Wild Hair A scissors-shy curly girl faces her shear fears and comes out smiling.


I lONG AGO gave up trying to tame my curly hair. I’m a wash-and-go kinda gal, and high-concept hairstyles always ended in disaster—I even developed a con-dition I dubbed “salon anxiety.”

So when I made an appointment for a new ’do with master curly hair stylist Rachael Epstein of Crafted Hair Studio, newly located in Hampden, I was amazed at how calm I felt.

THE SPACE: Upstairs, in Epstein’s cute private cutting room, I sat in a retro barbershop chair with chrome lines like a ’57 Chevy and took it all in. The walls are painted bubblegum pink, but the saccharine aesthetic is tempered with vintage rock ‘n’ roll elements and gritty portraits—shot by Epstein herself—of half-dressed, tattooed musicians.

THE ETHOS: Crafted Hair Studio specializes in environmentally friendly practices. They are 100 percent wind-powered and their products are organic. (“And that’s organic by European standards, not our loose-y goose-y American standards,” Epstein says) A joint founder of Sprout, the other organic hair salon in Hampden, Epstein wanted to brand a salon with her own mark. Crafted’s attention to luxe products and the proprietary curly cutting technique developed by Epstein and passed on to her team of stylists raises the bar.

THE STYLIST/THE STYLE: Looking like the lanky, curly-locked love child of Punky Brewster and Mick Jagger, Epstein is warm, funny and welcoming. She moves as she talks and talks as she cuts, sending her perfectly shaped mahogany ringlets bouncing.

“You’ve got some weird layers,” she said, combing through my hair with her fingers. She finished our consultation by talking about the importance of hair health.

Full disclosure: I usually cut my own hair. Fuller disclosure: I did not tell the award-winning curly hair stylist this.

She started with a Vidal Sassoon-style cut, then began her trademark technique called “notching.” Her fingers moved deftly, twirling locks of my hair and snipping. Strands fell to the floor in wisps. (Incidentally, Epstein keeps her scissors and tools in a holster slung over her shoulder.)

When she asked, “How edgy can I go?” that voice inside that tells me I’m fearless answered: “Go for it.”

THE VERDICT: True love. The cut is one part “Downton Abbey,” two parts millennial woman. It’s still wash-and-go but has more life and bounce. The stacked layers in the back create a great polished shape, and I love that Epstein retained my face-framing tendrils. I’m not used to a happy ending when it comes to hair. But now I’m a believer. craftedhairstudio.com

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