A Hair Affair

Playing 20 Questions at the Salon

After years of $5 haircuts, I'm re-discovering the salon experience.

By Maggie Berardo April 10, 2015

The Blue Mambo mantra, courtesy of the Blue Mambo website.

For years, I’ve been trapped in the collegiate cycle of $5 haircuts from fellow students or the cheapest salons—is Supercuts a salon?—usually found around the corner from Walmart. Trapped in poor service and passable cuts, my hair had been thirsty for some proper pampering. Ready for a haircut worthy of the working world, I searched for a great new salon to visit on Yelp, and found Blue Mambo Salon.

On the second floor of Chelsea Square on Montrose, Blue Mambo is a salon surrounded by open glass walls, filled with natural light, and decorated with crate-chairs and chalk boards. Walking in, the atmosphere is fun and casual, but still chic. I was invited in with smiles to meet my stylist, Matt Miertschin. Miertschin works with long, medium, and short hair lengths as well as transitioning in more dramatic cuts. My hair, for instance, was going from a below the shoulder length to a short bob.

The obligatory 'BEFORE' selfie--

While Blue Mambo’s atmosphere is great (they even have complimentary wine to sip on while you get styled!), what stuck out to me the most was how interactive it was. As a first-time customer, my visit began with a sit-down consultation. Miertschinn sat one-on-one with me asked about my hair. How have I worn it in the past? Do I have a specific image in mind for the cut? What have I enjoyed or disliked about past styles?

It was the most interactive I’ve felt with a stylist in my entire life, and he hadn’t even brought out the pictures yet. With a personal repertoire of before and after shots, Miertschinn went out of his way to show me all the different directions to take my haircut. What kind of layers? How many layers? Asymmetrical? On and on, there were so many options and questions, but I loved it. Getting to flip through and choose figure out exactly what I wanted was a treat, and one that more salons could take a lesson from. Anyone who needs control in their stylist visits Blue Mambo can accommodate.

--And the much adored 'AFTER'!

Even in the middle of the appointment, with wet hair and scissors out, Miertschinn was checking in with me to ask if I liked what he was doing, or if I wanted to go shorter. There was always a space to change my mind, and I didn’t feel like I was taking some kind of risk with my hair. Gone was the foreboding suspense of whether or not I’d be pleased with the outcome, because I was actively shaping the outcome as we went along. For the first time in years, I wasn't settling on my hair, and I got exactly what I wanted. Something short, airy, and with little to no maintenance required.

Yet we all know that a trip to the salon can have as great a service as they like, but it means nothing unless the hair turns out well. The proof is in the pudding—or as the case may be, the proof is in the mousse.

I am happy to say that I walked out of Blue Mambo with my ‘new hair strut.’ You know, the one that we all get when we feel like we’re looking on point, and all you want to do is just run your hands through your hair over and over to soak in that lustrous new feel of it. Score one for haircuts that cost more than $5, and score one for Yelp.


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