Sometimes, there's no greater hit to a gal's self-esteem than a bad haircut. Or, a botched dye job. Or, a brow shaping gone horribly wrong. For this reason, we're firm believers that a primping ritual should make you feel more stunning—not traumatized—than when you walked into the joint. To help you avoid beauty disasters, we took matters into our own well-manicured hands. We've created the ultimate guide to getting gorgeous in the Windy City.
Our exhaustively researched list includes everything, from masters of manes to the facials that will make problem skin be on its best behavior. While you can't stuff this read in your back pocket, we strongly suggest you bookmark it, stat. Lest your hat is not enough to disguise your next potential beauty blunder.
Best Hair Cut For Short Strands: Anthony Cristiano at Anthony Cristiano Salon
Celebrity stylist Anthony Cristiano recently opened up one of the most stunning salons we’ve seen in the Windy City. Located on the mezzanine level of Trump International Hotel and Tower, the Chicago hair king still has a discerning clientele — and with good reason. As a celebrity editorial hairstylist, Cristiano truly understands the balance and proportions of working with someone's face shape to give them the most flattering short hair cut. Cristiano loves uncovering a unique shape for each individual and enjoys doing short 'dos, as he believes short hair can be very sexy and worn with confidence.
Anthony Cristiano Salon at Trump Tower, 401 North Wabash Avenue (mezzanine level); 312-268-2440.
Best Hair Cut For Long-Haired Ladies: Joseph Bartucci at Salon Buzz
Chances are, you already have a gal pal who’s been buzzing about Salon Buzz — add us to the list. Senior stylist Joseph Bartucci boasts more than 15 years of industry experience, 10 of which were spent as an editorial stylist in New York. His career really took off after his European travels, where he had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s top designers and stylists. Now, Bartucci brings his editorial and runway experience to Chicago’s Gold Coast. Having handled a multitude of long-haired models over the years, he’s a pro at taking off enough — but not too much — and giving gals catwalk-worthy style that will work at the office, too.
Salon Buzz, 1 East Delaware Place (between State Street and Wabash Avenue); 312-943-5454.
Best Salon For Girls With Curls: Qiana Redmond at Maxine
Stylist Qiana Redmond’s clients love her roller sets, straw sets, and twist sets — but make no mistake — this 12-year veteran is a big fan of healthy hair with lots of natural curl, too. She’s known for being able to transform frizzy locks into bouncy tendrils. But what really keeps her clients coming back for more? A look they can recreate at home. Bingo.
Maxine, 712 North Rush Street (between Superior and Huron Street); 312-751-1511.
Best Salon For African-American Hair: Van Cleef Hair Studio
Several generations of Chicago's African-American community have had their hair coiffed to perfection by the hands of Rahni Michael Flowers at the sophisticated-yet-welcoming Van Cleef Hair Studio. The secret to their success? Rahni works carefully with his team to find the most beneficial products and to minimize the amount of heat that is applied, resulting in beautiful, healthy hair that can then be easily styled.
Van Cleef Hair Studio, 56 West Huron Street (at Dearborn Street); 312-751-2456.
Best Blowout: Giselle at Charles Ifergan
Yep, Giselle is a salon name — but we suggest you remember it the next time you are in need of a killer blowout. No matter what look you are trying to achieve (straight, wavy, curly), this spunky stylist can make it happen, in record time. But what we really love is how long our amazing hair stays. With a little care (read: dry shampoo) you can look salon perfect for at least a couple of days.
Charles Ifergan, 106 East Oak Street (between Rush Street and Michigan Avenue); 312-642-4484.
Best Highlights: Holly Emling at Sine Qua Non
Holly Emling makes highlights look like they are supposed to — natural. The ten-year Sine Qua Non veteran has a knack for transforming tresses into effortlessly sun kissed and vibrant locks, minus the beach. To mimic that unadulterated childhood color of yesteryear, she takes into consideration the natural movement of a client’s hair so that when the hair moves, there is a consistent flow of color from top to bottom.
Sine Qua Non, 2038 West Chicago Avenue (between Damen and Hoyne Avenues); 773-252-4700.
Best Hair Color: Nelida D’Allessandro at Mario Tricoci
While Nelida D'Allessandro regularly mixes up formulas for the cast members of several Chicago television shows (Boss, Chicago Fire, Mob Doctor), she truly treats every one of her clients like a star. The personable stylist has been with Mario Tricoci since 1995. Since then, she’s graduated into the roles of head colorist, regional creative color manager, and educator. Her thorough consultations, customized formulas, and precise techniques keep her fully booked on a regular basis — so, plan ahead.
Mario Tricoci, 900 North Michigan Avenue (between Walton Street and Delaware Place); 847-202-1900.
Best Fancy Updo: Diane Petersen at Paul Rehder
Updos can be tricky. After all, no gal wants to recreate the look of her high school prom at this age. Enter Diane Petersen. She’s a master at sizing up a gal's attire and facial features in an effort to create an updo that is both appropriate and flattering. Her styles are dramatic in shape and form, while still retaining that elegant and classic appeal of a special occasion.
Paul Rehder, 70 East Walton Street (between Rush Street and Michigan Avenue); 312-943-7404.
Best Bang Trim: George Gonzalez at George The Salon
Having worked at the HARPO Spa during the Oprah show days, Gonzalez was constantly styling celebrity guests and completing makeover segments. This included a snip here and a trim there to ensure everyone who sat in his chair was camera ready. Extremely friendly and knowledgeable about his craft, we have a feeling a complimentary bang trim with this pro will prompt a future haircut appointment.
George The Salon, 23 West Hubbard Street (between State and Dearborn Streets); 312-923-9444.
Best Under-the-Radar Service: Movies and Bubbly at Blow-by-Blow
Bottomless bubbly and Bridesmaids on the tele? Yes, please. This isn’t some weekly special either. Every day at the Gold Coast blowdry bar includes libations, snacks, and fun chic flicks for your amusement. Oh, and they give a great blowout, too.
Blow-By-Blow, 67 East Oak Street (between Michigan and Rush Street); 312-867-0332.
Photos: Courtesy of Charles Ifergan, George The Salon, Mario Tricoci, and Sine Qua Non
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