D.C. Beauty Black Book: 26 Tried-And-True Venues For Getting Gorgeous

UPDATE: There's nothing like a change of seasons to give you that urge to update your beauty look — whether that means trying out a short pixie crop, or simply a new go-to mani shade. Lucky for you, we've got the essential guide to getting pretty in the DMV. This story was originally published on August 20, 2012.
We’ve all been there before — the bad haircut, the facial that makes you break out, the botched brow wax. It’s far too easy to fall victim to a beauty snafu, and it’s difficult — not to mention time-consuming and pricey — to find a better replacement.
Thankfully, you can now forgo the usual beauty research (read: polling your friends and sifting through endless, confusing online reviews). Why? Because we’ve rounded up Washington's best salons, spas, experts, and beauty emporiums that deliver tried-and-true results and condensed them into one handy little guide. From cutting-edge stylists to can’t-live-without-'em spa treatments, our little black book holds the best-kept beauty secrets inside the Beltway. Click through and check out your new bible for looking (and feeling) gorgeous, year-round.
Best Hair Cut For Short Strands: Jacqui Davis at PR at Partners Metro Center
Pixie cuts, bobs and just-above-the-shoulder hairstyles are Jacqui's specialty — probably because she rocks one of the three at any given moment. A lead developer of Fresh Looks (PR at Partners' total makeover program), her bubbly personality is so infectious, you’ll be all smiles as soon as the chop starts.
PR at Partners Metro Center, 1001 G Street NW; 202-737-0909.
Best Hair Cut for Long-Haired Ladies: Brian Oliver at IPSA By Nectar
As a celeb stylist, Brian Oliver has traveled near and far, taming long tresses on the likes of Emma Stone and Donna Karan. Oliver's strong suit is long layers, having trained at Vidal Sassoon in London and mastered the craft under New York City gurus like Edward Tricomi of Warren-Tricomi, Louis Licari, and Pierre Michel, to name a few.
IPSA By Nectar, 1629 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-338-4100.
Best Salon For Girls with Curls: Parlour Salon
Curly Sues in the District will rejoice over Parlour's Deva Concept-trained stylists. Considering each client’s bone structure and complexion, they’ll consult before they clip. Specializing in dry cuts, color, and updos, Parlour stocks an arsenal of curly-hair weaponry (think Deva Curl, Oribe, and Bumble and bumble) that you can take home with you.
Parlour Salon, 1522 U Street NW; 202-986-0080.
Best Salon for African-American Hair: Vonetta Dumas at Signature Image Salon
With over 15 years in the beauty biz, it’s no surprise that salon owner Vonetta Dumas is a sought-after stylist for girls with pressed, natural, and relaxed hair. Known for inspiring clients to transform their image, Vonetta always puts hair health first. Inside the salon, you’ll be smitten with the tranquil atmosphere and the bounty of Aveda products.
Signature Image Salon, 2023 Vermont Avenue NW; 202-560-5647.
Best Blowout: Consuella Lopez at Salon Nival
As devoted fans of this pro sleek-ifier, we put our trust in Consuella's blow dryer. A master stylist, she'll examine your hair, then administer a massaging shampoo and treatment (if she thinks you need it). Before you leave the salon, Consuella will make sure your locks are frizz-free, smooth, and protected from those harsh environmental stressors.
Nival Salon and Spa, The Collection at Chevy Chase, 5481 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase; 301-951-4445.
Best Hair Color: Claudia Torrico at Urban Style Lab
Just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Dupont Circle Metro station, getting to this salon is nearly as convenient as booking an appointment with colorist Claudia Torrico, dubbed a "Rising Star" by Allure mag. Combine her precision with an expertise in natural, dimensional color and an ability to repair any botched dye job, and you’ll want to be in a long-term relationship, ASAP.
Urban Style Lab, 1341 Connecticut Avenue NW; 202-223-2066.
Best Highlights: Nuri Yurt at Toka Salon
Since he applies his coloring skills to everyone from runway models to former First Ladies, it’s no surprise that Nuri Yurt is constantly bouncing around between locations in the District, Alexandria, and — yep — New York City. Praised in Vogue, Allure,, and more, Nuri's the man of the hour when it comes to boosting your current color.
Toka Salon, multiple locations; see complete list here.
Best Fancy Updo: Fred Hawck at one80salon
Inspired by movement, founding stylist Fred Hawck is a go-to when it comes to creative updos. His attention to detail shines through his fancy creations, leaving you looking nothing less than perfect for any special occasion.
One80salon, 1275 K Street NW; 202-842-9113.
Best Bang Trim: David Rios Salon & Spa
Stylist David Rios recently opened a top-notch Georgetown salon complete with 18 styling stations, four pedicure cubicles, and two treatment rooms. But what we love most are the complimentary bang trims you can get in between appointments with the adorable Frenchman himself.
David Rios Salon and Spa, 1519 Wisconsin Avenue NW (between P Street and Volta Place); 202-525-2613.
Best Under-the-Radar Service: Styling by Ryan Mitchell at Eastern Confederate
This underground salon in Mount Pleasant is anything but ordinary, thanks to a small team of expert stylists and reasonably priced haircuts favored by D.C.'s extra-hip crowd. And for the beauty maven, you can enjoy a lovely Sunday ritual: The Mimosa Sunday package gets you a manicure, hair treatment, and blowout.
Eastern Confederate, 3112 Mount Pleasant Street NW; 202-621-7363.
Photos: Courtesy of Salon Nival and Toka Salon
Best Professional Makeup Application: Adrian Avila at Nectar Skin Bar
From power players to A-list celebrities, Adrian is a pro when it comes to making sure his clients look polished and perfect. Even better? For the indecisive and the makeup-phobes, he offers complimentary makeup consultations before your black-tie event or special night on the town.
Nectar Skin Bar, 1633 Wisconsin Avenue NW; 202-333-4332.
Best Bridal Makeup: Nikki Fraser at Beauty and The Bride
Kate Middleton may have been blessed with a fine makeup-artist hand when it came to her big day, but for the rest of us, we suggest you splurge on a consultation and makeup application with Nikki Fraser. She'll assess your natural beauty and the bridal environment (think hair, dress, and flowers) to ensure your look is cohesive — make that flawless — on your special day.
Beauty and The Bride; 240-418-1354.
Best Brow Shaper: Kari Slansky at Violet Salon
Perfection is hard to come by, and that’s exactly why we rely on Violet's brow gal. Ladies, trust her tweezers; Kari (who trained under local celeb plucker Erwin Gomez) will wax, tweeze, shape, and even tint your brows as quickly and painlessly (and perfectly) as possible.
Violet Hair and Skin Care, 1513 Wisconsin Avenue NW; 202-337-3477.
Most Helpful Beauty Team: Neiman Marcus at Mazza Gallerie
Just call on the beauty department team at Neiman Marcus whenever you're shopping for your beauty must-haves. Between Tom Ford specialist Jason Layden, Lancôme specialist Jodie Hawk, and Laura Mercier’s Negin Shahidi, they’ll guide you in the right direction without ever making you feel pressure to buy. They’re three of the best beauty BFFs a girl could ask for.
Neiman Marcus, Mazza Gallerie, 5300 Wisconsin Avenue NW; 202-966-9700.
Best Place to Find Cool New Products: Bluemercury
It’s easy to spend hours scouring through a bevy of high-end makeup and skincare products at the D.C.-based beauty and spa emporium. We make regular visits to stock up on Sara Happ lip scrubs and goodies from M-61, Bluemercury CEO Marla Malcolm Beck’s line of all-natural-ingredient skincare.
Bluemercury, multiple locations; see full list here.
Best Lash Extensions: Nusta Spa
The process may be tedious, but you’ll thank us later — and maybe give us a wink with your luxurious new fringe. For lash-deprived ladies, book an appointment with Nusta lash specialist Titi Dawodu, whose services range from full sets and touch-ups to temporary lashes (for those looking to spice up their weekend).
Nusta Spa, 1129 20th Street NW; 202-530-5700.
Photos: Courtesy of Blue Mercury, Nusta Spa, and Nectar Skin Bar/Dennis Kan
Best Nail-Art Haven: My Sassy Nail Spa
For the lacquer lovers craving a zebra-print mani, you’ll swoon over this nail salon’s offerings of hand-painted looks, metallic designs, and, yes, even animal-print digits. Select a set of statement tips from Minx to give a new meaning to "sassy."
My Sassy Nail Spa, 6910 4th Street NW; 202-726-5557.
Best Mani: Mimosa Salon & Spa
Nestled in the heart of Dupont Circle, this salon makes sure every manicure is an indulgence, not just a check mark on your busy to-do list. There's a selection of the latest OPI and Essie polishes at the ready, and no manicure is complete without a glass of champagne, courtesy of Mimosa.
Mimosa Salon & Spa, 1706 Connecticut Avenue NW; 202-232-6900.
Best Pedi: Modern Nails
Technicians at this Arlington nail haven will assess the best type of treatment that fits your needs and budget. Grab a glossy mag and pick a color from their wide range of OPI, Essie, and Orly polishes before you indulge in a much-needed foot massage.
Modern Nails, 1100 South Hayes Street, Second Floor, Arlington; 703-413-3404.
Coolest Nail Treatment: Japanese Jelly Pedicure at Emerald Door Spa
You’ll never want another plain old pedicure again after you try this treat for your feet. Comprising natural powder ingredients and hot water, the gelatin substance soothes aching muscles and leaves skin feeling hydrated and callous-free.
Emerald Door Spa, 8311 Grubb Road, Silver Spring; 301-587-5800.
Photos: Courtesy of Minx, Emerald Door Spa, and Modern Nails
Most Relaxing Facial: Tranquil Tuesday Facial at Mint Health Club and Spa
It’s easy to catch a “case of the Mondays,” which is exactly why Mint offers a dose of tranquility to get you through the rest of the week. Ditch your after-work plans and book a 30-minute Tranquil Tuesday facial ($49) for a well-deserved cleansing, exfoliation, and facial and décolleté massage, using exclusive products from D.C.-based skincare line Alchimie Forever.
Mint Health Club and Spa, 1724 California Street NW; 202-328-6468.
Best Facial For Girls With Problem Skin: The “No Zit Sherlock” at Bliss Spa at The W Hotel
To combat a serious acne attack, book an appointment with Shay at Bliss for a 75-minute facial ($170) that comprises extractions, light therapy, and applications of a wide range of blemish-busting products. You'll leave with skin that's refreshed, smooth, and zit-free.
Bliss Spa at The W Hotel, 515 15th Street NW; 877-862-5477.
Best Spa to Hang Out In: Spa World in Centerville
Consider this the grown-up equivalent of a playground. Boasting over 50,000 square feet, the spa's health and beauty offerings are extensive — we're talking seven poultice rooms, state-of-the-art water massage therapy, a fitness center, a restaurant and juice bar, nail salon, and gift shop. Need we say more?
Spa World, 13830-A10 Braddock Road, Centreville; 703-815-8959.
Spa Treatment Worth The $$$: The Spa at The Mandarin Oriental
Spend a full day at the Mandarin's spa for the ultimate Enhancing Ritual, which offers just over six hours of tailor-made treatments. Start with a soothing foot ritual to restore a natural state of equilibrium, followed by a bento box lunch, then a spa journey that is nothing short of amazing (including an 80-minute facial).
The Spa at The Mandarin Oriental, 1330 Maryland Avenue SW; 202-554-8588.
Coolest Spa Treatment: Intraceuticals Oxygen Facial at The Sports Club/LA
With a devoted celeb following for oxygen treatments, we don’t blame you for wanting to try them. Intraceuticals' version starts with a thorough cleansing, then the aesthetician gently presses the skin with a metal wand, leaving skin brighter and smoother, even reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
The Sports Club/LA Washington DC, 1170 22nd Street NW; 202-974-6600.
Best Facial With A Weird Ingredient: The SmoothSculpt Facial at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa
We’ve had our fair share of weird facials, but this one tops the list. Book a SmoothSculpt facial and expect a holistic and massaging treatment that unclogs fluid. How? It uses a tool that creates gentle suction to boost oxygen and circulation. In other words — it feels weird.
Red Door Spa, multiple locations; see a complete list here.
Photos: Courtesy of Red Door Spa and Mandarin Oriental

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