Reservations: I called up Studio Fix yesterday to book an appointment for a haircut. I was told that my preferred stylist Hermes is available on Saturday at 230 pm. The schedule seemed perfect so I confirmed the appointment.
Expectations: I was quite excited since I've read “raves” and glowing feedback from satisfied customers of Studio Fix. Of course, Alex Carbonell has earned a good styling reputation (particularly with short hair and color) for celebrities and non-celebrities alike. But I thought that it may take at least a week of advance booking before I can have an appointment with him. Thus, more research led me to Hermes, another famed stylist of Studio Fix. I first read about him from Sunset Goddess' blog. In any case, I'm already assured by the fact that Studio Fix trains ALL its stylists.
I was at Studio Fix (4th floor Greenbelt 5, Makati City) at 2:15pm.
First impression: I love that the place is quite secluded and thus seemed like a good escape if you want to pamper yourself. The ladies at the reception are the cheerful and attentive types (no snobs here). The Daphne scents from the diffusers give the place a clean and calming vibe.
UPDATE: I posted a recent review here. You may also want to check it out
Waiting in line: It seemed like Saturday was another busy day for Studio Fix. At least, I didn't wait really long before I got ushered in for my turn. I'm sure that these ladies taking care of the booking are doing quite a good job: that is, they know their stylists and customers well. I confirmed this when I was already inside. The “Styling Proper” seemed more like a private dressing room with only a handful of customers (about six) in each wing (I was at the left wing). The space felt like a busy beehive with every one doing their respective duties (washing and shampooing hair, blowdrying, coloring and attending to other customer concerns). Even with all these, it still was the organized type of a beehive. The stylists and assistants will move from one customer to another in a seamless way such that not one would feel short-changed or under-attended. Again, kudos to the ladies taking care of the booking; it's not an easy job and doing it well adds to the entire “great customer experience”.
Initial Assessment: When I was seated, Hermes came over and introduced himself. We discussed my hair concerns and his proposed style: I wanted a low-maintenance wash-and wear hair (don't we all? Lol) and brought up the thin-ness and limpness of my hair (yes, I didn't have high praises for my crowning glory at the moment but I've vowed to take better care of it to improve its “sad plight”).
Shampoo: My hair was shampooed afterwards. I loved it that I had to wear a bathrobe (like what you'd do in proper salons, instead of the usual towel). The shampoo part was longer than expected (I don't know if it's just me but probably the washing section's chair can be made more comfortable to lessen the strain on the neck.). My head got massaged and there was absolutely no rush. I felt like my hair got its thorough cleaning the “royalty way” --- I was wondering if Kate Middleton has someone to do this for her every morning (I wish to have one, hehe).
Plus Massage: When I was seated in my chair, I got a back massage, too. I think the whole shampoo plus massage part took about 30 minutes (or I was too lulled by the massage to keep track of time? Yes, it was that good --- talk about exceeding expectations and I haven't gotten to the haircut yet.)
Possibilities: Hermes came back and asked me about my hair concerns. He offered to give me full bangs adding that it will suit me and that it will be the side-swept type (after I also disclosed the irregular tendency of my hair to flip in such a way when it's dry). He also showed me the “future length” of my hair after he would layer it at the back (a good thing since most women would hate to be surprised with either too-short or not-short-enough hair after the cut; I know *nodding* that we can be difficult to please sometimes). I loved it that he is not the pushy type to impose anything on a customer. He made it seem like all of these things are suggestions which a customer can freely agree with or not. For a stylist of his rep, I was surprised that he seemed so humble (no snobbish demeanor) and that he was soft-spoken. I remembered that he even asked me on who recommended Studio Fix. When I told him about Sunset Goddess' blog, he asked me to thank her for the recommendation. Isn't that nice of him? I also loved it that he was impeccably dressed (no avant-garde things here); I even took note of his hair style – neat and well-groomed (I'm usually wary of stylists who sport unusual hair styles and color; if they can't style themselves well, how can they style me?).
Hermes asked me if I wanted to try low-lights on my hair to get the illusion of volume. He also explained further that this will need less frequent visits to the salon since the growth will not be obvious later. I only know highlights, hehe, but I think I will love the low-lights, too :) I said “Yes, let's go ahead with it”. Even though my appointment was for a haircut only, Hermes was kind enough to quickly arrange for the additional tasks with his assistants.
The CUT and COLOR: Hermes then quietly did my haircut and he was done in a few minutes (quick and precise – I loved it that I didn't have to feel that my hair was going through trial-and error as in previous salon experiences). My hair was shampooed again to prepare for the low-lights. Then, the assistants came to section, brush in hair color and fold my hair in foils. Hermes was the one gave the instructions on which colors go first and so on. Tyrone, his assistant (he's straight, I believe) seems to know his way around, too as I didn't get that “uh-oh” feeling I usually have with male assistants. Jean, the lady who shampooed my hair, gave my massage, and provided my magazines and hot tea, was also there all throughout to assist. Hermes would check in from time to time to see the progress and provide instructions. He was referred as “Sir Hermes” by the rest of the Studio Fix staff (with the same respect as “Sir Alex”) and I'm sure Alex Carbonell is proud of his entire Studio Fix staff. There was no chatting and instructions were given discreetly --- everyone acted in a professional manner.
After hours of waiting, the foils were finally removed and my hair went through another shampoo (the final for the day --- my third in the salon and my fourth for the day; boy, this hair should be really clean now). Tyrone applied some cream on my hair before blowdrying it with big waves. I know that I wouldn't have to do this wave-thing everyday but that can be an occasional option. Hermes came over to check on the final look (the finished product) and asked me if I liked it. I loved it definitely and extended my sincere thanks.
The end: I left the salon and yes, the lady at the reception noticed my extended stay after seeing my new hair color. She was her usual cheerful self as I paid my dues. I also loved it that Studio Fix didn't “market” any of their products (they have a lot) as most salons would do. These are all displayed on the shelf just in case you feel like you want to purchase. For now, I still have my supply of Human Nature shampoo and Organix conditioner which have helped strengthen my weak / damaged hair strands. I paid my dues and said my thanks. Will be coming back after probably three months to retouch my low-lights. For now, I'm a happy camper :D
Before the haircut (tamed with straightening iron :)
My new hair after washing it the next day :)