On the day before another brutal snowstorm was to hit, I found myself tromping through a frigid Manhattan to Midtown East, the grounds for which the United Nations buildings operate and where few people are caught laboriously wandering around. My mission in these parts had nothing to do with international affairs, but rather on the affairs of my hair…
Quietly tucked between 1st and 2nd Avenues among the confines of bright storefronts, exotic eating establishments and apartment buildings guarded by doormen, lies Le Salon NYC, one of the city’s few hair salons that offer organic haircuts and treatments. Founded in 2008, Le Salon NYC approaches haircare with a holistic and comprehensive outlook featuring organic treatments for healthier, natural-looking hair.
When I entered the narrow entranceway at Le Salon, I was greeted with a wash of energy and warmth from Ashraf, the salon’s hair stylist and lead hair colorist, Vincent. I took in the small, bright salon where pop-culture icons of the past beamed demurely at me from the walls. I noticed I wasn’t irritated by any strong chemical fumes nor the usual salon stresses inside Le Salon. In fact, everyone seemed very Zen. Ashraf offered me a hot cup of tea and ushered me into a salon chair where we began to talk hair.
I’d come in knowing I needed a trim and curious about an organic treatment for my growing gray hairs. I’ve always dyed my hair a dark, natural brown to conceal my genetic gray hairs that plague my roots with conventional drugstore dyes or harsh salon treatments.
As Ashraf ran her expert fingers through my locks, closely inspecting it, she agreed my hair would benefit from a full-head organic coloring treatment. Vincent explained to me that most in-salon and at-home hair products contain toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and ammonia that further damage the structure of hair and can irritate the scalp, eyes and skin.
Every treatment offered at Le Salon uses Organic Salon Systems, a line of color, care, control and curl systems. Ranging from full-head coloring to perms to a basic hair wash, Organic Salon Systems feature products with ingredients that are certified organic, cruelty free, vegan and free of ammonia, parabens and thioglycolates. The less toxic properties of these products do not leave strong chemical fumes, have less irritating symptoms on hair and scalp and offer healthier results for hair.
First, I had my hair washed and massaged with Organic Care Systems shampoo and conditioner. These sweet smelling products were very hydrating and helped to nourish my hair before my color treatment. Next, I sat under a scorching hot hair dryer for 20 minutes until my hair dried. Vincent explained that the Organic Color System products are dependent on heat.
While conventional hair dyes use harsh and toxic chemicals like ammonia to open the hair fibers allowing color molecules to permeate, Organic Color System dyes utilize an alkaline of less toxic levels that increases the pH of the hair to gently open and soften the hair cuticles. Using heat on the hair after the color treatment allows the cuticles to expand and capture the color while letting the hair cool closes the cuticle to lock in the color.
Vincent expertly mixed and applied a dark, natural brown colored dye to my hair. Normally when my hair is being dyed I’m squirming in my seat from the burning sensations and horrible smells. Due to this safer, less toxic formula I didn’t feel any irritation on my scalp and it was the first time I felt comfortable getting my hair dyed. After all my hair was covered in dye, it was time to sit under the hair dryer for another 20 minutes and then cool for 20 minutes.
“Organic Color Systems products are different because they do not contain ammonia, parabens or sulfates, which means they are gentle on your hair, your body and the environment. Available in 64 beautiful and intermixable color options; Organic Color Systems offers gentle hair color without sacrificing style. Organic Salon Systems high-performance hair products contain natural ingredients such as chamomile, aloe vera, sunflower oil and vitamins”
I was in awe of how even and dark the new color looked on my hair. Absolutely no more grays! My hair also felt very silky and soft, not damaged or battered like it normally feels after similarly long hair treatments. With my newly colored hair, Ashraf picked up her tools and preceded to razor my hair into a gorgeous new trim, styling my hair to the side. Before my trim, Ashraf commented that my current hairstyle had been hiding my features and dulling my beauty. Her saying is that “one’s hairstyle is like the frame of a painting, it must complement the shape of your head as well as your facial features.” I definitely saw a new side of myself when I looked at myself in the mirror after my color and new trim.
After about 3 hours total (my appointment for a wash, cut and full-head color treatment would normally be split into more than 1 appointment) I felt satisfied with my experience. To maintain my new Organic Color dyed hair, I was advised to use the Organic Salon Systems shampoo and conditioner whenever washing my hair and to let each product soak in the hair with the conditioner for exactly 5 minutes in the shower, maintain the color’s vibrancy. While Organic Color System hair dyes are not totally chemical-free, I don’t believe hair dye could ever be all that natural, it may be as effective if not better than conventional dyes I have used. Long-lasting, beautiful colors and non-irritation, I think for future, I’d switch over to this type of hair color over my usual drugstore and salon coloring.
Days after my appointment, my hair color still looked perfect without any grey hairs peeking through and my hair felt soft and silky. Usually after I dye my hair, I’m scratching my scalp like a maniac from the irritating chemicals and preventing the color from lasting. My Organic Color Systems experience left me feeling as if nothing had been done to my hair and I was surprised at how painless the coloring was before and after the treatment. Though these treatments are a bit pricier than your normal run of the mill salon, you should know you’re paying for something beyond average for hair care. Since it’s not everyday I treat my hair like this, I think I’d definitely save up and go for organic hair treatments in the future.
Le Salon NYC is a wonderful hair salon for anyone with looking to avoid unnecessary exposure to chemicals, has sensitive skin or curious about less toxic treatments to maintain healthy, beautiful hair. The hair stylists are enthusiastic about helping you and really take the time to cater to your needs. Le Salon NYC is a friendly, accommodating salon where you can achieve beautiful looks and maintain the health of your hair.
Have you ever had an organic hair treatment done? Would you try out an organic hair salon? What is your trip to the hair salon like?