Salon Review: Pirate Salon, San Francisco
I found Pirate Salon through Yelp originally, as I was searching for a salon that seemed hip enough to do interesting cuts, and also catered specifically to curls. Pirate came highly recommended- and the price was right. $45 for a cut, $10 if you just need a bang trim, $55 for color- and if you’ve got skills but no cash, they’re even willing to do trade. So, I figured it was worth the risk. It’s just hair, after all. It grows back.
It took me almost two months to get in to see Ana, the curl specialist, and another half-hour to find my way into the building. She turned out to be a sweet, engaging, but slightly insane burner girl from Barcelona with candy-colored stripes in her hair and an adorable accent. The salon is tiny and eclectic and currently under construction. I had to jump a belt sander to get in. I told Ana what I wanted, and she spent a while staring so intensely at my hair that it got uncomfortable and tried to move to the other side of my head. Then she announced “It just doesn’t match you.” So I crossed my fingers and threw caution to the wind. “OK, make it match me”.
Then she cut some hair. She cut dry (possibly because all of the sinks were lying on the floor), and as she cut she turned my hair into a giant red puffball. She pulled out random bits here and there and scissored them. She cut where I had wanted length and she left length where I had wanted cut. I looked increasingly like Carrot Top playing Albert Einstein in a school play. She did this for quite a while, pulling out a random bit here and a random bit there, twiddling it, and whacking some of it off. It was like the chaos theory of hair. It was absolutely terrifying.
When whatever berserk criteria she was using to judge by was satisfied, I looked like something an Irish Setter had been alternately sleeping on and gnawing for several weeks. Then she wandered off through the cans of paint and overturned wine casks (?), dug around, and came back with a squirt bottle that had quite possibly been meant for the potted plants. She misted my hair, ran her fingers through it a couple of times, pronounced me done, and handed me a mirror.
What can I say? She somehow made my hair longer by cutting it. It frames my face perfectly. She did the exact opposite of everything I asked- and it looks fantastic. This salon is NOT for the faint of heart. If you want to play it safe, go elsewhere. But if the spirit of adventure moves you, this may be the salon for you. The rave reviews on Yelp suggest that my cut was no happy accident: these girls are on to something. I have no idea what, exactly, but I think that’s part of the fun. And you just can’t argue with the results.