Studio DNA Salon: Doubt, Trauma and Redemption

— by Caroline on Crack


I was afraid to look up at myself in the mirror. Usually when getting a haircut I won’t let myself look in the mirror until the hairstylist is completely done or else I’ll just freak out. You see, I get so anxious every time I get my hair cut. I’m really attached to my hair; it’s part of my identity. But in this case I made the mistake of peeking at myself and boy, was I disappointed. But, wait, it’s not as bad as you think.

I had gone to Studio DNA Salon in Santa Monica instead of my usual, Floyd’s in West L.A. I figured that since this was going to be for my blogiversary (which I’ll blog about in the near future) I should do something extra special and treat myself. Reviews on Yelp cited Studio DNA as one of the top rated salons. The reviewers themselves raved about the stylists and the happiness with their new ‘dos.

So I made an appointment for the morning of my blogiversary. I know, one should never get a haircut on the day of the big event, but I was feeling pretty optimistic. I showed up at 10am and was the first client there. My hairdresser was Tina, a cute little Asian chick with long light brown hair.

I told her that I wanted to get a single process color and to have my hair styled sorta like

Paris Hilton’s uneven bob (I showed Tina a pic from Allure magazine). But since my hair has shorter layers than Paris’, I knew that wasn’t a realistic goal. But I told Tina that I was looking to grow my hair out. I wanted long hair again but wanted a polished in-the-meantime cut.

Her solution was to cut my hair shorter in the back and sorta trim the front but keep the long layers. I liked that, “keep the long layers.”

First she applied the dye to my hair. Very uneventful process. Just sat there and returned emails and closed the blogiversary guest lists on my laptop. Yes, they have free Wi-Fi. So that was really cool. The 45 minutes of waiting for the dye to take flew by because of Gmail.

When the time was up, I was lead to the shampoo station. This is usually my absolute favorite part because I LOVE getting my head massaged. To my dismay, there was no such thing here. I just got a straight shampooing and glazing and conditioning. Disappointed! They massage my head at Floyd’s and Rudy’s and Pacheco Salon, but not here? Later I checked Yelp and sure enough, some customers reported receiving “the best shampoo massage ever.” I guess I was just unlucky. Boo.

Then I was lead back to Tina’s chair. I looked at my new darker hair in the mirror and noticed a thick splotch of dye at my hairline. In my experience, stylists usually wipe that away, but not here I guess. A cloud started to form over my head. And I tried to shake it off. But it didn’t help the situation when Tina started cutting my hair while chewing gum. I hate it when people do that. It makes it seem like they don’t care about what they’re doing.

I tried not to let it get to me and continued reading my Allure magazine. But after awhile I peeked at the floor behind my chair. That sure was a lot of hair. Tina kept snipping away and that’s when I made the mistake of looking up. AH! My hair was sooo short! And flat!

I buried my nose in my magazine again, chiding myself for getting so upset. I could feel the tears welling up but I blinked them away. This is stupid. Don’t cry, Caroline. And then I thought how I’d have to wear this awful haircut to my blogiversary and that this would be the first impression for people who’ve never seen me before. And that I’d have to stand up in front of my crackheads during the giveaway looking like a boyyy. Wait, just breathe, just breathe.

Tina flat-ironed my bangs and then put Bumble & Bumble product in my hair. Then she said, “I cut the bangs shorter in the middle so that you can wear them to the side. And they’ll grow out nicely.” “Uh huh,” I said trying to not look at the mirror but feeling obligated to.

The edge of the bob was almost wispy. I hate wispy! Especially on short hair. Paris’ cut seems to have a straight edge, not wispy. Tina then said how she gave the back of my head some layers so that it wouldn’t lay flat.

At this point I tried not to look upset. I wondered if she could tell. In any case, I was able to appreciate how shiny and sleek my new bob looked. It was better and healthier-looking than how my hair was originally. But I just didn’t want it this short.

After she was done, Tina thanked me and I thanked her and took her card regardless. My grand total was $150. It’s $45 for the cut and $65 for the color and I guess $40 for the glaze, which I didn’t ask for and wasn’t told I was getting but whatev. It’s about $20-$30 more than how much I’d pay at Floyd’s. Not too bad considering this was a really nice, airy, artsy salon with top-of-the-line hair products — B&B, Schwartzkopf — and it’s in expensivo Santa Monica.

So the reason I say this wasn’t as bad as you think or as my experience makes it sound is that I ended up getting a ton of compliments on my ‘do during my party. And isn’t that the most important part of any salon experience? The reactions you get? All I had to do to make it look better to me was put on some makeup and fluff my hair up a bit.

I shouldn’t have doubted Tina. Turns out, the girl does know what she’s doing and what was the best look for me. I think it’s time for me to graduate from Floyd’s to Studio DNA. It feels so much more grownup here.

BTW, if you want party it up and get your hair did at the same time, every other Thursday from 6:30pm to midnight, Studio DNA puts on these da Klub Hair Nights, which is hair pampering, cocktails and DJ’d music. Next one is on August 21. Call the salon to make a reservation.

Studio DNA
902 Broadway
Santa Monica, California 90401 (map)
(310) 451-3200