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Finding Zen - Eddy James

By: Kay Ross for Health Beauty Life
Eddy James Salon – Studio City, California
Hair: Eddy James
Photo: Allen Carrasco

We had the opportunity to sit down with Eddy James of Eddy James Salon in Studio City, California and chat about life, finding true happiness, and yes, even doing hair.

Back in the early 80’s, Eddy recognized his passion for hair in high school when he did garage cuts, giving kids in the neighborhood hip new looks using the family poodle clippers. After his formal education, and overcoming a few learning disorders, he eventually married into a hairdressing family, with his wife and mother-in-law both in the beauty business. Now this happily married father of three is the proud owner of a well-established, color-focused salon located on trendy Ventura Boulevard.

Tell us about your salon.
We have 14 stations for hair plus facilities for makeup, skin care, waxing and body treatments. It’s a full-service salon with a very comfortable feel. It’s got a sort of “Sexy-Romantic” vibe with plants everywhere, candles burning and lots and lots of natural light.

How about your clientele?
Our salon caters to a wide variety of people: most very upscale, some celebrities.

What’s it like having a celebrity clientele?
I’d actually rather not do celebrities because of how some of them can be sometimes. They tend to run late and feel like the world owes them something. Life is just too short and my time is just too valuable for all of the drama, so I’ve been very selective as to which I take on. Also, I treat everybody the same regardless of their walk of life. I feel that everybody is special and important, not just celebrities. I’d like to believe that’s why I’ve been successful here in the same location for 15 years.

What is your true passion in life?
Stopping to look around at everything and taking it all in. Spending time with family and seeing beauty in everything. I love driving from home to surf very early in the morning and seeing nobody on the road. You just see the lights of Santa Monica pier and the amazing colors the sky turns at sunrise. It’s just so very beautiful and breathtaking.

What is your passion with hair?
I’m truly excited by hair… I stare at it all the time, like on TV, or on the street. I do find myself focusing on color.

What is it about color that you are drawn to?
I find that color really makes people very happy and feel good about themselves. I love that color is always evolving and how I can add dimension without a drastic change.

What is a perfect day like for you?
The perfect day is a beautiful sunrise on the way to surf and then catching a few great waves. It sets the tone of the day in the salon. My clients know it’ll be an especially good day when they look up and see my wetsuit hanging in back.

How do you work with color?
When I work with color, I layer it on so it’s more like a watercolor, or like a blending of shades melting together. Lows and highs are worked in and then I bump the root to get multi-dimensional results. I also work very efficiently by giving my clients about three hours worth of color services in just an hour’s time.

What, within color, would you consider to be your specialty?
I love it all, but if I had to narrow it down even further, I’d have to say probably highlights since California is known for its blondes.

What is the best environment for observing color?
There are big windows along the front of our building, so there is a lot of natural lighting in the salon, which really is best. It’s important because clients really do study their color for the first time in their rearview mirror. Not so much under artificial lighting. It’s all about stepping outside into the sun to see just how beautiful it all turned out.

What’s the best way for a client to communicate what they want?
Don’t tell me what you want. Show me pictures, ads, whatever it takes, but don’t try to describe the color you want. It just doesn’t work as perception is everything.

To you, what is ideal beauty?
I’m partial to simple and understated everything, including beauty.

What is, and what was it like, having to learn and work with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)?
It was hard. I just didn’t quite get what was wrong in my younger days. I found that I had a hard time focusing and didn’t know why. The whole ADD and APD diagnosis came later and once I understood the problem, I was able to work around it. When I went to beauty school, everything seemed to come naturally to my friends where I had to work harder. I found that repeating the process over and over helped to drive it home for me. I always loved color but the formulation and concentration it required really scared me. Once I learned the color wheel inside and out and truly understood what it does and how it works, it all came together for me.

What advice can you offer for others with the same issues?
Keep at it and take it slow. Learn to go with the flow, versus rushing everything. Also, get creative with what you’ve got. I find that I work best to go with it, balancing three different clients at once. It keeps me on my toes and allows me to focus just long enough to do what’s needed for each client. Otherwise I may get bored and my mind will start to wander. Although these disorders can be tough to work around, they can also help unlock your creative side and see amazing beauty in everything. Just like anything in life, it all comes down to finding your balance.

What do you mean by “don’t chase the money”?
I try to make everyone happy versus always worrying about the money side. I do so many people from major directors to those with very little money, that if I think the color needs something more and they really can’t afford it, I just give it to them. It always comes back to me in other more important ways.

Do you have any words of advice to others in the industry?
Never stop learning and be open to new ways to learn. We offer and take classes all of the time, are always looking for new ways to do everything. Also, never take anything for granted. Keep on trend and always advertise. We keep the word out there by advertising in local publications and media outlets. My car is even fully wrapped and I drive it around town for constant exposure. When things slow down, you have to keep the phone ringing. So get creative with it.

The Makeover - From Rasta to Rockstar

Eddy James Makeover
A die-hard surfer, James really loves his longer hair which he wears down while catching a wave and back in a ponytail for work. The ends were becoming a bit overgrown and ragged and it was evident that he clearly needed a trim.

James’ color also required help. It was leaning toward an orangey color and the highlights were becoming a bit brassy. Basically his hair needed some refinement, but he didn’t want to give up his precious length or signature surfer look.

Eddy took James’ hair from Rasta-ragged to rocker-chic in a few quick steps. Starting with the color, Eddy applied ENJOY® Lightener in foils off the scalp and processed under a dryer for 10 minutes. In between the foils, he broke the root, feathering or bleeding color using 7A with 30-volume developer for a soft, natural looking, sun-kissed effect.

After cutting a choppy shag shape, HBL Straight & Style was applied all over on his damp hair which was blow dried with a round brush and flat ironed for control. A dime-size amount of HBL Texture & Style Cream was mixed with the same amount of ENJOY® Styling Gel for a tacky cream base, which was then worked through his strands to offer a piece-y, edgy vibe.

Posted in: Beauty & FashionCelebritySeptember 2010