Palm Sunday is the result of a beautiful transformation. The salon had a previous life as the Saloon until owners and stylists Kat Marcus and Ronnie Dag decided last year that it was time for a change. They launched their rebranded and renovated salon on April 13, 2014 - the Sunday before Easter.
Quietly nestled between a convenience store and a dentist, Palm Sunday is a little oasis of a salon. Crisp white walls and touches of neon make this place both refreshing and quirky.
"We wanted it to be super bright and super sunny," says Marcus. "We want it to be like Miami, but in Toronto. We all love the beach and the ocean, and we all love partying ... in a relaxed environment."
Rounded out by owner and director Shane Lyon ("we literally call him daddy") and stylist Mark Boots, the team alone are enough to keep me wanting to hang out all day. The conversation is flowing, and the only thing missing is a mojito in my hand (though I have a feeling they would happily whip one up if I asked).
Instead, I am given a "business class shampoo" by Mark and his magic hands, which includes a delightful head massage and a mini facial using products from Province Apothecary, an organic skincare line made right here in Toronto. He uses a hot towel treatment on my face, hair and under my neck, and I can't figure out why this isn't common practice; it's the most relaxed I've ever been in those clunky ceramic hair washing bowls.
Afterwards, Kat suggests soft beach waves for my blowout ($65, including the shampoo and mini facial), which works wonderfully with my long bob. They currently use Australian brand Kevin Murphy for all their hair products, and the coconut scent of the Resort line works perfectly with the laid-back beach vibe. I feel like I'm on vacation.
One of the key factors to Palm Sunday's business concept is to stay affordable enough to appeal to everyone, while providing a bit of luxury. Haircuts start from $40 for men and $60 for women, and colour begins at $65 for partial highlights. They are also developing various packages to make services such as frequent colouring more affordable; they already offer five blowouts for $180.
If you want to take a little something for the road, Palm Sunday also has a gift shop that sells "fabulous life accessories," all made by artists and designers mostly from Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles. I recommend the Patrick Swayze votive candle from Holy Pop Culture ($22).
While the team is perfectly happy to create a classic 'do, Kat flips through photos on her phone, showing me amazing purple and green colouring jobs after I express an interest in something a little more daring from my subtle ombré.
I'm not sure if I'm ready to take the plunge yet, but when I do, I know I'd be in good hands here. At the very least, I'll return when I need a vacation.
Writing by Esther Rogers. Photos by James C Lee.