In the late 1920s, the Great Depression was rendering most Americans professionally and financially paralyzed. But in a small California kitchen, Merle Nethercutt Norman was putting a plan in motion to formulate her own skincare products and share them with family and friends. She truly believed in her formulas, knowing that by getting them on as many faces as possible, she would develop a following of customers. She was right—within a few years she and her nephew were opening their first studio in Santa Monica, and they eventually unveiled a series of independently operated stores that enabled women to take ownership during a time of gender-based limitations such as men-only restrooms.
Today, in approximately 2,000 stores across three countries, the three basic principles of Merle's original vision still apply. Each studio is independently owned and fosters an in-depth knowledge of the company's own line of makeup and skincare products. Just as Merle shared her creations with close friends and sallow mannequins more than 80 years ago, today's aestheticians embody the business's "try before you buy" philosophy. A menu of complimentary studio services—from foundation checks to express facials—allows patrons to sample the lauded brand before committing to the purchase of products or full spa treatments.
The stylists and aestheticians at the full-service Salon West and Body Works Spa aim to make clients feel beautiful, empowered, and worthy of every minute of pampering. They perform a variety of services to help purge minds and bodies of impurities, from microcurrent facials to acne-clearing scrubs. The salon?s master stylists shampoo and blow-dry hair before sculpting it into busts of George Washington, and steady-handed nail technicians tend to hands and feet with luxurious manicures and pedicures.
With more than 386 locations dotting North America, JCPenney Optical's ubiquity is matched only by its extensive selection of contact lenses and designer frames that includes brands such as Armani Exchange, Liz Claiborne, and Nicole Miller. Despite this wide reach, all lenses are cut at the same optical laboratory, ensuring a consistency of quality and a pretty good idea of where to look if your glasses run away from home. Each location has an independent state-licensed doctor of optometry, who can perform vision exams and help clients determine which type of vision correction will work best.
While awaiting simple trims or hair-smoothing keratin infusions at Salon Orlin, guests lounge in comfy leather chairs and pipe in music through their smartphones from the salon's Internet jukebox. Skilled stylists nourish tresses with vitamin C, create stunning styles with flatiron curling or updos, and manicure brows and faces with waxing. Tanning beds add healthy splashes of color to skin, and "juicing" adds healthy splashes of color to hair.
Brenda Miller, licensed aesthetician and owner of Face West Skin Care, uses only glo therapeutics skincare products during her facial treatments. She has pledged allegiance to this brand due to its potent ingredients and thoughtful omission of parabens, dyes, and superglue. In addition to classic European facials, peels, and microdermabrasion treatments, Brenda also offers microcurrent facelifts, LED light therapy, and waxing.
Growing up, Lindsay Kamphuis would grab perm rods and supplies for her hairstylist mother while watching her process up close. At Lindsay Styles—inside B'Lovely salon—Kamphuis brings her childhood dream of following in her mother's footsteps to life. Her extensive services include haircuts and color, styling and updos, keratin smoothing treatments, and gel-polish manicures.