Understanding Types of Hair


Did you know?

Curly, wavy and straight hair not only

L👀K different, but that they’re also MADE differently?


The curls in the hair are formed by the inner hair structures changing in size and shape.


The hair cuticle itself is more thin on the outward side of a curl, and sticker on the inward side of the curl coil.


Beneath the cuticle lies the cortex. 


Within the cortex are varying sized bundles of cellular material. On the outward side curve of a curl, these bundles are larger. 

On the inward coil of a curl, these bundles are smaller. 

This pulls the hair fiber into kinks throughout the entire length of the hair.


Why is understanding this important? 


Because as we manipulate the hair with our tools and methods, it’s important to remember that any time we work across curly or wavy hair, any place where there is a change in the shape, there is also a change in the structure which makes that hair succeptible to breakage if we pull too hard on that area. 


The shape of the hair follicle itself is different from a straight hair to a wavy hair or a curly hair. 

As well, the emerging hair grows out of the skin at varying angles depending on whether it is straight wavy or curly.


The angle at which the are emerges from the follicle is what produces our oblique or tight coated dogs, our combination coats, and our upright or curly coats.


For instance, on the jacket areas of our terriers and sporting dogs, why do many of these breeds get sticky-outies across the shoulder layback?

Because within the skin in that area, the hair grows upward in a whorl, and is surrounded by hair growing from the follicle at a downward angle.

When you pull your carding or stripping knives across these areas, it is easy to accidentally grab hold of the hairs growing at a different angle and cut or break them. 

As they grow out, they stick out!


Think about how we apply our air dryers and tools to these varying types of coats in order to manipulate them towards the best finish product! 


If you understand that all of these things are going on right beneath our noses and just outside our view every day, on every dog, you can better see how to apply your skills.

If you understand how canine skin and coat works, it is easier to achieve a beautiful groom and maintain optimal health of canine skin and coat on every client in your salon!😉

Do This, Don’t Do That!




As an educator I’m not going tell you, you can’t shave double coated dogs. I’m also not going to tell you you can’t wash them with dish soap. I won’t tell you you can’t clip a terrier instead of hand stripping them. Nor will I tell you your can’t pluck a dog’s ears or express their anal glands. I certainly won’t be telling you that you can’t bleach a dog’s hair, either. And finally, I won’t tell you to buy certain products as if that’s the only thing by which you achieve an end result. 


But what I will tell you as a passionately objective educator who believes in quality education without falling back on anecdotal advice or product recommendations portrayed as medical logic. 


Are the scientific and substantiated facts behind what happens when you do each of these things and leave you free as a professional to *make up your own mind* from there about what you choose to do at work each day.


Because I also believe in free choice. I believe in curiosity towards unique method. And I believe in learning a little something from every groomer I meet in any one of my classes.


I look forward to seeing new faces and lifting up fellow groomers as they invest in themselves at my upcoming classes this fall. My November class in St. Louis, MO area has only 5 seats still available.


If you’d also like to invest in yourself and your career, join a class and become a CCE. 🐾🌺



Become A Certified Canine Esthetician





Do you want to learn more about the science of canine skin and coat? 


Do you want to understand how your topical products and tools really work on hair? 


Do you want to address the skin issues you see on pets and help their overall health?


Are you tired of reading conflicting information online or wasting your money on expensive products you just end up not using? 


Are you tired of feeling like you can’t tell fact from fiction but still wanting to learn more?


Do you feel like cutting hair all day leaves you wanting to really be doing more for your clients?


🌺Then I ask you to invest in YOURSELF.


I urge you attend this professional certification course and gain the foundational information that you need to broaden your skill set, grow your entire grooming business, and help take better care of your pet clients overall.


📚Give yourself the gift of education and you will grow your knowledge, grow your skills, and grow your business🔐



This is a $250, 10+ hour, two day certifying course- and it awards you your formal certificate on site as well as membership to a private online CCE group, one on one support with your instructor, and a guidebook to support you in your work every day.



Groomers Are Professional Athletes


Listening to the “Hey, Joe!” Podcast this morning hosted by Paragon pet Grooming School-

This one talked about the variety of ways we physically and emotionally tax our bodies. 

Dr. Matt spoke specifically about lifting dogs. 

....Which got me thinking about how much weight we left with our bodies on average as a groomer....


Here’s a mathematical equation to break it down and quite an eye-opening result!



8 groom dogs total- 5 small breed and 3 medium breed dogs each day=


5 dogs @ 15lbs= 75 lbs each day


3 dogs @40lbs= 120 lbs each day


195lbs lifted each day


X 5 days a week in your work week


975 lbs lifted in a work week

X 250 days a year (at 50 weeks)


That’s a whopping 243,750 pounds lifted in a 5 day, 8 dog each day work week- even with an additional 2 solid weeks vacation off each year (and how many of us either only take 8 small or medium dogs every day, or work more than 5 days a week— or EVER take a 2 week vacation?!) 


That number again: 

243,750 pounds, friends.





How Hair Grows Pt. 1



The layers of hair regrowth on the end of this Golden Retriever’s tail illustrate how canine hair coat grows in a mosaic pattern. 

At her last visit it was cut blunt, broom style per owner request. 

Today, four weeks later, we can see that the hair has grown back out at different lengths. 

This is because both guard hair and undercoat hair emerging from the follicles side-by-side grows and sheds at a different rate- thereby keeping the dog from being either overly hairy or completely bald at any given point in time.

The stages of canine hair grown are:




Exogen or Return to Anagen

Deshedding In The Tub

As a groomer who teaches about canine skin and coat and methods that support the lifetime integrity of both, I have always been leery of working tools on wet, matted or packed coat. 

For a long time I have tried different methods of unpacking coats in the tub to make the HV drying process faster and the mechanical workload of brushing as little as possible. 

Aside from applying conditioner and using the HV dryer to blow out packed hair, they were very little tool methods that incorporated the act of combing or brushing clean, wet hair, that I knew weren’t somehow damaging hair coat for the long haul.


I found that this method proves to not break coat, not irritate skin, and not be physically tiresome or time consuming. 

This method happens to use a dull undercoat rake and a protein conditioning treatment as a hydrating mask that provides a great amount of slip to help the packed hair out of the coat. 

I’m also attaching a shorter video in the comments that utilizes a similar technique using only pure water with low pressure and high volume. 

It works wonders, and keeps the mess in the tub and the groom time efficient. 

Most of all it doesn’t stretch and break coat and set it up for matting right back up again!

** This is NOT a dematting method nor for use on curly coats. It is for unpacking double coats and undercoat.**




And a pure water rinse method as well.






My insight:

Frothing with a dairy frother, infusion machine, hand blender, wand or stick processor- introduces air into the product you’re mixing.

These mixers of various design are also called emulsifiers, that add air to an ingredient or product via emulsion- whipping action and centrifugal force (physics!)

This is incredibly helpful if you are creating your own skin & coat conditioners or emollient type masques. 

It is also very similar to the process that happens by using a shampoo proportioner that mixes shampoo concentrate, water, and air. 😉

That said:

*Shampoo and higher quality conditioners already contains emulsifiers*. 

These are introduced into the ingredient formulation so that the product stays mixed and does not settle or separate.

Depending on the product brand and their specific recommendations frothing doesn’t necessarily benefit nor is it necessary to be used as a process for many products including shampoos.


Why froth?

Frothing for coat & skin care applications such as a moisturizing masque or a high oil content conditioning treatment helps to make that product go farther and use less. 

It also helps it to stick easily to the hair & skin so that you don’t waste it. 

As well, it makes it easier to see where you have applied the product and where you have not.


I’m an advocate for frothing, but I will tell you that in most cases it does not make any sense to be doing it for a shampoo. 

In fact, it makes more work during your bathing process. Especially if you’re already using any type of a shampoo application machine or recirculator.


Just my two cents.


If you are buying product from a company that specifically tells you to apply the shampoo that way *in order for it to work*, then they may have something going on specific to their formulation that defies chemistry and physics, but I find that highly unlikely.


**Equally important: be sure that if you are frothing up diluted shampoo or conditioner or *any topical hair application, that you do not save it. Doing so once you dilute the product you also dilute the preservative and you are putting yourself at higher risk for secondary bacteria growth in the product.




**I will be releasing a video shortly showing a technique of frothing for conditioning masks and oil moisturizing wraps**

Acidifiers On Hair



This is a microscopic view of the hair shaft before & after ACV was applied.


This is why applying vinegar (distilled white vinegar has a higher pH & works well for drying and crispening, ACV has a lower pH is also best for addressing skin issues), Results Rinse or another acidifying rinse helps the hair with slip, anti-stat, crispness for scissoring, and helps shorten drying time.



This is also the similar effect behind the important part that conditioners (which are also acidic in nature) play to effect the integrity of coat and it’s most optimal function after repeated grooming.


A sealed and healthy hair shaft cuticle helps hair with strength, increases crisp texture, increases color quality by reflecting light off the cuticle lens, helps repel static buildup in the coat, helps avoid tangling which leads to mats, helps with slip of the hair for ease in shedding and combing out, and provides the thermoregulation benefits that only healthy and maintained hair can.


In our profession, by using specific pet care products because we understand what they do to hair and skin, and why, best accomplishes our function and goal to be care providers. It also helps our businesses to be a truly beneficial and necessary aspect for the healthy lives of all pets. 

A cornerstone to career success and integrity. 



As groomers educated on how hair functions, we can better provide services that support coat and skin health. By using our tools carefully and choosing quality bathing and drying products and methods, we can help pet hair to do the job it was designed to do.


 **NOTE: while the effects of an acidifier upon the hair are immediate, the duration of this affect is likely quite minimal. 

But it does still aid us in the grooming process during the course of the pet’s visit.**


Don’t pick a job, Pick a boss



This is incredibly true.


And ESPECIALLY if you are your own boss!!!


If you distrust your private self, if you discredit your professional self, if you doubt or devalue your career talent and unique skill...

Others will as well.

Trust your ability and trust it to guide you.

Don’t. Let. Your. Opportunity. Become. A. Restraint.

Grooming Mindfully

Listening to Mary Oquendo’s Women Petpreneurs podcast with Barb Hoover- great interview!

Podcast here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/women-petpreneurs/id1450739120?i=1000437277510


Barb is another woman at the forefront of Mindful Grooming, and creating the best possible experience for the pets that come to her for care. 


Be sure to check out her Grooming the Difficult Dog book, and keep an eye out for the up-and-coming 2nd edition!

(My blog review which contains an ordering link!)



And another great blog listing more common canine diseases and ailments that can affect the grooming process: