Miami Nice: Superstar Celeb Colorist Marie Robinson On Why She Set Up Shop Down South
Okay folks, this interview is what is commonly known in media as a "huge get." Marie Robinson is a rock star colorist, and has been for decades. She's way too polite to name-drop all her cool-girl celeb clients, so I'll do it for her: Michelle Williams, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Julianne Moore - the list goes on.
Oh, and a boy you might have heard of...dun dun dun: Ryan Gosling.
I met Marie back in the Nineties, when she was just getting her start with another very handsome chap - John Frieda. Well, I'm mixing it all up...it was John, and it was Sally Hershberger, and it was tiny, gorgeous, charming Marie all bundled together in a wall of New York / LA / London hair salon fabulousness. Heady times, indeed.
Today, Marie, who's mainly based in NYC, will be telling us about her muy caliente Miami salon, (pics below) which she opened a year ago, as well as her newfound love of outdoor terraces. Yes, terraces.
Off we go...
FBP: What brought you to the Miami area? How long had you considered opening a salon there before you actually did it?
ROBINSON: Miami has always been desirable and familiar, as we already had so many clients living between New York and Florida. We started kicking the idea around when some South Beach hotels inquired, based on our talent and reputation for customer service. We didn't end up choosing South Beach, though, as it seemed to eliminate too much of Miami and north of it.
FBP: How'd you land on the Little River neighborhood?
ROBINSON: Little River reminded us of the Meatpacking District in New York, or the Flat Iron. We wanted to help pioneer the next cool location that would be central to everyone.
FBP: You opened down here roughly a year ago. What have been some of the bigger surprises about the Miami market so far?
ROBINSON: The same client we see in New York seems more calm and relaxed in Miami. New Yorkers don't get to enjoy their services; they're always running. But that same client seems to take a breath in Miami.
I love doing hair here. A client will really let us take the time to fine-tune their beauty needs and they can appreciate the extra love we put into it.
FBP: Is the Miami beauty scene competitive?
ROBINSON: I'm not sure. Our focus has never been on anything other than the desire of our client in our chair at that moment.
FBP: How are you carving up your time between New York and Miami?
ROBINSON: Some of our team has permanently located to our Miami salon. The rest of our New York team, including myself, rotate every six weeks. Who wouldn't want to make time to go to Miami? It's beautiful, sunny, multi-cultural. It's just like New York, but with more sunshine.
FBP: Waaaay more sunshine! Do you maintain a house or an apartment in Miami? And if so, what do you love about it? What are the big lifestyle differences for you between the two cities?
ROBINSON: We needed to get an apartment to have a home for our team. They deserved better than random hotels - but with the same amenities: gym, pool, terrace to look out on the water from. We know their needs and how to make it welcoming for them.
We've noticed that even though we're in an apartment in Florida, we can appreciate seeing way out into the distance from the terrace. In New York, I try not to look out the window or I'll know more than my fair share about the neighbors!
FBP: What are some of the most popular services at the Miami salon?
ROBINSON: Mostly coloring and styling, cuts, bridal, keratin and extensions. But clients love the space so much that I think if we offered more services they would come for those too.
FBP: I did see that whole section on extensions on your website. What do you think is different, or better, about your method of extension application and maintenance?
ROBINSON: Our method has always been to make them as believable as possible, so if it takes several steps to achieve that level of believability, that's what we'll do. There are many different kinds of extensions, and for the same reason we set ourselves apart in hair color, we set ourselves apart in extensions, too. It's our versatility and our methods. We cut, color and texture the hair to match yours exactly.
FBP: Not that this Q+A is about me, but...I have naturally coarse, frizzy hair and we're about to enter the "danger" season of 1000 percent humidity. I'm thinking of getting a keratin treatment, and I see that you offer both that and relaxing. What's the difference between the two? And how would I know whether to go for the keratin or the relaxer?
ROBINSON: "Relaxer" just means to relax or ease the tightness of the curl, not just remove or tame frizz. There are all types of products out there that do both, and most contain keratin, which coats the hair to make it appear shinier. Notice I said "appear" shinier; keratin doesn't actually make the hair healthier.
The level of the tightness of the curl, or craziness of the frizz, determines which type of type of relaxer or keratin you should have. The one thing most relaxers and keratins have in common is that they cut your blowdrying time, which can add less heat-stress to your hair.
But you need to consult a professional to know which is best for your particular hair type.
FBP: I'll do that! Finally, let's talk about your specialty: color. The sun's obviously a "color-killer" down here. How do you teach your color clients to care for their hair? Does your Restorative Treatment help bring fried, frazzled locks back to health?
ROBINSON: Teaching clients how to care for their hair is simple. If you do a lot of color processing, keep the heat styling minimal. Use treatments once a week to keep hydrated, especially if you have dry or curly hair. When I go to Miami or hang out at the beach, one of my favorite products is by Christophe Robin - Regenerating Mask with Prickly Pear Seed Oil. I also recommend Colorist Cure Hair Treatment, which we sell at the salon and on our website, to add shine and purify any build-up from the Florida tap water. Both restore most types of hair texture, making it shinier and healthier.
FBP: What are the most popular shades and techniques among your Miami clientele?
ROBINSON: The Miami clientele is as diverse as New York - maybe even more so. Because it's so multi-cultural, and the arts scene is huge, we're finding that we don't have one particular shade or trend that's popular among clients.
It's a surprise with each new client we meet. Some women and men are very adventurous, while others may be conservative. But what I do know is that the Miami client is as assertive about her style as any New Yorker or LA celebrity, and it's up to us to complete the look to perfection.
FBP: Thank you, Marie Robinson! I'm in Miami in June, and will soooo be swinging by!