By Kelly Hushin
If Tim Burton were to have a run-in with Coco Chanel, and the two were to serendipitously collaborate on designing the interior of their dream hair salon – the end result would be something of a glamorous nightmare; the kind of place only the Lady Gaga’s of our world could imagine. Pepper Pastor, a known and respected hair stylist on the NYC scene, is one such lady whose mind holds such treasures. At the new salon bearing her name, Pepper marries chic luxury with touches of goth and horror that never step outside of classy.
It’s no wonder that Pepper’s tastes lean toward the eccentric having studied in artistic and cultural Meccas like Berlin and New York – both of which push the proverbial envelope. Pepper does too. She’s covered in tattoos, her hair is big, red and playful, (though I caught her on an uncharacteristically-tame, straightened hair day) and she’s friends with cops (they popped in to say hello while I was color-processing.) Pepper is memorable, not just for her skillful technique and respectable portfolio, but because she and her salon offer something different in the Seaport – an area which is becoming increasingly hang-out-worthy.
Before opening her own salon, Pepper worked with top companies like Sebastian International. Her work has been featured in top publications such as Vogue, Marie Claire, New York Magazine, Nylon and more. In addition, she has styled runway fashion shows for Oscar de la Renta, Rodarte and other big name fashion moguls. In her new venture, she has channeled all of her experience, skill and unique approach to her craft while promising that clients get the best service from stylists who understand that you are the most important part of their career.
“The attention that our stylists pay you – listening to your needs, designing a style based on your face shape, lifestyle and preferences, and executing that design perfectly – will be second to none,” said Pepper. Pepper and her team use products from companies like Oribe and Philip B to give hair the utmost in luxury moisture treatment. In addition, Pepper’s salon displays other wares spanning the beauty industry, such as Armour lip gloss, started by one of Pepper’s very good friends. The gloss is tingly and sweet but as luscious as glosses get. Pepper also has a display case of handcrafted jewelry from designers across several states.
“We’ve created a welcoming, social space so clients can relax and be certain they will walk out our doors looking incredible,” said Pepper. Despite all the beautiful amenities and great service at the salon, what Pepper says about the way you look when you leave is still what we view as the most important part of any salon visit. Fortunately, what Pepper says about her salon is true: an experience in one of the stylist’s chairs (I was lucky enough to sit in Pepper’s) will leave you relaxed and confident.
My dilemma when sitting in Pepper’s chair was that – as usual – I wanted a change but I wasn’t really sure to what. I have the habitual problem of wanting to take risks with color and not with cut, which can make it difficult for a stylist since my hair has been colored no less than a hundred times. I told Pepper, “I don’t want something ‘blah’ like all the other color jobs I feel like I’ve been getting.” I also wanted to go darker – for one because it had been a while since I’d been more brunette than blonde, and because under the fluorescent lights, my bleached ends looked unthinkably dry. Not wanting to turn me into a Megan Fox wannabe – but also reluctant to use any bleach or make me lighter against my wishes – Pepper used a blend of darker blondes on the top layers of my hair and darkened all the underneath sections to a medium brown.
After the color set, we washed it out, she trimmed me some very adorable side-parted fringe and she began styling. This was perhaps the best part of the session with Pepper because it was so atypical in comparison to other post-color/cut stylings. Rather than blowing out my hair with a round or paddle brush as so many stylists have done in the past, she recognized that I needed a different sort of blow out. Because the top layers of my hair had been so damaged from over-processing and not enough deep conditioning treatments, she barely touched the top layers while drying them. She blew them out but with little or not pulling at the hair – explaining that it was fragile and brittle and thus didn’t need the typical round-brush-pull. Once it was dry though, she used a curling iron to wrap pieces of the top layers of my hair, but did not let the iron close. She simply held the pieces as she wrapped them, let them sit around the hot iron for a few seconds, and released. The result was several healthy looking curls that gave me the appearance of a thick, healthy head of hair.
I left the salon feeling confident, relaxed and yearning for a wardrobe-update shopping spree, and also with a strange itch to watch Edward Scissorhands for the umpteenth time.
Pepper Pastor Salon
223 Front Street
New York, NY 10038