PORTSMOUTH — For the second year in a row, Vanity Hair Studio on Deer Street was chosen by Elle Magazine as one of the top 100 salons in the United States. It also has the distinction of being the only salon in the state to earn this recognition in 2014 and 2015.
“I remember when they called the first time, I thought someone was just trying to market a product or the magazine,” said owner Heidi White. “They finally got us to look at the page where we were on the list. We were so surprised and excited.”
White opened Vanity Hair Salon in February 2008 along the row of salons on Deer Street. Since opening, the space has grown and been remodeled four times.
“As adjoining businesses closed, we gained more square footage,” White said. “We’ve added new shampoo sinks and even have an outdoor terrace for clients to sit in the nice weather while their hair color processes.”
The studio that employs nine stylists has expanded from 700 square feet to its current 1,200 square feet.
“Our main focus is on hair and make-up,” White said. “We keep up with new trends and have makeover sessions for clients.”
The salon is also family-friendly with services for men and children as well.
“We use all natural, organic products like the Loma line and Jane Iredale for makeup,” White said. “And we use all-nutrients products including their color line. It’s made and packaged in New Hampshire.”
White also owns a juice bar in Dover called “Juicy Roots” on Third Street.
White grew up on a farm and rode horses, and her mother thought she’d become a veterinarian. But, her ambition was to own a beauty salon. She graduated from Empire Beauty School in 1998.
“We’re into natural-looking beauty,” she said. “The industry is constantly changing and our staff takes six to eight education classes a year.”
A well-rounded hair designer, White has had her work appear in The Knot Magazine and has won numerous competitions in the Manchester area.
She likes being in what she calls “hair fashion street” where Vanity is sandwiched between other similar businesses.
“It’s convenient for brides and wedding parties staying in the major hotels nearby,” she said.
Being named to Elle magazine’s top 100 list means a “phantom customer” comes into the salon during the year for a service.
“We tried to find out the date to narrow it down, but they won’t tell,” she said.