1890 Pennsylvania Street, Uptown, Denver
across the street from Fluid Coffee Bar and Las Delicias
Bus directions: the 28 goes down 19th Avenue; the 12 and 20 go down 17th
A couple of weekends ago I tried to get a walk-in appointment at Vain Salon, but they were booked. I liked the look and feel of the place enough to make an appointment in advance, on Election Day.
I have to confess that I’ve never loved my hair. Even in high school, when I had a lot more of it, getting the fine strands to hold a style was a chore. It stands to reason, then, that I’ve had few ecstatic experiences with hairdressers. The worst was being told, about five years ago, that I didn’t have enough hair for a certain haircut. (I didn’t mind the truthfulness so much as the complete lack of gentleness with which it was said. You’d think someone who caters to vanity all day long would know better.)
Given that history, I didn’t have huge expectations for Vain Salon. I just thought that since I was fancy-free as far as hairdressers go, I might as well try one of the four salons in Uptown.
When I arrived at the door, two Boston terriers were standing guard. Turns out their names are Memphis and Diesel and they belong to the owner, Tina McKeever. They had a bed on the floor, but one of them took up a position on the couch, gazing around with soulful eyes while I inspected the products. I was looking for a mousse that was mostly natural but smelled better than Phomollient by Aveda. I didn’t find exactly that, but I did notice the Bumble and Bumble three-part treatment system for thinning hair.
After a fabulous scalp massage and the requisite shampoo, Tina seated me in her chair, and we talked about what I wanted. I told her that my desires were contradictory: my hair was thinning, and I knew it might never stop, so I wanted to grow it out again. Maybe for the last time.
(Ever since I noticed my hair was thinning, I’ve become acutely aware of older women with thin hair. I stare at women who’ve teased what little hair they had left into a translucent Afro and others who show mostly scalp and have a long fringe off the back. As you can see from the picture, I’m not there yet. But when I stand under a light, the crown of my head glows.)
Tina didn’t know all that. She assured me she’d give me a trim and get rid of the two-layer look I had going on after growing out my last haircut (a walk-in) for two months. She also said the Bumble and Bumble hair treatment had worked for a male client of hers. Something to try if Rogaine fails me, I guess.
Tina calls herself a “hair mechanic.” I admired her asymmetrical magenta hair and the tattoos running up one arm, across her chest, and down the other. I think I spotted Cupid near one shoulder. We talked about why she loved Uptown (it has a little of everything) and how glad she was that her dogs were quiet (unlike other pups from the same litter). That way she can keep them at work, where everyone in the neighborhood spoils them.
I walked out of Vain Salon with much better-looking hair than when I walked in. I’ll be going back for sure.
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