Arts & Life, Special Projects

Queer identities found at NuDu Salon

When NuDu Salon was being created, owners Meredith and Shannon Salazar had one goal in mind – to make people feel beautiful.

Standing on the corner of Second St. and Park Ave., NuDu Salon offers a variety of hair services to the people of Long Beach. The salon hosts a bright, welcoming environment in the heart of Belmont Shore through lively music playing overhead and details such as crystals and plants scattered throughout the building.

“I’ve worked in salons that were so stuffy, you felt unwelcomed. And so in here, I want people to get that vibe where if my client is having a bad day, they’re walking out thinking that the rest of their day will feel happy, successful, and positive,” said Meredith Salazar, who has been in the hair business for 22 years.

NuDu Salon is a space for clients to feel comfortable in their identities.
Long Beach, Calif - NuDu Salon is a space for clients to feel comfortable in their identities. Photo credit: Leila Nunez

At NuDu Salon, all products are cruelty-free and plant based. The team of stylists at the salon is carefully crafted with experience with many types of hair and techniques.

A particular feature that draws clients in is the fact that NuDu Salon is not only women owned, but is also recognized for being LGBTQ+ inclusive. NuDu Salon is unique in that it has become a spot where clients go to discover more about their identities.

“Sometimes when somebody doesn’t know how they identify or maybe that’s changing, our stylists are very in tune to that,” commented Shannon Salazar. “Maybe they want to go from a haircut like mine to something super short but they’re intimidated of going into a regular barber shop. So [the stylists] know how to make it so there’s a little bit of androgyny in there.”

Stylist Dionne Pedroza works in transforming a clients hair color.
Long Beach, Calif - Stylist Dionne Pedroza works in transforming a clients hair color. Photo credit: Leila Nunez

For the 11th consecutive year, the city of Long Beach has been named as one of the best cities for LGBTQ+ inclusivity. Long Beach received a perfect score in the 2022 Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Municipal Equality Index for its efforts towards the LGBTQ+ community. With a bright Pride flag hanging in their window, the Salazars acknowledge the importance of this recognition.

“I’m super proud to be a business that is inclusive. Long Beach was very special to me coming out at a young age and I knew that this was a city I wanted to be in because I felt safe and welcomed and just normal,” said Shannon Salazar.

“People do come in here just trying to find their identity and I feel like they can see themselves in the mirror and who they are by what we can produce,” said Meredith. “I am a huge ally when it comes to my Trans community because I just love them and am proud of them for being able to find a way to love themselves.”

While the pandemic buffered the opening of NuDu Salon, the Salazars pushed for the success of their salon. They gave their lifetime savings to open their business together with the help of family and friends, and were able to cultivate the community they have today.

Recently married, Meredith and Shannon Salazar hope to continue developing connections with not just the LGBTQ+ community, but all of Long Beach.

“For me that flag has every color on it…because that doesn’t mean that just gays are welcome, that means everybody’s welcome,” said Meredith.

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