Mel Hammons

Mel HammonsName: Mel Hammons

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama

Age: 30

Occupation: Hair stylist and colorist at Sanctuary Salon

OK, you’re our blonde expert. When going blonde for the first time, what’s important to know? 

As with all hair color, this can be a process. Find someone knowledgeable whom you trust to keep your hair healthy and beautiful while achieving your desired result. Also, allow your hairdresser to have a little creative license without micromanaging him or her, and you will almost always be happier with the results.

After your initial coloring at the salon, how often should you schedule salon visits to keep your new shade bold and bright?

Six weeks, on average, is best. As your hair color continues to oxidize following your color service, blonde hair, in particular, can slightly deviate from its original color or tone, and it’s best to stay on top of that. This goes for you too, redheads!

There are literally hundreds of boxed blonde colors out there. Should this treatment be strictly salon only?

Girl, yes! As hairdressers, we are paid for our ability to formulate hair color, rather than just picking the “blonde” box off the shelf. Furthermore, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Sarah Jessica Parker does not use box color—nor do the other girls in Clairol and Feria ads.

Brassiness can be a common problem for blondes. What is your best solution to it? 

Toners. If you are visiting your stylist regularly, you shouldn’t have many problems with your hair being brassy. If that doesn’t solve the problem, adding highlights and lowlights can also help to visually blur that brassiness. Lastly, having a good shampoo and conditioner will offer the proper sun protection for your new hair color.

Do you have an artistic background?

I have some artistic background; mine is mostly in science and math. The technical aspect is what speaks to me and guides me in the creative process.
What is the biggest challenge in a hairdressing career?

It is incredibly difficult for me to balance home life and work. Some days, I need a clone. I hate telling someone no or that I can’t fit them in, though I am slowly learning this. My clients are why I get up in the morning, why I come to work, and the ones who make sure my bills are paid. Maybe you could call me a workaholic.

How do you connect with clients? 

I ask questions—lots of them! This industry isn’t just about giving someone the best hair; it’s about knowing if your clients are married, their professions, what their children’s names are, or what kind of wine they prefer, while also sharing your story with them. There is a delicate balance between being knowledgeable and personable while delivering impeccable customer service. These things make your clients feel like they’re your only one.

Do you take male clients? 

Yes! I love my male clients. Recently, I’ve been really into discovering this barbering trend for men and taking the really edgy stuff and making it into something acceptable in a business setting. Dudes should be able to have good hair, too.

What would your salon colleagues say about you?

I am dedicated, hardworking, and a total stickler for running on schedule—always have been. Time management is incredibly important to me, and I hate having anyone wait around on me

What do you do outside of hair?

My partner, Kristye, and I recently moved to Avondale to our dream home, so we spend time rediscovering our city and all it has to offer. This place is a mecca for good food and great beer, two things I can never say no to.

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