The multibillion-dollar spa and salon industry isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. On the contrary, new locations — especially in New York — are opening at a record pace. Here, some of the area’s latest places to get primped and primed, and the newest products to help consumers get some beautification at home.

A CUT ABOVE

NEW YORK — He may look like the quintessential Aussie surfer, but Manhattan-based salon owner Rodney Cutler is out to prove he also has a serious head for products.

Cutler, who’s worked at Bumble and bumble and now owns a salon on 57th Street, has crafted a six-item line based upon hair care needs that arose from his and his employees’ work.

Each product is formulated with ingredients such as wheat protein, said to protect hair from heat and to give volume and shine; jojoba, sweet almond, rice and oat proteins, for moisture; UVA and UVB sunscreens to minimize color fading, and a multivitamin complex of vitamins A, C and E for moisturizing and antioxidant properties. The line comprises Daily Shampoo, $14; Daily Conditioner, $15; Extra Gentle Shampoo, $16; Intensive Conditioner, $17; Curling Creme, $17, and Straightening Creme, $17.

A seventh stockkeeping unit — a $19 styling paste that’s still being tweaked — is slated to follow in late February. While he wouldn’t comment on projected first-year retail sales, industry sources estimate Cutler’s line could top $500,000 in first-year sales just from his salon and a soon-to-be opened new location. 

Cutler, who began his hairstyling career at 16 as an apprentice at Australian salon Rifmik, said, “I didn’t want to do products just for the sake of doing them. It was important to me to do a targeted line — you can never be all things to all people. I wanted to make sure that these products were the best, even if that meant going back to the lab six or seven times.”

Indeed, for most of 2004, he was getting biweekly submissions from his lab, which he would send back with notes such as “close, but let’s decrease the viscosity,” or “this needs to be slightly firmer.” Cutler’s salon clientele and staff played the willing guinea pigs for the products until they were spot-on in Cutler’s eyes.

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