When Martha Millan says, "Beauty shouldn't hurt," she's not peddling a slogan—her first job in the beauty industry literally caused her pain. Working at an upscale salon, her exposure to common hair and makeup products triggered hives and headaches. While searching for more natural goods for personal use, her research revealed unsettling truths about many industry product lines that often use irritating perfumes to mask the underlying odors of harsh chemicals. Feeling that everyone should have the opportunity to look beautiful without fear of harming health, she bought a salon and transformed it into Salon O Day Spa.
Amid Salon O Day's industrial decor, Millan and her team of stylists, aestheticians, and a massage therapist use products so natural that some are even edible, though Millan imagines the taste would leave something to be desired: barbecue sauce. Among the array of certified-organic, not-tested-on-animals, gluten- and chemical-free products, Millan's favorites include Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare, developed by an American physician who advocates against overexfoliation. For hair, stylists use products from lines including Surface Hair and Organic Color Systems, and during nail services, technicians use natural products from SpaRitual in tandem with scrubs made in-house from ingredients bought at a local co-op.
A man runs toward the ocean. After dipping his head into the water, he heads back to shore where a friend is waiting to cut his freshly moistened hair. Armed with a pair of shears and the confidence that comes with being trusted, Dennis Kraft tries his hand at snipping and styling hair. Channeling the scissor-wielding skills he developed while earning a master's degree in costume design, Dennis crafts a face-framing hairdo that impresses both him and his friend.
Since that impromptu styling session, Dennis has applied his instinctive abilities and artistic passion to the salon industry proper. Dennis opened Bob Salon after honing his skills in other peoples' shops, and he continues to effortlessly earn the trust of clients of all ages. When a timid 5-year-old girl crawled atop a salon chair, he won over her trust by cutting her Barbie's hair in to a fresh new 'do first—Barbie didn't cry and never looked better.
Recently relocated in 2010, Bob Salon features a cottage atmosphere complete with warm, contemporary décor and an exclusive line of products from Bumble and bumble. The experienced stylists stay up-to-date by participating in seminars, workshops, and sing-alongs focused on the latest trends and techniques. During appointments, clients can enjoy the sounds of Internet radio as they sip on complimentary beer, wine, or a café beverage from a Tassimo single-cup brewing machine.
Hervé Lapuente was born in Paris, France, but he spent most of his childhood following his stylist parents as they roamed the world crafting coiffures. Taking up the family business, Lapuente trained in France, led seminars in more than 20 countries for hairstyling behemoth Rusk, and opened three salons in Austin. Now settled into the intimate West Austin house where he opened Atelier Hervé, the master stylist crafts 'dos for clients while conversing with them in English, French, or Spanish.
Though Lapuente followed his singular focus around the globe, fellow stylist Delma Mays has taken a circuitous route to hair mastery, studying aerospace engineering and business management before landing in the world of styling. Mixing mathematical prowess with carefully honed artistry, Mays carefully combines products to create memorable hues while leaving locks vibrant and healthy. Warm wooden floors and delicate iron chandeliers lend the Atelier a welcoming air, aided by natural, preservative-free light, demure couches, and local art.
One morning as Ann Marie was curling her lashes before school, the phone rang. Instead of putting down her eyelash curler, she held it in place as she walked toward the phone, but then tripped over a book and pulled most of her lashes out. Shaken and stirred to action by the incident, she began researching remedies and discovered permanent eyelash extensions. The event inspired her to open Princess Lashes, a beauty boutique where Ann Marie not only augments clients’ lash lines but also certifies other aestheticians in the art of extensions, an art that can be applied during tax season and when trying to make one’s child eligible for the NBA.
Stylists at the full-service Wild Orchid Salon + Spa sculpt the hair of men, women, and children with professional salon products, ending each session with a complimentary scalp massage. Morrocanoil haircare products line the shelves ready for salon use or sale, each infused with essential oils, plant extracts, and natural antioxidants. Morrocanoil deep-conditioning treatments hydrate dry strands, and color and highlights from Wella revive dull hues as patrons lounge in leather-upholstered styling chairs.
In addition to cuts and color, stylists smooth frizz with keratin treatments and add length and volume to manes with Great Lengths extensions. Lash technicians create a beautiful, natural look with eyelash extensions. A suite of signature facials and peels helps customers tailor skincare treatments by need, and waxing services cover hair-removal for any part of the body. Styling station mirrors framed in black wood reflect newly beautified tresses or the approving nods of potted orchids perched between each station.
Melody Lasseter wields brushes and sponges like any other artist, but rather than paper or a famous chapel’s coatroom, her canvas is the human body. As the manicurist behind Gemini Nails and Makeup, she paints nails and rouges cheeks to prepare clients for casual nights out or special occasions. She finishes manicures and pedicures with enduring polish in one of 36 shellac polishes and 42 gel OPI colors, or creates custom polish blends and patterns with traditional acrylic nail paints. Her make-up services employ a similar level of artistry, whether she’s beautifying a bride for her big day or applying imaginative color combinations and patterns for fashion shoots. Her work even took home first place in the 2010 Create Your Ultimate Face contest with a denim-textured blend of colors that elegantly engulfed a quarter of her model’s face.