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Finding the Best “Hair Salon Near Me”

interior of modern hair salon
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If I search for a great hair salon near me, I want a list of all the salons in my area I can choose from (like the giant database on our site!). But combing through those options to find the one that’s right for me is overwhelming.

I know some of the salons on the list will be great, but how do I know which ones to avoid? We’ve all had a bad salon experience before. You know you can’t trust your locks to just anyone! You might be in the same boat right now.

That’s why we’ve decided to put together a list of criteria your next hair salon should meet. There are a few things all great salons have in common. Use these criteria to narrow your list and choose a salon that will leave you looking and feeling your best. 

Finding a Great Hair Salon Near Me

There are basically two parts to choosing a great salon. First, you should look for a salon that meets all the general criteria. Is the building clean with properly trained stylists? Does the salon have a good local reputation?

Is it managed well and organized? Then, you should narrow your options down by looking for one that meets your personal criteria. Do you need a stylist who specializes in your hair type?

Maybe you’re looking for one who will chat with you throughout the process like a friend. Or maybe you want to make it a time of relaxation for you. Here are all the things to consider to make sure you find a salon you’ll love. 

Local Reputation

A good salon will have a great reputation in the community. Satisfied clients love spreading the word about their stylist and salon! There are so many ways to get an idea of a salon’s reputation today.

Social media is a great way to check up on a salon’s reputation. Read reviews and pay special attention to any negative ones you come across.

If you see a common theme in the negative reviews (or more negative than positive), it could be a sign that it’s a salon best avoided. Ask for others’ opinions, too. Who do your friends, family, and coworkers swear by?

Is there a salon they’d never return to? What’s the best salon in the area? I’ve seen people have a lot of success posing these questions in community groups. It’s a great way to get honest opinions from the general public. 

Established Stylists

Professional hair stylist holding a hair straightener and scissors. Woman hairdresser in happy mood at the salon as a piece on finding a hair salon near me
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

A good salon will always hire properly trained, established stylists. Every state requires hair stylists to have hundreds of training hours before they can be licensed. That includes learning everything about hair, from its structure to practicing the latest cutting and coloring techniques.

You can find some great stylists fresh out of beauty school, but most of us prefer to work with an established stylist who has a loyal client base. If a salon is home to a few established stylists and a few newly licensed, it should move closer to the top of your list.

Clean and Hygienic 

Any salon worth your time should be clean and hygienic. This should go without saying, but I’ve seen a dirty salon or two in my time. All stylists are taught about cleanliness and hygiene practices in cosmetology school.

Every state has its own requirements for hygiene and sanitization that must be followed in salons. While those rules vary by state, look for practices like these to ensure a salon is taking all the right measures to keep you safe and the workspace clean.

  • Floors should be swept often and mopped daily
  • Work stations and client chairs should be wiped down with disinfectant multiple times a day
  • Mirrors should be clean and smudge-free
  • Bathrooms should be clean and sanitized
  • All product containers should be covered and labeled
  • Tools, equipment, and salon implements should be sterilized with hot, soapy water and disinfectants (like rubbing alcohol) before use on a client 
  • Stylists and employees should wash hands before and after contact with clients or shared equipment
  • Clean, sterilized towels should be used for each client
  • Uniforms, capes, and aprons should be laundered and clean 

Hair Specialties

hairdresser coloring hair in studio
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Some salons specialize in specific hair types, techniques, or styles. Finding the one that’s right for you involves learning what specialties the salons near you have.

Some of your local salons will specialize in color, curly hair, ethnic styles, straight hair, blonding, or men’s hair. Find out in advance what each salon’s specialty is and who the recommended stylist for your hair type is.

I’ve seen people go to a new salon requesting a major change (like going platinum) and end up in tears with orange or overly processed hair. If you’re after something that’s a little more complex than the basic cut or all-over color, seek out a salon with specialists.

Stylists Who Listen

Hair is one of the most noticeable parts of our appearance. When you allow someone to cut, color, or style your hair for you, you’re placing a lot of trust in them.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re willing to throw your hands up and say, “Do whatever you think looks best!” A good salon will have stylists who actually listen to what you want.

If you bring a picture in for reference, a good stylist is going to be honest with you about whether or not they can achieve the look. And if you want a trim, a good stylist is going to trim the ends – not give you an unexpected pixie cut.

Stylists who listen won’t treat you like an afterthought while you’re in the chair. If you feel like a stylist’s attention is on everything but your hair, it’s time to find a new salon. 

Organization and Management

Hairdresser tools on black background with copy space in center
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A salon may seem like a kind of magical place, but it is first and foremost a business. If the business side of the salon isn’t being run well in an organized manner, it will affect your experience.

A salon can be clean, have a good reputation, specialize in your hair type, and be filled with talented stylists, but if it’s not being managed well, it’s going to be problematic.

Poor salon management translates into overbooked appointments, stylist turnover, messes, interpersonal issues, and a generally chaotic atmosphere inside.

You can avoid these problems by finding a well-managed salon. Look for a salon that allows plenty of time for each appointment without overbooking stylists.

It should have low turnover with stylists who stick around for long periods of time. Most salon franchises have strict rules in place that keep the stylists and staff on the same page for a consistent experience. 

Help With Styling and Products

Ever noticed that your hair looks amazing when you leave the salon, but it’s hard to recreate the look at home? A good salon will have stylists who give you mini styling and product lessons during your visit.

Maybe it’s a special technique to use with a curling iron or instructions on using a hair product to cut frizz and add shine. A stylist once recommended that I get a silk pillowcase to reduce tangling and breakage. I still use one to this day!

You can find out in advance if a salon sells hair products (most do). If they do, it’s a good indicator that their stylists will be willing to take a little extra time to teach you about the products they use to achieve your style. 

The Right Atmosphere

Situation in a Hair salon for a piece on finding a hair salon near you
Gemenacom/Shutterstock

Finding a salon with the right atmosphere is essential. We’re all different – personalities, likes and dislikes, etc. – so the “right” atmosphere won’t be the same for everyone.

But you’ve got to consider your preferences when you’re searching for a new salon near you. If you want your time at the salon to feel like you’re at a spa, you probably won’t like a salon that plays loud, upbeat music.

Younger people probably won’t feel at home in a salon that primarily serves older people. If the salon is a chance for you to be social and chat with other stylists and clients, a salon suite with a single stylist isn’t for you. You get the picture!

Every salon has its own vibe, so finding one that matches yours is key. The atmosphere in a beauty shop is a major part of the whole experience. If it’s not quite right, it’s not the salon for you. 

Start the Search for a Hair Salon Near You

With these criteria in mind, you’re ready to start your search for a great salon near you. The salon’s reputation, team of stylists, cleanliness, management quality, and atmosphere are all essential to consider.

Most salons will offer a free consultation, so I encourage you to take advantage of that. Use it as an opportunity to get a closer look at the place, chat with a possible stylist, and see if it will be a good fit.

Really, we all want two things from a salon: To come out feeling refreshed and looking better than when we came in. By paying attention to the criteria laid out in this guide, you’ll land on a great and respected salon in your area.

Use our nationwide database to get a list of the hair salons in your area, then evaluate them based on reviews, stylist quality, specialties, and atmosphere. Ready to get started? Find a hair salon near you today.

Best-Selling Hair Products

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Debra Carpenter
Author: Debra Carpenter

Debra is a Nashville-based content creator and strategist. As the daughter of a long-time hair stylist and salon owner, she’s spent most of her life as a guinea pig for new color and cut techniques. Writing for respected publications like Forbes and HuffPost, she’s committed to bringing her passion for great hair to the masses.