Feng shui is defined most simply as creating harmony in one’s environment to enhance well-being and draw more positive energy, opportunity and success. Historically, feng shui was used in the location and orientation of tombs and other structures, and more recently in the interior designs of homes and businesses.
Celebrity hairstylist Billy Yamaguchi has taken the concept one step further, adapting it to feng shui the individual — the idea being that when a person looks good, they feel better and fortune follows.
The California hairstylist behind the Inner Chi Salon &Spa in Ventura and the Westlake Salon in the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village has opened the Yamaguchi Salon at the Naupaka Spa &Wellness Centre at the Four Seasons Ko Olina, where stylists are versed in helping clients release their inner elements. Yamaguchi was in town for the salon’s grand-opening event Thursday but will continue to work from the company’s home base in Ventura, Calif.
Haircuts at the Yamaguchi Salon start at $90; color and highlights start at $160. Consultations and haircuts with Yamaguchi when he is in town are $460; adding color is $600.
He will be back in town Aug. 28 to 30, Oct. 19 to 21 and Dec. 26 to 31.
For 18 years he’s been driven by the philosophy that “your life is a reflection of your thoughts. If you change your thinking, you will change your life.”
It certainly worked for him as he now travels the world, consulting with clients such as Lady Gaga, Charlize Theron, wellness guru Deepak Chopra and New York Knicks President Phil Jackson.
Yamaguchi, 53, had been a hairstylist for eight years when his wife, Melissa, an advocate of feng shui, suggested that what he was doing by picking appropriate hairstyles and color for individuals was “feng shuing people.”
“In the beginning I was very skeptical, but after a while I started to see a pattern and how it made sense. It made me a lot more conscious of people’s energy,” he said in a phone interview from California prior to his salon’s grand opening.
According to feng shui principles, a person’s energy is connected to nature’s elements: fire, wood, earth, water and metal. Fire people are “passionate and adventurous. Their lives are hectic,” Yamaguchi explained, going on to describe earth people as “nurturers who give and give.” Water people are visionaries, while wood people are sociable and often leaders. Metal people are regimented and detail-oriented.
Hair colors, cuts and styling techniques might help balance or energize individuals based on their element and their often subconscious desires and needs, he said.
He determines those needs by asking what he calls “four powerful questions.” He asks clients to pick a word that best describes themselves, what color they associate with the word, then repeats the process by asking about their lifestyle.
“Most people are surprised by how revealing the four powerful questions are. They ask, ‘How did you get to know who I am that quickly?’
“I believe that words have energy and the words we speak move us forward,” he said.
“This is what feng shui is about. Every culture understands energy in some way. In China it’s called qi; in Hawaii it’s mana.
“In asking the four powerful questions, I want people to be conscious of the five elements and go inside themselves, some for the first time, to find out who they are and what they need,” he said.
An on-the-go fire person with a hectic lifestyle would likely require a chic yet easy-to-care-for hairstyle. A metal person might require a softer look to balance hard edges.
Color, too, can draw an emotional response: Red suggests love, passion, heat and power; silver evokes glamour and wealth; brown reflects earthiness and wholesomeness; black, mystery and sophistication; and purple, royalty, luxury and magic.
“Most people are living unconsciously most of the time. By the time we’re 35, we’re on autopilot. We wake up and go through our routines. I want them to wake up and think, ‘Who will I be kind to today, who am I going to touch and help make a difference in their life today?’
“An Allure editor confessed that when I started this, she thought it was a trend, but she now sees it as a lifestyle. It’s not just about hair, but whole well-being.”
The Yamaguchi Salon is located at the Naupaka Spa &Wellness Centre at Four Seasons Ko Olina, 92-1001 Olani St. Call 679-0079.