Take a Peek Inside One of Brooklyn's Hidden Hair Gems

At 92 St. Nicholas Avenue in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn you'll find Pickthorn Studio, a quaint three-chair spot founded by colorist Chelsey Pickthorn. "I always imagined opening up my own studio and creating a space that encouraged people to be themselves,” she says. “I started experimenting with my friends' hair and makeup when I was 12, and in high school, I was always the one doing hair and makeup for my friends before events.”

Chelsey Pickthorn | photo by Hailley Howard 

Nicholas Doyle x Pickthorn

Fast-forward, Pickthorn found herself in Manhattan working side-by-side haircolorist Laurie Foley and as an assistant to stylist Orlando Pita, clearing the path to opening up her own space. Today, her intimate salon exudes comfort, accented with subway-tiled walls, exposed brick and hand-painted window hangings that let in just the right amount of natural light. But setting up shop in a neighborhood like Bushwick challenged Pickthorn, who wanted to create a space that reflected the area. "The neighborhood is ever-changing, and so is Pickthorn," she says. "The studio offers a great amount of texture, depth and color—all of which keep clients constantly wondering if something is new or changed from their last visit. We're coming up on six years in our current spot, with a sophomore location just down the road, and we feel the elevation and maturity of our space more than ever." 

Nicholas Doyle x Pickthorn

Tasked with staying current and different from competitors, Pickthorn Studio experimented outside of the hair realm. For four consecutive years, the salon has opened its doors to Color Me Bushwick, a festival that unites musicians and hairstylists. For three days, Pickthorn makes minor adjustments to her space to accommodate a long list of performers and the 1,500-plus people that stop by over the course of the long weekend—plenty a hairstylist included. 

But that isn't the only way Pickthorn strives to stand out. "Our salon could be called an antithesis of the classic New York salon," she says. "We aim to keep the focus on our clients from beginning to end, with the average appointment taking about three hours. We are here to guide the rebirth of a new hair journey, no matter how simple or complex." 

Nicholas Doyle x Pickthorn

Known for hair painting, pure platinums and major color changes, Pickthorn prides herself on her color techniques. "I learned hair painting from one of its creators and I'm proud to say I have not touched a foil in 10 years," she says. She's doing something right. Named 'Miracle Colorist' in New York Magazine's "Best of New York" in 2013, Pickthorn credits the accolade for her salon's popularity. "It was such an honor and a huge accomplishment in my career," she says. "The title has driven traffic from all over the world and is really shining a light on our humble space."

A quick Google search will show that the space maintains a spot on several "best of" lists, including New York Magazine's Critics Picks, giving Manhattanites more than enough reason to venture across the bridge. "The energy is creative and professional, yet comfortable enough to make you feel like you are right at home," Pickthorn says.