A Conversation with Celebrity Hair Colorist RITA HAZAN
by Eden Herbstman
If you’ve admired the hair colors of celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, and Renée Zellweger, the woman behind the colorful paint brush is none other than Rita Hazan. One of the most highly respected colorists in New York City, Rita has been in the industry for 15 years. After working at Oribe salon for 10 years, Rita built her namesake Rita Hazan Salon with a staff whose talent and attention to beauty is just as prestigious as her own. It isn’t just her clients that get all the “hair attention.”
Routinely featured in fashion magazines, Allure and Instyle to name a few, she is ranked on the top of every beauty list as the colorist and salon owner: the go-to girl for advice on all things hair and color. More than just a successful colorist, she is knowledgable and business savvy, knowing the ins-and-outs of the beauty industry. The salon is no longer her only brand name, Rita now produces her own root concealing product. It serves as an easy fix when dark roots or grays come in when you are in between color appointments. When Rita isn’t in New York City, she is traveling back-and-forth between coasts, touching up looks for her other celebrity clients. The trust her clients have of Rita is spoken for by her busy schedule and on-the-go lifestyle.
Fearless in making bold color statements, Rita is responsible for Celine Dion’s jaw dropping blonde transformation, as well as Katy Perry’s lovely lavendar locks that debuted at the 2011 VMAs. What was stunning about Katy Perry’s lavender hair was how elegant and delicate her color looked, while being trendy, bold, and individual. Her talent and work is one that can’t be replicated. She has a natural skill and passion for beauty and colorful transformations and her success comes from knowing and understanding what women want, and how to make them feel beautiful.
Eden Herbstman: You just came out with your own Root Concealing product, will this save women a trip to their colorist?
Rita Hazan: You still have to see your colorist and have your roots touched up, it just gives you a week or two to stretch out the visits. If you are someone who hates roots (like me) or if you have gray every 10-14 days after color you never have to feel frustrated again. You don’t even have to see a gray root again.
EH: When choosing color for a client, do you go by trends? Or is it more about which color best compliments their features?
RH: I take everything into consideration: who the client is, what they do for a living, season, trend, skin tone, eye color, and personality, what is going on in their life, and how far/daring are you feeling today.
EH: Which celebrity’s hair color are you loving right now?
RH: Katy Perry–I had so much fun creating that color for her. It is a soft pink lavender and it works with her skin tone so well.
EH: Yes, you are responsible for Katy Perry’s bold transformation to the lavender side. Do you think women are becoming more daring with their hair color, or still prefer to stick the basic blonde/brunette palate?
RH: I totally see a shift in how daring women have been for a long time. You can still incorporate cool/trendy colors if you are tasteful and do it right. Of course, this is for someone edgy, and you need to complete this look with make-up and wardrobe. If you are not going to go all the way, stick to natural gorgeous colors and use make-up as your accent.
EH: Who is your ultimate beauty icon? Or from where do you draw inspiration for beauty?
RH: 1940s with a mix of 70s women are my beauty icons. Marlene Deitrich, Bridgette Bardot, Verushka. I love to mix this style with a little rock-n-roll and a lot of glamour.
EH: You travel a lot due to your celebrity clientele. What is a place that you have been that made you feel the most beautiful
RH: NYC–I travel the world and see how women live and learn their culture and beauty secrets. NYC is a mecca for all types of women. You can be yourself: strong, successful, independent women, have a baby, and go back to work in weeks. I’ve learned how to color hair on all types of ethnicities and I learned one thing that everyone has in common. We all want to look and feel beautiful.
Rita Hazan is the salon owner and colorist at Rita Hazan Salon located at 720 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, New York 10019.
Rita Hazan interviewed by Eden Herbstman
Written by Eden Herbstman
Photography Courtesy of Rita Hazan
Design by Clementine Jang
Rita Hazan, Photography Courtesy of Rita Hazan