In London, and across the world in all honesty, going to a hair salon or barbershop to get a cut has always been a somewhat dreaded experience. If you have bad luck and get a bad cut, you basically have two options: shave it all off or wait weeks, if not months, for your hair to grow back out and look normal. Since the former is an incredibly bold statement most people aren’t willing to make and the latter is awkward as can be, the best solution is to get a good haircut in the first place.
Finding the perfect hair stylist can be like looking for love. It takes time and effort to search for “the one.” You might get a bad cut or two on the way, and that might make you want to give up, but you persist on your search. Finally, you find him or her, and it’s a match made in heaven.
At any of the salons and barbershops on this list, you’re in great hands. The scissors, clippers, and razors are handled with precision and care, guided by the stylist’s expert eye. In their care, you’ll have no problems getting the perfect new style to stun family, friends, and the folks at work.
Neighbourhood: Downtown London
124 Dundas St. (map)
We might be biased on this one since Vanity House is the place that Santa himself, Matt Santagapita, gets his hair cut and styled. That’s right, a select few people have been afforded the opportunity to work on Santa’s majestic mane, and owner/stylist Aran Beattie has been Matt’s go-to stylist for over half a decade, since the salon opened their doors.
Vanity house, found on Dundas in the heart of downtown, offers one of the most luxurious hairstyling experiences out there. Upon your arrival, you will be offered either French pressed coffee or freshly brewed tea – on the house, of course. Every appointment includes a consultation with a stylist and a fresh wash, regardless of the service you’ve chosen to make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for.
The boho-chic aesthetic of exposed brick, full length mirrors with ornate frames, and chandeliers dotting the ceiling give the salon a high class feel while still being warm and comforting. The time and effort going into the look and feel of the salon is an indicator of how much effort will go into your new hairstyle.
The handful of stylists at Vanity House are experts at their craft, offering a wide range of innovative and exciting styles for everyday life or special events. Whether you’re looking for a simple trim, an extravagant updo, or a crazy new colour, these guys will make your vision a reality and make it look fantastic.
The service and skill of the stylists at Vanity House is unparalleled, such that customers are driving in from as far as the GTA for appointments with Aran and his team.
For your next haircut, why not go ahead and treat yourself to the Vanity House experience?
Neighbourhood: Old East Village
760 Dundas St. (map)
For a haircut that feels like a blast to the past, Whistling Dick’s is the place to go. Whistling Dick’s emulates the style and feel of a 1930’s barbershop, from the tunes on the stereo to the straight razors they use to shave their customers.
Whistling Dick’s harkens back to the good old days, where the barbershop was an institution, a safe haven. When you cross the threshold into their Old East Village shop, the feel of the place beckons you to leave your everyday stress at the door and relax as you’re pampered with high quality service and products.
The vibe in Whistling Dick’s is rustic and as masculine as can be. Stained wood, brick, and leather comprise most of the surfaces in the place, with vintage tools and other flair adorning the walls, all because the owners, John Parlow and Gregory Kahnert, believe a haircut should be more than just an errand, it should be an experience.
No fancy ombres, highlights, or hair dyes of any kind will be found in this establishment. All these guys do is cut, trim, and shave. They don’t offer a whole lot of variety, but they are masters of their trade. Scott Wilkins and Jose Interiano are both educated and experienced barbers with seemingly more years of experience than there are hairs on a head.
Being primarily a men’s barber, Whistling Dick’s focuses on shorter hairstyles. So fair warning to those with luscious, flowing locks: you might not get the hairdo they desire unless you’re looking for something drastically shorter.
The feel and experience of Whistling Dick’s is more than enough reason to go, but the fact that you can get a great new hair style in the process just makes the prospect worth its weight in gold.
Neighbourhood: Downtown London
579 Richmond St. (map)
Found in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Richmond Row, Salon Entrenous has been cutting London’s hair for over a quarter century. The award winning team is committed to making sure you leave happy and looking fantastic with your new style.
The vibe is clean and stylishly minimal, offering a welcoming open space that is devoid of clutter and mess, even at their workstations with all the tools of the trade. The staff always aim to ensure their customers are as relaxed as they can be and enjoying their time in the salon.
Salon Entrenous is committed to making sure you get the style you want, including a thorough consultation with all services, alongside a scalp massage, and a blow dry. And they have a multitude of services from classic cuts to colouring to texture treatments for relaxing and smoothing your hair or adding permanent waves.
In the salon, they also offer an extensive variety of shampoos, conditioners, and styling products for you to grab on your way out to keep your new do looking pristine days, even weeks, after your appointment. All of their products are professional grade with endorsement from the Salon Entrenous stylists, so you know you’re getting the good stuff. Ask your stylist which product will work best with your hair type, they’re highly informed and can give excellent recommendations for your needs.
The award winning stylists at Salon Entrenous make it a prime choice for your next haircut.
Love Alchemy Lifestyle Boutique & Organic Hair Studio
Neighbourhood: Old East Village
764 Dundas St. (map)
Love Alchemy’s organic and holistic approach to hairstyling and beauty is a welcome addition to London’s Old East Village. Opening their doors in February of 2017, Love Alchemy offers haircuts, styling, colouring, and holistic therapies like reiki, blue matrix, and massage therapy.
Long or short, curly or straight, natural or dyed, Love Alchemy is a great spot for your trim, cut, or style if you’re strongly eco-conscious. Every single product in their salon is socially sustainable and ethically sourced, making it the perfect spot to stay stylish while reducing your carbon footprint.
Love Alchemy’s number one goal is to keep the Earth as beautiful as they make you. With the help of their partners at Green Circle Salons, they recycle every bi-product they possibly can, such as empty colour tubes, foils, and leftover hair colour. This prevents the plastics and other non-biodegradables from entering landfills. Even your clipped hair gets put to good use, with their partner Matter of Trust, they use clippings to make hair booms for cleaning up oil spills.
Their dyeing services are extensive, from full colour to balayage to root touch ups, all without harmful chemicals, toxins, or carcinogens. Whatever you need, these ladies will be able to provide.
And if you’re looking for some ethical fashion to match your new hairdo, Love Alchemy has a selection of clothing, accessories, and home décor that proudly features local, national, and international brands that are all sustainable and ethical.
For eco-friendly, guilt-free hair, Love Alchemy is definitely the place to check out.
Nova Vita Hair Studio and Esthetics
740 Richmond St. (map)
“Nova vita” translates to “new life” and the stylists at Nova Vita Hair Studio and Esthetics will do just that. You will feel like a new person after the pampering and styling that you receive at Nova Vita.
Whether you’re looking for a basic trim, a designer cut, or even a perm, the stylists at Nova Vita will be able to give you a hand. Hair of all lengths and textures are welcome and will get the attention they need. Their skilled hair stylists will have you looking ready for a photoshoot, or at least to take on the day with newfound confidence from your new hairdo. Customers are always ecstatic when they leave Nova Vita, excited to flaunt their new style.
This Richmond Row salon offers more than just hair styling though. They offer a variety of other services, including massages, airbrush tanning, waxing, and makeup application. Despite having so many options under one roof, their attention to detail is incredible, and the end results of every service is always top tier.
Regardless of what you’re there for, at Nova Vita, the best is the only option, and anything else is unacceptable. From the products to their expert stylists, there is no second rate. Premium service, premium products.