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Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

Photo by Karina Carvalho on Unsplash

Seven Gender-Fluid Hair Salons From Across Canada We Love

The shift in hair is happening. From Halifax and Toronto to Vancouver… Here are seven of our favourite gender-fluid hair salons from across Canada…

By Adriana Ermter

Vancouver: Big Joy Barber and Salon

How can you resist a queer-friendly salon that has the words “Big Joy” in its name? Especially when that happiness is shared: the salon donates one per cent of all proceeds to local organizations like Rainbow Bridge, which supports queer gender-justice activists seeking refugee status. The Van-city favourite also guarantees an accepting environment, as stated on their website. “We do not stand for any transphobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, ableist or sexist remarks or behaviour. …our priorities lie in carving out a space where folx can be themselves and all our 2SLGBTQIA+ community members feel welcomed, supported and cared for.”

Calgary: BENJ Salon by Arabella

Inspired by the trans youth at the Skipping Stone Foundation, hairstylist Arabella Guevara Aseo opened her salon to provide a safe space for trans youth and adults who don’t feel seen in a traditional salon environment. “Sometimes they cut their own hair or their mom cuts their hair,” Guevara Aseo said in an interview with CBC. “As a transgender woman myself, I wanted to give back.” This give-back is reflected through her salon’s non-binary approach to customer service. By eliminating gender speak, Guevara Aseo ensures her salon’s clients are spoken to without gender assumptions, while being offered gender-neutral pricing on all the salon’s haircutting, colouring and styling services.

Edmonton: Adara Hair

With a website that boasts the tagline “We adhere to one standard of beauty – yours,” and a rainbow-coloured heart dangling above the salon’s Founding Principles that include “a judgement-free policy,” it’s easy to see this salon is all about inclusivity. Proof is in the service menu, which owner Jen Storey gender-neutralized after her wife complained she was paying for a one-hour haircut that took 20 minutes to fulfill. Since then, Storey has provided her team with The Pride Centre of Edmonton’s Safer Space Training for education on gender-fluid language and the proper use of pronouns.

Winnipeg: Samantha James Hair Design

Co-owners and master hairstylists Samantha Lacoste and James Ouellette are committed to their clients. They advocate for education by keeping themselves and their team up to date on the latest cutting and colouring techniques, trends, styles and advancements. They support inclusivity with and for the LGBTQ+ community by providing gender-neutral services and pricing. And they make you look and feel fantastic without ever having to speak a word – all courtesy of their Silent Hair Services. Recognizing life’s struggle is real, the salon houses a quiet room where clients can enjoy their service in silence. “We create an inviting salon atmosphere for everyone,” notes their website. “…with ZERO judgement.”

Toronto: Haven Salon

Boasting a staff that is highly supportive of Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community (they’re predominantly community members themselves), this Willowdale-based salon offers a safe, relatable and welcoming space for individuals who identify as queer. The concept of men’s and women’s services does not exist; rather, the menu style reflects individual needs based on hair length, cut and style. Noting “inclusion” as a primary goal on the company website, Haven’s online blog clearly outlines that the salon team is focused on catering “to all people regardless of their race, age or gender identity.”

Montreal: Studio Coiffure PA

Owner Joshua Belair’s salon is a safe and inclusive space where the staff and clients are equally empowered to have a voice. “By creating that environment in the salon, we noticed our philosophy started to attract clients that were more open and diversified,” Belair said in a 2022 interview with Canada’s Salon Magazine. “We were starting to feel uncomfortable about asking a man with long hair to pay women’s pricing. That’s when we started to have the discussion together as a team to create a plan.” Now, the salon’s gender-neutral pricing is listed by acronyms such as “XXC” for extra-extra short cuts and “XL” for extra-long cuts. 

Halifax: Maneland Non-Binary Beauty

Owner and stylist Steph McNair opened her hair salon specifically to provide the non-binary LGBTQ2s+ community with a place where a queer haircut is simply a haircut, no pronouns attached. With comfort and transparency at the forefront, her salon is predominantly for non-binary people and for those who don’t feel bound to one standard of beauty. “A lot of people find it difficult to walk into a salon and express how they want to look and who they are,” explained McNair in an interview with Global News Halifax. “[Here] when people come in, they’re seen right away, however they’re presenting in that time, and it is exactly how they should be.”

ADRIANA ERMTER is a Toronto-based lifestyle-magazine pro who has travelled the globe writing about must-spritz fragrances, child poverty, beauty and grooming.

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