The friendly staff at each of Cost Cutters’ 840 national locations tends the tresses of men, women, and children with minimal hassle or stress. The laid-back salons welcome drop-in clients, eschewing arduous appointment scheduling and ID checks by immaculately coiffed bouncers. To help clients maintain freshly done 'dos, Cost Cutters stocks shelves with a selection of salon-exclusive shampoos, conditioners, and styling formulas, as well as select products from Paul Mitchell, American Crew, and TIGI.
Celebrity hair stylist Larelle Johnson, protege of AJ Johnson, cuts, coifs, and does custom hair color at AJ's of Chicago, treating her clients like celebrities themselves with her stellar customer service skills. AJ Johnson himself is the celebrity stylist behind AJ's of Chicago. He's appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the Style Network's Chicagolicious, and Steve Harvey, where he doles out style tips and tricks as a beauty advisor. AJ's expertise is not just restricted to the hottest way to use a pair of scissors, a blow dryer, or a squirt gun—he also has his own signature line of haircare products as well as his own clothing line. At his salon, he oversees a crew of stylists, barbers, makeup artists, and nail technicians whose primary goal is to make their clients beautiful.
As a full-service outfit, Mirror Mirror Salon Spa boasts a roster of expert stylists and aestheticians to preen and pamper bodies with services for men and women, including body wraps, perms, manicures, and facials. Hair stylists make over 'dos with Aveda deep-conditioning treatments, tress-taming keratin, and expertly applied extensions, and also shampoo, condition, and style locks during every haircut. For pampering below the hairline, aestheticians perform facials using Bioelements products to revamp skin with organic botanicals and massage arms and shoulders to relieve pain and tension.
State Street Barbers opened its first shop more than a decade ago. The owner Mike Malik, had a goal to create a place where modern men's hairstyles met time-honored barbershop traditions, like straight-razor shaves and breaking into song with your three best friends. Customers soon clamored for spots in the shop's throne-like leather chairs, so much so that State Street Barbers now boasts four Chicago locations.
To find out more about the shop, we chatted with one of the barbers, Rami "The Razor" Natour. Cutting hair just might be hereditary?his great-grandfather was a barber, too.
On State Street Barbers' signature haircuts
Naturally, haircuts are the shop's bread and butter. But the ones at State Street nab you more than just a trim. ?Every haircut includes a shampoo, conditioner, hot lather neck shave, a mini neck massage, and a hot towel over the face," Rami says.
On what keeps regulars coming back
?They love the ambiance. It?s an old, classic feel. We have a lot of vintage stuff.? For example: Rami?s great-grandfather?s antique razors and strops, which currently live in the shop?s display case. As for the decor, ?It?s all oak wood, all around. The stations are wood, the floors are hardwood.?
On a not-so-secret State Street Barbers perk
?We offer complimentary neck shaves to our clients,? Rami says. ?So they can come in anytime for a cleanup, which just includes the sideburns, around the ears, and a neck shave, for free."