Top Salons

A Cut Above

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Best Tressed of Them All?

By Tracey Meloni / Photography by Hana Jung and Jonathan Timmes

Finding a simpatico salon can be hair-raising, especially for newly transplanted Virginians without area friends for guidance. Northern Virginia Magazine solved that problem, polling 2006’s “Best” salons for peer-to-peer recommendations. What qualities define the Bests’ best list? Passion, education and client respect are musts.

Ronnie Elias Salon & Spa
Oakton; 703-255-1114;
Established in 1991, Ronnie Elias Salon & Spa emphasizes “continuing and lifelong” education for its staff. Classes include those offered by Bumble and Bumble University, the Vidal Sassoon Academy, Vivian Mackinder and UCLA’s Executive Education Program at Anderson School of Management, as well as specialized shows to keep everyone current.

Recommends: Gloria Harding at Tranquility Day Spa and Salon, “because she sets the bar so high for other salon owners. She has a doctorate in hairsalonitry!” insisted owner Ronnie Hier.

Gloria Harding / Photography by Hana Jung

Tranquility Day Spa & Salon
Manassas, Haymarket; 703-257-7200, 571-248-4150;
Gloria Harding preaches a sermon every client wants to hear: how to replicate The Look at home. And she serves up an ambiance that fits the Tranquility label. The Manassas salon she describes as having a “Nantucket-like setting,” while Haymarket leans toward the East Hamptons’ homey sophistication.

Expect consistency, commitment and top-notch stylist education here. “You will always be treated with respect and genuine caring by our team, and you will always be listened to … Tranquility guests do not want to look like everyone else in the office or on the soccer field,” Harding insisted. What they do desire are up-to-the-minute looks that are both manageable and conservative. In an effort to ensure they get them, Harding instituted the Champions Club, overseen by stylist Cyndi Welch, designed to share learning with new and upcoming stylists.

Why does Harding think she was recommended? The salon has an obsessive commitment to creating a positive experience on every visit. “We love what we do, and you will feel it. We share love and care through beauty.”

Circe Day Spa
Alexandria; 701-519-8528;
Sheila McGurk opened Circe, described as urban chic with a holistic approach, in 1992. Her stylists, whose careers at the Alexandria salon kick off with six months’ training from senior staffers, receive twice-a-month classes in the salon “to present new design/color techniques.” There, a designer just back from previewing the Aveda collection and absorbing advanced classes from “some of the best designers/colorists in the international beauty industry” might pass on what she learned. In addition, McGurk brings in international and national talent to spend the day with her staffers.

Recommends: Susan lacaruso, owner of Beau Totale. “She is into educating, stays current with trends and still works full time behind the chair—a true goddess!” McGurk endorsed.

Susan Lacaruso / Photography by Hana Jung

Beau Totale Salon & Spa
Burke; 703-250-0495;
A hair stylist, colorist and makeup artist for 20 years, Susan Lacaruso opened Beau Totale in 1996. She describes her haven as offering “a touch of elegance in trendy suburbia, inviting and simplistic. We believe that beauty is not just a haircut, but an experience.”

Beau Totale’s philosophy is that every client is “a guest in our family.” An Aveda concept salon, its mission includes being environmentally friendly and giving back to the community. Iacaruso works with various charities, including the Fairfax County Women’s Shelter, the Avon breast cancer program and Locks of Love, providing hairpieces to children with long-term hair loss.

Why does she feel her peers recommended her? “Hard work, dedication and constant growth.”

Doubletake Salon
Reston; 703-708-0800;
Diemchau Bui, co-owner and manager of Doubletake Salon in Reston, has been a stylist for eight years. Her family-oriented hair business offers a relaxed, pampering atmosphere and highly trained stylists. Continuing education is an integral part of each stylist’s career, with advanced color technique being one recently completed class.

Recommends: Stylist Laura Gayton at Eclips Salons and Day Spas wins Bui’s vote. “Laura has a diverse, committed client following because of her talent in color and cut. Ultimately, her upbeat, friendly personality keeps them happy and loyal to her—plus she listens to each client’s needs and wants.”

Eclips Salon and Day Spa
Ashburn, McLean; 703-858-7555, 703-821-0022;
Diane Fisher’s vision for her four full-service salons reflects “do unto others” thinking. Employees are treated as family, and the positive energy comes through to clients. Who gets continuing education? “Everyone!” Fisher said. “We close the salons, and everyone attends.” Eclips’ employees also receive good benefits, stock options and a voice in salon management. Nominated stylist Laura Gayton, of the McLean salon, typifies Eclips’ blend of warmth and professionalism.

Clients expect the latest in skin care, and Fisher makes sure Eclips provides it. Fisher is recognized as an industry leader for her “Eclips Kids” concept. The under-14 set enjoys movies in their own brightly colored setting during haircuts, manicures, even ear piercings. Eclips is equipped to offer total makeovers, microdermabrasion, laser hair removal and cellulite reduction. The salon participates in several charity events each year, providing free makeup and beauty-care products to women’s shelters.

Rodi Salon & Spa
Vienna; 703-288-3880;
A 15-year hair care veteran, Rodi Bechara opened Rodi Salon & Spa three years ago. Bechara’s experience as a Redken educator gets passed on to his staff regularly, and all staff receive ongoing training in classes across the country, especially at the New York Redken Exchange.

Recommends: “Salon Daniel, because owner Daniel [Bechara] does an excellent job at keeping the classic look up to date with the latest fashion trends,” Bechara said.

Daniel Bachara / Photography by Hana Jung

Salon Daniel
McLean; 703-893-5000;
“Making Northern Virginia and D.C. beautiful for over 20 years,” Salon Daniel’s elegant and stylish setting pleases even its upper echelons of high-profile clientele. Daniel Bechara believes in his team, relying on them to “carry out [my] high expectations and standards of excellence.”

Bachara’s business and personal training philosophies have been passed on to many now-successful salon owners in the area.

A full-service salon committed to discretion, relaxation and a sense of pampering, Salon Daniel employees strive to ensure clients feel both comfortable and confident. Born and trained abroad, Bechara came to the area at age 23, opening his own salon 20 years ago. Salon Daniel offers waxing services, facials, microdermabrasion and facials.

Salon Bleu
McLean; 703-448-1300;
Expect cutting-edge recommendations from the uber-trendy yet unpretentious Salon Bleu at Tysons Corner.

Senior stylist Larissa Sanclemente joined Bleu when it opened in 2003 and has been in the biz for nine years. Salon Bleu gives stylists a budget for ongoing training and the flexibility to choose classes, even overseas. “Education keeps us all inspired,” Sanclemente said.

Recommends: Khoung Tran at PRatPartners in Tysons. “He is skilled in the latest trends and has the technique to creatively pull off some edgier cuts,” Sanclemente commended.

Khoung Tran / Photography by Hana Jung

Multiple locations; 703-556-3303 (McLean);
With a decade of styling under his belt, Khoung Tran exemplifies the kind of sparkling personality that made PRatPartners a winner once again. His playful biography claims a love for golf, cold pizza, fighting crime and saving the planet.

But that’s off duty. In the salon, he is passionate about his work and loves “trying to make people feel good about themselves.” Tran, who likes to “blend sexy cuts with respectful looks,” said he’s flattered to have a peer recommendation and attributes the success in part to his own dedication and in part to his strong coach in style. “The boss really cares. I have a mentor here who wants us all to grow ourselves and please our clients,” Tran said.

Shapes Salon & Day Spa
Herndon, Fairfax Station; 703-713-0222, 703-250-0000;
Rodeo Drive-chic meets Virginia elegance at Shapes, the salon/spa lovingly created by 29-year industry veteran Sam Lane. One guest terms Shapes “as close as I’m going to get to heaven for awhile.” Lane ensures up-to-date education with several classes led by nationally recognized educators each year, quarterly business classes, as well as in-salon training.

Recommends: Ann Ratner, owner of Bubbles salons. “We both received our training internationally and have a lot in common. I’ve always admired her … she succeeded at everything she set out to do and still has a love for her industry,” Lane said.

Ann Ratner

Multiple locations; 540-785-5640 (Fredericksburg);
“A first-class experience at a business-class price.” That’s Bubbles’ vision, to which British-born and -educated Ann Ratner adds 40 years of passion and creativity. A self-made woman, Ratner determined early in her career that education, an encouraging environment and pride in work were the keys to success. As a result, Bubbles salons have evolved and grown with the times, always trendy yet also pleasing longtime customers.

Pros with cut, color and kids, Bubbles salons provide an upbeat experience that fulfills their founder’s dream. “Since the first salon opened more than 30 years ago, Bubbles has grown to more than 30 salons in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and D.C.,” Ratner said. “We’re a Mid-Atlantic fashion fixture. Our professional, highly trained and knowledgeable stylists make client happiness and satisfaction their only priority.”

Spa Minerale
Leesburg; 703-729-8400;
Spa Minerale, immersing clients in indigenous botanicals such as dogwood extract, prides itself on a total spa experience. Senior stylist Francisco Garzon brings 20 years of experience to the job and applauds the spa’s education policy: Stylists visit a minimum of two shows per year, staying current with cut, color and style trends.

Recommends: Two stylists at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa in Reston: Karen Goodchild for cuts and Fatima Pikar for color. “They always seem to be professional and particular about their work,” Garzon offered.

Fatima Pikar / Photography by Hana Jung

Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas
Multiple locations; 703-467-8488 (Reston);
Forget metallic blue eye shadow and barrel-curled perms—this is not your grandmother’s Elizabeth Arden. The new EA Red Doors spread new millennium beauty from London to San Francisco, with Reston receiving this year’s nod.

Goodchild, with five years at Red Door, said she’s honored to be Northern Virginia Magazine-recognized for the second time. “I think my peers recommend me because of my passion for the industry and my drive to keep learning,” Goodchild said.

Pikar, too, credits passion, learning and creativity for her acknowledgment, plus hard work.

“I am willing to come in early, stay late and work on my day off. Every client in my chair will look like a star when they leave.” Born in Russia where she said she owned her own salon, Pikar joined Red Door seven years ago as senior stylist and trainer.

Salon Michel
McLean; 703-442-7323;
Founded in 1992, Salon Michel expanded to a full-service spa/salon six years ago. Owners Michel Feghali and Jennifer North-Feghali are committed to staff education, providing in-salon training in coloring, cutting, nail and spa services throughout the year. Online training is planned, along with hands-on training centers.

Recommends: Mary Taylor, owner of Brush Strokes in Herndon. “She is most compatible with our style, our technical training and good standards,” Feghali said.

Mary Taylor / Photography by Hana Jung

Brush Strokes Salon
Herndon; 703-435-8002;
“I’m pretty passionate about my salon,” shared Mary Taylor, a stylist for 32 years, with almost a decade at Brush Strokes. “I’m also passionate about the industry—it’s the one profession where we can make a very personal and immediate change in how people feel about themselves.”

Located in Herndon’s historic district, the salon is decorated appropriately: Antique dressing tables double as workstations, while muted colors and lace stenciling add to the overall ambiance.

Taylor said she strives for “the finest customer service, dimensional colors, fabulous cutting and styling in a relaxing and warm environment.” A concept salon, Brush Strokes carries only a few exclusive lines, all petrochemical-free, “organic and healthy.” Over the next year, the salon would like to do more outreach with women’s shelters, so the women can get back into the work force with confidence.

Why was she peer-recommended? She believes it to be because colleagues know she has a “strong work ethic and belief in true customer service.”

Eclips Salon and Day Spa
Ashburn, McLean; 703-858-7555, 703-821-0022;
Eclips President and CEO Diane Fisher has 30 years in the beauty business. She started as a receptionist at Flashback in Burke, and some of her partners today have worked with her since those early days.

Education is a must at Eclips: Every staff member attends customer service classes. Stylists and aestheticians are required to keep up with the latest in looks and care, and Eclips prepares would-be stylists for state board exams.

Recommends: Ronnie Elias Salon, another education-oriented business where staff is like family and clients are viewed as special guests.

Ronnie Hier / Photography by Hana Jung

Ronnie Elias Salon & Spa
Oakton; 703-255-1114;
According to owner Ronnie Hier, “I first went to school in Los Angeles in 1975, about 20 minutes after I saw the movie ‘Shampoo.’”

Hier, whose salon is often abuzz with friendly vibes, clearly loves everything about his business, from the Tuscan-inspired walls to his energetic staff. He spotlights Nikki Gorsuch as an example of stylist traits he seeks. “I don’t have a favorite child here, but Nikki is a fabulous haircutter, extraordinary colorist and terrific dresser of hair.” Gorsuch, he added, is also concerned about and “totally devoted to her clients.”

The salon’s overarching mission is to provide high-quality professional and customer care in a warm and inviting atmosphere. “My personal vision for Ronnie Elias Salon is that the staff have all of their hopes and dreams fulfilled and to provide our clients with an exceptional experience so that they always feel satisfied.”

Glynn Jones Salon & Spa
Alexandria; 703-549-4000;
Soaring space isn’t the norm in Old Town, but Glynn Jones Salon & Spa achieves that grand illusion. Billing its specials as “the best of British,” the salon features Brit Girl products and is moving into its fifth year. All junior stylists assist Jones for at least one year, observing his technique and gaining hands-on experience before going on the floor, and all stylists receive education from some of the industry’s top lines, such as Tigi and Pureology. They also attend local and national hair shows.

Recommends: Jones suggests Vidal Sassoon, not surprisingly since he trained at Sassoon in England and respects the “vigorous training program their stylists must undergo.”

Allison Lyle, Sassoon Salon / Photography by Hana Jung

Sassoon Salon
Multiple locations; 703-448-9884 (McLean);
The granddaddy of them all, Vidal Sassoon is an icon in the world of hair care. The geometric styles that captured the most memorable faces of the ‘60s evolved into the 21st century largely due to Sassoon technique. Precision cuts specifically tailored to each client’s head, hair, face and personal fashion taste result, Sassoonists swear, in an effortless style that is easy to maintain from day to day. And Sassoon color is equally distinctive.

The Sassoon mantra—chic, sophisticated, glamorous—makes it clear that their taste in looks doesn’t cater to everyone’s palate. But one business devotee, Georgia Smith, summed up her passion for the place like this: “My mother has had Sassoon hair all my life. She’s looked great at every age. I decided to try a little of that for myself.”

Tip for a Snip

What Gratuity Stylists Expect

By Susan Anspach

One minute you’re gabbing together over which celebs best match your new chestnut lowlights. The next? You’re burrowing through a Kate-Spade-turned-black-hole as your stylist lurks nearby, not-so-surreptitiously eyeing the supposedly gaze-proof tipping envelope.

So many of us squirm over the post-service cash exchange, even if we’re happy with our newly framed faces. Doubletake manager Chau Bui and Chris Smith of Glynn Jones offer three rules to guide customers through potentially awkward experiences.

A standard expression of appreciation ranges from 15 to 18 percent, according to Bui. However, “tipping is showing that they appreciate the work that the stylist does. If they don’t like it, of course they don’t have to,” she says. Smith says it’s appropriate for unsatisfied customers to request a free reschedule, after which they should tip in full. “With any good salon, if you call back within a reasonable amount of time, they should take you and fix it.”

  • Come with cash. “We don’t do credit card tipping because it gets complicated,” Smith says.
  • That said, place your bills directly in the palm of the stylist or into the envelope—never on the station, stresses Smith. Cash can too easily get lost or stolen.

Fine-Toothed Science
Grasping the Chemistry of Hair

By Susan Anspach

What tips the scales in the ways of good hair days? The answer may lie not in what you apply to your follicles, but what comes out through them, especially if your hair has been seriously altered. Foods, drugs and minerals you chew and swallow out of sight have a tricky little habit of reappearing through your tresses’ texture, strength and body volume—levels of health that indicate how well prepared they are to receive treatment.

“Everything you take in through your body comes out through your hair,” says Cloud Nine salon stylist Christi Quinn, and is in direct correlation to how well your strands will stand up to coloring, straightening or perming, perhaps the treatment most prone to go wrong. “You’re chemically altering the disulfide bonds inside the hair,” Quinn says.

What you don’t consume counts, too. While Denise Sorrel, also of Cloud Nine, points to high iron levels as hair weakeners, Quinn notes that protein and iron deficits make hair more likely to suffer damage when undergoing treatment. Furthermore, if you’re on antibiotics or have recently undergone anesthesia, check with your stylist prior to pulling out the stops on an expensive service. Both can have long-lasting (but reversible) effects on hair compounds.

And it’s always wise to purify for a few weeks prior to your service. Sorrel suggests following your lather-rinse routine with a clarifying shampoo, like that made by Alterna. “Anything that’s not the hair, a professional clarifying shampoo will take out, except color.”

Curly Hair 101
Tips to Wrap Your Strands Around

By Renee Sklarew

According to co-founders Gretchen Heber and Michelle Bryer, more than 50 percent of Americans have curly hair, and most of them struggle with it. Whether theirs happen to be thick, coarse or fine, people born with natural waves often have a love-hate relationship with their locks.

Google searches conducted by curly-headed hopefuls may lead them to Nicole Siri. Clients from around the Beltway visit the 32-year-old stylist at Salon Nordine in Reston Town Center, where they enjoy not only a first-class haircut, but also instruction in maintaining their style after leaving the salon. In this way, Siri doesn’t leave her clients feeling abandoned when they try out the techniques back at home.

“Some common mistakes are brushing or combing after the hair is dry. Not applying enough products, or the wrong products,” Siri offered.

Her recently published, full-color book, “Strictly Curls,” is a step-by-step guide to coil styling. It’s spiral-bound so that it can be propped open as readers test the tips at their sinks, offering relief for DIY hair technicians everywhere.

“Work product through the hair. Don’t scrunch—this is not the ‘80s. Deep conditioners are a must, because curly hair is dry.” Siri recommended Oidad or MopTop products. “They reconnect the bonds that give curl bounce.” Most importantly, she said, don’t get frustrated and deny your hair’s natural inclinations. “Healthy curly hair is easier to manage. So embrace your curls, don’t fight them!”

For more tips on taming that mane, visit

Salon Specialties

These days, men and women have a new best friend: the hairstylist. Loyal as lapdogs, we trust them to transform us into better versions of ourselves. Yet visiting a regular stylist for more than a typical tweak is like trusting a general practitioner with orthopedic surgery. Here we offer 10 referrals for those seeking more specialized service.

By Christina Poole / Photography by Jonathan Timmes

Shapes Salon and Day Spa (Long Hair) / Courtesy of Great Lengths (before photo)

Long Hair
Hair extensions can be destructive if done improperly, even at high-end salons. Prospective buyers have to do their homework to ensure that their new lengths will be both beautiful and beneficial.

Shapes Salon and Day Spa

(Fairfax Station, Herndon)

Shapes Salon owner Sam Lane hesitated to offer extensions until she found stylists Michael Novobilsky and Marty King for her Charlotte location. She’s since persuaded the duo to offer the service in Northern Virginia upon request. With a quarter century’s worth combined experience, and work featured on television and in competitions, Novobilsky and King have specialized in the Great Lengths system for five years. The 100-percent human hair pieces, worn by the likes of Jessica Simpson and Raquel Welch, are only offered by Great Lengths to pre-screened salons and highly trained stylists. Clients must then have at least four inches of hair and be chemo-free for six months in order to receive the extensions, which come in a variety of colors.

Curly Hair
Straight hair may be en vogue, but curls are always classic. Their beauty is not without burden, however, so salons in the area offer services to treat the hair type and promote natural “curl freedom.”

Elie Elie
(Tysons Corner and Winchester locations)

Hair business owner Elie Gerdak once apprenticed at a posh Lebanese salon at a time when wavy, French-influenced styles were popular and knowledge of curly hair was necessary. He now imparts this wisdom as head of Elie Elie salons in Tysons Corner Center in McLean and Winchester. Gerdak’s stylists offer a signature “Curl-EE” service that includes moisture treatment, styling and product prescription. Equipped with specialized styling tools and a “curl freeing” cutting technique, they bring out the best in curly hair. Although he anticipates his customers having an attachment to length, Gerdak suggests an initial cut of a few inches to lighten curly locks for women. For men, he recommends keeping curls slightly longer. With lessons on at-home care and a new product line in the works, he also helps clients look salon-fresh even after they leave his hands.

Rodi Salon and Spa (Fabulous Color) / Courtesy of Rodi Salon (before photo)

Fabulous Color
The key to great hair color is selecting the right shade. Colorists suggest bringing pictures to appointments, because one stylist’s honey blonde might be another’s crayon yellow.

Rodi Salon and Spa

The horseshoe-shaped building in Tysons would be a fitting location for salons where luck has everything to do with good color. Fortunately, that’s not the case with Rodi Salon, which opened at the site three years ago. Owner and expert colorist Rodi Bechara claims the key to good color is “knowing the end result before you start.” He attributes his talent to good taste and training with Redken, whose dye he uses to this day. Assisted by stylists Fagnol Bonnet and Natasha Mohamed, Bechara prescribes clients the latest in color as outlined in season-based trends. He finds darker, more natural colors increasingly popular, with dimensions that personalize looks and highlight features. The salon also offers related cutting-edge technology with the Climazon and Rollerball—both have revolutionized coloring by significantly decreasing setting time.

Spa Minerale

Over the past two years, Lansdowne’s Spa Minerale has undergone a major facelift. Renovations and the acquisition of colorist Francisco Garzon elevated the spa to destination status. Garzon is no stranger to high-end hair care, having held top positions at Elizabeth Arden, Salon Bleu and Eden Spa at the Ritz-Carlton. He offers “the ultimate experience” in first-class color, and considers this specialty just a piece of his entire vision for client care. When choosing from his arsenal of Wella and Framesi dyes, he first takes into account skin coloring, selecting a shade that’s complementary to the client’s tone. He then takes the color in directions as “creative” or as “natural” as he’s allowed, with respect for client input.

Salon Bleu (Edgy Style) / Courtesy of Salon Bleu (before photo)

Edgy Style
The recipe for edgy style that tailors trends to the everyday person requires a balance of two parts education and one part translation. Specialists in the area also independently attribute their edginess to Vidal Sassoon.

Salon Bleu
(Tysons Corner)

In Henry Mont’s chair you get what you pay for: “We can’t be charging $100 and cookie-cutting.” Trained at Graham Webb International, he’s been with Salon Bleu since it opened at Tysons in 2003. He works with several Vidal Sassoon-schooled stylists and attributes the salon’s edginess to its British cutting technique. Mont has an edge on style, too; as a color educator, he’s trained in trends before they meet the masses. He consults clients based on the latest shades and looks to bring out their best with refined, detailed cuts. To tailor edginess for any age, he emphasizes balancing color and style. For some, “edgy might just mean a little more going on in their haircut.”

(Multiple locations)

A trim alone at PRatPartners begins with a questionnaire surveying taste, lifestyle and hair-care history. One can only imagine the attention to detail that goes into their makeover services. Their signature Fresh Look program operates in five NoVa locations and is overseen from the Tysons salon by director Mary Shaffer Clendaniel. A self-proclaimed fashion junkie, Shaffer Clendaniel is eager to give back to the salon where she first started styling eight years ago. A teacher of trends in hair, clothing and makeup, she mentors fellow stylists and clients. With the help of Khoung Tran, a master of edgy cuts, she makes her salon’s harder, more graphic and distinctly British-flavored looks palatable for every client. Lately, trends have her turning out deconstructed, classic shapes like the bob and Farrah Fawcett look.

Circe Day Spa (Corrective Color) / Courtesy of Circe Day Spa (before photo)

Corrective Color
According to Circe owner Sheila McGurk, business is good when color goes bad: Ninety-nine percent of all coloring is corrective. The best way to right the wrong is to take the path of least resistance and visit a professional for a proper consultation.

Circe Day Spa

As McGurk sees it, “colorists complete the story.” She advises clients unhappy with their ending to be patient with the process. McGurk opened Circe in Alexandria 15 years ago and currently leads a team of four stylists (Maria Escobar, Angie Orwig, Angela Rahnama and herself) to provide expert service in color correction. Her fashion passion and participation in Aveda’s Congress, an annual conference on hair color, keeps her stylists abreast of the latest in trends and technique. They offer partial- or full-head highlights with two to three colors, shine-enhancing glosses and customized shading. They also use Aveda dye, which is 99 percent naturally derived and perfect for “natural sensibilities.”

Salon Antoine

Stylist Antoine Chahine has 30 years of experience in the field, 12 at the helm of Salon Antoine in Fairfax. All seven of his stylists offer color correction, and, like Chahine, continually receive top-notch training from leading color company Wella. To redo a dye “don’t,” stylists first assess hair damage and may advise cutting if hair cannot be colored without further damage. They then consult with clients to incorporate trends as taught seasonally by a Wella educator. In Chahine’s experience, D.C.-Metro area clients seek more conservative looks. For fall/winter, stylists prescribe darker colors with plum highlights or toned-down browns and cinnamon hues. Spring/summer consults, in contrast, feature brighter colors with loose cuts to follow fashion trends.

Salon Michel (Thicker Hair) / Courtesy of Salon Michel (before photo)

Thicker Hair
There is a wide spectrum of thick hair types, ranging from full heads of the finest locks to coarse, all-over curls. However, there are certain techniques and products that, as a general rule, work better for thicker strands when applied in combination.

Salon Michel

Michel Faghali opened Salon Michel 15 years ago with an accomplished training background featuring all the big names in hair. His history of working with thick-haired clients means he knows to expect an attachment to length. For scissor-shirking clients, he substitutes shortening with softening and styling. Faghali uses razoring, slicing and carving to achieve almost any style on full-bodied tresses. He prescribes products “the way a doctor prescribes medicine,” noting that thick hair is apt to become dry and dull based on its length. He also prescribes the use of ionic and ceramic styling tools to tame frizz.

Straight Hair
Advancements in the science of straightening now offer even the curliest Sue a chance at bone-straight hair. Salons use a process called thermal reconditioning to tame unruly and wavy locks alike.

(Ashburn and McLean locations)

Curls and frizz plague Diane Fisher, owner of Eclips Salon and Day Spa, so it’s no coincidence that straightening became her salon’s specialty. Her team of stylists who straighten—Char Chung and Tiffany Strickland at the McLean location, Jessie Kim and Debbie Prizzia in Ashburn—offer treatments that eliminate frizz, which, according to Fisher, “is a bigger problem for people with curly hair than the curls are.” They prescribe one of two reconditioning treatments: Shinbi, a Japanese process that results in pin-straight locks, or Grund Canadian straightening, a gentler experience that is compatible with a variety of hair types but produces a more natural look. Both lines are paired with Milbon products to keep hair smooth and healthy.


(April 2008)