By Marni James
Off the beaten path in SoHo, hidden in the back of a typical loft-style building, sits ION Salon, a full-service luxury “green” salon that is a true Manhattan oasis, founded by three of the industry’s top hairstylists. Highly regarded in the world of editorial styling, Marco Santini, Leonardo Manetti and Pasquale Ferrante are friends from their native Italy and have worked with some of the biggest names in hair and fashion. Upon moving to NYC 15 years ago, the three spent their time freelancing with top photographers, models and stylists and now, with the opening of their very own salon, they can combine their talents and creative visions for clients of ION.
Visitors to the salon are immediately struck by the clean space, high ceilings and unique artwork. The morning of my appointment, I was overjoyed by the amount of light flooding the place, as the massive skylights let tons of natural light pour in. Divided into three floors, the space was carefully re-worked by the founders to create a chic, peaceful environment for clients. A true green effort, the space uses wind power for much of its energy. Eighty-five percent of the salon was created using green or recycled materials: the mirrors were re-fashioned from mirrors in a fitting room, the sheet-rock ceiling was knocked out to expose the original beams and the interior color captures an earthy spirit.
But of course, this is a hair salon and what’s most important is how you feel in your new look when you leave. So I sat down in the ergonomic, recycled plywood chair and talked to one of the owners, Marco, about my visions for a new hairstyle. The handsome and personable Marco gave me suggestions for keeping some length on the bottom but to layer the top for movement. During this discussion, Marco and I also chatted about his philosophy on sustainability and being eco-friendly. In Italy it is a way of life to do all the things he has done in his own salon, he said. As we chatted, his attitude and energy became contagious and made me want to stay all day and hear more.
Next came a gloss treatment by expert colorist Naomi, to even out and pump up my recently darkened locks. The gloss used, from Davines, (the only line used in the salon) uses high-grade natural ingredients and the glosses and colors contain no ammonia. Naomi used a lotion (with all-natural ingredients that Marco brought back from Costa Rica) around my hairline as she mentioned color tends to stick to the skin only when it’s dry, followed by a skin protectant. On the ends of my hair, over the gloss, she used an anti-aging elixir to help nourish and restore my hair.
I then went back to the chair for Marco to cut. He took time to examine each snip of the scissor, making sure my hair had length but also depth and movement from the layers. I have never felt so comfortable or confident at a salon; I almost couldn’t wait for him to finish so I could see the final results. Marco sprayed a Davines texturizing spray onto my wet hair, which smelled like exotic fruit, and began blow-drying my natural wave, while playing up the new layers. The end result was exactly what I wanted: enriched color with a style that was fun and easy to replicate at home, but also a truly calming and enlightening experience.
41 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10013