X Marks The Spot

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What makes a good hairstylist? It depends—on your hair, your style, your budget, and of course, your individual taste.

Obviously it also depends on the training and skill of the person wielding a scissors inches away from your scalp! Essentially women are vain and fickle creatures when it comes to hair. We want what we want and if we don’t get it, we go somewhere else. I know. I was stuck in that pattern here in Taos for years until Delta at Salon X began doing my hair.

I had the very good fortune of befriending brothers Michael and Mark Gordon during my teens in South Africa. They had a little salon in Hillbrow called Bumble and Bumble, and when I’d visit Johannesburg, I’d get my hair cut by Mark. Later after I moved to the States and wound up in NY, I discovered they were there too, and until I left the city, Mark Gordon cut my hair.

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Mark eventually sold his share of Bumble to his brother Michael who went on to sell the company to Estee Lauder. Mark moved out West to be a cowboy. He doesn’t cut hair anymore, but for a while during the late 90’s he lived outside of Santa Fe and I’d make him cut mine. He used a kitchen scissors, but they were still perfect haircuts. I certainly do know the difference between  great, good, mediocre and bad haircuts. And I’ve had my share of disasters here in Taos.

For most women, who have not had the benefit of haircuts from one of the world’s best stylists, the criteria might be a little different (and standards not as high). A woman with long straight hair might praise a certain stylist, while a woman with thick,curly hair might say that same stylist gave her the worst cut of her life.That’s one reason why, when looking for a stylist, you should ask women who not only have a haircut you like but who have hair just like yours.

The women I know say the best salon is one that offers a friendly greeting and charges a fair price, one where the stylist listens. Others don’t mind if a salon has a bit of attitude and the stylist is pricey—as long as the end result is great.

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The best hair salons are usually very busy. So once you find your ideal spot, you’ll probably have to call well in advance to get an appointment. No walking in at any time. For me, nothing beats the little extras. The best hair salons offer comfy chairs and coffee or tea, along with current magazines. I love the idea of a full service salon with everything available under one roof – from manis and pedis to facials and massage along with the hair.

A visit to the hairdresser should be a pleasurable event which is why the atmosphere of a salon is so important. I want a place where I feel at ease, where I get a warm welcome, a short waiting time and a comfortable, relaxed vibe.Luckily for me, Salon X fits all my criteria. The stylists working here are all, without exception, talented, enthusiastic about their work and highly skilled.

Delta,the owner of  Salon X, who just passed the grueling exam to become a member of the prestigious American Board Of Certified Colorists, has trained with both Toni and Guy in NY and Jacques Dessange in Paris. She’s a total professional and great at what she does. Because she loves it.

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“I think the best thing about the team here at Salon X, is that we are all passionate about what we do.” She says. “No one’s just going through the motions here.”

Besides Delta, there are two other stylists at Salon X. Heather Miro has been cutting hair in Taos for 13 years. She had her own Salon for most of that time but for the past two years, has had her chair at Salon X.Heather is a highly skilled stylist. She’s done extensive training with Vidal Sassoon, she cut hair in London and in the Bay Area for years before moving here and her clientel is super loyal and full of praise.

Heather is also a great colourist, but considers herself a cutter first and some of the cuts I’ve seen get out of her chair are truly extraordinary. She really gets the Sassoon approach to form and foundation.Heather mostly works with a shears (Sassoon style) but isn’t afraid of the razor for creating texture and movement.

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“There’s a new razor out I want,” she tells me, “it’s electrically heated and seals the ends of the hair.”

When asked about her approach to hair colour – Heather is truly an artist when it comes to custom colour – her response is measured and modest.

“Colour really scared me in the beginning,” she says, “but once I did the training (also with the AB Certification program) I came to love colour!”

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That’s apparent in some of the truly cutting edge cuts, highlighted with brilliant hues that leave her chair.

“This is a great working environment,” she tells me. “We all have a different approach, but we all deliver and that’s the point.”

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Salon X’s newest stylist (and she’s been there for almost a year) Christine, has over 12 years experience working in the beauty industry. Christine’s skills range from traditional to edgy – she easily manages both – I’ve seen her execute a perfect shoulder length bob as well as edgy, punky cuts. She is attentive to her clients – both in terms of their desires and their actual hair. Once while getting my hair done by Delta,  I overheard her gently explaining why one cut wouldn’t work but another, close alternative would.

The client left happy.

For more info on Salon X and to book an appointment, please visit the website linked below.


All pics taken on my iphone.