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.
At trioSkincare, facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. David Hicks and his team of registered nurses reverse the outward signs of aging with a full slate of beautifying treatments and small surgical procedures. He's joined by Daryl Mossburg, a national trainer for Sciton who prides himself in staying abreast of developments in the company's technologies and protocols. He and his team put these gadgets to use during treatment sessions, which range from laser treatments and injections to Forever Young BBL treatments that reverse aging at a cellular level. No matter the treatment, each session begins with a thorough, complimentary consultation, in which staff members address each client's specific skin conditions and plot out the most appropriate treatment plan.
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 Trendy Nails, pink curtains cascade between plush pedicure thrones, lending clients a bit of personal space as nail technicians fuss about their feet with masks and files. Warm footbaths kick off the treatments. Technicians attend to fingers and toes with laser-like focus as they shape the nails, treat the cuticles, massage knots from hands and feet, and dress digits with striking polish.
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.
Inside a studio half immersed in tropical tones and half ensconced in an opulent Parisian scheme, Le Belle Nails & Spa's technicians refine both halves of the human body with luxurious nail services. Clients bask amid island hues as pedicurists soak and soften feet for 30 minutes. After filing toenails, buffing them, and lavishing them with a polish chosen from nearly 100 colors, nail mavens escort clients to the deep burgundy surroundings of a manicure station. A photo of the Eiffel Tower, which hasn't been trimmed in decades, gazes longingly at nails and cuticles as they're groomed and buffed into shape. Clients can adorn fingers with standard polish to complement gleaming tootsies or opt for a 60-minute shellac manicure that drapes finger helmets in a sturdier coat. A quick stint beneath a UV lamp holds the lacquer fast, ensuring weeks of smudge- and scuff-free high fives, back pats, and bongo-drum solos.