Photo: Julie Bidwell
Angela Cosmai began working in her mother’s Brooklyn hair salon as soon as she could reach the shampoo sink. Later in her career, she learned her coloring techniques from the noted colorist Robert Renn, and when he died in the mid ’80s, Angela took over his client list. Today, she divides her time between the Pierre Michel Salon in New York City where she has worked for many years and has a loyal client base, and her recently opened Angela Cosmai Salon (entrance on the side of Hermès on Greenwich Avenue).
Angela downplays her celeb clients (Meryl Streep, Lauren Hutton, Christopher Walken, to name a few) or that she flies regularly to Europe and Palm Beach to keep her clients’ locks looking lovely. But oh, how she loves to talk about hair! Her passion is to use custom-mixed, peroxide- and amonia-free color to beautify tresses—especially dull, lifeless and overprocessed strands. Her optimal result is a multifaceted color that’s subtle and believable, leaving onlookers wondering, “Does she or doesn’t she?”
Consider Lisa Birnbach, author of the 80s classic The Official Preppy Handbook, who says she’s more loyal to Angela than her gynecologist. Years ago Lisa tried to convince Angela to make her blonde. “I begged her. Because everyone said blondes have more fun but Angela told me I would look terrible as a blonde. I let her have her way.” Today Lisa’s hair is a deep, healthy brown, except for what Birnbach calls the “hand-selected lucky streaks” that get high and low lights.
Angela charges $200 to $600 per visit; her staff $125 to $450. Her team includes Elizabeth Hammer Khawaja, who has worked with Angela for more than two decades. “We care about the condition of the hair and do treatments to get it healthy before we color,” Elizabeth says. “Hair has to shine.”
ANGELA OFFERS TIPS TO BRING OUT THE SHINE IN ANY HEAD OF HAIR
1 Use natural products that rely on botanicals and are made for color-treated hair. Angela and her husband, Daniel Nault, created their own hair-care product line, free of sulfates, parabens, sodium chloride and PABAs.
2 Wash hair no more than twice a week. If hair is oily, use dry shampoo between washings. For dry hair, apply a leave-in conditioner.
3 For fine hair, condition first, then shampoo. If you have tangles, spritz on a leave-in conditioner such as Angela’s Long and Strong Spray that’s so light it will not weigh down the hair.
4 Use a wide-tooth comb to gently untangle your hair.
5 The night before you wash your hair, massage organic castor oil into your scalp. This overnight treatment conditions, but will also grow new hair, a boon for anyone with thinning locks. Angela also suggests applying castor oil to sparse eyebrows nightly.
6 She’s an advocate of Biosil, a supplement containing minerals of choline and silicon that is said to grow healthier hair, nails and skin while improving bone and joint health.