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Bayou St. Blonde by Blanca May

Bayou St. Blonde

Sounds more like a microbrewery than a hairdressing class. Just like after drinking a strong beer on an empty stomach, after reading the description of the class, (Hair Painting, Balayage, Creative Color, Hand Painting, Scissor Cutting, Razor Cutting, Styling and much more) I was buzzing.

Emily Costello is my current hair hero and with Whittemore House on the ticket I was SOLD! I was familiar with the other brands and presenters, but thought I might be in for an extended sales pitch. Nevertheless, the ticket was paid for, hairdresser crew selectively chosen, and Airbnb booked. 

photos by Carlos Detres

Day 1

The first morning my luscious hair posse and I rolled up to the Jazz Market feeling a bit tired and slightly hungover (don’t judge, it’s New Orleans!) We checked in and ran into our Dallas hair comrades, JT Osgood and crew of Songbird Society. First sign we were in good company. After chatting a bit, we looked around amongst the sea of black clothes coupled with stylish hair and realized people were holding what looked to be brunch cocktails! Hallelujah! After a round of Bloodys my crew was feeling fine as they opened the doors and let us in the auditorium. 

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First up, Whittemore House, Larry and Victoria told us about their multi-use lightener that is formulated with intelligent crystals, allowing the colorist to push the envelope of how far you can take previously colored or lightened hair. Their demos immediately made me think about which of my clients I was going to reach out to first to try their product and technique! About halfway through their demo, the conversation started to change. People began asking questions, easily flowing into a conversation about setting the standard within your salon, leading by example and experimenting with formulation and techniques until you have the one that works for you. Inspirational AF.

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This was just the first presentation and I could have wet my pants with excitement. I could have cried from feeling 75 fellow hairdressers’ excited energy. The rest of the day was an elated blur of king cake, a long leisurely lunch break and meeting back up at the Tattoo Museum for Hairstory and EDU X. Beau Bollinger and Emily Costello spared no fingers in their razor cuts, each uniquely creating very similar results with two very different approaches.

Emily Costello was incredible, funny, sweet and inspiring. She talked about her own hair journey starting as a disciplined cutter and the difficulties of shifting from that into razor cutting; letting go of that perfect shape to create a perfectly imperfect one. IT WAS LIKE SHE WAS SPEAKING JUST TO ME!!! SWOON! I will be RUNNING, not walking to sign up for her Philly classes. 

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Carlos_Detres_Jan 29 2017_DSC_2706(Emily Costello)

Day 2 

Still full from our previous meals, a coffee-only breakfast took us to a yoga studio for a gong meditation. The intense sound and vibration seemed to shake out energy from everyone, leaving us cleansed and ready for Carla Gentile’s holistic approach to hairdressing. Carla spoke passionately about her products and gave us a great demo of “un-doing” hair. She also is the very first hair educator I’ve ever known to broach the subject of hairdresser self-care.

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I was surprised by how many hairdressers were happy to hear that others in the industry struggled with balance and how important yoga/exercise is to mentally preparing for working with your clients. 

Our setting changed a couple of more times for haircutting demos and a great conversation with Cyd and Caeleb from Destroy the Hairdresser. Their casual chatting about their concept of hairdresser coaching is what every salon with an education system has been trying to do for their employees. 

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 This approach is different. This is more like having a mentor who is not affiliated with your salon that is there for you and only you! This makes learning very specialized and had it been around 15 years ago, jeez I’d probably be a millionaire. Check out their podcast Bleached.

Mega-babe, Garrett of REVERIE closed the class at the NOLA Museum of Pharmacy. I couldn’t really hear his soft words, but as I watched him cut the shaggiest bob, (lower me into the ground, I’m dying) I couldn’t wait to get back in the salon to use my new moves.

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Carlos_Detres_Jan 30 2017_DSC_3435(Garret Markenson of Reverie)

Aryn with Left Brained Group, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for hosting two of the most badass, inspirational days of my career! 

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You curated an experience that led to conversations and ideas that will continue to develop, changing hairdressers ideas on our value and our industry. 

See you next year!

Blanca May

www.hairbyblankie.com

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