One of the WORST challenges in any relocation is finding a place to get a haircut. I’ve tried asking friends, stopping women in the street and asking them where they got their hair cut, and driving past salons to see what they look like. When we got to Rome last August, I didn’t know a soul, and not even I had the courage to stop an Italian woman in the street to ask her where she got her hair cut (although I might have the courage now). I did check out salons as I walked through Rome, but as you may recall, many businesses are closed in August and early September, so I couldn’t even tell where some salons were. My major requirement was that the stylist must speak English.
By early October I desperately needed a haircut, so I resorted to two strategies: stalking a couple of salons (the salons, not the clients) to see how their clients looked when they left, and searching the Internet. I failed at the stalking strategy, because I usually sat at a bar near the salon and drank coffee or a soda and then got caught up in people watching and forgot about my mission (alas!)—Rome is so distracting! The Internet produced a couple of relevant hits, thank goodness, and I screwed up my courage and called a salon named Noi, which means “us” in Italian.
Noi is on Piazza del Popolo, a fun half-hour walk from our apartment. I was pleased to learn that all of the stylists worked near Los Angeles, so they speak English. My first appointment was with Federico, and I’ve been a client of his ever since.
The first time I went to Noi, I arrived at Piazza del Popolo early because I didn’t know exactly where I was going. “Look for the gray door,” Federico said when I spoke to him on the phone to make my appointment. So I looked for the gray door, and behind the gray door was a small piazza that looked like a parking lot, which it is. I walked slowly through the lot thinking that I was in the wrong spot. I almost gave up, but at the far end was a door that said Noi, behind which was a tiny, bright salon with a small patio in back.
Federico was charming and gave me a wonderful haircut that day—one of the best of my life. He asked me if I had trouble with frizzy hair in Rome, and I told him that I had had trouble with frizzy hair my whole life, so he suggested that I have a Keratin treatment to straighten and smooth my hair (the older I get, the wavier my hair gets). I returned for the Keratin treatment a few weeks later and have had one every three or four months since then.
During another appointment, Federico said he thought my hair would look good with lowlights. He said my hair color was what the Italians call “sale e pepe.” I agreed that we called my hair salt and pepper in English as well. Apparently lowlights would add more pepe (brown, says Federico). I haven’t had lowlights yet, but I may someday, because when in Rome . . .
I recommended Noi to a friend who has her hair colored and cut every month or so. She loved Federico and still asks me how he’s doing. She has naturally curly hair and didn’t own a hairdryer before going to Noi. When she returned to the United States, she bought a hairdryer and some hairbrushes so she could try to make her hair look as good as Federico did. I wonder how that’s going.
So if you come to Rome and you need a good haircut, color (Noi’s specialty), or permanent, make an appointment at Noi. Don’t be afraid! The place is hopping, and everyone is friendly and competent. You’ll have a great time, and you’ll leave looking and feeling fabulous!