Last week, I experienced the best blowout I’ve ever had.
Aicha Lahlou is a master hair stylist and colorist who has just started as an independent practitioner based out of Georgetown’s Salon Upstairs. The Moroccan native started her career nearly two decades ago in Boston at The James Joseph Salon, a renowned award-winning salon on Newberry Street. Since then, she has continued her education around the world in New York, LA, and Berlin.
I walked into Salon Upstairs during one of last week’s particularly rainy, dreary days–basically the worst environment for a day at the salon to get your hair done. Aicha eyed my borderline-blonde hair cautiously, though I told her I’d only be receiving a treatment and blowout (she did not touch the length or color).
Following a shampoo and deep conditioning application, I sat under a steamer–Aicha calls it “a facial for the head”–which causes the product to be forced into the cuticle in a more effective manner than via the use of dry heat. After about 20 minutes, she began to style.
“I don’t enjoy bridal parties; they’re too frantic,” she said while drying my hair with automatic but graceful technique. “I focus on creating custom colors and cuts for each person, getting to know my clients’ personalities as a guide to their look.”
Aicha is also a certified colorist from the Wella and Goldwell companies, and her cutting education is equally impressive. She has learned from the industry’s premiere establishments, including The Vidal Sassoon Academy of Los Angeles and New York’s famed Bumble & Bumble University. Salon Upstairs is a great place for her to start out, as it’s rated a “top color salon” for the Washington, D.C. metro area.
Aicha believes that the most significant aspect of her experience is listening to the clients and delivering exactly what they want and also what is best for them. She is a voracious reader, as well, and enjoys studying the works of other hair designers. She cites these as reasons her vision is always evolving and at the vanguard of the industry.
The blowout was perfection. Aicha masterfully navigated my complexly layered hair, adding depth with cascading curls and sealing with a water-repelling finisher that helped it keep its shape for days.