Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review: The Cutting Room, Austin, TX

Several months ago, my daughter decided to get her first "real" hair cut... meaning, an actual style rather than just trimming up the ends as we have done her entire life until now. Both because I do mystery shopping and am often offered quicky-chain-salon jobs and because it's difficult for the cheap-o in me to justify paying more than $15 or so to have split ends chopped, we've always gone the quick and dirty route.

For this major change, though, I wanted someone who would take time, talk to Daphne, want to see her happy, and was in our neighborhood... Shopping local is a pretty big deal and one of the benefits of living as close as we do to everything. And, honestly, it's a luxury that my dear husband works very hard to afford us.

So, I called and made an appointment at The Cutting Room, which is easy walking distance from our house. Since I didn't know anyone who works there, we had no preference, and ended up with Melanie. As it turns out, she was the perfect fit for Daphne.

The Cutting Room last Christmas season.

And again on the spring day we visited.
One of the coolest things about The Cutting Room is that they have a back bathroom full of robes for you to choose from. Daphne picked out a pretty standard "hair cutting" cape, but when we went back and I got my hair cut, I picked a purple silk that looked like a kimono. I seriously wanted to bring it home. One lady in the salon when we were there the first time had on a hippy muumuu. There are literally dozens to choose from, so that's fun.

Melanie sat Daphne down, looked at her head, talked to her about what she wanted to do, and showed her the plan before moving her back to the sinks for a shampoo.
This is an Aveda concept salon, so all of the product is Aveda. And smells delicious.

After shampoo and conditioning, Melanie cut a ponytail long enough to qualify for Pantene's Pony Up! Beautiful Lengths hair donation. Locks of Love requires 10 inches, but Pantene only needs 8.

Immediately when the ponytail came off, Daphne already looked more like... Daphne. It's weird. Shorter hair suits her personality *so* much better.

Next came the cutting. So. much. cutting. Melanie was meticulous, measuring and eyeballing and working with some "fun" quirks Daphne's hair has. The end result was beautiful.

We wanted a few highlights, so Melanie put in some foils, carefully avoiding some damaged and vulnerable hair. She basically framed Daphne's face.

It's easy to enjoy the pretty view while waiting for the color to set.
While we were waiting for the processing, Melanie showed Daphne the bright colors of highlights that they can do, so Daphne could think about them in case she decided she wanted a purple or blue or something more drastic later.

In the end, Melanie was disappointed that the highlights didn't "pop" as much as she wanted them to. I thought it looked great and very natural. She asked to take an "after" picture of D to add to her Instagram portfolio, and I promised to send her a "before."

Daphne, stoically enduring the modeling preparations.

Her "before" is the top right. This style works really well for her, and she recently took to wearing a beanie most of the time, so basically she just has a bit of hair sticking out from the hat, which she loves.

Melanie didn't charge us full price for the highlights since she wasn't happy with them (even though I was), and offered to "fix" it next time we came in. We did go back two months later to get the cut evened out, but since D is wearing a hat most of the time, anyway, told the stylist not to worry about any more highlights for now. Even though it was just a maintenance trim, Daphne's clean-up took about 40 minutes. I appreciate the time and care dedicated to making clients look their best.

When D went in last time, I made an appointment for myself, as well. I needed a good trim, and I have very fine damaged hair that is in layers. Melanie did a great job with straightening everything out so that it looks healthy enough that I don't feel like I have to style it every day, so I can give it a rest.

One thing I really love is that a couple of the hair-dressers here asked about my hair color... and not one of them lectured me about coloring it at home. I've had employees at Super Cuts tell me that my hair will fall out if I don't let them professionally color it, or tell me that I'll never have healthy hair because I'm ruining it by using home color. The fact is, coloring hair at home might be worse on it than having someone custom mix and watch the process, but I cannot afford that every six weeks. I prefer not to be bawled out at the salon when all I want is to get my hair cut!

We were really pleased with everything about our visits to The Cutting Room. In fact, walking home after the initial cut, Daphne said, "I wish I could have better expressed my appreciation." So I'm expressing our appreciation by recommending The Cutting Room, and Melanie specifically. Go check them out!

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