Brooklyn is the land of a thousand hairstyles. Everywhere you look, you’ll see people rocking cuts and colors of all shapes and sizes—’dos you’d be hard-pressed to find in many other parts of the country. But for all the ways this borough focuses on artists in other mediums, hairdressers are sometimes forgotten amidst the fray. So here’s a rundown of five of the very best salons snipping and shining your locks into luxurious and artful styles.
Bull in the Heather
219 Calyer Street, Greenpoint
Late last year Tracy Rasmussen and Jill Syslo opened the doors of Bull in the Heather, a laid back California-style salon that has been years in the making. Rasmussen has been working as a hairstylist for twelve years, first she trained at the Vidal Sassoon Academy in Los Angeles, then spent time at a salon called Mr. Pinkwhistle in San Francisco. A West Coast sensibility certainly informs her style, even after she made the move to New York. About three years ago, Rasmussen began looking for a space of her own to open a salon, but wasn’t having much luck. A mutual friend introduced esthetician Jill Syslo to Rasmussen and the two quickly struck up a friendship. Syslo was searching for a space of her own to open up an esthetician practice, but after she faced a similar struggle to find a space, the two decided to join forces and create a chic and welcoming business together. The result was Bull in the Heather, a salon in Greenpoint that, yes, was named after a Sonic Youth song. After securing a space, the duo completely remodeled what was formerly an old Polish massage parlor, a blank canvas that let Rasmussen design a salon that’s a manifestation of her “messy feminine” style. Exposed brick and dark, polished wooden floors give the space an edgy yet elegant feel, and the services they offer are affordable, well-executed, and precise.
473 Tompkins Avenue, Bed-Stuy
Dailey Greene opened H2 Salon in Bed-Stuy in the beginning of 2013, and over the last three years the spot has racked up accolades. The salon—named H2 for their emphasis on “him + her” styling—is also one of the best-known for its expertise in styling hair of all textures and ethnicities. Though doing hair had always been Greene’s passion, she initially treated it as just a pipedream and pursued a career as a teacher. Until one day things fell into place, and she left her teaching position to work as an assistant at a salon in Manhattan while taking night classes at the Aveda Institute. After earning her certification, Greene decided it was time to open her own space and poured her heart and soul into creating H2. It’s become a staple in the neighborhood in a way that only truly welcoming salons can, reaffirming the beauty of all kinds of hair.
182 Grand Street, Williamsburg
42 Wilson Avenue, Bushwick
Maria Barca is a native New Yorker who put herself through beauty school by the tender age of seventeen, so it’s no surprise that she currently presides over two Brooklyn salons. Barca founded Self’s original location in Williamsburg back in 2004 and recently expanded the business to a second spot in Bushwick. She grew up hanging around her aunt’s salon on Long Island and the business got into her blood. These days, she brings her six-year-old daughter to Self, and hopes that the shop will have the same osmosis effect. You can still find her on the floor several days a week, cutting and styling with a precise passion found nowhere else.
99 Bond Street, Boerum Hill
666 Franklin Avenue, Crown Heights
As Crown Heights fast becomes the most coveted location in central Brooklyn, Dvir Salon is already in place to take care of new residents looking for a local shop where they can get their hair expertly cut and colored. This is Dvir’s second location—the flagship salon on Bond Street in Boerum Hill has been open since 2006—and has been in place for just under two years. Both salons are helmed by Dvir Haveshush, a native of Tel Aviv, Israel, who attended the Vidal Sassoon Academy in London and worked in Johannesburg before moving to New York in 1999. Over the course of the last decade both salons have become an established presence in the Brooklyn community. Aside from all the traditional cut and color services, Dvir also offers full service bridal hair and makeup.
298 Bond Street, Gowanus
On a warm spring day, I walked into Fringe Salon in Gowanus. Owner Amy Schiappa greeted me in the barber chair and began touching my head. “I noticed your hair outside,” said Schiappa. “I liked how it was light on top but had weight on the bottom.” Her eyes scanned my head incisively, composing the cut she would soon give it. Schiappa’s tenure in New York City salons started at John Barrett within Bergdorf Goodman. But she wanted to create a space that felt down to earth and personal, so Fringe was born. As Schiappa “effilated” my hair—a dry cut that inserts invisible layers throughout—she talked amiably. “Yeah, wait till you’re 38 to have a baby. Travel. Hang out with your guy.” Somehow she intuited I needed to hear this as much as I needed a haircut. Still, her ease belied razor sharp focus on her work. After my shampoo—during which time two birds painted on the ceiling kept me company—she gave me my dream blowout: bouncy on the bottom, with a nice flat top. On my way out, Schiappa told me to come back for a free bang trim, or for the on-site skin care center, Lumena. But I knew already I’d be back. She’d given me a refreshed look I would best describe as myself, only on a notably good hair day.
Photos by Jane Bruce
Reported on by Caitlin White and Natalie Rinn