Everyone, meet Pascal Gantois! He is my hairdresser in Manhattan at the Rita Hazan Salon. I have been going to the Rita Hazan Salon practically every single month like clockwork since we moved to NYC from London in 2011. One of my best friends Amy recommended I go there and I have never looked back! I get my hair done so regularly because I cannot stand to have grey showing or the color turning brassy.
Now, I realize some of us actually do not like having our hair done – maybe you don’t like to sit still for that long? But for me it is one of life’s pleasures! It is a total escape! I enjoy sitting quietly reading a magazine with my cappuccino and chatting to my hairdressers (I love both Pascal and Carrie, my colorist, also at Rita Hazan). And afterwards there is nothing like that feeling of freshly washed and styled hair flowing in the breeze. One of my girlfriends used to say that visits to the salon (and the cost!) are worth it because your hair is the one accessory you wear every single day! I completely agree!
Anyway, Pascal is a stylist for cuts and blowdries. He is French and very fashionable and chic! Very outspoken, he gives fantastic advice on both my outfits and hair. I adore him! Pascal started his career in Paris, then moved to Los Angeles to work with Jose Eber. He has been in NYC since 2000 where he worked at Prive before coming to Rita Hazan. He works fashion week every year, and he used to do Elizabeth Taylor’s hair in LA! He knows how to make women of every age look beautiful. I interviewed him during my last appointment and we took some pictures. Scroll down to see more and for our Q&A.. and try to imagine Pascal’s replies in his fabulous French accent… 🙂
(Pascal is wearing an Alexander McQueen jumper, H&M denim, and Alexander McQueen trainers)
What is the difference between your hair when you are 20, versus age 40?
Pascal: When you are 20, your hair is full, nice, shiny – you have virgin hair! Your hair is manageable because you don’t need color or much chemical processing. By the time you are late 30s, your hair is less full, less shiny, the texture changes due to hormones and having babies, stress, etc., not to mention highlights, blowdrying, curling irons. You need to go to a good hairdresser once you hit 40 and you need blowouts and good products! The shape of your face changes as you age and that affects the haircut you need. I always suggest body and fullness for women over 35-40.
What haircare products and tips do you recommend for women over 40?
Pascal: First, you need a very good moisturizing shampoo! Once a week, do an oil treatment or a deep conditioning mask. Do NOT shampoo more than three times a week! In between washes use dry shampoo or Oribe dry texturizing spray. Do not go too long between haircuts. At this age you need to maintain your haircut shape because it will prevent it from drooping and will help you look young and fresh!
How do I keep my blowout looking good for a few days, if I am not supposed to wash my hair?
Pascal: First, put it in a loose topknot on the VERY TOP of your head. Not on the back, not on the side, not at your neck. Use a scrunchie or a very soft type of hair elastic. Sleep in the topknot. The next morning, before you take a shower, spray all around the roots and sides of your head with dry shampoo. Keep it in the topknot while you shower (try not to get your hair wet of course), allowing the dry shampoo to absorb, then when you come out of the shower massage in the dry shampoo even more into the roots, shake your hair upside down, and Va Va Voom! If you need an extra lift or your hair gets a little damp in the shower, it’s ok to use a blowdryer and a round or paddle brush to smooth and lift at the roots and coax it back into shape.
What are the major hair trends for 2018? What will we start to see in terms of hairstyles?
Pascal: Curly hair! Big hair! Bangs! No more straight straggly hair! Now we are going for the big sexy fullness. Think Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, that 90s look! People are sick of the boring pin straight. Also vibrant color! Lots of my clients are starting to get hair extensions. You would never guess they had them – we don’t do them so they look like extensions – they just add fullness and a little length if you want it, you can put them wherever you need extra. My preference is the tape in kind. They do not damage your hair at all, and last 2 months (when your hair starts to grow out and they need to be reapplied). They can easily be removed and you can decide whether to put them back in or not. So easy and fun!
What are the main differences between French women and American women?
Pascal: Well, French women are much more experimental and daring in their fashion and hairstyles. Even the older ones are not afraid to go from long to short, or make dramatic changes – to red, or from dark to light – according to fashion. French women in general are a bit more secure in themselves and confident. American women (New Yorkers less so than women in LA) are so afraid of change. American women love their long hair and do not want to ever cut it! They are always afraid to go shorter! I notice in France, older women are more in tune with fashion as well. They will wear a nice pink, some baby blue. Here older women can become frozen in time. They wear the same makeup or hairstyle they wore in their 20s even if it is now totally outdated. Of course this is not always the case, it is a generalization – but French women don’t hold on to an image they have of themselves even if it no longer suits them. They are willing to try new makeup and hairstyles – of course understated, but they try something new.
The other thing that you NEVER see in France is women wearing sneakers and carrying their heels in their bag. At lunchtime or on trains in Paris you see the women wearing their nice shoes only. My mother came to visit and she asked why the American women have their shoes in their bags!
What is it like to work at one of the top salons in New York City?
Pascal: It is fabulous, of course I love it! Of course we have demanding clients that expect the best. There is more pressure to make everyone look great but it is so much fun! We get all different ages and types – the fashion girls, the celebrities, the society women, the trendsetters – we have to be able to do everything! We have to have a very big skill set. I love it!
If you would like to book with Pascal, you can call the Rita Hazan salon at (212) 586-4343
Thank you for reading!
Photos by Mike Kobal (@globalshutter)