It all began with a quest to find makeup without harmful ingredients that would also look good on camera. COR Cosmetics owner Amber Brophy-Mock worked diligently with chemists to create a 100% vegan mineral foundation composed of only four ingredients and free of irritants such as talc, carmine, bismuth oxychloride, and bottled Fran Drescher sound bites. The makeup and skincare expert has given interviews to numerous media publications and wrote a beauty column for the Anchorage Style Guide. She and her team of makeup artists have assembled an impressive portfolio of work while enhancing faces at weddings, fashion shows, and on the celebrity-studded sets of television shows and movies.
Patrons can find the skin-friendly products online or get an in-person application within the bright fuchsia and purple walls of the Wax, Lash & Cosmetics Boutique. At the spa, Brophy-Mock's staff of licensed aestheticians perform facials with products ranging from clinical PCA Skin peels to 100% Pure's organic and vegan formulas. They also offer organic waxing services and eyelash extensions with certified experts.
Led by a local fire lieutenant turned stylist, the beauty specialists at Shear Fire Design sculpt tresses into flattering ’dos with a slew of haircare products and color services. Scissors snip unkempt strands into lockstep and a Tuscan Oil deep-conditioning treatment can leave hair as soft as elevator music performed by a snowflake. Clients can also add new hues to monochrome manes with a coloring service, such as highlights, lowlights, or all-over color. Hair services integrate high-end products from brands including Pureology, Rusk, and Redken, nail treatments beautify digits, and facial waxing removes unwanted fuzz.
Built in a former body shop, the salon has added rugged chic décor to its space; it seats 10 guests at stylized stations adorned with fire-department memorabilia. Painted tufts of flame decorate the walls, and real firemen try to extinguish them. Meanwhile, the salon’s affiliated academy readies aspiring aesthetes to treat hair and nails.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
Back in 1991, Kevin McKinley was in the middle of his last day as a banker, his future career path uncertain. Just before punching out, he found himself in conversation with a customer sporting an array of piercings. The man told Kevin about each of his piercings, where he got them, and what they meant to him. An admirer of free-spirited creativity, Kevin was immediately intrigued by the piercing philosophy.
"It's all about feel," he explains. "With change, there's pain. With pain, there's clarity."
More than three decades after piercing his first client, Kevin helms a team of 30 tattoo artists, piercers, and laser technicians at Body Piercing Unlimited. He calls the team a collective “jack of all trades,” with the ability to craft or alter virtually any tattoo or remove unwanted ink altogether. His studios combine modern inks, needles, and lasers with a vintage atmosphere that displays antique bicycles and wall panels bearing artistic works. The black-and-white checkered floors reflect Kevin's reverence for tradition, harking back, he says, to the East Coast tattoo parlors of the 1970s and their legendary face-offs between Garry Kasparov and a computer.
Clients relax as they sip frothy beers and tart ciders amid the elegant white décor of The Wax Bar's lobby before following aestheticians back to a private treatment room for one of a broad repertoire of signature hair-removal services. Staff at The Wax Bar's two locations aim to make waxing or sugaring a luxurious and dignified experience, soothing clients' jangling nerves with drinks from the wet bar. Each aesthetician boasts a repertoire of discomfort-minimizing tricks to ensure sugaring and waxing services for men and women's brows, backs, and bikinis go as swiftly and painlessly as possible. After follicles have said their tearful goodbyes to unwanted hair, aestheticians apply aftercare products and advise clients on the best way to reduce irritation on freshly bare skin. Staff members also offer facials whose targeted therapies incorporate products from Dermalogica and Aveda.