Back in the 1960s, beauty was so simple that some beauty parlors—like the nine traditional ones run by Robert Andrew Zupko—only had one service: roller sets. But beauty trends began to change, so Zupko changed right along with them, adding skincare and nailcare to his hairstyling business. When 1996 hit the calendars, the salon evolved into a full-fledged day spa that covered 7,000 square feet.
Zupko has since created Robert Andrew – The Salon & Spa, a 22,000-square-foot Tuscan-style getaway nestled in the giant scalene triangle that connects D.C., Annapolis, and Baltimore. Inside the salon, more than 90 beauty professionals—including nail technicians, massage therapists, and stylists—shape and polish nails, snip split ends, and disentangle achy muscle knots. The salon also boasts a troupe of Yon-Ka trained aestheticians who remove dead skin cells with pumpkin enzymes and melt away frozen funny faces with hot-stone facials.
More recently, Zupko opened Robert Andrew Medical Spa, where the spotlight's on lasers, injectables, chemical peels, and other high-tech skincare services.
Bright-pink, flowery wallpaper greets guests at the reception desk of Bang! The Salon, establishing the cheery vibe that pervades each styling station. As they clip locks amid decorative greenery, the stylists encourage their clients to unwind; they believe that relaxation is a key component of every service, from color and keratin treatments to waxing. They draw from a catalog of L'Oréal products to fashion new 'dos and recommend Série Expert formulas for haircare between appointments instead of constantly delivering updo tips via walkie-talkie. The staff’s considerate demeanor affects those outside of the salon as well. When they cut 8–10 inches of hair at one time, they offer to send the strands to the Locks of Love organization.
The beautification and relaxation specialists at Domani Studio pamper clients' hair, skin, and nails with a long list of spa services. Facials freshen visages with infusions of fruit enzymes, glycolic acid, and vitamin C, and nails glint with colorful OPI polish after manicures. An onsite doctor performs Botox and laser hair-removal treatments, and spa packages beautify bridal parties before they celebrate the upcoming banns by photobombing local news broadcasts.
The warm glow of wall sconces and crystal chandeliers bathes the earth-hued salon in elegant light, illuminating the team of certified stylists and colorists as they reinvent hairstyles from behind plush styling chairs. They draw from professional name-brand products, such as L’Oréal Professionnel and Moroccanoil, as they perform cuts, colors, and smoothing treatments. Nail techs, meanwhile, lavish digits in decorative polishes as aestheticians shoot for epidermal excellence with facials, makeup applications, and waxing services. Staffers also offer in-house and onsite bridal services, prepping brides-to-be and their life-size cake toppers for the big day.
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Spa Bellezza has its share of inventive beauty treatments, sure. But it's something called whine therapy that stands out—clients bring a friend, munch on finger foods, sip a glass of wine, and engage in "some soul-felt girl talk." With her masters degrees in psychology and certification as a senior cosmetologist, spa owner Carla knows what she's doing when she organizes events such as these. The community-conscious grandmother earned a degree as a registered nurse and as a licensed cosmetologist as well, backgrounds she distills into organizing two-hour spa parties for girls.
Carla and her staff also focus on individual services. Vanilla, avocado, sugar, and an array of aromatherapy oils comprise the recipes for Spa Bellezza's body treatments. And, a selection of products by Essie, OPI, L.A. Colors, and more attests to the staff's discerning tastes. Facials, mani-pedis, and massages all attract clients to the spa like moths to a hot rod's flames.
The interior of Robert Ashtin Salon glows with serene hues of sea-foam blue punctuated by the stylists’ mirrors and pieces of art including a grid of ceramic leaves. These aesthetic flourishes symbolize the artful salon work performed by the staff. A pink-and-white damask accent wall can reflect the intricate beauty of clients’ new hair colors, which stylists transform with odorless, ammonia-free Inoa products. With Coppola Keratin Complex products, stylists tame frizzy locks into streams of hair so silky that it won’t blister the hands of Rapunzel’s future suitors the way her coarse locks did.