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Artistic Director – Level 4AA, Redken Certified Colorist
“It’s my Passion and my Life.”
For Nina Katehos, the accomplished artistic director and owner of The Hair Gallery, hairstyling is downright addictive. “It’s my passion and my life,” says the multi-certified, trendsetting stylist, whose memories of the salon life reach back well before she earned her industry licence at 33.
“I was working weekends with my mom (hairstylist/former salon owner Lucia Panagiotopoulos, who now works for Nina) since the tender age of 12,” says Nina. “I became a hairstylist because I was born and raised in the industry and I loved the environment as well as making people look and feel good.”
Business of the Year
Her dedication to customer service over the years has garnered The Hair Gallery a prestigious reputation among full service salons in South Simcoe and has resulted in its earning the Business of the Year award for New Tecumseth.
Backstage at Fashion Week
Keeping in touch with today’s current looks and trends takes a lot of extra work, but it’s a labour of love for Nina and her team. If they’re not learning to master new techniques outside of salon hours, it’s not unusual to find them working their magic on the manes of top runway models, backstage during Toronto’s prestigious Fashion Week.
On Hair Integrity
Nina’s bare-bones hair care advice: “Always maintain the integrity of your hair, whether it is natural or chemically treated. It does not matter how beautiful your colour or cut is; if the integrity is compromised it will not look as good.”
Nina’s Current List of Product Favourites
SEQ Demi-Permant Color and HDR. (“I like both of them for grey coverage and for allowing my hair’s natural dimensions to be exposed.”)
For styling: “The Pillow Proof regime this season! I am loving layering four sprays of Pillow Proof Express Primer, with two to three pumps of Diamond Oil Glow, followed by one or two pumps of Express Treatment Primer to give hair longevity in the blow-out, as well as shine.
When it comes to long-term goals, The Hair Gallery’s commander-in-chief plans to go the distance. While keeping current with her own education and certifications, participating in major industry events and continuously mentoring new stylists, it seems only natural to Nina that her business should expand. “My dream is to franchise the company as well as open a school,” she says.
Personal Style & Early Misadventures with Bleach
Nina describes her personal style as classic but with a trendy edge. “I prefer timeless looks, beautiful but simple cuts in clothing, fine natural fabrics, and leather shoes and handbags. Tradition is important to me, but sometimes I like to shake it up and be funky.” Was there ever a time when she threw caution to the wind with her own hair? Absolutely. The natural brunette recalls a time back in hairstyling school when she shook up her funky style a bit too much: “I went completely bleach blonde. Big mistake. Huge mistake!” she laughs.
Little Known Facts…
When asked to share one thing people may not know about her, Nina was a little stumped. Aside from being a self-professed “TV junkie” (“I love just sitting there and being entertained,” she muses), she considers the question before giving her thoughtful response: “There is really not a lot people don’t know about me. I grew up in this industry and I have always been very transparent. That I can build a trusting relationship with my guests is one of my favourite qualities about myself.”
Words of Wisdom
Passion is an eternal flame; never let it burn out.
Senior Stylist – Level 4A, Redken Certified Colorist
Lucia got her first taste of the transformative power of hair colour thanks to an older relative who simply decided she was not going to accept the new pale shade that had decided to take root on her dark mane:
“I was around five years old when my aunt had me pull all her grey out of her dark brown hair,” says the veteran stylist, who graduated from the Marvel School in 1966.
All in the Family
Lucia’s professional certifications cover the gamut of the industry. She has been a regular attendee of Redken’s advanced classes for 20 years. She is a Redken Certified Colorist, a certified make-up artist and also has achieved certification in Great Lengths, Hot Heads and Lash Extension.
Having run her own salon for many years, Lucia made the move to The Hair Gallery eight years ago so she could work with her daughter, artistic director/owner Nina Katehos.
Client is #1
After a lifetime in the business of hair, Lucia focuses on one simple daily truth:
“It’s all about the client and their needs. I’ve reached most of my long-term goals now. I relax and look after my clients with confidence and no stress. This comes come with years of experience.”
Hair tip: Take Good Care!
One of the most important aspects of hair care, says Lucia, is just that – taking good care of it. “As a stylist, I always make sure that I don’t over-compromise a client’s hair, and also that they take home the right products.”
Personal Style & One Risky Disaster
Lucia describes her own personal style as a combination of classic, with some avant-garde thrown in the mix. Her riskiest hair adventure? “I tried bleaching and toning my hair when I came into the business and it was a disaster!”
Karate Black Belt!
When Lucia isn’t working in the salon you might find her training at the karate dojo. A woman with a sense of adventure, she had initially signed up to learn the martial art with her granddaughter, and now she’s hooked. “I am a third degree black belt, soon to be fourth degree, at the end of November 2017!”
Senior Stylist – Level 4
Top of Her Class
“I’ve known I wanted to be a hair stylist ever since I was in kindergarten,” says Cassandra. “I wanted to touch and play with all my classmates’ hair. I coloured Barbie dolls’ hair.”
A high school co-op program in hairstyling sealed the deal. “I knew this was my passion,” says Cassandra, who graduated at the top of her class in hair school. She has been working as a stylist for six years.
Some of Cassandra’s recent achievements include certifications in Hot Heads tape-in extensions and Creative Colour Trends as well as specialist status in colour and balayage.
Hair Tip: Be Gentle!
“Be gentle!” advises Cassandra. “Your hair is sensitive – treat it like expensive silk. Brush, wash, style, colour gently.”
Favourite Hair Products:
- Redken’s Thickening Lotion 06. “My own hair is thin and flat, and I know many others struggle with this as well, I find myself reaching for this product often.
- Redken’s Pillow Proof Blow Dry Primer. “This product is multi-purpose and lightweight and cuts drying time in half (who doesn’t want to save time in the morning?!). It primes the hair for other styling products to make your blow-dry last, and most importantly, it protects the hair from heat.”
- Redken’s Iron Shape 11 – “It protects the hair from heat and holds in your style.”
“My personal style is definitely eclectic,” says Cassandra. “I never stay within one ‘label’ of style; I appreciate clothing and hairstyles from all genres of fashion. I wear my feelings. Nature and music inspire my creativity.”
While Cassandra loves to experiment with colour, her own riskiest hair style involved a razor. “I shaved the side of my head and put all sorts of cool designs in it! I loved that. I have always wanted micro-bangs but am too chicken.”
Cassandra’s future ambitions reveal a true passion for her craft. “I’d like to become a Redken certified artist and become a master stylist (the top level in hair styling) and eventually get into educating.” When Cassandra isn’t in the salon, you might find her gaming or settling in with a good book.
Words of Wisdom
Trust in the universe; what you put out you will get back.
Stylist – Level 2
“I knew I wanted to be a stylist at a young age,” says Christin, who has been working in the industry for four years. “I remember going to the salon with my mom when I was a little girl. I was always so fascinated with every little thing the stylist was doing. I swept those floors clean every single time!” she says.
Education & Certifications
It’s been a busy few years for the young stylist. After earning her hair styling certificate from Georgian College in 2015 and her Ontario hairstylist licence in 2016, Christin attended Redken’s 2016 Montreal symposium and went on to achieve Redken certificates in both Principles of Design as well as Updo & Long Hair Trends.
Hair Care Tip: Know Your Products
Christin’s one piece of advice: “Product isn’t an option – it’s necessary. With the right products you can achieve just about any look you desire.” Some of her current go-to favourites include Redken’s Guts, because “it creates the perfect amount of volume and it’s excellent for blow outs and updos” and Wind Blown. “For those clients like myself that don’t like a lot of hairspray, it creates light hold, the right amount of texture and movement.”
Although Christin has imagined herself taking the risk of going platinum blonde, her more sensible, inner voice of wisdom usually wins that mental battle. “The amount of damage that would occur would not be worth it,” she reasons. That kind of practical honesty is also what Christin’s clients have come to expect when they ask for her advice.
With a natural love of helping people, Christin has her sights set on achieving the status of Redken Educator. Meanwhile, when she’s not busy at her stylist’s chair, you may find her indulging in some coveted “me” time, hiking along nature trails or taking in a live concert.
Words of Wisdom
If it doesn’t nourish your soul or your hair, let it go.
Senior Stylist – Level 4
Although a new face at The Hair Gallery, Tracy is certainly not new to the industry. Her 11 years as a dedicated stylist and Redken technical sales educator recently earned her top employee and stylist of the year awards.
Inspired by Clients
“What inspires my creativity is the guest in my chair,” says Tracy. “I love to learn about their life style, their personal style as well as their ‘wish list’ style. This inspires me and gives me ideas for how I can apply my knowledge to achieve the look they want.”
Tracy gets to the point: “Let a professional do it.”
- Redken Shine Flash. “What woman doesn’t like a little shine in her life? This product gives outrageous shine with no oily feel.”
- Redken Cat. “We change our hair so often and therefore we need take good care of its foundation. Cat treatment is a spray that gives back the protein and strength that our hair can lose, building a stronger foundation for future services.
- Redken One United. “This is heaven in a bottle. With 25 benefits that truly make a difference in your hair, you can’t say no.”
“As a stylist my goals in general are to always keep myself educated,” says Tracy. “When you are grounded in your career endless opportunities can happen. I also want every single guest that sits in my chair to feel great about themselves. They deserve that and it’s the least I can do for them.”
“My personal style changes; it depends on the day,” says Tracy. “I love everything about fashion and hair and love to try it out on myself. This has taught me that change is okay. And to just be yourself.”
On Unicorns & Mohawks
A true adventure seeker when it comes to her own hair, Tracy admits to “trying everything. “I had unicorn-coloured hair eight years ago and a Mohawk five years ago.”
When she’s not working on hair, you’ll likely find Tracy on the soccer pitch. “One of my favourite things to do is play competitive soccer. I’ve been playing for 25 years.”
Words of Wisdom
Everything happens for a reason.
Stylist – Level 3
Julia is one of the newest stylists to grace The Hair Gallery salon. Having aspirations to work in the industry since high school, Julia now has eight years of experience and education under her belt, including recent certifications in three kinds of hair extensions: Tape, Fusion and Micro-link.
Hair Tip: Ease up on Washing
When it comes to hair advice, Julia offers one basic caveat: “Don’t wash your hair every day. You should always try to keep the natural oils in your hair for at least a few days.”
One of her favourite salon products is the Olaplex treatment: “Olaplex prevents and protects the hair from damage,” she explains. “I would never lighten a client’s hair with a high volume of developer without it. I also love working with shine sprays and serums to give beautiful shine and life to the hair. And hairspray is my go-to product, to finish the hairstyle and help it last for days.”
A self-professed lover of fashion, Julia describes her style as mature and professional, and loves to dress to impress. “Success comes from confidence in yourself and if you look your best, you perform your best,” she says.
Risks and Obsessions
Like her fellow stylists, Julia, too, has taken some risks with her own hair: “My hair has already been every colour of the rainbow, but the riskiest thing I’ve ever tried to date, is having bright fuchsia pink hair.” When Julia isn’t working at the salon or furthering her education in the industry, you may find her nursing another obsession: “One of my favourite things to do when I’m not doing hair is definitely shopping! I’m obsessed with high heel shoes and designer purses.”
Stylist – Level 2 Associate
Styling hair has been a long-time interest for Angelica. “Being in the fashion industry for 15 years, hairstyling was always to be on-point,” she says. “The more I worked with fashion, the more I was inspired to learn about hairstyling.”
Angelica is currently a hairstyling associate at The Hair Gallery and is in her second year of the hairstyling apprenticeship program at Barrie’s Georgian College. She has also completed an Introduction to Redken course and is certified in Hot Heads extensions.
Hair Tip: Talk to Your Stylist!
If she were to give one piece of advice to a client, it would be to communicate. “We are here to give you the best cut and colour to suit you and your lifestyle. With good communication, your stylist will be able to hear and see your needs, and give you all the important information you need to give you a style you will love.”
Some of her favourite hair products include Olaplex, which repairs the bonds of the hair as it is coloured or highlighted, and various Redken products. “Redken offers so many styling aids to help with moisture, fullness and hold,” says Angelica. “I am a true believer that using quality products will ensure beautiful style, and therefore a happy client.”
Style with Flare
Angelica describes her own style as classic with an artistic flare. “I love colour and unique styles in fashion and hair.” Her enthusiasm for colour often leads her to try the latest trends on her own hair.
And She Sings Too!
When Angelica isn’t busy working in the salon and studying her college courses, you might find her singing, painting or sculpting with clay.
Words of Wisdom
A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
Stylist – Level 1
“From a young age I always found different ways to express my creative side,” says Kristina, who is both a hair stylist as well as a cosmetology apprentice. “Eventually, at the age of 25, I realized my main passion was hair and all the avenues to it.”
On Taming Curls
With her naturally curly hair, Kristina has become somewhat of a hair gel aficionado. “I love gel. Gel is my love and passion to control my curls. Redken’s line of Frizz Dismiss has been my savior for my textured hair. It keeps it healthy and moisturized.”
Hair Tip: Treat Your Crown!
Borrowing a mantra from The Hair Gallery’s artistic director Nina Katehos, Kristina advises, “Treat, treat, treat your hair! It is your crown and glory.”
On Personal Style
“I don’t have a particular style,” says Kristina. “It mainly consists of how I feel for the day or even the week. I love the simplicity of fashion. A little effort with an outfit goes a long way when it’s completed with a feeling of self-confidence.”
On Blue Hair & Afros
Yes, Kristina admits to taking some calculated risks with her own crown and glory: “I’ve dyed my hair a deep ocean blue from roots to end, and then cut it to a short four-inch afro.”
When Kristina isn’t busy working towards her goals in the hair industry, you might just find her singing for the pure joy of it. “My favourite thing to do is karaoke,” she says. “I tend to drive to the lakeshore and sing on the boardwalk, just to strangers, to put a smile on their face.”
Words of Wisdom
Whatever you want to do, do it. There are only so many tomorrows.