Hairstyling is in Laurie DeBusk’s blood, but she didn’t understand the magnitude until she was in her twenties. Unbeknownst to DeBusk, her paternal grandparents, Don and Christine Flanagan, were hairdressers for Universal Studios in the golden age of movies.
Three years ago, she carried on the tradition by opening Mozzie Fox on McKellips and Recker roads, next to Mesa Donuts.
“I had driven by this location and I just kept thinking about it,” she said. “I knew that was my next step. When the spot became available, I did research to see if the area could support a salon. Eventually, I felt it wasn’t too saturated.”
The Dobson High School graduate also found it ideal because of nearby Mountain Bridge, Alta Mesa and Las Sendas, and the area’s growth with the new Sprouts and the under-construction Fat Cats.
DeBusk specializes in curly hair but does utilize the DevaCurl Method.
“I don’t believe in cutting each curl individually,” she said. “Each curl sits differently every day.
“All of our haircuts are finished dry once they are blown out. That is when we do all of our balancing and finish work to perfect the hair. It’s more of a French method of cutting, focusing on the shape and flow of the hair.
“It results in a very personalized haircut that is easier to work with for the client. If we are not straightening a curly client then we will sometimes touch up the curls after it is diffuser dried. Because curls are so different on each person, the way we handle them depends on the curl type and how the client wears their hair.”
She carries products by Kin, which makes DeBusk’s favorite, Kinessence Oil Cream. Kin also make Kinactif and uses its color as well.
“Kin is a company from Spain that has been around for 80 years and is still family owned,” she said. “We also carry Loma products, which are aloe vera based.”
Mozzie Fox is peppered with photos of her paternal grandparents, Don and Christine Flanagan. They lived above one of their three salons, Christine and Don’s Coiffures. The Culver City location was near Universal Studios, which attracted a slew of movie industry insiders.
“I’ve always been fascinated with old movies,” she said. “I know more about old films than most people. I didn’t know much of the information about my grandparents until I went to beauty school. I think I heard my brother say, ‘You know Grandma Christine owns a hair salon and it was in Hollywood somewhere or by the studios?’”
She only met her grandmother a handful of times when she was younger. Her aunt gave her family heirlooms, such as photos, newspaper clippings and ads for the salon.
“My grandfather was very outgoing and very friendly,” DeBusk said. “My grandma was the rock. She was the one who made everything work. One day, my grandma was at the salon and my grandfather came in with the cast of ‘The Wizard of Oz;’ the actors who were playing the Munchkins. There were 20 of them and they’re still singing.”
DeBusk has been obsessed with styling since she was young.
“I was the kid who had Barbies and they were bald because I was cutting their hair,” she said with a laugh. “They had bobs and pixies. I loved it. I also wanted to be a journalist. I was dead set on being a reporter.”
Instead, she worked as a nanny in California, but she eventually returned to Arizona, where she waited tables and trained servers at Red Robin. On her 30th birthday, she was having lunch with her mother and told her she was going to beauty school.
“So, I moved in with my parents and went to beauty school,” DeBusk said. “I was serious about it. I wasn’t going to mess around because I was older and loved it. I never, ever looked back from it.”
Now she knows it’s genetic. She enjoys getting her hair done and wants her clients to have the same experience at Mozzie Fox, named after Fox Mulder on “The X Files” and Mozzie, a character she saw on television.
“Clients walk in and they say, ‘I’m here,’” she said. “And then they walk out and they’re standing taller, they’re happier and they feel good. They feel pampered and they feel beautiful. It sounds cliché, but that’s what I love about it: that power to make somebody feel good about themselves, to give them a color or cut they didn’t know they were capable of having.”
That applies to cancer survivors/patients like DeBusk, who recovered from non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. The staff at Mozzie Fox will shave cancer patients’ hair at no charge.
“I went through chemo and lost my hair,” said DeBusk, whose son was 3 when she was diagnosed. “I said to myself, ‘Hey, this is not going to be the end.’ It made me much more compassionate.’”