Ubuntu is more than just great hair

Ubuntu, located on Acacia Avenue is one of Solana Beach’s newest hair salons offering a full range of beauty and hair care services. But the salon aims to take the business of beauty one step further.

“Our goal is to demonstrate something different not just for our clients, but also for our employees,” said owner, Dawn Ellinwood Denslow. “We set out to design a comfortable and relaxed environment, but also one that is socially conscious and environmentally friendly.”

Denslow is the person behind the color and highlights of numerous Hollywood celebrities. Recognized for her experience with the Balayage hair coloring technique, she is dedicated to bringing out the natural beauty potential of all her clients. “Hair should complement an overall look and not be the first thing that people notice,” she said. “I would rather that people not know it’s hair color and think that it’s totally natural.”

For over 21 years Denslow has been in the beauty and hairstyling business. At 16, she started as a shampoo assistant and became a licensed stylist at 17. She has spent the last 10 years working as a colorist for the world famous Frederic Fekkai Salon and Spa on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. With the opening of her new studio in Solana Beach, Denslow said she feels like her career has finally come full circle.

Her list of clients is rather lengthy and includes such notables as Rosemary Clooney, Penelope Cruz, Dana Delaney, Jennifer Grant, Patricia Heaton, Paris Hilton, Ashley Judd, Heather Kozar, Brooke Shields, Alicia Silverstone, Jessica and Ashley Simpson, the Bentley Twins and Estella Warren. Denslows’ movie credits include: “Clock Stoppers,” “The Fast and the Furious,” “Legally Blond,” “Princess Diaries,” “Southland Tales” and “Star Trek.”

Rochelle Bold of La Jolla has been making the trip back and forth to Beverly Hills every three months for the past year to have Denslow color her hair.

“The process that she (Denslow) uses is unique,” said Bold. “I don’t believe that there is anyone in San Diego that does it. I found that it was worthwhile and made such a difference in my hair that it was worth driving up to L.A. for.” Bold further noted that not only does her hair look and feel great, but she has a lot less breakage and her hair has become much stronger than it was before.

Denslow credits her use of the Balayage technique for the results her clients have grown accustomed to. According to Denslow, balayage is a French word meaning “to sweep.” She described the process as, “painting the hair with lightener.” Unlike the traditional highlighting technique which involves weaving the hair and then placing foil under it in a pattern, the Balayage technique does not use foil and involves looking at how the hair falls and then feathering the lightener at the root and going bolder through the ends. This Denslow says, gives her more control and allows her to create a more customized look.

Another advantage of the technique is that it doesn’t leave a straight line of roots when the hair grows in, which allows for more time in between colorings. In the end this will translate into fewer sessions at the salon and less damage to the hair.

Denslow proudly admits that she has worked tirelessly to design the studio’s layout from the ground up to offer a combination of comfort, style and relaxation. She has paid close attention to every detail, right down to the etched drinking glasses. She has also become obsessed with her search for the best music to offer her clients.

She discovered the word “ubuntu,” while reading a cookbook by Marcus Samuelson. According to Denslow, the word means, “I am because you are, therefore we are.” Determined to include the word community in the name of her new business, she knew right from the start that the name of her studio would be Ubuntu.

Denslows’ sense of community stretches beyond just the name of her studio. She donates a percentage of all profits to charity. She uses and sells only the most environmentally friendly products from socially conscious companies. Loose hair clippings are donated to the Matter of Trust Program, which recycles them into products for use in oil spill cleanups. Denslow employs a no tip policy. Any tips offered are donated to charity.

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