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    1.     Manetain Hairstyling   534 Baxter Ave.
    Barber, stylist and artist Joan Wood has cut hair from the front room of her home for 19 years. Neighbors regularly walk in, including Candice Crawford, who’s sitting in a chair wearing a leopard-print smock and has combed, wet hair.
    “How much are we taking off?” Wood asks Crawford. “Oh,” Crawford replies, “two inches.”

    2.     Shea Coiffure   536 Baxter Ave.
    Shea Brown has been at the spot for 17 years and specializes in natural hair and chemical relaxers. Her mom makes some of the jewelry that’s on sale in the salon.

    3.     Key Lime Salon   612 Baxter Ave.
    On a weekday afternoon, a gray-haired man is getting a trim — not at your typical barbershop, but at this Florida-themed salon that looks like a beach-y bungalow.

    4.     Shotgun Betty’s   618 Baxter Ave.
    Though one might expect to see a platinum blonde getting pink streaks in her hair, on the afternoon I visit, an older gentleman with short gray hair is getting a trim from a tattooed stylist with almost-black hair in the Bettie Page-adorned salon.

    5.     Focus Pail Mitchell Salon   950 Baxter Ave.
    Outside, neighboring O’Shea’s has pop music playing for al fresco diners. Inside, about 10 stylists wearing all black are combing, snipping, coloring, blow-drying and, most important, chatting, as most hairdressers do. Manager David Barringer is applying makeup to a blond woman and tells her, “Dahhhling, you’re looking smashing.”

    6.     Shear Artistry   967 Baxter Ave.
    This seven-year-old salon with 13 stylists sees more than 50 customers a day from as far as New York City and as semi-far as Lexington. People make a day of it, getting a new ’do before heading to lunch and nearby shops, says Yaffa Skipworth, a stylist from Texas with long brown hair and purple eyebrows. “We’re trying to give people good hair,” she says. “There’s a lot of bad hair out there.”

    7.     Mort & Beck’s Colors   971 Baxter Ave.
    Though the name suggests that two people run the place, it’s a one-man salon. Owner Tim Buckles does the cuts, colors and perms.

    8.     Jazz Salon   2007 Highland Ave.
    The place smells like a vanilla candle and has beige walls, red chairs and jazz-instrument art. Ambient music plays. (I recognize an Ulrich Schnauss song. If you don’t know of him, look him up.) Two men are getting cuts. A woman is waiting for her color to process. “Everyone needs a haircut!” owner Jenny Botkins says.

    9.     Woody’s Barbershop   966 Baxter Ave.
    Brian Hurle bought the 45-year-old barbershop five years ago. “I just liked the name, so I kept the name,” he says as he straight-razors the sides of a man’s head. The place doesn’t look like it’s changed much in 45 years, apart from the lounge area in the back with a bar and AstroTurf carpeting. Hurle says, “That’s what you get when a 22-year-old buys a shop — first thing he does is put a bar in it.”

    10.  Salon Bacco   1121 Bardstown Road
    Aveda salon in the front; boutique in the back. Salon Bacco is the stylish neighbor to Chill Bar and Akiko’s.

    11.  Derby City Chop Shop   1233 Bardstown Road
    Better have some kind of reading material or game on you when you stop here to get a haircut. On a weekday afternoon, there are at least 10 men of all ages waiting in chairs, standing, listening to the sound of a shredding guitar over the speakers.

    12.  William Dean’s   1265 Bardstown Road
    Ponytailed and flip-flop-wearing William Dean opened the salon in 1995. He and his wife live in the same building and have a leather shop on the second floor. She is a photographer and does makeup; he bakes cakes for restaurants. His latest endeavor? A non-offensive-smelling mosquito repellent made of essential oils. Oh, and they do hair, too.

    13.  Gregory Michaels   2015 Longest Ave.
    Here’s your Saturday afternoon: Moroccan oil and keratin treatment at Gregory Michaels, then buy a book at nearby Carmichael’s and read it at a stone table in front of Heine Brothers’ Coffee. You’ll look and feel so fabulous that people will people-watch you as they explore Bardstown Road.

    14.  Salon Rex   1345 Bardstown Road
    Though Salon Rex has been open 18 months, owner Rex Thompson has cut hair for 38 years. Stylist and makeup artist Janel Adams says, “Any little thing that makes somebody feel beautiful makes me happy.”

    15.  Savvy Salon   1386 Bardstown Road
    This is how Irene Corbett decided to become a hairdresser: “My mom took me when I was nine to get her hair permed. I was so impressed with the hairdresser. Everybody was so happy.” Master stylist Jessica Able, who came from a salon near the Paddock Shops (formerly the Summit), says that people-watching on Bardstown Road is her favorite part about working at Savvy.

    16.  Kaleidoscope   1436 Bardstown Road
    Red-and-blue-checkered floor, purple sheer drapes, blue and purple walls. These are just some of the hues stylists at this 21-year-old salon can apply to your hair.

    17.  Sensations   1515 Bardstown Road
    The chalkboard sign out front reads: “Stylists give the best blow jobs” and “Free chit chat with every cut.” The 20-year-old business had been at its current location for a year — just enough time for the TV show My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding to film part of an episode in the salon. Sensations recently had a mural painted on the side of the building of Marilyn Monroe, who is in some of the framed photographs inside, along with other girly posters.

    18.  The Place to Go Hairstyling   1607 Bardstown Road
    The barbershop has been open since 1977 and doesn’t look like it’s changed much since. Connie Robinson, who has worked at the shop for 25 years, says, “Every walk of life comes in here: An old lady getting her hair cut beside someone getting a mohawk.”

    19.  Love’s Beauty Gallery   1904 Bardstown Road
    With all-white walls and white tile floors, the place is spotless. Love’s does not do a lot of natural hair, says stylist David McKnight, but rather does chemical perms and waves.

    20.  Studio C Salon   1916 Bardstown Road
    Yellow walls display framed sketches of beautifully coiffed women, and a Smif-n-Wessun song plays while Ciara Hodge, 27, washes a client’s hair. Though she’s done hair since she was a little girl, she now focuses on healthy hair care for multi-cultural clients.

    21.  Natural Alternatives Salon   1949 Bardstown Road
    “Locks, Afro blowouts, coil sets,” stylist Regina Campbell says, listing some of the salon’s specialties as she combs through a little girl’s hair that’s so big it covers her face.

    22.  121 Main Place Hair Studio   2114 Bardstown Road
    Kim Barker opened his salon 23 years ago on Main Street (hence the name) before moving to the Highlands. “I have a creative side to me,” he says. “I like to build things. You can build hair. You can design it.”

    23.  Hair Productions   1983 Douglass Blvd.
    Sixty-seven-year-old Becky Owens has run the place for 47 years, and when I visit her, she happens to be cutting the hair of a client who has been coming for just as long. Owens started at the old Bacon’s department store downtown and moved to this spot in 1983.

    24.  Loop Barbers Shop   2210 Dundee Road
    Loop Barber Shop has not closed since opening in 1926, making it the oldest barbershop in town. It moved to the Douglass area in 1958.

    25.  Scissorhands   2214 Dundee Road
    When Mona Blair decided to take her 20-year-old business to a renovated space in the Charlotte building (formerly an old printing company) last fall, there was one thing she wasn’t leaving behind: the stainless-steel “Scissorhands” sign made by local artist Tony Viscardi that she paid $4,000 for 10 years ago. It cost $3,000 to move and rewire the sign. Plus: “You have to get a permit for everything in the Highlands,” she says of her struggle to get the thing in place. It’s hair that comes easy to her.

    26.  Swank Salon   2235 Bardstown Road
    Since opening in 1998, owner Tom Jones went from four stations to two so he could have a smaller, boutique-style salon. He says people come from Indiana, Lexington and Danville, Kentucky, for the quieter, more personal experience.

    27.  Highland Beauty and Barber   2425 Bardstown Road
    One door leads you to the barber; one door leads you to the salon (though they connect on the inside). The shop opened this past March and its employees often cut hair for people who can’t stand the wait at Derby City Chop Shop.

    28.  Z Salon   2401 Bardstown Road
    With an entire wall of aromatic Aveda products, a separate spa section and rows of booths all in a stand-alone building (which it shares with Commonwealth Bank), this gigantic salon is abuzz.

    Images courtesy of Casey Chalmers

    This article appears in the September issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, click here

    Mary Chellis Nelson's picture

    About Mary Chellis Nelson

    Mary Chellis Nelson is the managing editor of Louisville Magazine.

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