Inside the Trippy-Glam Salon of Paris’ Most Famous Hair Colorist
Christophe Robin is famous for his beautiful color, incredible products, and a little naughty humor.
Christophe Robin produces the kind of hair products that will make a girl drop $70 on a hair mask without a second guess. His shampoos, conditioners, treatments, and now, his new Temporary Color Gel are worshipped by stylists in the chicest salons all over the world. Robin himself is based in Paris. He became famous for coloring the hair of French models and beauty icons like Catherine Deneuve and Vanessa Paradis. But with such a gorgeous, classic clientele, what you might not expect is the fascinating dualistic personality wielding the coloring brush.
Robin, who is known to wear dark nail polish from time to time and curse a lot, presents the world with his subversive, punk point of view, but he actually comes from farm country in France, which still inspires his products today. So while he can be extremely naughty while chatting at his chair, he has a strong bent toward the natural, both in hair color work and his formulations, which always feature botanical ingredients. (That said, his favorite hairspray is still L’Oréal Paris Elnett.) This juxtaposition also showed up in his former salon, which was tucked away in a somewhat secretive suite at Le Meurice—a secret punk oasis inside one of Paris’ most luxurious hotels.
But now Robin has his own street-level location. When we visited Robin’s two-year-old salon on Rue Bachaumont in Paris (just down the street from cult fragrance store Nose), we first entered a store with mirrored vanities and a giant clam basin—inspired by Venus de Milo—where customers can play with products and get their hair washed. It feels very feminine and gentle. And with the giant branch of bright red coral on one wall and the huge tropical bouquet on the other, you might miss a few of the funnier moments planted throughout the space. Think little statuettes of poodles, a parrot figurine, and a tiny 3-D model of Robin himself. But it only gets more interesting the deeper you go.
When we took a few strides to the back of the storefront, we entered a long multicolored salon that may better demonstrate the inner workings of the artist himself. A corridor of retro-style chairs was packed with patrons; on the shelves were collections of knickknacks—the poodle collection is strong—and more tropical-themed collectibles like a conch shell lamp. Cozy seating areas showed off contrasting patterned upholstery and pillows. Delicious fabrics were everywhere. And it all seemed to culminate at the back end of the salon with what might be considered an inside joke: a glass bell-enclosed phallus surrounded by flowers. Robin loves any opportunity to give a wink, and this is certainly one of them.
But like everything Robin creates, the proof is in the pudding. We walked out that day with buttery highlights that got us compliments for months after—including from a Robin protégé back in New York City. And, luckily, we got to take a touch of Robin’s whimsy around the world and home with us with a collection of his travel-sized favorites and a big tub of his purple hair mask to keep those highlights going strong. Sometimes in a cramped, sputtering New York City shower, we even feel a little bit like the Venus de Milo.