Hair salons and barbershops abound in New Orleans, but Glenn Michael Salon (1623 Metairie Road, Metairie, 504-828-6848; www.glenn- michaelsalon.com) is one of the few with a focus on women with fine, thinning hair. Owner Glenn Michael Milliet describes the salon as "upscale, but not uptight."
Milliet, a musician, decided to open a salon, not a barbershop, when he changed careers years ago. He remembers preferring the salon experience to getting his hair cut at a traditional barbershop.
"For whatever reason, I remembered being younger and switching over from a barbershop to a salon," he says. "I remembered liking the atmosphere better. There were lots of younger people and it seemed more contemporary."
He went to school to learn how to cut and process hair. Since Milliet opened his salon in 1976, he has relocated and expanded several times. He attributes his success to communicating and empathizing with his clients.
"You can be great at something technically," he says, "but if you can't communicate, you won't have the opportunity to succeed at what you're good at."
In 2011, Milliet realized many of his clients were women looking for a way to revitalize their hair. He researched a new hair treatment called the Evolve Volumizer (by Evolve Hair Solutions), specifically designed for women with fine and thinning hair. Today, the salon specializes in this procedure.
"What makes the Volumizer different is that first of all, there's no glue or adhesive, there's no braiding, there's no sewing, there are no chemicals or heat of any kind," Milliet says. "There is zero damage to the existing hair. For a woman with fine, thinning hair, every hair on that head is important."
Milliet emphasizes the comfort and versatility of the hair system. It is designed for women who are experiencing hair loss on the crowns of their heads. The product has a poly-mesh, hypoallergenic, ventilated base, which is essential for coping with Louisiana heat.
"The system starts at the top of the head," Milliet says. "It is all human hair, which means you can cut it, color it, lowlight it, brush it, tuck it behind your ear, or put it up in a chignon. Most anything I can do with (a client's natural hair), I can do with a volumizer client."
Each client considering the Evolve Volumizer first schedules a 30-minute consultation. For Milliet, a client's reason for coming to Glenn Michael Salon is a crucial part of the discussion.
"When a new client is coming to me, that means someone else is losing them," he says.
He asks clients to explain what they would like to change about their hair and look. Once he assesses their concerns, he can suggest products and procedures to address the root of the problem.
"I think what makes me the most happy about my job is working with clients with fine and thinning hair," Milliet says. "A woman who was depressed might walk out the door feeling 10 feet tall. Hearing things like, 'I can't wait to go out tonight,' (or) changing a person's mind is what makes (the experience) so powerful."