When you start living in a new city, finding a new hair salon may not be the first thing that springs to mind. However, it is an essential service to seek out. Whether you want a fresh new cut to match your fresh start, or seek to stick with a signature style, you have to find the right stylist. Letting someone new touch your locks for the first time can be nerve-wracking.
A good place to start searching can be asking your current stylist for recommendations or industry contacts in another city. Recommendations from people you know can also point you in the right direction. Looking via social media (specifically on Instagram) can refine your search by aesthetics. Or if you really love that cut or color, and the overall vibe from an online account, you can take the next step of visiting the salon in person.
Dig deeper online by browsing hair salon review and booking sites like Styleseat and Boosky. On these platforms, you can search for and discover online portfolios and filter by the ’most booked’, ‘available today near you’ and more. Complimentary beauty services like nails, makeup, and spa treatments are also featured. With the platforms’ handy apps, you can book an appointment anytime, anywhere, with all the must-have information at your fingertips!At the best salons in NYC, it’s standard practice to book in for a complimentary consultation. This is a kind of meet and greet where you can discuss what you are looking for and what services they specialize in. It’s a great opportunity to see if you feel comfortable with a stylist, ask questions, and inquire about the price. At these appointments do bring along any images you’ve saved to enable the stylist to get a clearer picture of what you’re looking for. It’s also worth noting a sign of a good stylist can be that they are booked up well in advance.
Another way to road test a specific stylist at a salon is to go in for a blow-dry or treatment, rather than a cut or color. This way you can see how the hairdresser-client relationship could pan out, whether you want someone to chat to or someone who will let you switch off from the small talk. Some salons offer a luxury experience with stacks of fashion and style magazines, complimentary refreshments and cherry-picked products. Others offer fewer frills but deliver results. It’s up to you what sort of salon experience you want to pay for.
If you’re after the high-end salon experience on a budget, inquire about trainee nights. When you’re out for a coffee in a new NYC neighborhood keep your eyes peeled for salons, and pop in and ask if they do discount trainee cuts. Many of the top salons run academies or trainee nights where you can come in as a ‘model’ for the students to practice on. These haircuts and color services by trainees are highly supervised by the senior salon staff and directors for a fraction of the standard price. The only con is the appointments are often after hours or available infrequently, and also high in demand.
With all those tips in mind, we’ve selected some of the best hair salons in NYC’s most interesting neighborhoods that offer a range of services and prices.
This Williamsburg branch of the well-known Manhattan salon is a small hairdressing haven. The atmosphere is intimate with only five styling chairs catering to fashion-forward clients. If you’re looking for a trend-driven cut or color that doesn’t look too polished this is the place for you. Cuts and single-process color at Cutler Salon start from $100.
They also offer Redken treatments and Men’s Camo Color – a five-minute custom hair dye for men who have 50% or less gray coverage. Customers can sip on artisan coffee or something stiffer from the salon bar.
Tucked away in the picturesque West Village is Contesta Rock, a hipster NYC hair salon and barber. Street style and rock music drive the creative soul of the salon. The interiors reflect the theme with black walls and loud music. During the week they offer ‘happy hour discounts’ on their services. The atmosphere is informal. You can drink free beer while getting an edgy cut or color. They use their own line of products, ranging from a fresh seaweed and salt styling spray to high-definition hair wax along with a range of shampoos and conditioners.
Affordable hairdressing for any occasion comes in theater-inspired salons at Dramatics. Each of their nine hair salons in NYC has a unique interior theme. Even the stylists act in character with ‘stage names’. Book in for hair dye with Diamond at the Broadway branch or a cut with Dream at the 2nd Avenue salon. The highly trained staff are experts in cutting and coloring. They also have a training academy where you can book in for a cut with a trainee. Individuality is embraced making it the ideal salon for getting a unique style. Despite its appeal to the everyday New Yorker, many celeb clients have been spotted here too.
Tame wavy, curly or kinky hair at Beleza Natural in Harlem. A haircare import from Brazil, Beleza products and salon services make naturally textured hair softer and more manageable. New clients get a free consultation at the 6000-square-feet full-service salon. Deep hair treatments start from $30, cuts from $69 and color from $65. Take home salon products from the revolutionary Brazilian beauty range include curl serums and styling creams to keep your hair naturally healthy.
A blow-dry can be a real confidence booster. A visit to Drybar results in a good hair day. Whether for a date night, a special event or a job interview, this is the place to wash and go. There’s no shortage of blow dry bars in NYC, but Drybar is the premier blowout specialists in the city.
They have 22 branches that all offer the signature service of a wash and blowout, $49, from a look book of styles. Optional add ons include a Hydrating Shot or Scalp Massage, both priced at $10.
In the upmarket Flatiron District, there are many high-end hairdressers. However, Madison Reed Color Bar offers something a bit different. Firstly, their coloring services are competitively priced in comparison with other salons in the Midtown Manhattan area. They offer the option to purchase their own branded hair color. You can use their products at home or take them into the salon per visit. Their MR color system range is affordably priced. It’s also a great solution for top-ups in between salon visits. The professional color services in the salon include roots only, roots with a glossing treatment or semi‑permanent tints. Opening times are flexible with out-of-office hours and Sunday slots.
If you’re looking for a barber that doesn’t beat around the bush try Geno’s Barberia in the West Village. This hair-cutting hot spot has a loyal customer base from all walks of life. Celebrities and cool local creatives love the vintage interiors and old-school cutting techniques. Haircuts start from $40 and a shave from $35. They also specialize in buzz cuts. It’s best to book ahead as they get very busy due to the loyal customer base built through word-of-mouth. A true NYC hidden gem.
Do you love doing pampering beauty sessions at home? Sometimes there’s nothing better than a night in with a face mask and nourishing hair treatment to leave you feeling brand new. It’s easy to turn a bathroom into a spa when you’re staying in your own apartment. Modern apartments like Blueground’s listings in NYC feature beautiful bathrooms with fluffy towels and linens that are perfect for pampering away in private.