Industry Insiders: Rogerio Cavalcante, Hair Therapist

Hairstylists often do double time as therapists. Some stylists and their clients even become BFFs. Think Jessica Simpson and Ken Paves. Or my stylist, the in-the-know, talented Rogerio Cavalcante of Maria Bonita Salon & Spa in SoHo, who’s revealed some of his fascinating life story to me when I can stop yapping about my own latest drama.

Point of Origin I am from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I have a large family, and 12 of my relatives are hairstylists. My first job was in my uncle’s salon when I was 13. I swept the floor and washed hair. And by the way, he did not pay me well (laughs). My career began when I was 22 and I started working at my cousin’s salon with some of the best stylists in Sao Paulo. I was so eager to learn that I gave up part of my commission to be taught by the top stylist, Marcelo. He taught me to mix colors and highlight techniques. I continued working, and took classes with Vidal Sassoon, Toni & Guy, Nick Arrojo, L’Oreal, Redken, and Wella.

Why do you enjoy doing hair? I just love it—it is the best job in the world! I look forward to seeing the excitement on my client’s face when I finish their hair.

What are your favorite things to do as a stylist? I love cutting and coloring hair, but please don’t tell anyone that I have the most fun when I am cutting. And of course, like all stylists on the planet, I love big changes.

What are you known for as a stylist? I am a “precisionist.” I like to do precise and sharp hair cuts. My haircuts can take up to two hours because I want to make sure that the style works well with the client’s features and it is exactly what they want.

The ambiance in Maria Bonita is really fun and relaxed—why do you think that is? First of all, the clients make the salon very special. We love to see our clients from everywhere in the world. They come in and we help them relax while we make them beautiful with our exclusive Brazilian treatments. Also, the staff at Maria Bonita is always in a good mood— and we have fun making people look their best!

What is Maria Bonita known for? What is requested most often? Maria Bonita is known for being the only full-service Brazilian salon to offer hair, nail, and waxing services, as well as facials and massages. People request Brazilian blow-outs (straightening) and color treatments most often.

What’s the difference between how South Americans approach hairstyle and care vs. Americans? Volume! My beginning here in New York wasn’t easy. In Brazil, girls want pin-straight hair. I was used to taking the volume out of their hair. Here, I have to add it—a lot of it!

What are some hair trends you really hate? That’s hard. I think it’s better to keep my mouth shut here: No Habla Ingles!

What are some Spring hair trends you are loving? Definitely middle-length hair. I like the modern choppy bob, with the ends lighted by a technique we call ombré.

Name 5 beauty and hair products that no girl should be without. 1. Envix 20 in 1 hair mask 2. Pomade/wax for the spring/summer messy look 3. Bianco breeze dry shampoo 4. Redken shiny gloss 5. Moroccanoil light oil treatment

What are your favorite places to eat and drink in the city? The places I like for food are Cachacaria Boteco (they have feijoada and caipirinhas), Café Habana and Bread.

The places I like for fun are Goldbar, SubMercer and Bourgeois Pig.

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