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Blowdryer Divorce: Is Wash and Go Hair Possible?

If you’re one of the lucky few possessed of tresses that look lovely air-dried and product-less or happen to be able to pull off semi-ironic bed head, you can stop reading. This post is not for you. You are free to go have fun with your perfect hair somewhere else. For the rest of us, there remains the question: must we remain tethered to our styling tools? Or is it possible to achieve the holy grail of hair: a wash and go style that actually looks good?

The subject came up recently in three separate conversations with three very different San Francisco hair stylists. Not surprisingly, each had his or her own opinion and preferred methods to offer up. The good news: there is hope. The reality: it’s probably going to cost you $300 or more.

That’s at least what it will cost you for a basic cut with longtime hair stylist Jehr Schiavo, whose product-free cuts are delivered using only scissors and a spray bottle filled with water (if you think the price is steep, take heart, they used to cost considerably more).

“You cannot be bound by a blowdryer to make the hair look good,” says Schiavo, who returned to the City this spring after two years traveling and living what he describes as “the nomadic life.”

While it may cost more than your average hair cut, a session with Schiavo is aimed at achieving a style that requires little to no extra primping outside the usual wash, condition and brush routine. To do this, Schiavo approaches his cuts in a way that’s more artistic than some may be able to stomach. He is not, to be sure, the stylist to bring a celebrity photograph torn from the pages of a magazine, but rather the kind of stylist to visit when you’re ready for a cut that’s tailored to your face shape, edgy and one-of-a-kind.

For the blowdryer-weary, Johnny Bueno of Johnny Bueno Color Studio in Union Square, suggests another method entirely: the Brazilian Blowout, which, like a cut with Schaivo, will also run you $300 and up. The treatments work for both men and women, Bueno says, who want to eliminate frizz without sacrificing natural wave or curl.

“It’s versatile, and it’s wash and wear…you can get out of the shower and let it dry or you could blow it out in half the time,” Bueno says of hair that’s undergone the heat-activated process, which lasts about three months (and can be had for 20 percent off at Bueno's salon this month when you mention 7x7).

Perhaps the simplest route to very simple hair care comes from a simple cut.

“One that is geared towards being easy, not over-layered and with the low-maintenance factor in mind,” recommends Ashley Whitfield, owner of new Noe Valley destination Reconstruction Salon.

To enhance the wash and go look, Whitfield suggests using styling lotion or foam to hold the style without looking wet or feeling crunchy.

“A light styling lotion and a little twisting around the finger through the top and around the face can make it wave up and look like she spent her morning at the beach,” Whitfield says.

Still, she cautions:

"It's kind of an urban legend that, without product and styling, anyone can walk out of the house with damp hair and it look fabulous, especially with weather like ours."