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 team at Roots Salon beautifies clients from head to toe with a full slate of services. Stylists revamp manes with trendy cuts and color, as well as add instant length with hair extensions. Inside private rooms, aestheticians tailor treatments to clients’ skin concerns—reducing sun damage with chemical peels and boosting collagen with phyto-stem technology. Soreness melts away beneath soothing massage kneads, and complexions are quickly enhanced with waxing treatments and makeup applications.
The seasoned stylists at Charlie?s East Coast Hair Designs keep skin radiant and strands carefully arranged with haircuts, facials, and massages. Inside Charlie's, a black leather couch hosts visitors, and the granite-topped color bar holds varied shades of hair for customer perusal. Plants provide a backdrop to the tile-floored beauty palace where aestheticians spruce up visages with facials or makeup, coating skinscapes with elegant coloring or neon-green in-house chlorophyll.
At Amazing Grace Spa, aesthetician Julie Janes helps clients look their best with a host of soothing beauty services, including her specialty anti-aging and acne treatments. Along with facial treatments, the spa offers massage, makeup, and waxing services.
The fabric experts at Capitol West Cleaners preserve matrimonial wardrobes with wedding-dress cleaning, and dry-clean, launder, alter, and repair vestments, delivering them home safely gratis. Experienced cleaners pamper gowns, gently scrubbing away spots, stains, and crumbs left over from crowd-diving into wedding cakes. Pants ($5.50) and shirts ($1.75) enjoy old-fashioned water-based laundering, and suit pants ($5.50), jackets ($6.95), two-piece suits ($11.95), dresses ($10), and winter jackets ($14.95) relinquish stains and odors with a gentle dry-cleaning. Clean clothes are ready to be picked up in one or two days, and same-day pickup is available with morning drop-off to keep unsupervised shirts from partying the night away.