In my quest to find the secret behind the inherent chic of Icelandic women, I recently visited Jói & Félagar hair studio. I rarely have a monogamous relationship with a hair stylist, and needed to try someplace new. Jói & Félagar has been in business for 16 years and did all of the hair for both Icelandic Pop Idol competitions, so I figured I was in good hands.
Turns out they were great hands. As someone who has experienced the sinister consequences of saying “do whatever you feel like” in the past, I must admit I was a bit nervous when Nína Kristjánsdóttir, my hair stylist, announced: “I normally do punk style.” She talked me through what she had in mind and told me that I could just tell her if she was cutting too much. The result was an “Across the Street”, my first ever haircut with a name.
Nína tells me that the average Icelandic woman spends about 10,000 ISK per month on her hair (that’s before you count the cost of styling products). “Strípur” (an Icelandic term which seems to describe any sort of highlight or low light colouring treatment) are perpetually popular, but the current thing is to keep much more natural colour and maybe just add some tints. Blondes are now going a bit darker too and the haircuts in general are much shorter. You heard it here first, folks.
Jói & Félagar has clients of all ages, although its atmosphere seems to be very young and trendy (aren’t most hair salons, though?) I got a fantastic scalp massage from Fanney, who washed my hair, which is always the best part of the whole haircut experience. The cuts here take some inspiration from places abroad, mostly Toni & Guy or Vidal Sassoon, but Nína says the added “Icelandic twist” means they are more wearable, less edgy, and with more layers.
So was the “Across the Street” enough to make me look as hip as an Icelander? Probably at least for today, until that scary moment after I have washed it and need to take full responsibility for styling the hair myself.
Fortunately, Nína also offers re-shaping of the bangs after two or three weeks, to keep the style current. In the meantime, I think it’s probably time to go clothes shopping.
Jói & Félagar, Skólavörðustígur 8, 101 Reykjavík, Phone: 552-3425
Haircuts for women start at 4000 ISK
The entrance is off Bergstaðastræti by the parking lot.