B-Bombshell Salon is the place to go for gamers, cosplayers, anime lovers, and techies—you can let your geek flag fly while getting the hair of your otherworldly dreams! B-Bombshell aims to create a safe space for everyone and operates under the mantra “Where geek is chic!” For Kimiko Watanabe, it was an easy choice when choosing her salon home. A level three stylist in the salon, where level six is Salon Manager, it’s safe to say that the B-Bombshell team loves Kimiko right back. Kimiko spends her days geeking out with her clients while bringing their creative cuts and colours to life!
Once I got back to Vancouver, I called some top-notch salons, and they all said that Blanche Macdonald had the best, most comprehensive program.”
What was it about B-Bombshell Salon that made it feel like home for you?
B-Bombshell offered a wide variety of looks, and I wanted to get into creative styles. It’s an inclusive salon and a welcoming workspace. I knew it was just going to vibe so well with me, and I’m so happy here.
Can you tell us about what your day-to-day entails at the salon?
I’m a stylist on the floor, so I spend the majority of my time with clients. I started as an apprentice and worked up to level three stylist. Level six is the Salon Manager, and level five is lower management, so I’m getting up there! I specialize in fashion colours, so I do lots of colour blocking, avant-garde cuts, and razor cuts. It’s so much fun!
Why is working with fashion colours different from other colours?
While they’re both hair colours, fashion colours are almost a completely different medium. They can be tough to get into the hair and evenly saturate, and if someone isn’t used to it or isn’t aware of the technique and nuances, it can be really hard to get a good, even finish.
And colours like that take quite a different maintenance plan, too, don’t they?
Oh, every little thing you can do will count towards lengthening the lifespan of your colour. Fashion colours are semi-permanent, so they are prone to fade. Whenever a client wants pastel colours or silvers, I always try and talk them into going a bit darker for longevity. If you start darker, you’ll hit your target colour eventually, and then it’ll fade from there. If you start too light, you only get a short window of your target colour and then the fading process starts. You need to use colour-stay shampoo and conditioner, sunscreen for your hair as UV rays can really leech the colour out, don’t use heat tools, and wash in cold water. It’s quite a lifestyle! People who tend to touch their hair a lot or sweat a lot can also see some colour loss in the hair around their face. And even after all that, most of my clients come in once a month for a touch-up!
B-Bombshell’s website describes you as 80% thrill-seeker, 5% World’s Greatest Detective, and 100% Wildlife snack. Can you tell us the story behind this?
Omg, I’ve had some crazy stories from my solo travels before I became a stylist! Those descriptions on the website give clients an idea of who we are as stylists so they can book in with someone who has the skills they’re looking for and some commonalities in personality and experience. I have so many clients who have spent time backpacking like me, which gives us so much to talk about. I also love to watch true crime documentaries—which is the 5% measure. I’ve also got some scars from my travels; piranha scars from Australia, tick scars from Germany—I’m very accident prone when it comes to wildlife, hence the 100% score there!
What was your experience in Blanche Macdonald’s Pro Hair program like, and what led you there in the beginning?
“I didn’t realize just how many options you have as a hairstylist, so it’s been nice to work in a salon, but I know I’ve always got all those other options open to me still!”
Before this, I was a Technical Theater major, designing props and things, so I’ve always wanted to be in an artistic field. I went looking for something new because I wanted stability and a more regular schedule. I backpacked for two years and worked in Australia, Japan and Germany. I met a lot of hairstylists during my travels, and some of my family in Germany are stylists as well. Once I was around it, it started seeming more and more like something I could picture myself doing when I got back to Canada.
Once I got back to Vancouver, I called some top-notch salons, and they all said that Blanche Macdonald had the best, most comprehensive Hair Program. I also liked how they paced their program; you learn something and then practice it on the floor. In other programs, you learn everything and then hit the floor, which seemed overwhelming to me. Initially, I planned to do hair on cruise ships, but of course, COVID happened, and that wasn’t a possibility anymore. I didn’t realize just how many options you have as a hairstylist, so it’s been nice to work in a salon, but I know I’ve always got all those other options open to me still!
What’s something you would like people to know about having a career in Hair?
You don’t know everything, ever. Like, ever! You’re always learning and often learning on the fly. I’m constantly educating myself, and I love that aspect of my work. It’s fun, engaging, you’re thinking on your feet, adapting as you work, talking with your client and thinking about their hair—it’s everything at once! You need to have the right attitude, but it’s such a dream for me.