Step into the world of Maria Unali, the creative force behind Salon Kiin. Known for her dual accolades as AHFA NSW Hairdresser of the Year and winner of the Hair Expo Salon Design Award, Maria embodies a spirit deeply rooted in family and innovation.

Nurtured by a rich heritage in hairstyling that began with her father's salon in 1981, Maria's journey has been a testament to honouring legacy while embracing evolution. Now Maria has woven a tapestry of success with Salon Kiin, a space that blends expertise with a warm, inviting atmosphere.

We recently sat down for a chat with Maria, to gain insight into the rituals that fuel her mornings, the challenges and triumphs of salon ownership, and her hair tips for the winter months. 

Let’s talk mornings. Do you have any rituals that help you take on the daily hustle?

Lately, as simple as it is, I’ve been joining some friends on a 6am walk for an hour. Before the kids get up. Before the sun rises. Then I get home and it’s right into brekkie and lunchboxes. Every now and then, when I work up the courage, I do a cold shower too- it’s mostly a mind game though.

What inspired you to open your own salon and propel Salon Kiin into the incredible salon it is today?

Salon Kiin is actually the third brand to emerge from the same company. My Dad opened a salon in 1981 after he immigrated from Italy in the late 60's called St Clair hairstylists. Then I took over in 2009 calling it s.81 Hair. Homage to when it all started. In 2016, we moved to Penrith, rebranded and Salon Kiin was born. We just celebrated our 8th birthday! You could say it was my family heritage that inspired me to keep the legacy going. I’d later find out that doing hair and being in business were completely different skill sets!

You recently opened the doors to your new baby, Studio Mumu. How would you describe it in three words? 

Humble. Unassuming. Honest. 

What’s one thing you had to learn the hard way?

That doing hair and doing business are completely different.

What’s one thing you wish people knew about you?

I know it looks like I’m killing it sometimes & juggling all the things but I’m dropping balls all the time. I have incredible support but you can’t be 100% to all the things/people, 100% of the time.

What hair trends are we going to see in the cooler months?

Healthier, shinier, more luminous hair. I’m finding myself highlighting/balayaging with tint as opposed to powder lightener to maintain integrity and create a diluted, softer contrast. And base breaking. I love softening out bases. So clients aren’t going as light- but their hair is better for it.

What’s one thing we should all be doing more of to maintain hair health in winter?

It’s so hard to pick one! Focus on scalp health. Whether it’s a scrub, or mask, a blast with cold water or sleeping on a silk pillowcase. 

Words to live by...

Trust the process.