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Rachel Flores, Colorist
Where: Arrojo Studio, 180 Varick St, Soho (212-242-7786)
How much: Single process starts at $78; highlights start at $125; single process with highlights start at $170
The older (and grayer) one gets, the more serious hair color feels. For many, it becomes less about experimentation and more about what's flattering. For the editors who don't have Rita Hazan on speed dial — and believe us, there are plenty who don't — finding a colorist who gets your needs supersedes the glory of another freebie.
Nicolette Mason, a popular blogger and Marie Claire columnist, could probably survive the 2010s without ever spending a dime on a dye job. But the bicoastal editor makes every effort to visit Flores at the Soho salon, for whom she's happy to put down her credit card. "My first experience with Flores was taking my then purple-blue-black-and-many-shades-in-between hair to a Christina Hendricks-inspired red in one day," Mason recalls. "Granted, it was a very, very long day. But I was immediately wowed by what I could only explain as sheer hair color magic. We've since been on a lot of color journeys — from ombre to blonde to lilac — and done it all without wrecking my hair. I'm pretty sure she's a genius."
Sofia Visan, Facialist
Where: Aida Bicaj, 30 E 67th St, 5th fl, Upper East Side (212-861-1007)
How much: 90-minute sessions start at $450
While it's been available in the US for some time, the French skincare line Biologique Recherche is having something of a moment among fashion types. Perhaps that's because you can now buy it online through select spas, perhaps it's because it works: The regime does wonders to clear adult acne and improve texture.
The facialist Aida Bacaj, whose clients include Jenna Lyons, Kyra Sedgwick and Carla Gugino, is one of the few aestheticians in New York authorized to sell Biologique Recherche. While Aida's services are the most in demand — and, at $595 for a 1.5 hour facial plus adds, the priciest — her hand-picked lineup of aestheticians have garnered their own followings. Fashion girls, for one reason or another, flock to Sofia Visan.
"She warned me it would cost me an arm and a leg to go there...but that you'll get the cleanest skin and the best conversation of your life."
One such proselyte is Elle.com deputy editor Ruthie Friedlander, whose devotion to Visan and the Biologique Recherche routine is well known among her fellow editors. (She likes to talk about it. A lot.) "I started getting acne in my twenties and immediately went to the derm begging for injections and prescriptions. Nothing worked," she says. "Sure, it was great that insurance covered it, but I was still left with painful and embarrassing pimples. My friend Alison of Alison Lou jewelry told me about a miracle worker on the Upper East Side. She warned me it would cost me an arm and a leg to go there — mostly because you have to buy literally everything she tells you or it won't work — but that you'll get the cleanest skin and the best conversation of your life. She was right."
Friedlander's skin does look great, and she has managed to convert plenty of her fellow editors to Sofia, and to the Biologique regimen. (Including me!)
Roz Murray, Hair Stylist
Where: Bumble and bumble, 146 E 56th St, Midtown (212-521-6500)
How Much: Cuts start at $120
This one is personal. I've been a client of Alisha "Roz" Murray's for nearly four years. Back then, she cut my unruly, coarse, and — at the time — Keratin-ized hair into a sleek bob. When I decided to let my hair go curly about a year ago, Roz managed to adapt to my new texture, giving me the "Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing" lob I've been trying to achieve since I was nine.
And therein lies why I'm loyal to Roz. She isn't a curly hair expert, or a coarse hair expert, or a short hair expert — she's an expert in cool, and she manages to make you look the way you want to look, whether that means mermaid waves or a pixie. She doesn't try to push a style on you, to tell you what's flattering, or what she thinks works. It's more about what you like, and she just happens to do that in a way that makes your hair enviable. I think visiting Roz made it easier for me to step away from chemically treating my hair, because I knew she wouldn't screw it up.
"She's an expert in cool, and she manages to make you look the way you want to look, whether that means mermaid waves or a pixie."
I found out about Roz through New York-based fashion publicist Amy Keller, who met her through another PR girl, Jane Son. The string of fashion people who visit Roz on at least a semi-regular basis is impressive. Past and present clients include MAC's Johanna Stout, Fashionista editorial director Alyssa Vingan, Lou & Grey's Elizabeth Monson, along with plenty of Elle magazine editors.
Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller trusts Roz so much that she enlisted the stylist on her wedding day. "I chose Roz because we had worked together on a campaign for MR sponsored by Bumble earlier in the year and she really got it, which I think is what's great about many of Bumble's stylists," Medine explains. "It's kind of hard to articulate what it looks like when a fashion girl says, ‘I want it to look straight, but wavy...kind of frizzy, but not. You know, like the French girls,' and have them actually understand what you mean. Which Roz wholly did. She also cut my bangs [in 2014], which lasted for exactly as long as her blow dry did. I blame myself."
Bertha Amay, Nail Technician
Where: Tenoverten, 112 Reade St, Tribeca (212-406-1010)
How much: A quickie manicure is $15; traditional manicures start at $25; traditional pedicures start at $40
Years before the New York Times blew the lid on the atrocities of New York City's nail salon industry, Nadine Abramcyk and Adair Ilynsky opened Tenoverten in Tribeca. The co-founders believed that plenty of people would be willing to pay a little bit more for a manicure in exchange for better service, an elevated atmosphere, and a fashion-driven selection of polishes from brands like Chanel, RGB, and Nars. The formula worked, allowing Abramcyk and Ilynsky to open several New York City locations and most recently, an outpost in Austin, Texas.
"People love to come and see Bertha because she is a very skilled manicurist. But more than that she has the most wonderful way about her."
From the beginning, fashion and beauty editors have gone out of their way to get their weekly manicures there, regardless of whether or not it was comped. Jane Larkworthy of W, SunHee Grinnell of Vanity Fair, and Joyce Chang of Self are all clients.
One of the most popular manicurists is Bertha, whose loyalists include plenty of industry insiders. "People love to come and see Bertha because she is a very skilled manicurist. But more than that she has the most wonderful way about her," Abramcyk says. "She is friendly and will chat, but can take cues easily when someone wants to relax. She gives a killer massage and the best pedicure around. People often comment how the bottom of their feet have never felt so good after seeing Bertha. That's what keeps people coming back."
Sania Vucetaj, Eyebrow Wizard
Where: Sania's Brow Bar, 48 W 20th St, Chelsea (212-247-1129)
How Much: Women's brow shaping is $75; men's is $65
The fashion world — and really, the world in general — is filled with stories of young ladies who over-plucked their eyebrows in middle school. It is also filled with misshapen brow lines. That's because most of us are not as lucky as Of a Kind co-founder Claire Mazur, who has been going to Sania Vuceta since she was 14. "I had tweezed off half of my brows for the umpteenth time," Mazur recalls. "My mom was so distressed about that it she marched me to the basement of Bergdorf Goodman, where Sania was working at the time. Since then, I don't think I've ever tried to tweeze them myself. Except for a few stray hairs here and there. It sounds silly to say, but every time I leave her I just feel so much prettier."
Mazur introduced Vuceta to her business partner and co-founder, Erica Cerulo, who is equally effusive. "Not to brag or anything, but my eyebrows are naturally in decent shape. I need someone to basically put me on the path to success once a quarter so that I can maintain myself," she says. "And Sania — with Claire's help — got me into a brow pencil, which is something I never thought I'd like. But the one she makes is really soft, and it's angled for very easy filling and sketching. She works with what you've got."
We hear that Instagram's Eva Chen is also a fan. According to Vucetaj's website, so are a bunch of very fancy celebrities, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Rihanna, Carmen Dell'Orefice and, maybe most importantly, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotbe.