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The hidden gem: Hair FX

By Shayna Wiwierski

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When you step into Hair FX you are instantly overcome with the warmness of the quaint salon.

The River Heights studio is located underneath the hustle and bustle of the city’s famed Stafford and Grosvenor intersection.  Surrounded by boutiques, yoga studios, and deliciously tempting bistros, Hair FX is a few steps below street level in a space that exudes relaxation, comfort, and ease.

Located at 915 Grosvenor Avenue, the 3,200-square-foot salon recently celebrated its 16th year in its underground location.  They were previously across the street on the other side of Stafford in a much smaller space for seven years.

5-2“If you kicked out your feet at the shampoo station, you kicked your stylist [at the old location], our new spot is quite the upgrade” says Michael Larocque, spokesperson for Hair FX.

The salon boasts 18 employees and features 13 cutting stations and 10 chemical stations. In addition to a relaxing and peaceful reception area where clients can wait on plush chaise couches surrounded by product information and relaxing elements like a fireplace, the salon also has an outdoor courtyard where clients can bask in Mother Nature.

Comfort seems to be an underlying theme behind the salon as everything from the furniture to the colour scheme is relaxing.  The salon features lots of natural lighting and an orange-red colour palette, bringing warmth to the overall ambiance.  Over its 16-year residency at its current location, the look and feel has changed a few times, but it always seems to go back to warm undertones.

“Before we did this renovation we decided to do a spa feel – blues, taupes, greens, etc.  It wasn’t ‘our’ feel though, it wasn’t dynamic,” says Larocque.  “We started with warm colours before, maybe not as intense, but we went back to our roots.”

Those roots are all about creating a comforting experience for the client. The darker colours on the walls and in the décor present a more intimate experience for clientele.  The earth tones also transcend into features of the salon, including an abundance of greenery and plant sculptures, as well as rough wood tables and bookcases, which juxtaposes the refined elegance of the whole space.

5-6Hair FX also has a piece of Winnipeg history within its four walls.  The man-made wood tables (created by Larocque’s father in law who is a master craftsman) are held up by table bases from the now-demolished Eaton’s department store on Portage Avenue.  Larocque acquired the six cast-iron vintage pieces from a friend who bought them at an auction to use in her restaurant.

“I had a friend who owned a little restaurant and when she closed it she was selling them off. They are a piece of Winnipeg history, we are lucky to have them.”

In addition to the clean, simple lines of the interior, the Redken flagship salon is also impeccably spotless with each member of the staff ensuring that not a speck of dust is found in the space.

Laundry is constantly done with capes and sinks being washed after every client.  They also have cleaners come in once a week, as well as a regular cleaner on staff.

“You have to create that kind of work ethic; [cleaning] has to get done.  If you think clients won’t notice the dirt in your salon, think again.”

Michael Larocque, Hair FX spokesperson, with a model at the Midwinter Night’s Dream fashion show.
Michael Larocque, Hair FX spokesperson, with a model at the Midwinter Night’s Dream fashion show.

Aside from creating a wonderful environment for clients to get services done, Hair FX is also an active member of the community.  This is their third summer working with Rainbow Stage on wigs for their summer productions.  They also do hair and wigs for Prairie Theatre Exchange, the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, and Dry Cold Productions. In addition, they provide hair services for the Winnipeg Blue Lightning Dance Team, as well as put on a major charity event for the Never Alone Foundation, which benefit individuals and families affected by cancer.  Hair FX held their second annual A Midwinter Night’s Dream fashion show in January 2012.

“Sometimes we can become overwhelmed with the world.  We watch terrible things happening in certain places and we feel we can’t fix it. We might not be able to change the world, but we can make a difference in the community.”

Hair FX’s dedication to the community, as well as providing an intimate, comfortable experience for salon services, transcends into their subtle way of being the best salon they can be.

“I like to think of us as a hidden jewel.  We aren’t out there in people’s faces; we are working class people doing the best job we can.”

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