Finding a steady stylist in this city is harder than settling into a consistent lover. We are surrounded by attractive potential suitors and shiny bright salons, happy couples and people with inexplicably nice hair. so how does one bridge the gap between lust and love? We have numerous apps at our fingertips to find our next lover, but searching for a salon is way more difficult. Instead of focusing the initial attraction on looks, what you want to know is how they will make you look. You want to see the faces and hair of their past intimate connections, relationships, and maybe even know how they did it… Which trust me, is not an update that tinder is adding anytime soon. (although I can’t deny the efficacy of seeing a brief slideshow of after-sex hair as a measure of a man’s prowess in the bedroom)
It’s easy to remember how you feel after a great first date, and you’re likely riding that high well into the second and third. But the first time in a stylist’s chair? Months later you’re left with an outgrown style and split ends and searching for someone to blame other than your expensive hairdryer that you were promised actually makes your hair healthier. It’s nearly impossible to remember how you felt leaving the salon. And so inevitably, you start thinking you want to try something and someone new. Have some strange hands tousle your hair. Dare yourself to commit; maybe this will be the one.
And while everyone seems to be searching for something different in a salon experience, from someone to tame their mane, a progressive place to get them to try something new and experimental, a place that will give them the same consistent look and feeling time and time again, it’s hard to get beyond the noise.
That’s why Sanctuary Salon in Williamsburg offered me a place of refuge from the barrage of options, reviews, recommendations, and after seven years of searching, finding a salon to settle down with.
Inevitably I was nervous when I arrived because to be honest, I really fucking like my hair. And I like how long it is. So walking into the salon always makes me feel like I’m going to leave missing a part of myself, my soul laying in clumps on the floor around me. The atmosphere at sanctuary felt, well, like a safe place. Owner and hairstyle-maven Jill Syslo is not new to the hair game, especially in North Brooklyn. Formerly part owner of Bull in the Heather in Greenpoint, her new spot is bright, serene, and feels somewhat alive. The walls are covered with budding air ferns, and the gates outside were painted with an organic jungle landscape by famed artist Adrian Picker. All products used are eco-friendly and never tested on animals. Welcoming and peaceful, it helped calm my nerves along with the glass of rose I was offered and gladly sipped as I was introduced to Paige, my new stylist. We discussed my wishes, which left a lot to the imagination. “Um. I like the length but it needs to look healthier. And I’d love to have more volume. And um… you should know I use a lot of dry shampoo,” I admitted as she tried to comb through my once-a-week washed hair. She understood exactly what I was looking for, somehow, probably based on my demeanor and lifestyle. “You want texture, you want body. And I bet the term beachy is something that appeals to you?” she asked.
Yes yes and yes.
This is what I want from a stylist. Someone who listens but offers their own input and expertise, and then gets to work. Paige didn’t mess around with aimless small talk. We discussed our shared fear of what the neighborhood was becoming, the rather hilarious normality of her Thanksgiving this year, and a bit about the salon itself, all while she explained enough of what she was doing to make me feel comfortable and confident.
An hour later she asked me to flip my hair upside down, sprayed some magic into it, and when I looked in the mirror and I felt like a million fucking dollars. And it There was no audacious blowout to distract me, there was just my hair, styled and shaped exactly how I’d hoped. And in the days that passed, I realized that my cut kept up with my lifestyle, from the gym to the “office” (read: every cafe in greenpoint) to hours behind the bar and then, admittedly, hours in front of it. It required little to no attention and was full of life even when I wasn’t. It perked right up when I seductively removed the bobby pins from it post-shift, it fell effortlessly after being cooped up in a bun through cycling class, it looked perfectly but not offensively disheveled when I woke up each morning.
And I realized, maybe, that after foraging through this concrete jungle for seven years now, in search of love and life and liquor and attempting to maintain really really fabulous hair the whole time, that perhaps I’d finally found a salon to settle down in. I’d found what I’d been searching for in this charming little sanctuary in Williamsburg.
Oh yeah and it doesn’t hurt that it’s right beside Night of Joy, that funky, musty, attic-like bar with fantastic cocktails and a bright rooftop to show off that new ‘do.
As an exclusive offer for Brooklyn, I’m Trying readers, schedule an appointment any Friday noon-4pm in December and get 20% off your cut and style. Just drop my name, baby.
Sanctuary Salon is located at 677 Lorimer St.
Find them here.
Follow them here.
Book your appointment here.
and don’t look back.