This teeny-tiny Gowanus spot is one of Brooklyn’s best hair salons.
“Are you a hair-flipper?”
Brooke Hunt, owner of the Bird House Salon, asks this as she runs her fingers through my hair, studying the way it falls from my natural part, preparing to add color and unify the rather disparate shades that make up its current state. It’s the first time I’ve ever been asked this question by a stylist, and it’s the moment I realize that Hunt’s goal for my experience is not just for me to leave with a beautifully colored, perfectly coiffed head of hair (which I will), but also for me to remain happy with the end result long after I’ve left the Birdhouse Salon and returned to face the exigencies of life. Which, in my case, involves lots of hair-flipping.
Billed as a “speakeasy salon” (not because it serves alcohol, but because you have to “know about it to know about it”), the Birdhouse is tucked away on a mostly residential street deep in Gowanus, and it might just be Brooklyn’s best beauty secret. Hunt is the head stylist and opened the Gowanus spot in March of last year along with her sister Nicci Hubert; prior to that Hunt worked out of a literal closet in Carroll Gardens, where—despite the small size—she quickly gained a loyal following and the kind of sterling reputation for reliably flawless work that is hard to find in the world of hair care.
And yet, after spending a morning tucked away in the sunny salon, it quickly became clear to me why Hunt inspires such devotion. Beyond asking me the type of important questions that still rarely get asked, Hunt was able to take my requests—both specific and vague—and transform my hair into exactly what it was that I had wanted—and more. Beyond that, the atmosphere of the Birdhouse is incredibly comfortable, even when it’s really busy as it was the morning I was there. The room is filled with lively chatter and infectious music (and when a pop song is universally enjoyed, it gets played again soon), and at times it felt less like I was in a hair salon and more like I was at a good friend’s for a sleepover. But while my hair never looked that great after a night of Pixy Stix-fueled attempts at French braids, after visiting the Birdhouse, I went with a friend to get Bloody Marys, and was told, “I don’t want to walk next to you. Your hair looks too good.” This is one secret that’s just too good to keep.
The Bird House Salon: 126 10th Street #204 birdhousenyc.com