Finding a good hair stylist is like finding a good wine, you have to go through all the bad or mediocre ones until you find the perfect fit!
This statement has proven to be true throughout my life, as I’ve bounced from salon to salon around the world. I’ve had my hair cut in New York, New Orleans, Buenos Aires, Hawaii, Asuncion, Belgrade, Madrid, and now Berlin. I had some of the worst experiences while living abroad, being faced with the “Trust me, I know what I’m doing” kind of stylist who refuses to listen to what you’ve asked for.
One particular nightmare haircut occurred when living in Spain; my host-mom was a hair dresser. Since I’m always just letting my hair grow out, I was too afraid to step into just any hair salon and let them have their way with my wavy locks. But I trusted this woman who had let me live in her home for 4 months and so I agreed to let her help shape the front of my hair, just a little bit. As I sat down on the chair in my bathroom she took a look at my hair and agreed when I emphasized that I only needed some angles in the front, but the rest could remain as it was. She then inexplicably lifted a chunk of hair from the back and I nearly threw up as I watched a good 8 inches tumble to the ground. I then realized she wanted to give me a real Spanish hair cut, (think Mullet a la 1982.) I was so horrified I think it took me another year before I could visit another hair dresser.
I even had some high points where I found the “perfect” hairdresser in New Orleans (NOLA, for the locals.) Every time I stood up out of his chair I looked Red Carpet-ready. So I have always tried to find someone as perfect as Doug. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when that illusion was shattered after I walked into his salon a year after I left NOLA for the best cut of my life, and walked out with too-short and unflattering bangs. I guess nothing in life is perfect after all, even hair dressers!
So here I am in Berlin, coming up on 1 year in the city, with no hairdresser to call my own. I tried 2 salons, the first was terrible, (bad dye job, red dye was bleeding all over everything every time I showered for about a month = miserable,) and the other salon was more promising, but sometimes people claim to know more English than they actually do which can make for a frustrating session of them not cutting all my split ends, and me walking out of there looking like an 80’s prom queen with massive curls flying everywhere.
Then last night I finally agreed to give it another shot with my coworker at her salon, since her hair always looks so healthy and beautiful. We headed over to Pony Club in Friedrichschain and were greeted with a nicely wall-papered and funky-decored salon, with vintage dressing tables at each hair dresser’s station, (read: very Berlin!) and plenty of horse replicas throughout. I was a little skeptical at first, but the smells of luxury shampoos soon flooded my airways and I felt an instant calm like I was in the presence of people who knew what they were doing.
We were offered tea while we waited, which I gratefully accepted given then blisteringly cold conditions outside, and I was given Engin to make my hair dreams come true. The first thing I noticed about Engin, (aside from the funky mohawk/mullet hair style, and t-shirt even though it was 13 degrees out,) was that he could actually speak English. And well! So we sat and chatted for ten minutes about the quality of my hair, how I’ve destroyed it with my hair iron, and how badly I need a deep conditioning, and then got started on the washing.
He took great care to cut everything evenly and beautifully and then took his time blowing it dry. An actual blow dry!! Not like the curl cream and diffusers I had previously been tortured with, (see above.) I walked out of the salon feeling confident and happy with the end result. And with grand plans of returning in 2 months to stick to the “Hair Care Plan” Engin and I came up with, which will take approximately 1 year to bring my hair back to its former glory. But great hair shall persevere!