The scent of incense, soft music coming through the speakers, and a glass of wine make a trip to George Ryan and Co. much more than a haircut. For the time in which it takes for your haircut, or color session, the cares of the day or week seem to melt away.


The philosophy at their gay-owned and operated 2221 Wilton Drive location is simple. Ryan, who was trained to cut, dye, and style in New York, believes that “getting a haircut should be a nice experience and something to look forward to, rather than a chore.”

He therefore wants to make trips to his intimate salon an exciting destination, not a grooming obligation.

“We try to provide a pleasant environment with beautiful artwork,” said Ryan as he cut my hair and manager Oscar handed me a glass of white wine, “and we believe in pampering our clients.”

The salon, opened this spring by Master Colorist George Ryan, who has worked with celebrities such as Cindy Crawford and Alyssa Milano, originally had only one chair. However, as walk-ins, regulars, and more appointments began to favor the small, yet elegantly appointed salon, another chair had to be installed to accommodate a second stylist.

Yet, having a second chair does not detract from the care with which Ryan and manager. Oscar treat their clients. In fact, they wish to further expand, which will keep Ryan busy –  as he already is also the Creative Director for a salon in Palm Beach.

“We have a stylist, Justin from South Beach that works with us normally on Sundays,” said Ryan. “We are in the process of looking for another stylist to be at this location on a regular basis. Our standards are very high, so it’s taking a while to find that individual who meets our criteria.”

That criteria – in addition to working with only skilled stylists – comes from the desire to nurture the soul of clients. The front of the store is a New Age boutique, to care for your spiritual welfare. In addition to art, fun, elegant, one-of a kind pieces of jewelry, CDs and books you can attend a guided meditation and spiritual discussion group. This is because beauty after all, is not only skin-deep.

“We are open to provide our space to any other similar class as well as book signings, and on a monthly basis we feature a local artist,” said Ryan.

In addition to the tranquil atmosphere of the salon space, the work Ryan did on my hair is superb. Upon sitting in his chair he asked me what we were going to do with my hair.

I responded, telling him he could do whatever he saw on me, “As long as it’s not a faux hawk, they’re getting a little bit old.”

“Oh, I didn’t see you in a faux hawk,” Ryan responded. “I see you with something more European.”

It was as if he read my mind. The greatest compliment people can give me is to ask not what state I am from, but which country I am from. As he carefully snipped and shaped the haircut to my face I felt as if we had known each other quite a while. He even managed to talk me into highlights, which I haven’t done in several years after someone made my hair look “frosted,” as opposed to highlighted, last time. Another testament to his talent – he foiled my hair after he cut it. Doing highlights on short hair is no easy task.

The next morning, when I woke up and showered I noticed something remarkable. My sun-kissed hair and shorter coif needed nothing done to it but a quick pluck or two with my fingertips. George Ryan and Co. clearly, yet in a modest, Zen-like manner, knows they have something special on Wilton Drive.

“I feel that we have a place you would expect to find in the East Village in New York,” said Ryan. The intimacy and the personable scale of the salon and storefront could easily be found in Manhattan, true.

Luckily for us it’s right here on Wilton Drive.

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