The best cure for a bad hair day? Stopping it before it starts with a killer cut and flattering color. Trust your tresses to the locksmiths at these top San Francisco hair salons—some city legends, some well-kept secrets. Complete your look with a new piece of jewelry or an outfit from one SF’s finest shops.
Best hair salons in San Francisco
This glam Financial District spot with custom-built bookshelves and striking art is helmed by Michelle (Fiona) Snyder, an SF native who recently made her way back west after years spent in NYC styling stars like Zooey Deschanel and Sienna Miller. She hired a bevy of vintage-sporting stylists you’ll want to be your new best friends: They just get what you’re looking for—whether it’s spiky pink tips or a multi-dimensional brown.
With a roster that reads like a who’s who of hot San Francisco stylists (gigs include taming tresses for big-time magazines, brands from Target to Free People and celebs including Jennifer Garner and Anne Hathaway), this cutting-edge salon smack in the middle of Union Square kills it at everything. Think precision cuts, creative color, Brazilian straightening, barbering and even updos.
It’s hard to determine what’s more stylish: the Financial District salon’s industrial-chic digs (painted blue floors, boat-wood mirrors, epic chandeliers) or its stunning cut and color jobs. In-the-know stylesetters flock here for on-point primping sessions led by co-founding couple George Falcon and James Mackey; the duo is as comfortable working with blonde bombshells as they are raven-haired indies. They also specialize in makeup and smoothing keratin treatments.
Though the city’s salonscape is ever-changing, this bright Cow Hollow mainstay (celebrating the big 1-0 this year) retains its sterling reputation for turning out the beachiest blondes and could-be-natural ombres. Check your calendar because celeb stylist Jonathan Colombini (he’s coiffed Laura Prepon and Demi Moore) from Sally Hershberger Los Angeles takes appointments here every couple of months.
Balayage (the sexy French way to say dye that’s painted by hand) is the name of the game at this NoPa styling mecca, where true connoisseurs of color go for a head-turning ombre. The stylish decor—antique piano, worn-just-right leather chairs, an explosion of plants—is as effortlessly cool as founder Brian Belier, who spent years making people beautiful at other San Francisco hair hotspots before striking out on his own.
With the kind of good looks that’ll stop you in your tracks (think double-tall ceilings and industrial-chic décor)—this Mission salon moonlights as an art gallery and occasional live music venue. These hair pros have a knack for trend-setting styles (for both ladies and gents), but are just as happy to accommodate a quickie bang trim. Beautifully packaged styling products (salt spray, smoothing oils) from R+Co ensure your new do holds up against the elements. Walk-ins welcome.
What do you do when a celeb stylist opens up shop in SF? You make an appointment—stat. Jon Reyman, who heads up teams of stylists every New York Fashion Week and has collaborated with magazines from Vogue to Vanity Fair, recently partnered with color guru Christine Thompson on this new venture. And though he bounces between SF, LA and NYC and a cut from him costs a pretty penny (try $450), this Russian Hill gem is staffed with a cadre of savvy stylists he handpicked for their incredible vision and talent.
Many of the fab stylists from shuttered city-favorite Oxenrose (RIP) can be found in the same gorgeous Hayes Valley space (those brick walls, that wood-paneled ceiling), albeit working for new owners. These talented coiffeurs are just as skilled at edgy, angled chops as they are beachy-blonde waves. And they can go mano a mano with any barbershop when it comes to men’s styling.
Tucked into an alley in the Mid-Market hood (next door to dreamy notions shop Bell’occhio) is a modern apothecary full of artfully arranged tinctures and killer beauty brands, from classic Oribe to up-and-comers like Josh Rosebrook. Pass through the back to the salon, where pro stylists dish out top-notch color and cuts for both men and women. And though you’re offered vino as you’re being blow-dried, the real happy hour is the $35 blowout on tap from 4–7pm Tuesday through Friday.
Tucked into a long, lean space with a gallery-style art wall on one side and a pretty row of styling chairs on the other, this rustic-chic Marina salon was dreamed up by husband-and-wife team Mike and Ashley Melamed. The pair spent time at an array of top-tier salons before striking out on their own, offering services for both guys and gals with fun extras like gratis iPads stocked with tons of magazines.