Alx Nixon and The Art of Hair

I’m doing my typical mid-morning Instagram scroll when I see it: Shocks of platinum blonde hair falling into a white porcelain sink. It’s a video of my friend, Alx, cutting her own hair. Beneath it,  she’s added the caption: “It’s great that fucked up hair is in right now.”

But let’s be real: Alx — who’s been a hair stylist and colorist for more than a decade — isn’t capable of giving anyone a truly bad cut, much less herself. 

Instead, a couple weeks later over drinks, I discover that she’s actually given herself an effortlessly cool, slightly disheveled pixie. I tell her it’s awesome. But in characteristic Alx style, she brushes off my compliment before telling me the story of her childhood friend, Heather, whose hair she actually did fuck up when they were just twelve years old in Colorado.

“I insisted on giving her bangs, even though she was adamant they wouldn’t work on her. Poor girl had an actual sun visor made of her own hair,” Alx explains. “And that was my first lesson in hairstyling: your client always knows their hair better than you.”

Since then, Alx has obviously evolved tremendously as a stylist, pushing boundaries with her own brand of cool cuts and unwavering commitment to organic color. Her aesthetic is what I’d describe as hair wabi-sabi, the Japanese perspective that there’s beauty and elegance to be found in unusual pairings.

“Broadly, wabi-sabi is everything that today’s sleek, mass-produced, technology-saturated culture isn’t. It’s flea markets, not shopping malls; aged wood, not swank floor coverings; one single morning glory, not a dozen red roses.” – Robyn Griggs Lawrence

“I try to move past, ‘I want this haircut’, and focus instead on understanding a client’s lifestyle. How much time do they have to spend on their hair every morning? What’s their personal aesthetic? By bringing together these elements, it gives me a more personalized vision for what we want to do,” Alx explains. “Ultimately, though, I dream of minimal effort hair for my clients. Life’s too short to spend it round-brushing your hair every day.”

Sourcing Inspiration

But if Alx doesn’t pray to the gods of the round brush, what does she think really matters?

“For me, it’s about having great style and helping my clients feel like they can express that — and hair is just one part of that recipe,” she explains. That’s why Alx appreciates and follows people like Lizzy Hadfield (@shotfromthestreet), Ivania Carpio (@love_aesthetics), and Charlie May (@charliemay) on Instagram (while, I might add, cultivating a related point of view on her own feed, @alxnixon).

“Lizzy knows how to style staple pieces in the chicest way, including what I like to call ‘natural cool girl’ hair. Ivania, on the other hand, puts an ultra modern twist on recycled items and tops off her minimalist look with icy platinum hair. And Charlie May makes luxury feel approachable and maybe even charming with an uncomplicated bob,” Alx explains.

I notice that all of the women that inspire Alx share her penchant for being able to possess a unique duality to their style that reads as a kind of visual balancing act: oversized, chunky gold hoop earrings with a plain black cotton t-shirt. A voluminous, marled cocoon jacket with straight-legged black denim. I don’t know if there’s a name for it, but this visual duality strikes me as an art form, a subtle reminder that even the smallest details about someone’s style can have the biggest impact.

The Bigger Picture

With Alx’s unique approach to beauty and personal style, it makes sense that she’s also passionate about raising her clients’ awareness of organic and eco-friendly products.

“Both clients and stylists have become so conscious of things like climate change and sustainability as it relates to things like our food supply, but I’ve been surprised to see how few people in the industry extend that awareness to what we put in our hair,” Alx says.

To that end, she has made it her mission to find products that not only work well, but are healthier for the world, and for humans — inside and out. That’s why her holy grail products are from companies like Davines, Hairstory, and French Girl.

“I’ve been using New Wash by Hairstory for years and I can’t imagine my life without it. I also love Davines Oi Oil to both style and nourish my hair. And if I want to feel like I’m in a garden, I just use the French Girl sea spray, which is lightweight and smells of jasmine,” she says.

Not Just the President of the Hair Club for Men

This is the part of the story where I go all Sy Sperling and tell you I’m not just president of the Hair Club for Men, but also, a client. Or, rather, I’m not just Alx’s friend, I’ve also been trusting my hair to her as a client for years. In that time, I’ve been inspired by her wabi-sabi approach to style and her innate ability to elevate looks that are graceful yet tough, elegant yet still edgy. It’s precisely that approach that makes Alx stand out, or in other words, makes people stop scrolling and pay attention.

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