Just because the building front of 601 Madison Avenue gives no hint of the hair mecca within doesnâ€™t mean that entering Manhattanâ€™s Eiji Salon wonâ€™t knock your socks off. More treasure trove than hidden gem, the fifth floor salon embodies style, grace, and a serene modernism.
Recently, I had the fortune of receiving a haircut from the master himself, Eiji Yamane. A protÃ©gÃ© of dry-cut pioneer, the late and legendary John Sahag, Eiji (pronounced A-Gee) continues to evolve his mentorâ€™s approach with individually conceived cuts performed strand by strand on completely dry hair.
Before turning my locks over to Eiji, colorist Jessie performed his tinting magic. He applied a Clairol base of medium brown with the slightest hint of gold, followed by strategically placed beyond subtle highlights. Friends said my color never looked so perfect. I thought it was a bit too light, but given it was my first visit Jessieâ€™s color scheme was right on. And a lovely plus, Jessie is a love, a joy to talk to, and a force of positive energy.
My consultation with Eiji followed. He discussed my styling preferences (wash and go), blow-drying prowess (none), and desired length (shorter). Like previous stylists, he advised against going shorter and proceeded to touch and explore the natural wave and fall of my hair.
Like a sculptor working on costly marble, Eiji concentrates intensely. I coaxed a few comments and even a few laughs out of him to discover a delightfully sweet soul. As I said, his concentration and perfection are intense. He works with a scissors, raising and dropping individual hairs to see where they naturally fall, and then snipping.
â€œThe dry cut is the only way to see the hairâ€™s natural shape and create styles based on the weight and texture of each personâ€™s hair,â€ stated Eiji.
The advantage and goal of a dry cut is to preserve the look for days and weeks after the salon visit. Each cut takes one and a half hours, and free consultations are available. â€œA good haircut is one that holds, no matter what,â€ stated Eiji. â€œThatâ€™s why we take an hour and a half for each customer. Itâ€™s that much more expensive because of the time and personal attention we give, but in the end, you will have a haircut thatâ€™s customized to you personally, and one that holds its shape, and looks great without having to do much to it.â€
And a few weeks out, Iâ€™m still loving my do. Not drastically different from my regular style, but somehow the effect is more finished and smooth, even without blow-drying.
EIJI SALON 601 Madison Avenue, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10022Â Â 212. 838.3545 Â www.eiji-newyork.com