The 8 Best Hair Salons In Chicago
By Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 4, 2015 5:30PM
Chopped or trimmed, colored or styled, a new hairdo can make you feel like a million bucks. But pick the wrong place and you could end up hiding indoors with a hairdon't instead of a hairdo. Or worse, have to spend a good chunk of change to fix a bad cut, color or style. Thankfully we've got a staff full of luscious locks more than willing to spill the beans. These salons are the ones we've become allegiant to over the years, the only spots we trust when it comes to our tresses.
As always, feel free to discuss and debate in the comments and let us know any great salons to check out.
Art + Science
I used to get free haircuts from local beauty students in need of models. This was sufficient until I decided on a complex asymmetrical style and experienced a cut that brought my relationship with beauty school students to an abrupt halt. I won’t go into detail, but it involved a romantic entanglement between student and instructor and an overzealous flat iron that left a burnt scent in my hair for three long days. Soon after, I started working at a restaurant where all the girls had beautiful, edgy haircuts tailored to their equally alluring personalities. All of these girls paid regular visits to Art + Science in Wicker Park. I followed their recommendation and got the best haircut I’ve ever had. The hairdressers at Art + Science are trendy, amiable and talented. It’s a comfortably cool salon with a hospitable atmosphere. My boyfriend now visits them for his sharp do’ and another friend has received some excellent color work. It’s a lot more expensive than my old method, but I haven’t looked back once. — Erika Kubick
Art + Science is located at 1554 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Penny Lane is not just a salon in the traditional sense since it is also a “studio,” a place for the creation of wigs and makeup as well as the usual haircuts and color. I love this Logan Square spot since they have never, ever failed to give me an affordable and superb haircut. The atmosphere is a lot like a studio, bordering on a theatrical backstage feel. Christine, who owns and works at the salon, has a prolific background getting performers ready to conquer the stage and her coterie of stylists have a broad range of expertise in barbering, special occasion do’s, photo shoots and more. As a bonus, I have learned a lot as a customer here about my own hair and how to best care for it. I never knew the preciousness of using sulfate-free shampoo and not washing your hair daily as the best things to do for your hair until going to Penny Lane. This place has got it all and I recommend it constantly. Everyone who has gone upon my recommendation has been as delighted as I. Oh, and did I mention Bruce and Charlie, the canine end of their stellar operation? They are just gravy! — Carrie McGath
Penny Lane is located at 2658 N. Sawyer Ave.
Smith and Davis Salon
When not regularly cut, my big wavy hair can turn into a big unruly mess. So finding the right place and stylist to keep my hair tamed is a must. For years I hopped around from salon to salon but each cut never felt quite right. Smith & Davis has been my go-to salon for over a year now. I followed my stylist, Bria, there and couldn't be happier with her move. She's wonderful and always takes the time to talk through any styling tips and I always feel like I'm in great hands. Outside of getting a consistently great cut, everyone who works in the salon is exceedingly friendly. The front desk is always welcoming and making an appointment over the phone is painless. The salon itself is gorgeous and has a simple vintage charm. I can honestly say that always look forward to booking and going to my appointments at Smith and Davis Salon. — Gina Provenzano
Smith and Davis Salon is located at 735 W. Wrightwood Ave.
I fully admit that I need someone who can look at me and tell me what kind of haircut is going to best flatter my face. For over five years that person has been Jovan at Solo Salon in the West Loop. The lofted, hip space and smell of Bumble & Bumble all makes me want to lean back, close my eyes and get my scalp massaged. I had short hair but was gently coaxed to grow it out by Jovan and I've never been given as many compliments on it as I have now. Because I place myself into the hands of a stylist, I need to trust in and confidently rely upon his or her skillset. Solo has suggested great products for my hair, helped me take advantage of great promotions and always left me feeling like I immediately want to go to dinner with friends. — Laura Stolpman
Solo Salon is located at 1065 W. Madison St.
Chicago Avenue Salon
It took me nearly five years of living in Chicago before I finally found a salon that I wanted to return to again and again. This isn't because I'm high maintenance when it comes to my hair. Quite the opposite, actually. I'm comfortable with my no-frills style and the stylists here get that. Rather than attempt to convince you to try something new or different from what you want, they listen. Rather than try to give you the hard sell when it comes to products or services, they provide honest advice. That's not to say I haven't seen great coloring, extensions and more adventurous cuts during my visits. The best part of Chicago Avenue Salon is that whatever you’re after, no trip to this West Town space should leave you reaching too deep into your pockets. — Katie Karpowicz
Chicago Avenue Salon is located at 1941 W. Chicago Ave.
Before chopping my hair to a bob, I despised hair cuts. I wanted no scissors near my locks in a manner not far from a baby’s first foray at the barber shop. But times change and I like to think I donated fifteen inches of hairs (with a split end on every last one) before it was cool. As a woman with short hair, you quickly learn why ladies in particular stay loyal to one stylist over another. One cut here because the salon offered a first time client deal, one cut there because you didn’t really love the cut before. Rinse, wash, repeat. Then you find her—the one who cares about your hair, your face and your life in so much as she can in an hour or two with color. I followed my stylist to Fix because every time I got my hair trimmed, months would pass and inevitably someone would ask, “Did you get your hair cut? Highlighted?” Nestled under the El tracks on Newport and Sheffield, Fix is everything and not much at the same time. It’s not done-up (just like my hair), it’s not shabby, not chic—it just is. Quality speaks volumes here and the owner and stylists know it but don’t flaunt it. The quaint bathroom is adorned with a cat calendar and the receptionist desk isn’t twice the size of the stylists’ spaces. If getting color, you will graciously wait on a bench near the door; the space is narrow and attends to five patrons at a time. When a stranger stops you at the bar to ask where you get your hair cut, you know Fix is the one. Right out of the shop or weeks gone by, Kat—and I trust every stylist at Fix—makes no-fuss hair look like it was styled yesterday, in a good way. — Kristine Sherred
Fix is located at 952 W. Newport Ave.
Since acquiring a job outside of the corporate realm, I’ve been living out my teenage fantasies of possessing candy-colored hair, my mane more akin to a My Little Pony than my dull and natural dirty blonde. I’ve long been going to Twisted Scissors for awesome and affordable cuts along with shimmering natural colors, so when I decided to make the jump it was only natural to choose my go-to salon. Over the last year or so I’ve had a head of purple and pink hair in numerous shades and tones. Thankfully I also had a professional help me learn the ins and outs so I haven’t fried my hair and my color has faded and blended naturally. I would have been lost without my gal Amber guiding me towards the right colors to mix with my existing hues and how to brighten up segments to really make it pop. It’s a long way from helping my friends dye their hair with Kool-Aid in high school. Even when I’m not doing crazy colors, I can always count on great service at Twisted Scissors. Everyone at the salon is so friendly, the music is great and they hand me beer or wine once I set foot in the door. And I’ve seen every type of hair walk out their door, from kids getting first cuts to guys just needing a trim to more radical changes, the stylists at Twisted Scissors are great at listening to what you want but also down to get creative if you are ready for a change. — Lisa White
Twisted Scissors is located at 2007 N. Point St.
I had the good fortune of meeting the staff of Salon V as soon as I moved to Chicago, rendering it among my longest and most rewarding relationships in the city. My hair is fairly low maintenance, so when my friends fawn over the cut and color I owe it all to Salon V’s exquisitely talented staff. One recent arrival to Chicago warned me, “My hair is my bible,” and she’s been nothing short of thrilled with my recommendation of this full service salon. Another friend flies back from New York just for chair time when her color shows signs of jet lag. To the readers rocking curly locks, this is one of Salon V’s specialties. The stylists at Salon V are knowledgeable, energetic and on-trend. I’ve never left feeling less than fabulous and I encourage ladies and gents alike to visit Salon V during its tenth anniversary year! — Jessica Mlinaric
Salon V is located at 1007 W. Webster Ave.