Some people search a lifetime for the perfect combination of great cut, easy personality and speed in a stylist. We usually make the search tougher by also wanting a salon with a comfortable atmosphere and have it all at a price that doesn't make you gag.
If you're still searching for just the perfect place, I recommend you check out the Just Between Us hair salon in the set back strip mall at the corner of Bellevue Way and NE 10th. And when you go, be sure to talk to Julie Reneau. You'll be glad you did.
When you first walk in, you'll be impressed with how pleasant, open, and comfortable the salon feels with all it's woodwork, large windows, and classy furnishings. The cabinetry, by the way, is all beautifully handcrafted by someone associated with the salon, so it doesn't have that pre-packaged ordered "out of a hair salon catalog" feel to it.
The reason my family likes Julie is because she is especially good at finding the cut that your hair wants - ask her and she'll tell you about how she can see all the dimensions and layers in hair and how it moves. Given what I've seen her do, I believe her. Pixar could use her as a consultant on their next animation!
What's incredible about Julie's work is that she can cut hair and talk at the same time, though I frequently lapse into a trance-like state when I see her and she doesn't seem to mind that either.
In fact, despite the talking and the great quality cut, Julie is perhaps the fastest stylist I've ever seen, especially when you're only counting the stylists that really do make your hair look good. Our family of three (one is a boy, but even he gets a real cut with real attention to style) is in and out in less than an hour total (for all three of us) every time.
Many stylists accomplish speed by cutting everyone's hair essentially the same way and I can say this is definitely NOT true for Julie. Through talking and a bit of 'tweaking' from month to month, she helped me find the shorter 'mom' cut I needed eleven years ago and once I was ready to have my hair longer again, we started trying out different ideas to see what works best for me now. At just about every stage (including that awkward time in between), I've received wonderful compliments on the look, which is what just about every woman wants - even those of us who really couldn't be bothered with hair most of the time.
Julie even interviews my young son each visit about his styling preferences. While he isn't always able to describe exactly what he wants, he has some definite opinions about his hair and Julie always asks just the right questions and listens carefully to the answers. The result is that she always manages to make him happy with the cut.
My husband "just wants a cut" but as his wife, I'm always pleased with how good his hair looks when Julie has cut it. Amazingly, all three of us are able to go significantly longer between cuts because of how good a job Julie does.
Just as importantly, we're able to get great haircuts from Julie for all three of us and great service from the rest of the folks at Just Between Us in a nice environment, for about the same as what I might pay for a high-end haircut for myself only at one of the bigger name hair salons.
Given all this, it's probably not too surprising that my mother and her husband get their haircuts done by Julie at Just Between Us too.
While we're at it, a quick word on scheduling - a topic that I've basically forgotten about since working with Julie although it's caused me no end of grief in other places. Although I always schedule the next appointment before I leave out of convenience, I've had no trouble at all rescheduling when other conflicts have arisen. Although both Julie and others in the salon are wonderful, they've not gotten so overwhelmingly popular as to make scheduling a nightmare, a fact that I very much appreciate and I'm sure you will too.
For those of us who are in that mid-range between the assembly-line haircuts and the mortgage-your-house hairstyling, stylists like Julie in a nice salon like Just Between Us are a gem of a find. It's wonderful to get away from feeling like it's chore to be endured and instead, find yourself actually looking forward to getting a haircut.
And yes, based on what I've seen from her other clients, Julie does great color and all the rest of it too - I just don't happen to go for that sort of thing much myself.
So if you see me and my hair is looking great, you can be assured it's all because of Julie. If you catch me on a day when it's not so hot, I know it wasn't Julie's fault; more likely I just haven't washed my hair in a couple of days or forgot to make an appointment the last time I was in. When I do call, though, I know I'll be able to get in and get the cut cleaned up in no time!