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Hair Talk

The Simple Way to Pick the Perfect Out-of-Town Salon

The Simple Way to Pick the Perfect Out-of-Town Salon

A stop at the salon might not be part of your vacation itinerary. But after a few days away a reinvigorating blow-out, quick trim, or even a full styling session might be just what you need.

One of the most enjoyable parts of any vacation is the thrill of the unknown.

Just leave your hotel, and WHAM! You’re surrounded by vivid new sights, sounds, and experiences.

It’s enough to make you want to leave that guidebook behind...and wander wherever the day takes you.

Women in red dress in Oia village, Santorini

“Vacations are a getaway from the everyday...with fresh surprises around every corner!”


Still, there are some experiences you never want to step into uninformed… a professional hair salon treatment.

Of course, a stop at the salon might not be part of your formal vacation itinerary.

But after a few days away from your normal hair care routine…

...a reinvigorating blow-out, quick trim, or even a full styling session might be just what you need!

So, to help you prepare for this possibility, we asked a crew of gifted professional stylists:

“What’s the best way to choose a salon when you’re in an unfamiliar new city?”

Keep these suggestions in mind to enjoy a salon experience as memorable as the rest of your vacation!


Whether it’s fine dining, art and culture, or natural beauty you crave… can always count on the local residents for the inside track.

That goes for choosing a hair salon as well, according to Devin Toth, a New York-based stylist whose clients include Kate Upton, Shay Mitchell, and Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird).1

Toth says if you spot especially eye-catching hair on a store clerk, restaurant hostess, or anyone who’s clearly local, don’t be afraid to chat them up, to find out where they have their hair styled.

two woman drinking coffee

“Talking to the locals is an exceptional way to find out the best of what the area has to offer...including salons and stylists!”

And, if you do speak to a local resident, Toth suggests you “ask them what their name is, so you can tell the stylist.

“Knowing who referred you,” says Toth, “will help the stylist understand what sort of aesthetic you like, and who to thank for the reference.”2

In short, choosing a salon when you’re away from home is like planning any vacation activity:

Sometimes, it’s best to trust the natives...because who knows a city better than the people who live there?


So when was the last time you walked into a clothing boutique, grabbed an item, and headed for the cashier...without so much as a glance around?

That’s a trick question, of course. We know that’s something you would never, ever do!

When it comes to fashion, accessories, and always do a little browsing first.

But did you know you can actually go “window shopping” at a hair salon, too?

This tip comes courtesy of Tasha Turner, senior beauty editor for Essence Magazine.

Before you turn yourself over to an unfamiliar stylist, she suggests a sizing-up visit to their salon.

And it’s perfectly okay to do this!

“Just because you walk into a salon,” Turner says, “doesn’t mean you have to get your hair done.”

Girl waiting for appointment

“You take the time to ‘browse’ at any other shop you why not a hair salon?”

“Browsing” a salon is easy enough, since most have styling products for sale near the front.

So, you can make like you’re checking out the shampoos and hairsprays...while watching the stylists at work.

Or, if you feel ultra-confident, Turner says, “Take the time, sit down in the seating area, and see what comes out of the chairs.”

This kind of salon pop-in is a terrific way to gauge the “vibe” of the place and the stylists...

...and, of course, to make sure the styles their clients are receiving are just the kind you’re looking for!3


Of course, hunting for a salon during your vacation can be complicated. After all... ARE on vacation!

And when you’re traveling, there’s always that drive to pack in as many tourist stops and special events as possible.

So what if you can’t find time for a chat with the locals...or to make a “window shopping” pit stop at a salon?

Fortunately, there’s a wealth of information about any salon, in any city you visit…

...right in the palm of your hand!

All you need to do is fire up your phone...and you can find the salon details you’re looking for!

 Women texting on her phone

“Online, you’ll find literally hundreds of sites...with all the details you need about any salon and stylist!”

Here’s what our stylist consultants have to say about researching salons online:

  • “You need to go to the salon website or Facebook page, look at the pictures of the stylists, if they have any, and read the comments.” - Paul Johnson, manager, Salon Monroe and Day Spa, Kennewick, WA4
  • “In this day and age, most hairstylists should be on social media...I think it’s really important for clients to be able to follow them on Instagram to know where they are.” - Michelle Lee, Salon Ava Michelle, Boston5
  • “80% of salon customers trust online reviews as much as referrals...Google, Bing, Yelp, and Facebook lead the pack.” - Sam Villa, global artistic ambassador, Redken6

These days, any salon or stylist worth trusting with your hair will have a firm social-media footprint.

So, harness Instagram, Snapchat, Yelp and other influential sites and apps to learn about the stylists and salons that are ready to serve you…

...and to see their stunning handiwork for yourself!


A trip to a celebrated local hair salon can be a wonderful addition to your vacation plans…

...providing just the stimulating recharge you need to stay energized and blissful.

But even though vacations are all about savoring new and unexpected experiences…’s wise to ensure your hair will be in the hands of talented stylists you can trust.

So, before you walk into the first place you see down some unfamiliar faraway boulevard…

...keep in mind our stylists’ professional tips for selecting a vacation-spot salon.

Their advice will ensure your holiday hairstyling experience will be one of your vacation highlights!



  1. “Bio.” Devin Toth @ Salon SCK,
  1. “How to Find the Right Hairstylist for You.”,,
  1. “Dos and Don'ts of Hunting for a Hairstylist.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 28 Jan. 2011,
  1. “How to Find a Good Hairstylist.” Angieslist, 17 June 2016,
  1. “Salon Etiquette: How to Deal When Your Stylist Leaves Your Salon.”,,
  1. “Importance of Reviews for Your Salon.” Sam Villa Professional, 7 Feb. 2018,