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Best Local Salon 

Pageboy Salon & Boutique

click to enlarge Pageboy's Dana Bannon does hair, with flair. - PHOTO BY HEATHER MULL

Pageboy Salon & Boutique
3613 Butler St., Lawrenceville
412-224-2294 or www.pageboypgh.com

For many of us, finding the perfect stylist can be as difficult as finding the perfect babysitter or therapist. In such circumstances, we turn to our friends for help. So when Robin Stanga Monroe needed a haircut, she asked her Facebook friends to offer their recommendations after posting her requirements: "Nothing major, from a Pittsburgh stylist that doesn't suck, who will listen to what I want and actually do it, and doesn't charge a billion dollars." The consensus was reached speedily: Monroe's best bet was Dana Bannon, owner of Pageboy Salon.

For a small, not-yet-2-year-old salon like Pageboy, that kind of word-of-mouth is a very good thing.

The Lawrenceville studio, which is tucked in the back of the vintage store with which it shares a name, radiates cozy warmth. Customers are greeted like old friends: "Hi, how are you? Just throw your bag down there, would you like a drink?" It's like hanging out at your friend's cool apartment ... with the added bonus that your friend happens to know exactly what to do with your hair. 

And in fact, "I spent years doing people's hair in kitchens," says Bannon. So when it came time to decorate her store, "I was going for a more professional version of that." The result is a salon whose décor -- which emphasizes leafy greens and exposed brick -- is both stylish and relaxing. The same could be said of Bannon's own customer service. She's previously worked in bigger salons but says, "There were so many distractions. There was always this big conversation, and customers don't get your undivided attention. When you're here, that hour should be yours, no matter who you are." 

Brittany Leshen, who has worked as Bannon's assistant for the past year, says that Pageboy has become like a family, both for her and for many of their customers. "You see everyone smiling when they're leaving," says Leshen. "It's hard for clients to leave because there's a bond."

Over the summer, Bannon hired Kate Wymard to help manage Pageboy's expanding clientele. As stylists, Bannon and Kate complement each other: Wymard is precise, more "Vidal Sassoon," while Bannon works magic on long, harder-to-manage hair. "It's important for someone to walk out and be able to do their hair," Bannon says, after helping one customer grapple with some chronically disobedient bangs. "If it meets your needs, you give off confidence, and that makes a difference."

After her appointment, Monroe returned to Facebook and posted a photograph of herself and her new haircut. She looked like a fashionably updated version of a 1950s movie star. 

"Best haircut I've had in years," she wrote under the photo. "Finally a cut that works with my unruly waves, rather than against them. I highly recommend Dana."

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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