Celeb Hairstylist Nick Arrojo On How To Be Young & Successful In The Beauty Industry
Nick Arrojo is a beauty industry veteran who knows what’s up in the world of hair. He went to Vidal Sassoon Salon School and won their prestigious Young Hairdresser of the Year Award at age 21 quickly becoming their youngest Creative Director ever. Eventually he decided it was time to spread his wings and open a namesake salon in NYC, which comes together as both a beauty school and salon visited by only the coolest and chicest of NYC’s stars and socialites. With two new salons opening this spring in Williamsburg and TriBeca, we decided it was time to hit him up for some hair tips and advice. His signature cut, tricks for finding the perfect color for your face, and 80’s reminiscing all included. Check it out, and visit his newest salons to find out the complete Arrojo experience for yourself!
What’s your hair specialty? What’s your favorite service to perform?
My signature technique is razor cutting with a straight edge razor. I am one of the pioneers of the tool, and the inventor of the technique that made razor cutting a popular modern salon service. The straightedge blade creates a tapered outline, which gives styles a contemporary, chic aesthetic — a little more disheveled, distressed, and lived in. Razoring takes out weight and texturizes hair cuts, for those perfectly imperfect looks that everybody loves.
What is the best part about doing hair? What made you want to get into this business?
As a teenager I was inspired by music, fashion, and the idea of creating an image. I started working in a local salon when I was 16 and soon realized I loved everything about the job — the creativity, the socializing, the chance to make someone look and feel special, and to be a part of and create trends in the beauty industry. I realized that if I was going to do this for the rest of my life, I wanted to be great at it. The best thing about hairdressing is that moment when your client goes, “WOW!” and is filled with happiness and a sense of renewal. It will never stop making my spine tingle. I also love to see my salon floor busy with clients and stylists bustling around, and with good music playing. It creates a lot of buzz and you can feel the creativity.
You’re a teacher as well as a cosmetologist. What’s the best part about that?
I believe education is the foundation of a lasting, prosperous, and rewarding career. Education can raise standards of craftsmanship and professionalism throughout our industry, and is the backbone of strong technique, of creative expression, of confidence with clients, of feeling motivated and inspired, and of success in any field of hairdressing. When I see the light bulb switch on for a student, it’s a life-affirming moment for both me and them. Whenever I educate, I can look back on the day and say, “I made a contribution to the elevation of the hairdressing craft today.”
Let’s talk color. How can girls figure out which colors will best match their face (for highlights and for dye jobs)?
A great style becomes even better when it’s complimented by great color! It makes you look more polished, pulled together, modern. Color creates vibrancy, texture, depth, and contrast, which all add visual interest. It’s even an opportunity to brighten up your best features: color tends to draw more attention to your face, especially the eyes. Color creates the magic.
It’s important to choose the right color, and most importantly, the right tone of color. Any skin tone or eye color can wear blonde, red, or brunette. It’s a matter of choosing the right tone for the individual. Reds can range from auburn to ginger, brunettes from chocolate to honeyed, and blondes from icy to golden.
The best way to figure out what is going to work best for you is going into a consultation with a stylist. Consultations are free, and you can book one without committing to the service. For anyone who is a little unsure, it’s the best option! Colorists are professionals with eyes of artists. They have ideas you never would have thought of. They can see your complexion and eye color, and you can talk to them about your wardrobe and lifestyle before deciding what will work.
Multitasking! We just opened ARROJO Williamsburg and are about to open ARROJo TriBeCa, so it’s a lot to manage!
So you’re opening some new salons! Why did you decide to expand?
ARROJO Williamsburg, Brooklyn, opened on April 17 and ARROJO TriBeca will be open by the end of May. Manhattan has always been the place for the Mega Salon, whereas Brooklyn has a more bohemian feel. It has grown and grown, and become a capital of fashion and ‘trend’ in its own right. We feel our culture, standards, and aesthetics are perfect for the people and the lifestyle there, so we decided to take a quantum leap, creating a 32-chair salon in a beautiful, 3300 square foot space.
ARROJO Tribeca gives us a stronghold in one of the most desirable, fashionable and affluent neighborhoods in the world. It is also a facility befitting our identity as America’s leading independent hairdressing brand. We believe in evolving, improving, and elevating the craft. ARROJO TriBeCa is the perfect place to do it. It will redefine the expectation of a world-class hairdressing facility, including a salon, school, and advanced academy.
Are people rocking different beauty and hair looks in LA and in NYC, or do they stay the same throughout the country?
Every person is different but you do notice general shifts in style depending on where you are in the country. If you go to the Midwest, for example, you’ll see a lot of big, volumized hair held up with hairspray. LA women tend to prefer to keep their hair long and flowing, that classic California girl vibe; in New York, more women and girls are open to shorter cuts. But in both cities you see a lot of trendy and inspiring, high fashion styles.
SOHO: 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, 126.96.36.19986WILLIAMSBURG: 11 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11249, 1.718.215.6625