Byline: Louise Farr

LOS ANGELES — Maybe it’s living close to all that movie-star perfection that makes the average Los Angeles woman defensive about her looks — especially about her hair.
Ask anyone strolling the shopping streets of L.A. about it, and she’ll pick at it and poke at it and swear she’s having a bad day. Whether she crops it and colors it magenta — a definite trend — or wears it in the long, sleek ponytail that’s showing up everywhere, she’ll insist she needs a cut, a rinse or a conditioner.
Other up-to-the-moment styles spotted on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, and on L.A.’s Robertson Boulevard include short and spiky, straight as a piece of paper, cropped like an English schoolboy, bobbed like a Fifties cheerleader, or worn in a halo of tight, shining curls.
Amidst all this variety, one thing stays the same. No matter how many products a woman uses, no one’s hair looks “done.”

Kristen De Bellis, 19, dancer: “First I bleach the front, then I use Fudge. It’s a little too punky for me then, so I put L’Oreal Intense Auburn over that. This last haircut I did myself.”

Alessandra Saman, 19, interior design student and sales assistant: “I’ve had long hair before, but I’ve had this haircut for five months. I love it. I get it cut every two weeks to keep that spiky look. I need a cut now. I go somewhere in Santa Monica. I can’t remember the name. I use Pantene shampoo and Sebastian molding clay.”

Bita Taheri, 32, interior designer: “I don’t color my hair. It’s naturally nearly black. I use Joico Claypac, a really good conditioner. It’s constructive. Sometimes I use black henna. Then for shampoo I use Kerasil. I always wear it up, sometimes in a French twist. I just washed my hair this morning and decided to leave it loose. It doesn’t look good today. I wash my hair every other day and I use the Claypac once a week, because it’s really intense. I usually go to Umberto, but this time, I cut it myself.”

Karina Grinblat, 20, sociology student: “I use Vidal Sassoon shampoo, Kiehl’s Silk Groom and Terax. It’s by a French company. You can either leave it in as a conditioner or rinse it through. I actually had it short, brown and with bangs before. This is a little more natural. I get blond streaks put in, but I have a natural one of my own at the back.”

Magdalena Lake, 24, temporarily at leisure and traveling: “I’ve worn my hair short for two years. It’s always been this short. But I really need a haircut. I go brown in the fall and blonde in the summer. I wreck it; that’s why I keep it short. I use Aveda shampoo and Bed Head by TIGI for grooming. It’s like a pomade stick.

Gia Harris, 25, cashier: “There’s nothing exciting to say about my hair. Nothing. I think it looks like a wig. One of those plastic wigs. I use Kiehl’s Silk Groom and whatever gel my roommate has lying around.”

Ondine Azoulay, salesperson: “I used to have straight hair, then when I hit 11 it really got curly. The only time I can brush it is like in the shower. I use Neutrogena shampoo. Just stuff I can buy at the market for $2.00. Whenever I buy the expensive stuff, it never works.”

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