If You're Having Beauty Trouble, Come to the Beauty Bubble
Sometimes, a terrible thing, like having your business shut down due to Covid, can turn into something pretty good.
I remember, as a grade schooler, my mother taking me with her in the evenings when she had her appointment at the beauty parlor. I’d sit in the waiting room reading a book. One of my favorites was The Mouse and the Motorcycle, highly recommend it for young readers.
Meanwhile, with curlers tightly wound in her hair, my mother sat under one of those huge hair dryers that looked like something Madeline Kahn would have used in prep for Young Frankenstein.
Flashbacks from those times immediately hit me as I walked into the Beauty Bubble in Joshua Tree, California. (You have to click on the link to the website if, for no other reason, than to hear the shop’s Fifties-era jingle.) The hair dryers, the curlers, the memories of the smells coming from the permanent sprays and gels used to keep those hairdos combat helmet ridged, it’s all there.
The Beauty Bubble is the brain child of Jeff Hafler who began collecting hair and beauty memorabilia 30-plus years ago. His collection has since grown to more than 3,000 items.
The collection is amazing. You can spend forever in there and not see everything. It includes those huge old fashioned hair dryers, early hand-held dryers, curlers of all sorts and sizes, old advertisements, vintage toys, the list goes on and on. You can get a peek at some of it on his website.
Hafler has worked as a hair stylist for years, starting in Columbus, Ohio, with stops in Seattle and Hollywood before settling in Wonder Valley, California, about a half hour’s drive straight east of Joshua Tree, just the other side of Twentynine Palms. There, he worked from his home salon from 2004 through 2015.
Somewhere along that way the idea formed to find a resting place for his growing beauty memorabilia collection and in the process create a roadside attraction.
That dream came to fruition in 2016 when Hafler moved into a vacant main street Joshua Tree shop and Beauty Bubble was born. He moved his collection into the shop for everyone to see, continuing to style hair himself and rent out chairs to other stylists.
Then the pandemic came and beauty shops throughout the state of California were closed. Hafler thought he was seeing his dream come to an end.
Instead he used the time to change from making over people’s hair styles to making over the shop. He redid the waiting room space at the front of the shop into a retail space, selling all sorts of beauty-related knickknacks, vintage clothing and related items.
It turned out to be a wonderful thing. Today he no longer has to style hair. He makes enough from sales of the memorabilia and still rents out a couple chairs to other local stylists. (I don’t think a lot of people understand how standing on your feet all day, working on styling people’s hair, can be so demanding, especially as the years begin to add up.)
The Beauty Bubble has become so popular there’s even been a recent independent film made about it.
Here’s the trailer and, if you’d like to see it yourself, you can follow along for announcements on their Facebook page:
Hafler doesn’t charge anything to view the collection but there is a donation jar. Visitors are free to roam around and take their time stepping back into days gone by. It only seems right though to drop in a couple of bucks or maybe buy one of those great items he now has available at the front of the store.
P.S. While you're in the area, don't forget to check out The World Famous Crochet Museum located right behind the Beauty Bubble.
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