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.
The Barber Crew's rich leather couches and dark stained wood welcome men looking for a smartly decorated salon and a dapper cut. The warm and masculine environment fosters comfort and camaraderie, as customers sip on a complimentary beer or nonalcoholic beverage and shoot the breeze with their stylists or fellow males whose hair doesn't cut itself. Guests recline back, keeping one eye over the TV at each station as hot towels open pores and stylists shape scalps to one's preference. The hair experts trim or remove all the sundry hairs that creep up on a man, from waxing brows to trimming beards and mustaches. Their sessions can include a dash of testosterone-friendly products from American Crew or Paul Mitchell, and stylists offer paraffin hand treatments to restore digits to equilibrium before thumb wrestling a grizzly bear tilts the scales back toward unadulterated masculinity.
Inspired by the legacy of their grandfathers—stylish gents by the names of Lewis "Emerson" Smith and Gabor "Joseph" Takats—Shelly Hutchins and Stacy Donnelly wanted to create a place where men could relax and enjoy some masculine pastimes. Their salon, Emerson Joseph, offers exactly that. In addition to male-focused hair and spa services, the space boasts a pool table and flat-screen TVs announcing the latest in sports. During appointments, the stylists treat faces to hot-towel wraps, trim cuticles and hangnails, and serve complimentary beverages. They even polish off haircuts with a quick shoeshine, a true gentleman's service that's almost as classic as the spit-shine facial.
Barbers at this neighborhood salon have trimmed flattops and shaped handlebars for 32 years. Their service menu is one of old-fashioned simplicity: haircuts for gents, ladies, and kids, with shampoo or a beard trim available for a little extra. Despite their pared-down menu, staffers stock their stations with premium American Crew and Paul Mitchell products and take pride in their skillful clips, close shaves, and even closer shaves with the law during the scissors prohibition.
City Barbers' friendly staff at Uptown and Highland Creek specializes in the shearing, shaving, and four-part harmony expected of an authentic, old-time haircuttery, while using technology and sports to lure the most modern of men. Each workstation is equipped with its own flat-screen TV and comfortable black-leather chair, making it easy for clients to imagine what it'd be like getting a professional-quality haircut at home. The haircut will be performed by a skilled pair of scissors wielded by a skilled hand, then topped off with a complimentary straight-razor neck shave that will leave your skin feeling as smooth as a well-oiled fire truck.