Great Hair 2010: 23 Salons to Try

Tired of your hair and looking for a new stylist? Here are some who are turning heads

By: Cynthia Hacinli, McLean Robbins

Long, Layered Cuts
Immortal Beloved: With the feel of a SoHo loft—there’s a tree growing in a clawfoot bathtub—this Logan Circle salon has “it” girls in its sway with stylish, long-layered cuts. Fans also love the fabulous scented Oribe products used to wash and condition. Mimi Lockard and Tyler Larish give skillful cuts; for color, Kerry Durbin is the name to ask for. Johnny Wright does First Lady Michelle Obama’s hair. Cut: $60 and up for men, $75 and up for women. Color: $75 and up.

High Profile, High Minded
Salon Daniel: Owner Daniel Bechara has styled the hair of such celebs as actress Liv Tyler and her rocker dad, Steven. The salon is community-minded, gathering hair clippings for the BP oil spill and offering free haircuts to soldiers on Flag Day. High-profile clients take advantage of off-hour appointments, and wine and other beverages are offered to all. Bechara gets high marks for cuts and color, Tom Tieu for highlights, and Karina Costantino for Brazilian Keratin treatments. Cut: $35 and up for men, $70 and up for women. Color: $70 and up.

Cool Cuts for All Ages
Chaos Salon: An eclectic indie playlist and stylists who are hip but not pretentious make this garage-chic salon a destination for Generation Y-ers along with their parents and younger siblings. Scissor whizzes are co-owner Mike Cao, known for his face-framing layers and updos, and Gerard Pelayo, who has earned fans for precise fall-into-place cuts. Co-owner Tom Cao and Mandy Lo are the names for color. Footstools make for an ultra-comfy hair wash, and the scalp massage is fabulous. Cut: $40 for men, $65 for women, $25 for ages ten and younger. Color: $60.

Le Shoppe: In Reston Town Center for 19-plus years, this inviting salon takes care of parents as well as teens, and stylists go the extra step to ensure customer satisfaction. Women with short cuts will want to see Nadine Womack, known for precision and attention to detail, while those ready for a new look might ask for friendly Dina Hyman, who listens carefully. Cut: $40 to $60 for men, $50 to $70 for women. Color: $65 and up.

Urban Chic
Corte Salon: You could easily walk by this salon’s unassuming door, but once you’re inside, the mood turns all urban elegance with warm wood floors, pale gray couches, and carved-wood mirrors. All the stylists get high marks. Paola Camacho is known for her Brazilian blowouts. Bonus: A platter of cookies is usually out for nibbling. Cut: $50 and up for men, $85 for women. Color: $85 and up.

Urban Style Lab: Exposed-brick walls, an indie soundtrack, and minimal decor give the space an edgy feel; the Bumble and Bumble products and friendly staff make for a great hair experience. The Phillips sisters—Liana does cuts, Jen does color—and colorist Sertac Ozturk come recommended. Cut: $55 and up for men, $75 and up for women. Color: $80 and up.

Good for Brunettes
Amir Salon, 245 Maple Ave. W., Suite 203, Vienna; 703-319-9420: The vibe is warm and personal, and the salon has a reputation for low-maintenance cuts and color—especially brunette shades. Owner Amir Gilanshah consults with clients—sometimes for as long as 30 minutes—to choose the right style and color for skin tone, hair texture, and face shape; he also asks lifestyle questions before snipping. Cut: $60 to $75 for men, $75 and up for women. Color: $135 and up. Free consultations by appointment.

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Power Cuts
Violet Hair and Skin Care: This violet-walled salon’s client list cuts a swath across politics and media with such names as Rahm Emanuel, Jake Tapper, and Valerie Jarrett. Owners Jimmy Cehreli and Mesut Ozaydin are known for their cuts and color—and charm. White wine and tea are a plus. Cut: $55 and up for men, $125 and up for women. Color: $90 and up.

Blondes and Redheads
One80: Hillary Clinton and Natalie Portman have had their hair done here, as have a host of lobbyists and Hill types. Owner Rémi Metsu is a whiz with scissors, and business partner Jeremy Buchanan gets kudos for highlights and blond shades. Melissa Murphy is tops for redheads. Cut: $60 and up for men, $90 and up for women. Color: $80 and up.

Ury & Associates: Loyal clients, particularly blondes, rave about the natural-looking color by colorist Patricia Dias and the movement-filled cuts by Sara Lord at this Georgetown salon. The unassuming location—you enter via a private elevator in the Steve Madden shop downstairs—is made for VIP access, and owner Ury Emsellem has authors Sally Quinn and Nora Ephron in his little black book of clients. The cost can be higher than at most area salons—a women’s cut goes up to $135—but regulars say you can’t put a price on quality. Cut: $45 and up for men, $80 and up for women. Color: $75 and up.

Great Highlights
Alchemy Salon: For hair with a sun-kissed glow even when summer is long gone, Alchemy is a good bet. Other perks: cookies and tea, online booking, and massage chairs at the hair-wash station. Though all the stylists are talented, in-demand Taylor Malik is known for wash-and-go cuts, while Jesslyn Irvin is expert at snipping thick, curly hair and creating natural-looking highlights. Cut: $41 and up for men, $58 and up for women. Color: $55 and up. Highlights: $85 and up.

Trendy and Fun
Bella Bethesda Salon: The fact that every stylist here has a great haircut is a good sign. There’s a bit of a party vibe with loud tunes and a spread of iced tea and cookies in this spare, light-filled aerie. Stylists and colorists are all talented, but standouts include co-owner Lindsey Dabney for cuts, Ngoc Le for highlights, Megan Atkinson and Tania Osinaga for curly cuts, and Demetrios Bafitis for color and blow dry. Shampooist Khang Sharp is known for transporting head massages. Cut: $35 and up for men, $48 and up for women. Color: $55 and up.

Multicultural Hair
Strands Hair Studios: Shirley Gordon, who opened her salon at age 25, has styled everyone from the wives of Wizards and Redskins players to sister tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams to Stacie Scott Turner of The Real Housewives of Washington D.C. Gordon was one of five finalists for hairstylist of the year in this year’s North American Hairstyling Awards. Cut: $95 and up. Color: $55 and up.

Friendly and Relaxing
Eclips Salon Day Spa: A warm welcome and low-key mood, not to mention a cappuccino machine, make this salon an oasis for many. Cutter Ashley Love has a way with short, thick, wavy hair. Tiffany Dwyer and Stanley Le are good at color, and Telisha Allison is a choice for highlights. Cut: $41 and up for men, $61 and up for women. Color: $74 and up.

Eyma Salon and Spa: Even first-time clients leave this bustling salon feeling like old friends, and from all the hugs and warm greetings it’s clear that most repeat customers are. Stylists in the bright space with terra-cotta-colored walls are just as comfortable creating a trendy, modern do for a twentysomething as they are with more traditional styles. Versatile stylist Denise Sharpe has a loyal fan base, as does Didi Greene, whose specialty is curly hair but who can work magic with a razor for funky layered cuts, too. Cut: $40 and up for men, $65 and up for women. Color: $70 and up.

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Good for Long Hair
Studio 355 Hair & Day Spa: Gleaming wood and metal with black accents make for a sleek, hard-edged look, but the salon has its warm and fuzzy side, too. Stylists are friendly and respect hair—especially long hair—and the massage chair at the hair-wash station is dubbed divine by fans. Paul Lochard is a talented snipper and colorist, Nami Cho and Mojdeh Shadab are good for complex cuts, and Victor Roa is a master of hair extensions and Keratin straightening. Cut: $45 and up for men, $70 and up for women. Color: $70 and up.

Under the Radar
Paul Bosserman, 3214 N St., NW; 202-337-0020: Intimate and unassuming, this snug boutique salon has a loyal following—many people have been clients for decades. Owner Bosserman has a reputation for modern precision cuts that still look great weeks later. Bach Lam gets kudos for highlights and color. This is a small operation, so call two weeks in advance for an appointment. Cut: $65 and up for men, $85 and up for women. Color: $85 and up.

Old Favorites
George at the Four Seasons Salon: Chaffeured SUVs have been known to line up in front of the Georgetown Four Seasons Hotel waiting for clients to come out of this longtime favorite of the power crowd. Judy Woodruff, Maureen Dowd, and Chris Matthews have all been clients, and Nancy Pelosi is there most weekday mornings for a blowout en route to the Capitol. Stylists and colorists are all top-notch. Cut: $45 for men, $100 for women. Color: $100.

Ilo Salon & Day Spa: Stylists at this bright-white salon in a former 19th-century rowhouse are Edward Scissorhands quick, and the results are impressive. Laurent Chauvet and Patricia Melgares have a knack with curly hair and layered cuts—Laurent does great blowouts, too. Even the coffee gets raves. Cut: $60 and up for men, $90 and up for women. Color: $131 and up.

Salon L’eau: Looking less like a salon than a chic friend’s home, L’eau has served loyal clients for five years—formerly, it was Jean-Luc Salon. A team of stylists is adept at cutting and color and, regulars say, can help a client find a style that suits his or her lifestyle and face shape. Stylists never seem to get “scissor happy,” either, so don’t worry about going in with long locks and coming out with a bob—unless you ask for it. Cut: $55 and up for men, $85 and up for women. Color: $85 and up.

Toka Salon & Day Spa: Owner Nuri Yurt divides his time between his New York outpost and his original Georgetown shop, so appointments with the color-and-cut whiz are hard to get—call at least a week in advance for a weekday appointment, longer for coveted weekends. Other good stylists are Marc Ricciardelli at the Penn Quarter location—a dead ringer for fashion designer Marc Jacobs—for color, cuts, and blowouts, and Neci Gunes for blond shades and long-hair shaping, also at Penn Quarter. Cut: $45 and up for men, $90 and up for women. Color: $80 and up.

Movie-Star Hair

Ted Gibson: This salon has made headlines for its celebrity clients, including Angelina Jolie, Renée Zellweger, and Anne Hathaway. The mod, white-on-white salon looks celebrity-worthy, but Gibson and partner colorist Jason Backe’s once-every-six-weeks appearances as well as their exorbitant prices ($950 for Gibson, $500 and up for Backe) make building rapport hard. You can get similar results for less with Neven Radovic, a stylist known for his detail-oriented cuts and personable demeanor. His hair-washing skills are tops, too—Radovic likes to do the shampoo himself to get a feel for a client’s hair. Jessica Dunaway is a choice for natural highlights and color. Cut: $60 and up for men, $90 and up for women. Color: $95 and up.

Rock-Star Style
Erwin Gomez Salon & Spa: This glam salon feels like a nightclub, with house music on a loop. Gomez, who dresses like a rock star and whom many consider the “eyebrow guru,” has a long list of TV appearances, including one on Oprah. So it’s not surprising that the flamboyant Luigi Parasmo, who developed a following for his cuts and highlights at the Watergate Salon, has landed here. Another to seek out is Jean Jekal for cuts and color. Cut: $55 for men, $90 and up for women. Color: $90 and up.

Sherri Dalphonse, Sophie Gilbert, Gwendolyn Purdom, and Sarah Zlotnick contributed to this article.

This article was published in the September 2010 issue of The Washingtonian

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