Sunshine State Solutions + Services

Squad Swap: When It Comes To Picking A New Hairstylist, Think Younger, Like The TV Show

Squad Swap: When It Comes To Picking A New Hairstylist, Think Younger, Like The TV Show

With a hallmark birthday coming up and taking a cue from my pal Pam’s best-selling book of a decade ago, the timeless “How Not to Act Old” (she’s also the author of Younger, which inspired the terrific TV series starring Sutton Foster), I decided to switch a few maje facets in my life last month, including my profession…and beauty squad.

As much as I love Paul at JCP, the past two attempts to see him have been thwarted. Our schedules no longer mesh, and my hair was in dire need of direction. 

Even though I still haven’t started blowing out my hair for the fall / winter season (really, why bother when SWFL’s humidity is still raging?), air drying isn’t really cutting it either. All it’s giving me is limp locks with no shape, which is kinda expected given that it’s been three months since I got it cut in Miami, the first time I cheated on Paul. 

So when scheduling my monthly pedi with Veronica at Philip Douglas, I asked their lovely 20-something receptionist Elizabeth if she might recommend someone affordable on my limited beauty budget. 

She suggested Stephanie Joy (yes, that’s really her last name; she embodies happiness and enthusiasm) at Philip Douglas, who was a few $ more than Paul. But she’s also more conveniently located - no extra driving through Naples, where our seasonal traffic issues already seem to be starting. As a former New Yorker, driving and traffic still make me a tad nervous. That and parking lots, which is where so many accidents occur.

I agreed to give Stephanie a try; my salon slut rep (three stylists in 2018) was creeping back, though through no fault of my own.

Post-pedi, I slid into Stephanie’s chair for what turned out to be a fairly lengthy consult. She’s 27 and her locks were adorned with twinkle-y Mylar extensions IHO Halloween. Somehow they looked pretty and subtle, in keeping with the salon’s well-heeled clientele. 

Having never previously met, it was refreshing to hear her take on my overall look; her young eyes and cool-girl style gave her a fresh au courant perspective on glamming up this 50-something gal with myriad hair challenges. We also talked about her experience: as someone who frequently travels to hair trade shows across America, she’s up on the newest trends, techniques, tools and products.

We first talked color. She suggested babylights, evoking a gut-wrenching flashback to when I spent $650 on high / lowlights with Brad Johns 10 years ago, leaving disappointed after seeing no discernible difference. 

Btw, why was I obsessed with not looking old in my 40s? I looked great!

Back to Stephanie: I shared how the silvery strays framing my face were a main concern to be tackled in the future. She noted these strands simply don’t take color well, which led to a convo about the over-chlorinated well-water sitch in Naples. As a native of the area, Stephanie said the shoddy well water further complicates the issue and makes color tricky to maintain for someone without a filtration system

I also forewarned her that my hair tends to be product-adverse.

Then it was on to my new cut. Knowing that I was getting a professional wash, I’d slept with oodles of my MOP Pomegranate hair oil the night prior, rendering a pre-wash cut — her preferred method for those with my hair-type (wavy, frizzy, fine) — impossible. 

She approved my Bridgette-sanctioned new regimen, and suggested we cut dry next time. That way, when naturally drying (especially on mornings at the Marco Island library when my shift starts at 8am), the overall shape, waves and curls would be more defined. 

I was happy to learn the salon stocks René Furterer Karité products among their offerings. Stephanie expertly massaged my scalp while shampooing my locks, finishing with conditioner designed for extremely dry hair.

Then she started cutting, and my new slightly-above-the-shoulder lob (a longer-length bob) took shape quickly. She explained how versatile this style would be, especially on days when I don’t have time to deal and just want to air-dry or pull back into a ponybun.

She sectioned oh-so-small pieces, which were then blown out individually starting at the lower layers. It was painstaking and time-consuming, but yielded great results. Truth: I coveted her wide-brush collection but was too timid to share my 8-brush blowout process.

Lastly, Stephanie said she thought I’d look prettier with a few strategically-placed loose curls, obtained with a wide rod to further soften my hair’s new shape. 

The next day I attended the Paradise Wine + Food Experience, an all-afternoon outdoor event. Knowing I’d see some of my good pals, I wondered if my new do would evoke a reaction. Here’s the thing: it didn’t - the new hair was a seamless fit with my timeless mint-striped St. James sheath. 

It reminded me of Pam’s rule #151: don't try to be so chic as it’s better to be hot than cool.


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