Dis-Tressing: Cut and Color at the David Ryan Salon


Robb Bruce was going to be honest with me.

That’s what I determined after having a seat in his chair at David Ryan Salon of Hell’s Kitchen (aka the “gentrified “Clinton District) “You scheduled a single process?” he asked, his face full of worry. It had been four months since I’d let anyone touch my hair. My last trip to a different salon had involved a seriously botched side-bang job and overwhelming bleach-blonde highlights. I’d scheduled this appointment in the hopes of eradicating any trace of noxious, brassy blonde by dying my hair back to its natural color, pronto.


But Robb had a different idea, and a different approach to business – he listened and made suggestion. Robb recommended the more affordable and more flattering option of using a “toner,” and semi-permanent color to take my hue down a few notches gradually- without going back to my dark mousy brown self. The color would slowly fade in six to eight week. The final color was gorgeous, a natural strawberry blonde, which softened the harsh tone of my highlights to a buttery blonde. Best of all, he said, the semi-permanent color would leave no line of demarcation – the evil root line that is the perpetuator of endless cycles of hair color.

The cut was over before I realized it had started; in those few, fleeting moments Robb had blown out my long layers and transformed my troublesome bangs – which had endured an arduous growing out while bobby-pinned back for four months – so that they finally swept over my temples just right.

Robb is everything you’d want a stylist to be – a self-proclaimed “Midwest boy gone bad,” he’s fun, observant, and listens carefully to your concerns before offering his advice. And you’d do best to follow it; as senior stylist and member of the Framesi Italian Style Team, his expertise is sought after in Framesi cut-and-color classrooms. And perhaps his most important attribute is that he’s honest, even if it’s to his (wallet’s) detriment. He told me that for one drastic case (i.e. not to be tried at home without professional recommendation) he referred a customer to a bottle of Dawn dish soap, which would solve a color disaster for just $2.69.

Robb told me that the salon was founded on the philosophy that a client could get great styling and color without the “attitude” so pervasive in the industry. And David Ryan is the epitome of non-attitude, so much so that people often say they feel like they’re getting their haircut in someone’s living room.


David Ryan uses Framesi color and care products, which are restricted to professional use only to maintain their integrity. The salon also uses Options by Framesi, a line of prescriptive shampoos and conditioners that treat specific hair conditions.

Now I’m going to be honest: I’m thrilled with my cut and color. As someone who has been so let down by bad salon experiences that I don’t break out into tears until I make it to the car, after my experience at David Ryan the only tears would be of joy and relief.

David Ryan Salon
429 West 46th Street
Hell’s Kitchen
(212) 956-1830

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