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Thursday May 17, 2012

Love your locks

Hairstylist Ammon Carver says to ‘work with what your mother gave you’.

AMMON Carver hastily dripped some eye-drops into his eyes right before our 20-minute interview began. He had a late night due to a hair show in Kuala Lumpur last night and didn’t want to look tired for the photographs.

However, his dashing good looks would have made easily made up for that.

New York-based Carver, 30, is the artistic designer for Matrix, a professional hair brand under the L’Oreal Group.

Dreaming big: New-York based professional hairdresser and Matrix artistic designer, Ammon Carver, wants to have his own brand someday.

He started out as an associate design team member of the brand’s education unit and after a year, was promoted to the design team, conducting shows and classes nationwide.

Two years later, he was asked to travel to New York for a Matrix Trend collection photo shoot. It’s been eight years since and he still enjoys what he does immensely.

Attached to Mizu, an established hair salon in New York, his celebrity client list includes Christina Aguilera, Amanda Seyfried and Kate Beckinsale.

Carver has been featured in reality-TV series Salon Diaries, a show highlighting the challenges of a West Coast hairdresser looking to make it big in New York City. As part of Matrix’s global artistic design team, he serves as a platform artist, and gives presentations at hair shows and workshops, something that used to make him nervous.

“Believe it or not, I used to be terrified of speaking in front of people. Now, as I do it more often, seeing the audience’s look of excitement and the inspiration they get from my shows, gives me a charge like you wouldn’t believe,” enthuses Carver, who was a stylist for the 2010 MTV Music Awards.

Carver’s journey with Matrix began when he first heard about the brand’s high-performing hair colours, which remains the brand’s bread and butter till today.

“I was absolutely impressed with the consistent results I was getting, plus the affordability of the products,” adds the medium-built stylist.

“Matrix is unique because it is affordable yet it still offers the best products, technology and results in the market. It’s also something we want everybody to enjoy.”

Matrix carries four key ranges – Sensoria Care, a spa collection that aims to provide nutrients to dry and damaged hair; Opti.Straight, a two-step conditioning straightening system; and two colour ranges, Wonder.Brown, a reflective brown coverage permanent colour and Wonder.Light, said to tighten, tone and nourish for brighter colour.

In addition, there is the Design Pulse, a styling range and Biolage, a botanical-based line. Among Carver’s favourite products is the Design Pulse Go Big Extra Strong Hold Mousse.

“That’s my latest obsession. It’s a stronghold mousse, perfect for people looking for volume or fullness. I like to say it gives the hair a little bit of guts!” says Carver with a engaging smile, adding that the product is suitable for both long and short hair.

In our humid Malaysian weather, he recommends the Design Pulse Mix In Shine Brilliant Serum for people with frizzy or “fly-away” hair.

“The serum seals everything down and resists the humidity. Biolage is perfect for my clients who want hair to shine and look healthy, but not feel like they have a product in their hair. They don’t want the ‘guts’, but a natural look.”

Although he has only been to Asia twice, Carver has plenty of experience working with Asian models.

“Typical Asian hair is coarser and resists bend. I notice that a lot of Asian women like to add texture to their hair for wave or shape.

“However, because of the popularity of texture and colour services here, many women have chemically-damaged hair which looks dry and frizzy at the ends,” he says.

Does he encourage women to seek out less chemical-based treatments?

“Personally, I like to use the expression, ‘Work with what your mother gave you.’ If you have straight hair, why not pick out a cool haircut suitable for straight hair?

“No matter where I go, or the hair type, healthy hair is ‘in’ and always will be. What you do to keep your hair in the best health should be more important than having volume or a certain colour.

“By all means, get a service that adds texture or volume to your hair if you feel like it, but if it makes your hair dry and dull, then don’t do it. Leave it alone until your hair is healthy again,” he advises.

Carver shares a few tips for healthy hair.

Firstly, make sure you have a good set of products at home which suit your hair. Secondly, avoid washing, drying and styling your hair on an everyday basis.

“Try to find ‘Day Two’ hair styles, cute ways of styling your hair without having to go through the whole, wash and blow-dry process.

“Lastly, use products that protect against UV rays or salty sea water, if necessary, and maintain a nutritious diet, which is very important for healthy skin and hair,” he adds.

Career-wise, the former multiple finalist of the North American Hairstyling Awards (2009 and 2010), hopes to secure an award one day.

“I am a three-time finalist but I have never won. And I am determined to win, hopefully, this year,” he says in mock frustration. “That’s my immediate short-term goal because getting that under my belt is like winning the Oscars of hairdressing!”

His long term goals include developing his own brand and becoming a parent. “Building my own brand is something I hope to do within the next five years. Part of my motivation for building a brand is to make sure I can provide for my baby,” he reveals.

Yes, sorry girls, Carver is taken, but you could still make a date with him for a hair consultation in New York!


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