You know you are in Lisbon when in your group of friends they speak 5 different mother tongues. Like no other city, Lisbon hosts people from all around the world.
You know you are in Lisbon when a low-maintenance lifestyle is valued above 24/7 grinding for money. And simple pleasures are cherished as everyday treasures one discovers once the burden of counter-productivity falls off.
You know you are in Lisbon when no one is in a hurry. And once the anxiety of missing out vanishes, you discover there are gems at every corner. Every small venue be it a beauty salon, decor or clothes shop, or pastry, unravels unconventional stories of people’s lives.
Inevitably you become the city you live in. You know you are in Lisbon when you are welcome to start a conversation with anyone who draws your attention and be rewarded with a story you’d like to write down. That’s how the idea of City Talks came to my mind. I’m not limiting it to the city I reside, and call it home it’s been almost 5 years. But with everything being said, I have a lot of Talks to do in Lisbon.
Meet the hero of the first City Talk, Arnaud, a French hairstylist from Lyon. It’s been two years since he lived in Lisbon. It’s pretty obvious that I met him when looking for a haircut. What may be not so obvious is that for me a hairstylist a connection for years. I may be terrible in my dating choices, but as for stylists, I can boast about spotting the talent immediately. That’s why I want you to meet Arnaud.
This summer he opened his hair salon in Lisbon. Labó, that’s the name, brings a lot about Arnaud’s personality: his love to Japanese culture and minimalism, nature, and raw materials, and this zen sense of comfort. This two-sit place gives a lot of space. Arnaud uses vegan products that smell so good that you will be willing to buy them despite he is anything but salesy.
If I had to choose one word to describe his style it would be effortless. Arnaud’s cuts are fresh and on-trend without him chasing fashion. I call it a natural sense of time and place. Effortless will be your haircare routine after. Talking to Arnaud for the first time I found out that my idea of a stylish haircut was quite outdated without him pushing his vision. As well as I didn’t realize that from straight my hair turned wavy.
In 5 minutes of chitchat, Arnaud saw something in me I didn’t realize about myself. As a result, in one hour I left with a new style that was so much intact with my personality and the idea of making this interview. Because the person who can observe and listen definitely has a lot to tell.
I am French, I am 29 years old, and I’ve been living in Lisbon for two years. And this summer, I just opened my hair salon.
Just walking around in the streets in a city like Lisbon, where you have people coming from all around the world gives you inspiration. Since I moved here two years ago, I think I did so much clients from so many different countries in the world.
My name is Arnaud. I’m a hairstylist. And welcome to Labo.
What is behind the naming?
I chose the name of Labo because of laboratoire, of laboratorio, of laboratory. I think it’s a word that can work in many languages. And because Lisbon is so international, I wanted a word that would be ringing in everybody’s ears. So the philosophy here at Labo is to receive people in a Zen environment so we can focus on really finding the best haircut for my clients. It’s really an exchange of me and my clients.
What’s your inspiration?
What inspires me is people. I mean, what else than people? Just walking around in the street in a city like Lisbon, where you have people coming from all around the world, gives you inspiration. What inspires me as well is some cultures. I’m really inspired about Japanese culture, for example. I really like this Zen environment. They have the design very clean, very minimalistic. This was one of the biggest inspiration for me when I opened the salon, this Japanese design. Space, feng shui, like we say.
I think, yeah, I’m inspired by people, the nature, about travels. Traveling gives you time to think about stuff. Traveling gives you distance with your life. And every time I go somewhere and I come back to Lisbon or I come back to the city where I live, I always feel motivated from what I saw, where I went.
How did you come up with your career choice?
I am from Lyon, but when I was finished with high school, I moved to the US. I stayed there for a while. I was working in many different jobs. I was not doing hair by the time. And it’s after some time there that I decided to go back to France so I could learn this job, hair. I was attracted by hair. I was always looking at people’s hair. So, yeah, it was something that I wanted to try. Obviously, when you’re young, you don’t really know what to do.
So I did like an internship in a hair salon when I was 13 years old. I was at middle school, and I liked it, but I was not sure at the time if I wanted to do that or not. So I just kept studying. I went to school, like, the normal way. And it’s after some time in the US. When I was abroad, I realized that if I was maybe doing hair, it’s something that I could do anywhere, right? And I really liked living abroad. I really enjoyed living in California.
Still after some time in California, I came back to France to learn hair, because I thought that it would be the best place to learn hair. So, yeah. And after some time in France to learn, I felt like I was ready to move abroad again. And I decided to stay in Europe and to choose Portugal and more precisely, Lisbon. Because I wanted to discover a new country, a new city, and I was expecting Lisbon to have a great energy. And since I live here, I think it’s the case Lisbon has a great energy. I really like the city, so I’m really happy to have my business here and to be able to welcome the Lisboetas.
What defines the signature Lisboeta style?
I think it’s difficult to say if there is one Lisboeta style, because you see a lot of different styles in people. But I would say that nowadays we are going through a phase where people, I think they want to do less things, they want to have low-maintenance haircuts. So I think nowadays it’s about shag, you know. People, they like to have shaggy haircuts, they like to have movement, they like to have texture, something that can be nice at the beach, something that can be nice if they don’t really style it. If they just wake up, they shake their head and they just go out. And I think it’s important to put flow and softness in a haircut.
What is your type of client?
And when you work in Lisbon, your clients, they are not just Portuguese, your clients, they are from the US, from UK, from France, from Germany, from Ukraine, from every continent. Since I moved here two years ago, I think I did so much clients from so many different countries in the world. Which is great, because then you have to learn to adapt to different requests.
Which are the haircare products do you use at Labo?
I work with Davines. Davines is a brand from Italy. What I like a lot about that brand is that it’s very sustainable because obviously I like to work with natural products. I think it’s very important nowadays to be conscious about what we put on our body. And obviously, the more organic the products they will be, the better it will be for your health on the long term. I really enjoy the curl line of Davines. You have the curl cream, you have the curl controller, you have all the shampoos and conditioners and masks.
Hottest hair trend this year
The hottest trend in hairstyle. It’s a difficult question. Like I said, my job here at the salon is to really try to find the most personalized haircut for everybody. So something that I really don’t want to do is doing the same thing on everybody here at the salon. The mentality is to really be able to wear your hair naturally, to have a haircut that just sets itself. I think every kind of shaggy haircut nowadays is very trendy because it’s about texture and movement and looking a little bit wild, which I think is modern. To look wild, I think it’s really modern. Instead of looking very clean, very fancy, I think it’s a bit old school nowadays, even if I like doing fancy blow dries, right? It’s always good to do different things, but what I would say nowadays is to really be able to wear your hair naturally. That’s the trend.
Follow Labo on Instagram @labolisboa