Your hair: if you’ve got it, you wear it every day. And if it’s bad, people notice. While no one wants a bad ‘do, most of us don’t really consider what getting a good haircut means. Sure, you look spiffy once you’re out of the chair, and at higher-end shops and salons there’s an appealing luxury factor. One of the best reasons to take your coif cutter a bit more seriously is that a good barber or stylist can bring out your hairs best: flattering your face shape or body, working with difficult textures, cowlicks and patterns and advising on the best styles and techniques for caring for your hair. Plus, a good cut grows out better, making it possible to have longer spaces between appointments. While our top picks for great cuts in Chicago span a range of prices, each and every one of them provides a great-looking cut that should turn heads.
For a high-end cut:
2140 Northbrook Ct
Northbrook, IL 60062
Tucked at the top of Water Tower Place, Sassoon Salon’s crew of stylists are trained through Sassoon Academy where they learn the principals and techniques of the godfather of the sophisticated wash n’ wear, Vidal Sassoon. The sleekly modern space is primed to help clients luxuriate before, during and after their cut. You can enjoy coffee or a glass of champagne before the mini hand and scalp massages begin and unwind as your deep conditioning treatment sets in. Come cut time, the stylist asks questions aimed at getting to know you and your hair—how you prefer to wear it, if you use products, how often you wash and what you like or dislike about your current style—before snipping away. Everything from your weight to coloring informs the stylists strategy so that you leave with a cut and style that’s both flattering and easy to maintain. Prices for a cut and style range from about $72 to $120.
For a budget-friendly cut:
Floyd’s 99 Barber Shop
1409 N Milwaukee Ave (Wood Street)
Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 360-5413
Outfitted like a cross between a rock venue and an auto garage, there’s a rock and roll vibe to all the Floyd’s locations around the city. The often heavily tatted barbers do fine work with cuts, fades and cleanups while providing fun banter and great neck massages. The Chicago locations sport Polaroids of barbers’ finest skin fades and design work with an ability to get fancy no matter how long or short your hair is. Men can enjoy the hot lather straight-razor cleanup on the neck that comes standard with any cut, while the ladies can mellow out with a hot towel and head massage. Though certain barbers only cut men’s hair, there are plenty of barbers who know how to turn out a cool style for the ladies. A bonus for the busier folks: Floyd’s takes walk-ins, and manages to keep their appointments timely without making you feel rushed. Prices for a cut range from about $15 to $35.
Great cuts somewhere between break-the-bank and bargain basement:
2001 N Point St
Chicago, IL 773-227-1077
Mon-Fri: 11am – 8pm
Sat: 10am – 5pm
Sun: 12pm – 6pm
As a client, you need not be as pierced and tattooed as the men and women who style you at Twisted Scissors. Despite the ulta-cool makeup of the stylists, you won’t find a more welcoming or creative team who can whip up a great shape whether your look is PTA or punk rock. Twisted Scissors turns out some of the most cutting-edge styles worn by the creative class men and women of Chicago, though if something more traditional is more your speed, the stylists are just as talented with classic styles and tasteful details. And while the salon is the furthest from stuffy, they still treat clients nice with a cold brew or glass of wine while they wait. Cuts start at $20 for men, $30 for women.
Sine Qua Non
2766 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 871-2280
Hours: Mon 11am-6pm; Tues – Thurs 10am-9pm; Fri 11am-7pm; Sat 8:30am -5:30pm
Consistently voted one of the best salons in the city, this franchise is both highly accessible—-older gals get their cut and color right next to the club kid with the hipster ‘do—and packs plenty of attitude. The Sine Qua Non crew cuts hairstyles that get their clients excited, with broad smiles and happy nods of approval being standard sights once the cape comes off. Stylists and clients chat away like old friends, with the personable team helping to keep customer loyalty high. Sine Qua Non has figured out that happy clients are return clients, and they make sure everyone leaves feeling good about their hair by actively listening to the client’s wishes and going over their work a few times until every strand is perfect. Cuts range from $38 to $71.
Tigerlilie Hair Salon
4755 North Lincoln Avenue Chicago, IL 60625-2026 (773) 506-7870
This Lincoln Square salon is a favorite of clients who like a retro look for their locks. For women, the salon offers all the standard cut, color and perm services, and is the perfect place to visit for some Bettie Page-style bangs or a Clara Bow bob. Their real specialty is actually retro and pinup hair styling and makeup, though they can get clients with precise ideas on their style a lot closer than a salon that isn’t covered with Gil Elvgren pinups. The men’s haircuts might be perhaps the best kept secret in town given the Tigerlilie stylists’ ability to take a ho-hum head of hair and make a guy look appropriately dapper for the modern day. If your guy has kind of a weak ‘do, send him to this salon, pronto. Cuts start at $30 for men and $40 for women.