To watch colorist David Adams apply highlights to a head of hair is akin to what I would envision it was like to witness Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel: application is done with such a level of expertise, precision and passion, you would think that each particular set of highlights was the most important set he was ever going to apply. Which is perhaps why Fourteenjay has grown to become one of the most highly recommended salons in New York City. The space, owned by Adams and his business partner, Virginia Meyer, is tucked away on a quiet cobblestone street and upholds the standards of utmost perfection from the moment you walk in the door. “A big part of what makes us unique is the customized experience we create for each guest and how that experience makes them feel,” says Adams, who originates from London and has been a stylist for more than three decades. “We really want them to drop their shoulders, shake off the day and allow us to create something unique for them.”
The experience—from the therapeutic products (it’s an Aveda salon) to the superior service (flavored waters, prosecco, rosé, and a full hand massage during the shampoo process)—feels more like a spa than a traditional salon, but the true ethos of the salon is actually its simplistic approach. “My philosophy as a colorist is simple: Beautiful color begins with healthy hair. It’s our mantra and we put it at the center of everything we do,” says Adams. When it comes to color, he is somewhat of a unofficial Blonde Whisperer, nursing new clients’ broken, brittle hair from bad dye jobs done elsewhere and putting them on a program to convert their strands back to optimal health. “The health of the hair and the scalp are completely inter-related,” says Adams, who will become a certified Trichologist later this year and plans to partner with the medical community to offer a full and complete range of solutions for guests experiencing hair loss. “They work as an eco-system and we are passionate about looking after both.” A Fourteenjay consultation includes an assessment using a scalp camera before proceeding with customized color.
Celeb spottings inside the salon are common (Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Bosworth, Elle McPherson and Priyanka Chopra are all devotees), but Adams cracks a smile when I ask him the biggest compliment he’s ever received from a client. “A Hollywood notable came in for color and she loved the result,” he says. “When I encouraged her to tell her friends she said, ‘I will not!’ and I was horrified. I thought that I had offended her, or something had gone wrong with her hair. She saw my reaction and laughed. She said, ‘If I tell my friends about you, they’ll know I color my hair. Plus, then I’ll never be able to get in!’ Needless to say, she is still a guest, and she does send her friends. We just arrange to do everything quietly! I loved that she wanted her hair to look so natural that no one would know she colored it. For me, that’s the ultimate compliment.”