b: blunt@ Spratt is the hip new spruce up joint in town that offers services markedly different from the rest in the league
Let me tell you a story. When I was 10, my mom decided to take me to a 'parlour' (those days, that's what they called salons that catered to women) for what was the habitual summer trim. When you're 10, you don't have a mind of your own.
At least, back in the days, you didn't. So I nodded to whatever the hair dresser thought was a good idea for a hairstyle. She called it a 'mushroom' cut. Now, I love mushrooms. I always have.
Adhuna Bhabani and Brent Barber at work in b:blunt
But a mushroom-shaped head is an entirely different matter. I did have severe reservations about it, but the lethal pair of scissors in the stylist's hand is enough to shut a 10-year-old up.
After keeping my eyes shut for about 30 minutes (I was too mortified to see my locks being chopped off mercilessly) I opened them to discover a new me. Only, she didn't look quite like me. More like a cross-dresser who has too much hair till the ear lobe and then almost none at all.
Friends teased, teachers gasped in horror and poor mother looked at me with guilt-filled eyes in the weeks following the disaster. And then, she took me to another stylist for damage control. The thing with hair is that, you can't really salvage a bad hair cut. You just have to let it grow. And fortunately, it does grow!
This is my most memorable hair horror story. And I have had plenty more, even as an adult with strong preferences as far as hair goes and picking the best stylists to cut my hair even if it came with a prohibitive price tag, You just can't mess around with hair.
In Bangalore, stylists have not known how to tackle my excessively voluminous hair, often sighing and sweating over hours to figure out a way to cut it. Some have even cut my hair in an uneven manner. And the rest have just given me 'safe' styles that one can't go too wrong with, even if they bored the hell out of me.
So I was mighty excited when b:blunt, the venerable salon from Mumbai run by brother sister duo Osh and Adhuna Bhabani, was launched in Bangalore a little over two weeks ago.
The salon boasts of a huge Bollywood clientele, starting with Deepika Padukone who inaugurated the salon (they styled her hair in Karthik Calling Karthik, which also starred Adhuna's husband Farhan Akhtar).
They are also the ones who made yuppie chic with the cutting edge hairstyles of the main star cast of Dil Chahta Hai.
But does a Bollywood clientele guarantee customer satisfaction? I decided to find out. I first made an appointment for their Dermalogica facial, immensely popular in the UK and USA. Before the session, I had to answer 30 questions giving details about my lifestyle, skin type, past illness, medication etc.
The facial was different from anything else I have tried and uses a face mapping technique dividing the human face into 14 zones and analysing the problem/condition of each zone.
Richa Arora, the friendly skin analyst, who has studied aesthetics and skin care in the US, wore a headset and informed me that my forehead is dehydrated, something I was unaware of.
She also elucidated me on which areas are comedone prone and which ones have post acne pits. She then cleansed my face with an olive and apricot kernel based cleansing oil fortified with kukuinut and rice bran oil. "We believe that oil absorbs oil. The excess oil in one's face gets absorbed by this oil-based product," she explained.
After exfoliating my face, Richa attacked the blackheads, but not before applying a unique scaling fluid (which looks like foam), containing antiseptic and natural botanical base to soften the skin. They don't believe in using a metal extractor to remove blackheads, and do it with glove and tissue clad fingers. It was followed by an aroma oil massage and the application of a toner
. My face felt taut, refreshed and even-toned after the facial. b:blunt currently doesn't offer body spa services, but will do so in a while. Since I had a bash to attend in the evening, I headed to their blow out bar, swankily done up with lamp shades in pop colours and pink walls with indigo paper birds on them.
The steel trunks near the entrance give it an enchanting old-world look that's prevalent in the rest of the salon as well through odd elements like old photographs, hair combs etc.
The blow out bar is designed to give you a make-over before you hit a party, certainly a one-of-a-kind concept in the city. They did an immaculate French manicure, easily the best I have had done so far and one that makes me want to look at my fingers every now and then. I also got a bit of make-up done, but this time, I was disappointed.
The guy attending to me didn't seem to know much about make-up and I was later informed that the make-up expert was on leave. He put an enormous amount of foundation on my face which lent my face a sickly white look and it didn't help that the eye shadow was also white.
Something in me wanted to try out hair extensions, those strands of coloured hair that's guaranteed to up your style ante. And since I have never had the gumption to try them before, this time I was determined to give them a shot. I chose a hot purple and the extensions were attached to either side of my hair within minutes.
On another day, I met senior hairstylist Brent Barber, who originally hails from London and made India is home a year ago. Brent's been in the business for 18 years and suggested that I take off a few inches from my nape-length hair as "they weren't doing much to my face."
He also pointed out that shoulder length hair was quite dated and worked only as a security blanket in my case. Initially skeptical, I asked him to trim my hair. He trimmed sections of my hair using the point cutting technique. But that's the thing about a trim. No one can tell that you've got a hair cut.
So I assumed boldness and asked Brent to go with his initial plan. He lopped off a few inches from the bottom, without touching the top half, to balance the look out and steered clear of reducing volume through thinning shears, something that every salon uses to tackle voluminous hair.
"That's the biggest mistake. The hair ends up looking more voluminous when you do that," said Brent who teaches hair styling at the b:blunt academy.
My hair is now shorter than it's ever been, and it's too early to say whether I'm enjoying it or not. Besides I have to make peace with my new length. But as Brent says, "If short hair suits your face, there's no
reason why you should be scared of it."