Going to a “Big Kid” Salon

Fact: I don’t really do much with my hair.

It’s just not something I spend a lot of time on. Maybe it’s because it is so stick-straight it doesn’t behave well when I try to style it. Maybe it’s because I refuse to spend tons of money on salon-quality products like “volumizer” or “deep conditioning treatments” or whatever. That’s just not who I am. If you are, more power to you. I love reading tips and tricks on Pinterest and seeing the amazing styles people come up with. It’s just not something I every really take the time to do myself.

That being said, every couple of years, I get the yearning to do something big to my hair. It hits a point where it’s just this long, lifeless mess and I need a change NOW. It happened back in the summer of 2014 when I chopped it into a chin-length bob with fringe bangs (and was promptly told by one of my best friends never to do that again…), and it happened again just a few weeks ago.

Now, one of my remaining vestiges of college life has been the fact that I refuse to go to an actual hair salon and pay more than $7.99 for a haircut. But the past few times, my regular chain-shop-chop just hasn’t been awesome, and I decided that, since I am a professional woman making a reasonable salary, maybe it was time to splurge on myself and find a nice salon to get a cut/color done. Confession: I still found one that had a first-time client special, so I still wouldn’t be paying full price.

I Yelp’d a few local salons and found one that had not only decent reviews, but active social media pages (yes, that is something I check when I’m examining a business for the first time; if your website still links to your Twitter page, but you haven’t tweeted since 2012, it’s unlikely I’ll give you my business. Either start tweeting or delete the link.). I found one nearby and booked my appointment.

Here’s how the day went:

The night before. I uploaded this to Instagram with “Say Night Night to Long, Lifeless Hair.” In the comments section, I continually teased my mom who thought I was serious when I said I was going to dye it blue. Nothing against blue hair — I have a friend/colleague who has blue hair and it WORKS on her. It’s just not a me-thing.


Official “Before” picture. This is the second-longest my hair has ever been.

The salon I decided on was Anasa Hair Studio in Temecula. IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I am not, in any way, being paid for this review. These opinions are 100% my own, and reflect my own personal experiences visiting the salon. In fact, I doubt anyone from Anasa knows I wrote this post, unless they somehow find my tweet about it… 

I was warmly greeted by the front desk team and offered a drink (coffee, tea, or water — I opted for hot tea, and the gentleman working (I didn’t catch his name!) brought me a selection to choose from; I went for Orange Jasmine, if you’re curious). They asked me to fill out a quick customer profile and survey about my hair. Filling out these surveys always make me nervous because I feel like I don’t really know/understand my hair, but I did my best.

Then I was introduced to Lisa, my stylist, and brought over to her station. The vibe in Anasa is very modern/eclectic. I wouldn’t say there’s one totally unifying style, and to be honest the vinyl decals on the walls read a little too 80s for my taste, but I felt comfortable and the place in general had a good energy.

Lisa and I talked for a while about what I was thinking. I showed her some photos on Pinterest, and she gave me some recommendations about what type of color treatment we should do. I was very happy that before she started any work, she discussed the price with me so there would be no surprises at the end of my service.

Me, before. This was right after our consultation, when Lisa was prepping the color.

While Baylage highlights are all the rage right now, Lisa knew that (1) I wanted to take a lot of length off my hair, and (2) I rarely styled it and it didn’t hold curl well, and Baylage tends to look best when curled/styled. So, we decided to go for traditional foil highlights. I’d told her that I really wanted to brighten/lighten my hair, especially since we’ve apparently gone straight into summer around here, and she recommended caramel/gold highlights, while keeping my dark brown base color.

Halfway done with the foils!
Confession: it’s the actress in me, but every time I’m under one of these dryers, I get the palpable urge to find a local performance of Steel Magnolias so that I can audition. I’d want to play Shelby or Truvy or Annelle (in that order…actually, Shelby and Truvy are probably tied). I know it’s a super sad show, and I can’t even think about the final scene without tearing up, but it’s a production I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be a part of… Maybe someday…

Here’s one reason I don’t like going to “big kid” salons — the process takes a long time. I know patience is a virtue, and I know that good things DO take a long time, but man do I get bored easily. *sigh*. At least I had my phone to play with (and there were magazines and newspapers available, if I’d wanted them). Lisa was also great about letting me know where we were in the process, and she brought me bottled water after my tea was gone and I was hanging out under the dryer waiting for the color to set, which was much appreciated.

After the color came the cut. I’d originally said I wanted to just take off about an inch and a half, bringing it to shoulder-length, but after 2 hours I was feeling extra bold, so I told her she could go even shorter than that if she wanted. My only request was that it was longer than chin-length and that I could still pull it back if I wanted to (even if only “half up”).

She ended up doing a long layered bob. She said the cut/color should be good for almost 8 weeks, when I should come back in for a touch up (but she did tell me if anything about it bothered me beforehand, that I was welcome to come back sooner). I loved the way she styled it too.

The end of the service reminded me why I hate traditional/big hair salons — the “product push.” I realize they make a lot of money on selling product, but I’m just not going to ever spend $150+ on shampoo/conditioner/volumizer/hairspray/whatever. First, it’s not significantly different than what I can find at Target, and second, it’s just not ME. I’m a simple girl when it comes to my hair. If you ask me to add 15-20 minutes to my routine because I “need” these expensive tools, I am going to laugh at you. And not buy them.

Now, of course, I know that’s not Lisa’s fault, nor is it the fault of the salon. And if I were a fancy product girl, I would absolutely appreciate the customized recommendations! But anyway…

Here’s how my hair looked immediately after leaving the salon:

And here it is once I got home and took it in the same light as my official “before” photo:

The official “after” photo.

When I got back from the salon, my hubs and I headed out for a day of wine tasting and amazing food at a local restaurant, so here’s one more picture of my new ‘do “in the wild”: