Even during the decade she spent as a stay-at-home mother, Nicole Bennett, the owner and aesthetician at Flawless Face & Body, always followed her own personal skin care regimen and even worked a few side jobs in cosmetics. But it wasn't until she decided to take a chance and go back to school that she realized that her passion was deeper than she thought, and that passion aligned with her quest for a new career. Her interest in skin care skyrocketed as she delved into the nitty-gritty science behind it, and she sped her way through Palomar Institute of Cosmetology.
After becoming a licensed aesthetician, Nicole opened her own wellness center, which has since expanded into a new clinic in the heart of San Marcos, providing skin care, massage therapy, acne treatments and hair-removal services. She also earned certification as an acne specialist, with the extra training inspiring her to dedicate a large portion of her service menu to result-oriented acne solutions. This dedication now takes the form of a full-fledged acne program, which blends biweekly clinic appointments with an at-home skin care regimen to take faces from spotty to spotless over the course of 12-16 weeks. The team at Flawless Face & Body strives to educate clients and give them the one-on-one time they need to reach their wellness goals within a private, relaxing environment. With the help of Image Skincare and Rhonda Allison products, specialists also counter blemishes and imperfections with facials, peels, and waxing, leaving skin as clean and smooth as a censored version of The Catcher in the Rye read by Barry White.
To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend human rights" and "Protect our planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, “She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.”
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to a UK-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the Blue Corn 3-in-1 deep-cleansing scrub mask often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, and other national publications.
Bella Derma Secrets' owner Cynthia Wells culls from her 16 years of experience as an aesthetician and personal trainer to beautify skin through safe, noninvasive treatments. Cynthia doesn't believe in coating her client's skin with harsh chemicals, so exclusively uses organic and natural products, such as One Love Organics, Image Skincare, Auspect, Circ Cell, and Rhonda Allsion. Nor does she buy into the “controlled damage" factor associated with IPL facials, harsh exfoliation, and other ablative treatments—rather, she researches and travels to discover newer alternatives, such as LED light therapy and gentle ultrasonic abrasion that offer similar benefits without causing inflammation, tenderness, and sporadic night vision. In addition to turning back clocks with anti-aging facials and peels, Cynthia works one-on-one with clients to prescribe home skincare regimens tailored to their skin types.
Susan Valdez eases lingering soreness from within the comforts of her private massage studio at D’Aversa the Salon. Valdez is well versed in all manner of modalities, from traditional Swedish and deep-tissue massages to specialized approaches such as shiatsu. As Valdez works her magic, the bustling, two-story Redken salon just beyond her door remains in full swing, with staff performing services for the hair, skin, and nails.