Byline: Lynne Richardson

DALLAS — Although Dallas has long been characterized as the home of Big Hair, the truth is that tonsorial style is alive and well in Big D these days.
In fact, it is rare to see any lady under 50 with the stereotypical bouffant of yesteryear. Trendy tresses were much in evidence at a recent social event, hosted by European furniture store Roche Bobois, in aid of an upcoming fund-raiser for Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS.
The trend appears to be toward more assertiveness on the part of style mavens, who want stylists who’ll listen and products they can use themselves. People still cherish a good stylist, but will not be dictated to.

Angela Mouzarkis, 22, department store counter manager: She relies on her hairdresser to cut her dark brown hair, but frequently experiments with styles she creates herself or with the assistance of a co-worker.
“We had fun putting my hair up in these twists this afternoon, and I’m always experimenting,” Mouzarkis says. Her adventurous spirit has survived despite an early disaster. “When I was in ninth grade, I tried to bleach my own hair+and it came out orange!”

Melissa Connor, 24, sales trainer: She colors her own hair and is also willing to experiment. “I’m a natural blonde, but everyone in Dallas seems to be blonde, so I went for something more dramatic,” says Connor. Her thick black tresses are enhanced by extensions, also self-applied. “I use Aveda products and Clairol Natural Instincts for color,” says Connor.

Christine Franklin, 36, manager of retail operations for a Canadian cosmetics company: Franklin has her natural dark blonde punched up with hair colors from Neiman Marcus and an excellent cut from Richard Haylor’s salon. “I used to wear my hair long, but I’ve had it short and this shade of blonde for years. I’m happy with it,” she says.

Gregori Paul, 45, artist/designer: Paul is another natural blond who has opted for a lighter color. “To be honest, when the gray started coming in, I went lighter and lighter to meet it ‘head on,’ so to speak, but now I bleach it for effect,” he admits with a laugh. He works in both Dallas and Chicago, but his hairdresser, Kurt Specht, is at City Salon in Dallas. “These days,” says Paul, “I bleach it myself, using Revlon Sheer Delight. It needs attention every 10 days or so and a lot of conditioning, or it would be like straw.” He uses Matrix products for deep conditioning and a leave-in conditioner for styling.

Martha Assef, 36, cosmetics counter manager for Nordstrom: Assef has awesome corkscrew curls, a testament to her Ethiopian ethnicity. When she started coloring her hair, she used natural henna, but now her choice is L’Oreal’s True Red, which she bought in the Sephora store in Paris. “I’m not sure what to do next, because it’s not carried at the Sephora store here in Dallas,” she says. Assef styles her hair herself because, she says, “it can be wild and pretty daunting, so I prefer to cut it myself.”

Blaine Ichimura, 39, specialist in moving and storage: Ichimura knows the difficulties posed by ethnic hair. His Asian hair is thick, coarse and “needs to be extremely well cut or it just sticks straight out,” he says. He has stayed loyal to his stylist, Sam Yee at Park Plaza Salon, for 15 years, although his hair style has varied greatly over the years — including a flat-top and ponytail. His current style “is adaptable and combs out well, with or without gel.” Yee supplies the Sebastian product Ichimura uses exclusively.

Penny Smith, 37, retail manager: Smith has curly, African-American hair that presents its own challenges, she says. “I like the sleek, cropped look at the moment, and use TCB No Lye Relaxer for Black Hair and TCB wrapping lotion. I go to the salon every other week for a cut; short styles are demanding that way,” she says. She’s not too particular about which shampoo or conditioner she uses, “whatever — they all do the job anyway.”

Robin Claassen, 30, cosmetics counter manager for Macy’s: Claassen says she has never had to face any problems with her hair. Thick, heavy and shiny, “it’s always had natural body,” she claims. The burnished copper color is L’Oreal Mega Red #1, applied by her stylist, “but wearing it long means I don’t go to the salon frequently. I use Phyto products — jojoba shampoo, mist and conditioners. I cut my hair short once, but never again. I love my hair long!”

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