Sunshine State Solutions + Services

Squad Replacement: Naples Hair

Squad Replacement: Naples Hair

In this first edition of the ongoing feature Squad Replacement, fancy-pants salon-hopper Diana gets a new locks look at - gasp - JCPenney. 

After moving to NYC 30 years ago, I became a salon hopper (switching every two years or so), initially getting inexpensive cuts at the famous salons you’d see in the pages of W, Vogue, Mademoiselle (RIP). The caveat - which worked with my tight budget - was that your cut was provided by beginner stylists and overseen by the pros. My fix started in 1985 with “models” night at Pipino-Buccheri (free cut, just tip the stylist and shampooer). A few years later, my friend Mark Edward went on to manage Oribe’s salon, assigning me to a future star stylist for $30 plus $5 for shampooer. 

Once I could afford to pay, my go-to guys became hair gurus in their own right, and impossible to book. Hair-hop spots included the John Barrett Salon for 2 years till my pro Mahogany left. After reading the late Charla Krupp’s brilliant book, “How Not to Look Old” spent $600 on colorist Brad Johns. Like Celine Dion’s heart, my list goes on and on…

Flash forward to Florida, and I’ve already visited five salons in just over a year, always finding something that should have been done better. And I’m on a new budget (a pretty low one, given our house expenses - especially to the septic tank company), so my hair hunt has turned into a rather pricey journey. I even trimmed my own hair twice, so tired of paying for awful results.

But now I’ve found my guy. And he works at JCPenney. I’d never been inside a JCPenney until then.

His name is Paul Bourdeau, who cut and colored hair in Grosse Pointe, MI for decades before relocating to Southwest Florida. Found him by stopping a woman on the street with great hair and asking her who was responsible for it. Made the call, and he had a three-week wait for an appointment (a good sign, given that season here hadn’t yet kicked off.)

Why was such a talented pro working at the newly rebranded The Salon by InStyle at JC Penney? For one, full-timers get health insurance, a HUGE benefit that attracts top talent. Two hours later, my graying hairline was beautifully blended into my natural color, my cut and blow-out was perfection.

Lesson learned: stop being a snob about where you go. Great talent lurks where you may least expect it.

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