It has been a day since my appointment, and I’m still trying to figure out if I was taken advantage of.
I went to Oxenrose because I had a $50 for $150 Balayage highlights coupon from Facebook and because the place had glowing reviews. I’d never had Balayage highlights before and wanted to see what the hype was about. Matthew the so-called celebrity stylist and his assistant were very friendly and serviceable when I showed up, so I felt confident that they would do a great job on my hair.
The first warning sign occurred during the highlight process. I’m not sure how long a Balayage procedure usually takes, but mine was quick–almost too quick. I’m used to sitting in a chair for two hours waiting for the various chemicals to soak into my hair when I get my hair highlighted, even if it’s just a touch-up. Matthew, on the other hand, took all of 30 seconds to brush some bleach into my hair before handing me over to the assistant (who told me that it was literally his first day at the salon), who took over for the rest of the time. Neither of them asked me where I part my hair, which, in my experience, is standard procedure before a highlight. The assistant then put some chocolate/caramel colors in, waited a little while, and washed my hair. The entire process took about 45 minutes, and most of that time was spent waiting at the sink for the colors to sink in.
I’m all about efficiency, but the rate at which everything happened was surprising and slightly suspicious. But, in all fairness, it has been a day and my highlights look great, so I have no complaints about the result–so far.
The really weird part happened when, after washing my hair, the assistant informed me that I could either dry my own hair or let one of the assistants do it. Since this option had never been presented to me before at any salon, I got the feeling that they were going to charge extra for the blow dry, so I told him I’d do it myself. The assistant led me to a station, showed me the dryer and a few bottles of leave-in conditioners, and left me there on my own. I was in disbelief. After a few minutes, the assistant came back to check up on me, and I finally asked him how much it would cost to have someone blow dry my hair, to which he responded, “It’ll cost $50. If we had assistants available, one of them would do it for you, but they’re all busy right now.” He did not apologize.
If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you’re probably going, “What. The. Fuck.” (If not, you are either much more cynical and informed than I am or have never set foot inside a hair salon.) In my 15 years of salon experience, no stylist has ever left me to dry my own soaking wet hair. It’s simply not done. It goes against the laws of human nature.
Anyway, I dried my own hair and left a generous 13% tip. I won’t be going back.
Bottom line: there is no way in hell I (or anyone I know) would pay the regular price of $150 for the kind of service that I got. Perhaps they do a more complete job for regular customers, but that doesn’t give them license to treat the coupon customers like crap.