I thought that by now I had seen everything in hair salons. But here comes the recently-opened “The Broot” in Santa Monica. It’s a new-fangled idea that bills itself as a “hair treatment bar.” [Note: their website explains it all simply enough for a child, so you might want to check it out; link below.]

Facing the great shampooing chairs, with the little style area in the back left, with the lit mirrors. All photos by Karen Salkin.

I’m all for the concept of getting your hair naturally treated, not for myself, (because, knock on wood, I have great hair,) but for the masses. This is probably not a good thing to say, but it’s true: if everyone could see themselves from the back, they’d be far from pleased. There are so many damaged, messed-up tresses in the world, and I notice them all!!! (For example, did you see the mop on Ann Wilson, of the group Heart, on The Kennedy Center Honors last night!? She’s in dire need of some follicle assitance! And that observation is from the front!)

My obsession with other people’s hair began in a good way: I was at an outdoor wedding in Aspen several years ago, and because I was sitting in the back for the ceremony, (you may remember the comically horrific story from my show, where I was dressed totally inappropriately because my guy friend neglected to tell me we were going to a wedding!!!,) I noticed so many heads with shiny luxurious locks. Ever since then, I’ve been aware of the backs of heads, especially because I’m in so many audiences.

Then, last year, a PR person sent me a photo of the audience at her event, taken from behind. I was horrified by what I saw in the locks category, and noticed only one great head of healthy hair. And then I realized it was mine!!! And it suddenly dawned on me exactly why people make a fuss over my hair; I had never quite understood it before. (Btw–I’m not taking the credit here because it has nothing to do with me—it’s the main good thing I’ve been given in life by the powers-that-be, and I’m very grateful for it.)

But even hair like mine could do with a refresher every now and then, so, after a week of being in bed with the worst cold ever, I wanted to treat my poor tresses. I had recently been made aware of The Broot, so over I went, to check it out for you guys.

It’s an interesting concept. I’m glad I got to see the results on other customers because they were more obvious on them than on me because there was really nothing my hair needed to begin with, knock on wood. (But no worries—the rest of me needs tons of work!!!) It was still a worthwhile experience for me because I got to relax for a bit and meet lovely Rakiah Chumley, who served as my “Brootender,” as the girls who work there are called.

The experience even starts out easily because they have a free parking lot in back, which is always a help on busy Montana Ave. (It’s also handy because the salon has no place to hang your outerwear, nor tables for your purse, so try to leave it all in the car. They also have no smocks, so try to not wear your best attire there.)

The wall with the treatment choices.

First, you choose what treatment your hair needs, which the staff will help you with. (The choices are also listed on their site, so you can figure it out before you go.) They already have formulas for hydrating, strengthening, softening, and more, or you can custom-blend one. They mix-up the all-natural treatments right in front of you, using bananas, avocados, honey, e-words, and more. (You all know I didn’t choose that last ingredient!!!)

Before they put it in your hair, you can add-on (which means a new fee) a varying-length scalp massage, which was my favorite part of the day, of course. (One warning, though, if you have sensitive eyes, like I do, and are there during the day: ask them for a headband to cover your eyes because the comfy hair-wash chairs are directly under the giant skylight. Also, if you’re cold, as I was, which was a first for hot-blooded me, feel free to request a couple of their many blankets. The girls are very accommodating.)

After the treatment is in your hair, you sit under a dryer for a short while. Rather than the usual salon mags, they offer intelligent books for you to read during that time, along with beverages and snacks. I just may feng shui my whole house with info I read during that time!

After the shampoo, you have a choice of different ways to go. Included in the price of the treatment is having them put your hair in a wet bun or braid, (or, for also no charge, they allow you to use their tools yourself to do your hair how you want it.) Or you can add-on a blow-dry or more creative braid.

And that’s it! If you go when they’re not too busy, (and don’t have crazy long hair like I do,) you can ostensibly be out in an hour! With healthier hair. And, as a bonus, you can now sit in front of me in an audience that night, without fear of my whispering to my seat-mate about how bad your hair is. It’s a win-win, for us all.

1626 Montana Ave.  Santa Monica  310-230-5317


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