Tending to the locks of some the most photographed women in Hollywood can seem like a pressure-ridden job. One wrong snip or dip and someone’s coveted curls can quickly become a viral meme, and not in a good way. Rita Hazan, hair colorist, founder of her hair care line, and owner of her eponymous salon in Manhattan, is surprisingly relaxed despite her roster of celebrity clients. From Jessica Simpson to Beyoncé, Hazan has colored some impressive heads of hair.
The Rita Hazan Salon on NYC’s Upper East Side salon is spacious, chic, and buzzes with the sound of organized chaos. Hair colorists glide across the floor while simultaneously mixing bowls filled with a client’s perfect shade, staff from the front desk steal glances around the corner every so often to ensure no client will be kept waiting, and the subtle sound of easy conversation never seems to lull. There is a confidence swirling through the salon and when I meet Hazan herself, I know it starts at the top. The curly-haired hair guru is sitting in her office at the salon, patiently awaiting the arrival of Bette Midler. Yes, Bette Midler. She has just a few minutes before the Hocus Pocus icon is expected to arrive and just to reiterate, this type of client is nothing out of the ordinary for Hazan.
Just in December 2019, Hazan’s exceptional stylist Eugene Toye transformed Martha Stewart‘s locks into a shaggy ‘do featuring curtain bangs. The Internet was sent into a tizzy and Hazan admits that she couldn’t help but check out the reactions. “The Martha Stewart cut was pretty cool because sometimes you don’t get that sort of recognition so that was cool for Eugene,” Hazan says with a grin.
When it comes to hair, Hazan’s team at her salon are experts, but make no mistake, her brand is hers. “I am really against corporate beauty products because, even working with [Unilever], it was a great experience, but it was their way. They don’t really listen to the artists even though we’re in the trenches. For them it is bottom line numbers: what makes the most money and how do we sell it,” Hazan says of why she launched her line of namesake hair products independently in 2011.
Hazan’s cult favorite and hero product is her at-home Root Concealer, which took four years to develop and launch. “The root concealer didn’t exist at all so I actually invented the root concealer but if you look at marketing, L’Oréal claims they invented it because they have billions of dollars to take that credit.” The product has since expanded to include a Touch Up Spray as well as a Touch Up Stick in an effort to cater to her client’s needs. “The reason why I created it was because none of these big companies were answering the one problem every woman had, no matter where I traveled to around the world. What can we do at home in between hair color? Women were using mascara and eye shadow and it was ridiculous. There needs to be a solution and I knew it was in my domain.”
While her at-home products are ideal to use in between color appointments, Hazan says that finding a professional stylist or colorist is crucial to having a healthy and long-lasting hair. “You spend the money, you’ll have healthy hair and you’ll get the color you want. It is an investment in yourself,” she decides.
Hazan’s latest product launch is set for Spring 2020 and will include styling products for the first time. She has been developing the product for a while now, testing it, re-testing it, and testing it again to ensure that her namesake line is representative of the high-quality service she delivers at the Rita Hazan Salon. I want to take the experience out of the shower and into styling,” she says of her new products. “You could put a lot of function into one product to tackle heat protection and color protection with no parabens or sulfates. You can put the right ingredients into one product so you don’t have to sell 15. I’m a big believer in making things simple and easy but it has to function.”
The styling products will be available exclusively on net-a-porter.com and historically speaking, they will be celebrity-approved. But, customers should be prepared to be patient for the launch as there is no specific launch date set just yet and according to Hazan herself, “All my products take a long time because I listen to the consumer. The consumer is my client, and I’m my own consumer.”