I am inspired by what I see when I look at and listen to my client. The objective to tailor a signature look that uniquely suites an individual energizes me. I consider each style and cut with each particular client’s lifestyle in mind. Everything is connected: from skin tone to professional career to hair texture. No detail is left unconsidered.
— Adrian Elwell

Adrian is an independent hair stylist and colorist in San Francisco's Union Square, with more than 20 years experience cutting and coloring. Solidly grounded with technical skills, his training includes 7 diplomas from Vidal Sassoon in cut and color. Adrian specializes in gray coverage, creative color placement, Ombre, Balayage, and multi-color natural-looking highlights. A bachelor’s degree from Lesley University in counseling contributes to his exceptional listening skills. Adrian takes pride in careful consideration of his client's preferences to consistently deliver what he promises.  



cut & color specialties

Considering how the hair is going to be cut, or how the color will emphasize the overall style is the starting point for every color service. As a precision hair cutter as well as an expert colorist, Adrian understands how to use color to accentuate the lines and texture of your style better than a colorist who does not cut hair. Adrian remains current in cutting, taking regular advanced creative courses which are typically 5 days in length. With the most comprehensive advanced color courses under his belt, Adrian avoids getting into the trap of doing the same things over and over. To keep things continuously interesting, he is frequently attending classes to stay up with seasonal trends, always looking for a new approach to turn the same old thing into something fresh and new.


Adrian began cutting in Boston in 1986, where he completed a rigorous and demanding Vidal Sassoon-oriented precision cutting apprenticeship at Avanti Salon on Newbury Street.  Adrian earned his first styling diploma, Classic Cutting, from the Vidal Sassoon Advanced Academy in San Francisco in 2002; and returned again in 2006,  2007,  2012, and 2015 to earn 4 Creative Cutting diplomas.

Adrian began doing color in 1990 and completed first creative color training at the Vidal Sassoon Advanced Academy in Toronto that year. In 2002 he completed the In-Depth Chemical Course at the Vidal Sassoon Advanced Academy in Santa Monica, and in 2007 earned his second Creative Color diploma at Vidal Sassoon in San Francisco.

Adrian Began his own business as an independent contractor in San Francisco in 2004 at Headlights Hair Studio in Hayes Valley. He moved to Union Square area in 2006, most recently at Au Top Coiffure for 6 years. Adrian joined Penthouse 1606 in May 2013.