This week, Anthony Dickey is opening a new salon where all hair textures can co-exist under one roof.
Hair Rules New York, with its elite team of stylists and colorists, is located at 828 Ninth Avenue, between 54th and 55th streets in the diverse Clinto neighborhood.
"From the first day of cosmetology school, stylists are taught to process hair without regard to natural texture," explains celebrity stylist Dickey, creator of the Hair Rules line of products for multi-textural hair. "What that means to women with highly textured hair is that their hair is a problem that needs fixing."
As a result, says Dickey, generations of women with wavy, curly and kinky hair have battled their hair into submission, often with damaging chemicals and heat. "The result of that is not only damaged hair, but divisive notions about what's socially, professionally and fashionably acceptable."
Although the majority of salons work with a broad clientele with all hair types, many stylists do not feel comfortable working with naturally kinky hair. And for many salons that do specialize in highly textured hair, the main focus may be relaxers, weaves and heat styling to change the texture rather than work with it.
"Others still promote only natural styles such as braids, locks and twists," Dickey says.
With his new salon, Dickey wants to change the rules.
"Hair Rules takes everything we know about the hair industry and heads it in the right direction," says Dickey, who authored a straight-talk guidebook called Hair Rules: The Ultimate Hair Care Guide for Women with Kinky, Curly and Wavy Hair .
Hair Rules co-founder supermodel Kara Young considers Hair Rules a mindset — "a new way for women who have always struggled with their natural texture to learn to embrace it and truly love it."
Hair Rules New York will offer hair-care and styling-based approaches to working with texture. No texture will be viewed as problematic, from super kinky hair to straight hair that "won't hold a curl" to every texture in between.
"Our goal is to undo years of despair and disappointment by helping our clients rediscover their natural texture, embrace the versatility it offers and wear it however they choose — but via healthy, responsible methods," says Dickey, stylist to Minnie Driver, Kelis, Estelle and First Lady Michelle Obama.
The 2,160-square-foot loft space features eight cutting stations, four color stations, four drying stations and a comfortable living room where clients can unwind. The space is decorated in an eclectic mix of colors, surfaces and fabrics — what Dickey calls "a groovy, elegant, multi-textural vibe."
Green building techniques were used in the design, including responsibly harvested bamboo, the use of wind power, non-toxic paint and energy-efficient lighting. The salon has partnered with Matter of Trust, a nonprofit organization focused on recycling hair into hair mats for cleaning up oil spills.
Beyond salon services, Hair Rules New York will conduct advanced education classes for licensed hairdressers, and will host events, including seminars and workshops, that promote beauty, community, the arts and well-being.
"Hair Rules redefines standards in hair-care and styling services, taking the healthiest approach to achievable beauty as a means toward providing women with choices as they relate to style and self expression," Dickey says.
To make an appointment, call 212-315-2929.