Maria Barca was only 23 when she first opened Self Salon in its original location on Grande street Williamsburg. Now a decade later Self Salon has become one of the most sought after salons not only for clients but stylists too in Williamsburg and Bushwick. To achieve her vision of Self Salon Maria brought together a team of Brooklyn based artists to assist in designing both spaces. The result is a timeless pristine white oasis .
We at Iles Formula are thrilled to be part of Maria’s Self Salons world. Find us there. For more on Maria’s personal work her Instagram account is @barcadoeshair Let's read what Maria has to say about hairdressing today.
To learn more about their Self Salons:
IF: Tell us what you think is the biggest challenge in hairdressing today?
MB: I would say the biggest challenge in hairdressing today is investing in yourself to stay current with the latest techniques. It can be hard to find time to perfect your craft and to try and utilize the new techniques you learn, especially when you are working on the floor. I think because of this, it can be really easy to revert back to things you know and really hard to step out of your comfort zone.
IF: What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
MB: As a salon owner, I love creating an environment where anyone who walks through the door is greeted with simplicity and hospitality. I want everyone at Self Salon to feel like when they are here, they can forget about the hustle and bustle outside and focus on their own self-care, if only for a few minutes or hours.
As a stylist, though, I appreciate the diversity of the clients that sit in my chair. I really love to listen to all of the different stories that people have and learn about people that normally would be strangers to me.
IF: Why did you choose the path of hairdressing and was it easy to fall into this work?
MB: I chose hairdressing because growing up, I had people in my family who worked in the field and I was inspired by them to pursue the same career for myself.
IF: If you had not made the decision to be a hairdresser what would you have been?
MB: If I had not been a hairdresser, I would have been an interior designer. What I have enjoyed the most about owning a salon, though, is that I have been able to tie in both of my passions, in one space.
IF: What is your greatest strength?
MB: I think by far my biggest strength when it comes to being a hairdresser are my dry cuts.
IF: Your favourite hairdressing tools?
MB: My favorite hairdressing tools are my scissors and the mirrors surrounding me when I am working.
IF: Tell us about your relationship with Iles Formula. How you discovered us and which formula is your favourite?
MB: We were approached by Iles Formula to carry the brand in our salon. After researching Iles Formula, I was impressed by the superior reputation it had already, given that it is a younger company. We also really appreciated the philosophy of the brand and the aesthetic fit in perfectly with ours. After sampling the products, we were instantly sold. We are proud to have welcomed such a well-rounded and high performing set of products to not only our retail section, but also to the in-salon experience at Self Salon. I am unsure, though, if I can choose which formula is my favorite, only because I really appreciate that the Shampoo, Conditioner, and Serum are used as a three-step system and I love how they all perform congruently.
IF: What was the most challenging job you ever made?
MB: The most challenging job I ever had in the beauty industry was when I was twenty-three and still a fairly young stylist. I was requested to travel to an on-site job and all I knew about the gig was I would be styling for a shoot. When I got there, I discovered that it was for an “A-list” celebrity and which was nerve-wracking, to say the least. The style itself wasn’t challenging, but the idea that I had such a prominent person in my chair was definitely distracting and somewhat terrifying. Fortunately, I quickly realized that she was just another person in my chair and everything went smoothly after that.
IF: What was your worst hair moment and why....privately or on set/stage or in the salon?
MB: I do not have many moments that stand out particularly more than others, so I would say my worst hair moment would a culmination of ones from when I was a young stylist on the floor. I made so many mistakes early in my career but I lacked, fully, the ability to troubleshoot behind the chair when a cut or style wasn’t going in the direction I expected or intended. I am sure this is a common issue for many stylists early in their career and thankfully for me, as I grew into my field, I gained more confidence and was able to acquire tools and strategies be a better stylist.
IF: If you could style anyone’s hair, who would it be and why?
MB: I would hands-down style Prince’s hair. Not only is he my favorite musician, he also has wildly curly hair and great style, so I think I would learn a lot from any cut or style he requested from me.
IF: Where do you pull hair inspiration from?
MB: I pull hair inspiration from a lot of different places. My biggest inspiration is from Brooklyn. This city has been my home since I was seventeen and the styles that come out of this area are not only unique, but so diverse, which is something I pull from to give me inspiration behind the chair. I also, of course, enjoy using Pinterest as a tool for inspiration and I find it helps a lot for those clients who need that extra visual aid.
IF: Your advice to young hairdressers starting out?
MB: My advice would be to be patient with yourself. It’s really easy to see experienced stylists working and see how they make it look so effortless, but the reality is, it is far from that. It is okay to make mess ups, it’s the only way you’ll learn. Conversely, don’t get an ego because you’ll quickly be humbled. Everything needs a balance and give yourself the time to find where your balance is and definitely, don’t quit if it doesn’t come as fast or as easily as you want or expect.
IF: Thank you Maria .