Andrea Ayala

“It was the best of times…”

They say that the great classics no longer apply to our lives. But it occurs to me that Charles Dickens could have been thinking of his last haircut when he wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Because that’s what it feels like, doesn’t it? Getting your hair done—whether it be your usual 4-6 week trim, a drastic cut that you have been itching for, or a spontaneous affair with color—leaves you feeling invigorated, excited, and with a brand new lease on your self esteem. But with life so full of things to do, finding the time to get your hair done can also be a frustrating experience. Who hasn’t tried to cram in a haircut during a lunch break and spent the rest of the day itching from stray hairs left on the collar? So, yes, Mr. Dickens, we feel you.

The atmosphere is friendly, upbeat, and trendy

Luckily, Headcase, a new salon in San Jose, has no trouble giving you the best of times. The updated quote now reads: “It was the best of times.” Period. From the moment you walk in the door, the atmosphere is friendly, upbeat, and trendy. The receptionist greets you with a smile and offers you something to drink. The music is an eclectic mix of classic rock and funky urban beats, and the magazines are up to date and varied. Gentlemen, you can now flip through Men’s Health or mentally chalk up your financial portfolio with Money Market or Forbes. Ladies, Vogue, In Style, and People, are always popular choices.  Get ready to sit back and relax, this feels like home.

Stacie Klee & Nina Vartanian

There's something for the Guys also

For you gentlemen who want to fully indulge in your manliness, Monday is Men’s Night. Rock out to Jimmy Buffet, Dave Matthews, AC/DC, Bob Dylan, etc while watching all your favorite sports. Just because the sign outside doesn’t say “Barber Shop” doesn’t mean you won’t feel right at home at Headcase.

The Star Treatment:
Headcase is a full service hair salon for men, women, and children. The price list runs from $35 for a men’s haircut and $50 for a women’s haircut, to $90 for a virgin color, to $175 for a haircut, virgin color, and full highlight. Color touch-ups are $85 without haircut and $105 with a haircut. Deep conditioning, cellophane/shades, and airbrush tanning are also available. For a full price list, check out, or sit tight and I’ll provide a full price breakdown at the end of this piece.

I mentioned attention to detail before, but with today’s economy, you might need a bit more convincing before I can talk you into a $50 haircut. “We have passion for what we do, and we not only want you to feel relaxed and welcome here, but we want you to leave happy,” Vartanian gushed.

Headcase uses Redken and Moroccan Oil products for shampooing and styling

Each client starts out their visit with a 3-5 minute scalp massage. Still not convinced? After a thorough shampooing and haircut, a client can expect a second shampooing to get rid of all of that loose hair that is notorious for sticking to you throughout the day. Headcase uses Redken and Moroccan Oil products for shampooing and styling. Vartanian’s enthusiastic endorsement of these products added to the salon’s self-professed commitment to customer satisfaction, “Redken is a high end product that is low cost. Morroccan Oil is the most amazing product for any type of hair—curly, coarse, fine, straight—that I have ever used.”

"Princess Parties"

Want something a little more special? Headcase offers Princess Parties for little girls’ birthday parties at $65 per princess. This package includes special decorations, refreshments, glitter nail polish, make-up, and hair styling. Add some fairy dust, and this makes for a perfectly magical day for your little girls.

"Girls Night Out"

And for you ladies who have outgrown glitter polish? Treat yourself and your girlfriends to the Girls Night Out package. This package starts things off with a glass of champagne (for you 21+ crowd) before offering your head the pampering of a lifetime. Get ready to look and feel like a movie star after a scalp massage, shampoo, hair styling, and make-up. Leave your camera at home? No problem, both packages include a group picture at the end of your day of well deserved indulgence.

The Ambiance:
“We don’t want it to feel just like our place. This is your place too,” says Nina Vartanian, who owns the salon with fellow stylist Stacie Kleé. She adds, “This place speaks for itself.” And so it does.

The building itself is an exquisite nineteenth-century Victorian, freshly painted and simply kept with a small green lawn. The inside is an impressive hybrid of Victorian charm and classic lines and simplicity: warm toned wooden furniture and efficient black leather.  The walls are painted in matte pastel hues and decorated with mirrors and black and white photo prints. Tasteful flower arrangements keep the place looking fresh. The reception/waiting room, two styling rooms, and one room dedicated to hair sinks and drying stations are impeccably decorated and invite you to ponder on the incredible attention to detail that is also reflected in the work of the stylists.

I love it when I love the hair of the person who is cutting mine

The stylists are a chatty bunch, and keep up genuine conversation. And maybe this isn’t important, but I love it when I love the hair of the person who is cutting mine. The stylists I met on my visit were smartly dressed, beautifully groomed, and perfectly enthusiastic without an inch of pretentiousness. Don’t want to feel obligated to keep up a conversation or simply want to relax? No problem; besides the music and magazines, TVs are situated in every room.

And for all of you ladies wanting to touch up your make-up before heading out full throttle again, a special make-up counter is set up and ready for you to make a quick pit stop on your way out. Not only is Headcase thinking about your experience while you’re in their capable hands, but they also take care to make sure you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day’s tasks looking your best.

Let the Creative Juices Flow:
Okay, okay, so you’ve heard about the trendy atmosphere, the great music, and the star treatment, but what the actual haircut and/or color? This is my shout out to my fellow curly-headed guys and gals out there. Now, everyone can claim at least one bad haircut in their lives, but I think I can safely say that those of us sporting curls have had more than a few nightmarish run-ins with an exceptionally untalented hair stylist. So I asked the question we all want the answer to, “If I were to just sit down in your chair and say, ‘I’m fed up with my hair, do something to it,’ are you up for the challenge?”

“it can seem as though everyone in the bay area wants the same thing, but the challenge of creating a new look from scratch for someone is exciting and what we are trained to do and love to do”

Vartanian looked at me, smiled and said, “Bring it on.” Now that’s a woman with creative gusto! But caution led me to prod further. “I enjoy that kind of creative challenge,” Vartanian continued, By the way, you can take comfort in knowing that Headcase's stylists continually attend classes and showcases that keep their talented scissors up to date and ready to give you that new cut you saw on your favorite celebrity last week.


Fotos Kevy Kevv

Fashion Writer Andrea Ayala

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