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.
In 2010, Up Close Beauty tacked “Max” onto the end of its name to reflect the continued dedication and drive to dole out exceptional beauty services from each stylist, aesthetician, nail technician, and therapist. Owner Michelle Mai—an experienced hair colorist, extension artist, and aesthetician—guides the staff as they beautify exteriors with the latest brands, including Paul Mitchell haircare, Cellex-C skincare, and OPI nail polishes.
As clients relax in the jacuzzi tub or on two massage tables in Up Close's spa room, aestheticians revive lackluster visages in a room of their own, performing facials, microdermabrasions, and chemical peels. Out on the salon floor, stylists beautify manes with snap-on and glue-in hair extensions and hair-straightening services such as the De Fabulous Kerafusion, which irons out strands for up to six months with a protein complex infused with mineral oils, shea butter, and cocoa butter, without including harsh fumes or smoke. Clients can also indulge in a traditional or gel mani-pedi, more than 10 massages, or radial-endodermo-therapy sessions designed to clean out the lymphatic system and help banish cellulite to the body's black hole, located directly behind the spleen.
Through a commitment to continuous education, the stylists at Clique Salon have learned that hair fashion is a limitless art. Regional and national seminars furnish their infinite utility belts with evolving techniques, which they then apply to cuts, color treatments, and other services at their Houston studio. However, they do preserve one constant: a commitment to environmental health. Their stations remain free of aerosol and are stocked with natural haircare products, including formulas from Aveda, Modern Elixirs, and Tea Tree. Positioned within these fresh surroundings, the hair gurus begin each appointment with a consultation, during which clients sip on wine or another beverage as they describe what direction they want their locks to take. As the stylists cut, dye, and condition strands, they also dispense aftercare recommendations, enabling patrons to preserve their new color without hiring an art-restoration specialist each week.
Founded in 1957, Piney Point Barber Shop is steeped in history. Some stylists have regulars going back 15–20 years, and shoe-shiner Bill Forte has been polishing men’s soles for more than 30 years. Clients who take a seat at his antique shoeshine stand may hear his tales about the shop's past, including the time the Secret Service showed up escorting former President George H. W. Bush for walk-in haircut.
Unlike many new barbershops that more resemble upscale men's spas, Piney Point has remained true to its unpretentious roots as a neighborhood fixture where a gentleman can get a trim and polish, enjoy friendly chatter, and get on with his day. That’s not to say that the barbers ignore new trends and styles. To stay on top of the latest men's cuts, they receive ongoing training in Piney Point's preferred product lines, which include Nioxin, Matrix, and Redken. The shop surrounds visitors in masculine décor, which includes black, leather barber chairs, granite countertops, and a flat-screen television in the waiting area that converts all dialogue into the voice of Sam Elliott.