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.
Equipped with Bumble and bumble and OPI products, the skilled staff at Vixen Hair Studio transform dishevelled mop-tops into stylish new manes, ragged nails into polished ovals, and furry brows into sleek arches. Upon arrival, a beauty expert consults with clients to plan the hair services and skincare treatments they require based on their desired look or need to find work as a clown's body-double. The in-house aestheticians flaunt their years of training in soothing mani-pedis, eye-opening lash tints and extensions, airbrush tanning, and makeup applications. They also remove unwanted hair with traditional waxing and through the ancient art of threading, a centuries-old technique that uses loops of cotton thread to remove hair more gently and efficiently than with other methods. Click here to see all the services and products offered at Vixen. Groupon customers can receive special offers and discounts during their visit.
The hairstylists and aestheticians at Outshine Salon & Spa boast a collective penchant for combining advanced technologies with traditional beauty know-how. They incorporate Dermalogica products into all their facial treatments, and pamper their clientele with hairstyling sessions and advanced med-spa services—all amid the cool minimalism of their modern, brightly lit facility.
Within the calming interior, hairstyling stations stand decked in fresh flowers, and serene treatment rooms emanate old-Hollywood glamour with portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Elmer Fudd. In addition to its membership-rewards system, which grants deep discounts to regulars, the big-hearted beauty shop donates special spa evenings to local charities and shows appreciation to military members with special discounts.
At Age Less Medi-Spas, certified technicians draw from an armoury of diode lasers, Diathermie RF, and Nd:YAG systems in themed private treatment rooms featuring down-lined beds. Led by Director of Clinical Esthetics and Integrative Medicine Marilia Silva-Brand, skin therapists examine visages. Patrons emerge from their sessions looking excitedly into mirrors to inspect slowly dissipating bald patches after laser hair restoration, newly developed bald patches after laser hair removal, or waistlines shrinking from body-sculpting laser treatments. The spa provides ample free parking for cars, and sunsets on demand for horses to ride off into.
For the skin care specialists at Glow Luxe Skincare, the key to avoiding cosmetic surgery is simply taking care of your skin. They take this task seriously, having created the Glow Rescue Advanced Skin RX product line, which eschews parabens, fragrances, alcohol, and fillers such as recycled-phonebook mulch. They wield these high-quality products during in-depth appointments, rejuvenating the appearances of their clients with fractional skin-tightening treatments, enzyme peels, and oxygen facials made popular by Madonna and Eva Longoria.
Ethno Concepts owner Pulcherie Mboussi has spent more than 20 years seamlessly blending hair extensions into her clients' manes. Pulcherie and her staff also specialize in weaves, braids, dreadlocks, and cornrows. A collection of wigs cover strands, and a kaleidoscope of makeup products preps faces for daytime and nighttime wear, as well as special occasions such as prom or trips to the post office. Ethno Concepts also stocks African staple foods such as fufu, cassava leaves, palm oil, and attieke.