I cheated on my hairdresser yesterday.
Usually I got to Soho Organics, a tiny salon that I reviewed a year ago when I first got my bangs. But this time I decided to try out the other organic salon that sprang up when John Masters closed: Hale Organic Salon in Tribeca.
It helped that it has five stars on Yelp. Five stars! I didn’t even know that was possible. In 13 very-legitimate-looking reviews, clients rave about Michelle, Christian, and Dave. Many followed their favorites to the salon when it opened in 2012.
So I made the call, and they fit me in for an appointment that same day.
My Tryst With Hale
The first thing I noticed when I gratefully let myself into the air conditioning was that Hale is large–about 2,200 square feet. The word of choice here is “airy,” with exposed brick walls, lots of light and a lot of space. It’s stocked with repurposed materials, like wood floors made from old barn walls, dramatic dividing panels from a 19th-century rectory, and closet doors from a Tastykake factory in Philadelphia. The front desk is a piano. The cutting chairs are responsibly-harvested wood Takara Belmont chairs.
Hale is a clean air salon. When you walk in, it smells like … nothing. No products containing ammonia are used. If a client wants a keratin treatment or needs hair spray, it’s done in a “fume room” in the back, with its own ventilation. I did think it was interesting that they offer keratin straightening–Soho Organics refuses, only offering a formaldehyde-free relaxing treatment. But Soho Organics is really tiny, without any space for a fume room.
The owner of Hale, Joe Murray, is especially sensitive to chemicals, Dave told me. He can discern right away by sniffing a product if it contains any chemicals. (Even products labeled organic are only required to have 10% of the ingredients actually be organic. Think on that.) They use John Master’s, Nine Naturals and Original Sprout products. The salon is especially good for pregnant mothers who can’t be around any toxins.
There are 16 chairs in the space, but on any given day only about seven stylists are working the floor. Murray is taking his time to staff the place with the right stylists. Most of them right now come from the old John Master’s salon and Aveda.
At 2 p.m. on a Wednesday, the salon was empty except for a woman eating sushi in her foils. I was ushered into a chair, where Dave listened to my concerns. (I have ridiculously thick hair that needs thinning, and can you make my bangs look like this chick’s?) I liked Dave right away–he made me feel comfortable and welcome.
After a quick shampoo by an assistant with delicious-smelling shampoo and conditioner by Original Sprout, David got to work on my hair, all the while gossipping like a fiend. Juicy celebrity gossip, personal gossip–it was all game. Friends we were. The woman in foils popped over, and he took a peek and then finished up her short cut with a quick blow dry. They seemed like besties–totally at ease.
Despite this break, Dave worked quickly–I was cut and dried within an hour. And I loved the final look.
A Full-Blown Affair?
Now that I’ve cheated, do I want to leave my current hairdresser for good? There are a few things that make me say, “Yes!” First, I felt more at ease in Dave’s chair, he just seemed so confident with his hands. Then, they don’t charge for bang trims, which Soho Organics does. (That’s weird, right?) My cut was about the same price, but went a lot faster.
Yeah, I think I’ve found a new love.