Amazon 5☆☆☆☆☆ Review
“HE WORKED LIKE AN ARTIST”
If you’re lucky in this life, someone will come along and rattle your world so completely that you see things in a whole new light. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that I met 2 of these people in the same year. One became my spiritual teacher and the other became my hair stylist and both of them are gurus in the true sense of the word.
My first appointment with Jehr came about through a mutual friend who raved about Jehr’s genius with the cutting shears. At that time in my life, I was at one of my deepest lows and my hair reflected my metaphysical burn out: bone dry, frizzy and lifeless from years of coloring, products and heated manipulations.
The transformation Jehr made in a single hour was astonishing. I remember walking into the minimally appointed space and feeling an expansive openness — the room was devoid of mirrors or styling products or tools. He worked like an artist, completely absorbed in his creative work, but also a keen listener. When, at last, he handed me a handheld mirror, I felt that a “new me” had emerged. I was absolutely amazed with the result and set up my 2nd appointment for 6 weeks later. Before I left, his then wife-to-be Jeanette handed me a handwritten “prescription” for my hair. Top of the list was to run a Mason Pearson hairbrush through my hair 50 times before bed. I was so convinced of his wisdom, expertise and vision from that single appointment that I would have done anything he said, to be honest. He also advised me to stop blow drying, straightening and curling my hair, and to only wash my hair once a week, but condition every day.
Liberated from styling regimes, tools and products, It wasn’t long until my hair was bursting with vitality. It felt light and happy and perfectly suited me. I got countless compliments. Not surprisingly, the revitalization of my hair coincided with a profound inner transformation, which made my sense of freedom total; I couldn’t have been happier.
That first appointment was about 13 years ago in San Francisco. Over the years since then, I’ve lived mainly in Asia and had to give up my regular Jehrcuts. I often wished that his approach to hair could be conceptualized so other people could learn and practice his magic. I honestly don’t know if anyone would be up to the task, but Mr Haute Coiffure offers hope that his revolutionary ideas will disseminate.
This powerful little book is the next best thing to the man himself. It’s full of his insights and vision, expertly interwoven with a poignant personal memoir. His prose reads with emotion, style and wit, proving that Jehr’s creative genius is not limited to his elite “Samurai-caliber” Japanese haircutting scissors. He takes on the beauty industry, a formidable opponent, with grace and humour and leaves you wondering how you ever got so conned in the first place.
In one of my favorite excepts, Jehr recalls his early days at Vidal Sassoon and being promoted from “lowly assistant” to “Sassoon promoted stylist”. To honor the occasion he had his hair bleached by the senior colorist, “secretly wishing I could quasi modify Lou Reed’s character during his legendary Sally Can’t Dance tour.” The cataclysmic result will be forever burned on my memory: “By touch, the wet opaque hair felt similar to that of drenched drowned down goose feathers; gently pulled for an elasticity test, mine shredded apart, as if picking at today’s catch — Dungeness Crab”.
These kind of anecdotes permeate the book, which allows the reader to witness Jehr’s own growth and transformation as he becomes more and more critical of the beauty industry and the insidious hold it has over millions of men and women. His attacks on the multi-billion dollar industry are sometimes subtle, sometimes scathing, but always beautifully honed and elegantly delivered to the reader. In equal measure, there are valuable gems of wisdom which are offered, such as the chapter “Out of the Kasbah” which includes detailed instructions on how to care for your hair on a daily basis.
There is rising awareness about the health of our physical bodies; how what we eat and how we take care of our body effects our mind and spirit. It’s wonderful to see this awareness become more commonplace. You can just look around at all the health trends, from yoga and juicing to raw food and pilates to see we’ve become more conscious about the mind, body, spirit connection. If all the people who practice hot yoga and eat gluten free, however, were to take a minute to reflect on how they treat their hair, I think most would be in for a rude awakening.
“Hair is an extension of ourselves” writes Mr Haute Coiffure. Indeed it is. It would be a real blessing for us all if this book gets the attention it deserves. Maybe Mr Haute Coiffure’s manifesto can be the metaphorical David that topples the Goliath like “beauty” industry. I would like that.