When we started Beauty Dummy our vision was to create a place not just to share knowledge, but to share wisdom and experiences. Every month, we feature a human in our community that inspires us. This week, that human is our friend Mona Baltazar: hairdresser, jewelry maker and badass mom, who lets creativity inspire everything she does.
Beauty Dummy: Hey Mona! Tell us about yaself. How did you get started in the hair world?
Mona Baltazar: I was born and raised in the Philippines. Then I moved to San Jose, California, where I got my cosmetology license in 2001. I worked there for about 5 years before moving to New York.
BD: You’re known for your amazing work with natural curls. What drew you to curly hair? Has this always been your specialty or did you make a transition?
MB: Just about 2 years ago I had the pleasure of cutting a blogger who, at the time, had just started posting. I was also starting my Instagram hair page. She let me shape her curls. She has this beautiful hair, and I started cutting it dry because it made more sense to me. She shouted me out, and slowly curly clients started to come see me. Her followers climbed in numbers in such a short amount of time and I started to get more awareness from her page. I went with it because I realized I was enjoying it, and I was good at it. And it seemed like it was in demand. Most of my clients have stories about how difficult it is to find good hairstylists who cut curly hair. So I pushed my Instagram and started taking pictures of my work.
BD: We’ve noticed you create really unique geometric shapes with curls that veer from the traditional round shape. What inspires you? How do you stay ahead of the curve?
MB: I’ve always been into different shapes and textures because I have a technical background in cutting hair. Curly hair inspires me, really. It’s magic. There’s so much life to it. Every time I meet a new curly head, I fall in love with the texture all over again. Not everyone is the same texture – and everyone has their own story behind it. It is its own culture, and many people don't understand the struggles.
To stay ahead of the curve, I always try to always take it further by creating content and collaborating with other artists like designers, photographers, and videographers. In our world now, everything is fast paced. You have to constantly change because people get bored easily. You have to keep their attention.
#texturetuesday When your looking for inspiration, its best to find a photo that may look similar to your curl pattern, density and texture. Texture must be touch in order to learn if it's fine, medium or coarse. Focus on your own crown of curls so you can learn it and embrace it. Take care of it the best way you can. Yes some may have the pattern, length and density you desire but yours is better. Curls by @belgeo Cut by Me. @hairbrained_official #themonacut #modernsalon #curly #curlyhair #americansalon #hairbrained #happyfroday #nyc #instagram
BD: What is something that might get overlooked when caring for naturally curly/textured hair?
MB: Getting a regular haircut. It’s necessary. You have to put in the time to care for it.
BD: You have an Instagram dedicated to your daughter, Malaya, and her unique style–which we love! Has motherhood affected your view of the beauty world, or beauty standards?
MB. I believe we are born the way we are, as far as personality. My daughter let me know who she is the moment she was able to express herself at about 5-6 months. I don't wear makeup on a daily basis, sometimes I forget. But somehow Malaya knows what lipstick is and wants to wear it. I allow her to act or be sassy in the mirror, sometimes I encourage her. All I know is that I will make sure she knows she's beautiful inside and out by teaching her self confidence first.
BD: In addition to being a hairdresser, you also handcraft jewelry and knit clothing. We know many of our readers are creators, with the goal of pursuing those passions full time. How do you manage to balance it all? Any advice you'd like to share that you picked up along the way?
MB: I did all three of those at the same time at one point. I like to create things with my hands. It's my therapy when I need to slow down and relax. I need to be constantly creative to stay inspired. Now that my hair career is taking more of my time, I have not made any jewelry, sewn any clothes or knitted. I itch for it, but I will find time eventually. Your work will pay off if you stay true to your craft.