It’s hard not to like a hair stylist who tells you upon meeting that he does not want this to be a one ‘cut’ stand and that he wants to have a love affair with your hair for a lifetime. It helps that he is utterly sincere and well, really really great at what he does– which is giving you the best hair cut of your life. I am known for my dedication to my hair; for years I flew home to LA for my cuts until my stylist moved to another continent. I’ve been playing around with different stylists both in Dallas and New York but it looks like I will be heading home to La La Land for my cuts once again. Kelly went to Neil a few months ago and showed up in NYC for Fashion Week with the best haircut I’ve seen on her. Not one to miss out, I scheduled a cut myself with Neil in April and interviewed him while he snipped away. I was pleasantly surprised to find the co-owner of the hottest hair salon in LA (think Reese Witherspoon, Heidi Klum, Jennifer Lopez and Kate Hudson) so humble and well, nice (uber colorist Amanda George is the other owner, more on her later)! A veteran hairstylist of 30 years, Neil worked with the top of the industry (including Chris McMillan– Jen Aniston’s hair guru) before launching his salon four years ago. Neil is also devoted father to two beautiful daughters, re-scheduling our appointment so that he could attend a school function for one them– he won points with me before we even met! (Jump for the entire interview!)
Neil: I grew up near London. It’s where I started cutting hair at age 16. My mentor was Daniel Hersheson (he still has salons in London, one at Harvey Nichols, one on Conduit street and one in Top Shop!).
Tina: What inspired you to get into hair?
Neil: I come from a working class family and at the time, you were expected to learn a trade, so I went to London in 1980 at age 16 because I thought I’d like cutting hair. It was a very exciting time in London. I got a job and I’ve been doing this almost 30 years.
Tina: How has the hair business changed in the last 3 decades?
Neil: You know, it’s really changed. When I started, the salon stylists were not the focus, our clients were. Now, the stylists have become celebs themselves. I am a salon guy, I want to cut your hair. I don’t need nor care about the fame. The magazines are great, editorials are great, but I don’t want to do all that. I love cutting hair and I want to build a relationship with all my clients. I want to have a love affair for life with your hair. And how can I do that if I’m jetting off to do editorials and fashion shows everyday? When you have a hair emergency, I’m here! That’s what I care about.
Tina: Wow! That is so different from many other stylists who want to do runway shows, fashion shoots, etc.
Neil: (shaking his head) Not me, I don’t care about the editorials. I am only interested in cutting hair and making my clients happy.
Tina: That’s so sweet! When did you come to the US?
Neil: I came in 1989 and worked for Joseph Martin because they were the only ones who’d have me and give me working papers. I was there for 3 years and then came to this salon that we’re in now. Back then it was owned by Max Dupree, he was a famed hair stylist of his time. I’ve always loved this space (it has great parking) very discreet and smack in the middle of Beverly Hills. Aside from the location, it just has great energy, the lighting, the back garden. And now with navigation systems it’s easy to find but years ago, when I first came for my interview, I could not find it! There were no cell phones and I had to stop at a pay phone to ring the salon and ask for directions!
Tina: Okay, I was told it was difficult to find but google map on my iPhone showed me how to get here and it was a piece of cake! And the metered parking outside is very convenient and rare for LA! So, where did you work next.
Tina: Yes! Of course I have.
Neil: I was with Art for 4 or 5 years and then started working with Chris McMillan.
Tina: Oh my gosh! Jennifer Aniston’s stylist? Now he’s super famous!
Neil: Yes, he’s a truly great hairdresser. And four years ago I opened my own salon here with colorist Amanda George.
Tina: So how did you and Amanda meet?
Neil: We were both with Chris McMillan and it just all worked out. The space became available, we were both looking to start our own place and it was the obvious decision to partner up.
Tina: What’s your philosophy when it comes to hair?
Neil: Make it simple! I don’t like overdone hair.
Tina: Do you like it when clients bring photos of celebs from magazines?
Neil: Well, it’s a good idea to show a stylist what you’re interested in. But if I don’t think it will work, I will talk them out of it.
Tina: I never bring photos of anyone else, I want to look like myself! I know you have two daughters, how old are they?
Neil: 6 and 8, I had to push back my appointments this morning because one of them had an event at the school I didn’t want to miss.
Tina: That is the sweetest!!! Any plans for more kids? Or are you done?
Neil: I’m done, I’m retired and defeated!
Tina: Do they love having their hair done by daddy?
Neil: Yes, they definitely do.
Tina: And all your hair products! They are the luckiest girls on earth! I’m obsessed with the Neil George Everyday Cleanse and moisturizer, it smells sooooo good. My husband and son both love it, too. The whole family smells like it!
Neil: It’s the botanicals and orange blossom. We use that scent in a lot of the products.
Tina: Wait, are you done? I’m so busy asking you questions I didn’t notice you were finished… Love my hair! Next time I want to get it cut outdoors in the garden and eat lunch afterwards. (Note: Neil spent 40 minutes on my hair and then blew it out himself. Completely meticulous but efficient!)
Neil: You’ll love it out there, it’s so peaceful and private, come on, let’s go have a look.
We went outside so Neil could show me the cabana space, it’s even better in person! Only in LA do they have a gorgeous outdoor cabana where you can get your hair cut and only in LA do they have NEIL GEORGE.
If you live in LA or are in the area, call and schedule an appointment with Neil or one of his fabulous stylists. Cuts start at $150 and a cut with Neil, the owner, is only $220! That is so reasonable compared to the $850 other owners of salons charge!
9320 Civic Center Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210