Meet Boston’s Best Hair Colorist of 2023

As Jessica Thorton takes her Beacon Hill salon to the next level, the in-demand stylist has a question for her clients: "Do you want to be a boss bitch?"

Photo by Pat Piasecki

It’s a sunny Friday in May, and hairstylist Jessica Thornton is talking to me about a tree stump. Not just any tree stump, mind you: At 4 feet across, the hulking piece of wood is a souvenir she picked up in New York years ago in hopes of eventually creating some kind of art installation in her Beacon Hill salon, Green Room. She’s still not exactly sure what she wants to do with it, but her latest idea involves elevating it on Lucite legs and building a “really cool 3-D moss garden” on top of it, she says.

This is just one of the many benefits of having a single-chair hair studio; you can pretty much decorate—and, for that matter, do—things how-ever you want. “Why did I start my own salon?” Thornton asks. “I wanted to create the world I want to live in. I wanted to create a place for myself and people who like what I like to connect and receive what I want to give.”

What Thornton gives, however, is entirely dependent on the person sitting in her chair. “I want who people are on the inside to be reflected on the outside,” she says. “My ego isn’t really wrapped up in it.” That means before starting the hair-coloring process, Thornton does her research, looking at photos of clients and then spending time chatting with them in the chair. “I’ll ask someone, ‘How do you want to feel? Do you want to be a boss bitch? Do you want to be a soft romantic?’ ”

The results are so stunning, women have been known to drive several hours to see Thornton, who until recently had limited availability. That’s changed with a new cream, imported from Italy, that can turn hair blond in 15 minutes or less. “There’s an actress I see who usually takes six hours to get to blond with a blowout,” she explains. “With this stuff, I had her in and out in three.” The result? Thornton has doubled the number of appointments she can offer to clients every day.

The extra work has meant she’s had to bring one more person into the business: a “house manager” who makes sure everything is ready to go for appointments, which has actually worked out quite well. “To be honest, I’m not a manager; I’m a hairdresser,” Thornton says. “I want to fuck around with stumps and do hair.”

Beacon Hill,

Best of Boston 2023

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