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  • alannamichaelweddi

Hello, Lovely

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

It was time to go under the knife again.

Inside the Mystery Salon

And by that I mean get a haircut. I tried to contact the lady who did my highlights last year but found out that Ashley Cowart’s Chair is closed. I could wander back to Locks Myth, which had a very edgy atmosphere, seemed pricey, and provided a so-so experience and a so-so cut. I could go back to Willow Organic Salon which I like, but had fairly sleepy vibes. The prices were good, and the stylist I went to was nice, but there was no wow-sense-of-glamour. And ok, maybe that’s what I wanted.

That, and I wanted to find the one. The one that would transform me. The one that was full of drama, life, beauty, and newness. I guess the problem is that I am not sure if "the one" is the haircut or the stylist. I think it's the stylist.

Dangerous Grooming Gambles

I had hoped to leverage my new client status to get a discount somewhere new. I reached out to friends, who suggested a few places but didn’t have a coupon to give me that enchanting 15% off. Groupon offered meager deals that focused primarily on color. I just wanted a cut – the gateway move before choosing a stylist to do that whole cut and color rigamarole.

Street View of Hello, Lovely by JTB/Gate

I dug deeper into the hair recesses of my memory. There was a girl at Ulta I liked, but her balayage wasn’t exactly what I wanted. She probably didn’t really get me. One stylist I really liked, I thought he understood my hair needs, had fairly offensive cigarette-smelling hands. He used to be at Avenues, then moved to the salon by Walmart Market, but has since disappeared into oblivion. He did these amazing diamond highlights. He actually used to be a rockstar with big hair bands in California, and that’s how he got into hair. All those gallons of hairspray paid off.

Instagramming Bridal Hair

Back when I was getting married, I was looking for someone who could do my wedding hair. Brian, from the Customer Service team, recommended his cousin, Casey (@caseystirretthair). I followed her on Insta, but that never panned out. So I went to see where she was now. Hello, Lovely by Towncenter.

Interesting. Only problem? She focuses on color. As I looked at her salon’s page, I scoped out the stylists.

There was a girl who did cuts. I clicked on her Instagram. And she had some really intriguing pics. What I liked was that not all the hair was this organized, natural-looking basic B hair. There was a girl with dark hair and a blond money piece, which is a look I totally support. I decided to message Noelle. She actually responded! She had availability within a week! The price was not astronomical. I picked a time and made the appointment.

This was commitment.

What is My Look?

When people talk about my hair, which is fairly rare, they don’t say, oh that’s the girl with the great hair. They don’t say, she’s the one with bouncy curls, a thick mane, perfectly beachy highlights, or natural, undyed strawberry-red hair. Oh, how I wish they would. Maybe.

It’s more like, people would think for a minute, and vaguely proceed to say, oooooooooh she's the one who, her hair changes a lot, right?

That’s how it used to be anyway.

Doth the Appetite Not Alter?

But I've been growing my hair out for some time. It's the longest its ever been. But now the ends seem a bit snarly and, don't you ever just want change?

Day Before Pic

Following @Noelleinhair

My first impression was positive. Chic positive, as they say. It made me feel like in a matter of hours I could transform into a clean desert hipster grunge model swan.

And if the hair wasn’t the final touch, I could shop for clothes, barrettes, and big chunky earrings here. The front of Hello Lovely (the salon) is very appealing, kind of like a boutique rather than rows of hair products. The clothes were an assortment of cotton pastel T-shirts, some business blouses and blazers as well as flowery peasant off-the-shoulder shirts.

The stylists wore an array of similarly styled items, plus or minus a smattering of 90’s flannel, funky tattoos, and boho hats. It was all very appealing, even the chill-tempo music in the background. On the off chance that this haircut was terrible, I knew I would be glad to have come here.

And, if it were fabulous – if I finally found the one – then I could look forward to going back and buying those black, gold, and tortoise chain link earrings.

Chopping & Shopping, anyone?

Noelle Watson's Chair

Noelle was very friendly. I got there a little early, and she was ready early as well. She offered me drink choices – wine, water, coffee, soda – which always reinforces the luxury of the whole event.

White wine in my hand, I followed her to her chair. She had blondish brown hair in a loose bun, a flannel shirt, and a laid-back sensibility. I started in on what I think I want to do with my hair diatribe.

I needed it trimmed but KEEP the length. I wanted some layers but know my hair is very fine. I wanted it to look different, but KEEP the length. I showed her some photos of a sleeker look with midlength (almost long bang style) layers.

It was kind of like a bob on top of long hair. The other pics I showed her were shag, all around, different length layers. But I let her know, I wouldn’t be curling my hair every day so that might look too frumpy.

She elegantly processed my conglomeration of requests and made a plan, saying “Let’s get you washed.” She escorted me to the washing room and I leaned back into a comfy chair and she got the water to the right temperature. When she washed my hair, she gave a soothing scalp massage that was simply bliss.

Many places use a very detangling conditioner, but after the wash, my hair was still fairly tangly. This might have been because of my hair being dry and needing a cut, but who knows?

She clipped portions of my hair and got to cutting. She did a great job of keeping the length – one of my biggest requests. She eventually dried it with a round brush and added the layers. I was there for maybe an hour and 15 minutes. She expertly pushed my locks in front of my shoulders and asked if I liked it.

I asked for a little more variation, some shorter pieces around my face. She was up to the task and cut away. I really appreciated that she listened and was up for making those last changes. She offered to curl my hair. I declined, in order to hurry back to work, avoid an extra layer of product and get out of the salon which was starting to feel too warm.

I paid, tipped and left. It was a little hot in the salon and when I went outside after, so my hair fell victim to the Florida humidity and immediately started clinging to my scalp.

You can see the results. I definitely got what I asked for – layers, trim, keeping length. It was pleasant and affordable. But the truth of the matter is, I won’t really know if I like it for at least 3 days. That’s just who I am. I used to have instant love at first post-cut mirror glimpse, but that was when I would chop everything off and just relish in the difference. So I am waiting to style my hair just so for a few days and see how I feel.

Maybe Noelle is the one.

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