Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Eiji Salon Celebrity Dry Cut & Color Experience

Eiji Yamane and me

I went to get my hair done at the famous Eiji Salon which is located on 601 Madison Avenue in New York. The salon is owned by Eiji Yamane, a legend and innovator among hairstylists.

His salon is well known for the dry cut technique which is done by straightening hair first then meticulously cutting and tapering each strand for the perfect haircut. In addition to hair-styling the salon offers hair coloring, manicures/pedicures and luxury hair treatments. 

While in the elevator going up to the 5th floor where the salon is located I met a woman who has been going to the salon for at least a decade. She asked me who my hair colorist was that day. When I told her his name was Dario her eyes lit up with excitement. She told me that he was one of the best hair colorists in New York and what a lucky girl I was just to get an appointment with him! Of course after hearing this I was beyond excited for my visit where I would add more blonde ombre and experience their renowned dry hair cut.


Prior to my color and cut I took a before picture of my hair to document my complete hair makeover. 


The salon offered such a tranquil and relaxing escape from the city. As I walked to my chair I couldn’t help notice the traditional Asian décor which included ancient Japanese artifacts and flowers.


As I settled in my chair I started to chat with the women next to me. Just like the woman in the elevator before her, she too told me how lucky I was to have my hair colored by the legendary Dario.

Of course both women were right; Dario was one of the most brilliant hair colorists that I’ve ever had a chance to work with. I showed him a photo of the type of blondish, subtle ombre I wanted. As if his talent came by second nature he quickly took select strands for the highlight and was finished in just a few minutes.


While I waited for the color to make my ends lighter I was offered a selection of fine herbal teas. I chose green tea, which is my favorite. 


When it was finally came time to wash the color off I was taken to a serene, dimly lit shampoo room. My chair was crafted from the finest leather and the sink was made to ensure the utmost comfort when getting the hair washed.  


The shampoo room also included a large screen which was decorated with pink Japanese cherry blossoms. As I watched closely I noticed that the Zang Toi fashion show was playing. Ironically, I remembered being at that same show at New York Fashion Week. After I mentioned this I was told that Zang and Eiji are good friends. The Eiji Salon does the hair styles for the Zang Toi fashion shows. What a small world!


Next, I was escorted to Cynthia, who would be doing the dry cut on my hair. Aside from being extremely talented, Cynthia was also one of the most special people that I’ve had a chance to meet in my life. While she was doing my hair we chatted about a plethora of topics and it felt like I was talking with a friend that I’ve known for a long time.

She started my dry cut by blowing my hair dry and straightening it with a powerful, yet gentle straightener that was imported from Japan.

I was curious to know more about the Eiji Salon and the dry cutting technique.

What is the Eiji Salon experience all about? You started to tell me that it’s different then most salons, how so?

Cynthia: It’s more like a workshop then a salon. It’s not a beauty parlor where you come in and it’s all rush, rush. We give you a very intensive consultation whether it is color or styling. We take our time while cutting; it’s about an hour and a half for a hair cut. We are full service. We offer you anything you like to drink from any sodas, teas, cappuccinos. It’s on us because we feel like this is our home and we want to offer you something to drink. We want you to relax because the hair cut does take an hour and a half. We care a lot about the people and how they’re going to take care of the hair everyday. We want to cut it so it will fall naturally beautiful even if you do nothing to it. This dry hair cut technique is Eiji’s dry hair cut technique. It’s like sculpture. Sculpturing in a shape and we cut it where it falls naturally.


Can you tell me more about the dry hair cut technique? How is it different than the wet hair cut?

Cynthia: Eiji worked with John Sahag, who started the dry hair cut. Eiji watched the way John did the cuts and studied with him. Eiji broke it down into a technique where he could teach it and explain it to other people. He’s very into teaching. He invites anyone around the world, US, and New York to come and learn the dry cut. Most salons if they knew you were a hairdresser they would politely ask you to leave but Eiji opens the door to anyone to come and watch.
After we speak to our client and we know exactly what they want, we look at the texture and see if what they want is attainable. We proceed by drying the hair so it’s almost dry. We take sections, depending on the texture. If someone’s hair is extremely curly we brush it out with a dryer and brush. Where ever the hair falls we cut it. We wet the hair down and we diffuse it into a shape of where it’s supposed to fall. We take into consideration how much the hair jumps up because we know that curly hair does have a tendency to jump up. If someone has uneven waves we usually blow dry it very straight and cut it like that. We’re really concerned with making the cut and style something that you can easily take care of after your appointment. Let’s say you want a big change and you’re very nervous. With the wet hair cut it usually takes the longest a half hour to do so you really have to get used to the cut. Since the dry hair is timely and takes at least an hour and half you slowly get used to the look as you’re sitting there. We try to make the long process as comfortable and relaxing as possible. The good news is when you put in the time then you can wait longer for your next hair cut because the dry hair cut lasts as long as 3-4 months at a time. Our dry cuts are made to last 2-3 times longer than a wet hair cut.


You mentioned a special tapering technique that you do. What does it mean exactly to “tapper”?

Cynthia: Tapering is when you take a tiny piece of hair, about a quarter of an inch of hair. As you’re layering it you lift it up and open the scissor towards the scalp and close it at the very end of that piece of hair. The scissor goes in a fast open close motion on the ends to make them finer. This way it’s not a hard line. When we tapper your hair and you look through a microscope or something where you could see in action you see it as a domino effect. One hair goes right on top of the other hair and so on. It’s like two hairs at a time. This is why you never see demarcation and it also creates a beautiful movement in the hair.
 
You’re using such an interesting iron on my hair. I think you mentioned it comes from Japan?

Yes, it’s from Japan and is made with a special ceramic. I’ve used it on my clients 12 hours a day, 5 days a week and its perfect still. The great thing about it is that it doesn't damage your hair. It makes the hair straight fast and you can adjust the temperature on it. 

What are these “bang-toxs” that you talked about?

Cynthia: The Eiji Salon created the concept of Bang-tox. We make these removable bangs out of hair. They’re placed on little combs so if you want you can put these bangs in your hair. They’re like extensions but for your bangs. We call them bang-tox instead of botox because they hide the wrinkles on your forehead!

Who are some of the salon's celebrity clients?

Cynthia: Sarah Jessica Parker, Demi Moore, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kirstie Alley, Michael J Fox, Yoko Ono, Brooke Shields, Rita Wilson and many more. 
When our clients are walking around the city with our beautiful work it’s really an advertisement for us. They’re literally wearing our work so we take what we do very seriously because they’re a part of who we are. We have a lot of pride in that.


A hairstylist named Benny put the final touches on my hair with bouncy old Hollywood curls. 

One thing that I forgot to mention was that Cynthia concluded our interview by saying that each client is treated the same as any celebrity that walks through the door.

She was right. The moment I walked through the door I was catered to and doted on like a celebrity. It was an unforgettable experience that I hope to do again very soon.

Thank you so much Eiji Salon for giving me the “star” treatment and making my locks look perfectly colored and cut. 





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  2. I had been going to your salon and the last time I went cynthia butchered my hair. It was Horrible experience and she smelled like burnt cig's. All she ever talked about is how much she wanted to loose weight and couldn't. She must of been having a bad day because I told her I wanted an inch off my blond hair and she went and took 6 inches off. Horrible customer service. Horrible unkept hairdresser. Her fingers and hair smelt like an ash tray.

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