Health Is Beauty

Starre’s Hairstyle (and Color) Makeover at Mauricio Hair Studio Privado in NYC

Mauricio Hair Studio Privado in the Flatiron district of NYC is uber-clean, mellow and bright.

It’s spring, and I needed a new hairstyle; I have been transitioning out of my red color for about 6-8 months, waiting patiently for it to grow out so I could have a look at my real color. Then I remembered why I had covered my regular color when I was 16; sans sun and outdoors living (which has sadly not been the case over the last six months), my natural hair color is super-boring. But rather than do some kind of all-over dye job, I wanted to do something interesting and dramatic at the front.

Mauricio doing Starre’s hair up!

Taking my influences from Susan Sontag’s stripe, Cruella de Vil’s crazy black and white ‘do, and Gwen Stefani at various points, I decided a big blonde chunk in the front would be fun. So I headed over to see Mauricio at his eponymous Studio Privado, where he and his team specializes in natural haircolor and products, in the Flatiron District.

The relaxing shampoo chair. Love those modernist curtains!

Mauricio was incredibly friendly and fun, and even though I didn’t bring any pictures and just gave him a verbal description of what I wanted done, he totally got it (see below)! Before he started though, he did a hair elasticity analysis (which he does on all clients) to test the strength of their hair and level of previous damage.

While I was waiting for the color to set, I talked to Mauricio about what product he uses and why.


For color, Mauricio prefers Organic Color Systems, a British brand, which is ammonia-free, formaldehyde-free, vegan, never tested on animals (it’s PETA-approved) and made with certified organic and natural ingredients. While not completely nontoxic (to pull color from hair and lighten, like I wanted to do, some chemicals need to be utilized), it has significantly fewer toxins than mainstream brands—it barely smelled like chemicals at all, unlike haircolors I’ve used in the past. All of this makes it safer for me—and for Mauricio, who uses the products all day.


Mauricio, who grew up in the country outside of Bogota, Columbia, is attracted to doing things naturally because he grew up eating all local foods and fruits in his native country. He likes to eat healthfully and his interest in food led him to become interested in using cleaner products in his work. “Anything you put on your body should be beneficial to your body. Makeup, hair dye, food; they should all be safe and nutritious,” he says.

After a relaxing shampoo and condish with Rahua products from Ecuador (which I love and have recommended before)—they are super-moisturizing and smell like delicious nuts—Mauricio cut an inch or so off my ends and styled me up.

Walking down 16th Street, hair aswing!

How fun, how new, how totally what I was wanting! Thanks Mauricio 🙂 I’m ready for spring.

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Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.