The stylish logo on the sign over The L Salon at 234 Main Street in New Paltz is a good indication of the tasteful environment within. Opened in May, the spacious salon is the first business launched by hair stylist Lauren Fornabaio, who brings more than 16 years of experience in the beauty industry to her new venture.
The L Salon greets clients in a comfortable, sunlit space offering a different fruit-infused water every day. They specialize in natural and ethnic hair styles and offer on-trend services like balayage (bah-lee-‘ahgze), a hand-painted highlighting technique much in demand these days for the natural looking effect it produces. “Balayage emulates what the sun does naturally to your hair,” explains Fornabaio. “It’s more freeform, with softer, less noticeable lines as it grows out.” (Balayage is a French term that means “to sweep.”) The treatment includes a glaze that seals the color and adds shine.
A variety of skincare treatments are offered with a menu of facials starting at $40. An anti-aging facial ($75), for example, lightens hyper-pigmentation and softens lines, and the Signature Glow facial (from $95) involves a deep-cleansing massage treatment and masque. The salon carries the Dermalogica line of professional skincare products as well as a mineral-based makeup line — made by the same company that manufactures for MAC and Chanel — and the R+Co hair care products created by a co-op of stylists representing a range of perspectives and featuring perfumery-quality scents.
On the horizon is a private “Bridal Suite” within the salon, where the wedding party can get together and enjoy privacy and refreshments while they get pampered for the big day. Closed off from the rest of the salon, it’ll even be a place they can get dressed. The suite may be done as early as this fall, says Fornabaio, but completion next spring (in time for the next wedding season) is more likely. “I think our Bridal Suite will really distinguish us from other salons,” she adds. But even before the private room is finished, brides will still be catered to at The L Salon with a number of packages available now that include niceties like waxing or manicures in the week leading up to the wedding and perhaps a blow-out or mini-makeup session for the rehearsal dinner.
A native of Wappingers Falls, Fornabaio opened her salon in New Paltz for a number of reasons. “I’ve always loved this area,” she says. “I used to come here with my sister to go to the record stores and just walk around, and go to Minnewaska to hike.” When searching for a place to start her business, a colleague who lives in New Paltz suggested this would be a great locale for her. After the Main Street location formerly occupied by Radiance Day Spa opened up, it felt like the right place at the right time.
Over the years, Fornabaio has plied her trade in places from North Carolina to Westchester. Most recently she worked at Bella Luci Salon in Poughkeepsie. And all along, she’s continued to educate herself, studying the latest methods and fine-tuning her skills with a variety of industry experts, from the Sassoon Academy Miami to master stylist Nick Arrojo in New York City. She even did a five-week course in Milan, Italy, that culminated in working on fashion week.
That emphasis on education is what Fornabaio says she’s all about. At Bumble & Bumble’s “House of Bumble” in the city, she took part in their network educators program in order to train all the assistants back in the salon she was with at the time. Her plans for The L Salon include starting her own academy some day. “I’m really education-focused,” she says. “Opening a salon is the first step to starting my own academy. I can start training a group of stylists here in our own way of cutting and coloring.”
The L Salon staff at present includes Tiffany, who has worked in the industry for more than 20 years. Her niche is ethnic and natural hair care services, and she’s an excellent aesthetician, says Fornabaio, passionate about skincare. Desiree is from Long Island, new to New Paltz, and she, too, has a great deal of experience with more than ten years doing hair. Her specialty is color but her cuts are a strength, as well. Caila does hair, nails and makeup. “She does great blowouts,” says Fornabaio, “and loves doing bridal makeup; that’s her thing.” David at the front desk, who also worked for Radiance, is her “new talent,” she says, soon to complete his courses in hair styling and ready to join the team. Fornabaio herself will also continue to do hair as well as run the salon. “How can I not?” she says. “I love it.”
The L Salon’s emphasis on continuing education for the stylists includes regular Tuesday morning sessions to perfect their skills and share ideas with one another. The weekly focus will be on anything from layered cuts to coloring to makeup or updos and blow-outs. Local residents available to serve as models for these weekly gatherings can enjoy getting their hair (or makeup) done for free by a licensed stylist. Visit the salon’s Facebook page for more information or ask to get on the list to receive an e-mail blast with weekly updates. The Facebook page also offers lots of limited time discounts and special deals. There’s also a happy hour for SUNY New Paltz students and staff, who receive a 20 percent discount with their college ID on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m.
The L Salon is open Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday. More information is available at (845) 256-0269 or www.theLsalonny.com.