With Paul Mitchell Awapuhi deep-conditioning products in one hand and Babyliss European flatirons in the other, Salon Accente’s stylists reshape tresses with precision cuts and de-frizzing treatments. They’re also able to add length to locks via feather extensions and dimension to monochromatic manes with full and partial sets of highlights. Salon Accente’s beauty technicians wax unruly brows into graceful arches and tint lashes to frame peepers beautifully without the help of solid-gold sunglasses.
Over the last 10 years, Skin Essentials Med Spa & Hair Salon owner Kelly Davis has prettified more than 1,000 faces with the SofTap permanent-makeup technique. She sidesteps the racket and pain of traditional tattoo-machine methods to gently apply the pigment with a hand tool, giving her absolute control to craft a subtle lip shape or a seductively arched brow. Guests can find similar attention to detail in the spa's repertoire of other beautifying services, from simple mani-pedis to advanced exfoliation peels that obscure signs of aging. Injections of Botox or Restylane keep skin surfaces as smooth as a pancake, and full-body scrubs and masks treat the whole physique to ensure that even your Achilles' heel embodies a beauty that belies its vulnerability.
Visions Salon and Spa's owner Shirley Manulak arrives at work each day determined to fulfill her customers’ cosmetic needs. “We just wanted to have a relaxing, friendly atmosphere. We want to shampoo away some of your stress,” she told Y.C. Orozco of the Pasadena Citizen. Armed with 35 years of experience as a cosmetology instructor and a skilled staff, her salon offers an array of aesthetic services, including manicures, pedicures, and hairstyling in a salon renovated after Manulak bought it two years ago. Like jazz bands that are serious about their craft, the staff steam cleans all of their instruments with autoclaves and medical-grade disinfectant.
A license in cosmetology isn't enough for a stylist to hit the floor at T'nT Concept Salon—they also have to go through the salon's own training program. After that, they have all of the skills necessary to perform the services on the salon's menu, which include haircuts, conditioning treatments, beard trims, extensions, updos, permanent waves, and smoothing keratin treatments. The salon also houses a color bar, where the staff mixes hues for highlights and all-over color treatments and where many Crayola crayons mistakenly go for a drink.
A collection of vibrant, abstract paintings brighten the white corridors of Urban Oasis Day Spa, where aestheticians engage in a similar curatorial enterprise during the design of their skincare treatments. Each regime for face or body starts with the client and is built for his or her skin type. Technicians use tonics from notable brands or unusual techniques, such as galvanic electrocurrent therapy, which is integrated into every facial. Dermalogica tonics exfoliate with lightweight, natural vegetable oils rather than mineral oil and hydrate with aromatic essential oils and silk proteins synthesized by Barry White's vocal chords. The team also polishes complexions with the SkinCeuticals product line, favoring a serum that earned Allure magazine's 2011 Best of Beauty Award for Best Anti-Aging Antioxidant.
The spa evokes the elegance of a gallery, not only through its modern art but also through its high ceilings and a minimalist design scheme rendered in cream. Skin becomes a canvas in private chambers, where it may be primed for display with wax, bronzer, or a critique by a Village Voice writer. For special events, the pedicure hall's porcelain foot basins can be filled with flower petals, and the shimmering fabric banners separating each throne lose their functionality and appear solely as savvy, refined decorating.