Owner Lacie Mitala and stylists Shannon Corti, Maria Corti and Jamie Whalen gather for a photo at Terra Salon on July 19, 2011. Not pictured: Jeff Howard. (Staff photo by Samantha Sciarrotta.)

The stylists at Terra Salon in Robbinsville know a thing or two about trends in both hair and fashion.

“I take the girls to Fashion Week twice a year, and we go and do hair,” owner Lacie Mitala said. “We love it. Hair and fashion—it’s our life.”

Mitala said she stresses constant education to her employees. Experiences like those at Fashion Week in New York City give the stylists an insider’s perspective on the latest trends, allowing them to keep up with what may be popular at any given moment.

“You need education to keep up-to-date,” stylist Jamie Whalen said. “Every year it’s something different, every season it’s something different, so it’s great to keep up on everything that you need to learn.”

Mitala agreed. She said that these ideas apply not only to fashion but to hair as well because the two are “one in the same.”

Her philosophy comes from years of experience as a stylist. Mitala began assisting in a salon right out of high school and went on to pursue extensive, advanced training in fashion hubs like London, California and Toronto after receiving her stylist’s license.

This kind of training, though, had her working in large, “factory-type” salons for much of her career. Being exposed to that often impersonal atmosphere made Mitala realize that while she wanted to keep the high standards of those salons, she needed something different.

So just a year ago, she opened Terra Salon.

The salon offers all hair, waxing and nail services. One thing the stylists specialize in is the Brazilian blowout, a popular smoothing treatment. Mitala’s salon uses the newest product, Brazilian Blowout ZERO, which doesn’t include formaldehyde and other controversial chemicals like other versions of the treatment do.

Using as few chemicals as possible is something that Mitala strives to do.

“I try my hardest to use as many natural products as I can,” she said. “We use and sell the Pureology line, which is 100 percent natural and vegan. The color that we use is low-ammonia. All of the nail products are formaldehyde-free.”

Terra Salon is about as far removed from a “factory-type” salon as one can get. The space is fresh and modern, yet welcoming. There are only four styling chairs, but the area is roomy and not too compact. The dynamic of the staff, though, is what Mitala said defines the Terra Salon experience.

Every member of her team has known one another for several years.

“When I opened my salon, I only wanted people that I knew and trusted,” she said. “We have a really great dynamic. My clients love that. They can feel that we all get along really, really well, and that’s one thing I always try to keep here.”

Mitala, whose family mostly lives in Florida, considers her salon to be a “sisterhood.”

“They’re sort of my family here,” she said.

Mitala has two children, who are often in the salon, so she frequently merges her two families. Her son, Angelo, 11, is supportive of his mother’s business endeavors.

“She now has her own salon, so she can just do what she would like with it, and I think it’s turned out great,” he said. “She has a great fashion sense. She is always able to cut anybody’s hair and put it in almost any style, and she’s really good at what she does.”

Mitala and Whalen said that the family atmosphere is shared by the salon’s clients, many of whom came to Terra Salon with the stylists. “You feel comfortable when you walk in,” Whalen said. “You walk right in, you feel at home, and you know you’re going to get a great experience from the time you enter to the time you leave.”

Terra Salon is located at 1240 Route 130 South in Robbinsville and is open Tuesday-

Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To book an appointment, call (609) 301-7800.