Rita Hazan, a native New Yorker, is all color and creativity. An ambitious innovator, her name is synonymous among celebrities and socialites with her hugely successful salon on 57 Street and 5th Ave. Said to be the first female colorist to open her own establishment with no financial backers in 2007, Rita is a first of many things, including creator of a new category, root concealer. “Always listen to your gut and follow your instincts, even if no one around you agrees or understands at the time,” said the 44-year-old who started her career as an assistant at Oribe Salon. “I knew it was a product needed on the market, but none of these big corporations saw that. Now a lot of them have copied mine. I’m creating as a woman and a renowned hair colorist, so I know exactly what you need before you know it yourself.”In addition to her salon, she has created a number of hair care collections including True Color Shampoo, Conditioner and Ultimate Shine Gloss; Root Concealer Touch Up Stick and Spray, and Triple Threat Split End Remedy. These products are available in Sephora and in international markets. In this week’s 5 Minutes with… CEW Beauty Insider got to the root of the matter with the clever colorist.

CEW Beauty Insider: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made so far?
Rita Hazan: Packaging. I changed my packaging two times. I just couldn’t find the right people who understood what I wanted.

CEW: Best advice for newbies entering the business today?
RH: It’s not as easy as you see on Instagram. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. They usually have worked for years with no recognition. Work hard and be ambitious. Most importantly, have integrity and be nice.

BI:What’s something no one tells you when starting a business?

RH: You will probably fail a few times in different capacities. But never stop. It’s just the universe telling you you’re going in the wrong direction. Recalculate and keep going. Don’t be afraid of hearing the word ‘no’.

BI: Which product (not your own) is your favorite and why?

RH: Oribe Rock Hard gel. I use it to pull my hair back in a tight bun or when I braid it. I love this product and I could see Oribe having a great time creating it – ‘let’s make it like Elmer’s glue!’ Lol, I love him.

BI: What’s a mantra you live by?

RH: Follow your gut – everyone is created with different strengths, know what yours are and stick to them.

BI: If you were to write the note found in a fortune cookie, what would it say?

RH: An ambitious person cannot fail.