Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right California icon-chevron-right San Francisco icon-chevron-right The best hair salons in San Francisco

Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.

Edo Salon
Photograph: Yelp/HM

The best hair salons in San Francisco

Get the tresses of your dreams at these San Francisco hair salons serving up selfie-worthy cuts, color and styling

By Gail Goldberg

The power of hair is real. No doubt, a case of the frizzies, a tiff with a curling iron or an at-home balayage experiment can ruin one's entire day, or week. But a GHD (good hair day) is everything…you smile more, your confidence soars; life is good. That feeling all starts at San Francisco's best hair salon, where great cuts, flattering color and supermodel-like blowouts are routine. Whatever length, color or texture your mane, there's a San Francisco hair salon and stylist for you. Find your next shear genius now. Chop-chop.

RECOMMENDED: Best day spas in San Francisco 

Hair salons in San Francisco

Barrow Salon
Photograph: Bess Friday

1. Barrow Salon

Shopping Union Square

Inspired by the peaceful West Village street for which it's named, this light-filled hair haven has a New York-y loft-like vibe. Sure, the cool art, library and complimentary pours of bubbly and coffee are always welcome, but the main reason to book an appointment at Michelle Snyder's Union Square salon is the talent—starting with SF native Snyder herself. Over the years, she's snipped the locks of many a celeb (i.e. Amanda Peet, Sienna Miller) and styled looks for fashion mags like Vogue and Elle. Snyder is known for wielding a mean pair of scissors with a focus on precise yet effortless cuts. The rest of the crew of stylists and colorists also bring a range of versatile skills to the chair, whether it's creating the perfect baby blonde, edgy razor cut or supermodel bouncy blowout.

Spoke & Weal
Photograph: Courtesy Spoke & Weal

2. Spoke & Weal

Shopping Jackson Square

Scheduling an appointment with master stylist Jon Reyman—known for his cult following, signature knit beanie and lightning-fast dry cuts—isn't always easy but certainly worth the wait if you have $800 to spend. The good news is, even if you don't, the salon is home to an A-team of stylists educated by Reyman and color director Christine Thompson, a star in her own right whose work appears regularly in top fashion glossies. Indeed, every Spoke & Weal-er is flush with creativity, skill and vision, which translated to damn good hair. Another reason to check out S&W? It just moved to a spanking-new (and stunning!) 1,800-square-foot space in Jackson Square.

Madison Reed Color Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Madison Reed Color Bar

3. Madison Reed Color Bar

Shopping Mission

The popular at-home hair-color brand built its first IRL Color Bar within its Mission headquarters less than two years ago. And it's a hit: both loyal fans and newbies alike head to the small, chill space for demi-permanent and roots-only permanent color, as well as glosses and blowouts ($35). Of course, the salon uses only Madison Reed products, crafted in Italy by master colorists and available in 45 multi-tonal shades known for leaving hair soft and silky. All color products are enriched with good stuff like argan oil, keratin and ginseng root—and without ammonia, parabens, resorcinol, PPD, phthalates, and gluten. This spot is a great option for all heads of hair, especially those looking for routine gray coverage; prices are quite affordable, starting at $40. Breaking news: A second MR location in Hayes Valley (620 Laguna St), with a whopping 15 chairs, is opening at the end of January.

Photograph: Courtesy Cinta

4. Cinta Salon

Shopping Tenderloin

It has been around for more than 25 years, but this full-service Union Square salon still makes the cut. Bright and beautifully sleek with a separate blow-dry bar, this Grant Ave. stalwart is a go-to for trend-conscious ladies and blokes—and a favorite of Allure and Elle magazines. A large team of stylists create cool and chic cuts, including barbering, on the daily. But the amazing colorists steal the spotlight: whether you're going for sun-kissed blond or ruby red, precise magenta streaks or all-over blue, Cinta has your hue. The focus on individual style is real.

Photograph: Yelp/Catherine R

5. Madusalon

Shopping Lower Haight

Calling all Curly Sues and Sams: meet your spirit salon. Owner Marie France Cesar calls her baby a "salon without borders," where she and an experienced team focus on tending to natural curls of all kinds—cropped and kinky coils to long and silky ringlets and everything in between. The Lower Haight salon is regularly teaming with women, men and kid clients enjoying an extensive range of curl-centric services: cuts, color (including organic offerings), flat-iron presses, hair twists, braiding and extensions. All cuts are Deva Cuts, a trademarked and customized dry-cutting technique developed by stylist Lorraine Massey, author of "Curly Girl: The Handbook." 

Veer & Wander
Photograph: Courtesy Veer & Wander

6. Veer & Wander

Shopping SoMa

San Franciscans can't get enough of this salon-meets-apothecary. It's universally adored for its status as an all-around fabulous, reasonably priced spot (situated on the cusp of Hayes Valley/SoMa) for fresh cuts, color, up-dos, blowouts, and bang and neck trims. If you skew laissez-fair on hair matters, check out Veer & Wander on a Tuesday when training workshops are taught by experienced educators. Models are needed (that would be you): cuts are free and color services are $40. The only caveat? Appointments will take twice as long as normal. No matter how long you end up in a chair, a whirl through the boutique is a must. It's filled with an array of yummy hair, skincare, makeup, fragrance and more from not-found-everywhere natural and global brands.

Edo Salon
Photograph: Yelp/HM

7. Edo Salon

Shopping Lower Haight

Founders, hair bosses, and best friends Jayne Matthews and Chri Longstreet have been attracting fashionable and creative types to their Lower Haight salon (and art gallery) for 20 years. Known for truly inspired, edgy and modern cuts, a dedication to organic products, color and treatments, and a fiercely loyal clientele, it's no surprise that Edo is also an Instagram star. People can't get enough of client before-and after shots—especially those starring the salon's signature tousled-sexy shag with face-framing fringe and piece-y layers. The looks-good-on-everyone style is so cool even stalwart lob lovers are going for the chop.

ORO Salon
Photograph: Courtesy Oro

8. ORO

Shopping Union Square

Stylist Jarr Von Samuel and his razor-sharp team have been rocking sexy, everyday (and night) hair in his FiDi salon since 2015. Just a couple of months ago, ORO welcomed a second spot, a modern space with Art Deco vibes in Duboce Triangle (435 Duboce Ave, Suite A). The MO at both salons is the same: to provide really great cuts and stunning color with a focus on individual style in nurturing environs. And prices are more than reasonable, especially given the super talented stylists and colorists with seriously loyal customers—the social media raves are off the charts.

Photograph: Courtesy Population

9. Population

Shopping NoPa

This NoPa salon, and its younger Mission sibling (498 14th St), is a magnet for cool girls addicted to beautiful bouncy hair and stylish guys alike. Population's cult following is no joke—clients are drawn to salon founder Brian Belier's feel-good/look-great/be-you philosophy. It's one that translates to effortlessly cool hair with a low-key stylish décor to match. Classic cuts that are roughed up and personalized are central to the menu, but the balayage treatments are the piece de resistance. All the compliment-inducing color services keep shade-y connoisseurs coming back on the regular.

James Colgan Salon
Photograph: Yelp/James C

10. James Colgan Salon

Shopping Union Square

Creative director James Colgan's Union Square salon is a breath of fresh air. Like many of the fancy salons nearby, the talent here is topnotch—but the authentically friendly atmosphere is what sets it apart. The welcoming (read: non-snooty) staff and small (but not too small) space with a birds-eye-view of Union Square Plaza are an idyllic place for women and men (and kids) to enjoy classic and razor cuts, highlights, hair painting, balayage, blowouts and more. Colgan himself is a color master, and a ninja with a pair of scissors. Along with impeccable technique, his charming English accent and natural warmth are hard to resist. The salon's skilled stylists and colorists take their chairside- manner cues from the boss, making for positive experiences all around. The salon has a second location in Potrero Hill (1331 18th St).


    You may also like