Urban Betty Owner Chelle Neff speaks about her entrepreneurial journey and shares her top five tips for maintaining healthy hair in the summer.

By Saba Ghaffari, Photos courtesy by Thanin Viriyaki

Figuring out your career path can be tough, but Chelle Neff, owner of the popular Urban Betty salon, has had a clear look into her future since she was merely 10 years old. By the time Neff graduated from high school in 1995, she already had her cosmetology license, thanks to a program offered through her high school. After graduation, Neff moved to Austin from her hometown of Abilene, Texas, and began her career.

“A lot of us hair stylists are gypsies. Especially when you’re that young, you’re trying to figure out who you are, what you want do and where you want to work,” Neff says. “I was like, ‘I want to go work at some hip downtown salon now.’ ”

After gaining experience and refining her skills at franchises like Supercuts and Regis Salon, Neff landed a job at a high-end salon, Salon 505, in the Arboretum area. By her mid-20s, Neff had officially caught the entrepreneurial bug.

Neff opened Urban Betty in 2005 when she was only 27 years old. Today, business is booming as the Urban Betty brand continues to expand through its second location on South Congress Avenue slated to open in the summer of 2018.

As a business owner, Neff has seen her passion evolve, and she’s retired from doing hair to focus on the entrepreneurial and marketing aspects of the business. But she says she will never forget her roots as a stylist.

“I think what’s nice [about]being a salon owner that used to be a hair stylist [is]you have a level of empathy for the stylists that work for you,” Neff says. “You’ve been there and you know where they’re at.”

With summertime just around the corner, Austin Woman asked Neff to share her top tips for maintaining healthy hair during Austin’s hottest season.

Use professional shampoo and conditioner.

“The biggest thing I tell people is have a professional shampoo and conditioner. … That’s what you’re going to need, especially in the summer. A lot of drugstore brands [like]Pantene put a ton of wax and alcohol in its products. Alcohol dries [hair]out, then the wax seals it down…and makes you think your hair is softer and more luxurious.”

Neff recommends Kerastase Nutritive Bain Satin Nutrition 1 Shampoo and Kerastase Nutritive Lait Vital to condition hair.

Buy a heat-and-UV protectant.

“It softens, detangles, defrizzes [and]tames flyaways. It provides your hair a barrier to protect it from the sun and heat…and if you’re at the beach or at the pool, use this every time you get out of the water.”

Neff recommends Bumble and Bumble’s Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer.

Don’t shampoo every day.

“Shampooing strips natural oils off your scalp.”

Neff recommends using Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo and waiting three to four days between shampoos.

Try using a wet brush.

“If you brush your hair a lot when it’s dry, it breaks easier because it doesn’t stretch as much as it does when it’s wet. These brushes are made specifically for detangling hair when it’s wet.”

Neff recommends the Wet Brush Pro.

Treat your hair to a weekly mask.

“It’ll make a huge difference because the more your hair is out in the sun, the more porous it gets. … A mask helps put that protein back in the hair and keep it [from tangling and getting frizzy].”

Neff recommends Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense Thick for Dry Hair.


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