When it comes to lived-in, effortlessly glamorous hair, Jenna Perry is the best of the best. Her knack for creating low maintenance hair color allows for longer periods between appointments and healthier, more natural-looking locks. Her talents are backed by an impressive clientele including Bella Hadid, Emily DiDonato, Martha Hunt, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
We caught up with Perry, who recently opened her own shop in the East Village, to discuss being a business owner in the current climate and what we should all be doing to revive our hair right now:
SI: You opened your salon about six months ago. What has it been like going off on your own?
JP: It is the best decision I’ve ever made and has been a real breath of fresh air! The first day on my own, I made Bella [Hadid] blonde. That was a real Pinch Me moment! I’m really inspired by all of the moving parts of owning a business and figuring it out as I go. Of course, there are stressful days but it’s all worth it.
SI: Your salon is gorgeous. It is so welcoming and aesthetically pleasing. What was it like designing and building the space?
JP: Thank you! I really didn’t have a lot of time to plan. I’m the type of person who has an idea and runs with it, so I only had a month to really get things together while still seeing 11 clients a day. I found this iridescent coffee table at ABC Home and used that as the focal point. Ever since the start of my career, I have been obsessed with oily puddles after the rain. The coffee table is a representation of my love for color and my career. The rest of the salon is very neutral toned and really about the lighting. I’m big into ambiance and a clubhouse vibe. The salon stations are really well lit while the rest of the salon has a warm, dim mood.
SI: Why the East Village?
JP: The East Village is where I’ve spent most of my time in New York City. I lived in the East Village for most of my twenties. It’s the art, music, fashion and skateboard scene that really resembles what we are all about. It’s chic but in a low-key way.
SI: What have been some of the unexpected struggles you’ve faced?
JP: So many things went wrong in the beginning. I blamed Mercury Retrograde!
SI: Mercury Retrograde has so much to answer for. As a *new* small business owner with a staff, I'm sure this has been a pretty difficult time for you. Could you share some of how you're managing to stay positive?
JP: At first it was really overwhelming because I was unsure how to even navigate any of this. My staff is really incredible, we are all in full communication and everyone is really supportive. It’s hard not to be able to color hair right now. There are days where I am actually depressed about it. I’ve been trying to work out, meditate and stay healthy. I just recently bought a children’s pottery wheel and it’s just the creative outlet I’ve needed.
SI: Now, hair – so many questions. Your IG bio is “thoughtful haircolorist.” How would you define that?
JP: Thoughtful hair color is simply hair color that is customized for you, your features, your lifestyle and your personal style.
SI: I can totally attest to this. You’ve somehow made me the low maintenance blonde I’ve always dreamed of. Who’s your No. 1 hair inspiration?
JP: My eight-year-old niece, Marley Grace, has been my muse since Day One. The way her blonde hair changes in the seasons is what really inspired my technique as a colorist. In the summer she is so sun-kissed around her face with ribbons all throughout her hair and then whitewashed on the ends. I would sit on the beach with her on my lap and dissect her hair color.
SI: What is your everyday hair routine?
JP: I shampoo and condition twice a week with Rahua. I just used the new Drunk Elephant shampoo and conditioner for the first time, and I think I’m obsessed! My hair is wavy, so I just let it air dry but once I am back with my team, I’ll be getting weekly blowouts from my girl Natalie. She gives me the best “bitchy” blowouts.
SI: And a beauty routine? I think it's very much worth noting because you always have the dewiest skin and a red lip that I wish I could pull off.
JP: The lipstick is Lady Danger by MAC and I've been wearing it for ten years! My quarantine routine starts cleansing with the Cleansing Complex by iS Clinical. I then apply the Beauty Shroom serum by Moon Juice and do Georgia Louise’s gua sha massage using her Butterfly Stone. That technique is a game changer! I finish with Le Mer’s Moisturizing Soft Cream. My favorite masks are Drunk Elephant’s Baby Facial and I love Omorovicza’s Deep Cleansing Mask. I also drink tons of water with lemon.
SI: Perfect, I will be buying all of that immediately. Do you see quarantine as a time to take advantage of hair health?
JP: YES! It’s a really good time to do all of the masks and hair oil treatments that you can. Our hair is used to being processed and having lots of heat damage, so this is a good time to take a break from it all. I’ve been applying castor oil on my scalp, massaging it through and brushing it into a low bun or braid and leaving it on all day and night. I shampoo and condition it out and my hair is lustrous and frizz free. I’m really swearing by castor oil right now.
SI: I’m going to make an assumption that you would advise your clients not to attempt to dye their own hair right now?
JP: The only reason to color your own hair right now is if you’ve got very grey hair. Some of my more mature clients come in every three weeks so I’ve consulted with them on at-home color.
Jenna Perry Hair: 411 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009