It’s not a haircut, it’s a “Jehr cut.”
That’s what we learned soon after being invited in for a session with San Francisco stylist Jehr Schiavo, who is best known for tending the tresses of a well-heeled, private clientele with scissors and water as his only collaborators. True to his word, Schiavo does not shampoo or deep condition hair, blow dry, style or flat iron the locks of his clients. In fact, as we learned on a recent visit to Schiavo’s current outpost on an upper floor of the Intercontinental Downtown San Francisco, there’s not even a mirror present as you sit in the chair, peering out between panels of hair that inevitably fall across your eyes as he cuts, circles, pauses and cuts some more.
But Schiavo is still able to command $300 and up per cut, unquestionably a premium price for a service that sends you out the door air-drying. Still, clients are willing to pay that – and have, in the past, dropped as much as $1,000 on an hour with the stylist, who has worked with a lengthy list of celebrity clientele ranging from Blythe Danner to Lou Reed. The question, of course, is why?
Part of it could be the allure of Schiavo’s semi-rockstar past. He’s as likely to speak candidly about past addictions and battles with the IRS (just check out his web site for the details) as he is to philosophize about hair’s individual “path,” expound upon the virtues of the Mason Pearson brush and offer up a complimentary cut to a client’s friend in need all in span of a few minutes. But really, people come to him because they’re willing to pay more up front in order to fuss less with their hair later.
“I don’t want somebody to say, ‘My hair looks so good when you do it, but I can’t do it the same way.’ I’m trying to come up with the right style for somebody’s hair,” explains Schiavo, who returned to the City in April after two years of travel with wife Jeanette and daughter, both pictured above.
Above all else, Schiavo aims to cut and shape a clients’ hair to suit its own natural texture, while framing and fitting the person’s face. Cutting to enhance natural wave, highlight amazing cheekbones or add movement to fine hair so that little to no additional daily styling is necessary is the hallmark of a Jehr cut. In fact, Schiavo will likely tell you to abandon your blowdryer and forget your flat iron altogether.
“You cannot be bound by a blowdyer to make your hair look good,” Schiavo says.
Walking away from styling tools is no small leap of faith for many of us. But doing so has more than a few benefits: not only is there the time saved on the daily battle to dry, smooth and otherwise wrangle hair into decent shape, but there’s also the promise of healthier hair in the long run.
So what does a Jehr cut look like, when it’s all said and done? Far from the big, bouncy locks found on your favorite reality TV star of the moment, a cut by Schiavo is an edgy, layered and face-framing affair a la the ‘do worn by Jeanette in the photo above. With its calculated effortlessness, one-of-a-kind shape and time-saving attributes rolled into one coif, we dare say it’s the kind of practical luxury that high-end hipsters dream of.