Over the past two years, my life has been what an outside observer might describe as nomadish. I've been scrambling between New York, Chicago and London (with extended stays in Croatia and Philadelphia) meaning that although I spend hours daily writing about beauty, I hardly look like one myself... lack of hair cuts, colours or any sort of TLC for ages on end sometimes means my mousey blonde and grey roots are often two inches long before re-coating them with red. It was in this sorry state that I showed up at the Paul Rehder Salon to trial a Yarok hair treatment (to be featured in a forthcoming review).
A personal friend of Yarok, stylist Michele Mallot was to take care of me and boy did she. Mallot trained with Jacques Dessange in Lyon and practiced there for ten years before returning to the states to launch Dessange in Chicago. She was knowledgeable about hair in a way I don't think I've come across when doing any sort of hair review. After the Yarok treatment with hair oil and scalp massage (complete with eye mask to heighten the sensation of the massage and scent of the oil), she shared exactly which ingredients were needed from Sally Beauty to do a proper at-home dye job (hint: most off-the-shelf dyes won't cut it... something about the wrong combination of lift and developer and deposit). I furiously scribbled notes.
And then I told her I was getting married in just a few days, which is when she graciously offered to cut and colour my hair for free (I'm not sure if I admitted this in the salon, but I was so going to do it myself before she offered!). Two days later, my rear end was back in the comfy seat at her hair station. This is when I got a real feel for the place. As she applied the dye to my hair (possibly a 10 lift for roots and 15 for ends or vice versa) I glanced about and noticed the lavender walls, chestnut features, soft lighting and just how pleasingly intimate the space was. There are no windows in the main salon space but in the front room the windows look out over the quainter end of Chicago's Rush Street (the Upper East Side of the Midwest) from its second-floor perch.
After less than half the time I have to leave dye in my hair when at home (Mallot said this is because the right dye was used this time), my hair was washed and my scalp was massaged by Concha (two scalp massages in one week? Yes, please) before guided back to my perch. Michele did a quick, expert trim with the hair wet and then blow dried it so she could continue to shape it dry. After she switched off the drier and I finally had the chance to move my very long fringe out of my eyes, there was just one word to describe the cut and colour (as the in-house eyebrow expert, Nicole, would agree): Sexpot. It was fantastic. The only other time I've had such a brilliant cut was at James Corbett Studio on Manhattan's Union Square.
It was swingy, my round face was perfectly framed to make it appear slimmer and... the red was AMAZING. It was brilliant but not brassy. It was the perfect, natural red that had always elluded me. Michele explained it's because I was always lifting the hair too many levels when all my hair really needed was to keep the cuticle more closed while depositing more colour.
And then she lassoed in eyebrow expert Nicole Jacob to shape my eyebrows. Now, each of my eyebrows are comprised of approximately 3 hairs (not very thick, too say the least) and just the week before I had the peach fuzz threaded off so I was a bit skeptical there was any more that could be done. But, holy crikey, she shaped them beautifully. It was then that I realised I had just been cleaning up the mess around my skimpy brows all these years and that, no matter how skimpy they are, they still need to be shaped!
I'm going to grow them out completely (not hard for me to do and most people don't notice at all) and let Nicole have her merry way with them at some point before departing for my first beauty port of call, the South Pacific.
Michele Mallot, expert eyebrow shaping (she does makeup too and she has her own line of it so do ask if you go in), YAROK Sensory Treatment for Hair and Scalp, Yarok shampoo and conditioner, lovely coffee, intimate atmosphere, best hair I've had yet in Chicago. And apparently, from the background info I've read, there's another sought-after expert named David Hewitt who lady's that lunch in Chicago swear by. Paul Rehder Salon is the only place in Chicago to offer Yarok Sensory Treatment for Hair and Scalp.
I have no criticism for the salon. The prices will be in line with the quality of service you get so they won't come cheap. Chicagoans, if you take your hair seriously, come here.
Call for treatment prices and appointments.
Paul Rehder Salon, 939 North Rush Street at Walton Place, Chicago (312-943-7404).