In the late 1920s, the Great Depression was rendering most Americans professionally and financially paralyzed. But in a small California kitchen, Merle Nethercutt Norman was putting a plan in motion to formulate her own skincare products and share them with family and friends. She truly believed in her formulas, knowing that by getting them on as many faces as possible, she would develop a following of customers. She was right?within a few years she and her nephew were opening their first studio in Santa Monica, and they eventually unveiled a series of independently operated stores that enabled women to take ownership during a time of gender-based limitations such as men-only restrooms.
Today, in approximately 2,000 stores across three countries, the three basic principles of Merle's original vision still apply. Each studio is independently owned and fosters an in-depth knowledge of the company's own line of makeup and skincare products. Just as Merle shared her creations with close friends and sallow mannequins more than 80 years ago, today's aestheticians embody the business's "try before you buy" philosophy. A menu of complimentary studio services?from foundation checks to express facials?allows patrons to sample the lauded brand before committing to the purchase of products or full spa treatments.
Housed within an inviting red-brick home, Cassandra?s Family Salon and Day Spa ushers clients into spacious rooms filled with natural light. Hair services commence at sleek white porcelain shampooing stations, and facials and body-sculpting treatments transpire in private treatment rooms dimmed by sturdy curtains. The salon also comprises a toddler-friendly playroom with books, toys, and a racecar activity rug where kids can get an early start on parallel-parking skills.
Licensed massage therapists with a minimum of 10 years' experience each knead curmudgeonly knots and help correct postural imbalances with massage modalities influenced by a variety of international techniques. In Tribal sessions, therapists grab bamboo sticks to smooth out tight muscles and communicate lullabies to sinews via Morse code. Zen sessions employ hot stones and towels soaked in green tea and essential oils to release deep muscle tension and restore bodily balance. Specialists pour warm, organic coconut oil over stressed sinews to facilitate the Cashmere massage while calming nerves, fighting fatigue, and softening skin to hush sensitive sweaters. Clients revel in deep-tissue primordial pampering during the Ancient of Days massage, which is performed on a floor mat and combines Fijian barefoot massage with Thai, Hawaiian, and Persian techniques.
Melissa Johnson loves to make women feel gorgeous. It's a passion she cultivated in her native Boston, where she trained at the Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics, racking up 100 hours training in eyelash application and earning certification from Xtreme Lashes. In that time, Johnson learned how to analyze the anatomy of each eye and how to tailor applications to each client's cheekbones, jawline, and second nose. The schooling paid off, with her talents meriting features in Boston Weddings magazine and on styleboston television.
Today, Johnson runs Glance in Concord. During the same lash applications that took Beantown by storm, Johnson attaches individual semipermanent extensions to each of the client's natural lashes, adding volume and definition like a book-of-the month club that only offers dictionaries. On the other end of the hair spectrum, Glance smoothes skin with a host of waxing services. To extend the beautification to the entire visage, Johnson is currently building a menu of invigorating facials that already includes the PYT facial, which wrangles electric currents that infuse faces with botanical palliatives to send wrinkles packing.
With help from aromatherapy, soothing essential oils, and skillful hands, the licensed massage therapists at My Mango Magic not only bestow clients with deep relaxation but also heal them from the inside out. Trained in a range of modalities, including Swedish, deep tissue, and Japanese facial massage, the therapists tackle everything from chronic lower-back pain to TMJ dysfunction during 30-, 60-, and 90-minute sessions. Six Muscle Rub oils fortify treatments, helping heal sore and overworked muscles and calm inflammation and arthritis. The clinic also eases newbies into the idea of a massage or basic human contact with an introductory treatment for the face, neck, scalp, and shoulders.
The licensed therapists at Modern Day Massage customize each treatment to their clients? needs, be they based in pain relief or relaxation. Their skillful hands expertly maneuver over muscles to perform treatments that range from Swedish and deep-tissue massage to couples massage and pregnancy massage. They also dole out specialty services such as neuromuscular therapy, which works to heal muscles with a holistic approach that stimulates the release of endorphins, and pressure point therapy, which seeks out pockets of pain and beaver dams that may be blocking energy flow.