In the late 19th century, Martha Matilda Harper believed her homemade hair tonic was much better than anything available in stores at the time. Harper, the inventor of reclining shampoo chairs, opened one of the first hair salons in 1888. At the Harper Method Shop, she could market her hair tonic and provide cutting services to her clients. The salon also used Harper’s own floor-length hair as a form of advertisement for her tonic.
Fast-forward about 300 years: today’s salons have multiple stylists who specialize in a vast variety of different services. While many stylists today still offer your standard cutting and styling, in the 21st century we also have salons offering everything from (fake) bangs, "animal style" hair masques, and gemstone blowouts.
Unique Hair Salons
Move over shine serum, our curls get their shine from fine gemstones. Introduced in Chicago by the Sine Qua Non salons, a gemstone blowout takes bits of real pearls, tourmaline, Brazilian green malachite, and sapphire powders to smooth the hair and turn even the most stubborn frizz into long-lasting shine. With all of the stones this blowout infuses into your hair, you're bound to shimmer, especially in sunlight.
Sine Qua Non operates only in Chicago and is the only salon we know of giving gemstone blowouts at this time, but there are plenty of blowout bars that will give you and your locks special treatment. Check out Mosaic Hair Studios, Fekkai, Blowout Boutique, Fluff* Bar (enjoy cocktails on the side!), or WiP Downtown.
We've all seen the gorgeously intricate braids on YouTube and Pinterest, but recreating the looks in our own hair can be a totally different story. You could commit a day to learning the latest braid trend, but if you have a special event to attend (or you're short on time and patience) then leave it to the professionals at a braid bar!
John Barrett Salon in Bergdorf Goodman in New York City has a dedicated braid bar, as does the the Nine Zero One salon in West Hollywood. Check out The Braid Bar for more locations. You can browse through books of celebrity braids, or bring in your own Pinspiration.
What will it be, a fishtail, a waterfall, or maybe the ever-popular halo braid?
Organic Masque Bar
Forget whipping up your own organic hair masques in the kitchen, the stylists at The Broot can do all of that for you, and more! The salon prides itself in using raw, organic ingredients like bananas, avocados, eggs, oil, honey, and mayo. While, yes, you could do this at home, the benefit here is that you don’t have to buy ingredients you may not have, mix them up or deal with the mess and cleanup afterward.
We love a good masque, but what really caught our attention about this salon is the special boost it offers. You see, it’s not on the menu, but The Broot can also add in a boost of bull testicle broth for a mere $7 extra. Simply ask for the “animal style” version of any hair masque you’d like, and you’ll have yourself a custom-made concoction. To answer the question of why someone would want this, the protein in these animal parts is supposed to help repair dry, damaged hair, giving it more strength. Who would’ve thought cow testicles would have benefits for our hair?
While we don’t know of anyone else using bull testicles, there are other organic hair salons out there, such as Calissi Organic Hair Salon, HUSH Organic Hair, Le Salon, Wellspring Salon, or Everlastings.
If you’re eager for some change but just aren’t brave enough for a totally new ‘do, try doing something different with just your bangs! To add to our repertoire of “bars,” Butterfly Studio in NYC offers a bang bar to the city’s hipsters.
Snipping your bangs can actually do something dramatic without touching the rest of your hair, so it’s a comfortable way to do something edgy! Kattia, the salon owner, also offers bang consults before you get near the shears.
Clients who visit the bang bar will meet with a stylist, try on a few different clip-on bang styles and find the one that works for them. They can either have the stylist cut their actual bangs to resemble the chosen clip-on piece or simply purchase the noncommittal bang piece ($30) and the stylist will style their hair with the bangs clipped in.
When you think of a hair salon, your thoughts typically go to the hair on top of our heads. But there is a whole slew of salons that dedicate themselves solely to the hair on your eyes! The Lash Lounge, located throughout Texas, offers semi-permanent eyelash extensions (in increments of 45, 60, and 75 lashes at a time), permanent makeup, lash and eyebrow tints, and eyebrow threading.
Seriously, could there ever be a more kid-friendly salon out there? Snip-its is so jazzed up, you can practically hear it screaming an invite for the loud echoes of kids to come fill the interior. Not only can kids have their hair trimmed here, but they can also host a party with themes like “Glamour Party,” “Rock Star Party,” and “Spa Party.” In addition to offering styling for both boys and girls, this salon sells its own organic lice prevention and treatment products. These products use all-natural ingredients such as rosemary, tea tree oil, cinnamon, peppermint, sage, lemongrass, and more. To see if you’re lucky enough to have one of these snazzy salons near you, check out the locations.
If only we could take a time machine backwards about 20 years!
Forget the wet bar - dry bars are where the vibe is! Dry Bar is one of the few hair salons out there that DOESN’T do cuts or colors. Instead, their philosophy is to excel in one field, and to be the best in the biz. They focus on blowouts, scalp massages, and shampoos. And if you’d rather not venture out into the weather or can't be bothered to leave the house, they'll come to you. Yes, they do in-home appointments! Check out Dry Bar in CA, AZ, GA, NYC, TX, MD, or DC
If you’ve been following hair trends the past several years, you’ve noticed how ponytails have evolved. A few years ago, we started seeing puffy tops/teased hair preceding the pony at the top of the head. Then we started seeing side ponytails make a comeback, only this time they went diagonal and sometimes rested on the shoulder. Today, we’re seeing messier ponytails, side ponytails, and sexy knots on the top, as well as chic updos.
We should have guessed that NYC would be the first to grab on to this ponytail trend and start specializing in it! John Barrett Salon in NYC offers many things traditional salons offer, with one special addition: the ponytail bar.
But the perfect ponytail does not come cheap, the starting price is $50 for a ponytail, and upwards of $100 if you want a shampoo, blow dry, or extensions.