“The family I buy from originally provided hair for wigs for all the royals in Europe,” she says. “Their hair is 10 times more expensive than the cheapest hair on the market.”
Martens-Tomas has a stock of hair in different shades and lengths at her Denver location, and she custom-blends each microtress to match the desired color. “When a client comes in for our initial visit, I will clip a sample of the hair and bring it in to the lab,” she says. “We’ll add a few strands of light or a few strands of dark to get the shade right. We don’t dye the hair. If someone wants waist-length blond hair, I might have to wait a couple of months to get it. It’s not a commodity that’s sitting on a shelf, waiting to be purchased.”
Fran Carollo of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, is one such customer. At 53, she has waist-length flaxen hair that’s composed largely of Martens-Tomas microtresses. “Mahri’s like the Ferrari of the hair world,” Carollo says, explaining how she justifies the expense. “The way I see it, I’m saving money on a lot of things, like clothes and bags. I used to think that if I bought a nice outfit, I’d feel better; now the clothes aren’t that important because I have great hair. I’ve been her client for eight years, and I’m a much happier person.”
As the offense against aging ramps up its weaponry, with remedies for everything from sagging jowls to sinewy hands, augmented hair may be the final frontier. And extensions, in the right hands, may eventually lose their stigma as the favorite accessory of Hollywood wannabes.
“I do a few things, like Botox,” says Martens-Tomas. “But I think that the thing that makes me look the most youthful is my hair. When my grandmother was my age, it didn’t matter what her face looked like because she had her hair back in a bun and she sat in a rocking chair. Great hair just makes me feel more vibrant. I’m out there thinking I’m young.”