Best Bet: Booze, Hair and More

    Paperdoll Salon is an easy storefront to spot on the bar-heavy Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach. Stuck between an Irish pub and a sports bar, the salon is one of the few signs of female life on the ultimate bro row of San Diego.

    But looks can be deceiving, and Paperdoll isn’t your typical frou-frou salon. The hairdressers don’t wear all black and clack around in heels. You might hear them playing the Smiths on the stereo. Best of all: They serve beer. For free.

    The salon caters to ladies and men of all styles, with a selection of eight stylists and two estheticians that have a diverse range of creative expression. Just judge them by some of their looks (that is, after all, their job): There’s the beach-blonde Laura, most often seen in sandals and floral maxi dresses, and the tatted Priscilla, who will gladly trade stories from adolescent punk rock days. The former is a whiz with color and the latter specializes in razor cuts.

    They use mainly Bumble and Bumble products, setting a standard price range of $50 for women and $30 for men. Regular clients can also return for free bang trims from their stylist ($5 if it’s a different stylist), making the hefty price tag less of a burden on the cash-strapped college student. Full color starts at $70, while highlights start at $110.

    Another plus: The salon is easily accessible via the 30 bus route, so those stuck on campus don’t have to resort to the Supercuts in the La Jolla Village Square shopping center; a cut and a (beer) buzz are totally within reach.

    — Arielle Sallai
    Managing Editor

    For the style-conscious, hair can be a tricky beast. If a hair stylist messes up, the fashionista is long gone and miserable for months. Blend Hair Lounge is the solution. Conveniently located outside the heart of Hillcrest since October 2010, the ever-chic Blend Hair Lounge features an eclectic modern-vintage vibe that invites customers of all age groups, mostly those between their early 20s and 40s. Its hip décor and sparkling chandelier cannot be missed. A very warm, comfortable and spacious studio where customers can relax and enjoy the service — hence the name “lounge” — is exactly what the owner, Nick Totah, has been able to accomplish. He maximizes this overall experience with complimentary drinks like juice, coffee and water — not to mention the classy glass of red or white wine.

    With rave reviews online and a history of being voted as the best hair salon in San Diego, Blend Hair Lounge ensures high-end experience and quality of work available for everyone. With accommodating hours of operation, it’s advisable to make appointments, but walk-ins are also welcome.

    Eight professional hair stylists offer all kinds of hairstyles and services that each customer is looking for, whether it is glamorous, chic, wild, sexy or edgy. Every hair stylist exhibits a friendly attitude, respecting each customer’s opinion yet still guiding him or her to a better haircut and style.

    One of the greatest aspects of the salon is that even first-timers without a designated hair stylist will not leave the salon unsatisfied due to the consistency of haircuts and services provided by every hair stylist.

    Haircut prices differ for men and women: Men’s cuts start at $30 and women’s cuts start at $55. Blend Hair Lounge also proudly boasts a large variety of hair coloring and many color specialists: Single-color dyes are $85 and partial highlights are $115. It’s not a cheap price for college students with limited budgets, but it’s worth every penny. Save up, get a satisfying haircut for once and feel confident for the next couple of months.

    — Ashley Kwon
    Associate Lifestyle Editor

    If you’ve been wanting to do something radically different with your hair but never had the guts to actually go for it, we’ve found the place that will not only encourage you to take a risk but do it for you as well. Known for its bold and funky aesthetics, The Electric Chair is a hair salon on Newport Avenue (between Bacon Street and Cable Street) within the Ocean Beach community — about a 20-minute drive from campus.

    The salon has been open since 1984, with 2012 marking its 28th anniversary. But this is by no means your ordinary hair salon. It’s a place for the unconventional — dreadlocks, extensions, bright and crazy colors. And to add to its quirk, the entire space also serves as an art gallery, plastered with displays of various artworks, including folk and outsider art.

    “It’s not a place for mom to come,” salon owner Paul Bolton said. “It’s not old-fashioned, though some of us are old.”

    Geared toward hip, trendsetting individuals, the salon has a clientele with an average age ranging from 16 to 25 years old.

    Haircuts start at $40 and colors at $60, partial dyes costing $75 and full dyes costing $100. The salon is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments aren’t required but can be made via phone (619-223-1112) or email ([email protected]).

    With an ample dose of edginess balanced out with bursts of vibrancy, the salon is sure to beckon and inspire the emergence of your freely expressive self. It might be the time to take a chance — or rather, a seat — at The Electric Chair.

    — Stacey Chien
    Senior Staff Writer

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