1. Salon M
Lisa Marquette, Salon M owner and stylist, credits the success of her salon to its customer service and comfortable atmosphere. "We accommodate our clients in every way possible," Marquette says. "We never overbook appointments so that we can give each client our undivided attention." The salon's relaxing yet elegant atmosphere features neutral and relaxing colors, a waiting room stocked with coffee and bottled water, a luxurious shampoo area and an award-winning color bar. The 1,800-square-foot space, which opened in 2006, caters mostly to upscale professionals in the city but attracts a wide range of clients because of its talented and educated stylists, who receive continuous education from Bumble and bumble to stay ahead of the trends. Says Marquette, "We offer clients old New Orleans charm in a very welcoming and relaxing atmosphere."
In stock: Bumble and bumble, Paul Mitchell, OPI
2. Aidan Gill for Men
When barber Aidan Gill opened his eponymous salon 19 years ago, he decided he would create a place where men could feel comfortable. The salon features a masculine atmosphere with antique barber chairs, machines and gadgets from original barbershops. "One thing I always say is that this place does not need a woman's touch," Gill says. Half of the space is designated for the two services offered: shaves and haircuts, and the other is for retail. The barbershop attracts a wide range of males, from teenagers to business professionals. Even infants have a reason to visit, as Gill offers a service called the Heirloom Haircut, in which he performs a child's first haircut while a photographer captures the moment. "The first haircut is a big deal, especially for the child's mother," Gill says. "We can present the mother with an 8-inch by 10-inch mounted professional photo that will not fade or chip, and the moment will last forever."
In stock: Anthony Logistics, John Allan's, Geo. F. Trumper
According to Studio-E co-owner and head stylist Earl Joyner, the salon's success is due primarily to its commitment to quality in service and products. Joyner, along with his partner, Starkey Kean, aimed to create a relaxed, friendly, upscale space in the re-emerging Downtown area of New Orleans when they opened in late 2008. Specializing in hair and scalp treatments, the 465-square-foot Kérastase salon also offers color, cuts and styling. Featuring a contemporary decor with mid-century modern accents, the salon has an open and natural feel with 13-foot ceilings and tall stainless steel mirrors. To help convey the treatment aspect of the salon, the staff is required to dress in white lab coats with the Studio-E logo embroidered on the front pocket. Says Joyner, "We are striving to create a niche market as a treatment salon, improving the integrity of the client's hair while allowing her the option of continuing her relationship with her existing colorist and stylist."
In stock: Kérastase
4. Paris Parker Salons and Spas
With 11 salon and spa locations in Louisiana, five of which are located in New Orleans, Paris Parker Salons and Spas are known for their great customer service and educated stylists. While each of the five Aveda Lifestyle Salons attracts a different clientele based on its location in the city, they all work together to ensure clients receive top-notch care, says Brigette Mire, the Prytania location's salon coordinator. For example, the Prytania location, the first in New Orleans, offers in-salon training that stylists from the other locations are invited to attend. After training, most new stylists to Paris Parker start working at the company's newest New Orleans location, the Paris Parker Studio on Magazine Street, which offers services at a lower price point than the other locations. With its cuts, color, waxing, facials and massage, Paris Parker provides clients with the perfect one-stop shopping atmosphere.
In stock: Aveda