By Kelly Hushin
Sitting in the hair salon, at the mercy of the scissor-holder, surrendering all the control you once had over each one of the millions of hairs on your head can be daunting. When your hairdresser is all too-familiar with you, the fear lessens. But if you’re sitting in someone’s chair for the first time, it’s normal to wonder whether the outcome will be a crisp Jenny McCarthy cut, or a baldly-botched Britney. You won’t feel like that the first, second or 100th time at the DonSuki hair salon.
This Upper East Side hair cutting haven takes advantage of a four-story townhouse to give clients the ultimate feeling of comfort as they enter for their new doo. Rather than feeling stuffy, pretentious or intimidating, DonSuki’s salon is like a reassuring getaway that will make you want to curl up with a good mag or book and a cup of hot cocoa while the stylist works his or her magic.
The first floor of the salon is like a warmly-colored and decorated, winding lobby, that brings clients in, inviting them to further explore what lies ahead. The second floor houses the reception desk, where friendly employees greet you right in the middle of all the action. Red leather chairs and lounges sit to the left, with hair dressers cutting and consulting. On the right of reception is the color area, where patrons sit, foils in head, waiting for their rinse. The vibrant red accents throughout, against the cleanly-finished wood floors, make a bold, contemporary statement amidst cozy, relaxed surroundings. One floor up is the area where owner, Suki Duggan, operates.
The room is brightly and naturally lit by the sun that teems through the oversized windows into the loft-like space. To the right are work stations and to the left is a large fireplace and mantel. I sat in the seat facing the window, looking out onto E 62nd Street.
As I waited for Suki, I wasn’t sure what I really wanted in my new cut, but I knew I wanted something noticeable, something bold. After analyzing my so-so style, Suki told me I needed one thing – short. To make my hair look thicker, I need (so says Suki) a cut that will give it that illusion. As I usually do at the salon, (I’m pretty hair-daring) I told her to take control. I trusted her judgment. I leave the style decisions to the pros.
I must say, as the pieces of hair fell to the ground, I could feel my tension rising, which was an unfamiliar sensation for me. Although I rarely get nervous about the outcome of a new cut, it’d been quite a while since I’d chopped so much hair at one time. However, Suki and her townhouse were very successful in making me feel at ease. As I sat next to the fireplace, (no, it was not full of blazing logs, but still effective) Suki told me about her history and how she got to be the head-honcho at this unique Upper East Side salon. Before realizing her gift for hair, Suki studied violin at Julliard. She realized while there that if she continued to pursue a career in music, she’d be neglecting her natural talent as a beauty professional and fashion authority. As she and I chatted, more and more pieces kept falling to the ground. But I almost didn’t notice, and when I finally did, instead of counting back from 10 to quell my anxiety, I brushed it off and continued to enjoy her company and flair for hair.
Eventually, the cut was complete. Suki fluffed and fine-tuned the style with a blow dry and her DonSuki seaweed-inspired products and it didn’t take more than one or two turns in the mirror for me to realize I’d done the right thing in going short. Or rather – she’d done the right thing.
My hair looked a thousand times healthier and the color was more pronounced. It appeared that my hair was actually something it’s not – thick. While I knew the style was not something I’d keep up forever, at least she helped me to overcome the short-hair fear and prepare me for lots of exciting future short styles to come. She showed me how she and her staff realize their “Shape Up Your Chic” motto with a simple style-revamp. Suki stands firmly by the idea that short hair is the ultimate accessory. After enjoying an afternoon in her townhouse salon and letting her redefine my hair, I couldn’t agree more.
DonSuki Salon/Day Spa
19 East 62nd Street
New York, NY 10021