News & Politics

Good Salons to Try in DC

Looking for a new stylist? Here are colorists and hairdressers in Washington doing very good work.

The best way to find a hairdresser is to ask someone with hair that you like: Who does your hair?

So we asked men and women we spotted on the street, in the Metro, at parties, in malls. We asked fashionable Washingtonians we know to tell us about their stylists. In all, we heard from several hundred men and women.

What follows is not a list of the area’s best salons—there are many more good stylists about town—but the names we heard repeatedly from happy clients with nice hair. We also looked at the portfolios of many area stylists, to see their other work.

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Let us know what you think are the best salons in DC —leave your thoughts in the comments here

Great Hair | Salons in Virginia | Salons in Maryland 

Salon for Blondes

Hair Lounge, 2201 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-337-0951; Owners Daniel Levy and Serkan Sut—Levy used to work at Okyo; Sut counts Larry King as a client—run a salon specializing in color. From highlights to color correction, Levy says they can give a woman the same color as “when she was a little girl”—as in blond. Also recommended for updos and “event hair.” There’s even a frequent-client program: Spend more than $500 and get 10 percent off products and services; spend $1,500 and it’s 15 percent. Cut: $40 and up for men, $60 and up for women. Color: $70 and up. Highlights: $110 and up.

Right for Redheads

One80 Salon, 1275 K St., NW, Suite 101; 202-842-9113; Heather Finkel, a redhead herself, is the person to see for reddish hues, while blondes and others swear by owner/colorist Jeremy Buchanan. Need a cut? Owner Rémi Metsu is a whiz with scissors. Cyrille Turpin is best for blowouts and updos. Cut: $50 and up for men, $80 and up for women. Color: $75 and up. Highlights: $120 and up.

Another Great Choice for Color

Urban Style Lab, 1341 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-223-2066; As the name implies, this is not the place for stiff helmet hair. The colorists all earn raves—especially Claudia Torrico, for natural-looking blond highlights, and Sertac Ozturk. Cut: $45 and up for men, $75 and up for women. Color: $65 and up. Highlights: $110 and up.

Longtime Favorites

Bill Lawrence Salon, 2120 18th St., NW; 202-387-8310. Located in Adams Morgan, this is the go-to salon for African-Americans in Washington. Bill Lawrence and Samantha Banks are the stylists most recommended. Cut: $65 and up. Color: $65 and up. Highlights: $150 and up.

George Salon at the Four Seasons, 2828 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-342-1942. Many well-known heads swear by this beauty mainstay in Georgetown. Timo Nguyen and Ismail Tekin are talented with scissors. A great place for blowouts, too. Cut: $45 and up for men, $110 and up for women. Color: $100 and up. Highlights: $150 and up.

Ilo Salon & Day Spa, 1637 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-342-0350; This Georgetown salon continues to turn out high-quality, consistent work. Jack Howard is a top choice for color and highlights; Gary Walker is popular for cuts; Claire Burnham is recommended for curly hair. Cut: $60 and up for men, $90 and up women. Color: $120 and up. Highlights: $111 and up.

Okyo Salon, 2903 M St., NW; 202-342-2675; Over its 23 years, this Georgetown salon has styled such celebrities as Eva Longoria Parker and Sandra Bullock and won praise in Elle and Vogue. Owner Bernard Portelli (he takes new clients by referral only) is such an institution that his stylists have gone on to start other good salons, including Hair Lounge. A good stylist to see here: Nadine Amiri. Cuts: $50 for men, $80 for women. Color: $95 and up. Highlights: $130 and up.

Salon Jean-Paul, 4820 Yuma St., NW; 202-966-4600. Jean-Paul Amsellem was Jackie Kennedy’s hairdresser in the 1960s, and the salon he started 35 years ago—although he’s now retired—is still going strong. The decor and some of the older clientele give it an old-fashioned, beauty-parlor feel. Don’t be surprised to see well-coiffed celebrities such as NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Mustafa Corumlu is often recommended—he gives WAMU personality Diane Rehm her distinctive ’do. Jean-Paul’s nephew, William Robert, is a stylist and the new co-owner there, carrying on the family tradition. Cut: $45 and up for men, $75 and up for women. Color: $70 and up. Highlights: $155 and up. 

On the Cutting Edge

Easel Hair Studio, 1616 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-342-3999; A modern space set in a brick townhouse, this Georgetown salon features easel-shaped haircutting stations and local art on the walls. The styles, especially by owner Shawn Leonard, can be artistic, too. Cuts: $35 for men, $65 for women. Color: $50 and up. Highlights: $100 and up.

Trim, A Salon, 2700 Ontario Rd., NW; 202-462-6080. A small, edgy salon where the music is as loud as the green, orange, and silver walls. The salon can get packed with a young clientele—could it be the free beer? Claibourne Reppert and Heather Hogan are especially popular. Women’s cuts are $70, men’s $38. Color: $85 and up. Highlights: $110 and up.

New and Noteworthy

Parlour, 1522 U St., NW; 202-986-0080; Rebecca Haehnle and Chris Keller, who previously worked at Axis, opened this pretty and unpretentious salon in May. Cut: $40 and up for men, $65 and up for women. Color: $65 and up. Highlights: $65 and up.

Loyal Followings

Bogart, 1063 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-6550; This Georgetown salon, more than 30 years old, continues to turn out good work on everyone from adults to kids to brides to prom-going teens. All the stylists—who rarely leave—have devoted fans, especially Dragan Jakovljev and co-owner Fernando Ferre. Cut: $35 and up for men, $55 and up for women. Color: $60 and up. Highlights: $90 and up.

Paul Bosserman, 3214 N St., NW; 202-337-0020. This unassuming four-chair Georgetown salon isn’t easy to find. But many who do—especially women in their forties and fifties—come back. Cuts: $65 and up for men, $85 and up for women. Color: $85 and up. Highlights: $125 and up.

Salon AKS at Salon Leau, 3240 P St., NW; 202-625-2220; Georgetown’s Salon Leau, formerly Jean Luc Salon, has its own talented team. But once every six weeks, stylists from Salon AKS in New York—which was started by former employees of Frédéric Fekkai—take over the chairs. (Call Salon AKS at 212-888-0707 for an appointment.) High-profile women book weeks ahead for experts including celebrity colorist Kathleen Flynn-Hui. Cut: $200 and up. Color: $125 and up. Highlights: $250 and up.

Salon Cielo, 1741 Connecticut Ave., NW, 202-518-9620; For the money—$40 to $55—you can get a very good cut here. Stylist Jamie Simon at the Dupont Circle branch gives men and women nice professional cuts that grow out well. Color: $55 and up. Highlights: $95 and up.

Fine for Fine Hair

Saint-Germaine by Molécule, 439 Seventh St., NW; 202-824-0444; A chic salon in DC’s chic Penn Quarter neighborhood, but services are not cheap: A women’s cut starts at $95, while color—the salon has a L’Oréal Professional Haircolor Center—starts at $80. But some men and women we surveyed who work in fashion—including many who happen to have fine hair—swear by co-owner Teri Rihouey. Men’s cuts: $65 and up. Highlights: $125 and up.

Good Neighborhood Salons

De La Inés Salon, 5520 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 3; 202-362-4280; Pale-blond wood floors and stark white couches with shocking-pink pillows—even the haircare products are in pop ’70s colors like orange, green, and pink—bring a bit of Georgetown chic (and Georgetown prices) to this neighborhoody stretch of Connecticut Avenue just below Chevy Chase Circle. The two owner/stylists—Roxana Cazares Olivas and Dina Busacco—both earn raves; Dina worked at Bumble and Bumble in New York, where she learned razor cutting. The shampoo person gives a long and fabulous head and neck massage. Cut: $$50 and up for men, $65 and up for women. Color: $90 and up. Highlights: $145 and up.

Imaj Hair Salon, 3301 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-966-7979; This neighborly place—it’s in Cleveland Park—is not fancy or trendy but a warm and inviting spot. Co-owner Ercan Yucel can cut and color any sort of hair, including the thick hair often found in his home country, Turkey. His wife, Rukiye, offers great manicures, pedicures, and waxing. Cuts: $30 and up for men, $45 and up for women. Color: $60 and up. Highlights: $90 and up.

Aces at Asian Hair

Ozuki Salon, 1025 Thomas Jefferson St., NW; 202-342-7591; Billing itself as “Washington’s only Japanese hair salon”—and what other salon in town offers kimono dressing?—Ozuki is a sleek oasis in Georgetown that features Japanese styling techniques and products as well as bilingual stylists. Most clients are Asian, but anyone who appreciates precise, often angular cuts might like it here. Cut: $45 for men, $65 for women. Color: $65 and up. Highlights: $95 and up.

Expensive But Worth It

Ury & Associates, 3109 M St., NW; 202-342-0944. Want a stylist who pays full attention to you and doesn’t jump between clients? Want a cut that grows out beautifully? Ury Emsellem takes his time with each client—one reason his cuts are $135 to $150. This Georgetown salon is very private—it’s accessed via an elevator in the Steve Madden shop—just right for such VIP clients as Sally Quinn and Nora Ephron. Patricia Dias is recommended for color. Cut: $50 and up for men and $85 and up for women, for stylists other than Ury. Color: $75 and up. Highlights: $95 and up.

Good Bargain Choice

Luna’s Hair Design, 2014 P St., NW; 202-785-0011; Not only does owner Luna Howard keep her prices low—cuts start at $35, a great price in Dupont Circle—but she’s quick: You’ll be in and out in no time. Still, you won’t feel rushed at this modest salon, and you’ll even get a great neck and head massage during your shampoo. Cuts: $35 for men; $40 and up for women. Discounts Monday through Wednesday for full-time students. Color: $55 and up. Foil highlights: $85.

Beautiful Blowouts

Toka, 3251 Prospect St., NW; 202-333-5133; At this Georgetown salon, Cemil Cehreli has a way with a blow dryer. Nuri Yurt is the person to see for a cut. Cut: $55 and up for men, $100 and up for women. Color: $90 and up. Highlights: $165 and up.

Good Stylist at a Salon With Mixed Reviews

Patrick Guarniere at Bang, 601 F St., NW; 202-737-2264; Bang, which also has a branch on U Street, can do creative work and has many fans—and many critics, who have complained to us that stylists run late, appointments get lost, or they didn’t like the salon’s aloof, assembly-line air. But some readers have a soft spot for friendly stylist Patrick Guarniere, said to be good at creating pretty, layered styles for medium-length to long hair. Many also like Bang’s prices—cuts start at $35 for men, $42 for women. Color: $65 and up. Highlights: $75 and up.

Good Bets at the Chains

You can get a good hair cut at a chain—if you know who to ask for. Here are stylists who earned multiple raves.

Bubbles, At the K Street branch (2020 K St., NW; 202-659-5005), a good person to see is Ana Santanello. Cut: $30 and up. Color: $50 and up. Highlights: $90 and up.

PR at Partners, At the Metro Center salon (1001 G St., NW; 202-737-0909), many stylish women trust their locks to Jacqui Davis, who is terrific with cuts and color. In Mazza Gallerie (5300 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-966-6771), Ngoc Le is very good. Cut: $35 and up for men, $45 and up for women. Color: $55 and up. Highlights: $95 and up.

For Men Only

Grooming Lounge, 1745 L St., NW; 202-466-8900; If you’re a $15 barbershop-cut kind of guy, this is not your place—haircuts are $50 or $60. But if you want a salon experience in a masculine environment, that price gets you a drink, sports on a big screen, and, fans say, a better cut than a barber. The hot-lather shaves are a treat. Cut: $50 and up. Color: $70 and up. Highlights: $80 and up.

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Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Top Doctors, and Great Small Towns. She lives in DC.