Style Reinvention Heaven: Which are the Best US Cities for a Makeover?

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Getting a makeover is almost always going to be a costly expense, wherever you go. From choosing new clothes and getting a haircut to having your nails done or getting your teeth whitened, it all costs time and money.

However, some parts of the world are inevitably going to offer higher quality services than others (as well as a better deal). But which places are the best? We decided to answer this question and find out which of America’s cities are the best for a makeover.

A variety of data points were included:

• Average hair stylist cost
• Average mani-pedi cost
• Dental clinic density
• Dentist average quality
• Beauty salon average quality
• Clothing store average quality
• Jewelry store average quality

We studied USA’s largest cities for all the above factors. Once the data was collected, we used minmax normalization to give each city a standardized score out of 10 for every data point. We then used each city’s average scores to put together a final ranking. Which one do you think finished in 1st place?

Overall, the best city in which to get a makeover is Washington’s Seattle. The city did well in nearly every category, even managing to rank 1st for average mani-pedi cost, average dental clinic cost and average clothing store ratings. The only data point in which the city did poorly is average hair stylist cost, where it came 23rd.

Next, we have Portland in 2nd and San Francisco in 3rd. Both cities scored well, although the former did noticeably better than the latter for both average hair stylist costs and clothing store ratings.

The rest of the top ten also scored well. Interestingly, three of the top ten cities are located in California (San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles).

At the other end of the ranking, Las Vegas has the lowest score overall. Aside from having the highest average mani-pedi cost, it has the 2nd lowest dental clinic density, 2nd lowest average beauty salon ratings, and did poorly in nearly every other data point aside from jewelry store ratings, where it actually scored fairly well.

Nevada’s largest city is followed by San Jose which, despite having the cheapest average mani-pedi cost, didn’t score well for average hair stylist costs, dental clinic density, average beauty salon ratings and average clothing store ratings.

New York managed to barely stay ahead, finding itself at the bottom of the table for average hair stylist costs and dental clinic density. That said, it did manage to garner decent scores for its average dentist rating and average jewelry store rating.

If you’d like to find out more about our method, take a look at our methodology section at the bottom of the page.

Next, let’s take a closer look at the individual factors used in the study…

Hair Stylist Cost

We began our study by looking into the average cost to get your hair professionally styled in each city according to Thumbtack.

Indianapolis is the city with the lowest average cost for a professional hair stylist, followed by Oklahoma City and Louisville. Three of Texas’ cities did very well in this category, with Houston, Austin and San Antonio all reaching the top ten.

Mani-Pedi Cost

After hair stylists, we moved on to the average cost of getting your nails done. Each city’s results are based on the average cost in their respective US region, using data collated by Square Appointments.

The West Coast states (California, Oregon and Washington) have the cheapest average mani-pedi cost in the US ($37). The South Atlantic states are only a dollar behind with $38, and the Mountain States have the most expensive average mani-pedis.

San Francisco’s high ranking makes sense considering its performance in another of our studies, “The World’s Most Beauty-Obsessed Cities”, in which SF was found to be the 9th most salon-dense city in the world.

Dental Clinic Density

Next, we investigated each city’s number of free and low price dental clinics per capita, for people who might consider cosmetic dental work while having a makeover.

Seattle has the highest density of dental clinics out of every city in this study. In terms of its total number of dental clinics, the city managed to have the highest number despite being only the 18th largest city in the USA, with a total of 23 clinics (closely followed by San Diego with 22 and Philadelphia with 19).

Beauty Salon Quality

It would be remiss of us to ignore the quality of each city’s different beauty-related stores and services. We therefore moved on to the average review scores of each city’s beauty salons. This data is based upon the average review scores of up to 60 randomly selected beauty salons from each city, using Google’s Places API.

The city with the most highly-reviewed beauty salons is Louisville, with an average of 4.7269 out of 5. Portland and Jacksonville followed in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Clothing Store Quality

After inspecting the average review score of each city’s beauty salons, we moved on to the review scores of their clothing stores.

Seattle has the highest quality clothing stores, with an average score of 4.4727 out of 5. This is a little surprising considering the fact that some of Seattle’s downtown stores have been struggling in recent years – for instance, in the latter part of 2019 the Seattle branch of Macy’s announced its impending closure, after 90 years of operations.

Seattle is closely followed by Detroit and Nashville, who have almost identical scores (differing by only a ten-thousandth of a point).

Jewelry Store Quality

Next, we gathered the review score data for each city’s jewelry stores.

Chicago, America’s third most heavily-populated city, has the highest average jewelry store review score, followed by Philadelphia and San Francisco. Many of the cities with the highest rated jewelry stores are also among the highest rated clothing stores, including Chicago, Denver, Portland, Dallas, Seattle and Baltimore.

Dentist Quality

Finally, we gathered the data for the average review scores of each city’s dentists.

Texas dominated in this final category, making five appearances in the top ten: Dallas finished in 1st place while Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston filled out the rest of the top five. Evidently, the Lone Star State is the place to go if you’re looking for high quality dental work.


We used minmax normalization to give each city a score out of ten for every data point. We then averaged those results to reach an overarching score, allowing us to discover the best city in which to get a makeover.

The following formula was used to generate normalized scores for each data point:

Result = (x-min(x))/(max(x)-min(x))

Throughout this study, we investigated factors that we felt were relevant to people looking to get a makeover. Let us know which data points you would have included in the comments below. If you’d like to see the data in full, as well as our sources, click here.


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