This isn’t going to make me any friends, but I’m going to tell you anyway. I wasn’t super excited about going to a salon that promised “a touch of Hollywood in North Providence.” When I think about Hollywood glamour, I think about Botox, spray tans, bad boob jobs. Basically, reality TV starlets. When it comes down to it, I don’t want a touch of Hollywood anywhere on my person. (Which is why I’ll never be a teen model, but that ship has sailed anyway.)
That’s why, when I walked into JLS Hair Design on Mineral Spring in North Providence, I had to take a moment. The place is gorgeous: sparkling chandeliers, bold color choices, plush upholstery, touches of old Hollywood art on the walls. I knew immediately that the place was way more about Marilyn Monroe than Heidi Montag. Susan Duarte, a makeup and lash artist, bounced out to meet me and immediately gave me a hug. She asked me what I was looking for with the lash extensions I was about to get. “I’m not afraid of drama,” I said, “but I need to be able to show my face in daylight.” “So you want some length, but you don’t want to look like Kim Kardashian,” she confirmed. “Exactly,” I said, breathing a sigh of relief. This was going to be great.
Sue works with the Lavish Lash system. You get an initial application (it takes about two hours) and then get fills every three weeks or so. The result is lush lashes that look camera ready at any time of day or night. I loved them. Sue’s application was impeccable and looked so natural that, even though they were unusually long, people couldn’t tell they weren’t mine. They added so much to my face that I felt completely comfortable going to work two days in the following week with no makeup whatsoever. I can say with total honesty that the last time that happened was in middle school.
When I went back for my fill a couple of weeks later, I also scheduled a cut and blowout with Jessica Lee Pray, the salon’s owner. It’s always nice when you like your stylist’s personal style, but seeing her round the corner with gorgeous, flowing, waist-length blonde hair that was all her own was incredibly exciting. Jess knows what she’s doing, both with styling, and with cultivating a creative environment where her stylists are encouraged to travel, train and learn new techniques.
In addition to the cut, Jess wanted to give my hair a glaze – a non-permanent, bleach-free, deposit only color that boosts moisture and shine. We picked a honey chocolate color a little darker than my normal shade for the roots, and a lighter one for the ends for a subtle ombre effect. As she cut, she told me about JLS’s annual fashion show fundraiser that they’re planning for the fall, this year involving local fashion design students. When we got to the blowout, Jess did something I’ve never seen before: she started from the front, styling the most important pieces first. “It’s something my mentor taught me,” she explained. “If they see that they like how the front turned out, they’ll relax and trust me to do the rest well.” I stopped to think for a minute about all of the tense hours I had spent waiting to see how a blowout from an unknown stylist was going to turn out. Jess’s idea was brilliant.
I loved how the bouncy blowout turned out, and the color was gorgeous. I tend to be a bit of a beach bum in the summer, and I always end up with sunburned hair. This year, the extra color and moisture of the glaze seems to be fighting off that sun damage. If this is Hollywood glamour, I’ll take it any day.