Edina Salon Professionals Talk Hair

Five Edina hair stylists share style advice.
Amy Jo stylist & colorist

Getting a new hairdo can be like jetting off on a much needed vacation. It’s revitalizing and refreshing; an opportunity to try something new and let go of hairstyle inhibitions. Come fall, hair color transformations can be as widespread as changing autumn leaves. So with a nod to all the great Edina stylists who consistently put smiles on their clients’ faces, we chatted with a few about their beauty inspirations and aspirations, and teased in some fun along the way.

Amy Jo Beniek
Stylist and colorist

Visit her at:
Spalon Montage

3909 W. 49½ St.

Cost: Haircuts and coloring $80-$150

When she’s not at Spalon, you can find her:
Styling for Hot Mama advertisements, the Glamorama fashion show and editorial work for L’Oreal.

Amy Jo Beniek still remembers the first head of hair she ever cut. She was a high school student working as a receptionist at a hair salon and decided she knew how to cut hair. The victim was her dad. “He let me do it, and I have been doing it ever since,” she says. Beniek achieved a personal goal by studying at the Aveda Institute and has now been in the beauty business for more than 10 years.

For those hoping to make a name for themselves in the beauty world, Beniek advises keeping up to date on trends and methods. She says advanced education in a business that is always changing is important. Her pet peeve is when clients attempt to trim their own bangs; she offers a complimentary bang trim in between haircuts. As summer is drawing to a close, Beniek suggests a L’Oreal Professional power dose treatment. It lasts for around 10 shampoos to combat summer-fried hair.

It seems there is another budding stylist in Beniek’s world. When she is not helping others look and feel beautiful, you can find her spending time with her two little ones, 4-year-old daughter Arianna and 7-year-old son Amilio. “I am creating a monster, I think. [Arianna’s] a little fashionista. She gives me advice,” says Beniek. Perhaps Arianna’s first cut will be her dad’s hair.


Tricia Cashmore
Colorist, makeup and lash extension artist

Visit her at:
Rocco Altobelli
3509 Hazelton Road

Cost: Tints start at $46, color foils start at $65, makeup starts at $63, and a full set of lash extensions are $213

On the weekend you can spot her: Shopping at the farmers market.

Tricia Cashmore’s favorite toy growing up was a mannequin with a full head of hair. “I would sit and play with it every day,” she says. She knew she wanted to work in the beauty industry and her wish came true eight years ago when she attended the Regency Beauty Institute in Maplewood and accepted a job at Rocco Altobelli.

Cashmore advises makeup lovers and wearers to wash their face and apply moisturizer twice each day, once in the morning and once in the evening, as she says that sleeping in makeup is a major beauty faux pas. She believes a summer bronze glow goes a long way and soft ombre highlights are always on trend. But harsh dark eyeliner? Forget about it. “Thick dark eyeliner, that’s a no-no,” she says. If you were to take a peek into her purse, you would find lip-gloss, a good concealer and black mascara. Whatever you choose, Cashmore says, the most important thing is to be comfortable in your everyday look.

The best part of the beauty industry, she says, is that it’s constantly changing and new trends are always popping up. “It never gets boring and every day is different,” she says. “I have had every hair color and every cut. You have to be flexible in this industry.” This fall, Cashmore recommends transitioning your summer makeup routine to fall shades and trying a darker fall hue on for size.


Kristen Kargus
Blowout stylist and makeup artist

Visit her at:
The Wow Bar
5037 France Ave.

Cost: Blowouts start at $35

If she could choose one celebrity to restyle, it would be:
Jennifer Aniston, because “I think it would be really fun to give her a bit of a va-va-voom makeover for one of her red-carpet events and see her with hair that is a little bigger and bouncier.”

Kristen Kargus’ makeup routine and color choices have changed drastically over the years. Starting at the age of 12, her mom would buy her outlandish eye shadow colors, and in turn, she gave her neighbors makeovers. “From there on, I knew the beauty industry was for me,” she says. After finishing up at the Regency Beauty Institute in Burnsville four years ago, Kargus began wowing clients at the Wow Bar.

Kargus says there is often a stigma against blowouts; they aren’t solely for high-fashion customers, and are affordable to boot. “One of the reasons I love what I do so much is because a good blowout is one of the few affordable luxuries that can change your mood or look in a hot second,” Kargus says. Each stylist at the Wow Bar is trained to perfect the blowout, a service clients say can last up to a week. Kargus suggests dry shampoo to keep up your hair’s volume. And think hair before makeup, she also advises, because “you can be wearing too much makeup, but you can never have your hair overdone,” she says.

As we transition from summer into fall, don’t kiss those beachy curls goodbye. The trend is a favorite of Kargus. “I am going to wear it all year-round,” she laughs. To rejuvenate those curls, Kargus suggests the Kerastase Chronologiste Masque, a restorative and nutrient-packed conditioning treatment. Kargus cleanses her mind, too; she is an avid yogi.


Bobbi Weiss
Stylist and colorist

Visit her at:
Lili Salon Spa
3464 Galleria

Cuts start at $79, coloring treatments start at $67

You won’t catch her traveling without:
Kerastase shampoos and conditioners (available at Lili; prices vary)

Sometimes having four sisters has its perks. For Bobbi Weiss, it meant she was never far from mussing a head of hair. “I have always loved hair. I love helping people feel good about themselves,” she says. Weiss is a veteran stylist in every sense of the word. She graduated from St. Cloud Beauty College 28 years ago and has been beautifying clients ever since.

So take advice from an expert: Weiss says not to be a perfectionist with your hair and not to always rely on products and tools. And for those on a budget? She suggests finding a spot where you love how they do your hair and simply don’t go as often. Because, she says, a quality haircut is a sound investment. “Look at the most expensive outfit in your closet; how often do you wear it?” she says. “You wear your hairstyle every day.”

Watch out, Donald Trump; if Weiss ever had the chance to get her hands on his abysmal comb-over, she would immediately transform his look. “I just want to cut his hair, it’s so bad,” she laughs. And ’80s fans can rejoice. Weiss says her favorite beauty trend is soft, flowy hair that was often spotted during the decade. “Curl is coming back, I like the body and I like the movement,” she says. Because, she adds, “big hair, big fun.” //


Pamela Cruz
co-owner and stylist

Visit her at:
Bella Salon
5015 S. Ewing Ave.

Cost: Haircuts start at $120

If she could give one piece of beauty advice: “Everybody is beautiful. Perfect isn’t beautiful.”

Pamela Cruz’s life has always been surrounded the beauty industry; she has never known any different. Her mom owned a hair salon throughout her childhood, and she went to beauty school as a high school student. She began styling immediately after graduation 32 years ago. She calls her experience and business savvy beneficial. “It’s a youthful business, but you don’t have to be young,” she says. Cruz has tried on numerous cuts and colors throughout the years, and she doesn’t regret a single one. “You learn from each thing you do,” she says. “That’s the fun with our industry and trends in general.”

One of her favorite current trends is a short ’do, but she doesn’t recommend trends to her clients. Rather, she picks a cut and texture that fits the person she is styling. She would love to muss up former First Lady Hilary Clinton’s locks and give her a softer haircut. “Her hair is always too done,” she says. This fall, go bold, Cruz says, advising her clients to cut their hair off for a more geometric haircut during the fall and winter months.

When not at Bella, Cruz “carts around” her 15-year-old twins daughter Icabella, a musician, and son Nic. She wouldn’t have it any other way.