With new beauty salons and spas cropping up across Milwaukee, it’s hard to know which ones can be trusted for excellence. A salon that looks chic from the street may be nothing more than a mirror maze to a bad haircut. Be prepared to pay more than you would at a Supercuts, but expect a fresher and sharper look than a high-volume chain salon could provide. Remember that truly skilled beauticians keep upping the price as they grow their clientele. The following three establishments have risen to the trendy top in Milwaukee’s beauty salon and spa market.
1. The Establishment
4503 N. Oakland Ave.
Shorewood, WI 53211
If you thought combining a laundromat and bar was a spiffy business idea, wait until you hear about The Establishment! In addition to all the services you would expect at a trendy beauty salon (haircare, coloring, waxing, facials, and manicures), The Establishment has another business aim: independent film production. Like Beauty (#3), this salon takes a broader approach to personal style and art by linking with other venues for expression. Their website also features daily specials, including $20 haircuts for men with selected stylists or half price Brazilian waxes. And even if you can’t take advantage of a special, this self-labeled “boutique salon” is an affordable yet well-recognized option. Located in the quiet but stylish suburb of Shorewood, The Establishment is only a few blocks north of the Milwaukee border and the UWM campus.
2. Fetish Hair Salon
2481 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53207
In the increasingly quirky Bayview neighborhood, you’ll find a trendy beauty salon where the wall art is also for sale. Service prices are reasonable for a quality gallery parlor, and the $40 haircut is a full $10 off if you’re a full-time student, so it may be worth a bus ride down to Bayview from UWM or Marquette University. Fetish Hair Salon was opened by co-owners Darren Andress and Dean Donner in 2002, when they wanted to set up shop in the new art haven of Bayview (a welcome change from East Side domination). Color-crazy and certainly not prudish, the salon feels a little wilder than most, but the high quality is ever-present. Services are provided by Deano Kelly, who was trained in the United Kingdom. As they say, “It’s not your mother’s salon.”
1633 N. Farwell Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
In this case, the name really does say it all. Beauty is often considered Milwaukee’s best known salon and has been garnering accolades ever since opening near Brady Street in the early 1990s. Milwaukee’s alternative newspaper, The Shepherd-Express, recently bestowed the title “Best Beauty Salon of 2005” upon this talented collection of individuals led by proprietor Tom Miller. Beauty, residing in a dolled up house on Farwell Avenue, has become a welcome oasis in a popular yet sometimes gritty East Side block. Unlike some urban salons that are improvisational but impersonal, Beauty features well-trained stylists who are equally comfortable creating an edgy look and creating confidence in your appearance. This salon keeps itself connected to Milwaukee’s arts scene, taking a broader view of aesthetics by throwing an annual city-wide celebration (known as the Beauty Benefit) that includes not just a personal beauty show but all kinds of local creations.