C'est La Vie Hair Boutique & Spa's private manicure and pedicure stations reside in a cove that's as stylish as the nails that emerge from it, its deep-blue walls and plush leather chairs partitioned off by attractive drapery. This appreciation of the finer things extends to the lineup of spa and salon products: staffers use popular OPI polishes to paint nails and Goldwell products to add color to hair that's dabbling in the artsy black-and-white phase of its career. Though the spa specializes in bridal hair and makeup services, men shouldn't feel left out, as the slate of male-centric treatments includes beard grooming, gray-hair blending, and even a special men's facial.
Ulta's licensed staff, which partakes in ongoing training to keep skills sharp, creates customized looks and expert image enhancement using acclaimed beauty products. Like a loaf of bread in a space shuttle with a broken sunroof, hairstyles can grow stale between salon visits. A 45-minute coif-cultivation session, in which the stylist takes into account face shape and lifestyle, energizes follicles and forges a salon-fresh look. In the one-hour Dermalogica facial, an aesthetic augur examines skin in order to customize a course of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing session with Dermalogica products. The treatment leaves skin impeccable, like a recently buffed and oiled slab of marble.
John Montalto, a 26-year veteran of the hair-styling industry, delivers a variety of luxurious treatments for men and women at his Western Springs salon and spa. Deft hands transform female tresses with custom cuts and colors and sweep strands into updos for charity balls or cubes. Manly follicles flee from faces after hot shaves, beard trims, and mustache modifications. A mirrored wall reflects aestheticians as they cosset nail beds during mani-pedi, and potted foliage shades clientele during facials, waxing, and various modalities of massage.
At The Geldner Center, plastic surgeons Dr. Peter D. Geldner and Dr. Lawrence H. Iteld renovate façades with a bouquet of reconstructive procedures and noninvasive cosmetic tweaks. Named one of the nation's Top Doctors by US News & World Report, Dr. Geldner uses advanced medical technology—including Palomar and Sciton lasers—to help clients look and feel better, whether through face-lifts, eyelid lifts, nose reshaping, or chin augmentation. Lead aesthetician Deanna Stellato, one of four licensed aestheticians on staff, performs skin-renewing chemical peels, which exfoliate the skin and boost its ability to hold moisture while reducing the appearance of fine lines. Clients may also opt to pamper their countenances with classic facials, microdermabrasion, and gentle butterfly kisses from reflections.
To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, ?She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.?
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand?s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
State Street Barbers opened its first shop more than a decade ago. The owner Mike Malik, had a goal to create a place where modern men's hairstyles met time-honored barbershop traditions, like straight-razor shaves and breaking into song with your three best friends. Customers soon clamored for spots in the shop's throne-like leather chairs, so much so that State Street Barbers now boasts four Chicago locations.
To find out more about the shop, we chatted with one of the barbers, Rami "The Razor" Natour. Cutting hair just might be hereditary?his great-grandfather was a barber, too.
On State Street Barbers' signature haircuts
Naturally, haircuts are the shop's bread and butter. But the ones at State Street nab you more than just a trim. ?Every haircut includes a shampoo, conditioner, hot lather neck shave, a mini neck massage, and a hot towel over the face," Rami says.
On what keeps regulars coming back
?They love the ambiance. It?s an old, classic feel. We have a lot of vintage stuff.? For example: Rami?s great-grandfather?s antique razors and strops, which currently live in the shop?s display case. As for the decor, ?It?s all oak wood, all around. The stations are wood, the floors are hardwood.?
On a not-so-secret State Street Barbers perk
?We offer complimentary neck shaves to our clients,? Rami says. ?So they can come in anytime for a cleanup, which just includes the sideburns, around the ears, and a neck shave, for free."