When Ian McCabe began assisting at a local hair salon at just 16 years old, he knew one day he’d open his own salon. Eleven years later that dream became a reality when he opened the Ian McCabe Studio in Washington, DC, in 2014.
If you’re looking for stunning balayage and a killer haircut, the Ian McCabe Studio is just for you.
McCabe began his career as a teenage salon assistant, but the stylist says he’s known he’s wanted to do hair ever since he was a child. As soon as he could, McCabe enrolled in cosmetology school and began working under a hair stylist. While he enjoyed cutting hair, he found himself drawn to color. Soon enough, the aspiring colorist enrolled in a hair coloring course at Vidal Sassoon. McCabe loved the class so much he gave away all of his cutting clients and only took on color clients when he returned to the salon.
“Ever since then I’ve been pretty much just a colorist. I kind of just found my true passion there at that class,” he says.
Even though McCabe found his passion for color early on, he says he wasn’t always as satisfied with the final result.
“Very early on in my career, I was only foiling hair and then I started to feel like something was missing. I felt like I couldn’t recreate the natural look of [natural highlights] as much as I wanted,” he explains. “When the gloss faded, the roots still looked slightly foiled. So I started this hunt for different balayage artists and then I started figuring it out on my own.”
McCabe studied under several well-known balayage colorists, taking what he learned from each guru and creating his own method. Now, McCabe and all of the colorists in his salon specialize in the sought after technique.
When McCabe began scouting locations for his salon, the Baltimore native knew he wanted to set up shop in a big city. While he considered New York locations, he ultimately settled on DC to get that big city feel in a quieter neighborhood. While it could have taken McCabe months to find the perfect space, the balayage master fell in love with the first studio he saw.
“Something about it made me feel like ‘I want to be there.’ I knew I didn’t want it to feel like just a salon, I wanted it to feel like a really cool art space and high-end studio so that stations are just long counters and we have drawers on the side that are cabinets made for us. Minus the shampoo bowls and styling chairs, most things were custom designed for the space,” McCabe says.
McCabe doesn’t just want his salon to look stunning, he also wants his clients to enjoy their time in the salon.
“People are there for hours at a time and I want them to have an experience, not just great hair. We have tons of drink options, including soda, sparkling water, espresso, cappuccino, latte—whatever they want, we have,” he says. “Obviously they’re there for the hair but if they can have a nice cappuccino and read a magazine while they process, I think that’s a much nicer experience than putting someone’s color on and leaving them in the chair for 30 minutes with nothing to do.”
McCabe is just as dedicated to providing his clients with exceptional hair care as he is to providing them with the best experience possible. He’s stocked his salon with the best of the best hair care products to use in salon and for his clients to take home.
“We use Davines and Shu Uemura, we carry both full lines. Shu Uemura is a really high end and beautiful line. I’ve always loved and use it,” he says. “For color, we use Framesi, Redken, and Eugene Perma Solaris to lighten the hair.”
While McCabe himself specializes in balayage, he’s curated an exceptional staff that specializes in both cut and color. The salon offers a full range of services including blowouts, men’s haircuts ($65), women’s haircuts ($95), Brazilian blowouts ($450), and keratin express ($400).
Unsurprisingly, the salon offers a wide range of color services including single-process color ($110), half head highlights ($185), full highlights ($245), and double process ($200). Additionally, McCabe says almost every client who opts for a color service is given a gloss ($90).
The Ian McCabe Studio is located at 1101 23rd Street NW Washington, DC 20037. To book an appointment, call 202-888-6700 or visit www.ianmccabestudio.com. Follow the salon on Instagram and Facebook for more information.