It’s important to preface any review of a hair salon with your haircut personality type. Some people ask their stylists to surprise them and love the results. Some get regular trims. Some cry. I am the last type. I am a panicky, panicky crier.
I’m not crazy, I promise. I just happen to have curly hair. Stylists have promised to take only a couple of inches off the bottom, to keep the length. They wash my hair, they cut it, they blow-dry it straight, and voila! my hair is still long. I sashay around for the next couple of days with my silky straight locks and eventually decide it’s time for a wash. I hop in the shower, let my hair dry naturally, and lo and behold, it’s a thousand inches shorter when it’s curly and I look like a poodle. Waterworks ensue, I vow to never cut my hair again and a year later, I’m back in the same chair, hearing the same old empty promises.
Enter Devachan Salon, a curly-hair haven where they proudly proclaim “all we do are curls.”
Their Broome Street location in SoHo is a sleek, modern design that is almost paradoxically inviting. The essence of this feeling stems mostly from the number of happy, curly-haired customers padding around the salon, showing whatever companions they brought with them that their natural hair is indeed beautiful. As someone who spent a lot of her younger life fighting her natural hair, I felt a sense of comradery being around so many women embracing their curls. Who knew I felt so deeply about the oppression of curly-haired women?
I had my appointment with Jackie, a kind and knowledgeable stylist, who was able to pinpoint all the things I do wrong in my haircare routine, just by looking at my damaged tresses. She could tell that I use a lathery shampoo. She could tell that I didn’t properly condition. She could tell that I used run-of-the-mill curl products, loaded with silicone meant to weigh down naturally springy curls.
And so together we made a plan. She would cut my hair dry, keep the length, give it shape, and then teach me how to wash, condition, and style it. It was going to be a tactile experience, she told me. I would learn how to feel my way around my hair.
Throughout the trimming process, she checked in about the length to make sure I wasn’t teetering over the edge of a nervous breakdown. The trim was quick and succinct, leaving only the saddest of dead ends scattered about.
Jackie then brought me over me to the wash station, which is definitely nicer than any wash station I’ve ever been to. There were these pretty little net curtains that I suppose were there for privacy but created a really fun safari-jungle-mosquito net feel. But I digress. I was introduced to Danielle, who while she didn’t have curly hair herself, has worked at the salon for four years and is a total pro. As she scrubbed my scalp with DevaCurl’s No-Poo, she gave me the low down on all their products (which have no sulfates, parabens, or silicone) and invited me to reach back to feel what a clean scalp should feel like. The fact that the feeling was novel kind of freaked me out.
After washing out the minty No-Poo cleanser, Danielle used DevaCurl One Condition. She then handed me a mirror, so that I could watch exactly how she ran her fingers through the hair and twisted the strands into their natural shape. She raked her fingers through, starting about two inches away from the scalp, and detangled as she went. She then applied some DevaCurl Light Defining Gel, assuring me that I wouldn’t be reliving my crunchy-haired middle school days.
I was then taken back to the styling station, where Danielle taught me how to scrunch my hair. She extolled the squishy sound my sopping-wet hair made when she squeezed it, citing it as a sign that my very thirsty hair was taking well to this new moisture routine.
It was now my turn to scrunch. I flipped my hair over and scrunched the curls, causing a small deluge on the Devachan floors. This part, Danielle told me, was safest to do in the shower, so as not to kill any roommates/parents/significant others, who might wander in and slip on your hair puddle. When I was done scrunching, I flipped my hair back and let it fall naturally by lightly shaking my head left and right. She then gently coaxed the hair into place by lifting from underneath, close to the roots. She set me up with some pin curl pins to encourage volume at the roots, and put one of those big space-age hair drying helmets over my head. I forgot to hold on to my phone or grab some reading materials, so I took the next 10 minutes to muse on how awkward it is to sit and stare at yourself in a mirror. I did eventually ask someone to pass me my phone, and resumed being a screen-obsessed millennial.
The heat from the dryer made me super sleepy and time ceased to have meaning. I could have been under that thing for three days and not have known it. But a time did come when the helmet was removed and Danielle began drying my hair with the DevaCurl diffuser, which is the weirdest hair dryer accessory I’ve ever seen. It’s shaped like a hand and does a really good job of drying the curl and locking in the moisture.
Finally, it was time for the big reveal. And my hair looked great. It no longer looked like sad, defeated straw. It no longer looked like excellent kindling for fire. I had ringlets! Moist, happy curls!
Devachan was, quite literally, the best experience I’ve ever had with a haircut. I did not cry. I did not have the urge to straighten it. And, again, I DID NOT CRY. In fact, I left with a smile.
425 Broome St
NY, NY 10013