New Kid on the Block: Lorraine Massey and Spiral (x,y,z)

I am not a religious person, but if I was, and my religion was hair, Lorraine Massey would be my guru. When she talks about hair — especially the curly variety (and you can see she comes by this honestly) — it’s with an impassioned reverence and devotion. The curl, and if taken at its most basic form, the spiral, is her inspiration for nearly everything.

“Curls may just have saved my life,” she says. (We had this conversation in January, before the world shut down. The salon opened in December on West Broadway in the old Calypso space.) “There are no straight lines in nature.”

It began with a blowout. Massey was working at (the famous) John Dellaria salon in Soho in the late ’80s and had blown out one side of a client’s head and couldn’t bring herself to do the other half. “I can give you the best blow out in the world, but I just choose not to,” she said at the time. She was fired.

But that forced her to start her own thing, and clients would come to her fifth-floor walkup in Little Italy (“I would pass John Gotti on the street in his pjs.”) It’s there and then that she committed herself to natural hair, and to the idea that we should all be self-sufficient and not rely on something (a blowout, for instance) or someone to make you feel beautiful. “You have to make the most of what you have been given. Otherwise it’s like defacing nature.” And, she adds, no one will ever chase you down the street to ask where you got your hair straightened.

She started Devachan in 1993, and because she couldn’t afford the salon rent *and* an apartment, she lived in the back of the shop. Her first child was born there. She was struggling, but they made it work. (Her kids, of course, are curly-headed too, but in different forms: her son has an Afro, and her daughter has the epitome of low-frizz, low maintenance curly hair.) And she became an activist, in a way. She has written two books — “Curly Girl: The Handbook” and “Silver Hair: The Handbook,” in another angle on going natural. She created the first sulfate-free shampoo and continues to create all-natural products — the latest being CurlyWorld. CurlyGirl Kids will be coming this season.

There were challenges along the way. She took on investors at Devachan who voted her out in 2013. Her contract did not allow her to make money from cutting hair, so she cut hair for free, creating a web of goodwill that sustained her for the four years of her non-compete clause. “Everything I have, I have because of word of mouth,” she says.

She has committed herself to bringing the natural curl back to women everywhere (she also teaches her technique in Curl by Curl Classes), and showing them that — and this is her motto — curls are not a trend, they are a lifestyle. And she is still amazed by each of the curls she has discovered along the way, and archives them in a lucite storage container in the salon.

“In a way we are all spirals, even if some of us just take a tiny turn.” Then she suddenly told me to not move an inch and she ran to the back for her phone (I was impressed she spoke to me that whole time without it). She clicked a photo and showed me two of my (pretty much straight straight) locks making a heart shape on my shoulder. “Some you can see more clearly and some you can’t, but they are there.”

Spiral (x,y,z)
139 W. Broadway, Duane/Thomas



  1. Lorraine is the best stylist, she is a true master of curls. Love her philosophy that curls are a lifestyle. Wishing her lots of success with Spiral (xyz)!

  2. They cut men’s hair too. I have an appointment today.

  3. I think Lorraine means “The Chin” in his PJ’s
    Vincent Gigante – John Gotti was a Queens boy

  4. They cut straight hair too. Lorraine is an incredible force of nature and colorist Ed is an artist to DYE for!!

  5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Lorraine. She really gets (and loves and respects) curly hair. People have stopped me on the street to ask me where I get my hair done I tell them all about her–I’ve sent friends, family, and strangers to Lorraine. She’s created the most zen space at her salon; it’s a joy to be there–even under the dryer! I could not recommend the salon more.

  6. I went to Lorraine at the first Devechan Salon way back when. She taught me how to make the most of my silver wavy/curly hair. I have followed her teachings for all of these years and I am so happy that she is working again and especially that she is in our neighborhood.

  7. I was scheduled to get my haircut by Lorraine before the pandemic shut everything down. My curly haired (always beautifully coiffed) friend has been going to her for years plus a handful of other friends that were converted devotees after their first cut by her. Eddie, colorist, I can attest to. I loved the color he naturally swirled through my hair. Six months later, it still looks great.