In every small town across America, there’s at least onesalon that raises the bar for everyone else. Portland, ME (population 66,318) has Head Games Salon.
A vision of Portland, ME might include cobblestone streets, fishing docks and microbreweries, but perhaps a lesser-known feature is the prolific arts scene and the old-meets-new aesthetic. Nestled among galleries and the Portland Museum of Art is Head Games Salon, a place where artists grow.
The full-service salon opened in 2000 and features sustainable cork flooring; custom furnishings built from the reclaimed wood of giant pickle barrels; and high ceilings made from antique-tin, a permanent work of art for clients to enjoy as they recline at the shampoo bowls.
Head Games Salon’s 5,000-square-foot structure is registered with the Maine Historical Society, boasts built-in old-world charm, but owner Alanna York found ways to revive the space, like transforming the dark basement into a spa oasis. “I traveled to Ischia, Italy (a spa island) where I went swimming in the grottos,” says York. To recreate the experience, York had concrete flooring poured and stamped with a natural rock texture, resembling the surface of the Italian caves.
Large windows allow sunlight to pour in for a welcoming, bright, open space, where an upscale salon team meets down-to-earth personalities. “The vibe is fun and low-key, and we like to laugh a lot at work, which helps us attract the right clients,” York says. Typical guests range from high school students to a 73-year-old fashionista who appreciate Head Games Salon’s most popular services: curly hair cutting and coloring. “I developed my own technique for cutting and teach other salons this ‘Killer Curls’ technique,” York says. In the future, she plans to build an education facility inside her next location to host more “Killer Curls” classes, curl-certifying stylists throughout New England. ✂ —Desiree Cole
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