Ross Bartolomei’s first day in the salon came long before he ever had a pair of scissors in his hands. “I grew up in the salon,” said Bartolomei, who said it was only a matter of time before he, like his mother and brother, opened a business of his own.That time came in 2006, when Bartolomei opened Salon Hype in La Grange, soon to be followed by Salon Hype Burr Ridge.
From the start Bartolomei set out to offer something not easily found in the suburbs. “I knew there was a need in this area,” said Bartolomei, who worked in some of Chicago’s best salons before taking his skills to the suburbs. Salon Hype is more than a name. It’s a philosophy for Bartolomei and his 66 employees. It stands for Help Your Personality Explode — something Bartolomei said he and his staff strive to do with every cut, color and style. Bartolomei said Salon Hype is about creating classic shapes with modern lines. “Trends always fail,” said Bartolomei, who discourages most clients from doings something drastic just because it’s the latest fad. But that’s not to mean he isn’t in favor of keeping things fresh. Subtle refinements with each color and cut keep things interesting and modern, he said. His stylists all are trained in balayage, a modern take on hair color that involves hand-applied highlights. “It is going to take color to a whole new level,” said Bartolomei. “People want softer, more natural color,” he, and balayage is the way to achieve the look.
The Burr Ridge location is undergoing some change and updating of its own. An open dispensary, also known as a color bar, is being constructed. The area will allow customers to watch as experts mix each client’s color from a palette of 400 shades. Carissa Bartolomei, Ross’ wife and business partner, said a similar project is planned for the La Grange salon. “It’s going to bring it all out in the open,” she said. Bartolomei said every person who leaves one of his salons is a walking advertisement for his business. “They see our work out there,” he said. “Every head is a billboard.”