Said Rubaii knows exactly what he wants, what he likes and – even more importantly - what suits his personal and professional style. Likewise, he is not shy about letting others know when he doesn’t like something. In that case, a resounding “No!” is the answer, but far more often, he shouts an enthusiastic “Yes!” Early in his career, he said yes to creative challenges by becoming an award-winning session stylist, working backstage at Berlin Fashion Week and creating directional editorials. Two years ago, he said yes to a more permanent challenge when he opened his eponymous hair salon in trendy Berlin Mitte. He also joined the Authentic Beauty Movement, which encourages hairdressers and their clients to celebrate original style and real hair. At the Said Rubaii Hair Salon that approach is already put into practice on a daily basis. From the unique, industrial-style interior design Said chose and the warm welcome he gives clients, to the edgy yet wearable haircuts he creates, every aspect of the salon also reflects its owner’s character. We sat him down to find out more about the salon experience, his personal likes and dislikes, and his take on Berlin style.
Real Expert Talks:
Said Rubaii’s Take on Authentic Berlin Style
Authentic Beauty Concept: What is your aesthetic approach in your salon work?
Said Rubaii: I try to give clients the feeling their hair is done by themselves and that it's real. The idea is to be honest to yourself. It's also important for me that everything in my work is a good fit for me and my personality. If it doesn't work, I won't do it. It has to be real for me.
How is this aesthetic reflected in the salon environment?
It was very important to me to have something different, so we worked with a friend who is an architect, and we also got family involved. We shared our vision and created a lot of ideas ourselves. We combined unusual materials, like wood and metal, but we also have a big wall of hanging plants and you can see a lot of love in the details. The overall effect is a combination of industrial cool and a warmer, welcoming feeling.
What kind of an experience do you provide in your salon?
What's super important for me is that all of my clients – really, all of them - get a big hug from me when they come in. Because I know most of them more than 10 years now, it's more like family. I think that it's important that, when they leave the salon, they are totally happy and feel like it's more than just a visit to a hairdressing salon.
How do you help a client express their personality through a look?
I think it's a feeling that you have. For every client in my salon, I have a vision in my mind and it just fits – always. I think it's really important to have a vision in my mind.
What is authentic hair for you?
It’s a sense that the hair is touchable, that you can feel it, that you can move it a little bit, that it's the real thing. That‘s authenticity.
What is authentic Berlin style for you?
I think Berlin is great because it’s a city where people can be whatever way they want to be. In Berlin you can be totally free, you can be yourself, you don't have to cover something up to be nice for someone else. Yeah, this is Berlin - real!
How do Berlin vibes inspire you and enrich your creativity?
Berlin is a really inspiring city, because you have the difference between the normal and the really crazy, like in the techno clubs. The music scene is important to me personally. I insist on taking the time to go out sometimes, for a change of scene. Everyone knows that Berlin is really famous for its techno clubs, I think the people there are really inspiring. For me, this is Berlin.
Said Rubaii’s expert tips and product recommendations:
Stylist knows best.
It’s not the client’s job to tell a hairdresser how to do their hair. A lot of stylists don’t have a vision, so the client has to tell them what to do and this is a problem. I prefer to listen to what my client wants, but then I use my imagination and decide what the actual cut should look like.
Work with natural hair structure, not against it.
It's important to work with the hair that you have and not to try to change it too extremely. Work with the texture of the hair and try to match it to the face of a client and you will definitely get the best result.
What's really important for me is the fragrances, because I really love different fragrances and if it doesn't fit, I can't work with it. I was raised to be very strict in that way. My father always said, “if something isn’t right for you, don’t do it,“ and I apply that lesson of his to everything, including scents.