Banishing Bad Hair Days since 1997!™

Barbara Lhotan: Brilliant Hair Muse


I first heard of Barbara Lhotan when I literally stumbled upon her first book, Five Minute Updos (which was a hair styling bestseller that is now out of print) more than six years ago while shopping for professional nail care products with a nail consultant to

(Image of Barbara Lhotan provided by Elie.Elie Salon - all rights reserved).

I spied the book from across the store and made a beeline for it, boldly lifting the updo primer from the private desk of the shocked nail shop owner. "Please, may I look at this booklet?" I begged. "It's not for sale, the woman told me". That sentence sent me into overdrive as I implored the poor woman to please sell me the juicy little hair treasure. The beleaguered woman finally relented, probably just to get me out of her shop.

Whatever the reason for my success at obtaining the little hairstyling gem, I was absolutely thrilled. After studying the styles for hours at home, I was determined to interview Barbara and uncover some of her strand wisdoms. I carefully tracked her down to Long Island, New York where I wound up have a charming phone conversation with her adorable mom, a native Texan.

The next thing I knew Barbara was calling me back for the first of our many hundreds of phone conversations that we have had over the years.

Instant Hair Bonding

From the initial instant we chatted on the phone, I knew that Barbara was a kindred soul. Being one of those people that you meet and feel like you have known your entire lifetime, she immediately put me at ease.

(Image to the side from photo shoot - hairstyle by Barbara Lhotan, photography by Eric Von Lockhart - all rights reserved - - 2005).

Soon her infectious laugh had me in stitches as she recounted war stories about what really goes on behind the scenes in the making of a hair styling book.

After that first phone interview, Barbara agreed to continue to work with me as a professional hair source. Known as the "Personal Trainer" for stylists wishing to develop expertise with long hair, she is also highly regarded for her work with color, styling and cutting.

Over the years we have worked on many hair related projects together for, Inspire Publications, MultiMeda Magazine and most recently, Total Image publications.

Just like best buds, I have introduced her to my various connections and she has returned the favor. Most recently she introduced me to her dear friend who helped me acquire a line of products that had been unavailable to us for the past four years. One phone call from Barbara and the previously locked door magically flew open.

Also, like lifelong friends, we have had our differences over the years. I have learned if I am ever uncertain about our communications, I can pick up the phone and say "we need to talk". Barbara will stop and make time to navigate through any misunderstandings or issues presenting her side and listening intently and kindly to mine, until all is worked out and we are back on track.

(Image to the side from photo shoot - hairstyle by Barbara Lhotan, photography by Eric Von Lockhart - all rights reserved - - 2005).

The real barometer of our strong friendship occurred when I suffered a traumatic personal loss in my life. Intense grief and crippling shock rendered me unable to talk about the tragedy to most people. But Barbara was one of the rare people that I was finally able to share my grief and loss with. She was totally and completely there for me in the most amazing ways during the most difficult time in my entire life. From that moment on Barbara Lhotan owned a permanent piece of my heart.

Hair Styling Goddess

Besides being an absolute genius with all matters involving hair of any type, texture, condition or shape, she is very kind, very sweet and incredibly loyal. She truly cares about people and their hair. Forget those hairdressers that only care about creating hair that they want to design.

(Image to the side from photo shoot - hairstyle by Barbara Lhotan, photography by Eric Von Lockhart - all rights reserved - - 2005).

Barbara is a good businesswoman who knows how to set appropriate business boundaries, but she also puts the needs and wishes of her clients at the top of her priority list. She truly listens to what her clients wants and will move heaven and earth to accommodate them whenever possible. During our very first phone conversation so many years ago, I discovered that she was staunchly dedicated to the John Paul Mitchell Company where she had worked extremely hard for many years to win the prestigious title of Senior Premiere National Educator.

(Image to the side from photo shoot - hairstyle by Barbara Lhotan, photography by Eric Von Lockhart - all rights reserved - - 2005).

Although she respected the fact that I had my own consumer driven opinions about hair care products and techniques that might differ from her professional opinion, she always gently provided me with the Paul Mitchell philosophy. Sometimes I agreed with the Paul Mitchell products she recommended and other times I didn't. Either way, I appreciated that she took the time to stop and explain everything to me.

Her Images, My Technicals

After Barbara and I had been working together for a few years, MultiMedia International asked us to work on an updo book together. It was a grueling but incredibly satisfying experience. Barbara created all the styles and renowned photographer Eric Von Lockhart took all the shots.

(Image to the side from photo shoot - hairstyle by Barbara Lhotan, photography by Eric Von Lockhart - all rights reserved - - 2005).

When they were finished with that monumental task, a Fed Ex envelope arrived and I locked myself in my office for days on end where I wrote all the step by step technical instructions.

Armed with Barbara's skillfully designed styling steps, Eric's photos, my hairstyling mop head and Barbara's phone number I painstakingly translated hairstyling lingo into consumer speak. Throughout the entire process my primary goal and overwhelming concern was that my writing would do true justice to Barbara's wonderful hair designs.

That initial MMI book was followed by two more. Along the way, I have worked with Barbara as my professional hairdressing source on a wide range of consumer hair magazine articles and columns. She is always very patient and willing to walk through any questions, no matter how complicated or how many times I would quizz her about a styling step.

Elie Elie Salon

A few years after Barbara and I started working together, she met the famous Elie Gerdak of the Elie.Elie Salon in Tysons Corner, Virginia. Elie convinced Barbara to become the in-house training expert for his world famous salon. Since they first joined forces Barbara has routinely traveled every few weeks from Stabile & Co in Smithtown, New York, where she works with her many clients to the Elie.Elie salon.

(Image to the side from photo shoot - hairstyle by Barbara Lhotan, photography by Eric Von Lockhart - all rights reserved - - 2005).

Although Barbara is famous for her award-winning work creating updos, she is also renowned for her work with naturally curly tresses.

Her expertise in color recently saved my own strands when I was the victim of a professional hair coloring disaster. My Dallas based hairdresser deviated from my normal Matrix Socolor highlighting procedures without my knowledge or immediate awareness. The horrifying Redken induced results included bright red roots, chocolate brown mid-sections and my normal blonde ends. My hair went into shock as I sobbed in front of the bathroom mirror.

Again Barbara came to my rescue. She got me through an emergency color correction treatment that restored me back to ground blonde zero and banished the reds and browns.

I shudder to think what would have happened if I had not been able to call Barbara to help talk me down from the hair color trauma.

Hair Extensions

As if her expertise in cut, color and styling for long and curly hair was not enough to jam pack her busy schedule, Barbara decided to become a hair extensions expert. She took several classes and became very knowledgeable in the fine art of extending tresses.

(Image to the side from photo shoot - hairstyle by Barbara Lhotan, photography by Eric Von Lockhart - all rights reserved - - 2005).

After working with some very challenging cases Barbara confided that she really enjoyed working with extensions because it allowed her to really make a difference for people suffering from a variety of hair related challenges.

Over the years Barbara and I have talked for hours about the pros and cons of hair extensions along with a myriad of other issues ranging from how to properly blow dry natural curls to the best way to cover gray strands. The woman is a walking dictionary of hair facts and wisdom. I am constantly amazed and in awe of her dedication to learning everything that she can about hair.

Recently I discovered that this highly respected educator, who has earned tons of photo credits in the media spends her free time watching hair videos on just about every subject. Barbara new slows down. No matter how expertly she can twist or twirl strands into a glorious updo, she wants to learn even better techniques. She also constantly is attending workshops and taking advanced classes to keep her hairdressing skills razor sharp.

Over the years she has attended academies such as Vidal Sassoon, Jim Jones Clipper Cutting, Hair Color USA, Paul Mitchell Hawaii Seminar, Colorcutting USA and many others. Over the years Barbara has worked with Richard Dalton and Angus Mitchell on the runway during South of Seventh and Seventh on Sixth. Barbara has styled many modles including supermodel and Donna Karan poster girl, Ester Canadas. The work was done during Fashion Week in New York City for designers Nicole Miller, Joan Vass, Carmen Marc and Shoshanna Lonstein.

Our frequent phone conversations are a true marathon of hairspeak.


Barbara Lhotan is a goddess of hair. She is one of the best and most professional hairdressers that I have had the honor to meet and get to know over the years that I have been at the helm of In every sense of the word, she is my muse and I am eternally grateful for her willingness to share her wisdom and her friendship.

Contact Information

If you would like to consult with this brilliant hair master to discuss just about anything related to hair from color and styling to hair extensions or working with long or curly or thinning hair, contact Barbara at either her New York or Virgina locations as listed below:

Don't forget to tell her that Karen at sent you.

Barbara Lhotan Stabile & Co. Smithtown, NY 11787 631-724-2386 Ms. [email protected] or Barbara Lhotan ElieElie 8041 LB Tyson Corner McLean, VA 22102 703-893-2711

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