Photography by Trevor Smith

Denis De Souza

Hairstylist & Founder, Mare Salon

| Hollywood

Nestled in West Hollywood lies a tiny jewel box; it’s entrance enrobed in the kind of moody, cozy grey you can’t help but wish to move into— so much so, in fact, that it’s easy to forget that this is Mare, a hair salon, and not a home. In reality, little could be more fitting for its co-founder Denis De Souza, a man who’s made a name for himself via his mastery of [hair] color (in the biz, his nickname is quite literally the “King of Color”). At De Souza’s salon— which he co-owns with beauty pals Mara Roszak and Alex Polillo— color immediately makes you feel things; so too does color by De Souza. The Brazilian-born hair colorist is responsible for the sun-strewn tresses of such Hollywood VIPs as Brie Larson, Mila Kunis and Lilly Collins, not to mention he’s colored the pages (mmhmm, pun intended) of Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire. Of course, De Souza did pioneer, if not perfect, the all-natural looking color movement and in a world of bottle blondes, that’s some highly coveted savoir faire. Here, he sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on LA.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: There are so many great options, it’s hard to pick only one [standby]. I guess it would be a tie between Cecconi’s (MAP ITx) and Craig’s on Melrose (MAP ITx). Both have great ambiance, people watching and food/drinks. Going to either just never gets old. (I always end up running into someone I know!)

COFFEE OR TEA: It depends on my mood. I’m not really a coffee drinker, but whenever I feel like treating myself to one, I love going to Blackwood Coffee Bar (MAP IT, x). It’s a really cozy coffee bar on Sunset between my house and work. There’s always a great crowd, it’s very inviting and it has amazing coffee and tea.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: It’s got be Tower Bar at The Sunset Tower Hotel (MAP ITBOOK ITx). It’s elegant with great lighting, amazing service, great food and cocktails, and most of all, it has Dimitri, the maître d’! He’s a total character. I love having dirty martinis and oysters there— it seems to go with the bar’s old Hollywood vibe and it makes me feel decadent!

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: A vodka martini, dirty (more on the filthy side, wink, wink). SoHo House (MAP ITx) makes a good one and they serve it in a really beautiful glass. I also love drinking 1942 Don Julio with a splash of soda and lime— especially if I’m in the dancing mood.

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: I loooove happy hour and my absolute favorite place to go after work is Cecconi’s. I end up seeing a bunch of friends there and they make the best margarita in town. I often find myself indulging in one after a busy day with clients.

DINNER WITH FRIENDS: If we’re a group of more than eight, I like going to Ysabel (MAP IT, x). They have a cabana that can fit a bunch of people and it’s always fun thanks to their great outdoor space and cocktails. The waiters happen to be very attractive too which helps…

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: Every time I’m hosting someone from out-of-town, I immediately take them to Chateau Marmont (MAP ITBOOK ITx) for dinner. The courtyard is just so beautiful— you feel like you are in the south of France or Italy. I love having rosé or champagne when I’m there because it’s that kind of place. Besides all of the Hollywood glamour, guests also love when they can spot a celebrity…

MUSIC PICK: My favorite kind of music is pop/dance music. It’s got be upbeat, happy, sweaty, groovy and grouchy, all at the same time. The place that has it all music-wise— plus, a bunch of cool people dripping in sweat on the dance floor— is Giorgio’s at The Standard (MAP ITx). #Boogiewoogie.

BEST BRUNCH: I love going to Quality (MAP IT, x) for brunch. It was the first place that I ever went to for brunch in LA 16 years ago and the same people still work there. The food is delicious; they make the best biscuit in town! Now, if I want to indulge and eat and drink for hours, I’ll go to SoHo House; they have this amazing buffet full of yummy stuff and they make the best Aperol spritz. (I can easily have 10 of them— they remind me of summer in Europe… so refreshing!)

HEALTHY STAPLE: Café Gratitude (MAP ITBOOK ITx)— I start with an outrageous shot, then move on to either the “Humble” bowl or a “Warm-Hearted” plate because I simply am those three things… 😉 

LA’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: Not a lot of people know about the beautiful Wanderlust (MAP IT, x). That’s where I go to unwind from the LA lifestyle and to practice yoga, meditate or take advantage of something else they have to offer (sound baths, workshops, vegan food and relaxing music). It’s good to keep our spirits and minds balanced when living in a place like LA/Hollywood.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The sunshine and being in my car driving around LA while listening to my favorite jams— it gives me such a free feeling…

REGULAR AT: I go to Afterglow Beverly Hills (MAP IT, x) at least once a month to get an amazing facial with my two favorite ladies, Nadia and Natalie. They’re two beautiful sisters who run this very intimate clinic and they offer the most incredible treatments and products for your skin. I do a lot of on camera stuff and I need to keep a healthy looking skin (especially after drinking all of my aforementioned favorite cocktails…).

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: I love Tower Bar for a romantic evening. Like I said, it has the perfect lighting, a piano, and I usually ask to be seated by one of the windows because of its great views of the city!

GO-TO GETAWAY: I love to travel. It’s the thing I enjoy the most in life. I love exploring new places and going back to places that I’ve enjoyed before, but I feel my happiest when I’m in Mykonos. There’s an energy about that island that is hard to explain and I tend to go back every summer. 

CLOSET CHECK: I work in the beauty industry and I happen to like fashion too. I’m usually casual, but I love to wear really cool shoes, jackets and sunglasses— I’m all about the accessories. I usually go to Opening Ceremony (MAP ITx) and Barneys (MAP ITx) or I shop online.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: I’d say that my interior style is clean, somewhat modern, but also comfy. I just love art, photographs and a splash of color.

QUOTIDIAN KEEPER: I’ve been going to the same dry cleaners forever: Village Cleaners (MAP IT, x). They are amazing and they have great tailors that can fix pretty much anything!

BEAUTY ESSENTIALS: I can’t live without Lumishine Gloss by Joico. I use it after all of my procedures— whether it’s a root coloring or a head of highlights. Gloss closes the cuticles of the hair preventing color fading while keeping it healthy and super shiny looking! It’s my go-to secret weapon. 

TRICK OF THE TRADE: When you’re feeling like you need a “pick me up,” a face frame will do just the job! 

ULTIMATE BEAUTY STOP: Mare Salon (MAP ITx)! Not only because I’m one of the partners alongside Mara Roszak and Alex Polilo, but because we truly carry a very selective offering of amazing hair products.  

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: A Le Labo Santal candle (MAP IT, x) is always the perfect gift (for a man or woman). 

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: I love teeth and I take really good care of mine. I’ve been going to Dr. Naz at Thirty-Two Dentistry (MAP IT, x) for the past 15 years. She’s pretty great!

FIT PICK: I try to work out 4-5 times per week— two sessions with my amazing trainer Eduardo (Reach him at 310.382.6083), two Pilates Platinum (MAP IT, x) classes and Barry’s Bootcamp (MAP ITx) once. 

ULTIMATE LA MOMENT: It’s amazing when something that was once your goal becomes a reality. For me, it was signing the lease and opening the doors to Mare Salon. It was definitely surreal and having it happen here in LA made it even more magical. CP

Denis’ LA

From L to R: First Row: Salad at Cafe Gratitude; Inside Blackwood Coffee Bar; Footwear at Opening Ceremony; Inside Cafe Gratitude. Second Row: A dirty martini at Tower Bar; Sunset Tower; Salad at Craig’s; Coffee from Blackwood Coffee Bar.


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