My hair had been super long for about two years before I got it cut recently. Even though I knew that it was definitely time for it to be shorter (it was getting kind of straggly and had no shape or style), I was still slightly nauseous at the thought of getting it done because that big of a change is scary. It could look awful! I could wind up resembling the “before” picture in a makeover (always a fear of mine)! So when I was looking for a salon to visit for the big chop, I was really excited to be able to choose Kinara. Every service I’ve ever had there has been amazing, but I’d never been to the Hair Studio before, so I was really looking forward to it. I’m happy to say that it more than lived up to my expectations!
The Hair Salon is located in the back of Kinara and overlooks a garden patio area, so it’s great because you can look outside while you’re getting your hair done. (Plus, it made me feel super happy that I live in L.A. because it was the beginning of December and it was something like 73 degrees outside. Nice!) When I first arrived, I talked with stylist Koji Toyoda about what I wanted my cut and color to look like. It was a great conversation; sometimes, I feel like the stylist I’m talking to isn’t really listening or is determined to give me the cut they want no matter what, but Koji genuinely wanted to hear what I was looking for. It instantly made me feel more relaxed about the fact that I was getting so many inches cut off my hair because I knew he wasn’t going to go overboard. He even steered me away from getting a cut like Gwyneth Paltrow’s because he said that it was actually much shorter in back than the styles I had been describing to him. Originally from Tokyo, Koji is a fourth generation hair stylist, so when you visit him, you’re not only getting the benefit of his expertise, but all that he’s learned from the other stylists in his family.
After my hair was washed, I got a fantastic neck massage from a member of Koji’s team, which was a total bonus. Who doesn’t love a good neck massage? Then my hair was put in what they refer to as “The Volcano.” It looks like a modern version of the old hairdryers you sat under, but it uses a micro-mist of ionic water and shots of cooling air to deliver a personalized rejuvenating treatment to your hair. For example, my treatment was designed to create more volume. After that came my cut and color. I’ve been getting my hair colored for a long time, but since it’s the middle of winter, I wanted a slighter darker, warmer brunette shade. Koji and I talked about it and looked at various samples to make sure we were on the same wavelength – yet another thing that made me feel totally at ease because I knew exactly what my resulting color would look like before it was put on my head. Another thing to note about the color: Koji prefers to use natural products whenever possible, which is great for both your hair and the environment. The color looks great with my skin tone, and I like that it’s dark without being even the hint of goth – something that I was concerned about. (And so far, it seems to wash out a lot less than the chemical colors I’m used to, so that gets a big thumbs up).
I admit, when Koji started to cut my hair and I saw it all falling to the floor, I had a slight moment of panic, but it quickly passed the second he started styling it. My new cut is about 9 inches shorter, so it now falls slightly below my shoulders, with some layers for movement. I’ve been getting tons of compliments on it; instead of just hanging there, it has a definite style now. It looks healthy and bouncy, but it’s still long enough to put up if I want to (one of my requirements). Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my new look. Koji and his team are a lot of fun to talk to, so the appointment was almost more like a visit with friends, and the change was totally painless – no tears from losing that much length. If you live in the L.A. area or are planning a visit, I definitely recommend stopping by. You won’t regret it!
Kinara is located at 656 North Robertson Blvd. in Los Angeles. To make an appointment, call them at 310-657-9188. For more information, visit their website at kinaraspa.com.