Last week, for the first time in five months, I sat in an Uber on my way to Manhattan. Mask on, windows open, ridiculously long roots and dead ends blowing in the wind (horrifying, I know). But by the time I got home those roots and ends were gone and I felt like a new woman. A trip to the Mark Ryan Salon in Flatiron will do that to you. 

The high-end hair hub, which was set to make its debut in April but for obvious reasons had to push back its opening date to this summer, is helmed by celebrity hairstylists Mark DeBolt and Ryan Trygstad, who, between the two of them, have worked with the likes of Naomi Watts, Rebecca Taylor, Laura Dern, and Emma Roberts. So, after months of trying to hide my grown-out quarantine hair in Zoom meetings and Insta-stories, I finally handed it over to the pros.

That's not to say I wasn't nervous about venturing out for my first salon service in a pandemic; for a while I accepted that my newly-dyed blonde would fade out and I'd have to trim my locks with kitchen scissors over the sink until the world felt safe again. But with salon services reopening and NYC Covid numbers at record lows, I allowed myself to exhale - with caution. After looking into Mark Ryan's intensive safety procedures during this time, I felt comfortable enough to make an appointment - and I'm so glad I did.

I felt peace of mind (a rare commodity these days) from the moment I entered the airy new space. My temperature was taken upon arrival, every staff member and guest donned a mask, and every shiny new wood surface was glistening clean. I was even provided a giant sanitary bag to keep my tote in during my services. 

Safety precautions aside, the experience here was just what you'd expect from an A-list team of stylists. I placed all my trust in Mark, the color expert of the duo, and he glossed and highlighted my hair back to life before Erica, another member of the team, gave me a much-needed cut and style. All of this done remarkably effortlessly considering the salon has yet to see normal days. Somehow, though, things felt normal here, and totally welcoming. Masks and social distancing couldn't stop the usual exchange of chats and hype between guests and stylists - even if there were plexiglass dividers between us at times. By the end of my service, which came complete with a ring-light photo shoot, I felt uplifted and confident for the first time in ages. If this is the future of beauty services (at least for a while), Mark Ryan Salon has adapted in stride. 

To learn how they did it, I caught up with Mark and Ryan about their journey opening up in the midst of COVID, their vision for creating a safe space for clients, and what it's really like working with your spouse on a business venture (did we mention they're married?). Click through for everything you need to know. And if you're in need of a hair (and honestly, mental health) reset, book an appointment HERE!