The haircut that changed my life

Me and Robert

Indulge me for a second while I explain why this is such a big deal. I have fine wavy hair with a mind of its own. It cannot be curled beyond its kink and it never falls straight. I have spent the better part of the last 10 years scrunching and teasing it into any shape that does not resemble a triangle. Just over two weeks ago I had my hair cut by Roberto Barbosa and I am still pleasantly surprised every time I look in the mirror — my waves now fall into a perfectly rounded frame for my face. In the interest of sharing my good-haircut karma, here are some tips I picked up from Barbosa that also came as a bit of a surprise:

1)   Start at the end. Whether you’re shampooing, applying styling product or smoothing on a finishing serum, start at the ends ­ that’s where hair is dirtiest, needs the most replenishing and taming. This is especially important with styling and finishing products because it allows you control the application so you don’t overload it and end up with a damage-control ponytail.

2)   Apply masks to naked hair. When you use a nourishing mask, apply it right on the freshly washed hair. You want hair to be clean but porous so don’t apply conditioner first or your hair will absorb less of the treatment.

3)   Never let your hair dry in a ponytail. Hair contracts when it dries, so if it’s tied into an elastic it has nowhere to go and will snap. That’s how you end up with so much breakage halfway down your hair. Now, not that I’m in the habit of feeling guilty about my haircuts (or having haircuts, come to that) but it’s worth knowing that Salon Escape is working to reduce their carbon footprint. Most notably, they recycle your hair. Yep. They sweep it up off the floor and send it to the 1,000 Pounds of Hair initiative where it gets stuffed into nylons and is used to soak up oil spills like that in the Gulf Coast. That, coupled with the surprisingly relaxed vibe at Salon Escape (they played 80s music the entire time I was in the chair), makes it unlike some intimidating Yorkville salons. And that alone is enough to bring me back! Salon Escape is at 132 Cumberland Street, Toronto. 416-324-8080

Me and Roberto, my mane man

Alex Laws