‘What Not to Wear’ hair stylist Arrojo gives tips to FIT clients

Last Friday, Families in Transition – New Horizons client Lori Abood sat patiently in a salon chair as hair stylists flocked around her. One stylist grabbed hold of her hair.

“You don’t want to make it so it bubbles here,” he said to the other stylist. “Use this brush.”

His co-worker nodded and reached for the comb, revealing her pregnant belly. The man laughed.

“Are you pregnant, or did you eat 17 bagels this morning?” he joked.

And just like that, Nick Arrojo – TV hair stylist from “What Not to Wear” – lit up the room.

On July 20, H2O Salon Spa in Bedford teamed up with Families in Transition – New Horizons and Arrojo to bring hair and beauty tips to women in need. This came after the July 16 event, when Families in Transition – New Horizons clients received free hair cuts and color treatments, courtesy of H2O Salon Spa.

“We choose to run an in-house educational system,” said Heather Owen, H2O Salon Spa owner and editorial stylist. “From recent graduates from cosmetology school to seasoned stylists, everyone has to learn the French free form and British precision-style techniques, and we needed models for our stylists to practice. So we partnered with Families in Transition – New Horizons for models for that program.”

Founded in 1995, Families in Transition – New Horizons is a nonprofit organization that helps homeless individuals in Greater Manchester and Concord.

“We work with Families in Transition – New Horizons year-round,” Owen said. “I know that they feel great, but honestly, we feel just as great as they do.”

Born in Manchester, England, Arrojo began his career as a hair stylist at the renowned Vidal Sassoon salon. After completing the company’s training program at 21, he was appointed their youngest assistant creative director.

After nine years with Sassoon, he went on to work for Wella International and New York’s Bumble and Bumble Salon, where he was the education director for three years. Now, Arrojo has his own studio, Arrojo Studio. Clients include supermodels Melissa Keller, Yamila Diaz and Karen Ferrari and actors Minnie Driver and Liev Schreiber.

“All industries are cutthroat,” Arrojo said. “Wherever you hang out is the place that will influence you the most. If you want to be a millionaire, hang out with millionaires. You want to be a positive person, hang out with positive people. If you want to be a negative person, hang out with negative people.”

Families in Transition – New Horizons client Brianna Powell was one of the women who received a free consultation with Arrojo.

“I needed a new change and am happy, excited and nervous for a fresh start,” Powell said.

Powell is the mother of a 5-year-old who attends FIT’s preschool in Manchester. She said FIT hosts activities, cookouts and other dinners for her family. She is starting school through the Easter Seals program, which brings education to the disabled.

“Families in Transition – New Horizons is helping me get back on my feet and back in school,” Powell said. “I just got back into school, and the new haircut will make me feel a lot better. My hair’s been through some chemical change. I’ve learned today that I need to use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner and a serum finishing product before blow-drying.”

“The people of New York and the people of New Hampshire are reading the same magazines and are exposed to the same media,” Arrojo said. “I don’t know if it’s competing, but it’s about bringing the same education to women all over.”

Arrojo went on to say that the best way of educating the public about hair and beauty products is through the stylist.

“A lot of times, the stylist doesn’t feel comfortable talking with the client.” Arrojo said. “It’s not about doing what the client wants; it’s about doing the best thing for their hair. The key is education through communication.”

H2O Salon Spa stylist Selma Karo was one of the many stylists working with the FIT clients.

“I always look at the facial profile and the skin and eye color,” she said. Karo has been working at H2O Salon Spa for four years. “Today, I’m choosing to use the ombre technique on my clients hair, which means darker roots at the top and gets lighter at the bottom. It’s easy, subtle and easy to take care of.”

“I wanted something subtle,” said Karo’s client, Dawn Barrette.

Barrette, who just gave birth a month ago, moved to New Hampshire from Rhode Island after being discharged from the New Life program. She said she is looking forward to starting a new life in the Granite State.

“I’m really excited for a new beginning. I’m looking for a secretary job. I have no schooling but have worked other office jobs before,” Barrette said. “I enjoy talking with people and like dressing up for work.”

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