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Elaina's The Ultimate Salon is back

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Pictured: After battling the disease herself, Elaina Johnson avidly supports the American Cancer Society and Breast Cancer Awareness. She raises funds year round for the annual ACS Relay for Life by selling wristbands and angels made of crystal beads in the colors that have come to represent various types of cancer.

Elaina Johnson

An interesting mini-museum display of historic hair styling tools fascinates clients at Elaina's The Ultimate Salon.

Mirror, mirror on the wall! You'll be the fairest of them all after a visit to Elaina's The Ultimate Salon at 1134A Main Street.

Fans of Elaina's The Ultimate Salon are delighted to hear that popular hair stylist Elaina Johnson is back at work, creating beautiful heads of hair and more. Re-opening her shop has taken longer than expected, due to serious health problems. Thankfully, those challenges have all been overcome, and Johnson is ready to get re-acquainted with former clients and meet new ones.
The effusive Johnson developed her fan base when she had her salon in Bandera from 1992-1999. She disappointed a lot of people when she had to move to Colorado for a few years.
She returned to the Hill Country in 2008 with plans to reopen, but shortly after she came back she was diagnosed with late stage 3 breast cancer. She underwent chemo, radiation and a second round of chemo. Reconstructive surgery followed.
After completing her course of treatment, Johnson continued to feel run down. "My muscles, bones and nerves were all affected," she recalls, "I hurt all over, all the time."
At first, she thought she was just having a harder time than expected recovering from the cancer treatment. She began a long round of doctor visits, going from specialist to specialist and getting no relief.
Eventually, she was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. A benign tumor was found behind her thyroid and removed.
Today, Johnson is once again the picture of health and energy and can hardly contain her excitement about being able to do what she truly loves - help people with their hair.
"I had a very successful salon before and I hope to thrive again," she said, sitting at her station in her new salon.
Located at 1134A Main Street, Elaina's The Ultimate Salon, is a beautifully modern shop with a stunning black and white color scheme, highlighted with splashes of bright, cheerful teal. Lots of mirrors reflect elegance. Johnson, along with friends and family, have worked hard for the last couple of months to polish the gorgeous wood floors, paint walls and furniture, and install fixtures.
In addition to haircuts for women, men, and children, she offers color and color correction, waxing, perms and more. "I'm looking for a nail tech, and I have a station available for another hairdresser," she said.
"I love hair cutting and styling," she said. "That's my thing. And I love the challenge of coloring. It's like a math and chemistry problem, figuring what's going to be needed to achieve a certain effect."
Johnson has been cutting hair for 32 years, having gone to school at the Vogue Beauty School in San Antonio. "At that time, they were rated the number one school in the US." Of course, she admits that part of her training involved learning how to do finger waves and pin curls, surely a lost art these days!
Clients will enjoy Johnson's mini-museum of hairstyling tools from those "good old days" and before. She has quite a collection of early blow dryers, hand operated clippers, perm rods and shaving equipment.
Johnson firmly believes in going beyond a haircut for her clients. "I like to teach my clients about their hair. If they have a condition problem, I'll tell them what's causing it and what they can do to alleviate the problem."
Going that extra step is just part of her conviction that her clients are her best advertising. "When they walk out of my door, that's my name on their head!" she said.
She also wants customers to look good between visits, so she'll spend time teaching them how to take care of the cut and style.
"When they look good, people will ask who did their hair," she said. "I want them to be proud to say they went to Elaina's."
Most people don't realize the importance of moisturizing their hair, she advised. "It needs to be moisturized so that it stretches properly without breaking."
Johnson herself is an excellent example of what happens when hair is properly cared for. "It's hard to believe that three years ago I was bald!" she said, tossing the shiny, auburn tresses that reach down to her shoulder blades. "People can't believe hair grows this fast, but that's because so many people brush their hair when it's wet. That's when it stretches and breaks, so they think their hair isn't growing."
Johnson promises she will "always give a customer an honest opinion on recommending a cut, style or color."
Having just opened, she's not yet set her regular hours, so call 830-460-7004 to make an appointment.