Putting the “Red” in “Redken” with David Stanko at Cutler


Whenever I watch Mad Men, I always feel the need to buy a lot of 1960’s-inspired clothing. The women on the show are so glamorous, I can’t help but dream of emulating their styles. Recently, though, instead of a wardrobe overhaul, I decided I wanted more. I wanted to dye my hair red, ala Mad Men’s infamous Joan. Christina Hendricks is, after all, inspirationally beautiful. Who wouldn’t want to look just a little more like her?

I had never dyed my hair from its natural dark-brown color. Yes, you heard me. I’m a hair color neophyte (hard to find those in NYC). I thought, if I’m going to enter this hair-coloring world, I better enter with one of the best. I made my way to Cutler Salon on tres chic W. 57th Street to see renowned hair-colorist, David Stanko. For my first time, I could only trust my hair to his capable hands.

Naturally, I was a little apprehensive. But David quickly reassured me. He thoroughly examined my hair while asking me a few questions about what I had in mind for my ‘do. He explained that I could get highlights, which would be an easier transition and make growing my hair out easier. Or, if I was feeling bolder, I could go whole hog and completely change the color.

I decided on the latter. (I did, after all, want to look like Mad Men’s most voluptuous vixen.)

David got to work and mixed together a variety of different Redken products, to make a color completely customized to flatter my skin and eye colors. He covered my hair in dye and foil, then went to mix a new batch to apply to my roots. I was curious why he hadn’t merely done my roots at the same time as the rest of my head, so I asked what was up.

Apparently, because the hair around your roots is constantly exposed to the heat from your head, it is much more susceptible to dye. That means if you use the same shade on your roots as you do on the rest of your hair, they will look strangely bright. The key to having natural looking hair is using a less intense shade on your roots so that they match the rest of your hair. (And that, my friends, is a Tweet-worthy tip!)

Who knew the science of hair dying was so interesting?

I had a ton of more questions, and David had all the answers:

What shade of red is right for me? Because of my pink/yellow skin, a warmer color (as opposed to a mahogany) is ideal for a natural look. Otherwise, he said, I might look too much like Sharon Osborne.

Will I need to change what I wear? He told me I definitely needed a makeup change. I’d gone in the salon wearing a bright red lipstick with a lot of blue in it, which totally clashed with my new look. You need completely new makeup shades to enhance a redhead look. Talk to your stylist about which ones suit you.

How can I protect my colored hair? David urged me to use color-protecting products. Redken’s Reviving Red by Pureology offers shampoo, conditioner, and other products to keep red hair vibrant. David highly recommended those, as well as a sunscreen for my hair (dyed red hair is very sensitive to sunshine).

When David finished my hair, and after it was dried and styled, I looked (forgive me for bragging) amazing. My hair was a beautiful shade of bright red, and it really did look natural. No one I’ve met since then expects that my locks are naturally brown, and I think I might stay a redhead for life. What do you think?

Cutler Salon
47 West 47th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10019

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