Best Black-Owned Hair Salon: Salon XO 2021 | Goods + Services | Pittsburgh

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Best Black-Owned Hair Salon: Salon XO

click to enlarge Best Black-Owned Hair Salon: Salon XO
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Monica Smith, founder of Salon XO
Monica Smith, founder of Salon XO in the Hill District, says her passion for styling hair led her to open her own spot in 2016. Voted by Pittsburgh City Paper readers as this year’s Best Black-Owned Hair Salon, Smith’s shop specializes in styling natural hair, but also provides services for relaxed and fine or thin hair, eyelash and brow extensions, waxing, makeup, and more.

Described as the “ultimate hair salon experience,” Salon XO’s mission is to focus on basic, healthy hair care first, and then adding creative styling afterwards. The salon keeps up with hair trends, using high-end products that puts the health of customers’ hair before anything else.

“My favorite part about what I do is that I can combine my dreams, personal, and professional goals. I've always wanted to own a salon, run multiple businesses, and help people, but not necessarily be a stylist. That part found me and it never let me go,” says Smith. “Simply by being in the business day in and day out running it, I found a passion I didn't know I had. From the beginning of my stylist career, it's always been about more than just hair for me. I love educating, serving, and making people feel wonderful.”

In a 2020 WTAE story, Smith said she considers herself part of the Hill District’s revitalization, and believes the neighborhood should have the same amenities as communities like Squirrel Hill, Lawrenceville, and Mt. Lebanon.

Smith says it's important that every customer who walks through the door feels special and like a queen. The salon boasts specials, a loyalty program, and a VIP membership that comes with two natural hair services a month, protein and moisture treatments, and 10% off of all retail products.

“I love the relationships that are built,” says Smith, adding that, no matter what, there are a few common goals for every customer coming to Salon XO: getting their hair to a healthier state, providing education and, sometimes, emotional adjustments on better hair care and health tips, and “encouraging sisterhood, and for them to look and feel their best.”

“I see it as you are literally shaping how someone will feel for weeks or even months,” says Smith. “It's inspiring to me from the inside out.”
Salon XO. 1901 Centre Ave., Hill District.