The cool laid-back vibe at Little Axe Salon in Williamsburg makes me never want to get a haircut at a big salon again. Stylist and owner, Coby Alcantar, formerly of Bumble and Bumble and Whittemore House, dishes out chic effortless cuts at her four-chair salon to a hip clientele. Not only is Alcantar magical with scissors, but she’s also on-trend as an educator for Oribe, where she travels around the country teaching cuts and styling techniques. Here she talks food in Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhood, the products she can’t live without and the hair trend she’s loving right now.
1. What inspired you to open your own salon in Brooklyn?
I am from Northern California, and before moving here in 2000, I visited New York and stayed in Williamsburg. Brooklyn is somehow similar to being a little laid-back like the Bay Area. I have only ever lived in Brooklyn and now to be able work here, too, is pretty rad. The neighborhood has changed so much—the secret is out of the bag.
2. What is your hair philosophy?
My hair philosophy is to help clients have hair they look good in and can achieve the look themselves.
3. You are an educator for Oribe Hair Care. Can you explain what you do?
I travel around the U.S. and teach our techniques to other stylists. I am on a team that sometimes comes together and we will collectively do larger regional events and other times we are on our own going into salons for a more intimate class. There is also an academy that has just opened in Miami, which is a very exciting addition to the brand.
4. What is the strangest request you received from a client?
I thankfully have a really normal and cool clientele and have managed to avoid annoyingly strange requests. But, one that does come to mind that I thought was funny, was when a guy booked an appointment to just talk about his hair. I did not mind, but when he came in we talked about his hair while I also cut it.
5. What hair trends are you excited about?
I’m excited to see some short haircuts being requested now. I still love long and simple hair, but the change is nice. The longer bob (please, I can’t say the name…hahaha) is still the cut du jour. This style looks good and is a fresh change for someone who has only had long hair and wants a different look.
6. What are some of your favorite spots to eat and shop in Williamsburg?
There are so many new places popping up all the time. For food, I tend to stay close to the salon for convenience, but still love them. Allswell is our number one restaurant. We are share a basement and can smell the goodness that pulls us in. I love Sips & Bites, which is more of a sandwich place. My other top favorites are Kasia’s, the Polish diner, and the green taco truck, which has the most killer Mexican food and parks on the corner of Bedford and North 7th. For clothing, my favorite was Jumelle, which sadly recently closed. I like Concrete + Water and In God We Trust is dangerous to have across the street.
7. Can you share your favorite places to travel?
Working for Oribe I get to travel quite a bit around the country. I like going to smaller cities and checking out the shops, restaurants and talking to the people. I also love going to the bigger cities, but small is better. Personally, for travel I am happiest at the beach. Any beach will do.
8. Can you share some of your favorite beauty products?
I am a diehard Oribe user. It is everything! The entire line is great, it just depends on the needs of the hair. But, because of my love for blondes across the board the Bright Blondes is the Oribe version of the coveted Shimmering Lights, which is what I used as toner in high school. Also the new Cleansing Creme is awesome and leaves hair clean with a second day look. I like to use it on the bulk of my hair and then use the Signature Shampoo on my roots. I am a fan of the Foundation Mist, which is a base coat and evens out the porosity of the hair. It also works to reshape hair, refine curls or quickly touch up a blow dry. The Gel Serum was described to me by another Oribe educator when I was first learning the line as an expensive silk stocking for each individual hair. I still use that for a good visual. It is a gel that becomes supple once it goes inside the hair and makes the hair really pretty. Supershine is a moisturizing cream infused with nourishing oils to help give weight and definition. It also contains keratin, which strengthens the hair, so now I use a little on my ends every day.
For my skin, I use organic-y stuff that smells good. But, for a couple straight years now I have used Eminence and LOVE it. It is a cold-pressed organic line from Hungary that has been around for a while and is highly concentrated. I just follow the regimen as I am told by Goisa and her girls at Williamsburg Beauty Spa. For makeup, I’m into a red lip and NARS Manhunt and Red Square are my favorites.
9. If you were not doing this, what would you be?
A waitress, probably.
10. Any fun summer travel plans?
My family and I are headed back to California for a wedding in Healdsburg. They are close friends of ours so I am stoked to be there. And we will also be able to spend some time with my mom and family in Santa Cruz as well. I love Santa Cruz—it its the best to go back home.