By Charu Suri
“It’s just hair, it’s not like we’re curing cancer,” says Randall Seale, co-owner of Ultra Salon. This down-to-earth statement, coming from a highly experienced haircutter, gives you some perspective of how he handles his clients: thoroughly, professionally, but always keeping in mind his place in the world and the labyrinth of potentially snooty New York haircutters.
Ultra Salon, located on Essex Street in downtown New York, is a well-heeled grooming stop in an area that is up and coming. The haircuts are performed on the second floor, and you can receive manicures, pedicures and eyebrow shaping as well.
Randall came to New York after living in Dallas, where he originally started as a hairstylist at Saks Fifth Avenue where he would “cut the hair of the cosmetics counter girls” for free because he wanted to continuously be busy. Entrepreneurial and creative, he worked hard to build his name in New York’s fiercely competitive market of professional hairstylists. He even rented a room in the Chelsea hotel to opening Ultra Salon initially at East 4th Street and Avenue B.
Mary Jones is the other owner of the salon. An expert colorist, she conditioned and trimmed my hair as she explained how she works with clients. Mary takes a personalized approach with her clients, and assesses the type of conditioning treatment each one receives based on hair type. She recommends protein-based products for damaged hair (Schwarzkopf’s Bonacure Repair Treatment is recommended for intensely damaged hair, particularly that subjected to coloring).
The salon moved to its current location at Essex Street in May 2006, and carries well-known products from MD Skincare to Modern Organic Products (MOP) and TIGI. And the proof of the salon’s excellence is in the pudding. I arrived with long, dehydrated hair and left after a deep-conditioning treatment, a trim and a great blow-dry with hair styled like Gisele Bundchen’s. Prices start at $55 for a glaze or blow-dry and $125 for a cut with a senior stylist. So go ahead, be a downtown doll. Visit www.ultra-nyc.com for more information.