A few great places to go when you want to look great

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By ELIZABETH RAU  |  September 27, 2011

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Eyebrow threading at the G Spot Salon
You're new to town and you want to get all dolled up for that lecture on cognitive linguistics. What to do? You could head to Supercuts, and run the risk of exiting with lopsided sideburns or crooked bangs, or you could take our advice and check out some of the best salons in the area.

VIS-À-VIS

Every profession has its masters. Tom Brady in football. Steve Jobs with computers.

In the Providence hairstyling community, we have Michelle Skrobish.

A former resident of the Windy City, Skrobish worked for years at the John Bacon Salon on North Main and opened her own shop nearly four years ago at 377 Broadway in Providence's West End.

While other salons are withering in hard times, vis-à-vis is thriving. Skrobish has hired two more stylists, Racquel Donnelly and Melissa Brady — sadly, no relation to Tom — and might add another. With its honey bronze walls and floor-to-ceiling gauzy red curtains, the salon looks like a cozy living room on the Left Bank.

Skrobish — a lithe woman with blonde locks and a fondness for the Chicago blues — is an artist with her shears.

"I think a good stylist is someone who can give a good haircut and make you feel like you walk out with what you came in asking for," says Skrobish. "A great stylist goes a little bit further. They try to learn something about a person, about their flexibility, their lifestyle, about how much they can really sink into a cut."

Walk-ins are welcome; the salon offers student discounts (401.421.0123).


SEIREN SALON

Hip, fun, creative. That's how one client, Gayle Goldin, of Providence, describes Seiren, at 122 Chestnut Street, near Brown University's medical campus in Providence's Jewelry District.

Goldin's beloved stylist is Sacha Chevalier, who specializes in blondes and color corrections, a fancy term for coming to the rescue of someone who tried to dye her hair at home and flubbed. "I'm the one to fix it," Chevalier says.

She is comfortable working with all hair types and textures. Oh, and she does a fierce blowout. "I want my clients to leave feeling beautiful, like they just walked out of a shampoo commercial. Getting their hair smooth and bouncy is important."

What's in now? The pixie cut of actress and former Brown student Emma Watson, multi-colored hair with peek-a-boo pink, blue, or violet highlights, and asymmetrical cuts — shorter in back than the front or shorter on one side than the other.

"I love doing makeovers," says Chevalier. "Coming to college is a big step in someone's life. I think it's a good time to try something different."

But don't worry. She won't dye your hair blue without your approval first.

"I talk to my clients," she says. "I listen."

The salon offers a student discount and takes walk-ins (401.632.4420).


TOTAL IMAGE HAIR SALON

If you're the type who puts off making appointments and then needs a haircut — now! — this is your salon. The location on the first floor of the University of Rhode Island's Memorial Union is convenient, and the price is right. A wash, cut, and dry is a mere $25. A men's cut is only $15.

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