Things We Said, A 26 piece collection.  Opening Sat May 27 at Alter EGO.

Things We Said, A 26 piece collection. Opening Sat May 27 at Alter EGO.

This Saturday from 3-6pm at Alter EGO, Artist Taylor Lee is unveiling a collection of 26 pieces, one for each letter of the alphabet.  Each title, from "Please Don't Go" to "Before I Met You" evokes pivotal points in a relationship.  "Things We Said" honors those often painful moments. Taylor is currently preparing for an artist residency in Puebla, Mexico, independent projects in San Ramon, Costa Rica, and a gallery opening in Urbana, Illinois. Visit her Instagram @taylorleepaints for daily updates on her work and to follow her adventures abroad.  

Event 

This year I’ve been thinking about the differences and similarities between everyone. We come from different countries, different religions, different age groups, different races, different economic backgrounds...yet we all live the human experience. This exhibition will celebrate and honor the moments that overlap. This collection is comprised of 26 pieces, one representing each letter of the alphabet. The title of each piece will start with a letter from the alphabet, and the title will be something that we’ve said to someone else at least once in our lives. All humans, no matter how different, have probably said these things. From, “Please Don’t Go” to “Meet My Mom,” we can all relate to the important moments in our lives that are captured with these words.
— Taylor Lee

Aaron Kim, Raleigh Hair Stylist & Colorist

Aaron Kim, Raleigh Hair Stylist & Colorist

Daeho Kim, also known as Aaron, joined us in Dec 2015 from Busan, South Korea where he was a sought after stylist with more than 8 years experience.  The bustling port city of Busan (pronounced "Pusan") is actually the world's 10th busiest city, and is the second largest city in South Korea, next to Seoul.  Busan is known for its beautiful beaches, seafood markets (fresh sushi -yum!) , and its "Diamond Bridge" fireworks.

After honing his k-style craft in South Korea, Aaron decided to join a salon team in Australia to gain more global fashion influences and practice styling different hair types.  Intent on helping him prepare for his international move, Aaron's father, a Vice Principal at a local elementary school, introduced him to the school's new American English teacher, the future Becky Kim.  Aaron and Becky are expecting their first child in July.

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Aaron enjoys artistic color services involving creative color and hand-painting techniques such as ombre and balayage.  These services allow him to infuse his knowledge of global fashion trends with his own artistic expression.  The featured model was styled by Laura Thabet and Aaron Kim as an entry into Alter EGO's charity contest SPECTACLE for 2016.

Read reviews of Aaron's work on Yelp.  Book online with Aaron here.  Follow Aaron on Instagram at @aaronsscissorhands

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On Getting a Total Makeover...

On Getting a Total Makeover...

Welcome to our new website!  Like many big projects, this one has been in the making for quite a long time.  When the new site went live last week a calm come over me as I navigated the pages thinking, 'yeah - that's us.'  This came together during a time of intense change for me personally.  From its inception the Alter EGO brand was meant to embody the concept of changing identity; and lately, I've been thinking a lot about the metamorphoses we experience as humans in our individual lives.  

It seems I have spent much of my life discovering my own identity.  As a youth and even into my twenties I maintained the idea that eventually you 'grew up', as in arrived.  Knowing yourself.  I flailed through life seeking clues to who I would become as if it were predetermined.  I settled into my first career.  After a decade of practice and some notable successes, I thought "Oh, this is me. Here I am, grown up."  And then I became a mom, and suddenly my world was in limbo again.  Just about the time I found my bearings, my marriage crumbled.  Talk about identity crisis. Try being a newly single, working mom in your late thirties. Who knew this would be my favorite identity yet?  I think what has finally made me so comfortable in my own skin is the understanding of constant change in life, and how to more gracefully, through practice, embrace change.

I know more is coming for me.  I don't know what to expect, so I'm ready to fall into it as gracefully as I can.  I watch my grandmother struggle to find her new place in the world after losing her husband of 60+ years. Without him, how does she relate to even her closest loved ones?  I want her to understand that even though I've only known her as one of a pair, she is precious to me in her own right.  I've also been learning more about my grandfather's many identities in life.  At first, I was uncomfortable with this; I didn't want to let go of his identity as my grandfather to make way for others.  But he was a photographer - someone who saw tremendous beauty in the world - and he drew me in with his pictures.  I think about my son, and how what he's inherited from us will carry him through his life, ever growing and changing.

At Alter EGO, we are blessed to help effect the outward expression of so many transformations.  Our clients are amazingly interesting people!  Many new stylists express their surprise at just how often we get to do creative colors and how many first time clients choose us for complete makeovers.  Clients even share their research process leading to Alter EGO.  To me, that's an indication that we are effectively conveying to the world who we are: agents of beautiful change.

This business has taught me a lot about how others experience change.  Too often, a client leaves brimming with excitement over her new self, only to encounter 'the others'.  Sadly, 'the others' might be people who should love and nurture them - a husband, frequently a mother.  'The others' say well-meaning, but destructive things like, "Why did you cut your hair?"  or "I liked it better blonde." or "You know I just love you with long hair."  As a mother, I know that reacting this way stems from my own fear of loss. What I've learned, though, is that change means you are living; it's recognition is an opportunity to love each other right now - in the present. Let's agree together to give ourselves grace, instead of struggling futilely against the constant force of change.  

Finally, many thanks to our best styling team ever.  Thank you for choosing Alter EGO; YOU have made us the best hair salon in Raleigh.  Thank you for all your hard work over the last year.  The result of that is this new identity, and all the media here is ours.  All original.  This is us now!  Isn't it great?!

Style by Aspen Johnson.  Photography by Trevor Underwood.  

Masked model styled by Dana Rosa for Alter EGO's annual SPECTACLE charity event.  Mask is original artwork by Mathew Curran for SPECTACLE.  Photo by Joe Bruno for Oak City Hustle.

Dana Hunter Rosa featured in Oak City Hustle

Dana Hunter styles hair and applies hair color at Alter EGO Salon and Blow Dry Bar in downtown Raleigh.

Raleigh's Oak City Hustle interviewed Owner and Stylist, Dana Hunter Rosa, about what defines Alter EGO and how Dana has cultivated a creative, expressive environment here.  In their own words, Oak City Hustle "provide a platform for innovative creative culture in Raleigh to be nurtured, developed, documented and shared as a catalyst for cultural pride."  We are so thrilled for Dana and Alter EGO to be featured, and would love for you to read her interview to learn more about both Dana and AE. Q & A with Dana Hunter Rosa of Alter EGO

Achieve a Closer Shave, Gentlemen.

Achieve a Closer Shave, Gentlemen.

Shave(verb): to remove hair by cutting it off close to the skin with a razor. The wet shave is a ritual that's generally passed down from generation to generation. I remember as a little girl getting to watch my grandfather and father shave was one of the most mesmerizing things to see. The process was so fascinating: inserting a fresh blade into the safety razor, splashing the face with hot water, the lathering process with a shave brush being whipped in circular motions from the neck up and the music of the blade gliding across the whiskers. It's a sound one can not forget.

Below are some tips I have learned from previously working behind the chair, performing straight razor shaves and from my previous place of employment (a corporate shave store):

Enjoy the Ritual

-Don't rush -Stop using too much pressure -Use a clean blade (if it's dull, toss it out) -Make sure to use a post shave moisturizing product!

Want a better shave experience? Here are my recommendations: -Make sure your skin is clean. Shaving a dirty face leads to bacteria being pushed into the skin, which can cause irritation.

-Shave either during a hot shower or right after. This opens the pores (allowing the hair to be more exposed), softens the whiskers, and ensures your beard is properly moistened. Also, less strokes. NEVER shave a dry face!

-Apply a pre-shave oil such as V76 by Vaughn Pre & Post Detailing Shave Oil. Shaving oil allows the razor to glide nice and smooth against the skin and also acts as a barrier between the blade and your skin (i.e. cut down on the razor burn) When applying: use a dime size amount, and starting at the base of your neck, work in an upward motion to help lift the whiskers for a closer shave. Have a beard? V76 by Vaughn Pre & Post Shave Oil makes for a wonderful beard oil too! Rub into the body of the beard, coating from skin to end.

-On top of the oil, add a quality shaving cream. Look for one that has moisturizers such as V76 by Vaughn Clean Shave Hydrating Gel Cream.This gel-to-cream softens the most stubborn of stubble while the Vitamin E beads soothe the skin for a superbly comfortable finish. It can be used with or without a shaving brush. Why a shaving brush, you may be asking yourself? Well a shaving brush is the most important tool in any man's shave. It acts as an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells that can clog a hair follicle, which cause the dreaded ingrown hairs. It also helps to kick out any hairs that may be trapped, and lifts the whiskers to their highest point to achieve a clean, close shave. Badger hair is my recommendation when it comes to shaving brushes. It is the softest and retains the most amount of moisture providing the richest of all lathers when used with shaving cream.

-Using a sharp razor blade, go first WITH the direction of the hair growth (aka with the grain). Take a close look at your neck and face and really check out these growth patterns. If you are one who experiences razor burn/bumps, don't go against the grain, this can only cause the skin to continue to flare up and be irritated. No irritation and/or looking for a closer shave? Make sure you re-lather if you will be going against the grain (I recommend doing a cross grain pass before going against).

-After you have completed the shave, rinse your face with COLD water. This will close the pores that were just opened and help tighten the skin. Make sure to pat not rub your face with a clean towel to dry.

-ALWAYS end with a moisturizer! Shaving can remove up to two layers of the skin. By adding a hydrator with packed nutrients such as V76 by Vaughn's Hydrator Hair and Face Mist, your skin will be soothed, refreshed and ready for the next time you put a blade to it.

Now Hiring Experienced Stylists

Now Hiring Experienced Stylists

We are Raleigh's Premier Urban Salon located in the heart of downtown Raleigh.  Come join our team!  We will keep you busy and inspired.  Love what you do, and do what you love!  Apply Today.

Gold Lust Dry Shampoo Gift #oribeobsessed

Gold Lust Dry Shampoo Gift #oribeobsessed

Get your complimentary 1oz. Gold Lust Dry Shampoo gift with purchase of any Oribe product, while supplies last.  

Instantly Clean.

Extend your blowout and prevent damage with this transformative dry shampoo.  This translucent formula absorbs product buildup, oil and impurities while soothing the scalp and restoring strength and softness.

Memento Mori. October First Friday @ Alter EGO.

Memento Mori. October First Friday @ Alter EGO.

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Friday October 7th, Alter EGO welcomes Valeriya Chavdarova, a Bulgarian-born self taught artist. She works primarily in oils and prefers to focus on darker, horror or anatomy inspired pieces.

Memento Mori (Remember that you must die) is a collection of works to remind us of our own mortality and the transformation from life into death.  Boo!

August First Friday

August First Friday

Susan Peters is originally from Woodstock, New York and has always been a creator. She started by finger-painting on rocks in the creek bed behind her grandmother’s house as a young girl and began acrylics as a mature artist. Susan recently returned to painting after a long hiatus at first as a cold weather hobby, but suddenly began noticing the detail around her: colors, shapes, light, and shadows.  And she was hooked again!  Susan uses bright colors and images from nature to give life to her paintings. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing hot yoga, riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, and traveling with her family.

Street VIEW with Matt Wong

Street VIEW with Matt Wong

"Everyday beautiful works of art go unnoticed in plain sight, lines of symmetry dancing into oblivion appear unseen to the daily commuter." -Matt Wong

Join us this 1st Friday as we take a look through Matt's lens to view hidden urban beauty. To preview more of Matt’s art, visit his site here.

Des Idees Simples. Marwen El Hicheri.

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Marwen “Mani” El Hicheri was born and raised in Tunisia and educated in Paris, France. Although  influenced by many artists from several different movements, he feels that the cultural background, being born and raised in Tunisia, has given him the greatest inspiration. This North African country is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and in the middle of a melting pot of civilizations.A photographer and painter, his current focus is on the modeling industry, which he combines with digital art and painting.

Meet and Greet with the Artist- Friday 6-9pm

To preview more of Marwen's art, visit: https://www.facebook.com/marwen.art

We will also have South Wind Designs Handmade Jewelry in the house. You can check out their work at: https://www.facebook.com/andreaswdesigns/

Intelligence and Diversity - First Friday May 6

Intelligence and Diversity - First Friday May 6

Evocative, intelligent and introspective, the mixed media assemblages of Marty Matthews invite interpretation. The artist asks the viewer to examine their own ascribed interpretation of each piece and hopefully, discover small truths about themselves.

The Poppiottes & Pin Curls Oribe Experience

The Poppiottes & Pin Curls Oribe Experience

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Wednesday morning, Oribe Educator and NYC stylist, Mandee Hernandez joined the Alter EGO team for a brand new educational experience.  Pin Curls have been around since the 1940s, but Poppiottes are an Oribe creation.  Mandee and Katie refreshed our knowledge on the classic Pin Curl, refining the technique to get bouncy spirals, along with how to tease out the curls for maximum body and fun.  The next section of the class focused on Poppiottes, curls using rolled up magazine pages in place of curlers.  Using lightweight magazine paper puts less stress on the hair than curlers, and it's sustainable--a great way to recycle old magazines.  Poppiotte curls also lend themselves perfectly to updos.  Mandee demonstrated both curl techniques, along with an updo style using the Poppiotte curls, then the stylists each got to test out one of the looks on their own models. They had tons of fun learning and practicing, and the results turned out FABULOUS!

Dana Rosa and Shayla Moreira create formal hair styles at Alter EGO Hair Salon in Downtown Raleigh.

Mandy Asberry creates curly hair styles  in downtown Raleigh at Alter EGO Hair Salon and Blow Dry Bar.

Aspen Johnson creates bouncy curls at Alter EGO Hair Salon in downtown Raleigh.

Meghann Holland pins curls for couture styles at Alter EGO Hair Salon in Raleigh.

Ashley Shick creates awesome curly hair at Alter EGO Hair Salon and Blow Dry Bar.

Tight curls at Alter EGO Hair Salon and Blow Dry Bar.

Formal Updo Hair Style at Alter EGO Blow Dry Bar.

Glamorous curls in this hair style at Alter EGO Blow Dry Bar.

Couture curls at Alter EGO Hair Salon and Blow Dry Bar.

Formal hair  style at Alter EGO Blow Dry Bar.

Throwback pin curls at Alter EGO Blow Dry Bar.

Rainbows & Oil Slicks & Jewel Tones, Oh My!

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Alright, fellow Pinterest fiends. Let’s talk rainbow hair. Pinterest is well-saturated with gorgeous, long, colorful locks that give us all a hearty case of #hairenvy, but are they real? What’s the reality of achieving #mermaidhair status? Stylist Elizabeth Croft and I are going to take you through our 9 hour journey of “replicating” our very own “Pinterest-worthy” hair. Now, “replicating” deserves the quotations because we went into this with the understanding that exact replication when it comes to hair is nigh impossible due to differences in hair texture, health, starting color, etc. along with the fact that every stylist utilizes different coloring techniques. Not to mention a little thing called Photoshop, infamous on Pinterest for not only enhancing, but completely altering the hair color. (Ever seen the same photo in six different colors?  Yeah, that's good ol' Photoshop.) Inspiration is awesome, but expecting precise replication just isn’t realistic.

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beforepicrainbow

Hair color is a journey, and mine came to this new leg of the adventure with an extensive history already. It sported a heavy balayage/ombre with a demi-permanent purple over top for seven months, along with a root color 2-3 levels darker than my natural color. To top that off, I had approximately five weeks of regrowth. All of these factors play into how your stylist formulates your color, and for a project as big as ours, it required several steps.

Step One: All over foiling of the Center of the Hair Strand

First, we needed to lift the existing color from my hair. We used lightener on the center of my hair, leaving the roots and ends.

Step Two: Bleach wash on the Ends

Next, we washed the lightener off of the center and then did what we call a bleach wash—a combination of lightener and shampoo—to remove the purple from the ends of my hair. Elizabeth says, "I chose to do it that way because it gave me more control over how much color lifted and kept lightener on the ends for the least amount of time."  She added that, "It's less damaging that way."

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Step Three: Lighten the Roots

Elizabeth explains that, “Previously colored hair and virgin hair process lightener and color differently. Because of this I chose not to include the root in the initial foil. Once I got the midshaft to ends, or everything but the root of her hair, to the right levels I went back and lightened just at her root.”

Step Four: Toner Time

Next we toned all over to create a more even surface for the color melt that was about to take place. Elizabeth adds, “You might notice that I didn't lift all of her hair to a very pale blonde. I wanted some remaining pigment in her hair so that the fun colors I used would process more as rich, jewel tones rather than very bright, shocking colors. The "oil slick" look has been on trend so that was part of my inspiration.”

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colorbowls

Step Five: Color Melting! 

For the next two hours, Elizabeth created an artistic masterpiece on my head, blending four colors onto every strand of hair. “When I started the color melting process on her hair I used a brighter magenta at her root because I wanted a surprising pop of color in an unexpected place. The contrast between the deeper purples, blues, and greens against the more vibrant magenta added the dimension I needed to keep the color very interesting, but also wearable.”

Considering drying time in between each step and how much hair I have (a lot!) it took the better part of nine hours to complete the entire process. We chose to do this all in one go, but often this process would have taken 2+ visits to fully achieve the look. Having rainbow hair is pretty amazing, and it was totally worth it, but any color this extensive should definitely be viewed as an investment. The cost involved, along with the more frequent salon visits necessary to maintain the look should be considered when deciding if you want to jump into the creative color world.

Talking through what you want, along with what’s possible for your hair is always the best way to begin a new step in your hair journey, whether that’s going lighter, adding in new colors, or creating a whole new look. We offer complimentary consultations with the stylist of your choice for any service, so whenever you’re ready to take the next step in your hair journey—give us a call!

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Alter EGO brings Raleigh a new color palette. MEET WELLA.

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Alter EGO is proud to debut our new color line, WELLA.  Because we believe that the best hair comes from creatively inspired artists crafting bespoke styles, we've launched a new color line with a broader color palette allowing our stylists to practice the latest trends in hair design.  With WELLA, your imagination is the limit, and our stylists can deliver it.  WELLA color science brings an unparalleled level of service, allowing our stylists to paint their vision to life, often without foils, to increase artistry and save you time.  Their scientifically proven and patented color molecule, ME+ was invented to prevent color bonding with T-cells and causing color allergies.  Healthy, beautiful, inspiring.  We are WELLA.

Jenn Hales presents FLUX. Friday Feb. 8

Jenn Hales presents FLUX. Friday Feb. 8

Jenn Hales grew up in an earth-sheltered home near Apex NC. As a child she spent her time reading books and examining bumble-bees in the front yard.  With no TV, she occupied herself drawing creatures from nature and her own imagination.  Jenn graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Industrial Design. Before becoming a full time artist/illustrator she worked as a toy designer, a footwear designer, a design researcher, and a welder.  She currently lives in Raleigh NC, where she's been working as an artist and illustrator since 2010.

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Unveiling
"My work portrays animals and young women finding humor and strength in their situations. I try to evoke the way I saw the world as a child while tackling concepts like habitat loss, global warming, and cultural expectations."

Alter EGO Gets Inspired in Miami

Alter EGO Gets Inspired in Miami

“A hair festival of epic proportions.” Front Row’s tagline and a mighty promise to live up to. After three full days spent in the Mana Wynwood building surrounded by the brilliantly colorful Wynwood Art District, I can say that I think they succeeded. As a hair show firstie, I arrived in Miami with very little idea of what the next three days might hold. From what my more experienced hair-show-going comrades said, Front Row reached a level all its own. Day One found us wandering through the warehouse-esque building that is Mana Wynwood, viewing the Luxury Brand Partners’ (the show’s hosts) custom art work designed specifically to showcase their brands for this event. The first hallway faded from art to a line of photo ops set up to represent each of the brands: Oribe, R+Co, V76 by Vaughn, and Smith & Cult. Then we rounded the corner into “The Marketplace” where each brand had a booth filled with goodies and their full array of products so that any salon that didn’t already host one or more of the brands could experience them first-hand.

After thoroughly venturing through the booths and admiring the artistic set up of the space, we had the opportunity to explore the Wynwood Walls, a collection of graffiti filled walls that are rather incredible works of art. The Alter EGO collective of hairstylists includes several visual artists beyond the art of hair itself, so we wandered through, soaking in the inspiration of such powerful art.

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Each day featured a Mainstage collection of “performances” by the renowned creators and educators of each brand. Night one was all about Oribe. We witnessed a variety of cutting and styling techniques by industy-famous artists such as Oribe’s Creative Director and stylist, James Pecis, Creative Cutting specialist Coby Alcantar, and “the hairstylists’ hairstylist”, Vivienne Mackinder.

Day Two began bright and early with a business-minded Keynote talk from author Jim Collins. Jim offered up the ideas that Good is the enemy of Great, and that the people you surround yourself with hold the most significance to your business. This really resonated with us at Alter EGO, as we not only constantly strive to go far beyond good to the greatest we can be, but keeping a positive, growing team is of utmost importance to us. The second Mainstage happened a little later that day and it featured Vaughn, Smith & Cult, and a couple of special guests to the show, actress Rose McGowan and a team of stylists who have branded themselves IGK. Vaughn’s talented team of educators put on an incredible display of men’s cutting and grooming techniques, and the Smith & Cult show was a unique performance all its own showing some fascinating conceptualizations of each of the lacquer’s names.

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Finally, Day Three brought us the incredible trio who collaborated together to birth R+Co—Garren, “the godfather of hair” who’s styled more Vogue covers than any other person; Thom Priano, men’s grooming and style specialist who’s styled more GQ covers than any other stylist; and Howard McLaren, former creative director of Toni & Guy and Bumble & Bumble, long-time educator, and razor-cutting pioneer. The R+Co show began with a conversation where each man shared his “origin story” and how he established himself in the world of hair. Then, we had the opportunity to witness all three at work, cutting, styling, and in Garren’s case putting on a mini-shoot style show all taking inspiration from classic movies and old Holywood looks.

We left Miami later that day with a new depth of knowledge and appreciation for the products we use and sell every day, a renewed sense of inspiration for this craft that we love so much, and a determination to bring both that knowledge and inspiration to our clients each and every day.