In a rut after the long winter? Are those gray days getting you down? Spring will be here soon, and maybe it’s time to shake things up, stir the ingredients! A new look, a new hair style, perhaps a new color for the new season?
All of these are available at La Meche Hair Design, which recently moved to the Village Shopper, 1340 Route 206 in Skillman.
Formerly located at the Montgomery Center for many years, the salon has a brand new sleek, contemporary look in an attractive, light-focused setting.
“I wanted to have a very clean look,” explains owner Joanna Kulikowska. “The products are hidden on shelving behind the mirrors, so it is very uncluttered. My father, husband, and brother all helped me with the design and renovation.”
Ms. Kulikowska has been affiliated with La Meche for 16 years and a partner for 10. In November, she became sole owner. Originally from Poland, she came to the U.S. at the age of 16, knowing no English. She learned quickly, and eventually attended Mercer County Community College, majoring in accounting — certainly a good foundation for any business.
In time, her interest shifted to the hair and beauty industry, and she became a licensed cosmetologist. The creativity involved in cutting, styling, and color appealed to her. “My father was an artist, and my mother was very artistic, and I’ve always liked the visual aspect of things.”
The right hair cut, style, and color can make all the difference, she notes, and that is the specialty at La Meche, which means “lock of hair” in French.
“We do everything for hair — cut, color, style, and straighten. Some people still like perms, and we offer that too,” says Ms. Kulikowska. “A lot of people with curly hair want it straightened. The really popular hair style today is long and straight. Especially with young people, but also with women in their forties.”
On the other hand, Ms. Kulikowska especially enjoys cutting and styling short hair. “I specialize in that. I love short hair. You can do a lot with it and have a lot of different styles.”
When helping clients with a style, she takes into consideration facial structure, hair texture, and life-style. “I always ask clients how much time they are willing to spend on their hair,” she explains. “They may bring in a picture of a hair style that looks simple, but in reality, it requires time to get that look.”
Some people just don’t have the time or inclination to style their own hair, she adds. “We have clients who come in once, even twice, a week for a blow dry.”
What is major in nearly all hair salons today, of course, is color! “Color is huge,” says Ms. Kulikowska. “Almost everyone wants it. It’s even starting with younger girls, if their parents allow it. It’s like a fashion statement. It’s certainly not just to cover gray.”
Color products are safer than in the past, she points out. “Many have less or no ammonia now. With color, the idea is to look as natural as possible, and there are new techniques and color formulations to achieve that. Ombre is very popular now, and is a hand-painted technique, starting at the top of the head, and gradually lightening the hair throughout its length. It goes from darker to light, and is best on dark hair.
“Balayage is another method, similar to Ombre, and is hand-painted from the roots out. It is multi-dimensional and gives a very natural look.”
Traditional highlighting is also very popular, and there are many ways to achieve color variations throughout the hair. Also, these days, many brunettes are opting for red highlights, adds Ms. Kulikowska.
All ages, and both men and women, are choosing color today, and typically, they come in every four to six weeks for touch-ups — or a complete change!
For those who may have had a bad do-it-yourself color experience, La Meche offers corrected color treatments. Doing it yourself is not quite as easy as the ads and commercials indicate, and a professional not only has the experience but can offer knowledgeable advice about appropriate color for the client’s skin tone and overall coloring.
Special conditioning treatments are also available, notes Ms. Kulikowska. “We recently started offering Linkage Meu, a 3-step salon treatment, including aromatherapy. It provides instant smoothing, conditioning, improves the quality of the hair, and lasts five weeks. It’s very good for excessively dry hair and for hair that has been blown dry too much or improperly.
“Also, for people with thinning hair problems, I suggest they use Biotin, a vitamin helping hair, nails, and skin.”
La Meche is a family-oriented salon, she points out, and clients include women, men, and children. “Our staff is very focused on service. People want to be taken care of. They want to feel welcome. We give superior attention to each client.
“We have many regular and long-time clients, who have been with us over the years. There has been great word-of-mouth,” she continues. “This is very individual work because every client is different and has different hair requirements. All of us have continuing education here. There are always new things coming along, new techniques, and new color formulations. I look forward to expanding the staff, including younger people. We will be up-to-date with all the new styles that young people like.”
“Mostly, I enjoy making every individual happy. They always have a smile on their face when they leave!”
La Meche is competitively priced, with cuts starting at $55 and color at $75. Gift certificates are available, and also special sessions, including make-up, for brides and bridal parties.
Walk-ins are welcome, and tea, cappuccino, soda, and light refreshments are offered.
Hours are Monday by appointment, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday 8 to 5, Saturday 7 to 4. (609) 924-7800. Website: lamechesalon.com.