By Andrea Bennett
January 21, 2015
Credit: © BYphoto / Alamy

You have only to look around in the evening in Las Vegas to understand the transformative power of our salons. Your typical appearance after a day by the pool, for instance, might not look pretty, but once you’ve put yourself in the capable hands of, say, the hair and makeup team at Platinum Entourage, you can emerge a whole different person. Whether you want a red-carpet-worthy hair and makeup, a spray tan, or just a blow-out style that will endure flawlessly for a long night out, a salon can be your best asset during a stay here. (For those of you with a big evening event, I’d encourage mostly abstaining from the day-of margaritas: hair and makeup teams have a lot of skills, but they can’t make you un-drunk. I’ve seen it a few too many times.) Remember, this is the original home of the showgirl, and salons here are trained to do as subtle or over-the-top as you want. Here are some of the best.

Claude Baruk Salon, at Wynn and Encore

Claude Baruk had been summering in St. Tropez—where Steve and Andrea Wynn were clients—doing house calls to private yachts for celebrities like Naomi Campbell and Uma Thurman before Wynn made him the offer of taking over two salons in the Wynn resorts. Here, he could devote his energies to providing the most exclusive hair treatments and styles (and more recently, cosmetics, with a Tom Ford cosmetics counter) and redesign the salons to boot. Claude Baruk Salon at Wynn, the world’s first hair spa, according to Baruk, opened in September 2014, and the Encore salon opened the following November. Among the treatments booked in the private room: hair masks, smoothing (anti-frizz) Keratin, Kerastase’s 24-carat Ritual for shine and softness, and an Ultimate Caviar Ritual, also by Kerastase, which starts with a lengthy scalp massage, before a “caviar” of treatment is mixed with a mask cream and applied. Baruk’s own “ballayage” technique of highlighting is subtle and natural, and his team of 12 stylists, manicurists, and three makeup artists can work you over before a big night.

Color Salon by Michael Boychuck

As much social experience as it is a salon, this Roman-style indulgence at Caesars offers Champagne in the lounge, or sharing tea with a best friend or significant other during a loveseat pedicure. The Augustus Tower salon (use the VIP valet on Flamingo Road) is all about the chandeliers and the glam. Full makeover teams can work you over with water-resistant airbrush makeup, temporary lashes or nails, featuring Chardonnay grape seed extract treatments. If you’re not into the airbrush look, makeup artists are some of the most capable with art brands like Kevin Aucoin (want cheekbones? You’ll walk out with them). Of course, Michael Boychuck built his business on blondes (Paris Hilton in particular), so if you’re looking for a transformation, this is the place to book. An insider tip: You can make after-hours appointments with advance booking and an additional fee, or ask for in-room services if you’re staying in the hotel.

Platinum Entourage

Known as Vegas’ first blow-dry bar, don’t think of this 8,000-square-foot hair paradise, southwest of the Strip, as a mere blowout bar. They may specialize in blowouts (and you may pick from a menu), but the team of incredible makeup and hair professionals can do anything—and they’re my go-to for special occasions, including my own wedding. Owner Todd White is a master of hair sculpture (don’t let that scare you; it just means your hair will be perfect from the moment you exit the salon to the moment you drag yourself back to your hotel room, no matter how many hours later). And makeup artist Brandy is the city’s pro in smudge-proof, glowing makeup magic. They’ve been expanding, and now have a private patio, “room service,” a VIP lounge and complimentary bubble. Blowouts start at only $35.

Violet Hour

If you’ve thought about esoteric salon services, rest assured that stylish Violet Hour has thought of them first. Yes, there’s the (nearly obligatory for Vegas) airbrush tanning and waxing services, but you can also get an incredible scalp massage at one of their massaging shampoo bowl chairs, or get some eco-conscious, vegan Spa Ritual nail care. Great hair treatments include Shu Uemura and Keratin Complex, and of course there’s a full range of makeup applications. (And, really, don’t forget your lashes. This is Vegas.) Call the spa to arrange in-room services if you don’t feel like making the pre-makeover journey through the hotel.

Vegas Mobile Drybar

If you’re avoiding the paparazzi or just want to live the dream that you are doing so, Vegas Mobile Drybar is the team of spray-tan wielding beauty crusaders you want on your side. They’ll come to your hotel room (or house) with makeup, blow dryers, spray-tanning services and more. For special occasions, like New Year’s Eve, they come equipped with emergency supplies like roll-up flats (never wander barefoot through a casino floor again!), breath fresheners, blotting papers, aspirin and specialty lashes—because nothing says festive like neon peepers.