Beauty & Health, First Blush

High Maintenance Hair

First Blush 1By Kate McLean

High Maintenance Hair

Style is trending upward. Bigger and bolder styles requiring a little extra effort are back.

If you’re a stylist surely you’ve heard it before. If you’re a client you can probably hear the very words coming out of your own mouth. “Can you cut it so I don’t have to style it” OR “I really like that beachy look.”

Try as we might to simplify, those days are gone, again, for now. From fashion tones to high and tight, polished looks and properly barbered cuts – old is new again and high maintenance is in.

One Alexandria, VA salon owner, Maria Elizabeth, shed some light on where tresses are headed in 2016.

“Vibrant hues will be around for a while. They haven’t saturated the market yet.”

Those who’ve taken the plunge into the colorful waters have paved a smooth path for those at the intersection of play it safe and live a little.

“In the not so distant past, a visible tattoo was a death sentence for your professional life. With the mainstream style shift toward fashion tones and exotic colors, people are letting go of their fear of exposing who they are and becoming more expressive with their style.”

First Blush 2Thinking about letting your freak-flag fly? Go for it. The time is now.

A word to the wise if you decide you’re going all the way: be prepared. Getting (and keeping) the colorful look is a lot of work. For starters, you’re looking at a four plus hour hair appointment which will involve bleach, gloss, color processing, and styling.

Then keeping up the color is a way of life. Now, this may come as a shock, but your hair is not “meant” to be that color! Depending on how often you wash your hair, the color will likely fade within six weeks. This has several implications. One, you’ll want to own dark towels. None will be white again (ever). Two, unless you can afford a trip to the salon ever six weeks, you will dye it at home (go ahead and buy stock in a rubber glove company). And three, bleach causes breakage so your colorful hair will be, well, everywhere. The struggle is real.

But if you’re up to the challenge you’ll gain entry into what feels like a secret club of like-minded people not afraid to express themselves and you’ll find yourself exchanging secret glances and thinking, “respect” when you see a fellow warrior fighting the war against the norm.

Unable to commit? Hair chalk is a non-permanent washable way to dip your toe in to the vibrant hue color trend without diving in head first.

For the more conservative, your inner grown up just slapped your inner child on the wrist at the mere thought of “well, that might be fun.” And remarks about your employability are surely ringing in your ear.

Beyond colorful expression, the old adage history repeats itself applies as hair styles are trending toward the ‘Mad Men’ Era.

It’s yesterday’s news that most trends are a cycle of the same, repackaged and redistributed to feel new again. Hair trends are no exception. The updated elements are what makes the style fashionable today.

Versions of blunt and asymmetric bobs, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and finger wave up-dos, big silky refined curls, perfect pixie or pompadour, and heavy, brow-skimming fringe and blunt-lined mod styles are in.

Return to the ritual

For the ladies, “I think we’ll see a resurgence of the days where women invested in their beauty regime,” Elizabeth said.

She adds, “Although today’s woman might not have the time to hit the salon each week to have her hair set and her nails done – all the while catching up on the hot gossip with friends — she’s leaving a hair appointment armed with the products and tools she needs to maintain her do herself.” Complimented by today’s all access pass to online how-to video tutorials, ladies are able to create more polished looks at home. Tip: Big is always in. Let it air dry, in curlers instead of straight.

He’s got the look

It’s ok, guys. You can look good.

“If you are a straight guy, it’s almost like you were questioning your masculinity if you took time to invest in the way you look,” Elizabeth said as she recalled the rise in hair tattoos (i.e. designs shaved into hair), and tailored, barbered-style precision cuts for men. “It’s ok for a straight man to look put together,” she added.

The return of the ‘gentleman’ gives guys the greenlight to take pride in their appearance once again. “In a way, they’re coming out of the closet.”

Unfortunately fellas, even the most appealingly effortless coif requires some level of effort. Regular visits to the salon are a necessary evil to keep up these high maintenance looks.

Hoodie-loving, perpetual guys guy Chris Kidwell visited Maria’s salon at the request of his girlfriend to freshen up his look for an upcoming event. “I actually really like it,” Mister “I-will-not-pay-$50-for-a-haircut” said about his new dialed down pompadour. And when asked if he was likely to keep it up his new barbered look he chuckled, “We’ll see, but I could get used to this.”


McLean is employed at Salon deZEN. The deZEN staff performs a range of services to help clients express externally how you feel internally. “Happy people make a happy world” and when you look good, you feel good. Salon deZEN is located at 118 N Fayette St, Alexandria VA 22314 | 703.549.1400 |


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