I walked into the Joseph Cozza Salon at the end of January this year with broken hair and most likely a broken heart…more on my dating life later.
I had been working with an oh-so-instagramable salon in Walnut Creek for over a year and while my instagram selfies in the salon were fire, the health of my hair was not. I am not naturally blonde (shocker) however, I have been bleaching and toning my hair with minimal damage for years…so I thought.
Flashback to a week before I walked into the Joseph Cozza Salon when I realized that my hair was breaking…everywhere. Remember the movie, The Little Rascals? I WAS ALFALFA and my breakage was standing straight up in the air!
Not only was this awful and upsetting, but it was also a week before I was scheduled to fly to New York for Fashion Week! Lucky for me I had already come into the Joseph Cozza Salon for an event and met one of the owners, Blake. I sent him an emergency SAVE MY HAIR message and before I knew it I was sitting in Lee’s chair and my hair was on the road to a healthy recovery.
Meet Lee Brock – Color Expert at The Joseph Cozza Salon
I’ve always loved playing with hair. I loved brushing my mom’s and my grandma’s hair. One
day, when I was 9 years old, I sat in the bathroom with my mom while she colored her
hair with Clairol Nice & Easy Light Auburn. What magic! I was hooked. My grandma taught me
how to set her hair in pin curls because it was becoming difficult for her to do it
Then she got me doing her perms and color.
In school, I was a theater geek. I loved to sing and perform. Offstage, they always had me do
the hair and makeup. I used to do all my girlfriends’ hair. I loved doing makeovers. In beauty
school they gave used to give me the tough hair coloring clients–they said I had the
I kept hearing that if I wanted to really get anywhere in the business, I needed to go
through a high-end salon training program. I had a connection with someone at Vidal Sassoon
Salon in Beverly Hills and I got an interview. Two of the toughest years of my life were spent in
that apprenticeship for hair coloring. I stayed with VS for another 5 years, working in London,
Germany and finally San Francisco. From there I went to DiPietro Todd in SF for four years in
SF before coming to Joseph Cozza Salon where I have been for the past 10 years.
Kat (and her damaged hair) From Lee’s Perspective
When I met Kat, I knew instantly that this beautiful bubbly girl would be fun to work with. But I was a little afraid to do her color. Her hair was in rough shape from so much bleaching. She was sent to me at the Joseph Cozza Salon to try to rescue her breaking hair while keeping her silver platinum blonde. Kat makes a stunning blonde and it was worth a try.
At our first session, I immediately clarified Kat’s hair with Malibu C Crystal Gel Normalizer to remove any mineral, metallic, and medication buildup to avoid any further breakage which can occur when lightener or color interacts with these elements hidden in the hair. Next, we did an Olaplex No.1 in-salon treatment to start building the bonds that add strength to the hair structure. The last step of her pretreatment was a Malibu C Miracle Repair Hair Reconstructor to boost protein for structure and Vitamin B5 for elasticity and malleability, all to prevent further breakage.
Then we very carefully touched up her regrowth with lightener but did not lift it as pale as previously done. I strongly suggested Kat wear a softer warmer creamy blonde tone so we wouldn’t have to bleach her hair as much as we would for the silver platinum. We finished with Olaplex No. 2. And of course, she looked gorgeous. I got her on Olaplex home care which–she can attest–has made a huge difference.
Even with all the TLC, when she came back for her next retouch, I could see that her previous hair damage was really too far gone to maintain full bleach-outs any further. We decided to only highlight her regrowth to let some of her darker base grow back in to reestablish substance and density while still keeping her quite blonde. And now you can see that after embracing a bit of ‘root shadow’ her hair is growing back, getting fuller and longer. Root shadow is both on trend and yet classic.
KatWalkSF Q & A
KatWalkSF readers have been following on my hair journey and submitted their questions for Lee.
Feel free to add your question in the comments and we will keep updating this post.
What’s the best at-home hair mask?
I wish there were a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Each head of hair is unique. There is such an assortment of hair conditioners for all hair types from curly hair, dry hair, oily hair, natural hair, colored hair, damaged hair. One of my favorites for ‘all hair textures’ designed specifically for color protection and shine is the Shu Uemura Color Lustre Hair Mask–not too heavy and provides excellent conditioning and beautiful shine.
And currently flying off the shelves at the Joseph Cozza Salon, for cool blondes, is Kerastase Masque Ultra-Violet.
What is the best treatment for super dry colored hair?
Clarifying the gunk off your hair’s surface will allow any of your favorite conditioners to work much better. See my answer below about the hair myth.
Do silk pillowcases really help?
If your hair is in a delicate state, then, yes, I’m told the reduced friction from silk pillowcases can be a benefit. Personally, I don’t like the feel of silk, too slippery for a pillowcase.
What is the number one mistake people make with their hair?
The first that comes to mind is using rubber bands, especially on wet hair and super-especially on bleached hair. No no NO!
Heat protectant: Do you really need to use it?
That’s a good question.
Client feedback says yes, it helps. My fave, an oldie but goodie, is Kerastase Ciment Thermique for fine and highly processed hair. But no amount of protection is going to help if you are constantly frying your hair.
Seriously, I think everyone needs to calm TF down with all the heat styling. K? The optimum temperature of heat styling tools to prevent most damage is 365ºF. The next flat iron I buy will be the ghd® Platinum + which has sophisticated heat regulation, among other benefits. I almost want to ‘accidentally’ break my current flatiron.
How many times do you need to wash your hair per week?
That really depends on your scalp and hair type. Some people with very curly hair use shampoo only once a month. It’s fine to power-rinse your hair instead of shampooing sometimes, or to scrub with your conditioner to cleanse very gently. If you have colored hair, shampoo with cooler water and as seldom as you can stand it. Generally, shampoo twice a week for normal healthy colored hair.
If you could use only one product line for the rest of your life what would it be?
Oh! That’s tough. There’s always so much new stuff coming out! No single line ticks all the boxes. But particularly for color brilliance and longevity, I could narrow it down to two: The Malibu C line for its purity and clarifying (which is half the battle) and the Olaplex line for its strengthening and surface care. They are not as “cosmetic” as others, but they address the core issues with maintaining beautiful colored hair which is our primary objective.
What is a hair myth that drives you crazy?
“Dry hair needs moisture!” This myth is perpetuated by marketing. We all fall into this trap. Moisture is water which is not conditioning at all. Before you can restore “moisture” to your hair you first need to gently remove what’s hiding in your hair that’s causing it to feel dry. Hard water deposits and styling product buildup are usually the causes. That, together with a proper balance of proteins, lipids, and smoothing conditioners, makes the hair feel “moisturized.”
What do you tell clients when they come in with an unrealistic photo of what they want?
Ooh, great question!
I hate telling anyone “no.” But social media has really set us up with the difficult task of helping clients get a reality check. This is why I always try to have my new referrals come for a consultation before the day of the actual color appointment. That can also give us time to do any required prep work, for example, strand tests or clarifying.
The consultation is first a listening session where I gather information about their lifestyle, hair history, natural hair color (as a child, teen, and adult) and where I hear their wants and needs. Second, it’s an analysis of their hair, their natural coloring (hair, skin, eyes) and what colors they wear best. Most importantly, we need to determine if their current hair can withstand the process and still look beautiful and healthy.
Lastly, I give a breakdown of what they are requesting, to help them understand what their desired result would require in terms of, A) time–how many hours and how many sessions; B) cost, and C) maintenance. At that point, it becomes clear if their expectations are unrealistic for their personal situation. And if that’s the case, I always have suggestions for alternate options.
Book Lee Brock at the Joseph Cozza Salon here or call (415)433-3030