Last fall when I finally decided to take the plunge and get Bettie Bangs I went to a hairdresser in my neighborhood that had zero experience with this hairstyle. She was terrified of cutting them too short (even though I told her that short was fine, hair grows back after all) and didn’t quite get the U-shape that Bettie Page’s bangs are known for. The end result was mediocre but I was just happy to finally have my Bettie Bangs.
Fortunately for me I live very close to a salon that I have mentioned before on my blog, Lola and Roxy’s Hair Salon I started going there to have my Bettie Bangs trimmed by Rockabilly Ruby after my first cut started to grow out and she did a great job of taking my mediocre Bettie Bangs and making them look sleek and much closer to Bettie’s style.
Around this time is when I first opened my instagram account @karmicvintage. One day, while browsing the pictures under the #bettiebangs hashtag, Karen Rivera’s Instagram account @kilimarie appeared on my radar. I oooed and ahhed at picture after picture of her clients with freshly cut/trimmed Bettie Bangs many of them including before pics along with the finished product. I sent her a message asking where she was based out of and I was thrilled to learn that she works out of Total E-Clips Salon salon in Montebello! For those of you that do not live in Southern California Montebello is in L.A. county where I live.
Check out some of Karen’s favorite Instagram pics from her account @kilimarie
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of having my Bettie Bangs trimmed at Total E-Clips Salon by Karen and I think it is safe to say that I know have an official Bettie Bang Guru. Karen was very attentive and spent a great deal of time asking me exactly how I wanted my bangs cut, the shape I was was hoping to obtain and made sure she understood exactly what I wanted. She also took the time to show me how to style them when she was done and explained why my Bettie Bangs did not turn out right the first time. In a nutshell the first hairdresser I went to cut too far in to my temple area and that’s why I was getting this obnoxious cowlick on the left side of my bangs. Karen took the time to thin out the cowlick (Bonus points for asking if it was ok) and recommended that I start growing that part out. I agreed with her and look forward to my next visit at Total E-Clips.
A week after my visit I interviewed Karen over the phone. Below is the transcription of the interview. If you live in L.A. County or plan on visiting the L.A. area I truly hope you are inspired to visit Karen at Total E-Clips for a unique, affordable and extremely satisfying hair salon experience.
How long have you been a professional hairdresser?
I’ve been licensed for 6 years.
How old are you?
24, I’m going to be 25.
How long have you been working at total E-clips?
I’ve been working there for the same time as I’ve been licensed. 6 years
Where did you study hair?
Montebello Beauty College
Where did you learn to cut the perfect Bettie Bangs?
I learned just by practicing on myself. I practiced until it was right.
How long did it take you to perfect it?
It took me a year.
What is your source of inspiration?
My clients. Their interests, their cultural influences, whatever styles they request. The shape of a client’s face.
Who are the people you most admire?
My boss (Frank De La Parra owner of Total E-clips Salon) and his wife. If I didn’t have them in my life I would not be where I am today. They are literally my family. All of the employees here are very close.
If you could style anyone’s hair living or dead whose would it be?
That’s a really good question! I love Adele. I would love to style Adele’s hair. I love how she seems really down to earth. She’s like a natural beauty. She loves big hair I love big hair too.
Have you always known that hairdressing was your calling or did you have other aspirations?
I have always been fascinated by anything having to do with hair. It’s something I’ve loved since high school.
What do you think sets you apart from other hairdressers?
I aim to please the client as well as keeping the hair’s health. That is my main priority.
What do your client’s have in common?
I think that most of them have Never been fully satisfied with their hair until they came to me. Other hairdressers don’t understand them nor do they understand their style.
How many tattoos do you have?
More than 20. I lost track more like 25.
When did you get your first tattoo?
18. It was the bats on my chest
Is there one piece in particular that has any special meaning to you?
My left forearm is a beauty collage. It has two dates on it, the day I earned my first hair certification and the date I earned my barbering license. I’m double licensed in cosmetology and barbering.
What is your advice for someone that wants to become a hairdresser?
Engross yourself in hair, in any activity that has to do with hair. Never stop learning. Never close your mind to new techniques.