Respect Your Hair

Innovative Salon Stresses the Importance of Caring for Your Tresses

Article by Danielle S. Tepper

Photography by Jack Hartzman

Originally published in Potomac Lifestyle

Healthy hair is happy hair—that’s the philosophy Nader Lotfi brings to life every day at Salon Nader.

The salon first opened its doors to Potomac residents 15 years ago but is currently celebrating a fresh start in a bigger space (still in Bethesda Wildwood Shopping Center) that will allow it to expand its services.

“We were only doing hair, but now we’re doing facials, massage, manicure/pedicure, more detail-oriented special services like microblading—we’re here to give the best of the best to our clients,” Nader says, whose childhood passion for beauty later spurred him into entrepreneurship.

“As a kid, I played with everyone’s hair; since I was 8 or 9 years old, I had it in me. I went to school and got an education in business but decided it wasn’t really what I wanted,” he says. “This is what I wanted—this is where I’m having fun. When I come to work, it doesn’t really feel like a job.”

Nader has now been in the business of beauty for almost 30 years, using his varied experience in the fashion industry to bring the latest trends to the neighborhood. In his opinion, most local salons fall into the habit of catering to the clients’ cookie-cutter requests, which can get stale.

“We’re not afraid of changing people here. A stylist should be educated, should have the right knowledge and a good eye to give the right suggestions,” he says. “I think my responsibility to my clients is to give them ideas. That’s what brings the variety and fun and pizzazz. It’s very important to recognize that a hairstyle is also a lifestyle.”

Nader treats every new client as though he’s meeting a new friend.

“It’s really exciting at this stage in my life when I get someone new in my chair because I get to do a little interview. I get to create something to make this person happy, so I want to get to know them, their lifestyle and their job, because that helps decide the style,” he explains. “I can create the most beautiful avant-garde chic look for you, but if that’s not who you are, then that’s not good.”

The key to the relationship between stylist and client, Nader says, is trust.

“It’s a mutual trust. If you trust me after a while, then you start giving me more opportunity and freedom to try things.”

Nader says approximately 90% of his clientele is open to embracing change, with the understanding that the goal is ultimately to update and modernize their look without doing anything they’re not comfortable with. Salon Nader strives to give each of his clients an experience that will keep them coming back.

And as word spreads about the quality of their services, Nader hopes to spread the word about the most important thing you can do for your hair besides splurging for a new ‘do: Take care of it.

“I believe in healthy hair, No. 1,” he says. “You can have the most beautiful cut and color, but if your hair doesn’t look healthy, it doesn’t matter.”

According to Nader, too many people neglect their hair care and don’t realize the damage that can do.

“I think our hair is the most beautiful but the most abused part of our body,” he says. “It gets exposed to sun, saltwater, coloring, highlights, perms; if you do all of this and then you don’t give back to it, it would be like if you never brush your teeth! You need to do the right treatments to bring it back to life.”

Above all else, remember Nader’s philosophy and, he says, “Respect your hair.”

To make an appointment at Salon Nader, visit or call 301.897.8700.

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