Hairdresser of the Year Damien Rinaldo Shares His Secrets to Salon Quality Hair at Home
Damien Rinaldo is one of the top hairdressers in the country, winning the Australian Hairdresser of the Year Award three times and having worked with some of the biggest and best names in the industry.
He’s cut and styled for the Melbourne Fashion Festival, model and actress Ellie Gonsalves, and our own Missy Higgins, just to name a few. Damien also has nearly three decades of industry experience so it’s safe to say he knows his stuff when it comes to all things hair-related.
We sat down with him to try and squeeze out some of his industry secrets on styling, the kinds of tools he uses, and how his hardware makes it easier for women at home between trips to the hairdresser. Here’s what Damien had to share.
PS: You’ve been Australian Hairdresser of the Year three times now which is very impressive. How did you get into the profession and end up as a Dyson Styling Ambassador?
DR: “I started when I was 16 – I’m 45 now – by doing competitions when I was an apprentice. Live on stage, men’s hair cutting, lady’s hair cutting, blow drying and I started winning awards for that when I was a young hairdresser.
“At one stage I had the Dyson Supersonic in my hand, which was given to me through connections with L’Oreal, and I loved the product and started using it quite a bit. Dyson decided they were going to start a National Ambassador team here in Australia and my name came up on that list so they contacted me. I was super interested because I really love what the company is about and after the first meeting with them I was even more impressed.
“James Dyson, the co-founder of Dyson, really innovates and is really fixing problems that other people choose to ignore. They’re quite an inspirational company really in that they’re really fixing problems that other people choose to ignore. The Dyson Corrale has been rigorously tested and causes less damage to hair because they control the heat coming out of these machines. That means for me in the salon, I don’t have to think about the technology and how it might affect my clients, I can just focus on doing my work and getting exactly the style and quality that I’m after.”
PS: They take it seriously.
DR: “Yeah, that’s the thing about me being a professional hairdresser, I’m using a tool that was made for consumers. That’s how good their tools are. Normally it would be the other way, you know, a professional product gets dialed back when put to consumers. This product is a consumer product that is better than what the professionals have been using previously.”
PS: So what’s the big difference when you pick up a Dyson product compared to other brands? The new Dyson Corrale for example?
DR: “The big key thing about the Corrale for most people is that it’s cordless. It gives you flexibility, you know. That’s a huge plus in how you use it because you don’t have this cord wrapped around your body.
“You can take it with you, which is great. So, for women who want to touch their hair up when they get to work, or they’ve come from the gym, or at lunchtime before going for lunch, they’ve got this product that can actually sit in your handbag or bag and be used straight away.
“The biggest thing that I love about the product is the copper flexing plates. They put seven years of research into that and these plates gather and hold the hair but they also have intelligent heat control as well which reads the hair 100 times per second. So it doesn’t overheat.
“We tested other products and this was the one that most blew me away when I saw that and was able to test it myself. These plates gather and hold the hair perfectly so you’re getting an even amount of heat through the hair exactly where you’re putting it.
“Other traditional plates, the hair splices out. Some bits cold, some bits are hot, so it really doesn’t have an even amount of heat going onto the hair. And then people repeatedly drag this iron through their hair and they end up burning it and hurting their hair.
“I just thought it was amazing how Dyson went that far into it. They’ve got something there which will take a long time before anyone gets that sort of technology.”
PS: How does it work with different hair types? Obviously, there’s a big difference between thin, straight, curly, and coily hair.
DR: “Definitely. So, the Dyson has got three different heat settings. So it’s got a 165°, a 185°, and a 210°. That gives you a bit more control. Depending on what type of hair you’re working with, if it’s more of a really curly or thick hair, you’d have it on a higher heat and obviously with a finer, lighter textured hair you do a low heat.
“What I find with the Corrale is that it works very well on a low heat. Where they were testing it in England, there’s a lot more African hair, so they prepared that iron at 210° to be able to do that sort of work.
“Using it on a lot lower heat again helps with less heat damage. Most other irons in the market will be over that 200 degree mark straightaway and with no heat control either so it just gets hotter and hotter. They’ve definitely considered the people that are using the instruments.”
PS: What are your favourite ways to use the Corrale?
DR: “You can really do anything with it. I’m quite a strong hair cutter so it’s for me it’s a really good smoothing tool. It’ll give me a really great smooth finish on the hair. I use it in just the basic way to get a nice shine and luster on the hair which then stays straight for me as well.
“It’s got this silicon edge around the edge of the plates as well which is like a little finger tip. They had to add that because the plates are human-hair thin so if it didn’t have a little edge on it, it would actually cut your hair, that’s how sharp they are. That little silicon edge puts a beautiful curve on the sides of the plate so you can really manipulate the hair shape and get great results.
“Obviously, a lot of girls will be curling with it as well but the longer you have it in your hands, the more skilled you can become with it.”
PS: So, what’s the secret that goes into getting salon quality hair at home?
DR: “Well, some people do get really good at it. Some of our clients can be amazing at doing their hair at home. I guess, you know, when you’ve done it for a long time, you’re using care, you have high standards. We use the best tools we can but it’s obviously the skills that we have in using our hands.
“Patience is the biggest thing. When you’re doing a client in the salon, obviously we have a certain booking time. A good hairdresser should be patient and get the result they need to get so that the person is happy when they walk out the door.
“That’s the same thing at home. If you’re just a little bit more patient, and spend a little bit more time, maybe like five minutes instead of three. We’re not talking about loads of time but you’ll definitely get better results.
“It’s all the basics of shampooing with the best products you can, to sitting in the chair, and putting in styling products, to using Dyson tools like the Corrale. These things all make the difference.”
PS: What are your top tips for getting that perfect hair at home?
DR: “Investing in that technology from the start means you’re going to get healthier hair long-term. If you’re using quality tools from Dyson, these are quick machines. They dry hair quicker and the Supersonic and Corrale just compliment each other perfectly. Straightening and curling with the Corrale means you don’t have to do it over and over again. You get great results, first-time round.”
“It’s always good to section your hair up when you’re styling it. Start from the front, I always say, because when you start at the front and your hair looks good, you’re more motivated. If you start at the back, you get tired and then by time you get to the front, you know, you’re not really feeling it. Start from the front and work towards the back.
“Also really focus on the perimeters of your hair like the front, the sides, the bottom line. The inside doesn’t matter so much. As long as you’ve done the rest of it, you’ll get good results.
“I like to get it quite dry for styling too. Dry out a lot of that moisture and that will make it easier for you. People with finer hair might want to get more body in it so they might leave a little bit more moisture in the hair. By keeping that mane healthy, over time you’ll start to see it getting that glossy, smooth shine as well.”
Check out our full review of the Dyson Corrale from our beauty editor Alexandra McCarthy who transformed her “coarse and unruly” hair into lush, “smooth and shiny” locks using the Dyson Corrale.