Pilar Chavez has long believed that feeling good about one's appearance is a spiritually uplifting experience. So in 1984, beneath the swaying palms of Farmersville, California, Pilar opened an eponymous salon that fosters joy through beauty. Amid teal walls and fully stocked product displays, Pilar and her styling team transform bland hairdos into flattering coifs with multidimensional color. Additionally, they spiff up nails with mani-pedis, remove body hair with wax, and simulate natural tans with airbrush bronzers or paintbrushes and chocolate syrup.
At Ca Looks, stylists adhere to the approaches developed by lines such as Wella Professionals USA, attending at least three in-salon classes and two industry shows each year. Calling on these skills, they start each appointment with a consult and personalized hair-product recommendations, so clients can re-create new looks at home, on vacation, or midrodeo.
Charlotte Pugh, a licensed nail technician who works within the Hair Visalia salon, specializes in painting detailed images onto tiny finger and toe canvases, whether made of natural keratin or acrylic. Dazzling snowflakes, ghoulish monsters, and striking depictions of the Santa Maria adorn fingertips during holidays, and glitter, feathers, and shiny solid hues decorate digits year-round. Charlotte can apply chip-resistant layers of Gelish polish to fingers and toes for longer-lasting glam, or employ paraffin wax to soften dry skin lingering on the soles, knuckles, or hearts of curmudgeonly hall monitors.
Like leaving someone at the altar to elope with a true love, Akari Skin & Body Care owner Julienne James left hair school. It was 1987, and she had been giving her friends mini massages on the side. "I didn't have a true interest in my heart to do hair because of all the chemicals," she explained, "and [my friends] felt better after I did just a little bit of shoulder massage." That passing fancy was formalized through the massage therapy program at Therapeutic Learning Center in Fresno, aesthetician's training at Federico's Beauty College in Visalia, and a vow-renewal ceremony for her and her hands, creating a commitment to holistic health and skincare that she has sustained for more than a quarter-century.
Julienne exercises her passion on clients who range in age from 12 to 90 years. Treatments begin not atop the massage table she modified with extra padding and a tiny, hidden pea, but at the doorstep. The aromas of lavender and clary sage waft from the softly lit space, as these are some of her favorite scents for blending into massage oils and foot lotions. She acquired her knowledge of aromatherapy in England, where she also expanded her repertoire of Swedish, Shiatsu, and therapeutic massage with an Indian acupressure technique targeting stress in the scalp and neck. Massages are usually a fusion of these styles, which are further customized with the heat of the room and the presence or absence of scents and music. Julienne once noticed that a client who teaches piano recognized the classical music she turned on during the session, and has since been very careful about selecting tunes that would not remind anyone of going to work. Her meticulousness also extends to skin. Facials use additive-free Dermalogica products that won out against other brands in a personal, several-month-long test, and her wax is so thorough it can rid clients of hair and the memory thereof.
Dawnmarie, the certified spray-tanning technician behind Sheer, bronzes bodies with organic mist during sessions that last approximately 10 minutes. She customizes her technique to match each client's preferences, and can spray tan the entire body or only a certain area, such as the chest, face, or arms. If desired, she'll incorporate rapid spray-tan technology, which allows clients to shower as soon as one hour after their tan.
Inside its golden, Romanesque spa space, Renaissance and its legions of 25-plus cater to muscles, manes, and minds. After an initial consultation, the skincarists will design a treatment facial for your skin condition. Each service includes a sudsy, double cleansing of cheeks, chins, and noses, along with exfoliation and necessary extractions. During the cleaning, a beauty-savvy cartographer assesses skin topography in preparation for a Face Mapping, which, in addition to targeting skin tone with steam treatment, determines whether or not your face is caked in peanut butter. All cleansing is followed with a face, neck, and shoulder massage, along with a clarifying masque and moisturizer.