Walking into Ramirez Tran salon feels like you’ve just stepped into your chicest best friend’s rustic and modern abode. At first glance, you think it’s just a small room, cozy with a fireplace and comfy couch, but as I was led through the salon by a busy assistant, several compartmentalized rooms were exposed, the salon boasting over 25 employees.
I walked into the salon prepared for a change. I have neglected my hair color the past year, leaving it dark, copper, and warm. It was time for a fresh start and I knew Johnny Ramirez was the one to see.
Johnny Ramirez is known for his signature hair color transformations. Seeing up to 25 clients a day, he can turn the most grown out, disheveled hair color into a jaw dropping blend of sun kissed cascading highlights. What some colorists would promise to deliver after a series of appointments or take shortcuts to get “there,” Johnny doesn’t leave the salon until the job is done, no matter how long it takes.
And let me tell you, it takes a long time. I walked into the appointment knowing I would be there for a while, and as I watched the clock tick and the colorists shirts slowly accumulate splotches of color and bleach (which had me questioning whether I should go home and tastefully tatter my clothes), I knew that something magical was happening. Having worked in salons for almost 10 years, I’ve never seen a system like his. Thorough in his application, you can’t try to rush an artist. Though it can be amusing to be in the salon for so long, playing musical chairs and walking around with enough foil on your head to channel a wifi signal, when you leave 11 hours later and your hair looks the best it’s ever looked, it’s definitely worth it.
Upon entering the salon, I was greeted by Johnny himself as he quickly took a photo with his camera to see what colors were exposed on film. “You’re hair has a lot of warmth,” he told me. “Did you use permanent color on your hair?” he asked as he ran his fingers through my hair.
A few things I learned about hair color from Johnny:
- Girls with only some grey don’t need to use permanent color to cover- semi permanent will get the job done.
- Permanent hair color opens the cuticle of the hair exposing it to warmth.
- You shouldn’t have to color your hair every month, the right color will only get better with time.
- His favorite product for over processed hair? Inphenom and Kerastase Ciment.
- You’re color won’t look right if your cut isn’t right, and vice versa.
Which is why he pulled over Sal Salcedo to give me a fresh cut before they started coloring.
A few moments later, I was led to a private room where his assistant, Dom, got to work highlighting to break up the old permanent color I had on my ends. This gives the hair a fresh slate and even foundation for him to do his magic.
Johnny Ramirez has been coloring hair for over a decade. At first glance, he knows exactly where to place the color to best compliment your skin tone, eye color, and features. “I’m really inspired by children’s hair,” he tells me, showing me photos of children with the most covetable sunkissed highlights. “Lighter around the face and darker underneath, something that is timeless,” admitting that he will often ask clients to bring in photos from when they were children so he could see their natural color, as that’s usually what looks best on them.
So after a series of highlighting, rinsing, re-highliting, foiling, blending, rinsing, toning, conditioning, etc. etc. I left the salon seeing my hair in a way I never thought I would, and in the week since I’ve seen Johnny, I’ve had more compliments on my color than I ever had in the past. People greeted me asking me if I’d been at the beach for a week, saying my complextion looked great, and the color was beautiful. So even though Johnny promised I wouldn’t need to come in for a touch up for another 7 months (admitting he only sees most clients 1-2 times a year), I’m anticipating my next appointment, wondering what he’ll do next.
Johnny travels with partner Anh Co Tran all over the United States taking appointments and seeing clients. You can find him multiple times a year in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Miami, and at his namesake salon, Ramirez Tran in Los Angeles.