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Hair Coloring Not Cancelled: This Bergen County Salon Owner's Novel Idea Saved His Business

Eric Altomare of Eric Alt Salons is delivering hair dye kits to clients.
Eric Altomare of Eric Alt Salons is delivering hair dye kits to clients. Photo Credit: Eric Alt Salon/New Jersey Fashion Week Page Facebook

Coronavirus has cancelled much of life as we know it -- but not hair coloring for this Bergen County salon.

Like all New Jersey salon owners, Eric Altomare was forced to close this three locations -- two in Saddle River and one in Ho-Ho-Kus -- at the order of Gov. Phil Murphy last week.

With clients and employees both relying on him, Altomare knew he had to get creative.

That's when he launched "Alt At Home Hair Color Kit," putting him at the forefront of haircare services during the coronavirus outbreak.

Altomare and his workers have been personalizing and packaging $50 dye kits in pretty, pastel bags, that they're leaving on door steps of local clients and shipping to those who live further away.

Altomare said the results have been incredible.

"We’re having tremendous results, he said.

"It's changed the way our business operates -- and there’s no contact."

An Eric Alt Salon client's before and after using the at-home hair coloring kit.

Eric Altomare

Altomare stressed that the kits are not "a big money-making thing," but have been integral in maintaining a sense of normalcy for Alt Salon clients and staff alike.

"They're just something we're doing to fill in the gaps for things that are essential like health care for our employees," he said.

"It helps keep things moving forward. We don’t want to lose our insurance at a time like this."

They've also helped bring families together, kind of like an art project, the salon owner said.

The kits have been essential for those working from home who still need to present themselves on FaceTime meetings and virtually show up for work.

"They want to maintain their image and stay taken care of at home," Altomare said. "But if you are coloring your hair and you stop for a long time, bigger problems can be created down the line."

Maintaining hair color is crucial, and not only for aesthetic purposes, according to the stylist.

"Hair color is generally activated by heat of the scalp," Altomare explained.

"If you let it grow too long it becomes a different corrective process. If you don't keep up with it, something called banding happens, where the color grows in differently in different areas of someone's hair."

Color banding: This is a real-life example of what happens if coloring isn't maintained. The hair grows out with inches of different colors, Altomare explains.

Christian Tufaro

Altomare's staff will hold FaceTime consultations with clients once they receive their kits and talk them through the dye application process.

"We were really on the forefront," Altomare said. "We've perfected these kits to be really easy at home."

People should not try to go back to their natural color from blonde to brown by using a box dye at home, Altomare explained.

Instead, it should be formulated by a colorist.

"Often, blonde hair will turn green pink or orange in the process," said Altomare, who has an entire salon dedicated to blondes. "That’s why someone who knows what they’re doing needs to put the formula together.

"It can be done at home very successfully with the guidance of a colorist."

And that's exactly what Altomare has created, further helping him reach new clientele who otherwise couldn't afford or access his services.

"We all have to get creative and it’s a time for people to pull together," he said. "It’s great that we’re able to offer this service and provide it to our clients."

Eric Alt Salons: Call 201-438-0900 or text 551-500-4794 to get yours.

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