One of the much-anticipated perks of “Phase 2” is the ability to see a hair stylist again–not to mention the opportunity to do something really special or different with your hair after months of ignoring it. Spotlighting this moment of physical and emotional change, Man Repeller documented a series of hair makeovers in collaboration with Shelby Samaria, a freelance hair stylist based between New York and Paris.
Shelby has experience doing hair for some of the most renowned luxury designers during fashion week, from Prada to Dior to Alexander McQueen, but one of her greatest passions is serving her community through monthly pop-ups at salons and studio spaces around New York. After a four-month hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, Shelby is finally back in business and commencing pop-ups again starting this month. Below, a celebratory kick-off featuring three women in the mood for transformation.
Chandler Wanted “Grown Woman” Cornrows–An Elevated Homage to Her Childhood Memories
Hair care habits pre-quarantine: would go see my stylist for a blowout every two weeks, like clockwork. It was part of my self-care practice. My stylist and I are very close friends, and we always chat about our lives. She also does my aunt’s hair, so I connect with her on family stuff and she asks me about work. It’s a little ritual that I really enjoy, and I miss that for sure. As soon as salons were given the green light to reopen, she was like, “Come in, I want to see you. I miss you!”
The experience of going to a hair salon can be very personal. Especially as a curly girl, it was important to me to find someone who gets me and my hair–who understands my texture and knows how to cut it and blow it out and do all the things. My stylist is like my therapist–I vent to her about my life, so being unable to visit the salon over the past few months has definitely exacerbated the feelings of isolation.
How you’ve been wearing her hair in quarantine: I feel like it’s just been another appendage of my body. I haven’t been really styling it at all, I just throw it up into a bun or a ponytail. I’ve had bigger things to think and worry about during this time, and I have been lucky enough to stay employed and working. So between working from home and managing my mental and physical health, my hair has been de-prioritized.
With Black hair in particular, there are so many styles you can do that articulate a different vibe or personality–it’s like putting on a show. But when I’m not engaging in face-to-face interaction with people, I don’t really feel the need to do that. It’s funny because I feel like I’ve been spending a lot of time on skincare, but my hair hasn’t been getting much love.
Why you decided on this particular change: I wanted to do something fun and playful, because I’ve been doing buns and ponytails all of COVID, and I wanted to do something that’s kind of new for me. I haven’t worn braids like this since my early childhood. My mom put my hair in plaits or cornrows a lot because I was always running around and getting into things, and it’s an easy style to manage.
Shelby was confident that she could do a “grown woman” version of cornrows. I just turned 29, so I was like, okay, perfect–I need 29-year-old braids, not 12-year-old braids.
How you felt when it was done: Really great. I always look for and gravitate towards styles that frame my face and accentuate my cheekbones and my facial features, so the braids really do that justice. I love them.
Janitzy Wanted to Take Control of Her Life With a Brand New Pixie Cut
Follow Janitzy on Instagram here.
Hair care habits pre-quarantine: I got my hair cut twice a year.
How you’ve been wearing your hair in quarantine: I’ve been wearing it up, in a bandana or in a ponytail.
Why you decided on this particular change: We don’t have much control over what’s going on in the world, but I still have some say over how I look, and I wanted a change. I was definitely nervous beforehand because it was my first time getting a really short cut–and once it’s short… that’s it! Shelby was so great, though. I showed her a photo of Zoë Kravitz with a pixie cut, and another photo of Winona Ryder in the ’90s–some Steven Meisel photo where she looks so pretty and awesome. Shelby managed to fuse both of these references, and added in a dose of Mia Farrow, too.
How you felt when it was done: Oh my god. It was weird, but in a good way. I couldn’t stop shaking my head because I didn’t have anything to wave around, which was actually awesome–just getting accustomed to the lack of weight. Even though it was technically a physical weight that had been lifted, I felt lighter mentally as well, and ready for anything that was heading my way, in a sense.
Brittany Wanted to Get Her Hair Out of Her Face, and Bantu Knots Were Just the Thing
Follow Brittany on Instagram here.
Hair care habits pre-quarantine: I typically went to my salon very two weeks. I like getting my hair trimmed and treated, and I especially love the feeling of getting my hair washed.
How you’ve been wearing your hair in quarantine: I’ve been washing it and doing a two strand twist, so just keeping it easy and functional. Very simple.
Why you decided on this particular change: I love Bantu knots. In addition to representing my heritage, they’re also flirty and fresh and perfect for the summer because they take hair out of my face.
How you felt when it was done: Like a whole new person. I feel beautiful. Not only because of how my hair looks, but also because of how nice it was to get my hair done again after so long, and spend the afternoon talking with other women like Shelby. It’s like communion for me.
Photography: Jasmine Clarke.