This story was originally going to be something along the lines of “I’m breaking out of my blonde box and trying something new for fall!”
You know what I mean, right? Magazines always feature these stories where a beauty writer bleaches her dark hair white or goes gray or tries purple, and then she learns something new along the way before going back to her original shade.
So when I booked an appointment at Juut Salon & Spa with husband-and-wife team Alex and Roz Safdari and told them they had free rein over my mane (sorry), I prepared myself for a change.
Alex and Roz moved from New York, where they worked at Rita Hazan’s celebrity-frequented salon, to Roz’s home state of Minnesota. They’ve got two adorable little daughters and wanted them to have a little more room to play. (They needed a change, too.) Alex is a highly-skilled colorist who loves to create what he calls “expensive color,” and Roz and her scissors transform clients with every snip.
Alex and Roz have made a big splash in Minneapolis, where we’re eager to infuse ourselves with a little New York-style cool, so I had to get in with them. Plus, Roz attended the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis with one of my good friends, further proving my point that it’s a very, very small world. (Roz and I also have “Ruby” tattoos in the same spot, which was an odd coincidence.)
I spent a lot of time browsing hair color (on Pinterest, of course). Since the dawn of my time at xoVain, you guys have seen me blonde, white, pink, strawberry blonde, brunette… I’m not afraid of changing things up. Did I want to go gray again? Did I want to bleach my hair from its wheat-gold to pure white? Was it time to try a chocolate brunette shade?
I was open to almost anything.
That’s why I was so surprised when I sat down in Alex’s chair. He looked at me, my red floral jumpsuit and my head of crazy blonde waves, and he pronounced, “You’re a blonde.”
I was sure he was going to add to that statement, perhaps with a “… but maybe we should try to go dark?” But he didn’t.
“I like you blonde,” he said.
The thing is, I am a blonde. I try other colors constantly, looking to tap into a new part of my personality, to get more Instagram likes, to make people notice me; but I always come back to blonde. “Your whole soul is blonde,” a friend once told me, trying to dissuade me from dyeing. “It’s your whole essence.”
Working in the beauty industry has probably skewed my perspective more than I’d like to admit. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I’m constantly thinking of new ways to change myself. I’m addicted to change. But why? I get so caught up in the beauty world’s promise of “new, new, new” that I forget that its entire purpose is to make you feel good, to subtly tweak what’s already there and make it just a little bit better. That, in itself, is pretty magical.
And so I happily stayed blonde. Alex foiled my whole head to brighten my color up a little, then warmed up my roots with a golden tone. I like having a little bit of root; it feels more natural. He then added a little bit of balayage baby blonde around my face to highlight my summer tan. He worked so fast I barely had time to flip through my Allure.
I chopped all my hair off in January and have kept it pretty short since, which Roz thought was a good choice. However, she wanted to enhance my curls and waves, which tend to get a little weighted down by how thick my hair is. I don’t heat-style often and rarely ever wear my hair straight.
I asked her if there was a difference between her New York clients and those she’s seeing in Minnesota.
“In Minnesota, they’re more willing to listen to you and take your advice,” she said. “They’ve also had short hair, but they’ve never had a really good short cut.” Short hair is Roz’s specialty; she’s got an ashy blonde crop that I would totally want if I didn’t have waves.
She went through my bob and chopped in extra layers, thinning out pieces and giving my curls more room to bloom.
The most wonderful thing about Alex and Roz is that they gave me my hair—the hair I have, at heart, and should embrace. They got it; they saw who I really was, not the silly ideas of who I thought I should be.
When I left, I felt like myself. I looked like myself. I didn’t want to look like anyone else.
Photos by Jason Albus