Just because the building front of 601 Madison Avenue gives no hint of the hair mecca within doesn’t mean that entering Manhattan’s Eiji Salon won’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 protégé of dry-cut pioneer, the late and legendary John Sahag, Eiji (pronounced A-Gee) continues to evolve his mentor’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 Jessie’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.
“The dry cut is the only way to see the hair’s natural shape and create styles based on the weight and texture of each person’s hair,” 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. “A good haircut is one that holds, no matter what,” stated Eiji. “That’s why we take an hour and a half for each customer. It’s that much more expensive because of the time and personal attention we give, but in the end, you will have a haircut that’s customized to you personally, and one that holds its shape, and looks great without having to do much to it.”
And a few weeks out, I’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 10022 212. 838.3545 www.eiji-newyork.com