When I got the call that my gal was back in town, I couldn't get to Hollywood fast enough. Located on the coveted cove that is the actual 'Melrose Place' in West Hollywood. A hidden gem of gorgeous traditional architecture and shady tree's, a street that used to be known for it's antiques stores but has been taken over by the fashion elite. It is the retail home to the likes of Cloe', Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, Oscar De La Renta, Joe's Jeans, Skin care to the stars Mrs. Kate Somerville and my destination for the afternoon... 8440 Melrose Place, the one and only Serge Normant at John Frieda salon. (In Los Angeles, that is)
Gushing with old world charm, the elegant extended foyer welcomes you into luxury, as you begin your metamorphosis from drab to fab. The glass doors hold no mystery as to what lies within, with a gorgeous Mediterranean blue pool, as the peaceful centerpiece to the salon's exquisite interior.
Once inside, a gleaming chrome desk mixes Industrial Chic and Eclectic Decor, behind it a helpful and purposely gorgeous receptionist, who is like a poster child of what these talented artistes are capable of, checks you in and alerts your colorist that you have arrived. Once you hit the dressing room and are properly gowned in a classic black wrap robe, with proper logo in gold embroidery, reminding you always, where you are and that you are ready to transform.
My colorist is the beautiful and uber talented, April Thorsten. I was referred to April by one of my besties, when my usual stylist was out of town. You see, I have a wonderful gal who has been styling my hair for videos and photo shoots for years. I am a loyal bird and was terrified to 'cheat' on her, but she was going to be out of town for quite some time so I gave April a shot. That was a year ago. I still have my stylist (xxo Brooklyn Stephen) to cut my hair and help with the on camera looks, but my colorist title now is held by April. Technically in the hair world, there are Stylists and Colorists, while most can do both, at John Frieda that is the way it goes. April is a master colorist, she has been the assistant to the coveted Bruno Etur, for the last two years, she is moving into her own and paving the way to a fabulous career. April is warm and so friendly that she instantly puts you at ease, knowing that all of the LA pretension, does not hold court with her.
Into the chair I happily go, stopping to snap a picture of my sad little 'before' face. It is hard to tell at this angle how drastically I needed this so I took one from the back too.
Holy Shit, this is bad. Of course I did mess with the color of these picts a bit, but I say this photo captures how I felt about my lifeless doo. It was time... let's get this hair party started.
Step 1: mix color- base. April uses 2 colors on my base... 3 parts one color similar to my natural shade and 1 part a tad darker, for depth. She then disperses with tint brush on all my roots. Then with a wide toothed comb, she combs down from the roots to help blend the color, so there is no harsh demarcation where the color ends.
Step 2: Add Lowlights. April strategically places lowlights around my head, to pull color from roots to ends. She paints them on with a wave of her magic wand and in my mind I am singing "goodbye gray hair, goodbye!"
I then get to sit for 30 minutes to set the color. April brings me a yummy cappuccino and we retreat to the outdoor poolside sitting area, to relax and catch up on the last few months happenings.
Step 3: It's time to rinse out the base color. April brings me to the rinse room, where I can recline in comfort, while she uses warm water to rinse color in bowl.
Step 4: Brow tinting.
Everyone has thier own fashion fopaux that we have made over the years, most of them we grow out of. Sadly, one of mine doesn't seem to grow much anymore. Being born half Spanish and the other half Irish, Cherokee and Choctaw... I had amazingly bushy eyebrows. So bushy, that I was a bit self conscious and began to tweeze at an early age. Then good ole' Kate Moss took the eyebrow world by storm with her pencil thin brows and well, therein lies my mistake. I tweezed so much that my brows are a mere shadow of themselves, so I must do what I can, to enhanse what I have now. That means brow tinting. April uses a low level developer of brow color, similar to my base color and applies it expertly with tiny brush on brows.
Step 5: Highlights at the bowl. April uses a technique called Balayage, a French term for 'painting the highlight' or actually, "sweeping" because they use a sweeping motion when they apply the color with a color brush. So rather than taking a section of hair in a square foil, they paint pieces of hair on a hand pallet, from the roots to the ends, seperating the layers with saran wrap. It's very artistic!!
I had to take a picture of the haunting Indian girl who watches over the rinse room. As I sit for 10 minutes to set my highlights I wonder what her life was. Is she a model in a staged atmosphere? Or is it a candid shot capturing one woman's essence with a single glance. I love the colors as well, but it is all about this once glance that gets me every time.
Step 6: Tinted gloss. After April rinses the highlight color from my hair and my eyebrow tint color as well, she then applies a tinted gloss to tone highlights, making highlights look more natural, adding an over all shine to hair. (Side Note: You can always add a clear gloss to a solid hair color, just for shine!) April applies with a brush at the roots, then works through with her fingers throughout the rest of my hair. Ohhh it smells so good too!! Doesn't sit long, maybe 2 min tops and she rinses with warm water. April then does a final shampoo and delightful scalp massage with John Frieda's Smooth Start Shampoo, finishing with JF's Moroccan Oil Conditioner. . Wonderful!
Step 7 Blow dry. After switching back to my original chair, April coats my wet hair with John Frieda's Satin Design White Tea Polishing Milk called Shu Uemura. Another one of John Frieda's awesome arsenal of products for sure!
She then begins to piece my hair into sections to blow out hair with her professional dryer using a round brush on each section till it lays perfectly around my shoulders. Can you tell in this picture how happy I am? My color is AMAZING and my brows are too!
The final touch is a Serge Normant shine spray and Whaaalaah! I am complete! Remember what my hair looked like before???? Wow! What an after picture!
To say I am happy is a complete understatement. I am reborn is more like it. No more gray's and my color is glowing like my smile of confidence. I highly suggest spoiling yourself at Serge Normant'. If you can't get on April's book then try, try again, or I'm sure any one of their colorists or stylist will help you create your own metamorphosis with ease.
Yes, it is a bit pricey, but I'm worth it. (Sorry, I had to say it) And really, there is no price that you can put on confidence. For some it's clothing, for others plastic surgery, but I think every girl needs to pamper herself with expert color. For me that's April Thorsten at John Frieda. Just do it, and tell em' I sent ya! Click HERE for more information on the salon and locations