I consider this a public service announcement.
Finding a hairdresser in Los Angeles is easy. Finding a good hairdresser at a shop that doesn't charge a gazillion dollars for a cut is more difficult.
I've lived in Los Angeles all my life and patronized many, many hair salons. When I was a little girl I used to go with my Mom to her beauty parlor on Doheny, just north of Olympic. It was called MaryAnn's. It might still be there....I haven't driven by lately. While Mom was sitting under the dryer in curlers, MaryAnn would trim my pixie-cut. I loved hanging out at the beauty parlor with Mom. The smell of Aqua Net hairspray, the hum of the hair-dryers, the chit-chat between customers. Woman would sit around with goo on their hair looking like monsters and later be transformed into Barbie dolls. I thought it was the most glamorous place.
During my pre-teen and teen years I affected a Cher-like hairstyle....long, long hair, meticulously ironed to be stick straight. I even dyed my brown hair black for a year for a dramatic look.
Once I graduated from high school, I decided to cut my hair short and go back to my pixie ways. I found the hair salon at the now defunct Joseph Magnin Department Store in Century City. This was a very hip and groovy store. My hairdresser, Tim Morgan was my favorite for about 10 years.
Over the years, my hair has been chopped (to look like Dorothy Hamil's skate cut), permed (to look like Weird Al Yankovik), frosted (yeah, we called highlights frosting in the old days...to look like Florence Henderson in the "Brady Bunch") and pompadoured (for that rockabilly chic look).
I'm very fickle about hairdressers. Whoever is convenient gets my business. I've even been known to walk into a Fantastic Sam's or a SuperCuts for a quick trim. Most of the time, I just chop at my hair myself. This works out most of the time, because my hair is wavy, so if I make a mistake, my hair just kinda' curls in and hides the mistake.
For the past few years, in-between self-inflicted haircuts and drugstore dye-jobs, I've been going to Umberto's on South Robertson. This is a lower-priced offshoot of Umberto's Beverly Hills salon. It's fairly reasonable, has great operators and is well-managed. My hairdresser, Armando left Umberto's awhile back, so I've been searching for someone new.
In desperation, I called another one of Mom's old salons, Freddy's, 8630 W. 3rd St., between Robertson & La Cienega. This shop has been there for over 30 years and is run by mostly Russian hairdressers and has a large Russian clientele, as well as older ladies from the neighborhood (Cedars-Sinai patients). In years past, I've been satisfied with the way they color my hair. Anyone can give me a haircut....very basic.
I made an appointment with Alexander (nickname, Sasha) for Saturday morning. Sasha was delightful...a really nice guy, surrounded by cranky ladies. Sasha is the manager of the shop. He seemed delighted to see a customer under the age of 70. My heritage is Russian and Ukranian, so I felt comfortable listening to everyone talking in the mother-tongue. Sasha gave me one look and said, "Ellen, I vant to make you look sessy and fonky!" I gave him carte-blanche, "Go for it, Sasha!"
He cut my hair before mixing the color. The cut looked good. I sat around knitting while my hairdye was setting. I ended up sitting next to Sonia's station. She is the Mistress of Stylistics at Freddy's Salon. She makes ladies with 4 strands of hair on their head look like bouffant goddesses. I must say, my lungs will never be the same, after being exposed to massive amounts of aerosal hairspray (childhood memories of MaryAnn's Beauty Parlor).
After my hairdye was washed out, Sasha pulled out the hairdryer and styled my hair. He did a fantastic job! My hair is now sable brown, with a sassy and funky cut! The best part, cut and color cost $50. What a bargain for Beverly Hills adjacent!!!
Alexander (Sasha) @ Freddy's Hair Salon, 8630 W. 3rd St., LA, 310/271-8471
Labels: Los Angeles