Love your hair (who’s your stylist?) or hate it (we have solutions), stressing over our tresses is a part of our daily routine, especially when it comes to finding the right person to cut, color and style them.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Find a stylist for your ’do, and you’ll make bad hair days a thing of the past. Among the names we found on the cutting edge are the tried-and-true Milwaukee favorites (Brian Houston Salon, Erik of Norway, Gee’s Clippers & Hair Design, to name a few), specialty salons (Dart Salon & Spa caters to multicultural clients) and some new gems we’ve heard you raving about.
The common denominator for these salons? Their clients love and trust them, and they think you will, too. So whether you’re new to Milwaukee, looking for a salon to call home or just in need of a new coiffure, we showcase salons that have won Milwaukeean’s hearts … and hair.
726 N. Milwaukee St. ◆ 414-223-0896
➸It’s been two (busy) years since Scott Yance purchased Erik of Norway-Downtown and made it his own. But the focus isn’t on Yance. Clients influenced every decision, from products (Kérastase and Aveda) and concierge-style services (stylists will make restaurant reservations or arrange for in-salon dining) to the minimalistic decor. “I want the client to be the art here,” says Yance.
Women’s Cut: $45-$110
WELL Spa + Salon
424 E. Wisconsin Ave. ◆ 414-277-9207
➸A salon housed inside the historic grandeur of the Pfister Hotel is bound to offer a luxurious experience. WELL Spa + Salon delivers with high-end services in an environment that’s pure indulgence. Hairdresser Jackie Jennaro says “communication is key to a good cut. I want to know how they spend their day so the style fits.”
Women’s Cut: $40-$60+
Di Carlo Salon & Spa
767 N. Water St. ◆ 414-765-1985
➸Fashion-forward service in the heart of Downtown.
1633 N. Farwell Ave. ◆ 414-276-5054
➸Beauty is known for its highly educated stylists, landmark Victorian digs and convenient hours seven days a week. Beauty also earns high marks thanks to the $25 haircuts available at the Cutting Group, the salon’s training locations (East Side, Whitefish Bay and Riverwest), with a fourth location slated to open later this summer. “It’s not a cookie-cutter feel here, and that’s what inspires us,” says owner Tom Miller.
Women’s Cut: $36+ (Beauty) $25 (Cutting Group)
Capricio Salon & Spa
Multiple Locations ◆ capriciosalon.com
➸Led by award-winning stylist Munem Abukhamireh, Capricio has built a loyal following on the East Side, but expanded its reach when it purchased Glow Salon & Spa and opened a Downtown location last year. It’s a full-service salon that nails the basics and features an extensive menu of specialty treatments and spa services.
Women’s Cut: $31+
Fabrizio Cappeli Salon
1419 E. Brady St. ◆ 414-273-8072
➸If the neon lights outside don’t catch your eye, the funky vibe inside will. Nilo Barajas opened Fabrizio in 2010 and caters to East Siders who like to live on the edge – at least as far as their hair goes. “We definitely create edgier, more progressive cuts,” he says. But his team handles tamer cuts, too. All are Aveda-trained with a passion for creating looks that suit the client.
Women’s Cut: $35+
Stone Fox Salon
2430 N. Murray Ave. ◆ 414-962-1111
➸Jackie Mickelsen is no fledgling salon owner. Fringe, her first salon in Whitefish Bay, celebrates its seventh anniversary in October. Her latest venture, co-owned and operated with husband Dan, strays from Fringe’s co-op approach to offer a 10-chair, midrange salon with an emphasis on organic hair care alongside a “certified organic” color line that’s paraben-, sulfate- and gluten-free.
Women’s Cut: $35+
1437 E. Brady St. ◆ 414-273-6682
➸When Nova Beschta set out to create a unique boutique experience in 2009, he didn’t hold back. His mod salon certainly fulfills clients’ wishes for head-turning styles, but stands out with its semipermanent LiquiFan eyelash extension system. Make your eyes and style pop with individual lashes, strips, multilayers or flares.
Women’s Cut: $45
Color: by consult; Lashes: $25 (strips), $40 (party lashes/flare), $250+ (LiquiFan full set)
The Establishment Salon
4503 N. Oakland Ave. ◆ 414-963-4300
➸Splitting their time between Cali and Milwaukee isn’t always easy, but owners Howie Goldklang and Carly Flynn say the creativity exchange between the Establishment’s flagship salon in Shorewood (turning 10 this summer) and relatively new L.A. shop can’t be beat. “Between the West Coast and Midwest, you get a good mix of ideas,” says Goldklang. The result: a salon that delivers cutting-edge styles with warm Midwestern hospitality.
Women’s Cut: $35+
Knick Salon & Spa
1028 E. Juneau Ave. ◆ 414-312-7947
➸Organic hair care and spa services.
HISTORIC THIRD WARD AND BAY VIEW
DART Salon & Spa
121 N. Jefferson St. ◆ 414-763-6438
➸After building a solid reputation with their first foray, Revelations Salon, couple Daven and Tanya Hines took their 20-plus years of experience, added a team of highly trained stylists, and created a comprehensive salon and spa service menu that serves as a one-stop shop for multicultural hair. Says Tanya, “Multicultural hair is a specialty that requires someone who knows how to treat it. Here, we can appeal to our multicultural clients with everything they need in a chic, urban setting.”
Women’s Cut: $50+
Groom for Men
330 E. St Paul Ave. ◆ 414-298-2076
➸Groom for Men isn’t just a barber shop. Thanks to customized haircuts and traditional shaves (hot-towel treatment included) alongside indulgent facials and waxing services, Groom set the course for man-pampering back in 1999. The high-end salon includes 13 barbettes trained in cutting, coloring, shaving, waxing, manicures and facials. “Think of us as old-school detailing meets modern-day styling,” owner Erica Grabczyk says.
Men’s Cut: $36+
2165 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. ◆ 414-482-7271
➸Readers let us know they were feeling the love for Lovely. Featuring a friendly atmosphere and knowledgable staff to go with competitive prices and acclaimed Aveda products, Lovely has plenty rave-worthy points. Owned by Joan Kelly, the modestly sized salon creates a welcoming oasis for clients.
Women’s Cut: $33+
Neroli Salon & Spa
Multiple locations ◆ nerolispa.com
➸Owner Susan Haise knows Milwaukeeans have plenty of salon options. That’s why education has been a pillar of Neroli’s long-term success. “It’s something I have heavily invested in for 20 years,” Haise says. Her other secret to maintaining a loyal following: community involvement. “We’re really proud of Milwaukee and want to serve our city,” she says.
Prices vary by stylist
3128 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. ◆ 414-482-2225
➸“New clients look us up because people are becoming more aware of eco-friendly and natural hair care options,” says owner Thor Xiong, who leads a team of five diversely trained stylists. And now, almost seven years in, Salon Thor continues to generate excitement among the eco-conscious. Most recently, the salon introduced the Italian hair care line Davines, a leader in sustainable hair care.
Women’s Cut: $39+
3064 S. Delaware Ave. ◆ 414-489-7824
➸Jess Stern opened Stag Barbershop in 2010 in a building that has housed barbershops since the early 1900s. “Whether it’s a haircut, shave or shoe shine, [we] customize each service to suit the unique character of every man,” Stern says.
Men’s Cut: $30; straight razor shave: $25; shave & haircut: $50
Aveda Institute of Beauty and Wellness
327 E. St. Paul Ave. ◆ 414-227-2889
➸Top-notch training and a source for discounted student services.
2340 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. ◆ 414-482-0633
➸Great cuts and a chill vibe for guy’s guys.
2222 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. ◆ 414-489-7198
➸Community-minded salon that’s completely on-trend.
Gee’s Clippers & Hair Design
2215 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. ◆ 414-897-0212 ◆ 4323 W. Fond Du Lac Ave. ◆ 414-442-7588
➸With a reputation for being one of Milwaukee’s most well-known barbers – and the only one with an authentic Milwaukee Bucks court in his shop – Gaulien “Gee” Smith has offered exceptional service for 18 years. Sure, some big names have sat in his chair, but that doesn’t mean his 16-chair operation lacks the welcoming neighborhood vibe of barbershops gone by. And now that the 20-chair, Martin Luther King Drive location has reopened, Gee is “here and ready to serve the Downtown and East Side.”
Cut: $15; shave & haircut: $20; Gee’s Premium Cut: $35
Brian Houston Salon
4479 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood ◆ 414-967-1637
➸At Brian Houston’s eponymous salon, customization extends beyond cut, color and style. “I set out to create a salon that was small, neighborly, and very personal,” Houston says. That means providing his clients with undivided attention during the appointment and making sure their favorite beverage and magazines are on hand. “I want people to feel really important.”
Women’s Cut: $100+
Erik of Norway
1505 W. Mequon Rd., Mequon ◆ 262-241-5111
➸The name alone conjures images of perfectly coiffed hair. Such a reputation is due in part to the salon’s minimal turnover, as well as its constant schooling. “Our team is always up on the latest education,” says salon manager Dawn LeMay. “It all stems from [founders] Erik and Carol Knudsen’s beliefs that we still carry on today.” Another draw: They are one of a handful of salons in the state that carries the Loreal’s Kérastase product line.
Women’s Cut: $30+
Impressions Day Spa
11134 N. Cedarburg Rd., Mequon ◆ 262-242-4620
➸Impressions is serious about making you and the environment look good. Owner Kitty Tierney touts her green bona fides: “We purchase wind power, and use recycled and repurposed products – our mirrors are made from the copper reclaimed from the Philadelphia Civic Center roof.” That attention to detail is also seen with her team of colorists and stylists who are well-versed in the latest trends.
Women’s Cut: $27-$50
The Men’s Room
4423 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood ◆ 414-961-9019
➸“When you learn to specialize in one thing, you do it well,” says owner Trish Krumins. It’s been her guiding philosophy since she opened the male-only barber shop in 2000. An emphasis on contemporary male barbering means men get the real deal here – free-hand cuts and a creative eye focused 100 percent on men’s style.
Cut: $28+; straight razor wet shave: $25+
N96 W17035 Division Rd., Germantown ◆ 262-253-6800
➸“People can go to any salon they want, so we go out of our way to make our clients feel appreciated,” says owner Ann Weber. The elegant, full-service Aveda salon also has a knack for cutting and styling curly hair, and is big on teaching clients how to tame unruly tresses.
Women’s Cut: $21+
2219 E. Capitol Dr., Shorewood ◆ 414-332-5893
Ultimate pampering with eco-friendly products.
The Harwood Hair Co.
7430 Harwood Ave., Wauwatosa ◆ 414-453-4672
➸Tucked inside the historic Underwood Hotel, the Harwood Hair Co. has been serving Tosa and the surrounding area for 19 years. The Aveda Concept salon exudes elegance with 13-foot-high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, but the atmosphere plays like a neighborhood hub. “We have clients ranging in age from 2 to 92,” says owner Mary Wray.
Women’s Cut: $25+
5050 W. Vliet St. ◆414-443-2003
➸Described by owner Paul Bartz as an “eclectic mix of stylists that operate as a big family,” Stella’s offers a full menu of hair, nail and makeup services, with a few spa treatments thrown in for added pampering. “We have a blend of stylists and colorists that lets us do everything from classic cuts to more avant-garde, expressive looks,” Bartz says.
Women’s Cut: $35+
6270 S. 108th St., Hales Corners ◆ 414-427-4543
➸When stylists and longtime colleagues Erin Charnon and Trina Alvers launched their own salon a year ago, they set out to create a place where clients could receive top-of-the-line services in a homey environment.They created that culture with flat prices, approachable stylists, and a commitment to the community that, in turn, makes clients feel appreciated, connected and beautiful.
Women’s Cut: $38
Exclusively Emmy (formerly Exclusiva Hair Design)
5300 S. 108th St., Hales Corners ◆ 414-425-7474
➸Innovative cuts and color by industry vet Emmy Rothbauer.
Azana Salon & Spa
200 N. Moorland Rd., Brookfield ◆ 262-784-4700
➸A proven favorite among Milwaukeeans, Azana spoils its clients with opulent salon services at prices that let you splurge without breaking the bank. Head upstairs for a plethora of stress-melting spa services. Says owner Tami Gemmell: “We make it easy to go to one place, get what you need – whether that’s feeling beautiful or relaxed – and get on with your day.”
Women’s Cut: $45+
161 W. Wisconsin Ave., Pewaukee ◆ 262-691-1200
➸Situated on Pewaukee Lake’s shores, this relative newcomer offers clients convenience plus beauty in a relaxing, beachside setting. A streamlined menu keeps choices simple – hair, facial waxing and makeup application – so clients can get their services, recharge and get on with their day. Owner Carole Riley leads the team of nine stylists, which has decades of beauty industry experience.
Women’s Cut: $25-$50+
15455 W. Blue Mound Rd., Brookfield ◆ 262-827-1000
➸Owner Laurence Seybold has learned a few things about keeping customers coming back during his 40-plus years in the biz. “Being great is not a noun; it’s a verb. You have to keep working at it,” he says. For the 28-designer team at Carenza, that means mastering more than just cuts and colors; it’s also about mastering the art of making people happy. “My goal is to make every client a lifetime client.”
The Colour Tube
13860 W. Greenfield Ave., Brookfield ◆ 262-641-7538
➸Colour Tube has been making independent stylists and clients happy for 10 years by offering them the best of both worlds: Stylists get to rent their own space and clients get to choose from a mix of highly qualified stylists and colorists handpicked by Colour Tube owner Holly Bilicki. “I make sure the person fits my standards and is passionate about what they do,” she says.
Prices vary by stylist
Craig Berns Salon Spa
645 Wells St., Delafield ◆ 262-646-7406
➸This 13-chair, Aveda Concept salon has been an exemplar of consistent quality for 33 years under the direction of Craig and Mary Beth Berns. “Our niche is customization – every guest, every service,” says Mary Beth. Salon experiences begin with a personal, one-on-one consultation in which stylists analyze the client’s facial structure and hair texture to ensure every cut and color is perfect.
Women’s Cut: $36-$66
De Riah Boutique Salon
Multiple locations ◆ deriah.com
➸De Riah put itself on the map by setting trends. Nearly two decades later, it stays there by giving its clients “the biggest bang for their buck,” according to Rachel Kernan, who joined Shelley Szypszak as co-owner when the Mequon location opened in 2012. “We’re always striving for the next thing.” The latest? Hands-on styling clinics that teach clients how to style the cuts they love.
Women’s Cut: $28-$75+
13315 Watertown Plank Rd., Elm Grove ◆ 262-782-1190
➸ “We have a totally different vibe than other salons,” says owner and master colorist Orlin Root-Thalman. The salon, which celebrates its two-year anniversary this month, specializes in bold, customized color and offering clients a fun environment (witness the disco ball) without a hint of pretentiousness.
Women’s Cut: $38+
Steven Edwards Color Group
3850 S. Moorland Rd., New Berlin ◆ 262-782-4200
➸When it comes to hair color, Steven Edward Gengler sets high standards. Everyone on his team is board-certified, which means each stylist must pass a grueling examination from the American Board of Certified Haircolorists. Why? “Our focus is putting color and cutting together,” Gengler says. “It’s melding the right cuts with the right color for each individual.”
Women’s Cut: $32-$63
Studio 890 and The Art of Hair
Multiple locations ◆ studio890.com
➸What is the secret ingredient to consistent client satisfaction? A staff that thrives on pushing the craft to the limits. “I’m always telling my staff and apprentices, ‘If you ever get bored in this industry, it’s your own fault,’” says master designer Cindi Bindrich. Each Studio 890 location, as well as The Art of Hair, brings a style as distinctive as the looks created within.
Women’s Cut: $16-$55+
12420 W. Beloit Rd., New Berlin ◆ 262-782-0288
➸Inviting music, simple decor and stylists who seem genuinely happy to see you makes a trip to Style feel like a visit with a friend. That’s the point, says salon owner Kathryn Brisk. Details matter to her because they keep “customer service” from becoming a buzzword. “I tell my stylists, ‘Take their coat, offer a beverage or sweet treat. Make them feel at home.’”
Women’s Cut: $32-$63+
Anton’s Salon & MSpa
Multiple locations ◆ antonssalon.com
➸Tried and true, but up with the times.
Multiple locations ◆ bellalei.com
➸Posh, full-service salon and spa.
Freelancer Sara Rae Lancaster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Mane Attractions’ appears in the July, 2014, issue of Milwaukee Magazine. Click here to subscribe.