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Need a new hairstyle, but don't know where to go? Here's a Boston-area salon for every occasion

Posted by Alex Pearlman  February 16, 2012 01:43 PM

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hair dresser required.JPGBy Alison Amorello

Whether you’re new to Boston or just looking for a change, you have plenty of options (perhaps too many) when it comes to getting a haircut. If you’re a “glass half empty” kind of person, you probably see the city’s hundreds of salons as hundreds of opportunities for cosmetic disaster. You can take a chance, but how can you be sure where to go and whom to trust?

You shouldn’t let the fear of a layering experiment gone wrong keep you from a healthy head of hair. In such times of need, it’s best to ask the opinion of a brave and experienced pioneer of the finest Boston salons -- or, in this case, an overly trusting former college student who, in the course of four years, plowed through a dozen collegiate discount book coupons to various salons. Not all of my hair adventures were without incident (some even ended in tears), but fortunately, hair is a resilient warrior and has a tendency to keep growing. These are my recommendations for all your coif-related crises.

Where to go if you’re nervous: Tiffani Papadopoulos at Leeba Salon (1024 Commonwealth Ave., Allston). There’s nothing worse than going to a salon and asking for a trim, only to leave five pounds of your locks behind because an insensitive stylist got scissor-happy. If you’re growing your hair out or you just know exactly what you like and don’t want to be messed with, try this Leeba location. Request Papadopoulos, a young stylist who swears she can relate to your fears and promises to respect your requests. She’s willing to offer her advice, but in the end, your wish is her command. This salon is also a great choice if you’re on a college budget.

Where to go for a change: Agostino Lombardi at Zen Hair (476 Commonwealth Ave., Kenmore). You’ve had the same hairstyle for years, and you’re over it. You know you want a fresh, highly fashionable look, but unfortunately, you’re not cool enough to know what exactly that look is. Common problem, simple solution: Go see Lombardi, formerly at Studio for Hair and the winner of an Allure “Best of Beauty” award. He’s personable, experienced, and more than capable of finding the look you never knew you wanted. Lombardi will give you a new, easy-to-maintain style that’ll make you feel like yourself, only better.

Where to go for the Miss America treatment: Neil Gannon at Persona Hair Salon (331 Newbury St.). You may not be entering any pageants, but you wouldn’t mind looking the part, right? If you’re willing to splurge and let out your inner princess, visit Gannon, who’s the official hairdresser for Miss Massachusetts and Miss Teen Massachusetts. He’s an expert in stand-out styles and blowouts and a master of color. Gannon’s your guy for special occasions or any time you’re looking for high-quality service.

Where to go when you want things to get weird: Phillipo Style (1369 Boylston St., Fenway). If you prefer to get a haircut in a rave-like setting, this salon is the place for you. Phillipo Style isn’t always as decked out as it was on the Wednesday night I scheduled a trim during their Halloween Party, but the essence of the everyday experience is still edgy. While not recommended for the conservative, the salon is great for a laid back risk-taker who likes feisty service and a glass of champagne on the side. The stylists are straightforward and inarguably pushy with their opinions, but if your vision is like theirs, your experience will be a good one. Stop in for loud music, cocktails, and attitude; sensitive and conservative types -- run.

Where to go for overall great service: La Tete Salon (221 Newbury St.). Sure, the haircut is important, but what’s a great new look without a relaxing head massage? La Tete is the kind of place you can go back to over and over for the same comfortable, friendly, and successful salon experience. Having seen a number of their stylists for various services, I can safely say that you can’t go wrong at this salon. Whether you want to try something new or clean up your old look, you can have faith in any of their personable, competent stylists. For pleasant conversation, great results, and the previously mentioned head massage, ask for Soula.

Where do you go for a great haircut?

Photo by don sees the world

About Alison -- I am a recent Emmanuel College graduate who loves creative writing, cheeseburgers, travel, car radio sing-a-longs, and Armenian line dancing down the hallway when no one is watching. I'm not sure what I'm up to next year or next month, but I plan on having fun for the rest of my life. Twitter: @AlisonAmorello

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