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L.A. CONFIDENTIAL

The Cost Cutters

Here's a crop of talented hairstylists who think everybody deserves a new 'do without getting sheared. Remember their names.

January 20, 2008|Emili Vesilind | Times Staff Writer

Getting into the swivel chair of one of the world's most acclaimed hairstylists is a credit card-crippling prospect these days. Ted Gibson -- who cuts Angelina Jolie's silky tresses -- commands $950 a cut, while shag-master Sally Hershberger charges $800 a pop for what amounts to a 10-minute shearing. Clients of superstar stylists pay dearly to be a part of a rarefied group of celebrities and socialites -- and tell the tales of their encounters with them. For them, there's cachet in following, say, Jennifer Connelly in uber-hairdresser Orlando Pita's chair.

But even those with means might scoff at the idea of spending that kind of cash on something that, um, grows (though in the most recent hair scandal, populist presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards had no qualms about shelling out $400 to shape up his preppy 'do).

Luckily, the Los Angeles area is teeming with talented hairstylists whose prices are more in line with a night at Mozza than a Miu Miu bag. Each of the stylists below charges $75 or less for a cut and comes highly recommended by well-coiffed people in the local fashion and beauty industries. All are lauded for their supreme scissor skills, friendly demeanor and keen ability to interpret and personalize trends (such as Victoria Beckham's much-requested "Posh Bob"). These stylists may not mingle much with the Fendi set (by choice), but calling on them comes with the ultimate (unspoken) bragging right: a fantastic new haircut.

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The naturals

Jason Edwards at Allen Edwards

Spa and Salon

Hairdresser Jason Edwards strives to cut hair so that it looks killer in its natural state. "I love the way hair dries naturally," he said. "If someone has really curly hair, they should have a really great curly hair haircut." He uses a razor and scissors to make hair look as healthy as possible -- especially long hair, which he considers a specialty. "I don't do a lot of [overwrought] Melrose hair," he said. "That's not my gig." Cuts are $75 for women and $60 for men. 12050 Ventura Blvd., No. C101, Studio City, (818) 763-0220.

Israel Garcia, Gavert Atelier

Mexico City-native Israel Garcia is a rare breed in Beverly Hills -- a skilled, savvy hairdresser who's also relatively affordable. His forte is classic, feminine cuts -- from layered and long to Katie Holmes-style bobs. "I don't do crazy, crazy cuts, because I don't think everyone can pull it off," he said. "In Beverly Hills, they like to keep it conservative, but then they get bored, and we give the cut a little more texture or bangs to make it fun." Women's haircuts are $75. 9666 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, (310) 858-7898.

Curl girls

Leticia Torres, Salon Motif

Latina hair, which can be thick and curly, requires a stylist who knows how to expertly layer, thin and shape hair. Leticia Torres of Salon Motif in Arcadia has earned a loyal Latina clientele by assessing hair for bounce (how much the curl springs up when dry), making sure the cut looks good both wet and dry and keeping layers on the long side. "You have to figure out how the client is going to wear it," she said. "A lot of stylists are greedy with their time, but I'll take 45 minute to consult if I have to." Women's haircuts are $45 to $55. 53 E. Foothill Blvd., Arcadia, (626) 445-7848.

Molly Scargall, Salon Goo

"The style is the cut," is hairdresser Molly Scargall's philosophy. The owner of Salon Goo did her training at Vidal Sassoon, which focuses on innovative cutting techniques, and is a whiz at working with curly hair. Contrary to popular belief, Scargall said, layering is not always the best technique for curls. "Sometimes it requires weight to help hold it down. If you make it all light and layered, then it's all 'boing.' " Haircuts are $75. 459 1/2 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 653-1299.

For the boys

Ben Davis, Fur Hair Gallery

Ben Davis believes in controlled imperfection. The Seattle native, who was trained as a barber and cut his teeth at the Rudy's Barbershop chain, is currently into crafting looks that "look like you had your friend do it -- not such a perfect, textbook cut," he said. His current pet peeves include drastically squared-off necklines and that freshly cut traditional barbershop look. "It's kinda cool when things are imperfect," he said. Men's haircuts are $35. 4279 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 662-7151.

Jacki Brown, Dej Salon

When the notoriously finicky Sean Combs is in L.A., he calls on barber and hairstylist Jacki Brown at Dej Salon, who's been honing her skills on African American men's hair for more than 15 years. "He's a very precise man," she says of her superstar client. The two make a good match: Brown's meticulous nature is at the cornerstone of her craft. "You have to be very precise with the hairline and the shaping of the face with a black clientele," she said. "There's no room for error." Men's haircuts are $30 to $40. 13448 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 981-8593.

Well-rounded

Lissa Renn, Rudy's Barbershop

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