by Mandi Pimental
When Runway decided to highlight five of the hottest salons in the U.S., we looked far and wide to find salons that were not just a hot spot that catered to celebrities or were large-scale in size and grandeur. We looked for character, a reputation for exquisite service and a great story behind these well-known hair artisans. And well, yes, most of these great picks do cater to celebrities and a few of our picks are beautiful and grand in size, they all had that extra definitive sparkle that everyone should look for when choosing the right place to look their best.
Santa Monica, CA
Reigning at the top of Runway's list of the season’s five hottest salons comes Shin. Located in a modest, cottage-sized, 1,600 square foot building on Montana Street in Santa Monica, Shin is anything but your traditional salon. This small sanctuary's facade is warm and inviting, framed in a wood exterior with fiery red accents. Its outer shell hints at the admirable design that envelops you once you walk inside. Shin's owner, Shin An, is a Korean Wisconsin native and her Korean heritage's story is told with sculptures and paintings. Dragons and cherry blossoms are beautifully handcrafted throughout the space. The true beauty of Shin, however, is what takes place once you are in the chair. Shin, known for her “dry-cutting” technique has been artfully transforming client's hair for over 14 years. Being known early on in her career in New York City by Vogue as “the one to watch” before she opened her location in California. An's earned her clients trust in knowing what will look best for them before they even speak a request. Clients become works of art as she skillfully uses her renowned dry-cutting technique to add dimension and volume without product coming into play. Like any true artist, she makes something better and beautiful with the talents and tools she has been given. Cuts and colors both start around $90 respectively. www.shinhair.com/
Ginger Bay Salon and Spa
Town and Country, MO
Located in Town and Country, Missouri you may think this would be your average small town boutique salon. On the contrary, it is everything but. Ginger Bay Salon and Spa is a modern, gorgeous 2,800 square foot space filled with every delicious amenity to make you feel as pampered as possible. An Aveda salon, this spaces neutral backdrop gives a beautiful canvas to the bright colors that pop throughout and the ingenious set up of the flooring colorations and over-all design make the expansive space easy to navigate. This flagship location stands out, not only for their talented styling team, but for their philanthropic endeavors as well. Each team member commits eight hours of personal time to charity work outside of their work schedule and Ginger Bay, as a company, donates over $15,000 a year to local charities. With a staff this large and skilled, clients can be matched to receive the exact cut, color and look they desire. Ginger Bay also set's their stylists on level systems based on expertise to accommodate anyone’s budget. Cuts start at $65 with a master stylist, color starts at $55. www.gingerbay.com
Dolly Rockers Salon & Boutique
Placing third on our list is Dolly Rockers Salon and Boutique. Dolly Rockers shares a home with Runway Magazine headquarters in the Valley of the Sun and tells a story of one girl's dream come true: “To bring out a little dolly, and a little rocker in everyone.” Located in Anthem, AZ, Dolly Rockers Salon is a fun and funky take on an industry that is usually more esthetically neutral in design. Vibrant shades of purple, pink and gold’s, along with exotic prints welcome you as you enter this glam space where punk-inspired stylists, or “dollies”, warmly greet you before they create the look you desire. Owner Michelle Zeller's main goal is to recreate your inner beauty on the outside and she has just the team to do so in what she deems her “hair fortress”. Their cutting-edge approach can help clients step outside their boundaries, take risks, and embrace their inner “doll”. Another element that makes Dolly Rockers standout is their commitment to high quality hair products all of which are paraben- and sulfate-free. Now that's something to rock out about. Haircuts start at just $45.00 and color starting at just $55.00. www.dollhouseempire.com.
Roca Salon and Spa
Kansas City, MO
Two salons from the “Show Me State” have landed on our top five and it is because of their raved-about attention to detail, top rated stylists, and beautiful salon spaces. Roca Salon and Spa in Kansas City, MO was created by two Vidal Sassoon trained stylists, husband and wife team Rod and Rhonda Carver. Their vision was to operate a full service salon using fresh, exotic products after being inspired on a trip to Hawaii. The inspiration can be seen throughout the largest salon on our list. At an impressive 8,300 square feet, you will see the Hawaiian features in the bamboo floor and specialty spa services that are featured. Like Ginger Bay, we give props to this salon for being so charitable. At their grand opening party, they raised over $3,500.00 for a local animal shelter and continue to give generously. Rhonda's vision was to bring a truly decadent salon experience to Kansas City and we believe she has done just that. Haircuts start at a modest $35, with color starting at $75. www.rocasalon.com.
Rounding out our top five picks is in the most talked about state this season, Washington D.C. In the heart of D.C. lies one of the most elegant and beautiful on our list, the regal Corte Salon. Politicos and civilians alike visit Corte to luxuriate in cream leather chairs that sit in front of stations beautifully decorated with Italian charm. White ornate sculptured framing hugs each mirror and sterling silver and glass touches are placed throughout with fresh purple tulips adding color. Sophistication plays a part in not only the setting but in the artistic works of the stylist at well. Founded and run by Carlos Perina, Corte is a one-person studio and his is a reputation for attention to detail. This attention to customer satisfaction in getting the perfect cut, color and style is what solidified Corte's final spot on our list. Cuts start at $85 with color starting at $100. www.cortesalon.com.