Set along a happening stretch of South Lamar in Austin, Topaz Salon is a cool, fun salon that doesn’t skew too far into hipster territory. Its décor and ambience is stylish and modern, but with enough classic touches to stay grounded and approachable to anyone just walking in. Concrete floors, warm-colored walls and clean, spacious stations make customers feel at home, and little touches like complimentary beer or mimosas and use of an iPad while you wait keep customers coming back in droves. Despite the open space, both men and women feel a touch of privacy in the chair during their cut, color, straightening, waxing or hair extensions.
Complimentary cups of tea and coffee greet clients as they enter Benjamin Beau Salon, a salon staffed by artful stylists versed in cuts and color. Following in-depth consultations, stylists escort patrons to the Color Bar, where they mix hues on the spot. Across the way, in the warmly lit Wash House, staff members conduct shampoo and conditioning sessions supplemented with head, neck, and shoulder massages; gentlemen receive these before and after their cut. In the main space, comprehensive cuts commence in front of blue-framed mirrors as a stylist or Beau himself recommends hair products that best suit each guest’s style and spirit animal.
Located along the west side of South First, it can be easy to confuse Salon Sovay for someone’s home. In fact, the salon has been converted from a house, and one of the white exterior walls is covered by a mural portraying Farrah Fawcett surrounded by several birds. In the entrance waiting room, the sun shines through the large windows, keeping the leather couches warm. Independent stylists work on hair, eyelashes, nails and waxing in the salon’s various rooms, while a metal and glass case and wooden furniture holds jewelry and products. Watercolor and themed artwork hang from the walls, and a second Farrah Fawcett portrait makes an appearance near the back of the salon.
Soothing music and hints of aromatherapy float through the air at Beyond Beauty Day Spa, where a duo of aestheticians and a licensed massage therapist rejuvenate both mind and body. A deep turquoise color saturates the walls, creating a calm environment similar to that of an ocean-side patio or getting trapped inside a Tiffany box.
Aestheticians Amy and Olga, who have 16 and 40 years of experience, respectively, perform nine custom facials, reviving skin with everything from rosemary and basil to gentle hyaluronic-acid serums. They can also remove unwanted hair with waxing or sugaring techniques, as well as dress up nails during spa manicures and pedicures. Meanwhile, Veronica, the massage therapist, distributes her skills across backs and shoulders by means of Swedish, deep-tissue, and neuromuscular sessions that can last between 15 and 90 minutes.
The bubblegum pink that brightens blo Austin reflects the hair bar’s whimsical approach to coifing. Born in 2007 to fill a gap in the beauty industry, blo sticks solely to styling locks with seven signature Blo Outs that range from the smooth, voluminous red carpet to the boho side braid, ideal for camouflaging heads in woven throw rugs. The business caters to a range of customers from those prepping for a special date night to brides-to-be, spending up to 45 minutes delineating their desired looks during consultations.
Blo Austin assures its clients that they aren't "cheating" on their hairdressers, since the hair bar doesn't offer typical services such as cuts and color. Each stylist graduates from the Blo University training program, and they can also perform extra services, such as deep conditioning and applying extensions.
An elegant woman reaches toward the moon for a kiss in a wood-framed painting above stylist Terry Curry as she shapes tresses inside her private space on the second floor of a sunlit house guarded by leafy oaks. When Terry was a young girl, her father, a proper and traditional engineer, gave her a curling iron, brush, and comb with a mirror because he believed that everyone should be well groomed. Yet he saw hair styling as only a hobby, like starting a jail for stamps, so Terry set out to prove him wrong, and eventually turned it into her full-time career. After building a loyal client base in San Antonio, Terry relocated to Austin as an independent stylist, though many of her clients still make the trek to her studio for cuts and colors that showcase training from Goldwell and Alfaparf Milano.
Before each service, Terry consults with her clients to make sure they share the same vision, showing measurements of length, swatches of color, photos of possible styles, and pictures of the farm where clipped locks will be sent. Terry's passion for beauty shines through in finished coiffures, and she says, "If I were to be born again, I would choose to be a hairdresser again."