23 Allure-Approved Small Beauty Businesses Worth a Road Trip Across the United States


MAREN MORRIS: My mother is a hairdresser, so when I moved to Nashville I knew I had to find someone who could carry the torch of what she had done for me for 23 years. I googled the best salons in Nashville and then I found you.

MARWA BASHIR: I remember when we met. It was the day before you released your album on Spotify.

MORRIS: I had superlong hair [then]… I was still in my brunette phase. Almost 10 years later, we’ve done album covers, the Grammys… We’ve done so many crazy looks [together].

BASHIR: You have that [salon] knowledge behind you, which I’m appreciative of. You’ve never asked me to fry your hair to make you a platinum blonde in one sitting. That’s another reason why I love using wigs. Sometimes you just need a look for a show.

MORRIS: I feel like I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone in the last [few] years, just knowing that I don’t need to chop my hair off. We can do a wig. I can feel the fantasy for a day and then take it off.

BASHIR: We’ve done a pink wig; that long, golden, J.Lo [look].

MORRIS: That was peak glam. My new album [Humble Quest] is very organic. It’s very me. I suppose I’m literally going back to my roots. I’m embracing my natural hair color and [keeping] it healthy and strong. I think we’ll be able to turn out some really incredible looks on tour, but it’s still always going to feel like me and it’s never going to feel costume-y.

Bashir (above left) and Morris exchange inspiration images via text and DM. “We’re always on the same page,” says Bashir.

Southern Exposure  

Hospitality is a given at these four beauty outposts below the Mason-Dixon Line. — By Paige Skinner

Charlotte, North Carolina

Massages are the only treatment on the menu at Mood House in Charlotte, North Carolina. Choose your “mood” — Calm, Clear, Abundant, or Awake — and your therapist will adjust your service accordingly. For example, Clear means more focus around the temples. Your therapist will speak affirmations like, “I allow stress and cluttered thoughts to slip away until my vision is clear” at the start and end of your session. “We try to help you receive the benefit of every single minute by helping you bring mental awareness to the session from the very beginning,” says founder Cristina Wilson.

Houston, Texas

This Houston boutique is the physical manifestation of Upgrade, a tech platform —founded by Harvard Business School alum Britney Winters — designed to make creating your dream wig as simple as picking up your phone. You can choose your preferred texture, length, cap size, and more, and then Upgrade links you with a pro to perfect the style and color. At the brick-and-mortar store, you can pick up your digital order, book a consultation, or shop a selection of premade wigs.

Charleston, South Carolina

At this Charleston, South Carolina, beauty boutique, you can shop indie brands like Josh Rosebrook, Alima Pure, and Maya Chia, or take a class in candle-making or self-reiki. Founder Holly Thorpe calls the 360 approach “full-circle self-care.” And it’s always worth stopping by to see what’s “on tap” at Wildcraft’s bulk-refill bar. To help cut down on waste, customers are encouraged to bring in their own containers to be filled with products like body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and even dish soap.

Dallas, Texas

The stylists at this Dallas salon want you to feel as good about your haircut 10 days later as you did the moment you walked out the doors of their 5,000 square-foot space (everything really is bigger in Texas). Founder Holly Dear and her team are focused on client education, especially when it comes to curls. Dear partnered with a chemist and botanist to inform the salon’s in-house line of products, powered by ingredients like hydrating aloe and sunflower seed oil, whose antioxidants and fatty acids can help restore shine and softness.

Tropical Retreats

A peek inside Manzana Studio in San Juan, where the nail art is as bold as the pedicure chairs. Photo by Raquel Perez Puig. Mural by Saki Sacarello.

The Spanish translation of “beauty salon” is salón de belleza. But for me, the beauty salon has always been el buiti — a place brimming with laughter and gossip. A place where trays of cafecitos are passed on the hour and the scent of nail lacquer greets you at the door. After years of reporting on the country’s top salons and spas, the places I return to over and over — in my hometown of Miami and when I visit my family in Puerto Rico — are the ones that stay ahead of the trends yet deliver impeccable service, always with a touch of Old World charm. — By Patricia Tortolani

Miami

At this unpretentious Little Havana hair salon, the shampoo cape is the great equalizer. You may be sitting next to a Fortune 500 CEO, the wife of a rock star, or a preschool teacher, but you are all here for flawless cuts, seamless extensions, and the latest in fantasy hair color — meticulously executed by Dania Galarce, her daughter Adryanna, and their team of skilled stylists.

The New York nail art atelier responsible for starting the high-end nail art phenomenon in the aughts has a second location in the Miami Design District. With her stable of artists, founder Rita de Alencar Pinto dreams up otherworldly designs.

Founder Valentina Hernandez describes her Wynwood spa as a place for practicing patience and love toward the skin and embracing imperfections. (The name Sana is derived from the Spanish word sanar, meaning “to heal.”) She refers to her clients as muses. But she doesn’t promise a quick fix. Instead, Sana delivers “goal-driven facials” and a top-notch curation of skin care.

Puerto Rico 

Located in the trendy Miramar neighborhood of San Juan, this salon’s offerings include glossy manicures, edgy shags, and blowouts that hold up to the tropical climate — plus a boutique that features local artesanías mixed with cool vintage finds.

Montes, the skin-and-makeup queen of the island, is the woman to call for a photo-ready complexion. Whatever the occasion, house calls by Montes are integral to any important event. With a new line of lashes, her star only continues to rise.

A trip to this salon in Arecibo, about an hour drive from San Juan, guarantees you two things: breathtaking views of the coastline and balayage highlights that sparkle like the Atlantic — courtesy of single-moniker stylist Yazer.

Going West

There’s no direct route to enlightenment. But follow the path between these wellness destinations and you might get there sooner than you’d think. — By Dianna Mazzone

Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Catch a flight to Denver, pick up a rental car, and drive five hours south to The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. (Along the way, you’ll see some of the state’s most beautiful mountain ranges.) The resort’s location was chosen for its proximity to the deepest geothermal hot spring in the world (it’s about as deep as the Eiffel Tower is tall), which feeds into 25 separate soaking pools. You can stay the night or grab a day pass. Either way, the mineral-rich waters will leave you totally blissed-out.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Dry off and jump back in the car. You’re headed three hours south to Body, a spa, yoga studio, and wellness boutique in Santa Fe. After two years studying meditation in India, owner Lori Parrish was inspired to plant roots in the desert city she calls a “healing mecca.” We suggest booking an acupuncture session, hiking one of the city’s many natural trails, then returning for a Glowing Vinyasa yoga class — illuminated only by candlelight — later that evening.

Sedona, Arizona

By this point in your journey, it’s likely you’re scraping the bottom of your travel-size moisturizer. Lucky for you, your next stop is Sedona, Arizona — home to red rock canyons, energetic vortexes, and SWHM in Beauty, a boutique curated by former makeup artist Summer Sanders. The shop’s offerings, including products by Vintner’s Daughter and Heretic Parfum, are “beautiful, conscious, and spiked with a little hippie undertone, just like our amazing Sedona community,” says Sanders.

Los Angeles, California

No wellness tour is complete without a stop in Los Angeles, land of green juice and açaí bowls. You have a day of driving to get there, so luckily your destination is The Now, which doles out all manner of massages (deep- tissue, sports-recovery, road-trip recovery, you name it) in a boho-chic setting. As you turn in your car keys and hop on a flight home, you’ll feel like you’re floating on air. Be well!



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