I recently wrote an article about some of the wonderful spas available for self-care in Bellingham and Whatcom County. But I had to leave out so many of the high quality hair salons and aestheticians in our area that I decided to write this article also.
Taking care of ourselves is important. It helps us live longer and improves our mental, emotional and physical health. It’s pretty easy as a writer, mom and small business owner like me to bump hair, skin and makeup care down on my deep “to do” list.
My girlfriend often jokes about her daily “uniform” as a busy working woman. The clothing is mostly stretchy and black—comfortable for walking the dog, slimming and able to pass as business casual when needed. But the other piece of this uniform is hair, skincare and makeup. Part of my “uniform” includes a quality haircut/color that is easy to style, looks good many ways and looks presentable at a business meeting even when I am a couple weeks past due for a cut.
Also essential are skin care, simple makeup products and a regime that will keep my easily-freckled face looking fresh—even when I’m tired, stressed or in a hurry.
Having “good hair,” quality skin care and makeup are not only practical for working folks but they also boost my self-esteem. When I feel put together, I’m more confident giving a presentation, landing a new client and volunteering at the kid’s school. It helps this introvert be more outgoing when I need it most. I can forget about my appearance and focus on the business at hand.
Whether you’re in town for a short visit or a long-time local like me, there are a number of excellent Bellingham and Whatcom County salons and aestheticians that are just the right fit for you. They offer a wide variety of skills, styles, products and treatments that help us look and feel our best. When we look and feel our best, we can enjoy our vacation and work, meeting life’s challenges with a positive determination.
Taking care of ourselves isn’t just for women. In Bellingham, most salons also cater to men and non-binary folks as well. You can scroll to the bottom of this post if you’re looking for that classic Barber Shop feel with a modern twist.
Finding the Right Fit
I’ve trusted my hair care to Stephanie Childs for almost 25 years. Oh yes, that long. I’ve stuck with her because she’s been able to evolve as my tastes have evolved, with consistent quality, great advice and excellent service. She’s not listed among the salons below because she’s a one-woman business with a full roster of clients.
When I asked my gal pals who they liked in our area and what they liked about them, their answers were all about quality and consistency. Do your hair and makeup look like you when you walk out of the salon? I remember previous bad experiences where I left with too much makeup. And can you make your hair and makeup look good on your own later without help? Even a good cut and color can be disappointing if it’s not styled well and you have to run home and wash and style it again yourself. As my friend pointed out, “I always felt a little ripped off because your hair is never going to look as good as it does the day you walk out of the salon!”
My book club friends also agreed that atmosphere was not as important as quality for the money spent. A clean, comfortable setting was also paramount on their lists. Next was the importance of being able to get an appointment without a month’s advanced notice.
The personality of the stylist or aesthetician was also important. “I will avoid at all costs a stylist who shares too much personal information. I want to feel like the focus is on my hair and finishing the appointment on time!” noted one friend.
We are lucky that there are literally hundreds of high quality, experienced stylists and aestheticians in Bellingham and Whatcom County. I wish I could include them all in this single post. But I’ve rounded up this list of places I’ve tried or that have been recommended by friends (in alphabetical order) to help you find the one that’s right for you. My apologies to the many, many that I had to leave out.
Obviously, I haven’t been able to experience each stylist or treatment they offer. Products, treatments and prices change regularly, so be sure to visit their website for the latest information before booking your appointment. Many accept walk-ins to fill cancellations, but you’re better off booking in advance to ensure you get exactly what you need. Also watch for sales, special offers, and off-peak discounts on their social media accounts and websites when you have the luxury.
Hair Salons, Aestheticians & Makeup Classes
On North State Street in beautiful downtown Bellingham, Argyle offers cut and color, texture, extensions, makeup, brows (microblading) and lashes. They’re proud to partner with the Kevin Murphy brand whose products are sulphate-, paraben- and cruelty-free. The Austrailian brand also committed to switch to 100% ocean-friendly plastics last year.
Their modern classic décor and European style is comfortable, clean and stylish. They have implemented “an intense in-salon education program which features monthly classes.” You can tell from their active Facebook feed that they’re especially good at hip, edgy styles. They’re equally good at styling rock music performers and helping regular folks like me feel fresh and current yet relaxed and #Iwokeuplikethis.
I follow Ashley on Instagram (@ashleyleebeauty) based on a recommendation from my friend Natalie Ransom of Pozie by Natalie. I love Ashley’s holistic approach to skin care. Her posts and her practice often discuss how diet and lifestyle affect the skin.
During her facial treatments, relaxation is her number one priority as stress plays a huge part in our skin woes. She uses products with organic, whole-plant ingredients combined with several massage techniques such as manual lymphatic drainage, gua sha and jade rolling to nourish and unburden the skin and the connective tissues and muscles underneath. In addition to skin care services she also offers full body sugaring (an all natural alternative to wax) and makeup services for photo shoots, events and weddings.
Ashley Lee applying a organic, whole-plant skin treatment to Natalie. She also includes lymphatic drainage in her facial treatments.
Blessings Salon Spa in historic Fairhaven was highlighted in my recent spa article. In addition to the massages and facials I’ve received there with Kali, they also have a hair salon on-site and offer skincare, waxing, nails, makeup and wedding packages.
Kali, who trains other Aveda aestheticians in the West Coast region, has given me great advice on developing a regime for my sensitive skin that is fair and prone to freckles. I use their Aveda skin care products that are cruelty-free, incorporate naturally-derived plant- and non-petroleum-based ingredients. I also love that their products are with Pure-fume aromas that are created with pure flower and plant essences. Every visit feels like aromatherapy.
My family gives me facials with Kali as birthday and holiday presents. I especially enjoy the hand, foot, scalp and neck massage that’s part of the 90-minute facial. My skin always looks fresh and healthy afterward.
The Chrysalis Inn & Spa was highlighted in my recent spa article. In addition to massage and facials, you can also get wax, makeup and nail services in a relaxing setting. It’s located within walking distance of Fairhaven and is now part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, open seven days a week.
You should plan to arrive early to enjoy the tea lounge, steam room, showers, and relaxation lounge overlooking the outdoor ponds and waterfalls before your treatment. They’ve recently added LED light therapy to their range of services.
Check their Facebook page for monthly and seasonal specials, which can include add on services for as low as $10. They recommend booking your appointment two weeks in advance.
The Grotto is a chic upscale salon located in historic Fairhaven that offers cut, color, extensions, makeup, waxing and nail services. You might drive right past because this cozy space is a few short steps down from street level. Owner Karly Lane has been in the business since 1993, as The Grotto since 2003 and in Fairhaven since 2008. Customer service is their top priority. I notice that they place an emphasis on ensuring that you can recreate your look at home through education, tips and product recommendations.
They also offer in-salon and web promotions so check their Instagram for the latest and an idea of the results they produce.
Located in downtown Bellingham, Honey Salon was voted Cascadia Weekly’s Best Hair Salon in 2018. They’re known for their hair, sugaring and bridal makeup services.
Here’s what my gal pal has to say about them. They have a, “large, modern yet rustic décor with old brick interior walls and gorgeous wood floors. My fav is when you arrive they greet you and offer you coffee, tea, wine (!) and water. They use/sell Davines (Italian) products, which are so great for my hair. The color line (Davines) is the best! I’ve seen them produce some beautiful highlights, and fun colors too. Need some cute, locally made earrings or art? They sell that too! I usually see Roland. I enjoy chatting with him and he does good work. They also offer lower priced services if you see one of their interns, which is a nice option.”
As the first salon in Bellingham to join Green Circle Salons, they’re bettering their ecological footprint by implementing simple changes that will make their space, and their industry, more sustainable. Green Circle is a comprehensive recycling and reuse program that significantly reduces and redirects out of water streams and landfills everything once considered garbage: hair, foils, color tubes, paper, plastics and liquid chemical waste.
Be sure to check their specials before booking your appointment.
Located on Old Fairhaven Parkway in historic Fairhaven, Lethal Lash Beauty is a lash and skin care spa that also offers skin care treatments, full body waxing and facial waxing, and massage.
They focus on customized lash services that don’t compromise your natural lashes—promoting healthy, thriving natural lashes through quality care, products and services.
Their skin care services are customized to each person’s specific skin care needs too, using only cruelty-free products.
Lethal Lash Beauty. Photo by Stambaugh Designs.
I first met Lisa Crosier more than 15 years ago when her business was a one-woman show in her home. Today she has a beautiful studio in downtown Bellingham, specializing in pro-aging and acne care.
Lisa has over 20 years of experience and specializes in difficult skin conditions. It was Lisa that first introduced me to the bareMinerals makeup line that I continue to use today. Her team also offers brow and facial waxing and tinting. I also first learned about microdermabrasion from Lisa, who stays on the cutting edge with continuing education. I’m planning to give my kids teen facials as birthday gifts (shhh, don’t tell).
Located in the core of downtown Bellingham on Holly Street, Lotus is part of the Green Circle Salon movement, using Kevin Murphy products. That means they take steps toward sustainability, like recycling unused color and considering packaging when choosing products.
I like that all of the products they choose and sell are vegan, free of harmful chemicals and cruelty-free.
Owner Kristin has 15 years experience. Her cuts are fresh, carefree and beautiful. You can check her Facebook feed for examples of her stunning work.
Half my book club sees Alicia or Feryl at Salon Le Roux. They all agree that they keep coming back because of the consistent quality cut and color. They offer cut, color, hair treatments, extensions and facial waxing. Because they have a large client base, call well in advance to schedule your appointment.
Although I don’t have a lot of experience with waxing, I had to include Screamin’ Eve because several years ago, owner Laurie Steele allowed me to film a few scenes of my first short film in front of their downtown Bellingham Holly Street studio. They were truly nice people who generously care about supporting their community.
As the name implies, they have a sense of humor and cater to men, women and non-binary friends. Their motto is, “Because a fig leaf can’t cover everything….” In addition to waxing, they offer lash and brow waxing and tinting and airbrush tanning.
Literally surrounded by water, Semiahmoo is located at the end of a tranquil spit in Blaine, which is northern Whatcom County. Highlighted in my recent spa article, Semiahmoo Resort is just 25 minutes from the Peace Arch at the U.S.-Canada border.
They are open seven days a week and often offer discounts on weekday facials and massages and hair care.
Semiahmoo Spa is just one piece of this impressive resort. Set in a breath-taking location surrounded by the beauty of Semiahmoo Bay, you can also enjoy award-winning golf, spot wildlife while you stroll the beaches of nearby Semiahmoo Park, and have an amazing meal at Great Blue Heron Grill or Packers Kitchen and Bar.
My hard-working friends treat themselves to an overnight at this magical place for their anniversary each year. This is also a very popular wedding destination with bridal packages in the spa.
Also featured in my spa article, you might enjoy the Silver Reef Hotel, Casino and Spa. My husband and I have stayed here in the hotel as a getaway when our twins were young. I’ve also stayed for charity events and conferences as well. During my stays I took advantage of the swimming pool, hot tub, steam room, sauna and fitness center. I also got a relaxing massage. Their services include massage, body and facial treatments, waxing and nails.
Their recent Island Escape Facial includes a coconut and papaya enzyme treatment, followed by a purifying seaweed mask with head, neck, and shoulder massages. They offer a Reef Rewards membership that allows you to receive 15% off all spa products and services excluding spa packages and sale merchandise.
Gentlemen don’t have to miss out either because they offer “Just for Men” treatments that include facials, hand and foot treatments and waxing.
One of my gal pals has had the pleasure of satisfying haircut and brow services with stylist Juels Avalon. You can receive cut, color, hair treatments, waxing, makeup and bridal services there.
Located in the historic Fairhaven, the stylists of Studio 910 want your salon experience to be relaxing, uplifting and special. You can expect a tranquil atmosphere and stylists who listen so that they can design a style that suits you. They use nature-based products including organic hair care.
A no tipping salon located in downtown Bellingham for over a decade, Studio Galactica is the place to go when you don’t want to look like everyone else. My friend Kimberly Ross has worked there for several years. Their stylists help bring out your natural beauty, and they’re not afraid to try bold, beautiful styles and colors. They offer a fun, relaxed atmosphere where you can feel comfortable trying something new and truly expressing your bad self. Waxing is also available.
Studio Galactica also loves art. They feature local artists in the shop on a regular basis. For the lastest, be sure to check out their website and Facebook.
Bellingham is fortunate to have a makeup school available to train emerging artists. Owner Sarah Rorvig teaches 4-month long Master Classes, 9-day Beauty Basics classes and multi-day bridal and airbrush courses.
Out of town visitors might especially enjoy her half-day workshops that focus on a variety of topics including the perfect smoky eye. If you’re excited to DIY, be sure to check her workshop schedule.
Danielle does all kinds of waxing, but my gal pal has been very happy with brow waxing and tinting. The salon offers a full line of high end makeup, candles and other ‘home goods’ carefully curated by Danielle. Located in Fairhaven’s Hair by Wendy, Danielle has specialized since 2008.
Also located in the lovely Bellwether complex in Bellingham, Zazen Salon and Spa is a full service salon and spa. Their services include haircuts and color, Brazilian blowouts, facials, peels, waxing, massage, couples massage, manicures and pedicures.
I’m curious about their Bio-Ultimate Microcurrent Face Lift. Skin care technology is constantly evolving and Zazen tries to stay on the cutting edge.
Be sure to check for monthly specials on their website.
Vivaluxx School of Makeup Art offers a variety of workshops, classes & bridal packages.
Zorganics Salon and Spa & Zora’s Styling Salon
In 2001, owner Frida Emalange noticed that there were services not being addressed by other salons in Bellingham and Whatcom County. That inspired her to open Zora’s Braids and More. Now 18 years later, she runs two full-service salons in Bellingham that cater to all hair types.
Their services are for men, women and children. From haircuts, hair color, relaxers, waxing, facials, body treatments, pedicure, manicure, eye lash extensions, high quality hair extensions, wigs, dread locks, braids, cornrows, shellac polish application, box braids, invisible braids, blow dry and deep conditioning treatments, special occasion hair styling, make up application, and lessons, anti-aging facials and oxygen facials.
They use their own Zorganics line of natural cosmetics, organic hair care and skin care products. You can also find them on Facebook to see a range of their current work.
The Barbershop Experience
My grandfather worked as a barber. He had an antique barber chair in the foyer of his house. Growing up, I used to play in it when we’d visit. So barbershops hold special nostalgia for me. These barbershops represent that classic tradition well, but with a modern twist.
Also in downtown Bellingham, has a long family history in the business. Jes Sr. began cutting hair at Bellingham’s Leopold Hotel in 1958. His son Jes now runs the shop on Commercial Street with the same quality and service as his father.
They welcome walk-ins and offer a student discount on Wednesdays for just $10. Jes has an eclectic collection of antique memorabilia decorating the shop.
For the quickest service, text Jes to book your appointment at 360-224-5963.
Friends have said many good things about V’s Barbershop in Bakerview Square near Bellis Fair Mall. In addition to quality service, they especially enjoy that you can have a locally brewed beer and watch the game while getting a quality cut and shave. It’s about both service and experience. One year, we gave a V’s gift certificate to my husband for Father’s Day so he could feel pampered too.
Located in downtown Bellingham, Wally’s is an Old School Barbershop specializing in flat tops, high and tights, military cuts, fades, skin fades, straight razor shaves and African hair. You can read more about the details of a full experience in this WhatcomTalk article by Dondi Tondro-Smith.
I hope this list of Bellingham and Whatcom County salons and aestheticians has inspired you to schedule a little time for yourself. Whether to recharge, celebrate or boost your confidence, be sure to take care of yourself as well as you care for others.
For more health & wellness, film, arts and music in Bellingham and Whatcom County, see the full list of Lorraine’s articles.