a deep-conditioning overnight treatment that strengthens, rebuilds and repairs hair. It corrects damage, breakage, split ends and dullness.
Simington says he also has a mousse in the works that is perfect for waves and curls.
Simington became a stylist by accident, he says. It was the late '70s and his five sisters dragged the 15-year-old surfer to get his first haircut at a salon to cut his long blond locks. They took Simington to the hottest salon in Newport Beach. Although he wasn't so hot on the perfectly coiffed shag he received, he was completely in awe of the cool-looking hairstylists, with their Porsches and beautiful clientele.
"The atmosphere was so exciting," recalls Simington. "I come from a long line of developers, and I was supposed to take up the family business. Instead, I had to tell my dad I wanted to go to beauty school."
Simington says his father still refuses to call him a hairdresser, instead opting for "barber."
The salon's owner allowed him to come in and observe, and he began cutting his own hair. He discovered he had a keen eye for balance, and soon was cutting his sisters' hair. He went to beauty school at 22, and has never regretted his decision. Eight years ago, he opened his salon, which now has 70 hairdressers, 25 assistants and 10 full-time receptionists.
"It was a dream come true," he says.
In 1997, the father of four was named Master Stylist of the Year by the North American Hairstylist Awards. It is considered the most prestigious honor that can be bestowed upon a hairstylist.
One of Simington's favorite parts of his job is teaching other hairstylists.
"Not only am I sharpening my own skills, but I get to watch others get excited," Simington says. He has an advanced facility that teaches four different programs, including one that focuses entirely on curly hair.
"Once you really know how to work with curly hair, you have a curly clientele for life," he says. "As far as cutting curly hair goes, you have to know its spring factor. You have to know how it will react when you cut it."
A model shows a Simington/Kronos style.
Simington says he's developed his technique through years of trial and error. He likes to take sections horizontally and cut niches away in a brickwork fashion, creating volume where it's needed.
"When cutting curls, you want to create an even balance of density," Simington says.
Styling is one of the most important parts of working with curls. Simington has what he calls a fool-proof method for styling curls that provides curl formation and volume on top.
"One of the biggest mistakes curlies make is to bend forward when styling their hair," he says.
Instead, he suggests getting out of the shower with your hair soaking wet and leaning to the side horizontally and scrunching sections with a towel. Then apply product — curlies need to use a lot of product, he says — and use the same sideways scrunching motion. Then, either air dry or dry hair with a diffuser.
"I could talk for three days about curly hair," Simington says.
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