His Name is Ismail

Have you ever felt like a traitor or a cheater because you’ve been swayed away from your regular hair stylist? Uh huh. Me too. That’s only natural. I mean, there are professional guide books on how to deal with the guilt from your betrayal as well as what to say when caught by the former pro who so lovingly handled your tresses once upon a time (or a month ago).  So you are not alone.  It’s life. It happens.  In a city like D.C. and its metro area, the hair industry is competitive surely because let’s be frank. This is not New York nor California.  D.C. isn’t known for it’s fancy progressive do’s, but we do have a lot of people with needs.  As many young incomers to the Hill hail from southern schools or north eastern universities, you have some more conservative styles. And with the media and political set ruling the society photos, conventional looks abound.

The humidity (and frequent monsoons) is the only thing that makes for a technical hair challenge, the exception being any individual issues. Not that we are to say that we don’t have talented professionals here, but we are not known as the “hair capital” (even John Edwards wouldn’t trust his fancy coiff to the locals).

That trend is changing however, as the nation’s capital continues to grow with hipper fashions, restaurants, retailers, hotels, artists, screenings, music and events.  I mean, look how long it took for the restaurant scene to finally get its deserved recognition and even be called “exciting” by critics.  I digress, but still within my point.  Progressive stylists have been settling here more and more and gaining a loyal clientele because they can create fun, sexy looks without being considered outrageous by Washington standards.

I’ve been to so many hair salons in this area, including in Northern Virgina and I’ve been beyond belief ecstatic, never horrified, but definitely “meh” at some times.  I loved Celeste at Maude in Herndon (yes, I lived in Reston for 7 years, so hush) and referred tons of business to her; Jordan was fab at Salon one80, who was also a Punch Partner last year and I’ve had affairs here and there and everywhere.  Sometimes you just have to try someone out until they fit you.  Even with my low-maintenance req’s (all though who couldn’t use a Keratin treatment or Argan oil or any of those fixer uppers?) I still want to look good.  So while I was in the midst of scoping out the town, a friend of mine had been bugging me (actually she was one of several) to try out the Ismail (Tekin) at George at the Four Seasons.  “He does a lot of young ladies and women you know, believe me.  But it’s hard to get an appointment with him because he’s in such demand.  I can help get you in though,” my friend who has picture perfect, yet without looking like she’s trying California blonde hair.  I trusted her as she’s from L.A. and you know what the market is like out there. Geez.  And it’s expensive out there.  With a tap tap tap on her iPhone, she texted him (he’s on speed dial) and kaboom we had made it through to a Thursday afternoon appointment. An off hour of course.

Ashley Taylor a long time Ismail client

Ashley Taylor one of many many long time Ismail clients

While I wish I had made a before photo (next time, Ismail, next time) I was beyond loving the new look. And his technique is one like I’d never experienced. First he was more than open when I blabbed about what I thought I wanted, but wasn’t sure, but needed his consultation and professional advice.  He came back with a few suggestions, all of which seemed doable to me.  He explained every single strategic snip, which I found to be helpful.  He also had me stand to do the initial length cut.  He gave me guidance on how to best style, he didn’t just do it and wait for me to figure it out on my own.  He was basically hand holding me the entire time, like we were partners in this hair cutting adventure.  He wanted me to be happy not just when I walked out, but every day and night after. He didn’t want me to think, “How the hell did he get my hair to do that?”  We talked color which will be my next step with him.

When I left I had a bounce in my step but the biggest compliment was when I had a meeting with a client the next day who asked me where I got my hair done.  “Ismail at George at the Four Seasons,” I replied by flinging my hair around.  “Really? I need a new person and place!”  “Well, ” I said, “he’s really hard to get into … but I know someone who can help you…” Next week, she was a satisfied new client of Ismail’s.  She even sent me the photo later to prove it.

If you want to be one of Ismail’s pleased clientele, you can call him at 202-342-1942.  And please, tell them the Punch sent you.

2828 Pennsylvania, Ave, NW in the courtyard

About Pamela Sorensen:
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.
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