Thank goodness I ran to Hair Reflections. I had never been there but had heard good things. By complete accident, I bumped into the owner, Rose who agreed to start work two hours early to rescue me. She did just that. Her staff was terrific and she obviously knew exactly what she was doing and understood what I wanted. Unfortunately, I'm still in the predicament of having to deal with semi-permanent color and more frequent visits to the salon than I want or can afford. The fiasco has cost me almost $500 with many more expenses in my future and a substantial amount of damage to my hair. My suggestion....go anywhere but to Jilbere's (soon to be Tonya Jones Salon Spa!)
Sanctuary is a BEAUTIFUL salon in Homewood. It is easy to get to from Highway 31. The only trouble would be parking on a busy Saturday, but even that was no trouble when I went.
I loved the atmosphere. There were complimentary beverages and friendly staff in the front waiting area. I saw someone helping a client use the one cup coffee machine, and then sending someone else running to the grocery store to buy cream for her. That's service!
The receptionist, knowing I had not been there before, showed me where the restroom was, and where I could change into a smock and hang my jacket. This part always freaks me out a little. It has been YEARS since I've been to a "real" salon and I would have been intimidated if I hadn't experienced this before.
I met Shaun, and he really listened to me. I told him that if it was possible, I would really like just some kind of gloss on my hair to make it shinier rather than coloring. I know that chemicals have come a long way since I was young, but I saw too many people I know get stuck with a bad color and fried hair on top of it. I have always been against dying. He said he could do a gloss with a smidgen of color that I would not have to maintain. It would not look bad if it was growing out. I would not have roots issues.
Shaun took me back to the room where there are shampoo sinks and dryers. He mixed the color himself, and put that on my hair. He left instructions about how long it was to set under the heat, and then a lady came to offer me a drink and magazines. I accepted and went into my own little world while I dried. This was the nicest and hardest part about the whole trip. I was anxious (though I shouldn't have been) about how my hair would look, and nervous about having left my little one with my husband (though I shouldn't have been). But I did enjoy the opportunity to just sit.
The shampoo lady did get my back a bit wet, and when Shaun reappeared at the chair, he noted that immediately and apologized. He suggested I get a new smock. I was so grateful. I couldn't bear the thought of shivering while he cut my hair, but again, it's because I get uncomfortable that I wasn't going to say anything, and he put me at ease.
While Shaun liked the general style of my hair, he did want to shape it up. He thought I had a good length in mind, and he took my existing layers and just did a bit more with them. It was good to know that a) he wasn't going to do anything drastic and b) my stylist I had been working with for years (although she doesn't work at a fancy salon) had done pretty much what he would have done with my hair. I have thin, but naturally wavy to curly hair, further complicated by the fact that I had lost a lot of hair after my pregnancy. Shaun, who is a self-described health nut, even recommended a hair and nails vitamin to me.
Shaun is not only a great professional, but he is also a good listener and very smart about hair. He told me all about how light is reflected and what that has to do with hair color while he was getting a stubborn piece of hair to lay down perfectly. He curled it out a bit, but fixed it to make it look "not too Marlo Thomas," which I appreciated.
The gloss with color had the benefit of covering up my gray. His goal was to make the color return to what it looked like "when I was a little girl". He took out the "muddy" and "mousy" characteristics of my hair and we were both pretty pleased.
The total service was $140 value, not counting the tip I was glad to leave. Thanks to info I read on Salonfly and at Sanctuary's website, I was prepared for this.
I am definitely pleased with the results overall.
- Laura Gallitz
My color is so rich and dynamic and my cut just makes me feel really vibrant. The staff come from all walks of life and nationalities and are so down to earth. I find it so interesting to talk to them and see the world through their eyes.
I was so impressed with the father, Jimmy Hollis, that he remembered me from so very long ago when I had moved away. And it was just a ridiculous amount of riches in the small touches offered complimentary from a hand massage, to a back rub, to tea or whatever your poison and alas, I forgot to dive into the cake. I ask you, how exciting a place must be to distract moi' from nibbling fresh cake. LOL!Anyways, not to dissuade anyone from a commute to Birmingham. But, if you find yourself in St. Clair or surrounding counties, this place is a gift and I have truly found a home there.
Well done Hair Centre Salonspa and all my love and gratitude to the staff. I cannot stop smiling and looking at myself with awe and wonder.
Thank you for that.
My threading was done by Surekha Arya, a Master Aesthetician. Surekha explained to me that threading is preferable to waxing because it will not cause wrinkles like waxing has the potential to from pulling on your skin repeatedly, and that it is a much more precise technique. The threading took just a little longer than a waxing did. As for pain, there was a little. If you can stand to get your eyebrows waxed, you can stand threading. I had very little redness and most importantly NO BREAKOUT in the days to follow, which was something I had been experiencing. While she was threading, she looked over my skin and we talked a little about my skincare regimen and some things that I could do. I had some time and, on a whim, decided to get the deep cleansing facial!!! My first ever (sad, I know). While she prepared the room, I went to the third floor of the building which is a nice room with muted colors and furniture and a rooftop patio, which they use to do massages on in the warmer months. It was so quiet and peaceful, I almost fell asleep drinking my tea.
When I went back to the treatment room, there were candles and music, I put on the wrap, hopped up on the heated table and she went to work on my face, cleaning, exfoliating, massaging, steaming with towels steeped in warm lavender water. It was FANTASTIC!!!! I have to say this, the only part I did not like was the extractions. They were not fun….at…all. But we got past that and there was moisturizing and some massaging around my eyes and forehead. Then she proclaimed that I was done and I reluctantly got up and got dressed; I was so relaxed. I couldn’t believe that an hour had passed so quickly. We discussed what I was using on my face. She said that what I am using for my acne prone skin seems to be working fine, but she did suggest that I use a different moisturizer and gave me two weeks worth of what she had used on me to try at home. I like the fact that she did not try to sell me a whole boatload’s worth of products.
It was good for the soul! Amanda
I certainly hope this will motivate [ you ]to give this a try. I will return and have referred everyone I know. Thank you Richard Joseph Salon and Salonfly!
- Winner of the salonfly.com Mother's Day contest, Steve Sisco
2931 South 18th Street
Homewood, AL 35209
She is the best kept secret in Birmingham. I hope I have not messed up my ability to get an appointment!!
Ok, so I have always gone to expensive salons and thought that the more expensive, the better (or the more "uppity the salon, the better stylist you have"). I have paid as much as $300 in the recent past for pretty simple highlights and a cut that I didn't like. After reeling from this experience, I complimented someone's hair and asked where she went. (She was a gorgeous pharmaceutical sales rep with perfect hair). She told me that she too, had tried all of the expensive salons but she found someone she loved in Columbiana and now I too love how she does my hair. The place is called "Personal Touch". The building is anything but posh and you will be surprised when you walk in - it looks like a typical small-town, Southern "beauty-shop" but Wendy (Bolan) does an excellent job! The price is amazing - I cannot believe all I get done for under $100 (usually it's between $75-$85 for a foil - two colors, cut, style, and eyebrow wax). My pharmaceutical sales rep friend said that many of her doctor clients have started sending their wives there as well :)
120 Old Highway 25 W
Columbiana, AL 35051
My appointment was last Saturday and it was WONDERFUL! Richard was marvelous--great conversation, great personality, I completely felt comfortable with him and trusted him with my "do"! He added some color to my sad, natural brown I was sportin'. I feel much more professional, stylish and ready for the summer! Oh, btw, Richard wanted to make sure everyone knows he's not one of those "froo-froo stylists" just because he's from NY. :) He was very down to earth and personable. I will definitely be returning to him for my next visit to the salon. Taylor P. I went last week and Richard was great! He was the first person to ever actually give me a really great cut. I have very thin fine hair and normally everyone just cuts my hair in a plain "bob". I will definitely be going back. The Sanctuary is very relaxing and up scale but with a staff that is friendly! I would highly recommend it to anyone and already have to my friends. Susan M.
I went last week and Richard was great! He was the first person to ever actually give me a really great cut. I have very thin fine hair and normally everyone just cuts my hair in a plain "bob". I will definitely be going back. The Sanctuary is very relaxing and up scale but with a staff that is friendly! I would highly recommend it to anyone and already have to my friends. Susan M.
I went and saw Richard a few weeks ago - he was fabulous and so is Sanctuary! He updated my 'do exactly how I wanted it, and I plan on going back to see him in a few weeks. The staff seemed very friendly and the salon has a wonderfully hip, but laid back, atmosphere - very comfortable! Rose K.
I got a cut and highlights, and Richard did a fab job. The atmosphere is great at Sanctuary, they serve juice and water, which is nice. I would love to have a glass of wine while waiting and getting my hair cut/highlighted, though. It is just a nice feeling being pampered and relaxing! Thank you very much! I am a beautiful young woman again! Brandy G.
I just wanted to send a HUGE thank you for introducing me to Richard at Sanctuary. I bounded in two weeks ago with my gift certificate in hand and had a wonderful experience! The salon itself, as you know, is beautiful and everyone was very friendly. I met Richard and he immediately consulted with me on what we were to do with my short locks. The was definitely work to be done to correct the problem I had going on in the back of my hair from having the "Locks of Love" pony tail cut off! I even let him color my naturally blonde (though dull from winter) locks for the first time in my life and it was fabulous! Jennifer S.
Richard was amazing. When I had gotten to Sanctuary, he was waiting on me and came and sat down beside me to talk. I had an idea about what I wanted but then he sat and started flipping through a magazine and we found the look. I got a haircut like Courtney Cox's, tapered edge look. He was VERY thorough and did both wet and dry cutting. I would recommend him to anyone! He shared some very neat styling tips with me too! I already have two upcoming appointments with him. Thanks for giving me this opportunity. I am very pleased with my cut and my new stylist. Laura S.
SO NICE I WENT TWICE. My stylist, Richard Blair, and the other Sanctuary staff make a salon visit very pleasant. Two weeks after my haircut, I went back for more services and plan to schedule the next visit soon. Tania A.
This past Saturday, I went for a cut and style with Richard at Sanctuary. While I am still adjusting to the cut (shorter than anything I’ve had since 2nd grade, and I still cannot style it like he did, despite his showing me more than once,) I really liked Richard. He is down to earth and really listens to what you have to say; he will do what is right for you, not just what he likes to do. Because I was the last appointment of the day, he truly spent time with me and tried to show me how to style my hair, (despite my telling him I knew I couldn’t replicate it.)
It was a great experience! the stuff there was very nice, they offered something to drink, the shampooing was combined with a massage of the head... absolutely great! And the haircut as well is fantastic - i really love it! Richard is really worth the money - of course this time I got it for free, but I'll definitely stay his client... forever!!! Actually, i already send my husband to him last week - with the same result: a great haircut received in a great atmosphere. Nicole H.
My experience at the Sanctuary with Shaun was wonderful....What a great salon...No doubt I will be returning to him for many years to come...I have already recommended him to everyone I know...I now have a great new stylist....What a relief! Erin S.
Unfortunately, most of the time your stylist says "trust me", you're headed for big trouble. But, if you're lucky, you might be sitting in the chair of a stylist who actually does know better. If this happens, hang on to that stylist like your life depended on it. Because it does - bad hair leads to premature death (seriously, I read that somewhere...on the Internet).
Cherie at Blue Velvet Salon is one of those in "the know".
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1) Cool name
2) The owner has a sweet car (which we've since learned is a Lotus Elise)
3) It's close to your home / work (salon is on Clairmont within a few miles of UAB)
4) Mike Hale gives a solid cut (at least men's cut) in less than 20 minutes
Have anything you'd like to ad to this list? Just post a comment.
Triple Platinum Salon
3020 Clairmont Ave
Birmingham, AL 35205
FYI - Mike Hale only takes cash or check
No, that's not his name (and no, he didn't think it was funny). Sorry, Amy, I think I blew that sales call.
So who is Lamar? And what's he doing in my head? I don't have a bloody clue. At first, I thought it might be the PBS Reading Rainbow guy - turns out his name is actually "LeVar" (and that he's also the Star Trek guy with the weird sunglasses). So I'm stumped. Lamar, if you're out there, post a comment so I can move on with life.
And oh yeah, Logan's salon was a funky little place. And the owner is definitely an interesting dude. If you've been, please post a comment - I'd love to hear about your experience.
Logan's Village Salon on SoHo
1820 28th Avenue South
Homewood, AL 35209
All intriguing...and all answered in salonfly's experience diary (click here).
If you're planning on checking them out, click here for some great promotional offers.
5299 Valleydale Road
Hoover, AL 35242
Sweet & Sassy (salon . spa . celebrations)
Patton Creek Shopping Center
The owners definitely put a lot of energy into this salon - my favorite perk...small, flat screen televisions positioned for every hair station.
Why will Orbit work for dudes? Number one, it's a bit gritty. No, not gritty like a bus station...I mean gritty as in authentic and unpolished. You will not find bubbling fountains or calming Musak (or any other cliches which dudes fear). Orbit is urban and vibrant - much like Southside. If you feel comfortable in 5 Points, you'll never feel out-of-place in Orbit.
What else? Oh yeah, it's cheap. I know "cheap" isn't the best way to say it, but sorry, $20 for a wash and haircut is just plain cheap! Now I'm sure it costs a bit more to sit with the owner, but a wash and cut with Lisa is only $20. And Lisa is good. I'm fairly prissy about my hair and she has never disappointed. Actually, it's rumored that my exact hair style has its own Hindu god - that's a lot of pressure to put on any one stylist. Lisa has been consistently up to the challenge. Remember to tip.
Here's the contact info:
2030 11th Ave S
Birmingham, AL 35205
One final note...I am aware of the fact that there are places in Birmingham that will "cut" your hair for $10 or less. And I am further aware that the men who frequent these establishments are quite proud of their discount cuts. Gentlemen, I say this not out of arrogance, but with deep concern for your well being...you're not 12 years old anymore, grow up and get a real haircut.