BOLDVERTISEMENT: International Hair Artist

The greatest reward for hair stylist Naz Kupelian is having a customer come into his salon, looking kind of frumpy, eyes cast down at her shoes, and then walking out as if on a cloud, smiling, confident, with the perfect look. Thousands of satisfied customers have floated out of the Naz Kupelian Salon since it opened in 2000. He’s the real deal and a natural Boldfacer, because his approach, he says, first and foremost is bold.
Visit Naz’s salon for a consultation, and he’ll tell you kindly but firmly what will work and what won’t. That magazine spread you brought in—you want to look just like that? Naz will hold your hand and redirect you—put the picture down, that’s right, put the picture down—and tell you what it will take and what you will need to look like the ideal you. Just schedule early. Naz says he’s usually booked a couple of months in advance.

Naz came from Armenia to the United States some years back to go to medical school, but his funding fell through. Looking for new vistas, he remembered how much he used to enjoy going with his mother to the hair salon. So he ended up studying hair care instead of medicine, working his way through beauty school by washing dishes and busing tables. He studied with legendary hairdressers Irvin and Louise Rusk, and joined them later as a consultant at tradeshows and seminars, teaching the latest techniques trends in hair styles. He opened his own spacious, full-service spot in Lexington with one-stop shopping for hair, nails and skin care, and he’s having the time of his life.

The the look that’s beginning to inspire these days, and will for the next year or two? Believe it or not, Naz says it’s a little bit rough and a tiny bit mullet—yes, he said the M word—kind of a Pat Benatar-meets-Jamie Lee Curtis with a touch of Elvis, but a whole lot softer with controlled and toned colors. It’s a template, Naz says, that compliments current unfinished, rough clothing styles.

And Naz is hardly finished, either. He plans to expand the business over the next few years, and those plans could include his son, Azad. The 20-year-old business student has been drawn to hair care lately, and that’s fine with dad, who says the kid shows a lot of potential. As for you up-and-coming stylists, Naz advises education, confidence, and, yes, boldness, as keys to building a firm foundation of follicle flair. Come out of that comfort zone, he says, not just one toe, not just one foot, but all the way out if you want to advance and hit your stylist stride.

After all these years, he may not be a doctor, but he’s a dad, a husband, and a super stylist. Anyway, working on hair is a bit like being a plastic surgeon, Naz says. He doesn’t change people, exactly, but merely helps them become who they really are.