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Lotus Salons tend to crop up in spare downtown storefronts so small they fit just a few styling chairs and a reception desk. The salons’ owner, Tokyo-born Junichi Koide, has a knack for business but zero expertise in cosmetology—he went to med school instead of beauty school—so he maintains a hands-off policy, entrusting salon aesthetics to his expert stylists. It’s they who run the show, and the boss describes his salons as the tonsorial counterparts of art galleries, where “the artists are the stars.” Lotus’ stylist-artists are also jacks-of-all-beauty-trades: They cut, color, shampoo, blow-dry, and choose their own products, equipment, and techniques. As a result, there’s no standard Lotus experience. In the Tribeca salon—which, with the addition of a couch, is the biggest of the branches—color might involve an unusual single process in which your head is tinfoiled in various hues, while a cut by a John Sahag protégé might shear you dry. There is one Lotus look that can be achieved at all locations: straight, silky locks courtesy of high-tech Japanese hair straightening.
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