Beer Run: Salon Edition Pt. 2

Published On August 5, 2011 | By Kate Magoc | Community

I have a history of being pretty fickle when it comes to my hair.  Short-pixie-bleach-blonde to long-dark with blunt bangs, I’ve tried to be everyone from Victoria Beckham to Morticia Adams and have one a lot of damage and made a lot of mistakes.  But hey, check it out, there’s tons of pros in Pittsburgh who won’t let bleach blonding and at-home-perm disasters happen.  They studied the art of hair follicles, understand how all that schtuff works and will make you look pretty even if you screw your hair up, down, and all around on a daily basis.  Really, these people are here to help.


deStefino is pretty much one-stop shopping for looking glam or chic or fly.  It’s not only a salon but a boutique with bags and jewelry.  You can’t buy shoes there which is kind of a shame, but whatever, its two doors down from a Nine West.

Original to Shadyside, deStefino opened the sleek little location in the Southside Works so you can stop by after you splurge on something like those beige, red-laced combat boots that I so badly want from Nine West right now.

One of the special services that deStefino offers is the Mink LAshX which is faux eyelashes individually applied by a certified technician.  Unlike unreliable glues and stiff unnatural looking fakes, Mink LAshX actually improves the condition of your eyelashes and they last 6-8 weeks.  So stop thru, pimp out your eyelashes and go shoe shopping!

Puccinis is located in college kid central but don’t judge them by their proximity to the Garage Door on Atwood St. in South O.  I actually got my hairs did there back in the day when I was a wee-little freshman so personal account says their good with scissors.  They also have some the cheapest feather extensions I’ve seen in my travels, $15 for the first and $5 for each additional so you can look like a hipster Pocahontas on the cheap.

The unique thing about Puccini’s is the hand they have in the live music scene in Oakland.  They offer up practice space for bands mostly of a 90’s jam-band cover ilk.  Jr. Puccini has done work with Higher Ground, a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band, and No Control who cover 311 choons.  So they do your hair, give you those festival look feathers, then they send you off to a rockin’ show…that’s fuller than full service in my book.



MCN is located in the constantly developing area around Whole Foods.  It sits atop the Starbucks on Center Ave, offers a stellar view of East Liberty and is just damn chic inside.  They’ve got iced tea that they serve in wine glasses they’re so chic!  Your boyfriend can sit and wait while reading DWELL or Blackbook because MCN is that kind of polished, hot-stuff, jet-setting sorta joint.  I’m not encouraging you to take your boyfriend along, I’m just sayin’, if he likes being served various beverages in fancy glasses he might be cool with the situation.

So you get atmosphere and more poshness than I can certainly handle, (maybe you’d fair better) but the basics on their menu are pretty much comparable to anywhere else.  A female haircut is $40. I’m a poor writer but I’d pay that.  Now you can also spend $300 on a Brazilian Blowout (whatever the heck that is), but they offer you the ability to simply get a cut and take in the vibes that make you feel like you’re somewhere in LA.


I entered Salon Cercone to the intimate sounds of one single solitary customer being treated like a best friend.  When owner Gary finally made his way down the steps to give me the standard quizzical yet thirsty look at the IC Light Mango in my hands, I could see why there was such a relaxing air about the place as he was a charming man with infinite knowledge of all things hair.  I’d instantly trust my head in his scissor bearing hands.

The space itself feels homey but simultaneously hip and pro and very much like its clientele would love the fashion findings at Hey Betty or Little Black Dress, two Shadyside boutiques that Cercone’s is wedged between.  They offer your standard fare of hair services but unlike most salons they also offer a safe and healthy alternative to chemical straightening.  The process is called Botanical Keratin Treatment (BKT) and it is a formaldehyde and sodium chloride free process that smooths out frizz or unwanted waves.  If you don’t want your waves I’ll totally take them, but you could also go to Cercone’s and do this magical botanical treatment.


Much like MCN, Nadia Salon has a really stellar space for getting’ your hairs did.  It’s located on the second story of a shop on Walnut St. and boasts a huge window overlooking the bustle of shoppers and coffee drinkers down below.  Sunlight was flooding in at the time that I visited and, contrary to MCN, I felt as if I was there to be prepped for a studio photo shoot.  The salon had all wooden floors, chairs in a row along the wall and a large pop-art painting opposite them.  It looked like fashion a la Studio 54 but it was cozy and the staff was fun so it threw off a real chill vibe.  Warhol minus the over-the-topness, if you will.

The salon is lauded for their staff’s ability to consult and really get the hairs on your head to do what you want them to.  I’m sure we’ve all experienced that eureka moment when you’re leafing through a Vogue and you see this super cute haircut that Kirsten Dunst is rocking these days.  You tear out the picture, take it to your stylist, say I want THAT…and then they give something that looks nothing like Kirsten Dunst.  I’m not saying the staff at Nadia’s will make you look like a celebrity, but they’d probably come damn close.


Cardamone’s, located downtown on Forbes Ave may not have the LA vibes of MCN, or the art-party atmosphere of Nadia’s, but what it does have is down-home Steel Magnolia charms.  It looks and feels like the kind of salon that women would frequent to hang out with their besties.  Meet up with your Miranda, Samantha, Charlotte or Carrie, then go grab cocktails at some swanky downtown joint.

Cardamone’s is full service beyond your standard full service options.  They provide Ethnic hair care as well as extensive mani-pedi options with add-on treatments and spa massages.  So it’s pretty much the perfect place to sit and gab with your girls, get your feet massaged, nails done, then Sex and the City it up.


Zarelli & Co. was actually sort of in the Nakturnal family before I even stopped by to gift them with some IC Light Mango.  Nak’s superstar rapper, Kellee Maize filmed a music video in their basement.  I didn’t get to see the basement, but the upstairs was quaintly unique from all the other salons I had seen.  Art on the walls, a cozy yet offbeat vibe, a sweetheart of an owner, Zarelli’s was cute and cool and tucked away just enough from the bustle of East Carson St. that it was almost like ducking into a salon on a side street in the East Village.  It was hip but unassumingly so.

Jason Zarelli is also an esteemed artist in the hair crafting industry.  He’s got a concept incorporated into his salon called a salounge, a reversion of the classic sense of the word ‘salon’ meaning a gathering to discuss art, applied to the art of hair/makeup and photography.   The man is a straight up artist.


Pittsburgh Salon Verve, located downtown beside Olive or Twist, proffers a suave atmosphere and even more art donning walls.  Another Nakturnal affiliate, Verve Wellness is Kellee Maize’s official salon, getting her all primped up before her trip to Bonnaroo and sponsoring her through the year with salon services and massage! With a staff of creatives who have a little bit of a  boho-chic insouciance about them, Verve is set up with chill vibes but all around service.  They also seem to have their finger on the pulse of beauty’s latest trends, from affordable feather extensions, shattered nail polish manicures, and eyelash extensions, to LipoLaser and aerial yoga. (Yes, they can melt your fat with a laser for those of you so inclined).

By 360 degrees of wellness they of course are referring to beauty and fitness.  They offer pilates and yoga classes along with personal training and massage.  It’s a get-your-but-kicked kind of place but then they take your sore muscles and your sweaty messy appearance and make you all beautified again.  You won’t even hafta to deal with the embarrassment of stopping by the grocery store for dinner after you hit the gym and come out looking like a drowned rat.  Verve takes the drowned rat look out of the workout.  Score!


Premier Salon was the sneakiest one to get to.  I went all the way up to the 11th floor of Macy’s to find a massive salon space and a couple of nice ladies who were pretty excited about the IC Light Mango in my arms.  Now, when I say massive, I mean so massive that I honest to goodness got lost inside the salon there were so many rooms.

The styling staff at Premier Salon is best known for their flair with the scissors.  They’re also great at consultations, finding the best bang style for your eye-set, the best brown tone for your lip color…whatever.  They can match all those visual elements up and you make you look like a supermodel.


I hate to play favorites but, whatever, Brett James Salon was hands down my favorite.  It automatically gets points for A) having a parking spot available right outside on Liberty (a major struggle of my quest), and B) being above the Toonseum.  Brett James Salon was my last stop.  I was sweaty and disheveled and I had no desire to step into yet another posh looking salon looking the way I did.  But there I went, up the elevator, my arms ready to give from lack of sustenance and the weight of the IC Light Mango.

I exited the elevator to an instant rush of cold air and the sweetest receptionist lady who didn’t give me the standard quizzical, ‘why are you carrying a case of beer’ look.  She just smiled and welcomed me into the loft-cum-salon space.  It was charming and stylish, homey in a way like magazines were strewn across tables in a disheveled fashion, but they were all Kevyn Aucoin books and pictures that look like they came out of Numéro or i-D – industry titles and names that give the spot a serious fashion-lover’s stamp of approval.

Brett James himself was equally as sweet as his receptionist.  He balances his stylist duties between New York where he works as a freelancer with a client list of society ladies, and Pittsburgh where he has his salon and keeps a down-to-earth vibe.

Long days in the heat bein’ a beer fairy will certainly require some recovery time.  After this beer run was all done, I went home, washed my hair, filed my nails and drank a beer.




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