Mark DeBolt and Ryan Trygstad are a match made in heaven! The couple behind Chelsea’s Mark Ryan Salon are leaders in their respective corners of the hair industry, with colorist DeBolt being the blonde whisperer behind stars like Naomi Watts, while master haircutter and stylist is on call with the likes of Emma Roberts, Laura Dern, and Penn Badgley. As their new venture gains increasing traction as a go-to salon for celebrity-worthy service, we called up the two Midwesterners to hear about how they met, their creative journey together, and, of course, what hair musts they’d take to a desert island.
Can you tell us a bit about your respective careers before launching Mark Ryan?
Ryan: Before we took the leap to open Mark Ryan Salon, I spent my early career working in some of the best salons, including John Frieda Salon and the legendary Sally Hershberger, as well as working with celebrities and actresses across film, TV, and red carpet—including Laura Dern, Emma Roberts, Penn Badgley, and Kelly Ripa. Through these two avenues of personal styling and working in professional salons, I created a parallel in translating trends and perfecting hair texture to ultimately create customized looks.
Mark: I am originally from Minnesota and came to New York to work, and learn, alongside the best. I worked alongside celebrity colorist Marie Robinson and quickly cultivated a big business as a salon colorist. As I evolved in my salon career, I also realized my passion for teaching and spent a decade teaching on stages around the world, representing the major hair color manufacturer, Wella Professionals.
How did you meet and what drew you to each other’s personality?
Mark: We met working together at Marie Robinson Salon. I was moving to the East Village, and Ryan offered to help remove my window AC unit. We learned that we lived a few blocks away and fell in love with exploring East Village restaurants and truly got to know each other. Ryan is also very sentimental and wants a life that is rich in life’s experiences—a value we both share.
Ryan: I was instantly attracted to Mark’s sense of humor! He is also very kind and has a very Midwestern way about him. I quickly learned that Mark and I share a sense of adventure. We like to take the scenic route and see what lies around the corner.
You opened the salon in June 2020, when the world was in flux due to COVID. What were some benefits of this opening timeline?
Both: While we could have never anticipated opening during a pandemic, we were able to find the silver lining in this timeline. We had to quickly pivot our perspective into finding grace and becoming thankful for that extra time to plan our opening. We knew we had to develop policies and plans to keep both our clients and team as safe as possible. As we began navigating this ‘new norm’ with our team, it became our first chance to build trust and start working together to define the salon culture that would shape Mark Ryan Salon. The stakes were high, and we rose together to the occasion.
View this post on Instagram
What’s the environment you want to evoke in the salon?
Both: As we’ve worked extensively in different, top-tier salon cultures, the main feeling we wanted to evoke in our salon culture was the intimate feeling and comfort of feeling good at home—we want the salon to feel good. We want clients to walk through the doors and feel as if they are working with and surrounded by people who are happy to be here. An innate friendliness is woven throughout our salon, from the front desk to the senior stylists and colorists. With both our clients and our team, we try to learn about what they want to achieve and help work with them to create it.
Can you describe each of your focuses at the salon?
Mark: I like managing the business aspect of our business. A lot of my time, in addition to time spent coloring, is dedicated to creating processes to make our workflow easier and more fulfilling. Education is also a major pillar in Mark Ryan Salon, so I teach craft and technique within the salon while helping our hair team grow their business simultaneously.
Ryan: For me, I love curating the feeling of the overall experience of Mark Ryan Salon—from the creativity in design and the aesthetic to the music, fragrances, and textures throughout. Like Mark, I also enjoy teaching our assistants and fostering a learning environment to inspire our team.
And what’s your favorite thing about what you do?
Both: There are two great feelings! The feeling of a client telling us how much they genuinely enjoyed the salon experience. Whether it’s the front desk or the colorist, when a client feels like the salon has become a beauty oasis within the city is a very rewarding feeling. Also, at Mark Ryan Salon, a major mission is that we grow together. So, watching our teammates grow has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of owning a salon.
View this post on Instagram
Have you noticed any overall trends recently? And what do you think is driving trends; is it celebrity, social media, general mood of the times?
Ryan: In terms of style, Y2K hair is happening again; it’s flippy, and it’s giving ’90s. Think Courteney Cox on Friends season three! Nineties updos are making a massive comeback. Kids are watching The Simple Life again—ultimately bringing back the Juicy Couture tracksuits and Clueless skirts. It’s all vintage to them now!
Mark: Yes, exactly. On Saturday, one of my 17-year-old clients showed me a picture of Alicia Silverstone’s hair in Clueless and asked me if Corey, who was cutting her hair after her highlights, could show her how to use hot rollers.
Ryan, what do you find interesting about the return to those looks?
Ryan: This time, the hair is paired with much nicer makeup looks to compliment the hairstyles!
Mark, red had a big moment last year. What’s been the dominant trend recently?
Mark: The red trend is evolving into lighter strawberries and cinnamon shades at the moment. This time of year is all about lightening too. Blonde, blonde, blonde—but intentional. Most blondes are highlighting against their natural color and want a hair color that suits their natural beauty and busy lifestyles. And brunettes are going deeper and richer.
View this post on Instagram
What is your favorite thing about working on editorial or red carpet assignments?
Both: The best part is the collaborative creativity between the photographer, art director, makeup artist, and the model or actress. It feels great to come together to create something special.
Have you noticed any trends amongst brides-to-be who come to the salon, for both style and color?
Both: For brunette brides who want a little something extra, we’ve been suggesting delicate highlights or a baby balayage to give the hair more texture and look more natural in photographs. As mentioned, we’re also seeing the ’90s trends throughout updos too—think Pam Anderson’s iconic bun! In terms of style, it’s skewing a bit minimal and not so forced, so a lot of sleek looks for bridal—which we ultimately are seeing as more fashion-forward looks.
What’s your ultimate tip for readers to have healthier, stronger hair before summer?
Both: Do a big cut before summer! And be sure to use overnight serums, like the Shu Uemura Essence Absolute Taming Overnight Serum or Christoph Robin Night Recovery Creme, to keep your hair replenished as you begin holiday travels and the weather shift. Also, start using K18. Throughout summer, we also always recommend to our clients (if they can!) to let their hair air dry more and to lean into natural textures to ensure less damage and to keep the hair as healthy as possible.
View this post on Instagram
Lastly, what tools/products are always within your reach?
1. Oribe Apres beach — texture spray with oil and shine — perfect for an effortless, beachy, windswept feel.
2. R+ CO outer space – a great, dry, lightweight hair spray that I use before I curl.
3. R+ Co. dart pomade stick – perfect lightweight pomade to define texture in a shattered bob or create depth on a long layered haircut as it highlights layering.
4. Color wow – raise the root – the BEST root lifter!
5. L’ange blow dryer: it’s lightweight, powerful, small air director and comes with great diffuser.
6. GHD unplugged cordless flat iron.
1. Malibu blonde crystals to remove minerla buildup that causes discoloration.
2. K18 professional molecular mist before highlighting.
3. Christoph Robin chic copper mask.
4. 4.Shu Uemura Ashita supreme hair mask.
5. Hedley & bennett apron.
Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on all the latest fashion news and juicy industry gossip.