The stylists at this Old City salon have one mission: to inspire confidence in each of their clients. Hair transformations take place with precise cuts, artistic balayage application, or a trip to the hair-extension bar. Even better? At each visit, they gift patrons with a a complimentary glass of champagne and a snack—and touch-up their makeup.
Owner Laurentius Purnama has worked his magic on an eye-opening roster of luminous celebrities, as well as the not-so-ordinary folk who walk through the doors of his Italian Market salon. Equally lauded by the likes of Philadelphia magazine and his loyal clientele, the stylist and his talented staff use their artistic coiffure skills to make everyone feel like a celebrity.
If your hair doesn’t quite fall the way you want it to, you might be using the wrong hair products. But with all the options out there, how do you know what the best shampoo and conditioner is for your hair? Check out our quick guide to find what’s best for your hair, depending on its thickness, texture, or treatment.
Those with fine hair, no matter the texture (straight, wavy, or curly) should opt for volumizing shampoo and conditioners. Look for clear shampoos, rather than creamy, and be sure they are designed to cleanse gently. Apply lightweight conditioner from just the mid-shart down. The best products contain panthenol (or pro-vitamin B5) or biotin, which are meant to fatten the cuticle.
These work with fine curly hair—which also perks up with lather-free “no poo” or cleansing conditioners, which should cleanse gently without stripping away moisture.
To tame thick hair, try frizz-fighting shampoos and conditioners, which check frizz by weighing down hair with oils and hydrating ingredients. To fill out and smooth the cuticle, try keratin-based products; used sparingly, clarifying shampoos clear product buildup from the scalp.
Thick curly hair needs a slightly different treatment because shampoo can be dehydrating. If possible, wash hair as infrequently as you can bear—as little as once or twice a week—with a creamy shampoo loaded with ingredients like shea butter or nut oils. In between, refresh locks with lather-free “no poo” or cleansing conditioners. No matter what, apply a thick conditioner after washing.
This type of hair typically has some type of curl pattern, and though it has the widest, strongest shafts, it’s still prone to dryness and breakage—meaning hydration is key.
This hair type does not need to be washed frequently—every 2–3 weeks—otherwise, it will become dry. When it becomes dirty, use the same techniques as for thick curly hair: "no poo" and cleansing conditioners and creamy traditional shampoos and conditioners. Also avoid moisture-stripping sulfates.
Water and hair color are sworn enemies—so to combat water’s color-fading effects, try to limit washing to 2–3 times per week. Use color-protecting shampoos and conditioners and avoid sulfates, which strip away color.
For more on haircare by hair type, click here.
Owner Monique Mason brings her aromatherapeutic and Ayurvedic training to bear in her salon, where her staff uses eco-conscious products wherever possible. They bring rich and vibrant color to hair using products free of ammonia, which has earned the staff recognition from Philadelphia magazine as the go-to stylists for bold color.
Each of the salon’s three locations—Washington Square, Queen Village, and Graduate Hospital—is permeated with the atmosphere of the surrounding neighborhood, while still keeping the same through-line: creating great hairstyles. They are so careful about their color treatments—with strong skills in corrective color—that they recommend a consultation first to ensure they’re on the same page with their clients’ color goals.
We interviewed expert colorist Melle Claybough of Chicago’s Tip Top Knot to get her take on what to expect when you want your hair to be the blondest of blondes.
According to Melle, “the journey to platinum blonde [is] a train ride with lots of stops. It’s hardly ever achieved in a single salon visit.” So unless your hair already has a naturally light shade, you’ll probably start with full highlights. It might take a few visits—spaced out accordingly to protect hair—to get it light enough for the platinum double process.
That double process begins with a lightening application (also known as bleach), followed by the application of toner, to make sure the blonde is the right shade.
The lightener has to sit on your hair for a while, and as it works its magic, says Melle, you might feel “a bit of tightness or maybe slight itching.” But if it starts to get extremely uncomfortable or downright painful, speak up.
Platinum blonde requires visits to the salon every 3–5 weeks to touch-up and tone locks, according to Melle. Plus you’ll have to continue the upkeep at home with a purple-based shampoo to combat yellowing and conditioning masks to restore moisture.
Going platinum adds coarseness to hair, which those with fine, limp hair might actually love: “It give[s] them oomph!” exclaims Melle.
For more tips on going blonder, click here.
A Philadelphia favorite, Duafe’s roster of celebrity clients include the likes of Jill Scott, Questlove, and Janet Jackson. But stylists pay just as close attention to the rest of their clientele, taking pride in an approach to natural hair care that’s holistic. To that end, the salon also carry a proprietary line of hair and skin products to keep clients looking great between appointments.
The stylists at this salon give careful guidance to clients who want to grow out their natural hair, taking them through the options, which include dramatic haircuts, braids, or treatments to straighten without chemicals. The specialty here is styling natural hair, in locks, twists, coils, and a range of braid styles.
Hot combs can burn the scalp. Chemical relaxers are high maintenance. And sew-ins make it hard not to scratch your head. Black women go through a lot to achieve straight hair. No wonder these five Instagrammers don’t want to do it anymore. Here’s why:
I have never relaxed my hair, but I did suffer from severe heat and color damage . . . I switched to my natural hair texture because I wanted to improve the overall health of my hair. — @curldaze
My hair in its natural state . . . makes me feel 100% comfortable with myself. I chose to grow out my natural hair because I was tired of trying to conform to a European standard of beauty and wanted to embrace my natural beauty. — @jaydenikaylah
I got a perm at the age of 9 and returned to natural just three years ago. I felt like I could not teach my [daughters] to love their hair when they [saw me] doing everything to alter [mine]. — @shanillia26
I started to become curious about the texture of my natural hair and concerned with the health effects of continuing to use relaxer. One day, I took the leap and chopped all my relaxed hair off at home. I went to a salon a few days later to get a cuter cut. — @zenlioness
I was tired of trying to keep [my hair] straight with harmful relaxer chemicals. I knew that my natural hair was curly, so after years of on and off relaxing, I was keen to see what I would look like with my natural hair all grown out. — @eleanorjadore
For more on natural hairstyles and to see these (and other) Instagrammers looks, click here.