Middletown beauty salon owner who specializes in biracial hair expanding to Norwalk

Robert Hundley

MIDDLETOWN — The Main Switch Beauty Salon owner Sonia Santavenere was quite content managing her Middletown shop when a client whose hair she was styling asked whether she’d be interested in moving into Fairfield County.

Santavenere, who has operated the 390 Washington St. hairdressing shop for 26 years on Route 66 in Middletown, and lives above the shop, specializes in biracial and “overly curly” hair. Some of her clients with challenging locks already drive long distances for her expert services — from as far away as New Hampshire and New York, she said.

When posed with the question last year, right off the bat Santavenere was skeptical. “I said, ‘Hell, no,’” she said with a laugh Tuesday.

That’s until one of her 15-year stylists called her bluff: “‘Sonia, you know you’re lying,’” she recalled the employee saying. “‘You would love to have a salon in a mall.’”

She was perhaps right, thought Santavenere, who went to view a few of the woman’s plazas, including a 1,200-square-foot space located next door to a Starbucks and Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk.

“I was sold,” said Santavenere, who calls the entire experience a “fairy tale story.”

The Main Switch II, located at 56 Westport Ave. in Norwalk, off the Old Post Road, will host its grand opening Dec. 13 in a space that’s a little more compact than her current salon. The three-chair shop will allow Santavenere’s customers to enjoy even more personalized services, she said.

Education, and making sure each guest gets a personalized styling regime and the right products for their hair type, are key in a Paul Mitchell-focused salon, the owner said.

Santavenere hosts myriad social events, such as Girls Let’s Talk, The Hat Party, and Do’s and Don’t of Bi-Racial Hair, according to her website. These are all designed to provide an “inviting atmosphere where clients can openly engage in conversation.”

A good number of Santavenere’s customers have been with her since the beginning, she said.

“No matter if you’re mixed with Black and Chinese, no matter if you’re mixed with Black and white, whatever you’re mixed with, the hair type is going to be different,” Santavenere said. “You really need to go to somebody that will know how to direct you moving forward in taking care of your overly curly/biracial hair.”

The new salon is “more modern, and clean — white. It’s smaller, so you get one-on-one service,” she said. “It’s a clean, sleek, 21st century look.”

The shop also is equipped with state-of-the-art tools, Santavenere said, such as Salon Pro’s rotating “halo” infrared heating ring, which dries hair in half the time, and cuts down significantly on color processing time.

Customer Lisa Iselin has weekly appointments at The Main Switch. “She offers service with a smile — extremely talented and goes all the way out for clients,” she said immediately after her appointment Tuesday. “It’s a joy to come here.”

Iselin, who lives in Fairfield, works at The SoNo Collection in Norwalk, so she said she’s thrilled for a new, closer location. “She makes it a fun experience,” Iselin said. “What I love about it is, she helps you understand how to take care of your own hair. It’s not like an in-and-out.”

The Main Switch II will be open Monday to Saturday.

For information, visit Main Switch At Westport or Main Switch Beauty on Facebook, and mainswitchsalonct.com.

Next Post

Deliver The Gift Of Glow With These 8 Beauty Products And Experiences

Skincare routines always need a little extra TLC in the winter when temperatures are low and the air is dry, which is why skincare products make for perfect holiday gifts for loved ones—and yourself! Whether you’re shopping for yourself or looking for a great skincare gift for a family member […]