Canada’s much-admired diversity isn’t just about people, cultures, and languages. The land has meticulously and quietly spawned a local hair boom that’s taking the beauty industry by storm and, most recently, fostering a wonderfully laissez-faire approach to coiffure. FAB got the inside scoop on two homegrown city salons giving Montréal and Québec City reputations as the beauty boomers to watch.
The Panache Salon in Montreal: hairstyles, stars and beauty
What do you get when you take two of the industries’ best, add in a homely exposed-brick space, and mix it all together with a slew of A-list celebrities? The answer: Panache Montréal. Those looking to mimic the tousled tresses of Jennifer Lawrence, the sleek mane of Sophie Turner, or the enviable coiff’s of numerous young Hollywood starlets, should head straight to Montréal’s stylish salon. Co-owner Matt Waldron, Master Hairstylist and L’Oréal Professionel Portfolio Colorist, created the looks for the aforementioned actresses’ whilst they were filming Hollywood blockbuster X-Men Apocalypse in Canada. He’s also just taken part in filming Canal Vie’s new made-for-tv series, ‘Quel âge me donnez-vous?’ which airs in August. “There is nothing like natural simplicity to set forth our personality, “ says Matt. “To me, I think our ‘look’ must absolutely reflect who we are.”
Panache’s cool and modern space was bought and revamped into a clever industrial style salon with wide-plank blonde oak flooring, and is run by a team of professionals who always ensure a red carpet finish, even for a regular Tuesday night out with friends. But the best part? The salon’s sweet mantra coined by the other co-owner, Frédéric Rousseau. “In every design and project in which we engage, love and respect must prevail.” After more than twelve years working in television and film, Frédéric sold everything he owned to travel the world. Upon his return to Montréal, he decided to combine his entrepreneurial talents with Matt’s and open Panache, quickly establishing a brand that is recognized across Canada, and has a much envied social media strategy: 21,000 likes on Facebook, 11,000 Instagram followers, a YouTube channel, and more than 3000 downloads to date of the Panache App which is being parlayed into (rumor has it) an online beauty magazine.
Since its inception, the salon has been best known for meticulous cuts and beautiful color, but over the last few years, its team has perfected a salon technique of balayage and pitch-perfect blond color. “I think everyone should be blonde at least once in their life. There really is a shade that works for everyone,” says Matt who also happens to be known as the ‘king of the extension’, helping follicaly-challenged clients get thicker hair in an instant, or giving those in need of a quick party-fix some envy-inducing body. Backstage, celebrity, and editorial professionals who give good hair? Follow them and you’re bound to get some color, cut, and style inspiration. And couldn’t we all use just a little more of that?
U Salon Boutique Quebec: a socially-responsible hairdresser
U Salon only opened one year ago in it’s incarnation of the holy trinity of father and son team François and Tristan Charbonneau, who along with fellow co-owner and L’Oréal Professionel Canada Portfolio Colorist Yannick Brisebois, have already made it a much-talked about beauty destination. “The idea was to transform the industry in our area,” says Yannick. “When the initial salon accidentally burned down, Tristan was ready to partner up with his father. He studied business and grew up in his dad’s salon so it seemed like a next natural step. I worked for François for 15 years in his previous salon and wanted to open a business, but I really wanted it to be with them. We decided to put all our expertise together to create U Salon Boutique. It’s a story of a team sticking together through rough times. And look where it has gotten us!”
And look indeed. It’s been said that changing your hair is what changes your life—just ask anyone who’s ever found herself sporting a truly extraordinary new do—and not only is U Salon home to some other stellar L’Oréal Professionel Colorists—Catherine Viziers and Melanie Pigeon to boot—it has an innovative and unique charitable component that has made it such a special institution. Case in point: there’s a hair donation cutting station if you feel so inclined, a Beautiful At All Times service for guests suffering from cancer and a big presence in the business community which the owners use as a platform to support local organizations.
This unique way of looking at things translates into an innovative eco-friendly ethos that encompasses everything from containers to paper recycling for those who prefer to limit the number of synthetic compounds they’re exposed to in a day to a minimum—but don’t want to forgo salon visits and statement-making hair color altogether. “We take care of approximately 500 clients per week,” says Yannick, who leads a team making daily color metamorphosis’s, subtle balayage and editorial looks that change the trajectory each season.
Over the past decade, the lines between “green-minded” and “good-looking” have continued to blur—but, it’s safe to say that at U Salon, there have never been more luxurious or obsessively great options to choose from. Proof that everything may actually be better in moderation.