Just cut my hair off, already.
July 20, 2013 2:14 PM   Subscribe

Where in or around North County San Diego can I find a hair stylist who will cut my hair in a short, edgy style without fretting over how short is too short for a woman, or what hairstyles suit a tall body or a oblong face? I'd love to find somebody unafraid to have fun with my hair, who has experience doing more alternative-looking cuts.

I'm sick of having my hair the way everybody thinks I should have it. I've avoided styles I love for most of my life because I don't have the looks, "sass," or now youth that are apparently required. The few times I've tried to request a shorter, edgier hairstyle, I either get talked down, and/or the hairstylist does a super-conservative (and generally longer) version and finishes it off with a round brush, blow-drier, and hairspray. I walk out feeling a decade or two older.

I found somebody who can do a decent pixie cut, but she keeps telling me how she doesn't want to cut it "too short," even after repeated requests to take it shorter. I'm going in today for a fix of yesterday's cut, and after three recent appointments fighting her on length, I'm ready to take the risk of looking for somebody new.

I'd really like to walk into a place and have somebody help me be creative with my hair, push my comfort boundaries, but I haven't had any luck. How do I find such a person? (I picked my latest stylist because her profile specifically said she did creative cuts, but she has repeatedly talked me down on color, varying lengths, and overall length.)

Bonus if it's not terribly expensive. I'm on a budget, and short cuts mean more trips to the salon. Triple bonus if it's not all snooty.
posted by moira to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is not my hairdresser, but she's a friend's (pixie/short-funky, dramatic color) hairdresser - her facebook page has a different number than the card I've got (which also has a defunct Facebook address), which says 858-521-8672. I'm pretty sure she's not outrageously spendy, and she's in RB.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:24 PM on July 20, 2013

I don't know anything about the area, but you might have luck looking into stylists who specialize in cuts for gay women. I know that looking around for a new rockabilly barber in NYC I encountered lots of websites that had pages dedicated to that and the cuts and attitude were very much what you're describing.
posted by gregoryg at 2:30 PM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't live in San Diego, but Autostraddle (who love themselves some alternative lifestyle haircuts) have these recommendations in their Queer Girl City Guide:

Hair Drezzers on Fire (3463 Adams Ave.) and  Mary Jane Salon (3919 4th Ave.)
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:33 PM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Kind of a jinx with gregoryg. Figure out where the cute queer kids go, even if you have to go out to a club night and drink a beer and ask people with awesome hair where they get it cut.
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:34 PM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I bitched about my last haircut in the north county. I think it is too small town conservative in climate. But if you are willing to go to La Jolla, the Supercuts on the backside of the Ralph's was pretty good. I think this is their address:


8657 Villa La Jolla Dr, San Diego, CA

I keep my hair quite short and have the patter down for what I want and it usually gets me good results but my last cut looked like a Jarhead. Ugh. So she went as short as I wanted but the style was terrible. The places closer to downtown seem more able to cope with edgy or whatever you want to call it. They aren't necessarily much more expensive but are part of a more citified, international culture and it's just different. She apparently could not conceive of super short hair with feminine details and just cut it like a male soldier's hair. I hated it. I have only had that happen one other time.
posted by Michele in California at 2:37 PM on July 20, 2013

Best answer: In 12 months I went from blah 'Kate Middleton' hair to a) tight asymmetric bob w/ neck shave and bleached underneath, to b) bright, pure purple hair, to c) long-in-front shaved-in-back asymmetric in brown and purple ombre.

I found my stylist by checking out the staff pics on their Facebook page. All other hairdressers in town had staff with the usual barrel curls in platinum blonde, or mom-bobs in caramel blonde. My hairdresser had bubblegum pink hair that was shaved on the temples. The rest of the staff were about 1/3 'blonde curls' but the rest were all super-tight and super-edgy and every colour of the rainbow.

My hairdresser is in a 'rough' part of town, the inside of the salon looks like a warehouse, they hire teenagers who've dropped out of school and train them into professional hairdressers. But damn if they don't give me the best cuts and colours of my life.

I can't give you specific recommendations for a salon in your area, but I think the staff photos are a huge giveaway on what response you'll get when you ask for something short and edgy. Also, never forget you are perfectly capable of saying "You know what? Thanks but no thanks," and leaving the salon.
posted by Chorus at 2:38 PM on July 20, 2013 [5 favorites]

Jet Rhys in Solana Beach or in Hillcrest! Ask for Mallory if you go to the Solana Beach location!!
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 3:45 PM on July 20, 2013

Best answer: Have you tried HS Salon (formerly called The Haircut Store)? I go to the one in Clairemont Mesa and I've gotten great super short cuts there a few times. There's a location in Encinitas. I haven't been to that one but I have had really good haircuts at a couple of the Orange County locations too, as well as the one in CM. As good or a lot better than the couple of times that I've gone to more expensive places.

The price is about $25-35 depending on what kind of cut you get and whether you get it styled too (which I think is worth doing, especially the first time with a new cut).

Also, when you're calling to make an appointment, if it's not with a specific person, I think it's worth it to mention that you want a very short haircut, because there are some stylists that have more experience with certain cuts and/or really like doing them.
posted by treese at 3:54 PM on July 20, 2013

Is there a hairdressing training place near you? I hate getting attitude from hairdressers who won't listen to what I want in a haircut, so I started going to our local community college equivalent who have a hairdressing program. They do cuts for $12, colour for $30, which is about a quarter of what you pay here even at the cheapest real salons. And because the kids cutting your hair are about 18 years old and a bit grungy, they are into fun styles. Because they are just starting out, they are too insecure to try to talk you out of what you want to do.
posted by lollusc at 6:29 PM on July 20, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far. I'll be looking into all of them.

I admit I blinked at the salons-that-specialize-in-gay-woman-cuts thing. What does that mean? Am I going to end up with their concept of a "butch" cut, or does that just mean any alternative 'do? Is there a way to find these places outside of going clubbing and asking around? I'm not really having luck with Google.

lollusc: I tried the local College of Beauty with that idea in mind, but haven't had luck with getting a skilled haircut there. Pretty much the opposite, actually. My hair may be too weird for an amateur to deal with: thick in the crown, more wavy at the front, large scar. I ended up with lopsided and choppy cuts. It took me two cuts to fix the last one, which left a big hole in my hair (the result of his effort to de-lopside it, poor guy; he tried so damn hard).
posted by moira at 7:41 PM on July 20, 2013

GIS lesbian haircut to see if that's what you want. It sounds like that's what you want.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:39 PM on July 20, 2013

I admit I blinked at the salons-that-specialize-in-gay-woman-cuts thing. What does that mean? Am I going to end up with their concept of a "butch" cut, or does that just mean any alternative 'do?

Think the sort of place trendy 20-something lesbians would go to get their hair cut like Miley Cyrus. (Someone who wants a "butch" short-back-and-sides cut would probably just go to a barber.) A stylist at a place like that is going to be a lot more accustomed to hearing "no, seriously, cut it all off and do something awesome and stylish with what's left" and less likely to panic.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:40 PM on July 20, 2013

Response by poster: MrMoonPie - sort of? Most of these make me swoon. Some are edgier than others, but I've only been able to accomplish the safest of pixies. (I'm interested in different styles, pixie is just where I'm at right now.)
posted by moira at 9:11 PM on July 20, 2013

My 18-year-old daughter suggested "short scene haircut."
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:35 PM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

A lot of folks in this thread have some good suggestions but a hazy idea of what North San Diego County is like. There is what I will politely call 'very little' in the way of butch friendly hairstylists in the area. Also if you went to the Oceanside beauty school, dear god no.

I had a pretty good experience at the Paul Mitchell school downtown when I was on a budget--definitely recommended if you have the time it'll take for the cut itself. Your hair issues will be great practice for the students, and the instructors don't usually let them get very off track. You can also request a more trained student. That's an 'if you're feeling adventurous and don't have a lot of money to put into this' suggestion.

If you've got a decent budget, Aveda is always my go-to for stylists who will a) not be shocked at requests for trendy styles and b) have enough experience that your hair challenges shouldn't faze them. Just make sure to ask for a master stylist. Looking at the North County locations, I would recommend either the Encinitas one or the Carlsbad ones (and I think I've actually been to the Calle Barcelona one and had a good if not outstanding experience--that one also has a stylist who specifically calls out her experience doing short haircuts and who has a pixie herself). I'm hoping this isn't where you went that they weren't willing to help!

Finally, look at some suggestions from the curly hair sites (I know you have wavy hair, but those tend to highlight stylists which will charge the earth but give you what you want). Tiger Tail Salon in Carlsbad looks promising--their homepage pretty specifically highlights the fact that they listen to what you want, which is a good sign.

I'm not sure where you are in North County, but I'd recommend coastal over inland and Encinitas/Solana Beach over Carlsbad/Oceanside any day when it comes to creative haircuts. Good luck!
posted by librarylis at 9:37 PM on July 20, 2013

Response by poster: Fixing my link: these.

And yes, it was the Oceanside beauty school. My current stylist is at an Aveda salon. Maybe I'll try the other one, or maybe I just need to drive south a bit more. I was pretty happy at the Electric Chair in OB, but that's a very long drive from Carlsbad.
posted by moira at 10:00 PM on July 20, 2013

OK, after looking at the pictures you linked to, I'm just coming back to strongly recommend HS Salon again. I've had my hair almost exactly like the Anne Hathaway pictures on that page.

If you do go down to the Clairemont Mesa location, I've had my hair cut by Gabby and by Melissa there and they were both really great about communicating and listening to what I wanted. But it's probably worth checking out the Encinitas salon too, and trying out a few different stylists there. And hopefully you can find one that you click with communication-wise.

Good luck! I know how frustrating it is to be the recipient of a skillfully done haircut that is nonetheless not what you wanted.
posted by treese at 11:26 PM on July 20, 2013

for north county specifically, seconding Jet Rhys! I hair model short & edgy cuts/color for them, and Mallory actually did my last cut.

(my profile pic's a couple years old, but that color was from Jet Rhys)
posted by changeling at 1:16 AM on July 21, 2013

Downtown tends to be pricey. I was thinking of the Paul Mitchell school too, though I have no experience with it. I suggested La Jolla because the university is there. Lots of young people, many of them from other countries. So when I went to the Supercuts there, they did not bat an eyelash at how short I wanted it. I usually have to reassure the stylist, no, really, I have had it this short before, I am not going to freak out on you, it will be fine.

If you look for a place in La Jolla, that area still has that international vibe without having to go all the way downtown. It saves you about thirty minutes driving plus the parking won't be a nightmare. I live without a car, but I know parking downtown makes people crazy. My impression is the prices are steeper than the north county but not as bad as downtown.
posted by Michele in California at 6:15 AM on July 21, 2013

DK Hair seems to fit your bill. Check out their gallery. Also yelp turned up this one woman outfit named FRESH which seems like she knows what she's about. The butch or "gay" style haircut is sort of the "in" thing among the hipster kids right now, so I don't think you'll be sending the wrong message if that's the style you want to go with. As a guy I think those haircuts looks super cool for what it's worth. Sort of Audrey Hepburn meets the Road Warrior.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 10:05 AM on July 21, 2013

Response by poster: OMG GUYS. I went to HS Salon in Encinitas and I now have a cut that I LOVE! The stylist was perfect. She nudged at my hair boundaries, suggested a couple of things I hadn't thought of, and showed me a few different ways to style my cut at the end.

I found her by looking at HS Salon per treese's recommendation, looking through reviews for clues about who does great short hair, looking at the stylist's pictures for one with a more creative cut/color (thank you, chorus), and then asking the person who answered the phone who could give me a fun cut. Her recommendation matched up with the reviews and picture, so I went with it.

Thank you!
posted by moira at 2:25 PM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

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