While spending on designer shoes (along with everything else) has dropped as low as a ballerina flat, women (and men, some at least) are still doling out dollars for a great head of hair, although not quite as frequently. And despite a dreadful economy, new salons keep opening, new talent keeps coming, and stylists and colorists keep mastering innovative techniques. It’s all about that old saying: “Darling, if you look good, you feel good.” Here are some great new or undiscovered options Westchester Magazine has found this year.
2134 Boston Post Rd, Larchmont
While not an official outpost of New York City’s famed Bumble and bumble salon, Bumble stylists Dawn Bruckner and Massimo DiCicco opened Firefly two years ago and continue to split their time between Bumble in Manhattan and their Larchmont salon. The two opened a salon in Westchester because they perceived a local demand for high-quality hair care here and client fatigue for making trips into the City. Many of Firefly’s clients are those from Westchester who used to see Bruckner and DiCicco in the East 56th Street headquarters of Bumble, a 31-year-old generalist hair salon known for being on the cutting edge while staying faithful to classic styling.
Over the past year, Firefly has added a full color team to complement the cutting skills of Bruckner and DiCicco. Courtney Lee is a full-time color staffer who hails from Cutler, a salon (with two Manhattan locations) known for its work in the fashion industry on runways and in magazines. Meanwhile, Carine Coco divides her time between Firefly and Cutler. Firefly is also one-stop shopping for the entire range of Bumble and bumble hair products and debuts new items before any other salon or shop in Westchester. A haircut with either costs $125, while a single-process color application goes for $90. A blow-dry is $50 to $85.
Ashley Hackbarth, at Static Hair
180 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains
Hair, many of us are learning, can change over time, sometimes going from curly to straight, blonde to brown, and thick to thin. If yours has undergone the third change, you’re in luck. Static Hair colorist Ashley Hackbarth has made coloring fine and thinning hair her specialty. Her expertise is the result of a personal interest in the subject of thinning hair.
“My mother has very thin hair, and a couple of years ago, I had a period when I lost hair,” explains the young brunette, who now boasts a glorious mahogany mane. “My challenge was to find ways for my hair to look thicker without using extensions.”
Hackbarth’s trick, using the Goldwell color line, is to highlight with a palette of color, rather than just one color. This subtle multi-color approach leaves clients’ hair with the illusion of texture and volume, she says. She likes Goldwell because it has conditioning agents that are particularly gentle for fine hair and the glosses contain no peroxide. Hackbarth also has developed a small network of dermatologists to whom she can refer her clients for medical advice about their thin hair or hair loss. A single-process color costs $65, while highlights start at $100.
147 E Post Rd, White Plains
(212) 274-8686 (number for both NY and WP salons)
“Ladies cry in my chair when I’m done because they never knew they had such naturally beautiful hair,” says Denis DaSilva, co-owner of Devachan, the SoHo-based hair salon that opened a space in White Plains last summer. Devachan and its founders, Lorraine Massey and DaSilva, are perhaps best known for their magic with naturally curly hair and for teaching women to learn to live with and love the head of hair they were born with. “Women should try not to fight their own hair,” DaSilva says. “They need to learn to work with their curls.”
Don’t change your hair? What a concept! And sheer blasphemy to those beauty power brokers marketing straightening or relaxing techniques. DaSilva’s partner, Massey, literally has written the book (actually, books) on curly hair; her first, Curly Girl, was touted just about
DaSilva and Massey decided to venture northeast to White Plains after discovering that around 25 percent of their New York City salon’s clientele were making the trek from Westchester for their services. The White Plains Devachan is a smaller version of the two Manhattan locations. DaSilva says more than $700,000 was invested in the design of the White Plains address, but, alas, there’s no spa. Massey and DaSilva will spend one day per week at the White Plains location.
Cuts with Massey, who is now taking appointments for 2010, are $250; DaSilva, $185. Haircuts with junior stylists start at $75. Pintura coloring starts at $150.
275 Bedford Rd, Bedford Hills
There’s nothing better than a great generalist salon like Paulo’s Atelier that makes you feel at home. Clients appreciate how everyone is welcome, from children and their parents to women of a certain age.
“As a colorist, Paulo is amazing,” says Susie Frusciante, a loyal client who followed Paulo Gregorio the previous summer when he left the Richard Scott Salon of Mount Kisco to open his new digs. “There is a very friendly environment here and everyone is very kind. Honestly, Paulo is the sweetest salon owner I have ever met.”
“Many salons today don’t take that extra step for customer service,” says Gregorio, who’s originally from São Paulo, Brazil. “They take their clients for granted.” At Paulo’s Atelier, this quest for service translates to perks like massaging shampoo chairs, purse rests at every station, and an assortment of beverages and herbal teas. Gregorio also invests in continually training his staff. In April, he brought the team to the International Beauty Show in New York City to see what’s new in hair care.
Don’t be put off by the salon’s location in the modest ShopRite Plaza strip mall, which is getting its own makeover and is slated to be completed and renamed Bedford Green in a year or so. It’s what’s inside the salon that counts. Besides offering general services, colorist Kathleen Troy (named Best Colorist in our Best of Westchester July 2008 issue) reports that Paulo’s Atelier has become a destination for the popular keratin frizz-free straightening technique. Keratin treatments, which take several hours, depending on a client’s hair thickness and length, make hair silky-smooth, more manageable, and greatly reduce the time spent drying and styling hair. The process includes a rather laborious final step of flat-ironing the hair to lock in the protein for the desired relaxed and smooth finish. Gregorio’s keratin process starts at around $300. For those whose hair is just too stubborn for keratin treatments or who like to swim in pools cap-free, Gregorio has another smooth solution: Liscio, a Japanese straightening system and its accompanying Nigelle, a moisture shampoo and treatment. This system, for which Paulo’s is Westchester’s exclusive provider, leaves hair smooth and shiny but with generally more body than the stick-straight texture that most Japanese straighteners produce, explains salon manager Natalie Ciullo..
The salon also has two new stylists, Crystal Haviland, formerly of the Red Door in White Plains and Vidal Sasson in Los Angeles, and Cecelia Ibanez, formerly of Richard Scott Salon. Color is $65 and haircuts are $75; a blow-dry is $40.
Lisa Pierro at Everything’s Hair, Village Square
1258 Boston Post Rd, Larchmont
Lisa Pierro, a colorist and stylist, has a devoted following. I’ve stopped friends in the street to ask them about their haircuts and the answer is often: “Lisa at Everything’s Hair.”
Larchmont resident and sublime blond Tracy Owen has been one of Pierro’s clients for cut and color for nearly four years. “She really listens to what you are requesting and then does it really well,” says Owen.
Everything’s Hair is a full-service neighborhood salon in a nondescript small strip mall that also houses Trader Joe’s. There is nothing glitzy or glam about the place, and clients, most of whom are regulars, enjoy its warm, friendly atmosphere in which everyone feels at home. Pierro, who started cutting and styling hair as an amateur in her teens, is just one of a handful of stylists and colorists at the ready. Her first stint was as an assistant at Tuckahoe’s Hair Station. After a few years at an office job, she finished her professional training at Capri, a beauty school in Rockland County, and started at Everything’s Hair. While at Everything’s, Pierro was a one-time network educator for Bumble and bumble and has also taken classes at the signature New York salon.
“My job is to make sure my client feels and looks good when they leave,” says Pierro. “I want to always give the client what they want but if they won’t benefit from their own suggestion, then I try to give options.”
Everything’s Hair is eight years old and is owned by Dina Mottola and Ginger Pulcino. The salon is a Locks of Love partner and annually hosts marathon donation weeks for that charity.
12 City Pl at Trump Tower, White Plains
(914) 285-0800Laurence Powell
Hair-color guru Vasken Demirjian opened a glamorous eponymous white salon 15 months ago, perhaps the perfect neutral backdrop for his coloring magic. This former antiques and antiquities dealer, who broke away a few years ago from his family’s renowned Demirjian Hair Salon, also in White Plains, is best known for his “color-canvassing.” This technique—a method of applying different hues of the same color to the top, middle, and bottom layers of hair—creates a head of hair which appears to have more depth than one gets from a single- or dual-color process. While Demirjian is the master colorist for his salon, there are three top colorists on his team in addition to several color assistants.
Demirjian, who talks about hair the way you might imagine Julian Schnabel talks about his art, is very enthusiastic about his new digs. “It’s a real boutique salon, like you find in Europe,” he says. “We wanted to go beyond the standard, not only in hair care but in salon design.”
The interior was conceived by Demirjian alongside his architect/engineer wife, Katerina Soukhopalov, and Maren Sostmann, both of the architecture and design firm Werner Sobek of New York. The ceiling is covered with hollow white cylinders that perform double duty as lampshades and sound insulation. The floor is made of porcelain from well-known Valencia, Spain‘s Porcelanosa. Dramatic bursts of red punctuate the whitescape in the form of large lampshades hanging from the ceiling and occasional counters. A coffee bar is a welcome, cozy touch.
Color ranges from $115 to $450 for Demirjian; a woman’s haircut is $105 and up, while a blow-dry is $50 and up.
Westchester is home to a rich and diverse international community and some of the county’s best-coiffed are the French, who are devoted clients of French native Laurence Powell. Powell, who cuts chez vous or out of her Harrison home, has pure French training which means several years of beauty school plus apprenticeships, generally much more extensive than a typical stylist’s or colorist’s education stateside. Powell taught color technique at the L’Oréal Professional School in France and worked for several years at a top salon in New York and, later, Greenwich, Connecticut, but says she became eager to be an independent contractor. She flew solo some four years ago.
“Sometimes I feel that American salons can be pushy and the client gets treatments they don’t really need,” she says. “I prefer a lighter way to work: ‘Let’s try henna instead of a chemical color’ or avoiding highlighting the whole length of hair—‘Let’s keep the ends healthy.’”
Powell often makes family house calls. So if you want the perfect chignon or a sweet “bob” for your little girl, Laurence is your gal. Women’s haircuts start at $100, a blow-dry is $45, and a child’s haircut is $20. Champagne not included.
319 Fifth Ave, Pelham
This tiny hair emporium was opened by John Barrett (Bergdorf Goodman) alums Hernan Prada and Kelli Devine a year ago and finally is getting the buzz it deserves.
“Prada Studio in downtown Pelham offers Manhattan-style haircuts and color without the elitist attitude that some big-name salons have become known for,” says fan and Pelham resident Jadzia Tirsch, senior vice president of advertising and public relations for Shiseido Cosmetics. “It’s been operating under the radar but has been recently discovered by those who know that you don’t need to leave Westchester to get great service and style.”
Both Prada and Devine have top-notch training and experience. Prada started his career as a teenager in Argentina and in Spain at the Llongueras International Hair Salon, historically the official hairdressers of Spain’s royal family, before stints at the Jeffry Stein Salon and John Barrett in New York city. Devine got her color chops at famed salons John Barrett, Butterfly Studio, and Maximus, all in Manhattan. A L’Oreal master colorist, Devine is one of the few colorists in Westchester who practices baliage, a European highlighting technique that most resembles painting color on hair, as opposed to the traditional apply-and-fold-under-aluminum technique. Baliage starts at $150 while a single-process color starts at $60; blow-dries start at $40; cuts start at $60.
Photography by Chris Ware
Katie Weisman is a Larchmont-based freelance writer specializing in lifestyle, fashion, and luxury goods. She has been hair-challenged for about a decade and has been a keratin-treatment convert for a year.