With a cult following on Instagram, Jayne Matthews gives $515 cuts to a far-flung clientele.
Jayne Matthews thinks that most hairstylists are doing it wrong: "A person takes a pair of scissors and cuts the ends, maybe gives the hair some layers, but in general it's like a big, shaped block on the head that needs to be blown into a manageable style." Matthews — co-owner of two salons in the San Francisco Bay Area, both called Edo — uses a straight razor as a carving tool instead of scissors. "I can carve petals into hair so it can have length but be lighter," she says. "I consider it the difference between a hedge and a bonsai tree."
These organic cuts, as she calls them, have garnered her a cult following of more than 82,000 on Instagram. Her signature look is a modern shag, heavy on the face-framing layers and bangs, inspired by Chrissie Hynde, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Fonda, Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith. Matthews, 47, charges US$325 ($515) for cuts at her salons, the first of which she opened with her business partner, Chri Longstreet, in 1998. At that price, many clients get just one or two trims a year. "When you get these haircuts, they look cool and lived in," she says. "You can wake up in the morning, maybe tuck it behind the ear, touch the bangs a smidge, and it looks good. The less you do, the better it looks."
In 2014, after giving birth to a daughter, Matthews decided she'd try to get better at showing off her cuts on social media, practicing lighting and angles. Salons in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, were soon asking her to come do cuts and trainings, and clients now routinely fly to the Bay Area to book with her.
7am: I woke up in an Airbnb in LA, a little bit drained because I worked with a shaman yesterday on a cleanse. I drank a raw cacao and coffee thing I had delivered the day before.
10am: I took a private jet service that has like 20 passengers from LA to Oakland. I listened to a relationship podcast on Audible because there was no Wi-Fi. Then I went on a dating app and changed some of the wording to be more authentic. I also edited hair photos for my Instagram account and the salon's. I take 25 to 50 photos for each cut and look for one where the client looks the most alive and interesting.
12pm: I took a Lyft home and took a bath — I almost never take showers — and tried on a dress to wear for this big workshop I'm teaching this weekend in New Orleans.
1pm: A friend is helping me get some online education going. We checked out a space to see if the light was right for filming. I want to sell classes online because it's hard being a single mum and traveling around so much — I get messages daily from London, Berlin, Paris.
2pm: With clients at Edo in Oakland. The first flew from Salt Lake City: an Asian woman whose hair was mid-back, all one length. I gave her a shag with bangs. Then there was a woman with blue, curly hair and I gave her bangs. I also taught an impromptu class with my assistant, who was doing a bob across the room that I thought was looking a little like a mum bob. I spent 45 minutes working with her to make it more cool and young.
6pm: I picked up my daughter, Sylvie, from her after-school arts program. It was pouring rain and we ran out to the car to go get ramen.
10pm: Answered some direct messages on Instagram. They're always women. Half of them cut hair and half are fans. My clients are usually between the ages of 28 and 45. It is usually the girl who likes her expensive stuff worn in. She's understated but not messy, she doesn't have a lot of plastic surgery, she's a farm-to-table girl who doesn't shop at department stores.
7am: I made Bulletproof coffee and opened email and DMs and made sure there wasn't anything too pressing. I woke up Sylvie and made her peanut butter toast and took her to school.
9:30am: Back in bed. I had a call with these hair salon business coaches that are helping me navigate my separate education business and whether — after I move to LA soon — I want to open my own salon or a third Edo.
11am: I made a post that I was looking for hair models. Then I got a call from a friend at a modelling agency about girls who want makeovers.
4pm: I picked up my daughter and we rushed to get to her ballet class at the YMCA in Berkeley. Afterward we went to this place that sells really high-quality bone broth and premade foods that's only open a few hours a week. We went back to the YMCA and she went to the child care room while I ran upstairs and took a quick workout dance class that was kind of cheesy, but it felt good to work my body out.
8pm: Took a bath, cleaned up my kitchen a little bit, edited and posted a picture on Instagram of a makeover I did, answered some DMs and online shopped for some new shoes.
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A few of my favorite pics of the class I taught in Chicago this weekend. The space was the coolest most beautiful space. And all the students that came were just so inspiring and so excited to move their career in a new direction. Many of the students I met afterward moved me to tears with the little things they told me about their lives and their experiences of where they are at as hairstylists. It’s incredible to see so many people coming together to make a change in the industry for the better, and for the health of everybody. Both for the sake of creativity, and to use products that are safe for our bodies and earth friendly. I’m super grateful to be a part of this. Big extra, extra special thanks to the power Virgo duo that own @sparrowlogansquare ❤️ These ladies just put on such an incredible event and to bring me out and host me with a total honor. It’s incredible to see two women business owners working together in a totally positive way. I have the same situation with @edosalonandgallery so it was really cool to see. Thanks also to @emmykatzhair for assisting me and @kellybush_goldustwoman for doing makeup! . Next up... San Diego! Xo
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8:30am: After I dropped off Sylvie, I had an hourlong phone conversation with my custody lawyer about my move to LA.
11am: By then I was in a really big rush for work at Edo Oakland. I was 10 minutes late to my first client, who had just moved here from New York. She was wearing a great outfit and had a huge cowlick and very dry, kind of fuzzy, long hair. I gave her some cheekbone-framing layers. My next client was an intuitive healer and the next one worked at Google as an artist.
4pm: There are these muses I do for free. I can do anything I want to with their hair. I gave one a mullet with choppy baby bangs, but a chic version.
7pm: I started feeling like I had a sore throat, which would be terrible because New Orleans is this weekend.
9pm: Into bed.
10:30am: I got a message from somebody who said a photo that one of my stylists posted — braids with ribbons — was cultural appropriation and asked that I consider taking it down. If somebody asked me the origin of this hairstyle, I'd guess it was African American, and this photo was of a young white woman.
I thanked her for the message. I took the image down and told my manager that I wanted to have a discussion. We're in Oakland, a historically African American city, and it's important for us to be able to grow in that way.
1pm: A client came over for a trim. She started crying, which happens a lot with my clients (but not over their hair). She patches clothing with embroidery, and I gave her a pair of 1970s Wranglers with a hole in the butt to do for me.
4:30pm: I went to yoga and came back home and made food. My personal assistant came over with my mail and packages. I listened to Kate Bush and started trying on outfits for what I'd pack for the workshop trip. I decided to be minimal.
6:45am: Woke up and flew to New Orleans. The workshop is called Bayou St. Blonde. It's two days of education and networking that The Left Brain Group — my agency, which helps me grow my business — puts on every year.
3:30pm: All of us from out of town are staying at a hotel near the French Quarter. As soon as I got there, I saw a friend and fellow stylist and educator, Roxie Darling, for the first time in years.
6pm: Headed to a party for the attendees in this incredibly beautiful church where the entire inside was painted light pink and periwinkle blue and had arched ceilings, and all I could think about was when I find my guy someday, I want to get married in there.
I saw the creative director for Bumble and Bumble, who has taught many classes I've taken over the years. I told her that a couple things she said to me years ago about face shapes and bangs made light bulbs go off in my head.
9am: Opening day of the event. I didn't have to teach, but I ended up cutting someone's bangs in the bathroom because I felt inspired.
1pm: I went to the hotel to take a nap, and then a hairstylist friend came over and ended up doing an Instagram live video of me giving her a total transformation.
8am: Room service: arugula salad, eggs over medium, orange juice and coffee.
12pm: Went to a yoga class that was heated. I was super sweaty and rushed back to the hotel to shower. Then I threw on some cosy sweats and a sweater and Converse, and grabbed a fancy outfit to change into later.
2:30pm: I'm scheduled to cut two models' hair onstage at Bayou St. Blonde. Texted my makeup artist that I wanted matte, bright red lips on both of them. He arrived and started working as I was assessing their hair. Then I went downstairs and listened to a panel on self-care and thought about whether I had burned out.
4:30pm: There were 250 people watching, in a tent decorated with garlands and wreaths, when I got onstage. I definitely did not have enough time to do two models, so I felt rushed — I would say the hair came out beautifully, but I definitely needed to do some more work when I came offstage before I took photos.
8pm: We all felt like our legs were about to fall off and went to dinner at a Middle Eastern restaurant. Then I came back to the hotel and watched Instagram Stories of my teaching. It looked better than I remembered, and that made me feel good.
Interviews are conducted by email, text and phone, then condensed and edited.
Written by: Marisa Meltzer
Photographs by: Peter Prato
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