Episode 102: Rita Hazan, Celebrity Colorist and Product Innovator

Rita Hazan, a celebrity colorist, product innovator and salon owner, has been in business for 20 years strong. Hear how she’s managed to keep innovating and stay relevant even as trends and fads cycle faster and faster through the consumer experience. Consider this episode a masterclass in career longevity.

Dan Hodgdon
AnnouncerWelcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY® hosted by Jodi Katz, Founder and Creative Director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.
Jodi KatzHey, everybody. Welcome back to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY®. I am super excited to be sitting next to Rita Hassan. She is a celebrity colorist. She's the owner of Rita Hazan Salon in New York City and the owner of her namesake hair care product line. Welcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY®.
Rita HazanI'm so excited to be here.
Jodi KatzThank you for coming today and happy New Year.
Rita HazanHappy New Year.
Jodi KatzLet's start off with a simple question, how are you spending your day today?
Rita HazanOh, well, first I came here. Actually, it didn't just start here. First, I worked out, I'm on a mission. The last few years I got married, three years ago.
Jodi KatzCongrats.
Rita HazanOf course, it's like all you do is eat and drink. What we do is go out for dinner or he cooks. I don't cook, he cooks. Lucky girl. And so I gained a few pounds, so my goal is to shed them and I started in October. I have a trainer who's really good, I love him, and he's really pushing me and it changed my eating. I wake up really early in the morning workout, and then whatever's next and then I'll go to work and do hair color.
Jodi KatzHow many days a week are you working out with him?
Rita HazanAs many as I can get in. Probably, I would say four to five at the moment.
Jodi KatzWow, that's a lot.
Rita HazanWell, I'm going hard.
Jodi KatzAnd he pushes you like you're uncomfortable when you're doing this?
Rita HazanYeah. I hate it. Yeah. And that's all I say is I hate you, I hate you.
Jodi KatzAnd what time of the morning are you waking up to do this?
Rita Hazan7:00 early, 8:00. Depends with the time, I'm at his mercy. It depends with time he can get, because I also don't want to go to the gym, so I would actually rather pay the extra money to have him come to my apartment and I have a gym in my building, so we just do it there. Yeah. Well, you have to be realistic, right?
Jodi KatzYes. Because every second counts. By the time I go to the gym and then come home and shower, I don't ... I just don't have that time. It's not even a luxury, I think it's a necessity.
Rita HazanYeah. I agree.
Jodi KatzIt's good for my brain too
Rita HazanAnd what have you been doing in terms of changing your eating?
Jodi KatzI stopped eating crap. I feel like we all know what we shouldn't be eating, there's no secret. There really isn't, because I tried ... When people lose weight ... And some of my clients, celebrities or whatever, they're like, "I do the same thing. No sugar, no cabs, no alcohol, no bread. " It's all the same. We know what to do. We all know what to do, it's just difficult to do it because it's not tasty.
Rita HazanWell, I think the biggest challenge is that it requires planning, right? You have to think about that next meal or smarter meal or having food in the house that's healthy, right?
Jodi KatzYes.
Rita HazanIt requires advanced planning.
Jodi KatzYes.
Rita HazanAnd it requires to be like dedication. It's like a job because you can't really go out. You can't drink, you can't eat anything. At least in the beginning. I feel like everybody in January is on it.
Jodi KatzNew year, new you.
Rita HazanYeah. People go crazy. But I have to say that I started in October, so this is not really a new year, new me, it's more like, let me get my shit together. Can I say that?
Jodi KatzYeah, sure.
Rita HazanYeah. I just need to get my life and it's just, let's get this done.
Jodi KatzAnd by having the rhythm of working out in the morning, do you feel like other things have gotten easier in your life? That's hard, but you're making it happen, which is a big ... It's a big hurdle, right?
Rita HazanYeah.
Jodi KatzHas it shifted anything else for you?
Rita HazanNot really. I just think that it was a personal thing for me, just getting myself back in shape. Gaining 25 pounds is a lot. Actually, a lot of it happened ... I know everybody hates to talk about this, but I did IVF and I honestly think that those hormones are so bad for you, and I would like for someone to do research to see what happens to the female body in 10 years from pumping all those hormones into your body. You feel like you have to do it as a woman if you waited too long or if it's not happening fast enough and all that stuff. But really it's a lot of hormones. And anybody who's ever done it knows that it makes you a little crazy or a lot crazy, so I just wonder what the effects are long term.
Jodi KatzYeah, I think it's a very valid question. I did IVF twice to get both of my children, and my son is now 11, my daughter's eight.
Rita HazanWow! Okay.
Jodi KatzIt was quite some time ago, right? What made me crazier I think is my mindset of like, "This is something I want so desperately and I can't make it happen." Right? I can make a lot of other things happened in my life, right? I could just work hard, or I can be determined, or I can screen, but this is something that was so out of my control, right? And the doctors can't make it happen, they help, right? There's facilitating but there's sperm and the egg and it needs to do whatever it needs to do. I was an emotional mess.
Rita HazanIt's also like that's all ... Your life is a balance for that period of time. Did I get my period? Is it coming now? I get it today. Okay, I have to go into the office now. Just like all the time, so kind of makes you even crazy. I think the stress of it also act as a problem.
Jodi KatzYes.
Rita HazanI may have to keep doing it over, and over, and over again.
Jodi KatzRight. And you're in the physician's office, whatever, I don't remember the routine. But very ... A lot of mornings like 7:00 AM, getting your blood tested, and I was in a room with 50 other women who are desperately angry and sad to be there, right? It's a beautiful thing that it can be done. It's an awful thing to go through.
Rita HazanYes.
Jodi KatzI still have ... Because you shoot the shots at the top of your butt or the side of your butt and I can still feel, it's almost like I am ... I guess it's like an emotional scar, the sore tenderness in that area.
Rita HazanI did mine in my stomach.
Jodi KatzI had stomach too. There was something that went in my ... The back of my butt.
Rita HazanAnd the thing is I always pride myself on having a flat stomach. I always had a big bottom and bigger legs, thicker legs, but I always had a flat stomach until I started doing this and now it's like impossible. I feel like I have chemical fat and I can't get rid of it. And that's why I have to jumpstart my system so drastically. You know what I mean? Because it's like they don't really tell you what to do after.
Jodi KatzRight. Will you try it again?
Rita HazanNo, never, never. At this point, I feel like if it's meant to happen for me, it'll happen. God of the universe is really the person or the energy that's going to give it to me. At this point, if it's meant to happen, it'll happen.
Jodi KatzAnd you've been able to release that, I guess, the emotion around it?
Rita HazanI just hated IVF so much. I hated doing it that I'll never do it again. Whatever I have to do around that I'll do, but I'm just not doing that ever again.
Jodi KatzWell, it's inspiring to hear you talk about it because it really is an awful process, and for you to get to the point where you've made a decision about it and you're doing things to take care of yourself in other ways is really awesome to hear.
Rita HazanYeah. And I think that once my mindset is out of that fog, because I think it puts you in this weird fog that really nobody ever tells you.
Jodi KatzRight. Well it's ... There's-
Rita HazanEven the doctors are like, "There's a little bloating." I'm like, "A little bloating? I gained 25 pounds, there's no bloating, it's bad."
Jodi KatzIt's so emotional plus all the hormonal [inaudible 00:07:52] aspects to it, plus the time side, plus the other people asking questions.
Rita HazanOh, y gosh! It's insane. My whole life is around this period of like, "I got to go in the morning again." I know if somebody calls and I'm with the hair down and I'm like, "Shit, how am I going to juggle? This is going to be insane." There's a lot of stress not necessary.
Jodi KatzYeah. Well, I'm excited to hear about your progress in the future months and how you're taking care of yourself. That's really awesome. Okay, so let's start talking about ... We had such an incredible conversation right after our holiday break, and you had just come back from vacation. You took a real break, a road trip with your husband and you told me that you cut the cord in your own words, cut the cord with work for a little while and social media. This is something that's so hard for people to do. Let's talk about and break it down for me, for all the type A's out there, which many of our listeners are, how did you really move out of work for that whole week?
Rita HazanI always have this thing and we spoke about this, is that I built this company and it's like 13, 14 years old, right? I'm very particular about the people I hire. I don't always make the best choices, but you figure that out, you make mistakes. But normally on the average, I'm a good person ... I'm a good ... I have a good sense of personality and vibe, right? I think that if I hire the right people and they're in those positions, there is no way in one week that they can destroy my entire business.
Jodi KatzThat's awesome.
Rita HazanAnd if anybody thinks that they have to be on top of these people that they hired the employees ... The employer ... The employees, then you didn't hire the right people, unless it's like your accounting or someone who could take ... Write checks, they can wipe out your account on one day and I get that. But if you have people writing checks for you in doing that, you should make sure that they're trustworthy in the first place, right?

Everybody else, how bad can they damage your business in one week that you can't just chill out and relax and just rest your brain, just ... It's almost like you have a business and your whole life is about that business. When you're the boss, you go home and you don't shut off, right? Because it's stuff that happens and as everybody has ... There's always something that's going on. Especially, I have two businesses going. I have the product line and the salon, and I have celebrity clients. There's always something going on. And if I can't stop and shut down and reboot my own brain, it's almost like you can't see it. You can't see anymore. You can't see what you need to change, you can't see your path. Everything starts blending and looking the same. For me, it's important to walk away, come back in the room and then see everything with a clean, clear perspective so that I can change things.
Jodi KatzI've had other people in the chair that you're sitting in say to me, "My team needs me so I need to check in."
Rita HazanIf your team needs you that badly, your team's not that great. They should be self-sufficient. I meet a lot of women, especially women who don't know how to delegate and trust in the person that they put in that position. Hire somebody that you can trust will do just as good as a job as you. It's almost like, I also think that some people like that, that they always have to make the decisions, but that's not really a way to grow. The way to grow is to have people around you that can do a job. You can't be the smartest person in the room all the time, you're never going to be the greatest because you're the only person. You need other people who are smart ... Just as smart have their own sense of thinking, and you have to be open to listen to other people's advice too.

Like sometimes I say something and then somebody on my team will say, "I don't think that's a good idea at all. That sounds stupid." And I'm like, "Okay, let me sit on it overnight and if I still think it's stupid in the morning, then you're right." Sometimes they're right, sometimes they're wrong, but you have to be open enough to listen. But you also have to be ... You have to let go a little bit and let people do their jobs. If you don't let them do their jobs, they're not going to ... They won't do their jobs. A lot of people are smart. The people that you hire are smart and they can make decisions too, you just have to believe in them and trust them.

Even sometimes, I like to hire assistance that don't know anything so that I can train them and then they kind of have my aesthetic and they know where I'm going, and we can promote them within the company. Once you do that, you have to trust in them that they got it and they know what they're doing, and you have to leave them alone so that they can grow within themselves.
Jodi KatzI remember it wasn't that long ago that I did this whole new delegation exercise with my team, because I always really wanted ... I wanted everyone just to make the decisions. Like I hired you, I trust you, just do it. And I was like, maybe it's all gaining for a minute, but then I'd take it back, and not intentionally, it's just my nature to be part of it.
Rita HazanBecause who could do it better? You're the boss.
Jodi KatzAnd I'm so fast, so fast, so fast.
Rita HazanI agree.
Jodi KatzI started working with a coach about two years ... A little more than two years ago. And this is one of the first things they worked on. Emails would roll into my team and I literally would put my hands under my butt and I'd sit there like this at my desk, I'll just wait for them to respond. But it was so hard for me because I would be so fast for that response, but I had to stop because I don't want to be tied to those emails, I don't want to be doing things like this and other things. I literally sat there like this for ... It took maybe like two or three days of just doing this and then all of a sudden it became a habit.
Rita HazanNobody's going to have your response time. I even tell my assistant, my personal assistant, "Somebody emails me, email them right away." That's just how I roll from day one, it's just my personality. I'm just aggressive like that. You ask me a question, I'm answering it right away. Okay, don't do it right away but do within five minutes. Just do it within five minutes, that's all I ask of you. I tell them once and I tell them twice is the most. And finally, the more you tell people they want to learn, people want to learn. You just have to let them learn, they make mistakes and learn.

Actually, nothing terrible is going to happen if you don't respond within five minutes, but you just have to give people the opportunity to grow, and to learn, and to make their mistakes, and then mistakes are good. People are so afraid of failure and mistakes, but I've learned so many amazing things from the things that I failed or the mistakes that I made and I'll own them. I made a lot of mistakes with the product line. I took advice from people I probably shouldn't have. And I went into retail that I shouldn't have gone to, and then we ended up not doing well and pulling it out. But at least now, I learned that I should always, always listen to myself, my gut, and really nobody knows more than you do, than I do what your vision is.
Jodi KatzRight. I love that you're talking about this because making mistakes is so valuable and like you said, how big the mistake can be. I say to my team when ... During this whole delegating thing and me finally going on vacation to Disney with my family and not being standing in front of a ride on the phone taking a call, this is the first time ... A few years ago was the first time I did it without actually working for a vacation. And I said to them, "If a client wants to fire us, so something that happens in one week, they're not the right client for us." Right? It's not meant to be, right? You're not responsible for what clients do when they act irrational. You just do your work, be smart. If something crazy like that happens, it has nothing to do with us, it has everything to do with them.
Rita HazanBy the way, if you're good at what you do, doesn't matter what happens. They can't get your talent anywhere else, right?
Jodi KatzThat's right.
Rita HazanIt's impossible. They can try, but those come back because if your talent is what they're looking for, that's what they're coming for no matter what. Cheaper or less expensive, or faster response, or whatever it is, they still don't have you.
Jodi KatzRight. And being okay with knowing that we're not the right partner for everyone, right? That's fine.
Rita HazanThere's a lot of people I won't work with. Even before I was successful, there were people that was just rude and nasty and I'm like, "What the hell?" Even if I had no money, I'm like, "I'm not doing that. That's not worth my time." It's not fun. If it's not fun and it's like torturous, I don't want to do it. I don't want to be involved in that. And even to this day, there's some people that are just really difficult and take the fun out of it and I'm like, "No, no, it's not worth it. I didn't do it before. I won't do it now." I think people just sometimes think if you say no to some jobs, you won't get any more jobs. Say no to the jobs that you don't get pleasure out of and that's fun, then you'll have ... You'll make room for jobs that you do get pleasure from people you like working with.
Jodi KatzI love that. Okay. Let's talk about cutting the cord on social, because that's what ... We had a really fun conversation on this. Social has become for me and it's really just Instagram, I've never been on Facebook.
Rita HazanMe neither.
Jodi KatzFor Facebook-
Rita HazanI don't know how to work on Facebook.
Jodi KatzWe are very similar that way. My team uses it obviously, it's a tool for our business.
Rita HazanI know, mine too.
Jodi KatzBut, for me, Facebook is like Makarina. I've never danced in Makarina, I'm not going to, I've never started on Facebook, I'm not going to, I'm done, it's not happening. For me it's just Instagram, and it's become a habit for me. If I get five minutes of downtime or I'm eating lunch by myself, I automatically go there and I'm not programmed right now to just sit and be quiet, right? Or just to look around. You took a break from social over the holiday, and you told me that you didn't miss it. Tell me what happened.
Rita HazanI took a break from social. I think I started doing it slowly. Sometimes on the weekends if I have the day off, I won't look at it. Well, because I feel like a lot of it is fake and it's annoying and I just ... Sometimes it's aggravating to me because I see people posting hair color and it's just wrong. It's like you know the hair is breaking because it's just ... If you're a colorist and you see some of this ... Yeah, they're pulling out the foils and it looks so fun to watch. But I'm like, I cringe because I'm like, "That poor woman is going to brush her hair and it'd be bald." And it just drives me crazy. Or I see a picture of somebody and I was with them and I'm like, we didn't have that much fun, but it looks like the best day of her life.

I'm like, it wasn't that serious, but she captured her moment, good for you. I think little by little I'm starting to realize that it's ... Everybody's posting their moment, a good place in time and ... Or they have this tea that they're drinking and ... Or they have this shampoo that they're using and you don't use that, it's just like paid advertising them. When it first started, it was a lot of fun because it was like artsy people honest, and now, it's just like, okay, all these companies are sending tons and tons of products to people and they just open boxes and, "Oh, this is a great highlighter" Or, "This is a great toy for my son." Or whatever it is. But it's like, "Okay, what are you using? What do you pay? Why do you buy that?" You get all this stuff for free, but what are you buying? That's what I want to know. Show me a receipt and what you bought, that's what I want to know, not just what they sent you in a box. I wish somebody would do that.
Jodi KatzYeah. We should start doing that. I buy L’Occitane shea butter hand cream. It is the best. I used to work for the company many years ago and I got it for free, and when I left them.
Rita HazanI like the lavender one.
Jodi KatzYeah. I'm an original shea ... Just the plain shea butter, I don't want anything else. I spend money again and again on this product, this is the best hand cream that I've ever tried, I'm not in the business of trying hands creams. I do want to know what people really spend their money on. I'm not afraid to say that I spend my money on St. Ives Apricot Scrub and I use it on my legs. I would never use it my face, although I used to in college. These are the things I buy. This is a $3 product from the drug store, but it's part of my regimen. I agree with you. I think that's the way more fascinating.
Rita HazanI think after a while it's just regurgitated information, and God forbid something happens, it's like everybody has the post, that same situation. We got it in the first five people who posted it, just move on. It's like, I don't know, whatever's happening, what's happening now.
Jodi KatzRight. Well, like when Sephora had their big event, it was full of animation, right? Every single influencer, of course was there. I see how it works and we use it as ... For the agency. Our clients benefit from the powers of people now acting as billboards. It really does work, it really builds awareness. But I agree with you about this sense of Instagram used to be a place for inspiration, especially-
Rita HazanCreativity.
Jodi KatzYeah. I think that we can still find those people. It's just harder to find them ...
Rita HazanIt's hard.
Jodi Katz... Because they're not maybe the strongest content creators.
Rita HazanRight.
Jodi KatzWe talked about this. And let's talk about this because I think anyone in the hair industry would really value your point of view on that. There's people who are really talented color and stylists, right? And then there are content creators who know how to shoot and produce, and script, and edit content who might also be then Silas for colors. To create that content that we see where you see someone going from brunette to blonde and then she goes to purple, that's days of work and days of shooting to edit down to 15 seconds.
Rita HazanYeah, days.
Jodi KatzDays, right? That's different than the person who's sitting with clients all day long, right? You told me that your talented people in your space, they actually don't have time to do ... To create this content, right? They can't actually be part of that conversation on social cause they're so busy actually attending to their clients. What kind of conflict do they have when they see how powerful these messages are in building fans and notoriting the industry versus the fact that they actually don't have time to do this?
Rita HazanI feel like it's okay, this is the real deal, right? For me, my people are building a career. They may not have a billion followers or how many followers on Instagram or whatever, but they're building a career. When this Instagram thing goes away, they're going to have a huge clientele making a lot of money and they ... If their future is set, I feel like these people who do one person every three days and have a million followers, four million followers, what is your future when this app goes away or when people are tired of it? You know what I mean? I get that it's not going away anytime soon, but even still, what is your end game? Is hair color your career, is hairstyling your career or is it ... You want to just be, it's almost like a TV, right?

You just want to be famous for ... And then what? How do you get ... Okay, so Redkins going to pay you one to fall, but then there's going to be somebody younger and cuter that always comes up that works with a bigger celebrity and then what's your future? That's the scary part number one. What's your future? And maybe some people don't care and they don't think about it. They're in the game for right now. But for right now, it was never my thing. It's always like, what's my five year plan? What's my future and longevity? Just because I have five products out and I don't ... And I'm six years old and in the beauty industry, I should have like 50 by now. What's my end goal?

My end goal is not just to produce crappy products that everybody has just to compete. My goal is to be the last man standing, have the products that are necessary. There was no route concealer before I created a route concealer, you know what I mean? There was no product like that on the market, whatsoever. And people wanted me to do a shampoo conditioner and I said, "I'm not really into that game. I'm into something that people need that doesn't exist."
Jodi KatzYou don't think the world needs another Champale?
Rita HazanI didn't until I started washing my hair with color treated shampoos and they were also heavy and greasy that it was so annoying to me because just because you call your hair doesn't mean you need the heaviest ingredients in your shampoo. Shampoo was probably the third, fourth product that I created because I was like, "This is insane. There has to be a way to clean your hair and also hydrated at the same time. It needs to be light, so you don't have to wash your hair every day. But if you do want to wash your hair everyday, go for it, wash your hair every day. I think the other thing about Instagram and who are these people that are showing you this hair color? First of all, Ashley hair color to me is bad. It's bad. It doesn't look good on anyone. I would challenge these people that are posting this ashy hair color to show the woman's face.
Jodi KatzAshley, you mean it's gray?
Rita HazanYeah. Well not gray, but no warmth at all. You know what I mean?
Jodi KatzIt's like, it's all cool tone?
Rita HazanCool, cool, cool, cool tone. There's no warmth at all. I just challenge people number one to show the woman's face.
Jodi KatzBecause you only see the back of their hair.
Rita HazanWe always show the back of her hair and we'll show it wet because it's got to be fried or show it to me the same person unfiltered in two weeks after your tone are washed out and what her hair looks like. I think the art of doing hair properly skilled is like ... It's like, I don't know, I don't think it's getting as much price as it should.
Jodi KatzRight. Because the more colorful or active the posters, the more dwell time I have in the higher on my feet it is, and the more fans and will have. It's like any equation. My daughter who's eight watches these Youtubers too. All they do is scream and shout. They're like, "Yay." And they eat gross candy. All they do is the sourest candy and competing in who can chew it for the longest. This is what she watches, right? You talk about their future, obviously these guys are for the right now, right? They're young guys are making money, maybe they would have been working retail now actually, they're banking money. What their future is, I have no idea, but this is what gets her attention. She loves it. She laughs along with them. The purple hair, this hair, the fried hair, it gets attention because it's interesting. It's like watching those bakery posts where they show you how they glaze the cake. So entrancing.
Rita HazanVery. It sucks you in.
Jodi KatzAnd my guess is any good bakers would never do that ... Do it that way. That wastes too much fun or it's not going to taste good or that's too much of this, but we're just there to eat it up. But I do think that there's an opportunity for a voice like yours, which is saying, "I want to show you really how to protect it."
Rita HazanWell, just because you learned how to do something on Youtube doesn't mean you know how to do it. I get so many people sitting in my chair, actually, not sitting in my chair that come to interview with me for a job and they say, "I finished Beauty School and then I went straight to dry bar and I got a job, and I know how to do five hairstyles. But that's all I know." You've been doing this for four years already. It's almost like time passed for you to ... You're too advanced to be an assistant and actually learn anything because when you're your boss for so long, doing your own clients, it's hard to start shampooing hair and holding Harrop, or handing clip ... A clip to the stylist. It's hard to go back. I would love to challenge young kids to actually learn your skill.

You don't know anything when you're coming out of school. It's almost like going for ... From high school to college and thinking ... You need experience, you need to learn from people who know what they're doing. People who are skilled so that no matter what happens who sits in your chair, you know how to deal with that. Any situation that comes and sits in your chair, no matter what it is, you know how to deal with it and you know how to keep the hair healthy. That's the important part for me. And that's what gives people longevity, and that's how you make money.
Jodi KatzRight. Okay. I love this topic and you segwayed for me, so thank you very much into talking about product. Okay. When we spoke together, I thought that ... I didn't know that you weren't on Facebook, but I thought there were a lot of similarities in the way that I've been thinking as an entrepreneur in you. And one of them was the fact that you're like, you seem really at ease with going at your own pace, taking your own time, knowing that everyone else is running super fast and whatever circles to build, let's say their product business and you're just like, "I'm going to do it my own way, my own time." It's really hard to watch all that for NetApp and RG, hear about it, read about it, see the press around it, see the sounds and stay in your own lane.

Sometimes I do running races and when the bell goes off or the whistle or whatever, everyone around me sprints like crazy, but that's not my piece. My piece is a slow jog and I have to be like, "Jody, go at your own pace, Jody, you go at your pace. Don't sprint with them, don't join them." Because I can't run that way. That's just not how I'm built. How do you approach that? Because there's plenty of noise around you, right? From other brands
Rita HazanSo much. And it's changed so much because when I was ... I was basically the first woman colorist to have a line. And I think it might still be actually, I don't know. I think I still might be the first woman colorist to have a line. I've worked at big companies before and I see how they work and it's really not about the integrity of the product, it's about sales, sales, sales, sales, it's all they want. And I guess being creative person and having integrity ... Even with hair color, you can ask any person I've ever worked with. I took Katy Perry from being black dyed hair to pink, purple, and blue. And I feel like that made this whole pop color. I thought it would go away in five minutes, but it's still lasting without breaking her hair at all.

For me, integrity is so important and the health of the hair is important that somehow I was blessed with the skill, right? I know how to keep hair healthy and get to the point where I want it to be. I wanted to create a product line, but I didn't want anybody to tell me what to do and how to do it. It took me four years to create the Roukin sailor. I didn't have a partner, an investor, nothing, it was totally my money. And I spent a lot of money on R$D because this product did not exist. Nobody even understood what I was saying, I had to go from company to company. They're like, "It's impossible.

I don't know what you mean." Imagine if I had a big company or investor behind me. they'd be like, "We gave you a lot of money, what do you have after a year?" I have nothing for you. Four years of having nothing. Finally, the fourth year I found the chemist who understood what I wanted and we worked together, and we created it. But in those four years, if I had somebody breathing down my back, I probably would've created a shitty product that wasn't really 100% what I wanted, and I wouldn't be here today. I went to [inaudible 00:34:05]. They have a whole row of ... I created, I don't know.
Jodi KatzThey have a wall unit for touch up kind of stuff?
Rita HazanYeah. Sometimes I just look at it ... I don't really think about it in that sense, but sometimes I'll sit back and be like, "Oh shit, I literally created a product that did not exist, I invented something that didn't exist." And that's like I feel like maybe my proudest moment. By the way, I don't have any gray hair, so it's not-
Jodi KatzIt's not even for you.
Rita HazanNo, it's not even for me.
Jodi KatzWell, look at me, I'm struggling with my roots. Oh my God.
Rita HazanDo you have no gray hair?
Jodi KatzI do. Look at me along my hairline. And you know what it does? It's ... What, this is an off topic. What topic? It really does age like a hairline because the gray looks like my skin tone and then it looks like I have less hair, right? This is the stuff that I think about. My hairline-
Rita HazanThe gray headbands or the hairline.
Jodi KatzBut I don't even care about the flux so much, I don't see it, but it is ... I've been gray-ish since I was 25, and it's always been I can't get away from it. It's a very important part of my life. Thank goodness my sister-in-law is a colorist and so it's so easy to be able to get appointments, and she's very generous with me, but it is such an important part of my ... I'm a low maintenance and speedy girl. It is probably on the top of the list because when-
Rita HazanThat's your choice.
Jodi KatzRight. When my hair is gray, I feel like everything's so off.
Rita HazanIt is off. Everything's off.
Jodi KatzYeah.
Rita HazanThe one question I was always asked from people all over the world globally was, "What could we do that gray comes in so fast?" And I thought to myself, these companies have ... So many people R$D and they can't even come up with ... Nobody's listening to the woman, they're just sitting there, just spitting out the same five products just to ... Regurgitating it with different marketing. It took me that long to create this product and it took L'Oreal five minutes to like copy it and claim they're the best at it. That's a little annoying because these big companies, they don't have their own ideas, but they take ideas from the small company or-
Jodi KatzIndependent beauty that really leads innovation, right?
Rita HazanI think the point of the question was, how do I stay in my own lane because whatever I ever wanted to do nobody really understood. Sometimes I'm like, I must be ahead of my time, so people would take some time to catch up. And I also know that when people go at such a high pace, they don't have time to think. And it takes a long time to create product that is good and that works. How many great ideas can a person have? It takes a long time. They can figure a singer, how long do they have to break in between before the next album is amazing too? They need time to create. My weekly remedy is a conditioning treatment. It's not a mask, everybody has a mask. My line has things that don't exist in other ... Because I take ... I took conditioner and I manipulated it. It's not just the mask, it actually works.

It's a two step. The first has a high pH balance, so it opens a cuticle a little bit. It's not chemical, it's all conditioner. Infuses all these amazing ingredients in them or fungreek seed oil, rice proteins to plump it up. The second part has a lower pH and it closes the cuticle and lots of ingredients. It's stuck in your cuticle, so you have no chance of washing it out. It's in your hair, it works. You can tell the difference from one time, you know these are things that take time to create, it's not so easy. You sit in the lab and they're like, "No, it's not ready. No, it's not." I think the brown roux concealer took me one year. The brown roux concealer because it couldn't be too red, it couldn't be too ashy, it had to be completely neutral.
Jodi KatzIs that the number one color that people buy?
Rita HazanYes. Yeah. Because it's like the perfect. It doesn't matter who combs your hair, it's going to match your hair. And I also tested the hell out of it. I'll challenge anybody to put any other roux concealer to my roux concealer and mine doesn't ... When your challenge because it won't come off until you shampoo it out and I tested the hell out of it. Because it took me so long to create, I think it's the perfect product. I think that it ... You can't duplicate it, you could try but people are trying so fast to catch up and just to be like on shelf. They don't sit and take the time to figure out the tiniest, little detail. And all my products, it's all about the tiniest, little detail that makes it perfect.
Jodi KatzOkay the last thing I want to talk about, because we ... You and I could probably talk forever. You have a salon, which is a six day week business, right?
Rita HazanYeah.
Jodi KatzYou have your product line, which is a seven days a week because business, and then you have your celebrity clientele.
Rita HazanRight.
Jodi KatzAnd in this business, sometimes you have to be on their schedule.
Rita HazanI'm on everybody's schedule. It's so funny when you're your own boss, you're not your boss at all. It's not your time at all, everybody else's time. I always say, "I'm not in charge of my time. You're in charge of my time."
Jodi KatzHow do you organize that in your hide in terms of the way that you spend your time, and then how do you curve out time for you?
Rita HazanI see people always having anxiety and they're like, "I don't know how I'm going to do all this." I always say, "Just whatever you're doing right now, be that." I never looked at my schedule for the week. I will not look at it because then I will have anxiety. What do I have to do today? What am I doing right now? I like to do things in the moment. I have an idea of what's happening in the month, I'm not an idiot. I have to know what is happening, but I'm not going to live today for tomorrow.

Right now, I'm doing this with you and I want to be completely present and I'm not looking at my phone, I left my phone over there because it's probably like blowing up and I don't want to look at it and be distracted. What I'm doing now is spending time with you. If I take each moment like that, it doesn't seem so heavy, it's just right now I'm doing this, later I'm doing that. Each thing is it has its own life and it's separate. When you put it all together like, "I don't know how I'm going to do all this. This is insane. I can't breathe." But if you separate it and you just do each thing at one time, you'll be able to be more successful in what you're doing at that moment. And by the way, it's more fun, be more present. I also think being on your phone every five minutes is ... It's dumbing a little bit, makes everybody a dumber because you're not really ... You're not doing ... You're not paying attention to what's happening in front of you, not listening to people. And I think that's why I'm good at creating products is because I listen to people.

When you say, I use this product and I didn't like it because, and then she says the same thing then she says the same thing, I'm like, "Oh, okay, there is something missing there, so let me go find what it is." Because nobody's ... But what do L'Oreal or Clairol have? A bunch of men sitting on a table saying, "Our numbers are low, we have to make a product." They don't know what your hair is doing. I'm a female, I know what my hair is doing. I know what I need, I know it's driving me crazy. Like right now I'm growing out my bangs and it's-
Jodi KatzI really like that hair.
Rita Hazan... Driving me crazy. I hate it right now. I don't know what to do with it. I'm sure some product is going to come.
Jodi KatzBut what do you not like about the way they look right now? Because I think they look really adorable.
Rita HazanBecause they're not here or they're not there. It's like disconnected.
Jodi KatzWell, they're there now. That's adorable.
Rita HazanAnd that's the other thing I think with people, when you look at social media, you think everything is so fast. Some of these people have been doing it for years and you didn't even know about them, you didn't hear about them, they've been struggling. And then all of a sudden, you think it's ... They just started and their career took off. It never happens for anybody like that. Anybody who's a celebrity, they've been doing this for ... They got no, no, no rejection, rejection, rejection a million times before they had that break. For these kids to be like, "I watched you for three months, for six months, I'm ready to ... " I'm like, "You're not ready for anything. You don't even know what you're doing. You're not doing it here."

I just promoted one of our assistants and stylist and he's doing so well, so fast because people know who he is and they know that he's talented and they know that he's doing well, and they want to support him. He did his time, and now he's reaping the benefits of it. Didn't take him five seconds to do it, you know what I mean? It's going to take him a long time to build a clientele, but he will have a clientele that is strong and blast with him forever. He's quick, he's ... MJ is his name. He's very good, he's on social, he's on ... These young kids on social, it's part of their life. I think for the older people, it's a little more difficult because we lived without it and we had some privacy. These young kids don't really have privacy, they don't know what privacy is, they don't know that privacy is good.
Jodi KatzThey might not even cream that type of privacy. They might think that it's right-
Rita HazanI don't think they know that it's exist, I don't think they understand that that exists. And it's a little sad because you still need some privacy.
Jodi KatzWhat is Rita time? Rita private time, what are you doing? Like I'm watching "Below Deck" on "Bravo". What are you doing?
Rita HazanMy husband hates when I have Rita time because I promise you he will talk to me, I won't even hear him. Because I feel like there's so much noise all the time, especially in the salon, I think the salon's too busy. I'm not only coloring hair, but I also being the boss, I have to hear what they're saying on that side and I have to hear, I have to see that woman, why she look confused, what's happening there, so my mind is constant on a million, not even 100. When I go home or on the weekends, I totally zone out and I just ... I'll watch a series of anything. I'll just keep watching and watching. Actually, I watched "The Bird Box", I did not like it at all, I don't get it. Did you?
Jodi KatzNo, I didn't. But I see it like a meme now.
Rita HazanI'm like, "What am I missing? Did I miss something so longest, most boring thing?" I basically watched it all on "Fast Forward" just because everybody was like, "You need to see this." And I'm like, no, I don't need to see this. I like to watch easy things, things you don't have to think about, or I'm not into scary, or murder, or whatever, the world's heavy enough. It's just light things that if you miss an episode, nothing's going to happen.
Jodi KatzWell, thank you so much for sharing, Rita Hazan, with us today. This is so much fun. And for our listeners, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Rita. Please subscribe to our series on iTunes and for updates about the show, follow us on Instagram @WhereBrainsMeetBeautyPodcast. Thank you.
Rita HazanThank you.
AnnouncerThanks for listening to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY® with Jodi Katz. Tune in again for more authentic conversations with beauty leaders.

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