Hair Care

By Erin Williams

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Imagine a salon that’s part styling, part wine bar, part outdoor lounge, and part haven of quiet above the streets of Manhattan. Nice, right? I thought so too when I got to go to the Upper East Side’s Pashah Salon. Pancho Soekoro, Owner and Design Director, is not only fastidious in his hair cuts, but in his blue prints as well. After designing the free-standing stylist’s areas, he chose walnut wood paneling, clean white walls, and an apothecary’s assortment of bottles filled with flowers and herbs over the wine and cappuccino bar to make up the rest of his space. I know; I’d like to live there too.

But let’s cut to the chase – pardon the pun. After having a brief discussion with Pancho about what we were thinking about the look we wanted, I was led over to a 3-foot deep shampoo trough, the deepest I’ve ever heard of. I came back and the snipping started. While he cut, I got to know a little more about him, where he had come from, and what had made him want to start his own place.

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Pancho started out cutting hair in Washington, D.C. with Bruno Pettini. From there he traveled to Paris to sharpen his skills at the Jacques Dessange School where he later joined the team. Back in the states, he began assisting Frederic Fekkai at Bergdorf Goodman, here in Manhattan, and later went across the street to Warren Tricomi. He has a “no stress” philosophy as a rule at his salon, and in talking with him, you can see why. But still waters run deep. In order to make his salon a success, it is has taken a lot of time, planning, and dedication.

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For instance, when developing his product line, after initially using all of his friends as guinea pigs, he traversed the shores of the Hamptons with a backpack full of samples to pass out to anyone who would listen. Tough crowd. But after putting in the time and carrying out the tests, he created an amazing line. I have been trying it out at home and here are my favorites. The Bersih Bioclear Shampoo is great for oily summer hair. Full of Aloe, Chamomile, Calendula, and Wheat Protein, it gives a clean (without that squeaky feel) that’s full of shine. I also had two favorite styling products – the Tinggal Curl Sea Foam is fabulous! It comes out like a mousse which you emulsify in your hands and then, boom, hair dries and you look like you’ve been at the beach all day. But, without the oily sandy feel. For a glossy look the Nyala Spray on Shine seals the cuticle against moisture loss and color fading to give a healthy sheen. It’s good for straight hair or to tame the frizzies in wavy/curly hair.

So, back to the cutting. When he was finished, I seriously felt so good that I had to drop by and say hi to some friends at work, just so they could see my hair. The cut was clean and just the way I wanted it (which let’s be honest, doesn’t always happen). Also, it was something I could actually work with on a daily basis. I swished it all the way home feeling like one of the movie stars Pancho regularly works on.

Go and meet Pancho at Pashah at 601 Madison Avenue, 212.371.7337, or learn more about the salon at

Originally published October 2005
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