When celebrated colorist James Corbett moved his salon to West 19th Street this May, he not only created a more luxurious space and room for a few more styling chairs, he confirmed his role as head of state on New York’s natural beauty scene.
Through the storefront window of James Corbett Studio, you’ll spy a selection of coveted, cult-fave organic skin-care and makeup brands, like Dr. Alkaitis, Vered Botanicals, Vapour Organic, and RMS Beauty. The salon hair and lash-tinting services all are on the natural-beauty spectrum. And, out back, a small garden doubles as a plush nail area. Talk about fume-free.
So what accounts for Corbett’s natural inclinations, a stylist whose resume includes stints at Warren-Tricomi and Louis Licari, and styling models for French Vogue and Allure?
Corbett says he’s been headed this way for a long time. The svelte fan of Barry’s Bootcamp and regular acupuncture says that it all harkens back to a beauty “ah-ha moment” he had early in his career, while assisting acclaimed Hollywood hair wizard Philip B. “I saw what oil treatments did for hair, and I was astounded. Mind you, the oil wasn’t all organic then. But now it can be. I love getting people results without silicone and petroleum-derived ingredients. Then they’re just naturally converted,” he says.
Among the healthy hair-care brands Corbett uses is the super-nourishing Rahua line, and Tela Beauty Organics, which is behind what’s probably the summer’s most essential smoothing and de-frizzing service. The add-on treatment ($125) is 85 percent organic, quick at 30 minutes, and lasts 4-6 weeks. Most importantly, it won’t make your hair fall out.
“When it comes to hair color, however, organic doesn’t exist and anyone who says otherwise is just talking hooey,” says Corbett. “Even henna dyes, which are sold in natural stores and claim to be organic, have metallic salts that aren’t good for you,” he explains.
Corbett uses Goldwell, which he says contains no formaldehyde and offers ammonia- and peroxide-free color options with “truly fantastic results.”
Corbett’s gotten lots of people hooked on beauty brands that are better for them, not by hard-selling or preaching, but by simply making them available and letting the results speak for themselves. “With this storefront and organic beauty apothecary, I’m introducing more great brands into people’s consciousness. Women are popping in for make-up touch ups, and just loving the colors. They learn they’re organic and, voila, they’ve crossed over,” he says. “I’m hoping to be a rival to Sephora.” —Sharon Feiereisen and Melisse Gelula
25 W. 19th St., btwn Fifth and Sixth Aves., 212-388-1296, jamescorbettstudio.com
Photos: Mira Zaki