A Cut Above

Meet Westchester’s newest, hottest stylists



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Plush Salon

369 Mamaroneck Ave

, White Plains

(914) 997-9277

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What’s the Look: Miami’s South Beach style has come to White Plains as a tiny but very cool six-chair jewel box of a salon called Plush. Co-owners Kristy Rotonde and Anthony Fidanza designed the space for maximum chic with a wall of water as a privacy screen from the street, Venetian plaster walls in vibrant lime green and pale watery blue, wall-mounted six-inch personal TVs at every station, and white Italian leather chairs. Static Hair Salon co-founder Matthew Yasgur, whose

Mamaroneck Avenue

salon up the street is known for its Manhattan sensibilities, says, “I was excited to find another salon that’s raising the bar of what a boutique salon should be like.”

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So Cool They’re Hot: Plush, which opened in September 2005, has already outgrown its space. It’s planning to open another branch in 2007 where Rotonde, Fidanze and his brother, Vinnie Fidanze, a former educator for Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door salon, will take turns running the show.


Origins: Rotonde and Fidanza met in 1999 while working at White Plains’s Salon Savoir.


Extras: In addition to cut and color, Plush offers three types of hair extensions, ranging in price from $85 to $1,400, and three methods for relaxing hair, including the ever-popular Japanese approach (prices start at $350) and one just for taming frizzy hair ($120 and up). Consultations are required for extensions.


Prices: Haircuts start at $60 for women and $35 for men. Single-process hair color is $60 for women and $40 for men.



Christina D

50 Merritt St

, Port Chester (914) 935-9393


Why They’re on Our List: Gjoko Shkreli, owner of Gjoko’s Salon & Spa and Hair Academy in Mamaroneck, says Christina D owner Christina Dabelic and two of her former Victor Balestri Salon co-workers, Adelina Saljanin and Maria Camaj, have an excellent reputation for keeping their clients happy. The great scalp massages proffered by shampooer Drita Kaljaj are also a big draw.


Hush-Hush: Tucked away on a quiet residential street near the border of Port Chester and Rye Ridge, this bustling one-year-old salon has never advertised, has no website or email address, not even a printed price list. According to Dabelic, word-of-mouth and a very loyal following (95 percent of her customers are from Victor Balestri’s) have kept the three full-time and two part-time staff members hopping with cut, color, style, and makeup applications.


Prices: Haircuts start at $70 for women, $35 for men; single-process color costs $60 or more. Glazes, highlighting, and permanent waves are also available. Makeup applications are $65 and up, while conditioning and scalp treatments like Protein Power or Power Scalp treatment for dry scalp start at a very reasonable $25.




446 5th Ave

, Pelham

(914) 380-6716; www.shortkutz.com for salon and DJ information


Give Me a Scotch and a Chocolate Body Facial Chaser: This modern-day equivalent of the corner bar bills itself as a full-service salon for men, complete with sports on a big-screen HDTV, an aquarium, wine-tastings, mani-pedis, and an aesthetician. Shortkutz, owned by Joey Donato, who DJs in his spare time as DJ Shortkut, offers a haven for the man with a strong sense of personal style—and his buds who want to hang with him.


I Need a Hero: No metrosexual stereotypes here. Donato says his patrons include many firemen, police officers, and construction workers who prefer to remove the stress and mess of their daily grind via shaves and sharp-looking haircuts from barbers Donato or Michael McMahon; or hair color, facials, massages, and waxing from Maria Russo. The salon even offers a “Gentleman’s Facial” geared for the special needs of the outdoor working man, whose skin can have deeply embedded grime or construction dust, starting at $45 for a half hour; $80 per hour.


For the Man Who Wants It All: Shortkutz has two great gift ideas: a mix-and-match package ($80) for one hour’s worth of any two types of body work it offers, and a Designer Package ($140), which includes barber cut, hot-towel shave, massage, facial, and body work, even hand and foot paraffin treatments. The Designer Package is also available as a Bachelor Spa Package with a day of rugged beauty for the groom and his groomsmen.  


Prices: At Shortkutz, an appointment with the barber is priced higher than a walk-in: $20 versus $15 for a haircut. A Caesar cut is $10. The classic combo “shave and a haircut, two bits” actually starts at $25 for walk-ins. Waxing is also available, with eyebrow waxing set at $10



Hair Life at Riverspa

50 S Buckhout St

, Irvington

(914) 591-5757



Déjà Vu All Over Again: It’s a whole new world at Irvington’s Hair Life at Riverspa. Chiropractor and owner Dr. Heidi Sonn relaunched her salon in July 2006, replacing every staff member (see Topaz below) and updating the salon with floating fern patterned cushions.


Why on Our List: No split personality here: both spa and salon are laid-back. Spa clients aren’t subjected to a hair salon’s revved-up rhythms and blown-dry heat while HairLife patrons benefit from the spa’s meditative atmosphere. It also has what no other hair salon provides: a serene waiting room, a large spa changing room with lockers, showers, steam room, and a broad vanity bar replete with skin and hair-care products.


Origins: Trained as a stylist at New York’s now-defunct Pippino Boucherie, Senior Stylist Peter Heimgartner worked at Bumble and Bumble, Arrojo-Cutler (now two salons: ArrojoStudio and Cutler), and Oscar Blandi in Manhattan before heading for the suburbs. He says he’s glad to come to Westchester, after two years at a salon in New Jersey that changed ownership recently, because he prefers “the energy” at HairLife. Sonn paired Heimgartner with two highly experienced colorists from Manhattan: Rosetta Napolitano and Carine Coca.


Prices: Women’s haircuts start at $100, men’s at $65, and all haircuts include a blow-dry styling. Single-process color is $75. Rejuvenating hair treatments are $40. Up-dos start at $100 and bridal up-dos are $150 and up. It also offers makeup-application lessons for $80; bridal makeup for bride, $150; for bridal party, $75 per person.



Salon 33 South

33 S Broadway, White Plains

(914) 328-7878


Monday, Monday: Few hair salons open on Mondays, but Salon 33 South does. It’s a courtesy for the working professionals who flock to its convenient location on South Broadway, where White Plains’s business district, retail district, and South Broadway’s Doctors’ Row converge. Perhaps that’s one reason one-third of Salon 33 South’s clients are male, a notable number in a trade that traditionally caters to women. Although its atmosphere is not overtly masculine, the three owners chose autumnal-colored walls and a copper-colored tin ceiling to create a warm ambience where men are likely to feel at ease.


Origins: Co-owner Joseph Ciardullo spent eight years at the acclaimed Noelle’s in Stamford before joining his father’s place, Luigi’s of Italy (in Eastchester), while co-owners Alfonso Ciardullo and Dominic Cassano worked at Luigi’s Yonkers branch. Cassano also worked two years at Bumble and Bumble in Manhattan. The 16-person staff includes senior stylist Victoria Grasso (who also does hair extensions) and senior stylist/colorist Julio Garcia, a Colombia native who was a Rusk (hair-care products) educator in Peru.


Prices: Men’s haircuts start at $30; women’s cuts are $65 and up and include a blow-dry. Single-process color begins at $65. Enriching hair and scalp treatments start at $35. Salon 33 South offers the Japanese straightening system for $300 to $600.



Salon Topaz

77 Main St

, Dobbs Ferry

(914) 231-6212; www.salontopaz.com


Why on Our List: In 2004, when this magazine named a young Lisa DeMaria top stylist, it dubbed her “The Rookie.” She’s all grown up now. Originally trained by Frédéric Fekkai in Manhattan and Vidal Sassoon in London, in the past three years, DeMaria worked at both Riverspa and Static, as did her team of stylist Teresa Parretta and colorist Naomi Condeelis. Since July 2006, they’ve been on their own in a vintage-style storefront in the center of Dobbs Ferry’s

Main Street

stretch of boutiques and cafés, which is reminiscent of SoHo in the 1970s.


Extras: Salon Topaz recently added facial services by aesthetician Jolanta Maslany, formerly of Riverspa.


Prices: Haircuts are $100 for women and $60 for men. Single-process color is $75 and dimensional color $165, but blow-dries are not included. For that you’ll pay at least $50 more.



New Spaces, Familiar Places


Anthony Fiore, who, as owner of Capri Cosmetology Learning Center in Nanuet, NY, deals with almost all the hair salons in Westchester, recommends both Beautiful Hair Color Salon and Billy’s of Mount Kisco. Although neither is a new salon, they both moved to significantly larger spaces in 2006 to accommodate their burgeoning clientele lists and requests for more services.



Beautiful Hair Color Salon & Spa

41 Washington Ave

, Pleasantville

(914) 741-1522/(914) 741-BHC8


Haven’t we met before: The owner of this light-flooded salon, Franco Marino, is a well-respected hairstylist and colorist with two senior stylists/colorists.

Don’t blink: Pleasantville’s Beautiful Hair Color Salon & Spa’s (a.k.a. BHC Salon) moved to its new 12-chair location on

Washington Avenue

, a space four times the size of the little salon it first opened in July 2004 on adjacent

Wheeler Avenue


Extras: Aesthetician Jessica Lauria offers waxing, facials, and makeup in one of the three new spa rooms.

Prices: Men’s haircuts cost from $25 to $60, while women’s haircuts range from $40 to $90. Single-process color also costs $40 to $90. Relaxers and permanents start at $80 each. An impressive list of color techniques that result in beautiful, rich color including dimensional highlights, tonal-splash highlights, and a technique known as geometric creations highlights start at $115 and go up to  $250 and more.



Billy’s of Mount Kisco

23 Main St

, Mount Kisco

(914) 666-9077


Good things come to those who wait: Owner Billy Galasso waited years for a space to open on the same street before moving his salon to a spacious atelier on the corner of

Main Street

and North Moger. The reason? He didn’t want to move too far from his clients. Ninety-four-year-old Mount Kisco native Josephine Abel best sums up how clients feel about Galasso. “We all love him,” she says, adding she has been Billy’s client for more than 20 years. She’s not the only decades-long customer of Galasso and his staff of 12 stylists/colorists. In fact, a friend of mine who prefers to remain nameless confides she lost access to Billy’s salon in her divorce.


What makes them special: A salon client’s loyalty is often earned by little gestures and maintained with consistent results. As one expression of Galasso’s loyalty to his patrons, the shop is open six days a week, including Monday, a day most salons are shuttered. An innovative hair-color station has eight chairs clustered around a mirror-free table where clients can read or work on their laptops. “You don’t have to look at yourself with foils and hair color on your eyebrows,” Galasso says


Extras: Billy’s also offers waxing, facials, eyelash extensions, Japanese straightening, and an FDA-approved Gentle Waves photo-modulation machine it shares with a local physician to reduce fine lines around the eyes.


Prices: Women’s haircuts start at $65; men’s haircuts at $40. Beard trims start at $10. Single-process color starts at $65 for women, $50 for men. Brazilian waxing is $50 and eyelash tinting is $35.  




H. M. Epstein is a frequent contributor to Westchester Magazine and its sister publications.






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