Texture Talk: A Guide to Toronto’s Best Curly Hair Salons
This is Texture Talk, a column that deep dives into the dynamic world of curly hair, from crowns of curls that are free flowing to strands that are tucked away in a protective style.
The textured-hair experience is multitudinous. No two heads of curls are the same, and the ways in which they are styled, or can be styled, are infinite. From braiding to balayage, the art of catering to curly hair is intricate and should be handled with care. Naturally then, we find ourselves seeking out hair salons well-versed in the dynamic needs and wants of curly-headed clients. Commencing our search for Canada’s best curly hair salons, we begin with the multicultural homebase of FASHION: Toronto.
Whether you’re looking to colour your curls or lengthen them with extensions, read on to discover some of the best curly hair salons in Toronto that understand the workings of textured hair.
Specializing in natural hair needs, Crown N’ Glory is Toronto’s Midtown go-to. The salon is run by mother daughter duo, Aisha and Anesia Loobie, whose own expertise in afro-textured hair not only lends itself to the salon’s curly-haired clients, but to the establishment’s curl classes, too. “We offer a variety of classes to haircare professionals of all levels. These classes give in depth training on cutting curly hair, basic braiding techniques, product knowledge and creating a flawless silk press,” says Aisha. Be they curious clients or parents struggling with curly-haired kiddies — come one, come all.
If you’re in search of a curly cut, an appointment at the Curl Bar for a ‘Deva Cut’ is worth booking. Owner of the salon, Trudie Mulalu, ensures that what you see is what you get with this patented dry-cutting practice. “By cutting the hair dry, in its natural state, stylists are able to cut the curls where they live naturally, and thereby creating a beautiful shape. The stylist sees how each curl will fall and each individual curl is shaped according to where it lives.”
Catering to a variety of curly hair inquiries from cuts to colours, Hill Studio one of our favourite Toronto salons that offers everything you need and a little more. Trained under the wing of leading stylists from New York to Paris, founder Allison Hill brings her worldly styling experience back to Toronto. Hill has since gone on to double the salon as a wellness space for the Black community, developing yoga, breath, mindfulness and anti-Black racism initiatives delivered by Black trauma-informed movement specialists, counsellors and therapists. “There is more than just hair going on here. It’s where creativity and healing meet,” says Hill.
Though we’ve witnessed the meteoric rise of the natural hair movement, there is no shame in the relaxing game when done professionally. Created by salon founder Asha McLeod, Jazma Hair offers a signature Wash & Wear relaxing procedure that’s not your average. “Wash and wear relaxer is the technique and process of working with your hair’s natural texture to achieve more softness, versatility and manageability. The curl releasing agent defines and enhances its natural beauty,” a salon representative says. While they reveal the demand for traditional relaxers have decreased, this texture release treatment has become the desired alternative for those seeking a looser curl pattern. Black Hair Care MasterClasses, an education program developed by Jazma, are also offered to professional hairstylists here.
Share stylists with the stars, from Tracy Moore and Marci Ien to Sasha Exeter and Keshia Chanté, at local celebrity hair hotspot, JouJou Hair Studio. Owned by L’Oréal Paris Canada hair expert Janet Jackson, this hair parlour is glowing with accolades, including ByBlacks People’s Choice Awards – Best Beauty Salon and the Black Canadian Awards – Best Beauty Destination. Welcoming each new client with a thorough hair consultation, JouJou Hair Studio prioritizes haircare first — and then their diverse-talent team perfects hairstyles from braids to colour transformations to silk presses.
If you’ve ever admired etalk co-anchor Tyrone Edwards’ signature locs, then you’d be admiring the work of Nakisha Straker, owner and lead stylist at SheBeenHair Studio. Since styling Edwards, Straker has seen an influx of male clients including pop-R&B singer Miguel and rapper Waka Flocka Flame. However, Straker’s expertise is not limited to locs. “I pride myself to be a master in textures, as I cater to a clientele of all ethnicities, creeds and races,” she says of her impressive ability to tackle many different styles, colours and cuts.
At the Kuhl.er Bar, flawless wig installations and top quality extensions are the main attraction. “Wigs and extensions are an excellent option for our clients to switch up their look without causing damage to their natural hair,” shares the salon. Owner and lead stylist Cree Barrocks creates custom hair colours, while wig specialist Jae R seamlessly blends wig hairlines with every skin tone, and braids and extension specialist Patricia Lee formulates personalized install methods to suit each client’s hairline and density.
Though colouring curls can be daunting, the team at UrbanCurls boutique is well equipped to colour all curls and coils. Here, stylists use a “curl colour fusion” technique, expert Keina Morgan tells us. “This is a form of using highlights and balayage to create a highlight and lowlight effect that helps to give amazing blending in super coily textures.” For lasting strength, the process is sealed with luxurious Olaplex and colour lock treatments. The best part: each client receives a take-home guide noting products used during the service, best future practices and curated product recommendations.
Since opening its doors to Toronto in 1989, worldSALON has been heralded as one of the city’s most sustainably-focused salon stops. “Beauty without the toxic hangover” is what they preach and practice. As recipients of the first Environmental Stewardship Award – Green Circle Salons in 2010 and the Green Champion Award – Environmental Defence in 2015, it came as no surprise when founder and hairstylist Brian Phillips told FASHION that the salon uses solar panels to heat its hot water. Sustainable haircuts and healthy hair colouring are most in demand here, and you can be rest assured that every service (including loc installation and maintenance) is completed with only the cleanest products on the market. This Green Circle-certified salon also doubles as the flagship for green beauty line WORLD Hair Skin.
Modern aesthetics and fresh design elements welcome guests to Ziba Style Bar. With a focus on “inclusivity over niche,” stylists are versed in all hair textures and reflect the multicultural diversity of Toronto, says Founder Solange Ashoori. Since Ashoori launched an Ontario petition in 2020 to mandate textured hair education in beauty schools, she tells FASHION it has received over 11,000 signatures with more to come on the movement. “It’s clear the demand is there,” she says. Though the ministry hasn’t been responsive, Ashoori says she has had help from local politicians, organizations and businesses.
Zoma Beauty Salon owner Elizabhet Kiffle and her go-to assistant Ester both boast expertise in all types of curls, and are well-versed in doing an array of textured hairstyles, from sleek blow-outs to locs. But the salon’s true specialty is braids, and, on any given day, you can spot both men and women sitting in the shop getting their hair washed and plaited. “I grew up in braids,” expresses Elizabhet, going on to explain that in her home country of Ethiopia, plaits play a heavily ingrained role in the culture. Just turn to the striking portraits and artwork dotted all over the colourful salon and you’ll come to learn about the significance different braided hairstyles hold in various Ethiopian tribes and groups.