In this episode we interview Kasi Bailey on creative hairstyling. Shyla hosts and covers tips and tricks for hair, and the daily life of a hairstylist. Kasi Bailey specializes in creative hair coloring, and cuts.
Kasi: 00:02 Well, it's definitely an intimate experience. It might be the only time that day that another human being is touching you and they're fully focused on you, too. They're not trying to talk about themselves. They are thinking about your appearance and how to enhance it. So, that's why you always feel good when you leave.
Gavin: 00:20 Welcome to the What Origin podcast. This episode, we'll be interviewing Kasi Bailey. She is a hairstylist, and it's hosted by Shyla because I honestly have a shaved head, basically. So I don't know much about hair. You can find out more about her at instagram.com/rainbow.sorcery. To find out more about the podcast, you can go to whatorigin.com or join the conversation at facebook.com/whatorigin.
Shyla: 00:53 Hi Kasi. It's lovely to meet you today.
Kasi: 00:56 Lovely to meet you, too.
Shyla: 00:57 So I've been having a look online at your website and things like that and your Instagram. You've got like a funky sort of style in the way you style people's hair and things like that. Could you tell us more about your type of hair styling? Is there a difference between a hairstylist and a creative hairstylist?
Kasi: 01:21 So, I definitely think that there a lot of people going into our industry today. They can produce basic haircuts. They're going to do a good job, but I like to take it the extra step and offer something different to people, whether it's shaving an undercut underneath and doing a design, or trying to get someone to incorporate a little bit of a pastel pink color into their hair. So I definitely try to go that extra mile to push people to try something different. And it's something that I've always done with myself too since I was a kid. I think there is a little bit of a difference. We do have a term called "craft hair dressing".
Shyla: 01:59 Okay.
Kasi: 02:00 That's where you're going to get all those sharp shapes and cutout bobs and funky shags.
Shyla: 02:06 Okay. So is that something that's recently come about because I've noticed a lot of ... like when you go online, there's loads of people who have this unicorn colored hair and things like that. Do you think your craft has sort of come about or has become slightly popular because of this sort of trend of coloring hair? Or-
Kasi: 02:25 Oh, definitely-
Shyla: 02:25 Is it ... yeah?
Kasi: 02:27 I think in the last decade with Instagram and other social media, it's just blown up so more and more people are seeing these different colors and different haircuts on people and they think that they could wear it too. So it's not something that you're just seeing in high editorial magazines and in fashion runways. You're kind of seeing it everywhere now because of Instagram.
Shyla: 02:50 Yeah, definitely. So, Instagram has definitely influenced a lot, I think, on a lot of industries and the beauty industry and things like that. What was it that made you go into hair dressing? Is it something that you always wanted to do?
Kasi: 03:07 Honestly, yeah. I remember playing spa with my friends when I was a little girl and I always wanted to have my own business and offer services to people, but it was probably in middle school when I started really experimenting with my friends' hair. I would cut their hair with different things like a steak knife or a little pair of scissors. And then I started doing my own hair. So, it's always been on my mind and I love creating.
Shyla: 03:33 So what did you study? Did that influence what you are doing now?
Kasi: 03:41 So I got a camera for my sixteenth birthday from my father. And I really thought I wanted to be a photographer, a fashion photographer to be exact. And so I also had an, interest in true crime and forensics so I spent a year in college studying forensic anthropology, and digital and film photography. I kind of didn't really know what I was doing with the camera. And going to school, really, it just wasn't for me at that time. So after a year, I just decided to go into beauty college, and suddenly I love learning and reading and doing everything I can to get through that course. So it was a very short time out of high school where I wasn't focused on doing hair because I was taking like friends and close family at my house. So it's almost like I've always been doing hair.
Shyla: 04:35 Okay. It's always been something in the background that you've always had an interest in. This has always been your hobby.
Kasi: 04:39 Right.
Shyla: 04:40 It's lovely that it's something that transpired into an actual career; it's really good. How do you feel when you're doing people's hair? How does it make you feel when you're cutting other people's hair? Has it changed over the years? So initially, I imagine, I'm just imagining here, I imagine when you're doing the kind of styles that you're doing, you'd be a bit nervous about the outcome or what the person might think. But are you really confident now and you sort of know that, oh, this is gonna make them feel good?
Kasi: 05:17 It's an artistic outlet for me. So I've had many learning curves in my career. I mean, in beauty school I was very confident. I told everybody I could cut their hair and I have photos. I'm a much better hair dresser 10 years later but it was pretty nerve wracking coming out of beauty school for me, working in high end salons. I've always been kind of a funky person and I have like a punk rock style to me. So, I felt a little judged and inconfident that I couldn't offer people these beautiful haircuts. So it took a couple years and some advanced training and just working in the right place and having the right clients to feel like I'm past that learning curve. And especially now, at this point. I've had my license since 2012. I love the experience of cutting someone's hair. I can definitely get outside myself and fully focus on that person and what they need. And make an experience for them too. So, it's fun and I can just kind of create on the go.
Shyla: 06:18 It sounds really good. So earlier, before this interview, we were talking about how you like the way it makes people feel. So like when I go for a haircut, I can come out of the hair salon feeling no better than I went in sometimes, if my hair doesn't look as it's supposed to or as I imagined it's gonna look. But most of the time, if you go to the person that you go to, you know what it's gonna look like kind of thing, you trust them with your hair, you go and they just make you look like ... like with the blow dry and everything, you just feel amazing. And I feel like I need that every few months. I need that, you know that-
Kasi: 06:59 Right.
Shyla: 07:00 That boost. Because otherwise I just don't even touch my hair; I can't even be bothered with my hair. I'll just tie it up most of the time. So what do you think it is about the whole process that makes people feel so good?
Kasi: 07:16 Well, it's definitely an intimate experience. It might be the only time that day that another human being is touching you and they're fully focused on you, too. They're not trying to talk about themselves. They are thinking about your appearance and how to enhance it. So, that's why you always feel good when you leave. And I just think it's nice to take time for yourself. You get a scalp massage, it's good to get the blood circulating. It will make your hair look more beautiful.
Kasi: 07:42 And I always like to help people too. If you're someone who likes to wake up and go, I take that into account with the haircut and I try and offer you, like try some sea salt spray. You know, something simple just to make it easier for your hair to look more lived in.
Shyla: 07:59 What does it do?
Kasi: 08:01 So the sea salt spray ... you know when you go to the beach and your hair gets that nice little crunchy wave-
Shyla: 08:07 Oh.
Kasi: 08:08 Natural curl comes out. It's like bedhead. People love it, and it's always in the magazines.
Shyla: 08:13 It seems crazy.
Kasi: 08:14 I am a big enthusiast of air drying your hair and diffusing. And I am a blowout specialist. So it's funny that I'm about that. But I think everybody's hair should be cut in the way that it's growing with cowlicks and what not. Give a little bit of movement and personality, use some sea salt spray, scrunch it in and go. It can even make straight hair look a little bit more interesting.
Shyla: 08:37 I'm trying to think. I'm gonna find ... I'm gonna look that up. Sea salt spray. I use root boost and things to make my hair look a bit more awake, you know?
Kasi: 08:47 Yeah. I mean, that's kind of a similar idea.
Shyla: 08:50 Okay. Sea salt spray. Interesting. So-
Kasi: 08:54 Watch the sales go up on that one.
Shyla: 08:56 It's interesting. I don't know if you've heard of this one. Whenever I go to the hair, I've got thick hair. I've always had very thick hair. I grew up with a long plait. My mum would just plait my hair. And it was ... she was so proud of my hair, she wouldn't let me cut it. So I just had this long plait to my bum and I couldn't ... she wouldn't let me cut it or do anything except just hair tied up until I was about 12 years old. So, I had this big long plait that I could probably cut off and donate now, which everybody does. But I have very thick, heavy hair. And I do like growing it, but I like that bounce. You know when you-
Kasi: 09:36 Right.
Shyla: 09:39 You know when my hair was short, like shoulder length, and you put layers in and it all bounces up. I used to love that look because it used to make my hair look more thicker and more volumous. But now I like the length. So I tried this thing, and I don't know if you think it works but it's called "inverting technique". Have you heard of it?
Kasi: 09:58 No.
Shyla: 09:59 No? So, it's probably just made up. I don't know. I saw it on a few YouTube videos, right. And you really just sit there with your head upside down. You sit there with your head between your knees and hang your head upside down so that all your hair is hanging. And then you massage your scalp using warm oils, like castor oil or coconut oil or something, and you just massage your scalp and you do that for five minutes, and supposedly, the blood rushes to your scalp and stimulates the hair to grow longer. I'm convinced that my hair grew an inch when I did this. But I don't know if you've ever had anyone tell you this, and do you have any other tips on making your hair grow? If you've never heard of that one or you did.
Kasi: 10:53 That is probably the only thing that you could do to make your hair grow.
Shyla: 10:57 Really?
Kasi: 10:58 Yeah. So, it's not false. Though I would maybe advise to stay away from coconut oil. It's too big of a molecule to absorb into the skin. It just kind of sits on top of your scalp, right?
Shyla: 11:10 Okay.
Kasi: 11:11 But anyways, it's kind of like when you get goose bumps. That's a muscle reaction from the end of the hair follicle. So when you stimulate the skin, you really are bringing blood to it, which will help nurture the hair follicle itself, the pores; it's going to keep your skin from drying out or getting too oily. It's ... honestly, I would recommend doing that every couple of days or once a week at least. Most people aren't massaging their scalps and that's why the shampoo is so important when you go to the salon.
Shyla: 11:40 Oh. Yes. I was doing it every day. I think it was doing it twice a day every day for a week. And I was convinced my hair grew an inch. And I don't know if I was just imagining it. I was convinced. I did measure it with a measuring tape but I don't think I measured it properly the first time.
Kasi: 11:59 Yeah.
Shyla: 11:59 For a starting point. But yeah, that's good. I feel like I wasn't being really stupid then.
Kasi: 12:05 I wish more people would do that.
Shyla: 12:07 And so you said don't use coconut oil then. What do you use then to massage?
Kasi: 12:12 Jojoba oil is probably going to be the closest to the skin's natural sebum, which just means that your pores will actually be able to absorb it and use it to its benefit to make the skin more nourished, or it can also be absorbed into the hair. Whereas coconut oil, you gotta shampoo your head like five times just to get the stuff out of there because it's really heavy.
Shyla: 12:33 Oil, yeah. Because my hair's thick as well, it does literally take me like five times for it to be clean again.
Kasi: 12:38 Yeah.
Shyla: 12:39 I can feel that residue for a few days after. Oh brilliant! Okay. What other tips can I get from you? Are there any other tips that you would give just for healthy hair or growth? People say to cut your hair like six weeks. Is that true? You should be cutting your hair every ... trimming it every six weeks or 12 weeks or is there like an optimal time to be trimming your hair?
Kasi: 13:00 So, I mean, I'm not somebody that likes to push the six to eight week thing. I kind of like people to feel their hair out. But it really depends on how much processing you are doing. If you are highlighting your hair that often, you probably should be cutting it once every couple of months or every other time that you're in for your highlights. Whereas, if you don't have color in your hair and you're using the right shampoo and conditioner at home and you take good care of it, it really shouldn't need to be cut for more than like three to four months at a time. And other hairdressers might hate hearing that, but it's not necessary. Especially if you're trying to grow your hair out. You don't want to cut it more than like every five months.
Shyla: 13:41 Because a lot of these hairdressers, they say you should be cutting it. They give you a time scale and I just think, oh, you're just trying to get me back in to make some more money from me because you know I come in every few months and you think you can be getting me in for another haircut. That's what I think they're trying to do. But ... So I guess I'll take your advice on that.
Shyla: 14:00 So, have you ever had a situation where someone doesn't like the cut or the color that they've had? And what do you try to do to sort of fix it? To make the situation better or ... how do you rectify that?
Kasi: 14:17 Right. I mean those situations do occasionally come up. Not too often. But, recently I had a girl that really wanted bangs on her long hair. And I told her, you got to really warn them that they might freak out. It's going to be different. You got to show them how to style it. But she didn't even really give it a chance. It was maybe a minute after giving her bangs, she freaked out and she was pretty upset. So, what do you do in that instance? Her hair's already cut. It's short. She's upset. All you can really do is kind of offer her to come in over the next couple of weeks to trim it into the rest of the hair and help her grow it out. I didn't fully charge her for the experience because she wasn't happy for it.
Kasi: 15:02 I don't have too many examples. I mean, I've had someone upset about their color before and again, it's, depending on the situation, you can't charge them if they're not happy and there's not much that you can do, depending on the integrity of the hair. You can always offer for them to come back in for a free toner and gloss. You send them home with a deep conditioning treatment. It's really whatever you can do to help them feel better about their hair and the situation. But hopefully no one goes home feeling hideous, you know? That would crush me.
Shyla: 15:32 Yeah, I just think that because with hair color, there can be a lot of variants. Things could potentially go-
Kasi: 15:39 Definitely.
Shyla: 15:39 Yeah, because you don't know ... Yeah. Because you do like a patch test, right, initially, for hair color, right?
Kasi: 15:44 Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Shyla: 15:45 So you do a patch test and you wait 24 hours. Is that the same sort of policy you guys have in the U.S.?
Kasi: 15:50 The manufacturers recommend that you do that. Not too many salons, I would say, are probably doing patch tests, thought it's important. If someone says that they have an allergy or they're unsure, you definitely urge them to do it. Because I personally have a color allergy. I cannot put professional, permanent color on my scalp without breaking out. So you need to be really careful and make sure that that person is comfortable and not having any serious reactions to it.
Shyla: 16:17 Like it can be unpredictable, so you don't know if the color's gonna take, right? On someone's hair-
Kasi: 16:22 Totally.
Shyla: 16:22 Like you thought it was gonna take. So I can imagine there'd be some people not completely expecting the result that they get. Not necessarily not happy with it but not necessarily expecting sometimes what they feel that they get.
Shyla: 16:34 So what are the biggest trends right now, then? What would you say ... what's the biggest trend at the minute with hairstyles and colors?
Kasi: 16:42 Right now, a shag is huge. It's known as the haircut of San Francisco.
Shyla: 16:47 Okay.
Kasi: 16:48 It's very popular, so people are doing a lot of straight razor cuts again. Which is more freeform layering. It definitely takes a little bit of skill to do. But people are really taking a lot of the weight out of their hair and creating movement and really beautiful silhouettes. So I think we're moving away from the sharp bobs and just the long layers. People want to see a little bit more movement within the hair.
Shyla: 17:11 And I feel like only certain people know how to cut it in a way so that it's not too ... I don't know. It doesn't bounce right unless somebody cuts it a certain way and only some people cut it that way and other people don't. It's hard to find the same sort of stylist.
Shyla: 17:29 What's your end goal then? What would you like to ... what would be your end goal? Or are you there? Or would you just want to continue doing what you're doing for the next few years? Or do you have any other things that you would like to complete in your hairdressing?
Kasi: 17:43 Totally.
Shyla: 17:43 I don't know, maybe other levels of-
Kasi: 17:46 Yeah. I mean, in the next couple years, I would really like to rent my own studio space where I could just perform my work out of by myself, and I am looking to get into platform work too, in the future. Right now, I'm looking for models that will let me do rainbow prism colors on their hair and kind of whatever I want in terms of rainbows. So I'm trying to kind of push forward and use social media to my advantage at the moment. Just to network and reach out to more people and let them know about what I do. And hopefully that can lead me to a path where I can educate others and show them how cool this job is.
Shyla: 18:25 Earlier on, you did say that you studied anthropology at college, but then something steered you to go back or focus on your creative side and continue down the route of hairdressing and creative hairdressing. A lot of people don't really have the courage or don't really manage to do that. They don't somehow achieve their creative ... they don't manage to achieve, to continue some of their creative roles. So, how did you do that, or at what point did you realize, "Actually I want to do this creative thing that I've always wanted to do"? And what steered you to it? What made you make that decision to go into it, and how can other people convince themselves, if they are in the same situation where if they're at college and they're doing something academic or something that doesn't really spark that interest in them, how can they achieve the same way you did using your creativity?
Kasi: 19:29 Right. So, I mean, I was studying forensic anthropology. So it wasn't the happiest thing. And I think it made me very depressed to realize that with this job you would have to work with people's families and give them devastating news, and it's also very tedious having to map out crime scenes or a washed up cemetery and what not. And then also studying photography at the same time, I was doing all of these photo projects that, honestly, kind of bored me. I really wanted to style my friends and get them to wear crazy clothes and I didn't have the time, energy, or money to do it.
Kasi: 20:10 So I really wasn't sure where my career was going. Because I was really torn between forensics and fashion, and the forensics was just kind of tearing me apart. I don't think I am the kind of person that could work in a job like that and still maintain a happy, positive life. And something just happened to me by the end of my second semester that I was over it. Something ... I couldn't go to school anymore. I really didn't want to go.
Kasi: 20:36 And I really wanted to do hair. Because I was already using my free time to do haircuts and colors for people. I wish I had more advice for somebody in that situation because it was very sporadic. I was 19, going into beauty school. I took out a lot of loans to do it, but as soon as I started school, it just felt so right for me. I was ... I've been happy since the day I've had my license.
Shyla: 21:04 Really appreciate you taking your time out to have a talk with us today, Kasi. So, can you tell us where we can find out more about you?
Kasi: 21:12 Yeah. My Instagram is definitely my website right now. It's the number one portfolio site. So you can find me at instagram.com/rainbow.sorcery, and you can definitely wait and see some rainbow colors coming up soon in the next month.
Shyla: 21:30 Brilliant! Look forward to it. I'll be following that. Thank you again!
Kasi: 21:34 Thank you! It was really nice talking to you. I appreciate the opportunity.
Shyla: 21:38 Oh, thank you.
Gavin: 21:40 Thanks for listening to this episode of the What Origin podcast. You can find out more about Kasi Bailey at instagram.com/rainbow.sorcery. If you'd like to find out more about the podcast, you can visit whatorigin.com or join the conversation at facebook.com/whatorigin.