Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hair modeling is a great excuse for a new style

New York City is famous for its many salons and hair shops. It's infamous for how expensive some of them are. It would be nice to have the kind of disposable income where I could put $400 towards a haircut. In the meantime I search out ways to get amazing cuts at a steep discounts. My latest hair adventure involved being a haircut model.

Lately I've been unhappy with my hair. I was growing it out and it was taking forever. It was growing in with a weird wave and I was developing an annoying cowlick in my bangs and on the side. I would leave the apartment with perfectly straight hair (my latest style of choice) and 10 minutes later it would be wavy and messy again. I love having longer hair but this was getting out of control. A couple of months ago I saw Maggie Gyllenhaal on the cover of Marie Claire with a fantastic short cut. She and I have the same pale complexion and dark hair, and while our face shapes are different I was confident I could pull the style off as well. A couple of weeks later I saw her on the cover of Interview with the same cut and it convinced me that should be my new hairstyle.

Side swept bangs, short messy cut?
I'm in.

I called the Aveda School to schedule a cut but the earliest weekend appointment was October 25th. But this impulsive need for a cut would not be satiated. My office shares a floor with an upscale hair salon called Butterfly Studio. I've gone their for blowouts before (they nicely offer a building discount) but never cuts because they start at $100 which is, oh, about $80 more than a cut at Aveda. Professionals vs. students though, so it depends on what you want. Occasionally a stylist from Butterfly would come over to our office looking for hair models for cut or color classes. So I went over and asked if they had any cut classes coming up. The receptionist wasn't very nice. She told me to write down my name and phone number. I would not be surprised if she tossed it as I walked out.

Well, lo and behold, not even 2 hours later a stylist comes over looking for a haircut model. Count me in! I ran over to grab the spot. In contrast to the receptionist, the stylist was very nice. She examined my hair as we discussed what I wanted to do. She was excited that I was ready for a big change and said she was looking for a client with fine-textured hair like mine. I was told to come back at 5:45 for the 6 PM class.

I excitedly went back to work and printed out some pictures of the cut. I don't watch "Mad Men" but I've enjoyed the cultural results -- clothing made for curves, bolder makeup and defiant haircuts. The show takes place in the 1960s but the fashion world has reached back even further into styles from the 1940s. It was a conservative time and yet the modern twists are sexy and fun. The styles haven't fully made it off the runway yet but I'm looking forward to wearing my fall and winter clothes for once.

Another variation of the cut.

My office mate also decided to take part in the class as a color student. We checked in and were told there was a $25 fee for the cut and a $35 fee for color. Oops, I definitely did not have cash on me. Luckily since I worked in the building they agreed to let me pay the next day. We put on robes and flipped through magazines while we waited.

The class started late (they always do) but I didn't mind. Though it was a class, none of the stylists were in training per se. The salon owner requires her stylists to take 2 classes a month so they keep up to date on the latest styles and techniques. I think this is such a great idea. It's a win-win: I get a fantastic, professional cut for 1/4 of the normal price and a hairstylist gets to experiment with new techniques in a safe environment. Once again the stylist K and I went over what I wanted. I had printed out two photos of the cut and we talked about the thickness of my hair vs. Ms. Gyllenhaal's and what that would mean for my cut. Since I have fine hair it would have less volume, though with good styling I could repeat the effect. The teacher came over to sign off on my desired style and then we headed to shampoo.

I knew from Aveda that you have to be patient in classes because they take a long time. A cut and style take at least 2 hours. I thought I would be nervous -- I was cutting off over 5 inches of hair after all -- but K really inspired confidence in me. I felt my hair falling and could not wait to see the end effect. The teacher came around often to check in. It was cool to hear the stylist talking about angles and boxes and shape. Her concern about the process and end result were refreshing.

A version of the cut on fine hair.

As my hair was being styled K taught me how to get the cowlick out of my bangs. I also wanted to re-train my part a bit further to one side and she gave me tips on how to do it. She dried my hair straight so I could see the slick version of the cut. Perfect for a nite out on the town. I was so happy with the end result. My co-worker was still getting her color put in so I said my goodbyes and left very satisfied with my new cut.

The next day when I washed and dried my hair I was even happier with the curly version. The sides tightened into my natural spirals like the redhead in the photo above. Then over the next couple of days I didn't wash my hair and it loosened into a style more like Gyllenhaal's. I love it. All it took was an impulsive decision, a bit of luck, and some patience during the class.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Sometimes you have to be daring to get something wonderful!