hair care

Master hair stylist Janet St. Paul: She won't be your therapist, but she might transform your life

Master hair stylist Janet St. Paul: She won't be your therapist, but she might transform your life

Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin_janet st paul_salon_sept 2012_1
Photo by Jessica Pages
Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin_janet st paul_salon_sept 2012_3
Photo by Jessica Pages
Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin_janet st paul_salon_sept 2012_4
Photo by Jessica Pages
Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin_janet st paul_salon_sept 2012_5
Photo by Jessica Pages
Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin_janet st paul_salon_sept 2012_2
Photo by Jessica Pages
Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin_janet st paul_salon_sept 2012_1
Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin_janet st paul_salon_sept 2012_3
Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin_janet st paul_salon_sept 2012_4
Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin_janet st paul_salon_sept 2012_5
Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin_janet st paul_salon_sept 2012_2

Though she had a highly coveted position styling hair for New York Fashion Week and magazine cover shoots for the likes of Martha Stewart and Town & Country, celebrity hair stylist and colorist Janet St. Paul yearned to nurture her personal life as much as her career. After 16 years working at two of the most exclusive hair studios in Manhattan — Kerastase and Frédéric Fekkai — the New Orleans native made the bold move to eschew high-velocity living and head to Austin to eventually open her own studio in 2011.

The Janet St. Paul Studio for Hair is warm, inviting and quiet. Located downtown, it’s cozy in a modern sense, with glass chandeliers and earth elements like plants, wood furniture and siding positioned in impactful places. It’s a salon where you can actually relax while at the hands of a stylist, because these stylists in particular (St. Paul and her teammate Shannon Briggs Hack) happen to be some of most technically skilled in the country.
 
 “And at the end of their service, I want them to look in that mirror and go, 'I look great!' Because that gives them the energy, the strength, and the mojo to face all of the other stuff in their day."
St. Paul credits her many years of New York experience as incomparable, but the days spent consulting with clients at Frédéric Fekkai within Chanel's flagship building eventually lost their luster in comparison to family and personal fulfillment. She’d amassed accolades as an incredibly successful hair stylist and colorist, but another part of her personality began to thirst a few short years ago.

"As you get older, there are big life experiences that shape what you do at the end of the day," she says with a nod to the effect of both the September 11 and Katrina tragedies. "I wanted to be somewhere that was a little softer as far as lifestyle."

St. Paul's own demeanor when consulting with clients reflects the softness she sought out in Austin. “I wanted authentic quality at every turn from the get go,” she says of the intimate studio. “If I had too much space to manage at once, I wouldn’t be able to do that. There are really unique things that happen here in soft, subtle ways.”

She approaches each client, man or woman, with kindness and careful consideration. Take just one pass through online reviews, and you’ll see person after person crediting St. Paul for their own personal transformation, sprinkling keywords like “meticulous,” “delightful,” “welcoming” and “professional.” She herself compares a consultation (which involves a 3-step personal tailoring assessment) to a narrowing down of ailments, resulting in a prescription — much like a doctor. 

“But I don’t subscribe to the whole ‘I’m your therapist’ thing,” she quickly adds in respect to client relationships. “I don’t get enmeshed... People all come with different needs, and my primary goal is to help them in a larger perspective — to get to know what their needs are in how they look, feel and relate to themselves in the mirror.”

“And at the end of their service, I want them to look in that mirror and go, 'I look great!' Because that gives them the energy, the strength, and the mojo to face all of the other stuff in their day, even if it was just an hour away from the crunch of the daily life that we all live. I feel enormous gratitude for that.”

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The Janet St. Paul Studio for Hair is located at 830 W 3rd St. Call 512-474-5000 or visit the website for more information.