In a time when hairstylists play musical chairs with salons, Courtney Libby is a throwback. This fall she celebrates her tenth year at New Leaf Hair Studio in Bristol. A 2002 graduate of Bryant University, Courtney received her BA in English and Communications and completed her training in hairstyling at the former Arthur Angelo’s School of Cosmetology & Hair Design in Providence. In addition to servicing a loyal client list, Courtney is co-owner of the salon’s clothing and accessory Therapy. boutique. Mother to Cameron, 3, and daughter Caprille, 1, Courtney and her husband Ryan live in Riverside. We talked about summer hair recovery, advances in color techniques and the early signs of a budding hairstylist.
What do you attribute your success of working at the same salon for ten years to?
New Leaf really feels like home. It is not just aesthetically beautiful to work in but it is also warm and inviting. I also love the demographic of Bristol – I love it – the families, the college students, people from different parts of the town. I feel the best part of where I am now in my career and having called New Leaf home for so long is that feeling of trust. Clients trust me to make their beauty decisions for them.
What is your inspiration when a client sits in the chair and they give you ‘free reign’?
I take into consideration the client’s maintenance level, which is so important to me. If she tells me she spends five minutes on her hair each day and chooses a highly stylized look I am extremely honest with her. It might look great walking out the door but I want her hair to look gorgeous every day. Pinterest, a social networking site, is a hairdresser’s best friend. The salon has an iPad so we can quickly access the different Pinterest boards: short hair, color inspirations, updos, anything at all!
Coming off the beach from a summer of surf and sun, what are your suggestions for hair repair?
Get a trim. We call it “getting the sum- mer off the ends.” A trim helps get your hair healthy and it will feel better. I also believe in using a quality shampoo and conditioner. Sun, wind and swimming and the wrong shampoos and conditioners are all nasty culprits of color fading and dry, lackluster hair. Some women who don’t color their hair think it is not important to use professional products, but with the right ones you can see the difference. Letting hair air dry if possible also really helps. Shine and minimal flyaways are a perk, plus the natural textured look is on trend. I’m also a huge advocate of wearing a hat to protect your hair when out in the sun. A car sunroof is a common culprit of color fading and brassy/orange tones. Plus we are always shocked to hear how often women wash their hair. I recommend washing at most every other day – it’s best for your scalp and hair to cleanse three times per week.
What are the current trends in hair color?
Balayage, a French term meaning “to sweep,” is a method of highlighting the hair. We paint or “sweep” the color onto carefully selected strands using a brush and paddle. The result is a natural sun kissed effect. The technique is gorgeous and grows out gracefully. Foiling technique is a more precise application and is not going away but does require a little more maintenance. Sombré, another trend, is a softer more subtle version of ombré, which is really dark coloring at the top and graduates to lighter color.
What are some differences between male and female clients?
Male clients are extremely loyal. It can be hard to tell them if they need a new style; they can be creatures of habit but they always to listen to their stylists. They don’t ask styling questions, and usually need to be guided. The current trend in men’s hair cutting is the vintage, Mad Men-esque look: super short on sides, longer on top and heavily styled with gel or creme.
When did you know you wanted to be a hairstylist?
When I was growing up I was constantly cutting my best friend’s hair, which her mother couldn’t stand because I didn’t know what I was doing at all! In high school and college I was the one doing everyone’s hair for proms. I can’t tell you how many times I was grounded for cutting my dolls’ hair off! After graduating Bryant, I knew I had to try this industry and I’m so glad I did. I’m happy coming to work. I’m surrounded by great people in a great space all day long, which just fuels the creativity. How many people can say they love their job? I know just how lucky I am.
New Leaf Hair Studio | 18 State Street, Bristol | 401-254-9333