UPDATE! Hi all, I just went to Gio again for my opti.smooth retouch and I wanted to let everyone know how it went. I initially had opti.smooth done about 2 years ago by Gio. Fantastic. Then I got my first retouch done at another salon (J christopher) one year ago bc they were really cheap. But you get what you pay for. Seriously. He left out a few chunks of hair that I had to straighten daily (defeats the purpose of straightening!). I was livid. No one at that salon cared. So, another year passes and it's time for my re-touch. I didn't even hesitate about going back to Gio. I will NEVER go anywhere else for opti. My hair is PERFECTLY straight and smooth. I literally let my hair air dry and it looks great! No damage. Gio puts so much time and care into every strand. Trust me. I have something to compare it to! She does not miss a piece!!! And I really like everyone in the salon. They're cool. Not pretentious. very accommodating. I'll be going back in another 10-12 months for sure. PS- she fixed the mistakes that they made at that stupid other salon that I've been living with for year. If you're doing opti.smooth, do NOT consider another salon. Gio does opti.smooth's all the time (another woman was leaving after her opti.smooth when I was coming in) so she has the experience. She's so sweet too and will happily answer any questions you have. I'm happy to answer questions too - from a non-hairdresser/expert perspective if you're feeling nervous. I've sent one co-worker and one friend to Gio for opti.smooth (one cold and one hot process) and they've both been as happy as me. Hi everybody, about a month ago, I had the Opti smooth hair straightening (the thermal smoothing) at Gio...and I couldn't be happier!!! I had wavy hair with tons of frizz, now I can leave the house without any product or styling and look half way decent! IT's not perfect (the ends still have some body- but I didn't want stick straight hair and that's why I didn't do japanese straightening). My hair was "virgin" - no other chemical processes or coloring in years, so it took to the process very well. The only thing is you cant shower for three days (so do it on a thursday night that way you can shower before you go to work monday morning). I've gotten tons of compliments and I truly couldn't be happier!!! It's expensive ($400 at Gio Salon in NYC) but worth every penny! I'm very cheap cheap cheap, but again I'd do this again in a heartbeat. I can't believe how soft and manageable my hair is now. If you're considering and have any questions, let me know. I did so much research before hand because I was SOOOO nervous (I've never done any straightening or chemical processes before) but I know I chose the right process. For me, japanese straightening makes your hair look damaged and too stick straight, BKT brazilian straightening uses either formaldehyde or ether, or I don't want to breath in either! So opti.smooth was the right pick for me, but everyone's hair is different!! Just PLEASE MAKE SURE you have an experienced hair dresser that has been doing the process for years and has regular clients that get it done (you can even ask for a client reference if you want). I went in for a complimentary consultation with Gio before hand and she answered all of my questions and made me feel more at ease. Bottom line, get an experienced stylist and be UPFRONT about anything that could affect the process (any meds that you take, any highlighting, henna, coloring, if you swim a lot, if you're in the sun everyday, etc). GIO is a great salon to do it at! (P.s. you can ask for a first time client discount!) Thanks! :o)
No appointments are needed because there are enough women there to take you without too much trouble. Yes, there can be slightly extended wait times during the peak days and times but they're not bad enough to warrant creating an appointment system. They open every day and have long hours. After you find street parking (which may take a while), just walk right in and head to the back where one of the women will wash your hair with some sort of wonder-shampoo and conditioner. Feel free to bring your own shampoo/conditioner but it'll cost you a few extra dollars. After the wash ritual, someone else will set your hair in the magnetic rollers and sit you under one of their VERY HOT driers. A word of warning for those who are intolerant to the heat...don't be afraid to ask to turn it down a couple notches because you will be uncomfortable the entire time and that is no fun at all. Grab a magazine or dig for the book you brought with you and hunker down for the next 45 minutes to an hour. I would recommend checking the dryness of your hair to make sure that it's completely dry when the timer is near its end because there is nothing worse than sitting under the drier, thinking that you're all dry and then when the stylist gets you 10-15 minutes after the timer has ended, she sits you back under the drier for another 20 minutes. When you're finally dry, be prepared for yet another hot blast where the stylist blows out your curls and roots. Yes, you'll want to cry when the heat is on your scalp but your hair will look so good. :) If you want a doobie (hair wrap), have your pack of bobby pins ready for your stylist to use as she works her wizardry of wrapping your hair around your head. If you forgot to bring hair pins, they'll use their own but that will cost you a little more but not much. Oh what I would give to be able to go to Lila's every week! Why don't they have these kind of salons on the west coast??? Lila's is one of the top local spots I miss the most about NY (yes, I'm easy to please). It's cheap enough to go every week if you have the time as it costs no more than $25-$30. And that is after tips...and please do tip the women.
You have to see these guys! My mother and I had a sit down with the main guy there David, and we knew immediately this was our choice! He had done a bunch of my girlfriends weddings, and then I came to find out he also helped out two of my coworkers as well. So from the start we had a great feeling walking in, and it only got better. David took the time to have pictures ready from our hall, even having room shots that I had asked for so my mother could see some ideas. JoVon has a system of using multiple photographer artists that did different styles, which I loved, and is probably the reason we eventually signed with them. David and Marko (Marco?) were our artists and they were quite exceptional!! I had to almost pull my friends away from them because everyone was having such a good time hanging around their crew of guys, which by the way was like four guys! I had to wait like 7 weeks to get my prints, but I was told that was because October was such a nutsy month, which I guess I understood. So far, that has been the only negative. So although I can only comment up to this point, I can attest that a bunch of people that I am close with have been happy and so far we can only say the same thing. The engagement shoot was a wonderful experience. We were close to skipping it but David convinced us of its value and he was absolutely correct. My fiance ended up actually having an interest in the whole photo thing after doing it, which I did not see coming!!!! Certainly one of if not my best vendor choices, but I was blessed because all of my vendors did a wonderful job. I hope all of you future brides have the experience that I had too!!!! TM