Back in 2013, Claude Baruk was personally appointed by Steve Wynn to be the managing director of salons at Wynn and Encore. But he didn’t stop there. Baruk launched his own, eponymous salon inside the Wynn resort, and now, he’s the first Las Vegan nominated for a Hollywood Beauty Award.
Known for his luxury styling of celebrities like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Naomi Campbell and for his cuts and balayage color treatments, Baruk spoke with Industry Weekly about hair trends, being a Las Vegas local and his intuitive sensibilities.
Congratulations on your Hollywood Beauty Award nomination. What did you do when you found out? I was extremely happy to be the first from Vegas. For me, it’s a big honor and it’s a big reward. I was extremely happy for Mr. Wynn and for the Wynn company, because they put a lot of trust in me. Personally, I am celebrating 22 or 23 years in the industry, and it’s always been a dream to reach this level.
How long have you been in Las Vegas? Do you consider yourself a local now? I’m going to celebrate my five-year anniversary in March. Every day I hang out all around Vegas—of course at the Wynn—but outside, I go to many restaurants and I have friends from here. I have two kids, [and] they’re in school here. One of my two kids was born in Vegas, so I really feel like a local now.
How have the beauty and hair industries changed since you started at Wynn? It’s been a big jump from five years ago in terms of hair. We don’t do so much bleach or peroxide; we are going more natural, with balayage and more natural waves and sun-kissed effects. It’s very Chanel, pretty French. When I got here, I was surprised how much we were working the blowdryer. [It was] a lot of volume, a lot of curl. Today, that trend has gone away. We are going more in the natural, sexy vibe of the woman [rather] than artificial glamour.
I read somewhere that French women don’t blow-dry their hair. Is that true? That’s very true. Of course, we still do it because some people need to have some volume, but there’s a trend, this European vibe, and we’re starting to see that a lot. I don’t want to say that if you do volume and big curls you’re out of trend. But even in magazines and social media, we’re starting to see trendsetters [embrace] a natural, European vibe. People in Europe don’t do blow-drys so much anymore. It’s very elegant and very sexy to let the natural charm of the woman speak, more than a ton of makeup and a ton of volume.
How do you ensure someone goes home with a haircut they love? I always work with body language and eye language. I try to peek in the heart of the guest, what she needs and wants and what she’s never had before coming to see me. Sometimes it’s not the work of the guest to tell me what she wants. That is my own technique and that is what I think my success has been based on—to try to understand the woman by how she acts, how she looks at pictures and how she reacts. We can lie with words, but we cannot lie with the body.