Thanos Samaras, Hairstylist

“My interest in hair started when I was young, growing up in Greece. I found a ponytail of my mother’s that she had cut off when she was a child. It was quite long and thick, and I would experiment on it by bleaching it, giving it an olive oil treatment, seeing how different processes would reflect the light. It was a secret obsession. I was a boy; I wasn’t supposed to play with hair. On the down low, I would make tiny wigs for my sisters’ dolls. I was so fascinated how hair could transform them.

My background is in architecture and theater—acting. I love images, movies, and stories. It all ties together, really, because good fashion is a story, and the model is a character. Think about the images Mert and Marcus create, or Miles Aldridge—they’re like film stills from an amazing movie. So, about 10 years ago while working as an actor, I started photographing dolls that I had styled and placed in sets. People picked up on that work and I started collaborating with Japanese publications, because dolls are huge in Japan. They even celebrate dolls with a special 'Doll Day.' I collaborated with companies to develop some dolls, and eventually made a line of doll wigs for Blythe dolls. Greek Vogue saw it and, in 2010, they asked me to do a cover photo for them with a wig on a model. That went really well, and it led to another, and then another.

Now I get booked to style both real hair and wigs. And, as a reader, you’d never be able to tell if it’s a wig or not. Even when we’re working with real hair, there’s always an extra element of hairpieces and extensions involved. There’s no difference whatsoever in working with either material.

For me, working with wigs is almost a fetish. I spend the whole night before the shoot with the wig: creating it, cutting it, dyeing it, and getting to know it, so I can take it with me in the morning and transform the girl into someone else entirely—that’s what a wig is for. You don’t just throw a brunette wig on a brunette. At the end of the shoot, I get to take the wig home as a trophy. It’s fun. I have wigs that I’ve used a lot, or that had real moments, like the red wig I made for an Italian Vogue shoot with Codie Young. It looked so sensational on her that, a few weeks later, she dyed her real hair the exact shade of red we used in the story. I look at those wigs and think, ‘We’ve done a lot together. [Laughs] It’s creepy, I know. I also refer to the wigs as ‘she’ if it’s for a woman, or ‘he’ if it’s for a man.

Working with hair is a very intense experience for me. It’s kind of embarrassing, but I am enamored with hair—how it reacts to humidity, heat, chemicals, light, the way it can look kind of sad and forlorn when it’s just wet and hanging. It’s so beautiful. Then it can be treated with love and heat and serums, and it can become this wonderful, amazing texture that has all kinds of planes and landscapes. You can see how it moves and catches the light. It’s such a humble material, but it communicates so much.

We read people by their hair, and I can tell a lot about a person by their hair. The way we style it says a lot overall about our socioeconomic status, about our taste, health, and our age. It carries a lot of information. Volume kind of equals health; when there is more hair, you feel like that person is healthy and prosperous. I’m generalizing, but I think that we judge people by their hair very much.

Every country kind of has its own set of hair criteria. American women tend to like to wear their hair longer, and very glossy, and they like to have more of it. If they don’t have a lot of hair, they might get extensions or clip-ins. I actually make a line of impermanent extensions called SisterVeronica. I love working with real people, making custom pieces, and seeing their joy when they see themselves in the mirror, as if they’ve been upgraded. Women in Greece don’t have as much hair—I’m just speaking to what I see on the subway and on the street. In Paris, women tend to do that kind of unkempt Carine Roitfeld hair, and have a dye job that looks like it needs to be retouched—but they wear it like they mean it.

I’m more attracted to a bad dye job, or a completely fucked-up bleach job, than something perfect. I find it has more character—it’s more lyrical and luxurious. I love the sadness of hair that’s lack and limp, that doesn’t have great density, and moves more freely in the wind, than a thick, chunky Pantene head of big hair. It’s quiet, subdued, and kind of melancholic. I love a wonderful dry, long salty texture, too, that’s got a slight kink to it.

I mix a lot of styling products myself. I make my own salt spray by mixing soda water, salt, and a couple drops of serum together until it makes the hair react the way I want it to. And, in place of serums or silicones, I will combine oils with water and a drop of hair gel, and it works in a completely different way than a commercial product. But I do love the Super Skinny Serum by Paul Mitchell. It leaves absolutely no grease in your hair—it gets completely absorbed. You can use it on the most fucked-up, destroyed hair, and it will look like a million bucks, as long as you know how to use your curling iron and flat iron—you need some heat to seal it in. And Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray is the best thing since sliced bread. It instantly creates lifted roots, a beautiful texture throughout the hair, and it doesn’t seem to build up or kink. It’s just amazing.

I'd say I split my energy 50/50 between acting and hair. When I’m not busy with one, I’m doing the other; most often though, I do both simultaneously. I appreciate people who have their hands in more than one cookie jar.”

—as told to ITG

Thanos Samaras photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on August 6, 2013. 

My name is Nosta Rabrun and I'm 22 years old. I'm from and currently live in Miami, Fl. I'm Haitian American with Indian and white decent. I permed my hair when I was 17 (2008) and at that time not a lot of people, to my knowledge, were natural and YouTube wasn't as big as it is now. I basically permed my hair to be "down."

How long have you been natural?
I've been natural for 2 years. My last perm was August 7, 2011 right before my birthday on the 9th.

Read On!>>>

What motivated you to transition?
I don't know what motivated me to transition, lol. I just woke up one day and said I'm going natural lol. I was a big transitioner. I just let my hair grow out. Though a lot of people were telling me, "cut it, it will grown faster", I chose to just let my hair grow out. I ended up cutting it when I had only centimeters left of permed hair.

How would you describe your hair?
My hair is almost kinky curly. Lol I don't know. It's really curly and puffy.

What do you love most about your hair?
I love the fact that my hair is really soft and curly. I love it most when it's wet.

What has been the most memorable part of your journey?
The most memorable part of my journey was the two different textures. I HATED IT WITH A PASSION. I was so used to having straight hair that when I finally started to get some curls it felt weird. The two textures were somewhat difficult to deal with. The best thing is that my hair is longer now then before I permed it.

What were your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
My favorite transitioning hairstyle(s) was most definitely rope twist.. Weave was my Bestfriend and as my hair began to grow out I started doing Bantu knots. Right now my current dos consists of twist outs, braid outs, twist ( with my natural hair ) because I have what some call "big hair" I love to wear it out curly because I really do enjoy the attention.

Any memorable reactions from others since going natural?
As a natural, my experiences have had its ups and downs.  My mom hates when I wear my hair out. I live in Miami and because of the humidity I leave my house looking one way and come back looking another. She thinks I'm crazy. Family members love it, they are always complementing me on my texture. With others its more weird because I get asked a lot " Is that a weave?" " Can I touch it?" and "Are you mixed?"

What is your hair regimen?
Believe it or not I do not have a hair regimen, lol.  I do whatever to my hair as far a moisturizing. I try to apply Shea butter leave in conditioner every day, other then that, I just go with the flow. As far as products I use: Shea butter leave in conditioner, Haitian castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil mixed together, olive oil Eco styler gel, as far as shampoo and conditioner, I use whatever we have which is tresemme, mane and tail, and recently I brought sauve but I don't like it. It smells good but leaves my hair feeling dry. In the beginning of my journey I used this hair ointment called Virgin hair fertilizer. ( GOOD STUFF WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO HAIR GROWTH) and I take biotin (when I remember).

What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber's, or blogs?
My favorite place to go when it comes down to hair is YouTube because you can learn EVERYTHING when it comes down to natural hair. You can learn many things from pre-pooing to making your own protein treatment. I just love it. My fav youtubers are:

Anything you want the readers to know? Any inspirational words?
I want readers to know that going natural was the best decision ever. I should have never permed my hair in the first place. I love it. Inspirational words? IF YOU WANT TO GO NATURAL GO FOR IT AND EMBRACE IT 1000 PERCENT. DONT LET ANYBODY TALK DOWN TO YOU BECAUSE YOU'RE NATURAL. LOVE YOUR HAIR. I BELIEVE ALL HAIR IS BEAUTIFUL AND TO LOVE YOUR HAIR IS TO LOVE YOURSELF.

Where can people find you for more information?
I'm not on YouTube but I am on Instagram and twitter: Instagram @divine_curls and twitter @pink_kali. I'll be happy to answer any questions.

Global Couture is trying to spread the word about embracing your natural hair. Love your HAIR, if it is wavy, curly, kinky or coily.
Are you naturally fierce? Email us to share your hair journey at [email protected].

My name is Rose aka SimplyCre8eve. I am from Haiti now living in Miami, Fl.

How long have you been natural? 
I did my second big chop four years ago.

What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
What motivated me was the feel of the chemical burns and my hair feeling really thin after it was relaxed. When I decided to go natural the first time, I was a transitioner. The second time around I was a big chopper. Because of the multiple hair styles I decided to go to a bald cut because I never had my hair cut that low before & I wanted to try it out!

Read On!>>>
How would you describe your hair?
Dealing with natural hair, you have many different textures. Different in the front, middle & back. So it's just as random as I am. :-)

What do you love most about your hair?
Versatility. It's having the best of both worlds. If I want to have straight hair, it's really nothing that a flat iron cannot solve, which I rarely desire or use, but the option is always there. If I want to have a big afro I can also create that look too. I love the texture of it, and I am able to style in multiple ways. I see it as a perk that I am able to do my hair in so many ways that I could never do with my relaxed hair. Especially by myself.

What has been the most memorable part of your journey?Has it been easy or difficult or both?! 
It's been pretty easy for me because it is something that I embraced. I would say that at first when I did my big chop I was a bit skeptical because I wasn't sure how a short cut would look on me however my most difficult part was learning how to detangling my hair.

What or were some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
My favorite transitioning hairstyle was wearing my afro, twistouts & wearing my fro pulled back with a headband!

What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others? 
Yes they were shocked, some were supportive and some had jokes. I took it all in stride. Those who had jokes eventually learned to love it and some are even natural themselves.

What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I try to keep my regimen as simple as possible & try not to follow every trend. I am actually in the process of creating my own natural products but in the mean time I wash my hair once a week using a Shampoo & Conditioner that hydrates, conditions & is Sulfate Free. I alternate between protein treatments and deep conditioning treatments to create balance and I moisturize while my hair is still damp before styling. I use a wide tooth comb to untangle my hair & let it air dry if I’m going to wear my afro, or I do a heatless blow out using the banding method which you can see on my YouTube Channel . I try to avoid using heat as much as possible and when I do use heat, I use an Ionic Hair Dryer with a comb attachment. My favorite products are Argan Oil Intensive Deep Conditioning Treatment or Humecto Conditioner by Kera Care, Paul Mitchell Foaming Hair Pomade and Natural Oils.

What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
I like 4C Hair Chick. I am new on the YouTube scene because I have never gone to YouTube until recently to look for hair tips so I would have to say that 4CHairChick is my favorite.

Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Be patient especially during the cleaning & detangling process. Don't be afraid to try different hairstyles. Going natural is one of the best decisions ever, your scalp with thank you later!

Where can people find you for more information?

Global Couture is trying to spread the word about embracing your natural hair. Love your HAIR, if it is wavy, curly, kinky or coily.
Are you naturally fierce? Email us to share your hair journey at [email protected].

I arrived in New York last night and headed straight to the John Freida Salon in Meatpacking. They just launched a new line of hair products designed to give good curls and as a chronic straightener I was interested in something new. So with my luggage in tow I hailed a cab and darted downtown for the wavy locks that dreams are made of.

Stylist David Allen washed my mane with Frizz Ease Smooth Start Shampoo. It’s perfect for girls with straight hair who have frizz or fly-aways. It helps eliminate frizz from the shampoo to the chair. Next Allen brushed the new Frizz Ease mouse through my hair. I always love to comb product through wet hair to ensure it gets distributed evenly. I’m obsessed with this mouse; it doesn’t give you crispy curls circa 1993 but soft volume at the roots. Before blowing out my tresses Allen spritzed me with my favorite product from their new launch- Go Curlier. It helps lock in curls for a full forty-eight hours. We dried my hair and went through it with a curling iron. I love that Go Curlier is heat activated to help lock in the perfect waves while styling. My drab tired locks perked up into wavy bombshell perfection. Needless to say I’m obsessed.

-Photos by Aimee Blaut in New York

-Sponsored Post

Hair Color Forum: Let’s Talk About Going Blond

Blonde may be a state of mind, but let's be honest—it's mostly a hair color, one that usually requires stuff like bleach, foil, and strange purple shampoo. Have you been (or are you currently) on Team Flaxen? Do you wish you were? We want to hear about it.

Add your contribution in the comments—questions, photos, advice, whatever. We're all lifting and toning together, people.

To get this party started, we went ahead and assembled tips from a few of our favorite blondes:

Kirsty Hume: "I color my hair myself, out of a box. I use a very light blond color just at the roots, and let it grow out. For maintenance, I wash my hair with Philip B Shampoo and Wen Cleansing Conditioner."

Sharmadean Reid: "I like being blonde... right now I feel like a cross between T-Boz, Nastassja Kinski from Paris, Texas, and a bit of a Japanese school girl."

Kristina O’Neill: "Reyad at Frédéric Fekkai does my color—he keeps it beach-y looking. I always say, 'Just make it look like Gisele’s.'"

Emily Weiss: "I was told not to wash my hair for several days before [the bleaching], as the natural oils would help protect my scalp. I wonder if I would have wussed out/fainted/had a full-blown panic attack had I not done that."

Kate Young: "I get single process color every six weeks. They just put bleach on the roots, and I sit there for two hours."

Angel Haze: "I just went blond. When I was getting it done at Salon Sims recently, I was like, ‘You know what? I want to bleach it grey.’ And they were like, ‘Nooo, you can’t. You’ll strip it, and it will be really ugly, and blah, blah, blah...’ So I just went for the lightest blond I could possibly get."

Soo Joo Park: "My hair doesn’t really make me feel very different, but I know that I get perceived as a different person. People think I’m more more eccentric, open, or adventurous—but it’s really just the hair."

Elin Kling: "Mirjam Bayoumi on the Upper East Side does all of the Swedes. She does the Princess of Sweden’s hair. She said that 95% of her clients are blond Swedish girls. [Laughs] It’s not super fancy, she just knows how to do blondes."

Olivia Kim: "Obviously I’m not a blonde, but I’ve been wanting to go blond since I was 18… And then last year I said, ‘I’m just going to do it.’ I asked Jimmy Paul and he said, 'You have to go to Maya at Bumble & Bumble, she’s an amazing Japanese colorist and she used to do her hair white.'"

Sarah Rutson: "Another thing that I've found through getting older is that blonder hair is less harsh for me. My hair is naturally black, but I dyed it seven years ago to give me a softer look."

Amanda Lepore: "My hair has been bleach blond since I was fourteen. I get it done every four or five weeks by Harlequin at Dramatics on 5th avenue. I use a lot of Shu Uemura Conditioner and Essence Absolue to keep it hydrated. Bleaching gives you high-maintenance hair."

Nathalie Love: "I heard, for the color, that apple cider vinegar helps. You just pour it on your head and then smell bad for a few days."