The family that owns Bella Mia Spa has been pampering clients for 22 years, so they know a thing or two about helping people to relax. Within the cozy, Tuscan-themed space, staffers perform treatments that soothe both body and mind, using fragrant ingredients such as a lavender foot soak or seasonally scented facial products. They enhance physical and mental wellbeing with hot-stone massages or reflexology sessions, and promote detoxification with warm, herbal body wraps.
A small, green topiary, a cherub-like statue, and a water fountain set a tranquil tone as they greet guests near the entrance. Stone accents along the walls create an ambiance reminiscent of old-world Italy or the Alpine quarry where yodeling was invented.
Nails Forever owner DJ West bounded into beauty school at the tender age of 16, and by age 18, she had her license, a job, and a dream that would lead her to San Francisco. There, her skills were sharpened in salons studding Union Square and Polk Street. Her desire to open her own salon brought her back to Contra Costa County, where she's been keeping fingertips looking tip-top since 1981. Her passion for painting and fine art is reflected in her hand-based handiwork, which often includes one-of-a-kind looks ranging from leopard-print nails to bejeweled holiday designs, and she's won no fewer than five trophies at nail-design competitions. She also specializes in Shellac application and excels in acrylic extensions, which typically hold up better than the old-fashioned wooden kind.
Flanked by bright-red walls, stylist Jillian Marker trims and transforms hair, adds depth with color, or infuses dry locks with hydration. Alongside Jillian, the savvy styling staff at Vanity Chair Beauty Salon inspires outer beauty with a gamut of salon and facial services. Aesthetician Alexie Rae Francisco-Siu tends to skin surfaces with facials that brighten tones and correct imperfections. Amid the soothing sage colors of the spa room, a waxing wrangler can lift away unwanted hair, shape brows, or remove improperly placed googly eyes.
At Cutting Loose Hair Studio, seasoned stylists furbish locks with flattering haircuts, bold colors, and products from brands such as Paul Mitchell and Sexy Hair. Each cut begins with a consultation, in which the stylist tailors a look to suit the client’s facial features, hair type, and bearskin-rug collection; during the hair-scattering session, stylists even demonstrate how to re-create the new style at home. Trained by Redken’s color educators, the hairdressers can also help clients select new hues to subdue grays and accentuate each lock's loveliest thoughts. All-over color swathes the entire mane in a bold new shade, and partial highlights illuminate the strands with the highest SAT scores.
Founded with the goal of outfitting its pupils with the skills necessary to excel in the spa and salon industries, Milan Institute of Cosmetology deploys a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes professionalism and hands-on learning to train fledgling cosmetologists and aestheticians around the country. As the most important aspect of the course of study, student salons and spas serve as a real-world classroom wherein nascent beauticians—under the careful supervision of their instructors—can practice their newly minted skills on humans or sentient mannequins. The beauty apprentices gussy up patrons head to toe via sundry lavish salon and spa services—specific to each location—that may include nail services, haircare, facials therapeutic massages, or nourishing body wraps.
Shawn understands that no two faces are alike. That's why the aesthetician focuses on each individual who walks through her door, customizing every treatment and seeing clients by appointment only. She then sets to work brightening, tightening, or de-milk-mustaching their skin, drawing on more than a dozen years of experience and training from San Francisco's Dermalogica school to do so. Shawn turns back the complexion's clock with treatments employing products from brands such as Obagi and Jessner, and enlists the aid of a local cosmetic surgeon when performing intensively exfoliating VI peels. And once she has perfected pores, Shawn can artfully adorn them with makeup of both the classic and permanent varieties.