Kyoko Motonaga has moved to Arte Salon (294 Elizabeth Street, 212-941-5932, artesalon.com)
While there are hundreds of places to get your hair cut in the city, it’s rare to find a stylist with so much skill that months after leaving the salon, people are still asking if you just got it cut. Kyoko Motonaga at Ultra on the Lower East Side is exactly that kind of stylist. With the patience of a fine artist, she studies each person’s face like a canvas, carefully considering the most flattering shape before she begins expertly snipping away until every last strand is precisely where she wants it. Besides working at Ultra, the Tokyo native is often seen running around Manhattan with her pomades and combs to high-profile fashion shows, photo shoots for glossy magazines, and other glamorous assignments (including styling Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls for Saturday Night Live and actress Chiaki Kuriyama for the New York premiere of Kill Bill). Motonaga also specializes in chemical work: Whether it’s a thermal relaxer, a spiral permanent wave, or a simple color, she can make your hair do anything you want. But if Motonaga—who has excellent taste—tells you a blonde pixie cut won’t look right on you, we recommend you save yourself the tears and listen.