— By Lorraine Sanders
When Johnny Bueno offered to take me to Brazil, it didn’t take long for me to pack my bag. No matter that it was my laptop bag, and I was only heading to Union Square, where Bueno’s eponymous color studio and salon occupies a sleek, yet cozy space on the 10th floor of the well-known Geary St. “beauty building.” I’d been intrigued by the idea of the Brazilian Blow-Out for months, but had yet to commit. Over the course of the spring, my hair had gotten shorter and shorter, thanks to several experiments with new cuts and stylists. To really benefit from a Brazilian Blow-Out, a treatment that purports to smooth and de-frizz hair for up to three months, shouldn’t I have long, flowing, Brazilian-lady beach hair, I wondered?
Not at all, Bueno told me. In fact, Bueno’s seen an increasing number of short-coiffed men opt for the treatment lately. Why? Simplicity seems to be the draw.
“It’s versatile, and it’s wash and wear. You can get out of the shower and let it dry, or you could blow it out in half the time it would take you,” he told me when we initially met for an interview about his studio, which he opened last year after substantial stints at Atelier Emmanuel and Red Chair Salon.
A few days later, I was sitting in Beuno’s chair, which faces out over an interior window box garden of succulents and offers views of the cityscape clear down to AT&T ballpark.
With the help of fellow stylist Jeremy Jenks, Bueno began the treatment ($300 and up), which starts with three shampoos using beachy-smelling Brazilian Blow-Out product. From there, Bueno and Jenks meticulously painted the liquid treatment on small sections of hair until my entire head was covered with the stuff. Though my scalp was aware that some chemical process was taking place quite close to it, the sensation never approached burning or anything remotely uncomfortable. Next, Bueno and Jenks dried my hair, using round and flat brushes as they went. Next came an all-over session with a flat iron, followed by a rinse, hair mask and final blow dry. From start to finish, the procedure took about two hours, but it will take longer if you add color or a cut.
In the days since, it’s been quite revolutionary to step out of the shower, towel dry my hair and do little more than blast a blowdryer on my bangs before feeling presentable enough to walk out the door. That means I have at least 20 minutes of my life back every time I get ready to go out. My hair constantly feels like it’s just been professionally flat-ironed, even when I’ve been sitting in sweats hammering away at the keyboard for hours. I no longer look like the crazy lady of the neighborhood when I head out to walk my dog at lunchtime on a day when deadlines and work haven’t let me leave my home office long enough to run a brush over my head. No, I don’t look like a Brazilian beach goddess, except perhaps occasionally in my own imagination. But when it comes to hair, I’ll take easy and convenient over goddess any day.
I’d rather save my energy for getting up and down those hills in heels.
Want a Johnny Bueno experience of your own? Mention SF Indie Fashion this month, and you’ll score 20 percent off cuts with Jeremy Jenks and Guf Gufler at the salon. Also, another tip we’ll let you in on: mention 7×7 this month, and you’ll receive 20 percent off a Brazilian Blow-Out at the salon.