Paul Labrecque utters, “You are about to receive the most delicious hair treatment,” in his new Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa, located at The Royal Poinciana Plaza. What he’s prefacing is the eucalyptus and lemongrass conditioning treatment—a luxury hair reviver so amazing it will turn any dry, brittle hair into soft, silky strands.
The new Palm Beach boutique location marks Labrecque’s second salon and spa opening outside of New York, following a salon in Philadelphia.
While he was born in Massachusetts, Labrecque says his opening in South Florida is a homecoming. Having gone to school to become a teacher in Miami, he later decided to switch career paths to follow his passion for styling and opened his first salon with his personal and professional partner, Brian Cantor, in 1988. “When I was a boy, 20 years old, working here in the school systems, I always dreamed of living in Palm Beach,” he says. “I would drive up from Miami and say, ‘Palm Beach is the prettiest place I have ever seen.’” Fast forward some decades later and for a special occasion (Keith Frankel’s 50th birthday party) at The Breakers, he says it was as if time stood still. “It was just as beautiful as it was 30 years ago, and I said to my husband, ‘This is it. We’re going to buy an apartment. This is where I want to grow old,’” he says.
The stylist who believes in a “simple, sexy approach” to hair plans to split his time between New York and Florida. To kick start local influence, he offered us advice on how to treat the most common South Florida hair complaints.
“Fizziness is frizziness. If you leave here with a beautiful blow dry and you used all the right products, but it’s 100 percent humidity outside, my suggestion is always to allow your hair to be a little bit more wavy when you style it,” Labrecque says. Instead of trying to master a polka straight look, choose a more natural style so that when humidity hits, the disheveled look isn’t as harsh. “You can’t fight mother nature—short of Keratin,” he says. “Keratin does work. Works great. Brazilian blow-dries, Keratins, amino acid treatments—they all take out 50 percent of the curl and all of the frizz, and they last two to three months.”
Labrecque recommends a deep conditioning, like his eucalyptus lemongrass treatment, to help heal dry hair and scalps. A therapeutic eucalyptus menthol mask is put on the scalp first, followed by lemongrass oil that’s applied from the roots to the ends of hair. “Very few products do that to you where you feel cold and warm at the same time,” he says about the two ingredients working together. “That helps regulate your sebaceous glands, stops the flakes and gets the oil to run more efficiently.”
“The most amazing thing is called color oxidation. It’s when color changes from the time we leave the salon to a month later our color looks totally different,” Labrecque says. “We didn’t leave the salon with that brassy look, right?” He suggests using products with sunscreen to help protect against the sun’s rays. (He and Cantor created a hair care line of products with built-in SPF that is available at his salon.) And another piece of advice: “Always finish with a cold rinse. When you finish with a cold rinse after you shampoo and condition, you’re locking the cuticle down, you’re making it much more difficult for color to slip out.”
Paul Labrecque Salon & Spa, 340 Royal Poinciana Plaza, Palm Beach; 561.402.8207; paullabrecque.com