Hair Care

By Kathryn Holl

To some a haircut is just a haircut. To others, particularly New York fashionistas, salon service is personal expression and a method in which they pamper themselves. At Damian West salon in the West Village, clients can expect top-notch service, expertise, and the comforts of home. If you don’t come for the chic, comfortable ambiance then come for a cut, color, or fabulous blow dry.

With clients such as Marisa Tomei and Quentin Tarantino, along with a reputation for being named Citysearch’s 2002 Editorial Winner for “Best Haircut Under $100,” I decided to check this place out for myself. Upon entering the salon, I almost had to double-check that I didn’t accidentally step into someone’s private brownstone. The newly renovated space, on West 4th Street in the West Village is truly a dream home away from home. Salon owner and national spokesperson for Colormark, Spresa Bojkovic, recently achieved her personal vision of purchasing and converting a historic landmark brownstone (built in 1880) into her own space where she could express creativity and beauty. From the fireplaces to the grandiose custom-made wrought iron chandeliers, to the custom-made French doors that open to a garden which in spring and summer offer not only solace but an out-door haircut option, this space is more than just your average salon. I especially enjoyed the beautiful bathroom, complete with an open showerhead just in case you needed to quickly freshen up!

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Where Damian West excels in atmosphere, they certainly don’t lack in expertise when it comes to salon services. I happen to be a stickler for a great wash. Damian West certainly didn’t disappoint. The salon uses Frames shampoo products, imported from Italy. If the fantastic smell of this shampoo doesn’t fancy your senses, the relaxing scalp massage surely will. As I sat in the chair imported from Italy, Bailey O’Neile, expert stylist and colorist, not to mention dashingly handsome, inspected my hair to determine what cut and style would benefit my texture. “Consultations should be consistent with every service, whether cutting or coloring,” says O’Neile. “There is a natural progression with one’s hair and everyone, even reoccurring clients, should receive a consultation before each service.” Consultations are protocol at Damian West as they feel each client walks out the door wearing their name on their hair. They want everyone to be happy with how they look, even if it means compromising with a client who thinks their idea of a great cut won’t look as fantastic in reality.

When it comes to what’s popular in this salon frequented by mostly West Village residents ranging in age from twelve to eighty seven, long and wavy seems to be the most requested style. People come with magazines tow to show their stylist the cut they desire. (Note: Nicole Richie’s locks remain to be the most popular, sought-after style.) O’Neile welcomes people bringing pictures of their desired cut. He feels it helps to see where his clients’ heads are at and finds it is a good place to start when discussing what’s best for a person’s texture and thickness.

O’Neile’s number one tip for clients: Do not over-wash as it dulls color and luster. This surprised me since I have been known to wash my hair twice in one day due to its thin texture. Thankfully, experts at Damian West had an answer. As those who favor Bumble and Bumble products (Don’t we all? See last month’s Treatment to Try for some of our faves!), they suggest the new Bumble and Bumble aerosol hair powder for oil absorption to extend your style’s stamina. When it comes to essential tools, pros at Damian West recommend that everyone own at wide tooth comb for detangling and applying conditioner in the shower. Damian stylists also love the GHD styling iron for its extensive uses to curl, straighten, or smooth unruly hair.

After receiving an expert cut that entailed shearing my layers on an angle so as not to lose thickness at the base, I was excited for the signature Bardot Blow Dry. This could very well be Damian West’s most famed service. Bardot Blow Dry expert Sally worked her magic as she transformed my super-straight hair into beautiful flowing locks. I was absolutely amazed at the body and perfectly-loose curl this blow dry created. With my cocktail hair I was ready for a night out on the town!

For those who want to achieve the results of the Bardot Blow Dry at home, Sally graciously walked me through the steps to sexy hair. This is perfect for those nights when your hair is already clean but you are looking for that something special to update your ‘do for a night out. The most important thing to remember when creating Bardot-like quality curls is to “over-direct” the curl: grab sections of hair and curl in the opposite direction to form a pin curl then fasten with a bobby pin. Repeat this process until all hair is up in pin curls. Do this before you freshen up your makeup or before you hop in the shower for a quick rinse. The steam from the shower will activate the curling process. After about ten minutes or so, release pins and run fingers through hair for brilliant body and sexy nighttime style.

Walking out of the salon, I felt like I was going to have to dodge paparazzi! Whether you’re looking for a great cut, affordable extensions, corrective color, highlighting, an out-of-this world blow dry or personalized bridal hair services, pop into Damian West for the ultimate salon experience with the ease of never having left your fabulous brownstone apartment.

Damian West is located in New York’s West Village at 237 West 4th Street (between 10th and Charles). Tel: 212.352.2733. Open Tuesdays – Friday, 11 AM – 8 PM, Saturdays 10 AM – 6 PM.

Originally published March 2006
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