In a city full of quick services and noticeably watered down client/stylist relationships, Lauren E. Hack and Vanessa Ungaro, founders of a “speakeasy-style” collaborative salon on downtown Manhattan’s Nassau street, have a uniquely retro sensibility.

“For us it’s all about how you feel, it’s about the intimacy of the service and the client feeling nurtured and taken care of,” said Lauren, a colorist with more than a decade of experience who specializes in balayage. “You’ll leave looking beautiful, you’ll leave feeling confident.”

Their salon, which is tucked within a low-rise apartment building in the center of the commuter-packed Financial District, is meant as a one-stop shop for a customized—and complete—makeover, from cutting to color to makeup application, with discretion at the helm. With its crisp white walls, artful lighting and sleek chairs, Lauren+Vanessa was created to promote privacy, intimacy of service and to focus on artistry, which comes easily for the talented stylists.

“We believe in trends and follow them but it’s more about being timeless, classic and practical,” said Vanessa, a makeup artist and hairstylist whose impeccable dry cutting technique harkens to the preferred methodology of former boss Edward Tricomi of Warren Tricomi.

At the heart of the operation, without a doubt, are the founders themselves. Both effervescent with the ideal combination of fashion-forward and non-threatening, the two were inspired to launch the salon after meeting as senior stylists at Warren Tricomi in 2012. The idea sprouted from their joint belief that there was a lack of customized care in the salon industry.

“By starting a partnership we merged our background, talents and ideals to create our brand,” said Lauren. “We are dedicated to delivering the very best service possible by creating a personalized look that is easy to maintain.”

To keep the intimate feeling, Lauren and Vanessa implemented a series of “speakeasy-like” rules. Among them, no walk-ins, and a focus on word of mouth rather than traditional marketing. “We specifically chose to be by appointment-only so every woman who walks in the door knows their time with us is all about them,” said Vanessa, adding that the salon uses Oribe products exclusively.

Services, which range from $80 for a blow out to $500 for a full-service cut and color, are personalized, time-wise, to fit into a busy New Yorker’s schedule. The salon itself, which has no windows facing the street, is meant to keep everything happening within a well-kept secret.

“You don’t want to be sitting in a window of a salon with dye on your eyebrows,” laughed Vanessa, whose oft-changed look is presently a chic black bob with a platinum face-framing streak, inspired by Daphne Guinness. “When mixed in with the chaos, coming in from the NYC streets had to feel calming and relaxing.”

When asked how they attract new clients, it seems a modern day word of mouth system has become their biggest client generator. “Instagram is the new referral, especially because beauty is such a visual industry,” said Lauren, whose blonde pixie ‘do is inspired by Maxim Editor-in-Chief,Kate Lanphear. “You can find what you’re looking for in a hair color or style just by writing a hashtag. It’s also a great way to stay connected to the beauty world and inspire one another.”

The magic formula seems to be working. With a growing client list that includes actors, musicians and models like Ana Beatriz Barros, Janina Gavankar, Lisa Edelstein, and of course, others who can’t be named, Lauren and Vanessa are intent on becoming a “lower Manhattan staple.”

With the goal of also becoming a “lifestyle brand,” Lauren and Vanessa have recently introduced and are expanding a namesake cosmetics line, beginning with lip glosses, lipsticks and lip liners, inspired by their bridal customers. “The colors vary for the fashion girl, the modest bridesmaid or the mother of the bride. There is a color for everyone,” said Vanessa, adding that the formulas are long-wearing and designed for touch ups throughout the big day. The duo is currently looking to expand their line into retail distribution.

When asked what’s next, Lauren is coy. “We have something exciting in the works but you will have to wait and see!”

Getting To Know You, Getting to Know All About You

CEW: What are some current beauty and fashion trends you are loving?
Lauren: I love seeing the fashion of the 70’s all over the September issues.

Vanessa: I am so happy the 90’s brown lipstick is back! 

CEW: What is your beauty philosophy?

Lauren & Vanessa: Think timeless, look beautiful, feel confident!

CEW: What are the beauty products you can’t live without?

Lauren: Diorshow New Look Mascara
Vanessa: Dr. Hauschka Clarifying Toner

CEW: Who is your celebrity crush?

Lauren: Jason Statham

Vanessa: Jason Sudeikis

CEW: What is your choice cocktail?

Lauren: Barrio Chino’s spicy margarita
Vanessa: The Spotted Pig’s Manhattan

CEW: What are the biggest hair mistakes women make?

Lauren & Vanessa: So many women make the mistake of not applying a thermal heat shield to their hair before blow drying or using a hot tool. It’s like going in the sun without sunblock! Our favorite is Oribe’s Balm d’Or.

CEW: What is your go-to lip color?

Lauren: A bright crimson hue called Red Carpet by Lauren+Vanessa

Vanessa: Melrose by Lauren+Vanessa, which is a creamy shade of salmon

CEW: Is there a movie you ladies can watch over and over again?
Lauren & Vanessa: Studio 54!

CEW: What is your favorite vacation spot?

Lauren: Capri, Italy

Vanessa: Rome, Italy

CEW: What is your favorite NYC locale?
Lauren: Mr. Chow

Vanessa: The Spotted Pig

CEW: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Lauren: A ballerina

Vanessa: A makeup artist and hair stylist

CEW: Who is your style icon?

Lauren: Kate Moss
Vanessa: Linda Rodin