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Iles Formula Hair Talk with Hair Colorist Cara Craig, New York City

Iles Formula Hair Talk welcomes New Yorker Cara Craig, a renowned hair colorist currently working in NYC’s Suite Caroline Salon.

Read on to see what Cara has to say about the hair business today.

To know more about Cara, visit her website. You can also follow her Instagram @caralangcraig. Cara is also a partner for Preview Wear – a hair accessories line.

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IF: Tell us what you think is the biggest challenge in hairdressing today other than COVID-19?

Social media is an amazing tool for hairstylists, it’s also the source of a lot of unproductive comparisons. Social media is not always an accurate picture of what the hair looks like but it’s hard to remember that. So, as a hairstylist you can be on IG and think, wow, that person’s work looks great and they have so many celebrity clients, but you’ve never seen their work in real life and you don’t know them. That comparison can really get you down about your work and career. Social media makes it harder to stay in your own lane and it can be easy to forget that we all have our own paths.

IF: What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?

The best part of my job is having beautiful people say “thank you for making me feel great” multiple times a day!

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Hair by Cara Craig

IF: Why did you choose the path of hairdressing and was it easy to fall into this work?

I’ve been doing hair on and off since I was 14- 22 years old! I started working at this motley crew of a salon in Richmond, VA when I was a teenager and I loved everything about it. My boss really trusted me and gave me my first pair of shears as well as forged an apprentice license. While charging $18 a haircut, I told clients I was in college.

I learned to do hair at least 4 times and eventually went to beauty school when I was 22. Later on, I worked behind the chair in North Carolina for 4 years prior to moving to NYC. I truly learned about beautiful hair when I moved to NYC 9 years ago and decided to specialize in hair color after seeing balayage for the first time. I landed my dream job at Suite Caroline Salon 7 years ago and have been there ever since. So while I’ve been at it for a while, doing hair has always felt very natural to me.

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Hair by Cara Craig

IF: If you had not made the decision to be a hairdresser, what would you have been?

I have no idea. I’ve only worked in restaurants and hair salons and my friends and husband would agree that I wouldn’t last until lunchtime in an office environment. My retirement plan includes being an art history student and a Pilates instructor.

IF: What is your greatest strength?

As a hair colorist, you’re working in public all day so it’s pretty helpful that I’m in a good mood most days.

iles-formula-hair-talk-with-cara-craigHair by Cara Craig

IF: Your favorite hairdressing tools?

Framar hair color brushes that I use for balayage highlights and these wide tooth combs with a long tail that isn’t too pointy. They are from Ricky’s NYC so I hope I can find them again.

IF: Tell us about your relationship with Iles Formula. How did you discover us and which formula is your favorite?

Wendy first introduced Iles Formula to Suite Caroline Salon a few years ago. I immediately liked how edited the line is along with its quality ingredients. I’ve recently discovered how versatile the products are for many different hair types and I can’t stop recommending it to clients.

IF: What was the most challenging job you ever made?

I was called to do a bleach and tone retouch on-set by a hairstylist that I really respect. When I arrived, I realized that it was a huge beauty campaign and they needed her hair finished hours ago. I was SWEATING. It looked nice when I left and everyone was happy – phew!

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Hair by Cara Craig

IF: What was your worst hair moment and why…privately or on set/stage or in the salon?

I had the chance to do Parker Posey’s hair color (I was SO excited) when I had just gotten on the floor here in NYC. I think I really missed the mark with the consultation and it did not end well.

IF: Where do you pull hair inspiration from?

My hair color is often inspired by someone’s natural base. I love it when folks do their hair at home. You can really learn a lot about what people were going for – then, make it nicer!

IF: Your advice to young hairdressers starting out?

Work hard and don’t forget that you don’t know what you are doing. Learn to do a really really good shampoo and head massage. Be a good listener.

IF: Apart from the drastic salon hygienic regulations, what changes to a salon’s everyday business do you think will stay after the COVID-19 disruption?

I think we are still figuring out how COVID-19 has changed the industry. Whilst staying home during quarantine, I had a great conversation with a person in beauty school and we talked about this. It may be a great time for some old institutions to break down and make way for new ways and new talents. I’m ready for the hair industry to redistribute high paying editorial jobs away from white men and start paying black and brown women more money.

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Hair by Cara Craig

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