All posts by Cassandra McGalughlin

Cassandra McGlaughlin is a National Educator for John Paul Mitchell Systems and a hairstylist at Platinum Salon in Tampa, Florida. Her areas of expertise include blonding, color correction and natural-blended color. Her work has been seen in Hot On Beauty magazine, Behind the Chair and Modern Salon, and she was recently named “One to Watch” by Modern Salon!

Transformation: Black to Platinum

Blonde 3

As a colorist it’s important to know your limitations. Here’s one example where the perfect set of circumstances allowed me to make a black-to-blonde change in one 8-hour visit. I want to give you all the details about why I chose to do this in one sitting. So here is the backstory:

My guest came in with her hair all tied up in a bun. She let it down and it was past her behind and jet black, and I knew her goal was to get to a platinum blonde. I’ve learned that with these types of services, the best course of action is to under-promise and over-deliver. The reason I decided to continue the service is because my guest had no previous color on her hair (100% virgin), she was willing to cut quite a bit of length off (8 inches) and she had a strict monetary and time budget. She also had reasonable expectations of maintenance.

As far as charging, I’m a big believer in charging appropriately for color services. My rule of thumb is averaging about $100 per hour for color corrections. That ensures that my time and product is covered.  It’s so important to charge in a way that you don’t have to compromise the steps that you need to have successful color service.

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I began the transformation by taking roughly 7 inches of length off her hair. I needed to have a shorter canvas to work on in order to maintain my pace and let the hair process evenly. From there, I took these steps:

  1. Apply Paul Mitchell® SynchroLift™ and 30 volume with a Platinum Card technique, working with an assistant to maintain a quick pace. Don’t apply directly on the scalp. Allow to process until level 7 then apply SynchroLift and 20 volume at the scalp. Let all process to about a level 9.
  1. Rinse and cleanse with Paul Mitchell® Color Protect® Post Color Shampoo and follow with MarulaOil Rare Oil Intensive Treatment for 10-15 minutes.
  1. On dry hair, using the same sectioning as the first application, apply SynchroLift and 20 volume scalp to ends using 0.5” sections and using a foil overlay instead of packets. Again, use an assistant for speed.
  1. Let process until no yellow pigment is left.
  1. Repeat Step 2.
  1. Tone with equal parts Paul Mitchell Ultra Toner Platinum and Ash on damp hair until you achieve an icy cool blonde. Shampoo.
  1. Tone a second time with PM SHINES® equal parts 9a, 9v and clear.
  1. Shampoo with MarulaOil Rare Oil Replenishing Shampoo and deep condition with MarulaOil Rare Oil Intensive Masque.

*Maintain with 5 week retouches, toning and deep conditioning treatments.

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Three steps to a successful color transformation:

  1. Be honest with you guest about limitations
  2. Set up proper expectations
  3. Don’t compromise on the steps it takes to achieve the desired end result and don’t compromise your price.

Utilizing each part of your Color BarSM allows you to achieve any color result we desire!

3 PINK OUT LOUD! Hair Color Transformations

Every fall there is a serious surge of pink on everything from coffee cups to bumper stickers in support of the admirable Ovarian Cancer and Breast Cancer Awareness causes.  Paul Mitchell is a proud sponsor of Bright Pink®–a national non-profit organization that focuses on prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women—and recently launched the PINK OUT LOUD! campaign. Have you seen the limited edition pink tools and stylers?

In the spirit of celebrating empowerment and awareness during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, we are going to talk about a new way to get sport pink in this September: on your hair hair! Below are some of my favorite pink hair color transformations that demonstrate a new and fun way to bring awareness to a very important cause. Let’s take inspiration from Bright Pink and encourage our guests to be fearless and bold with their color in an effort to bring attention to such a worthwhile cause!

Hot Pink and Fuchsia Transformation


I love combining bold color choices with natural soft placement. On this guest, I pre-lightened her hair with woven highlights throughout the top portion, leaving depth at the roots, and lightened the ends by hand painting with SynchroLift™ Ultra Quick Blue Powder Lightener. I then used 2 formulas of INKWORKS® as a topcoat. I used Hot Pink and Purple (equal parts) and Hot Pink, White and a dot of Blue (2:1). I alternated hand painting large diagonal back sections.


Soft and Rosy


After pre-lightening the guests new growth, I used PM SHINES® 9v9rb and 1 violet Color Shot  and ½ a Red Color Shot to paint the regrowth area. I then combed the color through and used Clear PM SHINES to topcoat the ends.


Major Overhaul


I first applied a base color of 5vr SHINES XG® and then added lots of lightness to the canvas to break up the warm existing color. I let that lift to a level 9. After shampooing, I applied 7rv SHINES XG to the damp pre-lightened hair. Once that was processed and shampooed, I used INKWORKS Hot Pink, Red and Purple as a final top coated to create deep magenta color.


These are just a few ways we’re bringing the PINK OUT LOUD campaign to light in our salon and encouraging our guests to get involved. Let us know how you’re supporting the PINK OUT LOUD campaign in the comments below or post a picture of a recent PINK transformation to social media with #PINKOUTLOUD.

Paint the Rainbow! 3 Color Formulations Using the color XG Intensifiers

As a colorist, I love any tool that helps me express my artistic freedom. And now, we have a new tool available in our Color Bar that does just that! Paul Mitchell the color XG® guarantees the latest in hair color technology, while significantly expanding our formulation options. One of my favorite features of the color XG is the vibrant and beautiful Intensifiers. Below are 3 of my favorite color stories using the Intensifiers.

Soft Rosy Lavender,

Color Formation:  Jill Rudzik and me. Haircut/Style: Me


  1. Pre-lighten the canvas to at least a level 9, a dimensional canvas works best. 2
  2. Use the color XG 7RV(15g) + 10P (30g) + /66 violet Intensifier (4g) and 10 volume Paul Mitchell Cream Developer (73.5g.) and paint a shadow root. Comb through gently to blend and then, using the same formula, place some diagonal weaves throughout the hair.
  3. On all hair left out of the foils, use PM SHINES® 9V and 2 violet shots to color melt the shadow root into the blonde ends. 3

Bright Sunshine Yellow

(Color: Dominique Limone and me. Haircut: Ben Hoagland)

  1. Pre-lighten the canvas to a level 10. 4
  2. Paint a shadow root using the color XG /33 gold Intensifier and 10 volume Paul Mitchell Cream Developer (1:1), and slightly comb though. 5
  3. Use horizontal diagonal back sections and hand paint panels of the gold Intensifier throughout the hair.
  4. Use PM SHINES Clear Shine to color blend the Intensifier into the blonde ends. 6

Charcoal Gray

  1. Pre-lighten the existing canvas to levels 7s, 8s and 9s, using a blended hand painting method, making sure the ends are fully lightened to a level 9.
  2. Use PM SHINES 6A and maximum 6 Blue Color Shots to paint on as a base color and comb through to blend.
  3. Use the color XG 8A (90g) + /88 Blue Intensifier (20g) + /66 Violet Intensifier (20g) and 10 volume Paul Mitchell Cream Developer (195g.) and fully saturate the remaining hair. 7

As artists, it’s important to have the right tools at our disposal to achieve beautiful color results.  I’ve had so much fun expanding my color formulations option with the new Paul Mitchell the color XG, and I’m sure you will too!

Transformation Time: Going Gray!

Gray hair

I want gray hair! As hairdressers, these are not words we are used to hearing.  But as of recently, there has been a huge spike in interest in soft, blended, beautiful pastel shades amongst clients. One of my favorite shades from this new trend is gray-silver—it’s been showcased nearly everywhere on social so I had to give a go myself.  Below is a step-by-step for the gray color I created for my salon guest.

Gray hair 2

Some key points to consider before going gray:

  • Your canvas needs to be light enough to get a true gray. An ideal level for a gray is a 10 or above (you need to be past the yellow of a level 9).
  • If you are blending different levels together like in an ombre, the tonal bases need to coordinate. That sometimes involves deepening and cooling off the darker levels.
  • Toning twice gives the gray more staying power, for instance I used the Ultra Toners and then top-coated with PM SHINES.


My guest came in to the salon with previously colored ombré, a level 5 warm base color on the top and level 8 lightened ends. I knew that if we were going to get to the gray-silver tone she wanted, I needed to break up the dark color, tone it to a cooler shade and get some very light (level 10 or above) pieces in her hair. Here’s what I did:

  1. I did a super heavy full foil. Taking very small woven sections allowed me to get a high percentage of the hair lighter while still preserving the depth at the root. The high percentage of lighter pieces at her base gave an overall lighter tone and blended the line of the ombre. I used Paul Mitchell SynchroLift, 20 vol for the highlights and 6a5n (2;1) PM SHINES at the root to cool off her base color.
  2. I then hand painted all of the ends outside the foils with SynchroLift and 30 vol. I let all the light pieces reach a level 10.
  3. I rinsed and shampooed with Color Protect® Post Color Shampoo.
  4. I then toned with Paul Mitchell the color 10a, 3 Blue Color Shots, 10 volume. I let the color process for 10 minutes.
  5. Next, I rinsed and shampooed, and then used a second toner of PM SHINES 9a9v (2:1) with 3 blue Color Shots and one Violet to achieve the final overall gray tone.
  6. Finally, I shampooed and conditioned with the new MarulaOil Rare Oil Replenishing Shampoo and Conditioner and styled her new look with the Express Ion Curl® Xl.

I love creating different pastel colors using all the tools in our Color BarSM and this shade came out really beautifully. I hope you feel inspired to give the silver-gray hair trend a try!

Pardon My French! The Perfect French Braid

Braids are all the rage! You don’t have to look far to see gorgeous braided styles in the mainstream beauty looks; there are loose romantic styles sweeping down red carpets, pinned to Pinterest boards and posted to Instagram frequently. In our latest styling collection, Paul Mitchell® Editorial Director Lucie Doughty debuted a gorgeous twist on a traditional French braid. What I love about this look is the neat and clean execution paired with a loose, soft result. Below are 3 tips for creating a flawless braid:

  1. Get the right texture. For the Belle Braid look, Lucie prepped the hair with Sculpting Foam™ and Dry Wash®. These products give the hair hold and grip needed for a smooth, long-lasting braid. I also love the idea of crimping the hair before braiding. Doing so gives you the option to create a much larger version of the braid and will also help control layered hair. If you take this route, I suggest prepping the hair with Awapuhi Wild Ginger® Texturizing Sea Spray®.
  2. Keep the right tension. When creating a traditional French braid, be sure to keep tight and even tension on the hair. I’ve found that when your end result is a loosen braid the tension needs to be softer. If you maintain a slightly looser tension you can loosen the braid much easier!
  3. Body position matters! As with many other areas in hairdressing, our body position matters! This braid follows the head shape, and once it reaches the mastoid process it turns forward. When practicing this look I found that I had to change my body position to standing in front of the braid in order to get it to change direction.

In the salon we are utilizing this look for many of our wedding styles, our formal updos, as well as our more casual special occasion styling.  Braids are a quick way to make any style super special!

Versatile Ways to Cut and Style a Bob

Cassandra bob

Bobs continue to be all the rage and, in my opinion, the layered bob or the “lob” is the most modern version of the short style. This cut is equal parts graduation and layers: the foundation is built with graduation at the occipital and smoothly transitions into layering at the parietal and above (see diagram). The graduation provides a clean line and build up of weight, which gives the light and airy layers something to rest on. This makes the look structured yet loose at the same time.

Diagram - Cassandra

Here are some key pointers for cutting a layered bob:

Determine length and shape appropriate for your guest: Face shape and hair texture are some of the most important factors to consider. The perimeter and weight line of the bob should hit at a slender point of the face or neck. Avoid chin length on an overly round or square face; this will shorten and widen the appearance of the face.  Longer faces need visual width added and this can be achieved by building up the weight line near the middle of the cheek and styling for added volume. Diamond and triangular faces can wear many lengths, but need to avoid anything that puts focus on the cheekbones.  A side swept fringe is a great way to bring the eye upward and visually elongate the face. You can adjust the length of the fringe based on what you’d like to emphasize.

Choose the right elevation: The lower the elevation, the closer to a one-length cut the style will be. This will also leave maximum buildup of weight. I find lower elevation works really well with longer bobs that hit right above the shoulder. Higher elevation gives a softer build up of weight which is much more flattering when cutting the style to chin length or shorter. Remember: it’s important to keep the head in a natural position when determining elevation.

Keep your dry refinement simple: Dry cutting should be a stage of refinement or detailing. We can set ourselves up for a successful graduation by cross checking while the hair is still wet. Dry cutting should mimic our original elevation and technique. I like to softly point cut vertically into the hair, being careful not to destroy my graduated shape that lives on the external portion of the cut. This will give the top some lift and lightness and create extra volume in the crown area.

Style in line with your cut: A layered bob needs volume and texture. I love to style this cut with Awapuhi Wild Ginger® Texturing Sea Spray® and finish with the Neuro® Unclipped Styling Rod to craete soft, beachy waves. I’ll then tousle the style with my hands and blow dryer to soften the overall look. This style pairs well with a deep side part and fringe.

A classic bob is anything but simple. A few small changes can take the shape from smooth, sleek and sharp to textured, beachy and soft.  This is the go-to short look for so many guests because of the versatility and femininity. It’s a great way to go short but retain plenty of styling options!

What Kind of MITCH Man Are You?

Men’s grooming is a booming part of our industry and as it continues to grow, we have more and more styling product choices. Choosing the right styling products for male guests is a crucial part of helping them recreate their salon style at home. Below is a guide to my three favorite MITCH® products that will help you customize your Take HomeSM recommendations for your male guests.




Great for classic styles and slicked-back looks; tames curls and waves with smooth control.


Smoothing and conditioning ingredients make hair easier to handle, while a long-lasting styling fixative locks hair in place.

I love using Barber’s Classic for a polished, high shine pompadour. Barber’s Classic gives great control and a perfect finish for a slicked-back, classic style.



Forms clean, no-fuss looks.


Pliable hold lets you shape and reshape with lasting control, while conditioning ingredients leave hair soft and manageable.

Clean Cut is great for creating an undone, no product feel. I love using it to style all hair types and textures that need extra hold. The semi-matte finish leaves the hair with a natural yet polished look.



Pliable putty styler with a powerful hold bulks up fine or thin hair.


Thickening ingredients leave hair full and healthy-looking, while powerful fixatives lock the style in place.

I love to use Reformer to create a gritty, modern texture with a matte finish. Reformer is fantastic for high fashion styles that require a firm hold. I also love how it bulks up fine hair to give guests more styling options.

From the high shine of Barber’s Classic to the matte finish of Reformer to the no-fuss look of Clean Cut, MITCH provides three amazing choices to ensure we send all of our guys home with the right finishing tool for their style. We have the power to make every man a MITCH Man.

Flowing Curls for the Perfect Date Night Hair

Cassandra McGlaughlin2

Love is in the air! Here are 5 key tips for creating romantic, cascading curls, perfect for a special night out.

  1. A proper blow-dry is a must.

My go-to products when prepping hair for a blow-out are with Awapuhi Wild Ginger® HydroCream Whip® and Hydromist Blow-Out Spray™. They help to shape and smooth the hair in preparation for long-lasting, smooth curls.

  1. The shape and size of your sections makes a difference.

Use large, diagonal sections to give hair a loose, flowing pattern that allows the curls to flow into each other. Start the sections at the nape of the neck to allow the curls to cool undisturbed, while you work your way up the head (imagine working in a large herringbone pattern up the head).

Herringbone pattern

  1. The proper tool is important.

I love using the Express Ion Curl® XL. The 1-½ inch barrel is the perfect size for creating curls on medium to long hair. Prep the hair with Hot Off The Press® before curling and adjust the heat for the hair type you are working with. Then, begin to curl the hair, making sure the tension is tight. This ensures the curls will last and the base will be smooth.

  1. Take your time.

Using larger sections means each section needs a bit more time.  Heat each section all the way through and let the hair cool completely before dressing with the finishing product of your choice. This will help to keep the integrity of the curl and reduce frizz. Hold Me Tight™ is a fantastic finishing spray because it’s super lightweight and provides a gentle hold.

  1. Dress carefully.

Once the curls are fully cooled, it’s time to dress! Be confident yet gentle when you put the finishing touches on the curls. I recommend asking your guest to tilt her head back and dressing the curls from the underside to reduce frizz and control how much you want to loosen the style.

Soft, flowing, romantic hair sets the perfect tone for a romantic date night. This style has become a staple in the salon for many of our long haired guests. Be sure to share these tips and tricks with your guests and send them home with the Express Ion Curl XL the help them recreate this look at home.

Social Media: Insta Success at Your Fingertips

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The new wave of marketing is here! Social media is the new “word of mouth.” Hairdressers all over the world are sharing formulas, networking with other hairdressers and growing their business via social media. Facebook and Instagram have rapidly become the marketplace to showcase your skills. Below are five tips to maximize your social media presence:

  • Start with a great photograph. To capture a great photo, be sure your finished style has a flawless finish. Awapuhi Wild Ginger® Styling Treatment Oil® and Shine Spray™ give that perfect glow for a smooth, shiny finish. Find a great source of light and shoot away!
  • Create a specific style. The style and layout of your collages have to be identifiable and it’s critical to put a watermark on your photo; it keeps your name attached to your work!
  • Before pictures are a must! Some colors look simple until you see the transformation from their original color. Always take a before to tell the story of the color service and really show the skill involved. image 2
  • Post at the right times. Find the time that your photos receive the most engagement. Think about the times you are most active on social media, chances are others are too. Avoid posting too early or too late so your pictures don’t get lost in the feed.
  • Be consistent. Post every day. Be sure to tag your photos with relevant hashtags. Doing so will help you reach a wider audience and possibly get your pictures in front of publication editors and influencers.

Whether you are trying to grow your clientele or build an artistic reputation, social media is an amazing advertising tool for all stylists. It’s a free resource to reach thousands of potential guests! In our ever-changing industry it’s important to adapt to new technology and marketing avenues. We are seeing a whole new era of uber-informed guests in the salon and photo-driven social media sites are the best place to create a virtual look book of your own work. This allows you and your guests to reference your pictures for inspiration rather than an unknown model in a magazine, and as a stylist this gives you an edge. When your work is on display and archived on your social channels, you have all the information you need readily available to recreate the look, including a reference to the starting canvas and formulas.

Social media: It’s not just a place to socialize with friends or share the perfect selfie. It’s become the perfect networking tool for any hairdresser. Be sure to carve out the time in your salon services to take a great before and after and utilize the 5 tips above to post your way to Insta success!


Giving back is always in style! True to form, Paul Mitchell® created a beautiful way to give back with a simple hashtag.


This year, Paul Mitchell launched the #GivingIsMyStyle campaign to support some amazing non-profit organizations and encourage our global family to share how they give back. Every time someone shares why or how they give back with #GivingIsMyStyle on Instagram and Twitter, Paul Mitchell donates $1 to one of these five charities:

Bright Pink is the only national non-profit organization that focuses on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. Its mission is to educate, equip and empower women of all ages to be proactive with their health.

Grow Appalachia is a non-profit imitative that helps Appalachian families plant a healthy future.  The organization has produced more than 1.1 million pounds of healthy, organic food for thousands of people in five states.

Boys and Girls Club provides a safe place for young boys and girls to socialize, learn and grow in an effort to create great futures for young people.

Reforest’Action is an organization that plants trees worldwide, in the areas where they’re needed most, with the goal of planting 500,000 trees by 2016.

Waterkeeper Alliance has partnered with Paul Mitchell for over 10 years with the mission to protect rivers, streams, coastlines and other major waterways around the world.

Paul Mitchell believes in doing good for people and our planet, and we know our fans do too. Check out the #GivingIsMyStyle gallery on to see how our global family is joining forces to make a difference! And please join us in our global efforts to give back by telling us why or how you give back and including #GivingIsMyStyle on your Instagram photos and tweets! We have a goal of donating $200,000 and together we can make that happen.