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We got issues: Salon phobia

Our deputy editor is sent to Eva Scrivo Salon so that stylist Donna Tripodi can wrest the ponytail from her head.

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Why: You know how when you’re a kid, getting your hair cut can be traumatic for no explicable reason? Yeah, I’m still like that. And because of that fear, compounded by a lifetime of what those in the business politely refer to as “low-density coverage,” I’ve avoided anything but the slightest biannual trim at Supercuts. I’ve also worn my hair in a ponytail every day for at least three years. Hence the decision to put my makeover in the hands of the Eva Scrivo Salon (50 Bond St between Bowery and Lafayette St; 212-677-7315, evascrivosalon.com). The stylists at this boutique (perhaps most famously known for sculpting Martha Stewart’s locks) are multitrained dynamos who have a knack for no-maintenance ’dos. Donna Tripodi, my stylist/therapist, for example, has mastered not only cutting and coloring, but eyebrow-shaping and makeup application. She can look at a face and intuit what kind of frame and paint it needs. Even though I knew this, my stomach was in knots as I walked through the door of the sleek, modern salon. The other women trickling in—who ranged in age from their twenties to sixties, and seemed so put-together, so professional—were all smiling as they put on the proffered silky spalike robes. Not a bad sign.

What they did: “Beauty is a progression,” Tripodi assured me after listening patiently to my nervous ramble and before beginning the wash-cut-and-style session ($150). “I want you to have a successful experience.” Her philosophy meant that she would take baby steps to creating a hairstyle that would (a) work for my head and face, (b) be simple to maintain in the three minutes I was willing to spend on it before rushing to work each morning and (c) make me comfortable enough to actually step foot in a salon again. Tripodi walked me through her plan to give me a variation of the Eva Scrivo signature “uncut.” She would build in a couple simple layers to create a shape that would elongate my wide face—something that my midback-length, center-parted, split-ended locks—a style reminiscent of a 50-year-old hippie man—had not been doing. Before using scissors (to create a strong perimeter) and a straight razor (to maximize that “lived-in” look you get a few days after a new haircut), Tripodi promised that the new style would still enable me to fall back on a ponytail if I needed it. Bless her heart.

The results: The first thing I couldn’t get over (and still can’t) is how soft my hair is, and the magical disappearance of all the chin-length broken wisps my ponytail had been cultivating. The combination of a linseed-oil treatment ($30) and Tripodi’s wisely placed layers was a little miracle. The second revelation was how good it felt to have shorter hair. Tripodi chopped off at least four inches of my dead, frizzy rat’s nest, considerately checking in and rechecking in before slicing. And though I’ll never be able to replicate the polished, neatly waved look she product-ed and blow-dried into place (despite a quick lesson and claims of simplicity that I appreciated but knew weren’t true), I love the new style. I even wore it down the rest of the day—and the next. To look at it, the change on my head was not a dramatic one, and I fear the picture doesn’t do Tripodi justice (nor did the rain I walked into after the cut), but the change inside my head was huge. I still wear a topknot to work most days for functionality, but I’ve been keeping it down at least a couple hours each night—in public. And I plan on making another appointment in two months. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a huge progression.

NEXT Unruly curls

Overview | Need a new style | Neglected locks | Color abuse | Salon phobia
Unruly curls | Dry, no definition | Frizzy curls

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