I love my long-time stylist but after she moved to a salon across town (to one of the busiest, trendiest neighborhoods with no parking, natch), I decided it was time to reach out and find someone closer in. Recalling Ceremony Salon as the place that gave Ragen Fykes, the fly AF manager of West End Select Shop, her rad ‘do as well as the place keeping VGS Sister Style Alumna / food blogger Alison Wu looking sparkling, I decided to try them out.
This is where the universe seemingly pulled some strings because the very next day I received an email from Ceremony manager, Sasha, asking me if I’d be interested in checking out the salon. Uh, yes please. Total kismet.
After researching Ceremony’s carefully selected roster of stylists, I settled on Irisa Elaine. It was a tough decision as everyone had informative bios and an impressive Instagram feed but Irisa’s portfolio showed a diversity of hair types. The biggest issue I have with my hair is that I have a super wonky wave pattern that, if cut incorrectly, causes me all sorts of grief. Not only that, I have extremely thick hair that’s on the coarse side and does whatever the eff it wants. I’ve learned the hard way that not everyone gets it. (Thankfully, and as I predicted, Irisa got it.)
Arriving at Ceremony for my appointment I was immediately dazzled by the salon’s Palm Springs-meets-Portland vibe – in fact, the first thing you see when you walk in is bright pink neon promising Good Vibes Only and you guys, it’s completely true. The large white space is bright and open but anything but boring with resplendent displays of plants, plants, plants all over, beautiful brass light fixtures, cinder blocks reminiscent of The Parker and super fun, groovy wallpaper in unexpected places. Owners Stephanie and Lauren told me to be on the lookout for handmade art objects they’ve picked up over the years and placed throughout the salon and it was super fun to spot a Friend Assembly planter here and Liv and Dom incense holders there.
Best friends and veterans of the industry, Ceremony owners Stephanie Hand and Lauren Kolb, began with the idea of creating their own space and ran with it, tapping top talent (mostly people they’d worked with previously) to join them. The result is a highly curated roster of Portland’s most skilled stylists and those aforementioned Good Vibes.
Settling in with Irisa, I was immediately charmed by her easy-going and friendly attitude. Before I could even tell her about the weird things going on with my hair that I wanted to address, she called them out and suggested how we could fix them while taking into account my special instructions: thin my hair but hide the layers so it looks more or less one length and no face framing pieces, please. Off to the groovy shampoo room we went where Irisa made sure not to scrimp on the head massage portion of the wash and kindly refrained from shaming me for my truly greasy hair.
Next up was the cut. Taking all angles into account, I could tell Irisa was fully focused on the task at hand, something I don’t always notice when getting my hair cut. She also asked me questions as she went to ensure she wasn’t over or under doing things. After drying and styling my hair she also gave me tips on cutting my own bangs in the event that I couldn’t make it back in for a free bang trim, something she offers for all clients.
So here’s my Before and After –
Before: An okay cut that I had to keep straightened at all times to hide a weird, random chunk that was cut out on one side only. I also botched my own bang trim so I cut off face framers on one side of my face but not on the other.
After: A freewheeling cut that took the length up a bit to fix the weird and random missing chunk while allowing my weird wave pattern to fly it’s freak flag so I could give the straightening iron a rest. Irisa also fixed my bangs to remove my random remaining face framers and even out the sides. (The stars are obvs a filter, meant to convey just how sparkly I was feeling with my new hairs.)
Overall, I loved my experience at Ceremony. It’s location on East Burnside is much more convenient for me, the space is so lovely and I felt like Irisa was really listening to me and my needs. Plus, she was super easy to talk to! There’s nothing worse than awkward silences when getting your hairs did. I will definitely be going back and can’t wait for my next visit.