With a specialty in long layers, modern texture, and natural curls, the staff at Times Salon caters to all noodle noggins with a range of unisex services. Cuts, color, smoothing treatments, perms, and more swiftly transform locks. Waxing services evict freeloading follicles from the root, and the salon's 15-year veteran in oriental threading removes unwanted strands using cotton thread and a high-end monocle. A range of other spa services pampers weary bodies, from facials to mani-pedis performed with the newest industry tools. All services take place in a brightly lit interior accented by white edging, earth-toned walls, and oversize mirrors that let clients keep tabs on their transformations.
Master Barber Sergio Portela Jr. believes indulgence and relaxation to be the foundation of the barbershop experience. However, he felt little touches such as hot-towel shaves, razor edge-ups, and facial-hair sculpting had gone by the wayside. So in 2012, he opened his own barbershop to revitalize the art with those grooming services, utilizing Art of Shaving products as well as essential oils. Like a Grecian bust wearing a beanie, his repertoire combines traditional touches with modern styling and includes color enhancements as well as tapers, fades, and even cuts. Sergio makes himself available for in-home or at-the-office appointments.
Next to beauty, health and safety are top priorities at King Nail Spa, which is why it recently renovated and added a room dedicated solely to sanitizing all its equipment in accordance with the standards of the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology and a team of overbearing mothers. In front of a rose-colored wall, rows of plush chairs encourage relaxation while skilled technicians file, trim, and buff fingers and toes, topping them off with glossy finishes from products such as OPI and China Glaze.
The RN and aesthetician behind Too Too Bella is Stephani?also a certified fitness trainer?who calls upon years of experience to customize every treatment. From herbal facials to medical-grade peels, she lavishes complexions in treatments designed to coax natural beauty to skin's surface. First-time clients have the option of a special service just for them: the Be Bella facial, which kicks off with a thorough analysis and includes enzyme- or microdermabrasion-assisted exfoliation.
Not many people would think to perm their eyelashes or slather their faces in caviar to fight signs of aging, but the aestheticians at Beauty Queen help their clients do just that. With more than 10 types of facials, they perform everything from diamond peels to airbrushing skin with a blend of oxygen and anti-aging serum. Though the staff often takes a modern approach, many of their services are still rooted in beauty tradition. They can apply makeup for special occasions or groom nails in express treatments that fly by with the speed of Alex Trebek's beautiful, beautiful mind.
When Earthbody looks to hire new massage therapists and licensed aestheticians, it doesn't consider recent graduates?rather, it's looking for people with years of training and experience beneath their belts, and who still love what they do. It wants people who are healers at heart, able to lavish each client with skillful services and attention. Each detail at Earthbody has been carried out with similar mindfulness?from the spa's own line of organic body and facial products, all crafted in small batches in San Francisco, to little luxuries such as heated and infused foot towels and complimentary tea service.
To set the mood, the staff lights soy candles and tea lights, which burn cleanly so that even those with allergies can breathe easily. Surrounded by this soft glow, aestheticians renew skin with facials or treat bodies to massages that not only make muscles feel great but also uproot deep-seated tension. After each session?be it a couples massage or hot-oil Indian scalp treatment?the staff can compost, recycle, or launder everything used during the sessions. Dr. Shawn Goozh, a licensed clinical psychologist, also offers somatic-psychotherapy sessions that use bodywork to deepen traditional psychotherapy.
The staff's attention to detail hasn't gone unnoticed by the media. "This intimate Hayes Valley spot is more healing center than mere day spa," writes the San Francisco Bay Guardian. "Therapists are trained in several modalities and develop custom sessions for every client, including consultations before and after treatment." In 2010, SF Weekly named Earthbody its pick for best day spa, citing its "ecological sustainability and ancient holistic rites."