The stylists at Cranford Hair Company rarely come across a curl they can’t straighten or a strand they can’t lengthen. Though their skills are potentially intimidating—the staff includes a Redken-certified colorist and specialists in keratin straightening treatments—they go out of their way to make clients feel at ease. This combination of upscale styling and a relaxed atmosphere has won the salon many fans, as has a service menu that caters to both genders with precision haircuts, multidimensional coloring, and 100% human-hair extensions. The staff balances these scalp-oriented services with beauty treatments that focus on the rest of the body. Waxes remove hair entirely, and precise applications of airbrush makeup help skin glow brighter than a light bulb filled with plutonium.
Sofia Perez has always had a passion for hairstyling and beauty treatments. Her mentor, accomplished hairstylist Gilbert Febles, taught her how to both design hair and push herself beyond perceived limits. After years of experience in running a high-volume beauty salon, Perez created the first Sofi's Color Lounge in Cranford in 1997. Here, she gathered together a team of former coworkers and skilled professionals, and the venture was successful enough to spin off a second location in Summit in 2008.
Today, Perez's adept staff perform their signature color treatments and diverse hair services using hand-picked, innovative products from makers like Goldwell, KMS California, and GK Hair. Both locations have a sleek, modern feel: the Summit site has metallic blue and silver walls, and the Cranford salon also welcomes guests with a metallic color scheme.
The swirling barber's pole out front beckons young men and old, wise Feenys into Cory Mathew's Salon for a haircut and shave. But the services don't stop there. The staff also can color your hair, wax your unwanted strands, and manicure your fingernails.
A burgundy door beneath an awning of a similar wine hue provides entry to It’s All About Me Salon & Day Spa, where waiting clients take deep, relaxed breaths amid thriving plants in the reception area. Hair stylists guide tresses into face-flattering formations in front of a wall of mirrors, which prevent town pranksters from sneaking up behind clients to tickle their ribs. As stalks of live bamboo and flowering orchids oversee manicure and pedicure stations, wall sconces and candles glow dimly in the private rooms where massages slake stress and facials drive away dead skin and wrinkles.
When preparing to work on a new tattoo, Sinjed repeatedly assures his clients that his equipment is sterile and his studio is safe. Those same promises don't extend to his work itself. With his needle, Sinjed turns crossed forearms into city skylines, backs into altars for patron deities, and abdomens into scenes of lions on the savannah. The artist specializes in black and white designs and portraits, which means that clients can finally memorialize a fallen relative or bring to life that dream about Steamboat Willie playing chess with Death.
Hollywood Tans, one of the nation’s largest chains of tanning salons, turns dermises gold with a special alchemic process known as Tanetics. Skin specialists consider each customer’s tanning goal, skin tone, and skin sensitivity before helping them choose the perfect skin-shading procedure. Four clean and comfortable types of stand-up UV tanning-booth options filter out most pestiferous UVB rays while speedily darkening pigment. Five 11-minute bouts ($40) inside Hollywood Tans’ HT42 booth are enough to leave any pelt polished with a glossy base tan. For Daphnes fleeing Apollo, a Mystic spray-tan booth ($30) depales pasty parchment with a misty coat of bronze that lasts 5–7 days. The Mystic’s cartridges can be changed to allow users great flexibility in choosing their preferred skin patinas.