It's Hot in Hair | Jouissance

9/12/2013 | Lisa Elin Craighead
Erik Craighead

IMG_7994The fine story below is a guest piece from Lady Lisa Elin Craighead [seen here doing things right]. This saucy broad is a recent transplant from NYC and a client-turned-contributor who seems to be as stoked on us as we are on her. To that end, she's offered up her first bit of SLC-appreciating copy. You'll see more of her soon enough, so keep an eye out for an official bio and contributor page. *Ahem. Lisa...

JOUISSANCE Fr. (n): The fruition of pleasure. [It's relevant.]

A born-and-raised New Yorker, I'm new to Utah. In truth, it's been an adjustment trying to figure out how to rebuild the services I was used to. Your relationship with your hair is very touchy in a way that few things are. I’d had one pretty amateur experience that severely bummed me out. Bad hair = bad mood, so I grudgingly resigned myself to heading home to NYC or LA for my next cut.

Forever saving my mood [and hard-earned sky miles] the heavens parted and there he was: a wheaty-haired hottie with big glasses, big heart, big talent. Lifesaver, life improver, salacious salon namer, and one of only TWO board-certified colorists in the entire state of Utah...Nick James opened Jouissance Salon & Drybar. Cue the singing angels. We got a new pair of scissors in town.

Day after day, I noted ladies and gents strolling out of his shiny doors sporting toothy grins...their layers, color, and blow drys the stuff of Park Avenue Princesses, arty Soho denizens, and sexy boho Angelenos. Jouissance is a large, airy, impeccably-clean space filled with the elite and chic smells of the liberally-used Oribe and Kerastase products. I love the luxury of being his complete focus. No whirring blowers from other stylists. No yelling to be heard. No drama. It’s you, your soon-to-be-f*cking-fabulous hair, and Nick’s charming conversation. His demeanor is gentle, elegant, and unassuming. Built like a tension wire, it would be a great disservice to underestimate his strength; those sinewy arms seamlessly worked my extremely thick, long hair into layered perfection, sans flat iron. He believes modern hair needs some body. He believes right. Everybody needs some body.

I’ve been to some titans, mind you. Oscar Blandi, John Sehag, Frederick Fekkai. Nick slayed them all. Ametuers. Every one of 'em. With one life-altering, simply-perfect cut and the W Magazine of blow-outs, Nick won my hair and my heart forever. No wonder he's got clients flying in for his magic hands from all over the country. Each time I leave the warm, butter-colored walls of Jouissance, I flip my hair, triumphantly. In my business, we call it, "Having your shit together hair." Now hear from the man who got my shit together...


I've been going to Drybars for years in NYC and LA, so it slightly baffles me that so many people here don't know what they are. They are SO perfect for Utah women. Help explain: They are, but I think they are intimidated by it because it’s new for this market. Most people that come to me are from out of town; NYC, LA, Seattle, even Scottsdale. Hopefully, the ladies here will experience it and start to love it. Drybar as a concept is brilliant; really good, inexpensive blow drys, quickly. It's especially great for people that blowdry every three days; if they come in twice a week, it really works. You’re the best example. You have hair that's hard to style how you would like it...drybar is a great way to get your hair perfect, inexpensively. But there has definitely been some liquor-law confusion; people have actually wandered in looking for a drink. Which I’m happy to provide if you’re of age...and a client.

After a brush-out, I usually look like Roseanne it's so perfectly cut that it lays beautifully no matter what I do. Your blowdry's are magnificent. I feel like a gorgeous lion when I walk out. How did you master your layering perfection? Education. At 19, I trained with the U.S. director of Toni & Guyas, her assistant. Essentially, I got a world class education in California that people pay tens of thousands of dollars for. That gave me ability to not just cut hair, but cut ANY hair, any texture, well. The hair world is funded by retail companies, so education often comes from sales reps whose slant is to cut hair for certain products...not simply for great hair. Great product will ALWAYS make huge difference, but you have to live with your hair every second of the day. It should look good at its baseline...not because you have to slather a ton of product in it.

Tell us the celebs you think have the best hair and why:

Kate Moss: versatile and even edgy, but ALWAYS manges to look incredibly classy. Penelope Cruz: she’s Ralph Lauren classic; ponytail, chignon, messy topknot...her silky, dark, healthy hair is never crazy, it always looks pulled together and natural. Coco Chanel: a perfect bob that has some curl and movement. Sometimes, “classically classic” is the only ticket. Sarah Jessica Parker: it’s healthy, she doesn’t force it. She works with her texture. She manages to look bohemian and rich, or Paris perfect. Her hair matches her many moods, and perfectly. John Hamm: a man who looks like a million bucks onscreen and off. He uses a little product to keep it in place, but when a piece falls into his eyes, he looks like a GQ ruffian, not sloppy. Product should enhance, not overhwelm. Andrew Garfield: fun, and a little big. It has character without looking like a caricature. Ryan Gosling: he can wear it in different ways, from 60’s to super modern, but it never looks overworked or feminine. He looks like a man.

How do you deal with bitchy clients? I smile and say, “tell me more.”

How do you maneuver people with bad taste into a good haircut? People are very attached to their “look," and it can be very touchy telling someone they look like they have a dead ferret on their head. They love that dead ferret. It takes time. Initially, give people what they want, but build a relationship based on trust. Within 6 months, I can be more natural and slowly insert better taste into the process. People always ask well, “what do YOU think,” and I say, “well what do YOU think?” It’s important to have that talk and let people discover their beauty, rather than force it on them. It can be uncomfortable for people to really look at themselves, but that’s how you get to your most gorgeous self.

Why SLC, now? I’m a local investing in downtown. It’s truly the place to be. And because this market, in my opinion, is dying for beautiful hair. Not trendy, teenage punk hipster hair, but gorgeous grown-up modern hair. Hair that moves, but is within your control. Oribe and Kerastase do it iconically. Hair that’s modern, timeless, beautiful and sexy. I want SLC women to look even more gorgeous.

Would you say that’s your sweet spot, the classic stuff? Or would you do punk haircuts? More out-there styles? Absolutely my sweet spot. And absolutely no green hair. No “manic panic,” etc. There are plenty of other salons that do that hair well.

Gettin' personal: what does your ideal lover look like? I know it’s so typically gay-narcissitic, but it would be so great to meet my little twin! It’s taken me a long time to decide...before it was dark, Latin, but in the end it be great to have some rugged Scottish guy.

So basically you think you’re so hot that you’d love to stare at your doppleganger all day? For me it’s more personality and aesthetic; someone funny who reads philosphy and listens to Nina Simone. A little guy with a little ginger in him. That be kinda fun and kinda hot. You know, we’d hold hands and wear matching coats...that’s a little absurd. But who can resist twinsises! Kidding.

Jouissance Salon & Drybar | 217 E. Broadway | 801.865.9909



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