What makes for a good hairstylist? It depends—on your hair, your style, your budget, and your taste.
A woman with fine, long hair might praise a certain stylist, while a woman with thick, curly hair might say that same stylist gave her the worst cut of her life. That’s one reason why, when looking for a stylist, you should get advice from people who not only have hair you like but who have hair like yours.
Some women say the best salon is one that offers a friendly greeting and charges a fair price, one where the stylist listens. Others don’t mind if a salon has a bit of attitude and the stylist is pricey—as long as the end result is terrific.
To compile this list of recommended salons and stylists, we asked stylish men and women to tell us who does their hair. We also surveyed readers and visited salons. Consider this a guide not to the area’s best—an impossible task, given how personal the decision is—but to places that received the most frequent, strongest recommendations for quality and service.
There are other good stylists in the area—in fact, for more recommendations, check out the photos on pages 92 and 93 of the September issue. Want to nominate a stylist for a future article—or comment on our list? Leave a comment here or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Salons With Style
Immortal Beloved Owner Kelly Gorsuch was once a fashion stylist, and it shows—from the furniture he designed out of reclaimed wood to the tree growing in a clawfoot bathtub. We heard the most buzz about this salon, with recommendations for almost every stylist. Young women with longish locks particularly like the skillful cuts by Liana Phillips, Mimi Lockard, and Vivian Cooper. Other favorites include Mike Charland, Nate Shearer, Soel Hassani, Ashley Geesaman, and colorist Jen Phillips. Johnny Wright wields his scissors here when he's not traveling with the First Lady. Cut: $95 and up for women, $60 and up for men. 1457 Church St., NW; 202-299-1050.
Oxygen Salon and Day Spa Sagi Levi and his partner, Naseen Rahimi, moved from Kensington to Rockville's Congressional Plaza more than a year ago. The new space shines with bleached wood and chrome. They're known for great color, fashion-forward cuts, chemical treatments, and spa services. Cut: $65 and up for women, $40 and up for men. 1677 Rockville Pike., Rockville; 301-881-9340.
Parlour SalonBright turquoise walls—a giant chandelier is painted on one—set the tone for a chic salon experience. Curly-haired girls, take note: The entire staff is certified in the Deva technique ($85 and up), a special process that dry-cuts hair instead of wetting it, thereby trimming it in its natural state. Cut: $65 and up for women, $45 and up for men. 1522 U St., NW; 202-986-0080.
Saint GermainThis sleek, modern salon in DC's Penn Quarter is owned by the husband-and-wife team Teri Ku and Franck Rihouey. Both get high marks for precise, on-trend cuts that grow out well. With the striking interior design, excellent scalp massages, and cappuccino served with biscotti, it's easy to feel pampered. Cut: $95 and up for women, $65 and up for men. 439 Seventh St., NW; 202-824-0444.
Urban Style Lab A modern salon praised for its equally modern cuts, whether by owner Melanie Smith Jones or her team of stylists. We've seen great work by Amy Putens, Tyler Larish, and Tricia Bennett. Cut: $85 and up for women, $55 and up for men. 1341 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 1; 202-223-2066.
Ipsa for HairSet in a cozy rowhouse, this salon features some talented stylists, including Brian Oliver (who trained at Vidal Sassoon in London and has done work for TV including The Oprah Winfrey Show), Anthony Alvarez (a whiz with color), Caroline Welch (said to favor long, blended layers), and Andrea Simmons (great for brunettes). Valet parking is a plus in Georgetown. Cut: $90 and up for women, $60 and up for men. 1629 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-338-4100.
Le ShoppeThis 20-year-old Reston Town Center institution has built entire families of loyal clients thanks to friendly stylists who make customer satisfaction a priority. Charlie Joyce and Dina Hyman are good listeners and popular across the board, while women with short cuts seek out Nadine Womack. Cut: $55 and up. 11934 Democracy Dr., Reston; 703-435-5555.
One80Jeremy Buchanan is recommended for his work with blonds, while Cynthia Santana is a favorite of redheads. Clients like being treated to wine, chocolates, and great shampoos and scalp massages. Cut: $90 and up for women, $60 and up for men. 1275 K St., NW, Suite 101; 202-842-9113.
ProgressionsA bustling, friendly place that welcomes patrons of all ages. The salon has a large, loyal following and offers well-trained staff, free bang trims, savings for "last-minute club" members who can come in that day, and free lessons on blow-drying and makeup. Cut: $35 to $150 for adults, $25 to $68 for children. 12211 Nebel St., Rockville; 301-231-8757.
Ronnie Elias Salon Loyal customers call this salon both friendly and sophisticated—most of the stylists regularly study with the top names in the industry, including Vidal Sassoon, Bumble and Bumble, and Toni & Guy. Keri Hadley is particularly lauded for cutting all types of hair, including curly. Cut: $52 to $87 for women, $37 to $55 for men. 2952-I Chain Bridge Rd., Oakton; 703-255-1114.
Toka Salon & Day SpaOwner Nuri Yurt's star was launched when he became First Lady Laura Bush's stylist; since then, he has opened a shop in Manhattan. Cut: $125 for women, $55 for men. 3251 Prospect St., NW, Suites 19 and 20, 202-333-5133; 801 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, 202-628-5133; 4907 Brenman Park Dr., Alexandria, 703-370-5133.
David Bell AntiquesAmong the many antiques stores along Wisconsin Avenue, this is one of designer Frank Babb Randolph's favorites. He loves its selection of high-end 20th- and 21st-century furniture. 1655 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-965-2355.
Zin: Hair & Colour A flat-screen TV flashes with loops from the fashion runway in the chic waiting area outfitted with Barcelona chairs and stocked with snacks such as pretzel sticks, Kit Kats, and granola bars. Once your color's on, it's off to the very private back room with its sink-into seating, magazines, and frothy cappuccino. Ask for owner Uri Kandero or Stephanie Lackey. Cut: $75 and up for women, $45 and up for men. 7711 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda; 301-654-2229.
Urban in the Suburbs
Chaos SalonBrothers Michael and Phuong Cao have upped the hipster quotient in their new digs: Think Jetsons-style swivel chairs, colorful vintage hair dryers as wall art, and an antique permanent-wave gizmo that looks like a B-movie torture device. A favorite of Generation Y-ers, the salon is known for its cutting-edge styles, trendy highlights, massage-like shampoos, and eclectic play-list. Phuong is the guy for color, Michael for layered face-framing cuts. The coffee is great, too. Cut: $65 and up for women, $40 and up for men. 4939-A Cordell Ave., Bethesda; 301-654-7979.
Dolce Vita Salon & Spa A reader favorite in McLean, this friendly establishment also offers such spa services as facials and hair removal. Cut: $60 and up for women, $40 and up for men. 6829 Elm St., McLean; 703-821-8600.
KLS StudiosStep behind the lobby partition and you'll feel worlds away from the strip-mall setting of Stephanie Gardiner Stout and Karen Grimm's Reston salon. Exposed-brick walls are the backdrop for their inviting "color bar"—a well-lit counter where stylists deftly mix shades and where clients can relax out of the way. (Color starts at $88.) Cut: $68 and up for women, $45 and up for men. 1410 North Point Village Center, Reston; 571-313-0414.
Maude The tag line is "As urban as you can get in the suburbs," and that's right. Teen girls with edgy hair in Herndon swear by this place. With evening and Sunday hours, working women have reason to like it, too. Services are priced by whether a stylist is a "rookie," "new talent," "mentor," or "seasoned talent." Cut: $26 and up for women, $19 and up for men. 775 Station St., Herndon; 703-464-5880.
Tangerine Dream Beauty Bar Monthly training sessions on hair and color techniques keep the staff here up to date. Lead stylist and co-owner Robin Lee Harmon is a Redken Artist who teaches at salons along the East Coast. Cut: $40 and up. Color: $60 and up. 10135 Colvin Run Rd., Suite 102, Great Falls; 703-759-4014.
Urban Halo SalonOwner Nash Noufal is one of 25 hairdressers in his family—his mother was one, and his father, Henry, is the salon's creative director—so you could say Nash was born to the work. The salon's name comes from another quirk in Nash's background: He survived five gunshots to his upper body—one bullet deflected off a cross around his neck. His many loyal customers are grateful. Cut: $75 and up for women, $40 and up for men. 2900-B Clarendon Blvd., Arlington; 703-527-4256.
George at the Four Seasons SalonWhile the interior could use freshening, George continues to be the go-to salon for Washington's well-coifed power set. On any given day, you might spot Nancy Pelosi, Norah O'Donnell, Madeleine Albright, Judy Woodruff, or Elena Kagan, all of whom trust their locks to the predominantly Turkish team of stylists, notably Ismail Tekin, who counts Arianna Huffington, Glenn Close, Maria Shriver, and most of DC's youthful social set as regulars. Proprietor George Ozturk has presided over the place for 26 years, but it's affable manager Rick Raines who juggles the grooming schedules of some of the city's busiest women. Don't worry, he'll get you in. Cut and blow-dry: $120 for women, $50 for men. 2828 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-342-1942.
Violet Hair and Skin CareJimmy Cehreli and Mesut Ozaydin have trimmed and touched up the tresses of A-listers in politics (the Bush twins, Linda Daschle) and media (Jake Tapper, Savannah Guthrie). Dermatologist Tina Alster swears by Cehreli's lasting blowouts ($55 and up). Colorist Stacy King also earns raves. Cut: $125 and up for women, $55 and up for men. 1513 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-337-3477.
XYZ SalonSalon co-owner Geneva Fishman has styled quite a few TV reporters and talking heads—including faces from NBC, MSNBC, and Fox. Cut: $70 for women, $50 for men. 1807 Florida Ave., NW; 202-986-0707.
Had It With Attitude?
Cloud Nine You'll be hard-pressed to find a less-than-perfect blowout at this light, airy salon in historic Leesburg. It's a bridal favorite thanks to soft, modern styles that won't leave you looking stiff or dated. Parents love the children's room complete with snacks, coloring table, and movies so you don't have to hire a sitter to get your hair done. Cut: $60 and up for women, $35 and up for men. 312-G E. Market St., Leesburg; 703-669-8000.
Glynn Jones Salon The staff at this Dupont Circle salon bursts with friendliness—great if you're heading in after a stressful day. Slick white surfaces abound, and Union Jack signage nods to the owners' roots. There's also an outpost in Old Town. Cut: $65 for women, $35 and up for men. 1635 R St., NW, 202-234-4445; 720 King St., Alexandria, 703-549-4000.
Kindle & BloomThe long, narrow space creates an intimate atmosphere. Cell-phone use is discouraged, adding to the feeling of calm. K&B is a good salon for women who love long hair, but shorter cuts get equal time. Cut: $60 and up for women, $40 and up for men. 180 Halpine Rd., Rockville; 301-770-0404.
Salon L'eauThis bright, airy rowhouse on a quiet block off Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown is the home base of talented stylists Jean-Luc Vivier and Christophe Jouenne, both 20-plus-year veterans of the beauty business. With all the sophistication of a metropolitan salon, it also has a homey air that makes clients feel special. Front-desk manager Carlos Gallegos doubles as a sought-after makeup artist. Cut: $85 and up for women, $55 and up for men. 3240 P St., NW; 202-625-2220.
Salon Privé This neighborhoody salon has sandblasted windows for privacy and a playlist of cool jazz and pulsing house tunes. The greeting is warm, beverages are quickly proffered, and the focus is on hair rather than attitude. Owner Carlos Garzon, who cuts and colors, is adept at turning a client's hair wish into reality. Tiffany Wood is known for layered cuts and color for blonds; Scott Hirschler does wonders with short hair, highlights, and lowlights; and Stephanie Uhlenhopp is known for gorgeous blowouts and Keratin relaxing. Cut: $55 and up for women, $35 and up for men. 7818 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda; 301-654-4808.
Trendbenders Salon A reader favorite, this salon is beloved for its homey, beauty-parlor atmosphere (antique furniture for hair stations, cheese and crackers to snack on), its warm and caring staff (it sponsors a fundraiser each October for someone battling breast cancer), and the cuts of stylists Michelle Hudson and owner Brittany Kepler. Cut: $50 and up for women, $35 and up for men. 9155 Key Commons Ct., Manassas; 703-530-0555.
Bella Bethesda Salon Stylists work cheek by jowl in this easy-to-miss second-floor aerie that's nearly always a hive of activity. Precision haircuts are the thing here. Brittany Davis is known for her swingy layered cuts (she's especially good with long hair), while Katie May is a whiz with curls and Michael Sharp is the guy for color and cuts for men. The place takes its coffee and tea seriously, too—there's a Keurig machine and Tea Forté sachets for waiting in the sunlit lounge area. Cut: $50 and up for women, $30 and up for men. 4733 Elm St., Second Floor, Bethesda; 301-718-9111.
Madeline Wade Stylist Studio Behind the purple door of a Georgetown rowhouse, Wade's spare, peaceful studio has just a single salon chair, for one client at a time. Wade offers the utmost flexibility—she schedules appointments at times that work for clients, whether at 5 am Tuesday or on Sunday afternoon. She also makes house calls. Cut: $95 and up for women, $55 and up for men. 3147 Dumbarton St., NW, Second Floor; 202-333-2223.
Rudi Genewsky"I'm not a hair man," declares Rudi Genewsky. "I'm a face man." Genewsky, who rents a chair at Georgetown's no-frills Village Hair Design—which features a quartet of hair dryers at least two decades old and has been around, quips Genewsky, "since your mother was born"—considers a client's best features to create flattering cuts and born-with-it color. Cut: $85. 1510 31st St., NW; 301-467-6132.
Todd ChristofaroAt this low-key shop, Christofaro wins praise for his color work, particularly with blonds. Cut: $120 for women, $80 for men. 3146 Dumbarton St., NW; 202-333-7170.
Avatar Salon and Wellness Spa With stylists skilled in texture sets, relaxers, and natural hair, this salon is a favorite among chic African-American women, including Stacie Scott Turner, formerly of The Real Housewives of D.C. Owner Bruce G. Johnson has worked on such noteworthy heads as Aretha Franklin, Cora Masters Barry, and Donna Brazile. Cut: $50 and up. 8395 Colesville Rd., Suite C, Silver Spring; 301-608-9344.
Cole Stevens Owner Diane Cole Stevens recently gutted a Capitol Hill rowhouse to create a chic oasis. Women with curly or textured hair often seek out cuts from Stevens; colorist Michelle Sadler is expert at creating perfectly toned highlights. Makeup artist Martin Pretorius, who worked on singer Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" video, makes sure his clients leave the salon with a photo-worthy look. Cut: $90 and up for women, $35 and up for men. 1210 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, 202-547-4444; 7751 Belle Point Dr., Greenbelt, 301-345-0033.
Demetress ValentineDemi V, as she's called, works on her regular clients—many of whom are African-American—in a private studio in Upper Marlboro. Don't let the out-of-the-way location fool you: She has done hair and makeup for a number of celebrities, including Olivia Wilde and Josh Groban. Demi is a whiz with coarse, natural hair and extensions. Cut: $75 and up for women, $25 to $40 for men. 872 Largo Center Dr., Suite 122, Upper Marlboro; 301-509-7582.
Hair ModeOwner Kim Young Eun has built a reputation for styling various hair types but is especially touted for her ability to smooth the coarsest curls with Japanese straightening while creating springy, natural-looking boho waves—even on heavy, flat hair—thanks to her digital-perm acumen. Cut: $45 and up for women, $25 and up for men. 7306 Maple Pl., Annandale; 703-256-8383.
Manuel Hair Salon Favored by Latin American women and the embassy set, Manuel Solorzano is a one-man high-maintenance-beauty stop: He's equally complimented for his cut and color abilities and his makeup application. The salon also does Nano Keratin straightening. Cut: $85 for women, $45 for men. All services are 20 percent off on Tuesday. 3256 Jones Ct., NW; 202-965-0484.
Ozuki Salon As the area's only Japanese salon specializing in Asian-style cuts and hair straightening, Ozuki is a home away from home for many Asian transplants. But you don't have to be Asian to appreciate the precision cuts of popular stylists Akiko Yoshihara and Keiko Goto. Cut: $68 and up for women, $48 and up for men. 1025 Thomas Jefferson St., NW; 202-342-7591.
Seven and Company Formerly at Ted Gibson Salon, Adrin Seven Washington is praised for his extensions and precision cutting. His work has been featured in such magazines as Vogue and Essence. Cut: $150 and up. Lux Studios, 4711 Montgomery La., Bethesda; 301-893-4247.
Strands Hair Studios Owner Shirley Gordon—who has styled everyone from the wives of Wizards and Redskins players to Venus and Serena Williams—keeps up to date on trends. Chef Carla Hall of TV's The Chew swears by stylist Robin Tittley. Cut: $95 and up. 11306 Grandview Ave., Wheaton; 301-942-1780.
The Price Is Right
Bang Salon People seem to love or hate this salon—sometimes both. While some complain that customer service can be lacking, the prices can be relatively low depending on the service. And although quality can be uneven, we hear raves for Amal Kasabri, Angie Dalio, and Eden Tekel at the Verizon Center location; Enders Barbaran and Diego Orbegoso on 15th Street; and Scott King, Brittany Wilson, and Jessica Coleman on U Street. Cut: $39 and up for women, $34 and up for men. 601 F St., NW, 202-737-2264; 1612 U St., NW, 202-299-0925; 1519 15th St., NW, 202-588-5555.
Diego's Hair Salon for Men & Women This 49-year-old shop is such an institution that the stretch of Q Street it's on, between 19th Street and Connecticut Avenue, is also known as Diego D'Ambrosio Way, after the owner. Men in particular like the low-key, friendly shop with Italian music in the background—clients have included Supreme Court justices Warren Burger and William Rehnquist. Stylists pay close attention to clients' wishes, making for regulars of all ages and hairstyles. Cut: $30 and up for women, $20 and up for men. 1901 Q St., NW; 202-234-4572.
Luna's Hair DesignThis second-floor Dupont Circle salon may be a bit down at the heels, but the $40 haircuts are great deals. Fans say that Luna Howard's cuts are as good as those at much more expensive salons. She's also efficient, often finishing a cut and blow dry in half an hour. Cut: $40 and up. 2014 P St., NW; 202-785-0011.
Salon CieloThe Dupont Circle location of this chain features a modern-but-not-too-hip vibe, Aveda products, and the skilled shears of amiable stylist Jamie Simon. His cuts start at $65, but other stylists start at $55; the current walk-in rate for first-time clients is $37. 1741 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-518-9620.
PR at Partners Along with hair services, these salons offer a Fresh Look program that delivers a head-to-toe makeover, including clothing and makeup. Stylists we heard raves about include Jacqui Davis (a master at color) and Pat Lon, both at the Metro Center location; James Cornwell (also great with makeup), Sandra Tran (for fun bobs), and Dawn LaCovey at Mazza Gallerie; Mary Shaffer and Nadine Matar at Tysons Corner; and Tania Lazerowich (savvy with short hair) in Oakton. Cut: $40 and up for women, $30 and up for men. Fifteen area locations; pratpartners.com.
Red Door Spas These spas also pamper with pedicures, facials, and massages. The Fairfax Corner location is a particular favorite for hair; Corey Schmitt is recommended for highlights, Passent Saad for cuts. In Chevy Chase DC, ask for Grady King. In Tysons Corner, the curly-haired should ask for Jessie Silverman, while Astaire Castillo is recommended for color. Cut: $55 and up. Eight area locations; reddoorspas.com.
New and Notable
David Rios Salon & Spa Open since June, this new shop is headed by David Rios, a veteran of Christophe whose clients have included Chelsea Clinton. Cut: $95 and up. 1519 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-525-2613.
Eastern Confederate Vintage barber chairs and telephones, taxidermy deer heads on '70s-style wallpaper. This Mount Pleasant basement shop is a far cry from Georgetown's sleek salons, and its hipster clientele isn't complaining. Though capable of doing a corporate bob, stylist Ryan Mitchell—his clients include some of Washington's most notable indie rockers—prefers low-maintenance, natural styles. Cut: $55 for women, $45 for men. 3112 Mount Pleasant St., NW; 202-621-7363.
Ira Ludwick SalonLudwick, who previously plied his shears at Rockville's Progressions Salon, is slated to open his shop in early September. Past winner of a North American Hairstyling Award, he has been in the business since 1974. Cut: $55 and up for women, $40 and up for men. 10400 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda; 301-530-3250.
Karma Beauty Lounge by Erwin GomezWhile this new salon, opening in September, will feature Gomez's lauded eyebrow work—he has waxed the arches of starlets such as Eva Longoria and the Bush twins—he has also lured a stable of hairstylists from salons such as Violet, Bang, and Zin. Cut: $95 and up for women, $55 and up for men. 1104 24th St., NW; 202-293-3333.
Luigi Parasmo SalonOpen since April, this sleek salon is the venture of Luigi Parasmo—a veteran area stylist known for clients such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice—and his partner, Javier Calvo. Special touches include free wi-fi, iPads for client use, and top-shelf products such as Kérastase. Cut: $60 for women ($100 and up with blow dry), $55 for men.1510 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-2244.
Salon PejmanOpen since late June, Pejman Sayas's new Georgetown digs give off a modern, minimalist vibe, with an exposed-brick wall, skylights, and just four work stations. A longtime DC stylist—he spent several years at Okyo Salon—with a client list of professional athletes, media types, and social swans, Sayas is known for his dry-cutting technique and innovative use of organic color. Cut: $90 and up for women, $50 for men.1419 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-450-5767.
Smitten Boutique SalonA pressed-tin ceiling and glitzy chandeliers set a fun, flirty tone for this Clarendon newcomer. Longtime friends and now co-owners Lisa Rittiner and Melanie Amoss—the pair met working at Salon Bleu in Tysons Galleria—are equally adept at cut and color, and the salon is a great choice for trendy ombré color jobs. Cut: $65 and up for women, $35 and up for men. 3000 Washington Blvd., Arlington; 571-527-0200.
Fadi Bou Akl at Salon Virage Women looking for a cut with edge—or maybe some pink highlights—will be comfortable here, although owner and stylist Fadi Bou Akl can also do simple and subtle. Cut: $50 and up for women, $27 and up for men. 8118 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church; 703-204-9290.
Claire Burnham at Easel Hair Studio Burnham, a veteran of Ilo, Roche, and Todd Christofaro salons, has styled starlets for the Cannes Film Festival and runway models for New York Fashion Week. Cut: $105 and up. 1616 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-342-3999.
Paola Camacho at Blondie's Hair StudioWomen with thick hair are also thick with praise for Camacho. Cut: $70 and up for women, $40 and up for men. 1910 18th St., NW, Second Floor; 202-232-8338.
Valerie Carrasquillo at Talio Hair DesignAfter stints at Red Door Spas, Erwin Gomez, and Salon L'eau, Carrasquillo commands the floor in her new digs, where loyal clients line up for her long, layered cuts, color, and extensions. Cut: $95 and up. 1806 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-337-8941.
Valerie Carrasquillo at Talio Hair DesignSaid to be a great choice for African-American women who want their natural hair straightened—often without chemicals. Price: $65 and up. 1705 L St., NW; 202-223-8182.
Roe Granados at Eyma Salon and SpaClients not only say Granados excels at cut, color, and blowouts, but they like that she'll also focus on your hair's health. Cut: $70 and up for women, $45 and up for men. 7829 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda; 301-986-6996.
Neven Radovic at Nivál Salon & SpaMany women in Bethesda and Chevy Chase swear by Radovic, whose work has been featured in Vogue and who has styled hair for such actresses as Cynthia Nixon, Lynda Carter, and Claire Danes. Cut: $150 and up. 5481 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-951-4445.
Moses Somekhian at Hair by MosesSomekhian, who has been in the business 30 years, has done hair for such visiting celebrities as Angelina Jolie and Jessica Simpson. He currently freelances out of Robert Lewis Salon in North Bethesda and travels to clients. Cut: $85 for women, $40 for men. Color: $75 and up. White Flint Mall; 301-526-9696.