finns have a flair for hair. we're brave when it comes to color and cuts and, supposedly, people in the hair trends industry love visiting helsinki for the edgy looks we go for here. how very cool of us.
courage is a double edged sword, though, because we're also very much for diy: spunky hair color out of a box is way too common a sight in the streets, especially when the tone is off and there's barely any makeup to fix the appearance. skimping on salon visits means there are roots shoving everywhere, often blonde roots leading to black ends. lamentably the requests for trendy hairdos at times outweigh the skills available and we see heads with tons of, um, "idea", but haywire implementation. moreover, there are graphic cuts with bold stripes of neon on people who seem to come from the little house on the prairie, and i'm pretty sure not all of them modeled for a hair trend show.
doing hair well is a trade, a learned skill, but also an artistry. it requires incomprehensible psychological skills: in mere minutes the hairdresser should figure out the customer's day-to-day style and preferences and apply them to whatever quality of hair s/he needs to work with. without going to clients who bring photos of celebrities and want a simple perm to create red carpet hair that should settle with a simple blow dry, we normal sensible people usually have a mental image of what we'd like to look like walking out of the salon -- and as we all know, that image is fragile and, oh, so easily shattered. i assume that i'm not the only one who's left a salon crying?
the problem with hairdressing is that what works for someone, does not work for another, and this applies to both cut and color and to the person holding the scissors. when we find the right fit, we stick to it. but the relationship is always tentative: one screw-up can ruin a beautiful thing... and the process of hesitant building of trust must begin from scratch.
nevertheless, i will recommend a salon worth trying if you are on the lookout for your perfect match. i popped in today with my dog (who instantly found a lap to rest on; see her peeping through the coverup on the customer?) at loisto which is a small establishment with a busy schedule, so book early. their philosophy is simple: they're passionate about skill and personal service. the people working are simply talented (like mv, in the pic) and the customers vary stylistically from the trendiest club kids to the family restaurant owner down the street and their common denominator: great looking hair. at a time when many hair salons try to lure in customers with extra pampering services and make a fuss about bringing you a glass of champagne (which in itself is great, in a way, but does not compensate for the end result being less than great...), loisto emphasizes the meaning of great manageable hair as a daily ingredient of a more pleasant life. the atmosphere at the shop is happy and friendly, and while the staff is definitely on the quirkier side, none of your diva scissorhands work there.
and if you enjoy people watching and tend to draw conclusions from behavior, as yours truly does, this might just be a top selling point: i have never seen a customer leave loisto trying to readjust their hair in front of a mirror before walking out... i don't know about you, but i've done it at salons before and seen people do it in other places more than i care to remember. so, go get impressed.