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South Boston Online
  Wednesday, March 4, 2015
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ASTRA Salon on Dorchester Avenue
By Rick Winterson

     Skilled and creative stylists are always available at ASTRA Salon, 860 Dorchester Avenue.  Prices are reasonable.  Owner Michael McMurrough invites you to stop by his hair salon, conveniently located near where Dorchester and Columbia Road intersect


The skilled and friendly staff at       The welcoming facade of

ASTRA Salon: Marissa Smith,             ASTRA Salon at 860

Marsha Riley, Michael                        Dorchester Avenue McMurrough (owner), Basha             (note the sign saying         

Kuczynska, and (seated)                   "Hairstylist speaks

Dyan La Rosa.                                    Polish")


     There is a small neighborhood square near here, which is formed by Roseclair and Mount Vernon Streets where they meet Dorchester Avenue, just a short block north of Columbia Road.  It’s in the shadow of St. Margaret’s Church – now Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

As the city evolves and reaches out, you have probably noticed that Dorchester Avenue has become the “Route 66” of Boston.  This square is no exception.  One of its anchor establishments is ASTRA Hair Salon.

Founded in 2001 by Michael McMurrough from Roslindale, ASTRA is in its fifth year.  Michael received his training at the Wilford Academy off Tremont Street in downtown Boston. He then spent 20 years in various upscale salons, including Genesis in the Faneuil Hall complex and Back Bay Hair Design on Newbury Street.

     Several friends, among them the Bakers, who played a key role in developing the square, encouraged Michael to open a salon on Dorchester Avenue.  Many of his customers followed him to ASTRA.  These days, they come from all over – Hingham, Newton, Beacon Hill, and now, Dorchester and South Boston.

     Speaking of South Boston, you’ll recognize some of Michael’s stylists who once worked here.  Long-time friends and associates Dyan La Rosa and Marsha Riley are back together again.  Not only do they share the same salon, they both send their children to the Boston Collegiate Academy, which is in the Msgr. Ryan school building.  Marissa Smith worked at Cranberry Café for a few years before completing her training and becoming a stylist at ASTRA.  Basha Kuczynska completes the staff at ASTRA.  She is Polish; when you go to ASTRA, you’ll see a sign in the window that says “Fryzjer Mowing Po Polskv”, i.e., hairstylist speaks Polish here.

     ASTRA Salon specializes in cuts and color.  According to Michael, “We give our clients Newbury Street hairstyling with a Dorchester flair.”  Michael is also proud of the fact that he maintains reasonable prices for hairstyling services.  Walk-ins are welcomed at ASTRA, but calling for an appointment is suggested, especially towards the end of the week.  You can of course ask for a specific stylist, if you like her work.  All of them are fully licensed and take up-to-date training as needed.

     For you menfolk, the guys are increasingly turning to salons to make their hair look its best.  What used to be simple haircutting is now styling.  Michael has an interesting fact for you – about 40% of his customers are men, so keep ASTRA in mind the next time you need a cut.  The salon offers full service for men.

     ASTRA stocks a number of hair products for their customers.  In fact, there is a plethora of the best items from many lines.  Michael’s favorite is American Crew forming cream (a men’s hair fixative); Basha likes Slick Straight by Graham Webb (a smoothing gel).  Dyan goes for “Shaper” hairspray; Marissa uses Kenra hair gloss (a satin finish); and Marsha picks Badazz styling aid by Farouk.  Inquire about them.

Michael has a couple of summer hair tips for you:  use a hair sunscreen, which prevents fading and drying.  Also, wet your hair thoroughly before swimming in a pool.  That will prevent the chlorine from soaking into your hair and bleaching it out (or even turning it slightly green).

     By the way, a trip to ASTRA would be an elegant, thoughtful Mother’s Day gift.  It’s just ten days away.  And your mother can enjoy some of the original art Michael hangs in ASTRA.

(NOTE:  Telephone ASTRA Hair Salon at (617)288-6000 for an appointment.  Their hours are Monday, 2 –7; Tuesday through Friday, 9 – 7; and Saturday, 9 – 5.)        

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