Photos, story by Cassie Hepler
Always be willing to be a guinea pig. That’s our motto at Explore Philly. Get your hair did by four amazing, funky and fresh salons? Ok, you pulled our… hair.
We start out with some simple blowouts and end up… well, you’ll just have to keep reading (or scrolling through the photos in an online ADHD frenzy) to find out! Hint: Pink hair, don’t care.
This fabulous hair salon moved to a larger space in Midtown Village with expanded services last March. With 20 years under their belt, the Cashman & Associates girl squad comes here for everything under the sun. As a well-known Philadelphia destination for beauty, the larger space is a bright, contemporary, 1,500 square-foot space at 308 South 12th Street.
The locally and nationally acclaimed salon has been awarded several honors including being named Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best of Philly,” Philadelphia Style’s “Best of Style,” and Elle Magazine’s “Top 100 Salons.” Clients can continue to count on the same award-winning level of hair and makeup offerings executed by Owner and Artistic Director, Giovanni Mele and his award-winning team.
When we popped in, these lovely ladies were on their way out with some simply perfect blowouts, which always make a lady want to take on the world with a smile.
Owner and Artistic Director, Giovanni Mele insisted he himself do Explore Philly Publisher Cassie Hepler’s blonde lions mane that he thoroughly tamed.
A lady gets her hair prepped to dye while a gentleman enjoys a thorough hair wash.
Part of the salon crew pauses for a photo during a busy weekend afternoon.
The key to great roots is proper coverage and this lady is totally covered with not a stand missed.
Blow drying hair thoroughly before a blowout is imperative to making the style stick.
Owner and Artistic Director, Giovanni Mele and Salon Coordinator Elaine greet everyone with a warm smile.
“It’s important to me to be able to have personalized interaction with all the clients who walk through Giovanni & Pileggi’s door. The new space is designed to be a welcoming and pampering environment that fosters our unique approach to beauty,” says Mele. “For many, a visit to the salon is a chance to take a retreat from their busy schedules and have some ‘me’ time, so it’s important to us to make sure we give them an environment that makes them feel beautiful and inspired.”
In case you need more hair, they offer that too! Weaves that are 100 percent human hair are the best, of course.
The salon busy and buzzing in the front of the house.
No clip curling irons allow the stylist to have more control over the curls – and none of those annoying dents in the hair.
This stylist had a hold the curls with multiple brushes technique that was like a mad scientist. We loved it!
Assistant Junior Stylist Colin shows us all the latest and greatest hair styling tools from GHD that claims to keep hair from breaking.
Their high end service utilize the latest industry techniques and products, and include hair coloring, cuts, styling, specialty treatments (keratin and anti-aging), extensions, on-site makeup application and brow shaping as well as keratin blow outs and a full time make-up artist. The space also boasts a cutting edge WAVE Air Purifier system.
Salon Thalia, Center City’s full-service, upscale, contemporary salon, decided they needed even more options so they have brought on an Advanced Certified Xtreme Lashes Lash Stylist to their team, the first ever in the city of Philadelphia. Medical Esthetician, Zahoor A. Qureshi, also known as ZAQ, brings experience and passion to the salon’s brand new lash bar.
Developed to mimic natural eyelashes, each synthetic Xtreme Lashes Eyelash Extension is individually applied to a single eyelash, resulting in a gorgeous, natural appearance. Using a proprietary adhesive, they are only applied by a trained and certified Xtreme Lashes Lash Stylist. Safe and comfortable to wear and with routine touchups every two to four weeks, amazing eyelashes can become a long-term reality. Another angel gets her lashes is ZAQ’s motto and joins a team of funky, eclectic Center City fashionistas.
Salon Thalia was founded in 2004 by accomplished hair stylists Maria Norman-Gallagher and Michael Kuhn. As a full-service, upscale, contemporary salon, Salon Thalia offers women’s, men’s and children’s cuts, color, waxing, makeup, eyelash application and more! With 10 full-time stylists, Salon Thalia continues to stay on the cutting edge of hair and beauty trends with the help of their experienced staff. Salon Thalia is located at 1520 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA.
The grand reopening party lead us inside Salon Thalia for a quick blowout and bang trim.
Because everyone likes balloons, we had to have the team take a photo in all their fabulousness.
A huge shelf of hair color options are available all the way in the back of the huge salon.
If you walk to the end of the never-ending space, you will encounter the sinks for your hair.
We parked it in a nook in the back where we were offered wine, water, tea or whatever we needed.
Our lovely stylist for the day, Leanna Gavin, gave us a bang trim and blowout to die for that lasted for a week straight!
Of course there are also make-up options for those who want the full salon experience.
And across the way, tons of products available for sale for whatever your needs may be.
Tons of products are available to keep your mane beautiful and healthy in between washes.
Salon owner, hairstylist, make-up artist and photographer Paige Lewis is a whirlwind of talent in a cozy Bala Cynwyd location. A true mom and pop shop (with adorable baby), breadwinner Paige and her husband Steve bought Hairs To You from the previous owner in 2008. She made numerous changes including a new location and decor, while maintaining the familiarity and intimacy of the salon, as well as the superior customer service that Hairs To You clients have appreciated for years.
“We want our clients to know how much we appreciate them. So many businesses today have no idea what customer service means, and we want to change that. Not only do we have complete confidence that our staff are amazingly talented and will ensure that the client is thrilled with their service, but we know the client will leave with a smile on his/her face because they were given that service with respect, care, and always a little bit of playfulness!”
We showed up on a cold, windy afternoon and were greeted by this sign. Note: always make the right hand turn before the sign, otherwise you have to backtrack like we do every time!
A peak into the hair washing section of the boutique Bala Cynwyd salon. It’s a long space that has three levels.
The front desk is always welcoming with a (sometimes shy for the camera) smile.
Paige’s absolute favorite part of the industry is weddings. Besides being extremely passionate about updos – especially those with a vintage or retro flair – Paige is a makeup artist as well, specializing in both traditional and airbrush application, and she is a founding beauty guide with LimeLight by Alcone.
We tested out some of this line which uses the best of each brand and makes them into a power line of make-up. The concealer worked so well, people barely recognized me and when warmed, spread smoother. We have worked with Paige in the past for photoshoots with make-up and hair as well. She is amazing and impressive. Paige is available to travel on-site for weddings and photo shoots. View Paige’s professional website at www.PaigeElizabethLewis.com
There are also children’s options as Paige and her staff are great with kids as well as some products for the little ones as well.
The salon section has a small but loyal – and quite a family feel. You can joke and laugh and feel at home here with no worry of judgement.
Marilyn Monroe’s face is on the wall next to the make-up section which we loved.
Award winning salons are a good sign you know where is good to go!
Paige plays in the selfie station for her clients to show off their new ‘do before they leave.
A Southern girl (with the warm personality and easy going nature to match), Paige attended Griffin Technical college in Griffin, Georgia. She graduated in 2005, but started doing hair even before graduating for weddings. Paige began her career in Georgia before moving north to the Philadelphia area in 2006. Paige is bilingual in American Sign Language, and welcomes deaf and hard of hearing clients in the salon. Paige has a strong commitment to continuing education, and is always seeking to learn new things in order to be the best style asset she can to her clients.
When we decided to try pink hair, we knew we could trust Paige with our goldilocks. She touched up the roots and added two shades of pink – one more vibrant and one more pastel. She thoroughly coated each section with the corresponding shade and let it sit. Since there was no bleaching for blondes beforehand, the vegan dye does not hurt the hair at all. It just adds a fun pop of color! Darker hair would need to be bleached first, however upkeep is a breeze with Overtone.co‘s tinted conditioners as Paige hinted to us.
The final result in the sunlight. The key is to not wash your hair as often and the color has stayed put. The pastel pink Overtone conditioner does deliver the slight fade to a candy pink more like Paige’s shade in her above photos.
Owner Su-Shan Lai is one of the coolest chicks you may ever meet. Her laid-back attitude and calming voice immediately puts you at ease at this non-pretentious Manayunk salon. Located literally next door to the rockin’ music venue The Grape Room, you can always get all gussied up with an array of hair and make-up services and then go next door to rock out. Or go to ladies night like we did and have everyone ask exactly why we looked so fabulous (that never hurts)!
With over 17 years in the beauty industry under her belt, Lai once shaved her whole head for charity. Now that is punk rock. When it grew back in, she died it pink. Now she has the sides shaved but you would never know with that thick, lovely dark hair of hers. To keep paying it forward, she offers cuts for causes discounts to all her clients.
Keep an eye out for the purple sign and purple door to the left of Grape Room on Grape Street in Manayunk for the Starshine Salon sign.
We’re always fans of inspirational signs and sayings! We arrived a little frazzled, but left feeling relaxed, confident and calm.
Looking out the window and toward the street with some groovy blue tree chairs.
Owner Su-Shan Lai greets us as we walk in the door with her celestial, hand-painted mural in the background. On hand is water, tea, coffee and of course some wine to keep calm and carry on with even the worst days. She is also a reiki energy healer as we slightly experienced during a mini scalp and hand massage, which was lovely.
Not only is Erica Nichole Bou a talented stylist (here she is keeping a client’s silver tips fresh with a dark almost black root), but she is also a good makeup artist. Her favorite style is glam while Su-Shan’s is more natural. The duo is constantly booked weekends doing hair and make-up for bridal parties so they are quick and accurate, which is what everyone wants these days. Erica’s rates are $50 for a face whileSu-Shan’s rates start at $40 and up, a pretty sweet deal for an all-in-one location.
Erica sets up her station near the door with a medley of make-up options. We go for a night time look with matching red lips to go with the sweater dress.
A sneaky salon selfie with the Nikon while Erica works on a client in the background to see the make-up before the final product.
Su-Shan did a great job with the hair, using the flatiron to make bouncy curls after deep conditioning while Erica did the make-up. We added the RocksBox delivery jewelry necklace to the look to add more glam (use code cassieheplerxoxo for a free one month trial) since Erica did such a nice job with the make-up (and no false lashes needed, they do exist just very blonde)!
The back looks cotton candy pink and still long and lovely. Su-Shan also took a little off the back as it was a bit thick through the middle and fluffy. We loved the finished product.
She even sent us home with Style Edit root touch up which is like make-up for your roots in our shade. We love this idea as sometimes a girl just doesn’t have time to worry about her roots! It was a sweet gesture from an equally sweet lady and if you check out their Yelp page, there is nothing but love in those reviews.
If you want to pop in sometime, schedule a 30-minute image consultation, where Su-Shan listens to her clients’ varied discussion topics and then helps them with everything from reconstructing their resumes to restyling their wardrobes. In addition to giving out advice, Su-Shan and her staff are adept at revamping looks with haircuts, Goldwell color services, and Brazilian Blowouts.