SoCal Hair: Larry McDaniel for Jeffrey Kara Salon

In an age of over-priced 'dos and shameless "artistes," a new kid on the Sunset Strip is bringing his modern flair and skillful hands to the masses - with a refreshingly old-fashioned dose of client care.  Having worked with celebs like Pamela Anderson, David LaChappelle, and Daphne Guiness, one might think that Larry McDaniel don't have time for the Everywoman - but here at Jeffrey Kara Salon, Larry welcomes each client with a sparkling imagination, deft hands, a warm smile.

As a true gal-on-the-go, I generally don't have time in the morning to twist myself into various yoga poses while juggling small appliances, three brushes, and a basket of sprays, gels, mousses and glosses. I also don't want to leave the house looking like a Yeti, so I'm always looking for something chic and easy. Larry McDaniel is the first stylist I've had in years to patiently take my demands into consideration. After determining the texture, length, and fall of my mane (I have three cowlicks - not the easiest to maneuver), he carefully asked me questions about what styles would work best with my look and lifestyle.

Just as I appreciate doctors who at least consider my own self-diagnosis, I love any beauty consultant who listens to what I want (or think I want) before attacking my visage. Though he certainly enjoys a clientele who love being surprised by his boundless creativity, Larry says it's important for his subjects and him to "meet in the middle - I always strive to keep someone in their comfort zone, while giving them something surprising and different…there should always be that extra spark! I love helping people really stand out, because at the end of the day, that's what makes me really stand out."

Unrestricted to shaping, he's also an adept colorist, noting that "it's like painting…I've made a commitment to doing something for hair every single day."

Larry performed a thorough (and dare I say, "magic-handed") shampoo and scalp massage, and settled me into his chair. The Jeffrey Kara Salon, where he's based, is a beautiful, open space with soothing music and lovely lighting. The staff was also friendly and helpful, so it was easy to relax in his chair.

His cut was careful and precise. Gently layering my long hair, he talked me through every step of the cut, letting me know how various angles would work for my hair as it fell. I have fairly fine locks, and it was exciting to see the formation of a style that would give me a natural, gentle fullness! From the get-go, one of my chief concerns was my "five-head." Bless Nicole Kidman - she made them passable - but my damn cowlicks always pose a problem when I'm trying to style around my big ol' dome. Larry suggested long, wispy bangs - and PROMISED that they would be easy to style.

When he had finished shaping, Larry did something no other stylist has ever done for me: he showed me, step-by-step, how to style my new cut all by myself, from my perspective (read: I don't have eyes in the back of my head). He did, of course, give me a salon-perfect style to finish, but having someone actually take the time to demonstrate and educate, was a very special addition to a wonderful salon experience.

Vist Larry McDaniel at the Jeffrey Kara Salon, 8590 West Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069. For an appointment, call 310.659.5150.

- Lalla Robinson, West Coast Contributor