Individual styling stations stand freely throughout Brittany’s Spa Salon, their pointed-dome mirrors reflecting shiny hardwood floors and shelves stocked with rows of professional salon products. Brittany Molina founded her studio after graduating from cosmetology and hair-design programs in 2002, and she continues to expand her repertoire at educational events in New York City, Paris, and Spain. She shares this knowledge with her team of stylists, teaching them new techniques for creating vibrant colors and weaving in strand-lengthening extensions. These skills have certainly paid off; since its founding, Brittany's Spa Salon has been featured in publications such as Ortega Times and Folio Weekly. Hairstyling is merely one aspect of the salon’s service menu. As guests recline in plush black chairs, technicians brush nails with vibrant Zoya polish and carefully remove chinese finger traps. Private rooms nearby host relaxing massage-therapy sessions and moisturizing Dermalogica facials. When she isn’t styling hair or overseeing her staff, Brittany is something of an inventor: shelves throughout the salon stock jars and bottles filled with her own line of hair products.
Panama native Nina Garcia was a hairstyling prodigy. Her innate ability to cut hair manifested at age 14. "I [would] do it for my neighbors and my friends," she explains. "I love to do hair. It's where my passion [is]." Now in the United States, Nina has accumulated 17 years of professional experience, putting in time at two salons before opening her own, where she keeps the atmosphere light and comfortable. "I like to keep people happy," she says. "I offer wine to people in the afternoon. I'm a very sweet person, and I love to meet new people."
In one of three styling chairs, Nina or one of her talented stylists rehabs hair with a new face-framing cut, coloring services, or a deep-conditioning treatment using high-end products such as Italian Alfaparf. The versatile team can even take care of hands and feet. "I have a girl who does manicure and pedicures," she says. "She uses OPI polish." Through patrons often come in simply to update their haircut and style, Nina's most popular service is the Brazilian keratin treatment, a retexturizing treatment that delivers healthy, frizz-free hair to clients and vintage troll dolls.
Regardless of the service being provided, Nina always emphasizes the importance of listening to the client and tailoring every service to his or her personal style. "You have to roll in their direction. I think that's the best way—don't change what they think. It's that way in style and in life. If you want to change something, do it. That's it."
Though the experienced stylists at Hair Distinctions perform a slew beauty services that range from signature blow-outs to hair extensions, they specialize in corrective treatments for hair problems that result from Florida?s harsh climate. Tools from their blow-out bar help reinstate shape and health to humidity-ravaged hair with services when combined with keratin treatments and deep conditionings. Regardless of the treatment, the stylists draw from an arsenal of gentle, top-of-the-line products from Redken, Mixed Chicks, Davines, and Lanza. A newly installed blow-dry bar separate from the rest of the salon allows guests to come in for the Blow-Dry Bar or even an up-do, complete with shampoo and scalp massage.
To compliment newly revitalized heads of hair, the staffers can apply makeup for special occasions.
Minimalist lamps dangle from Intuition Salon and Spa's high ceiling, illuminating the four stylists beneath as they chop coifs into creative styles, paint on highlights, or pile tresses into glamorous updos. The salon owner, Merri Lollis, has navigated the intricacies of the hair industry for more than two decades, a long-term dedication that shows in her handiwork and her calendar, on which every month is named Hairtember. To complement their hair offerings, the team at her full-service salon also nourishes skin with facials, brightens nails with manicures, and waxes away facial stubble.
In 1993, Les Arthur Bauman finally realized his dreams of opening his own salon, which he called Arturo's. He had two stylists, some shears, and not much else, but he worked hard to build the business. While he got the salon up and running, his son, Jes Bauman, became the second generation of the family to pursue hair as art, pursuing an education in New York. Eventually, Jes returned to Orlando to help his father and, ultimately, to take over the studio. He renamed the business J. Bauman Salon, but he preserved the family tradition of expanding the customer base, one expertly cut head of hair at a time.
To date, Jes has accrued more than 20 years of experience and has built up a talented stable of more than 20 stylists. His team constantly snips, colors, and extends hair at 17 stations spread throughout the now-upscale salon. The decor has matured alongside the business. It blends dark hardwood floors with high ceilings fitted with bright, recessed bulbs, which are ideal for helping stylists focus on their work rather than those mysterious shadows looming in the corner.
We spoke with Jack Macaluso?Regional Social Media and Web Coordinator at Beauty Schools of America?about how the academies prepare students for careers in the real world and why it's important for the schools to give back to their communities.
On the schools' mission
Above all else, Jack says that the schools "try to focus and harness the students' creativity," while giving them all of the experience and practical skills they need not simply to be prepared to enter the work force, but to succeed and thrive. The relatively lengthy training programs ensure that aspiring stylists, cosmetologists, makeup artists, barbers, and massage therapists fully understand the intricacies of their chosen specialty, as well as what they need to do to continue advancing their future career according to Jack.
On the role of the instructors
With a roster of instructors that includes industry professionals with international spa and salon experience, Beauty Schools of America strives to give attendees a broad view of the numerous options open to them. Jack is also clear that the teachers' guidance isn't limited to classroom environments. When the advanced-level students are allowed hone their talents by performing treatments for actual clients, "an instructor or two will always be there to assist and answer questions," he says.
On the products that the students use during treatments
Students use brand name products like Moroccanoil, Sojourn, Nioxin, and others. Working alongside their instructors at modern service stations, these stylists use these products to craft en vogue cuts, color, styling and therapeutic practices.
On the schools' charitable involvement
Beauty Schools of America embraces opportunities to give back to its communities while providing real-world experience for students at the same time. Jack goes on to describe events where the schools' aspiring barbers and cosmetologists performed complimentary services for underprivileged residents, and he mentions one specific occasion when massage students provided free treatments for community members who participated in a bike ride dedicated to raising awareness about multiple sclerosis.