Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Where I Get My Hair Done: Blondie's

Last fall, the Gamma Girls brought you three great options for salons that can help the women of D.C. stay gorgeous and the men less scruffy. (Check out recommendations from DateMeDCThe Singleship, and Appealing Kate.)

Here's a fourth: Blondie's Hair Studio
1910 18th Street NW
(above Regent Thai Cuisine)

Blondie's is perched above 18th Street - prime people watching views! - just a short stroll from the Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, and U Street 'hoods. I started going to see Rachel soon after moving here in 2009, and, unless she moves away from D.C. (please, please don't!), I don't see any need to go elsewhere. 

Whenever I move to a new city, I find a friend (or friendly stranger) who has hair similar to mine (mid-length, on the thicker side, and color-free) and ask for a stylist recommendation. If you have an adorable pink pixie-cut, I'm sure your stylist is super-talented, but that doesn't necessarily show me that she knows how to tame my wavy/curly/mind-of-its-own hair. Plus, my personal hair skills are limited, and I just don't have the language to express what I think I want, so I need a stylist that I trust and who can read my mind. (A tall order, I know.)

This is why I was so relieved to find Rachel through the coworker of a friend. She's my age and has a similar hair texture, so she definitely knows what's "in," what will work for my hair, and what won't make me look like a Shih-Tzu puppy. 

A large picture window is on the left-side of this frame.
Natural light is always important in a salon!
The Before
(the back layers
were longer)

On Friday afternoon, I walked in and said I wanted to chop it all off. Now that summer is near, I've been opting for a wet bun in the mornings instead of drying my hair and/or navigating the frizz/humidity combo and wanted to cut my style-time down drastically. Acting as a stylist/counselor, Rachel convinced me that I wouldn't need to cut off all that much to achieve a real change and, most importantly, a more manageable style. 

So, after one of the best shampoos of my life (complete with a much-needed neck massage), she cut off about 3 inches and gave me a great blowout. (She used to ask if I wanted her to style my hair curly, super straight, or get a bouncy blowout. Now she knows that I want what I can't do for myself - the perfect blowout!)

The After
When she was finished, she asked what I thought. "How's it feel? Do you want to go shorter?" Me: "Kind of ... is that weird?" Rachel: "No, not at all!" She suggested that we get rid of some of the long layers first so that we wouldn't go too short too fast. 

See why I trust her? She makes thoughtful recommendations and teaches me restraint. I walked out of there very happy with my new 'do! 

My goal is to have Rachel do her magic about every six weeks, but sometimes I forget and it's more like 8 or even 10. Thankfully, she knows better than to give me a haircut that requires frequent maintenance! Every once in a while, I do remember to take her up on the "free bang trim" offer (seriously, what a great deal! She'll trim your bangs for free in between haircuts), but most of the time I forget about that too. (FYI: I pay $65 for a trim and a blowout.)

I know that some salons can be somewhat flighty with their booking procedures, but Blondie's has always been on top of it. Calling to make an appointment is pleasant and easy, and they always phone the day before to confirm. 

Another thing I really appreciate about Rachel is that she has NEVER been running behind schedule. She's never made me wait because she's overbooked or tried to squeeze someone in ahead of me. In fact, she's usually ready for me when I walk in 15 minutes ahead of my appointment time (because that's how I roll). Sometimes I purposefully arrive even earlier in order to make a pit-stop at Jolt 'n Bolt next door (a tiny little coffee shop that serves fresh, vegetarian-friendly lunch options, juices, and more).

Because of its central location, Blondie's is a great first stop of the night, especially if you already have plans to meet friends for happy hour or dinner nearby. Or, if you want to get a head-start, they usually offer me coffee, water, or WINE when I arrive. I've yet to take them up on the latter -- let's face it, too much vino, and I might talk Rachel into giving me a pink pixie-cut!

Happy Styling!

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