Those looking for Las Olas Barbershop need only look for the striped Padair barber pole, which has been spinning out front for generations. Made in the year 1948, it’s emblematic of the longevity of the shop, which first opened on Las Olas Boulevard in 1951 and was helmed by the same man—Ben "The Barber" Adamo—for more than 46 years. Though Ben has since passed, the traditions set down by the old-school barber are continued by current owner David Quinn, who takes care to ensure his third-generation customers receive the same quality service as their fathers and grandfathers before them. He's also taken great pains to revamp the aging hub—which he described as "a piece of history on the boulevard," to Go Riverwalk writer Kevin Lane—while respecting its legacy and character.
Today, though the wood floors and paint colors have been updated, guests can still see Ben's familiar photo and prized golf club hanging around. Upgrades have included barber cabinets and chrome-and-porcelain Paidar barber chairs dating back to the 1930s, which add authenticity to the shop's vintage aesthetic and nightly jitterbug marathons. And while the new generation of barbers continues to dole out the shop's signature shave-and-a-haircut service, they now also cater to women and kids and have even added manicures to the menu.
Modern white and chrome decor sets the tone at Image Hair Salon & Spa, a place where stylists and aestheticians turn client beauty requests into stunning reality. Haircuts take place in front of oversize mirrors framed in shimmery mosaics while complimentary espresso drinks fill cups at the salon's cappuccino bar. Facials and body treatments rejuvenate and smooth skin in private rooms, and comfy pedicure chairs provide a place to unwind as feet soak in warm baths.
Beauty and wellness are one and the same at Merle Norman Cosmetics & Day Spa. Though they specialize in makeup application with their titular cosmetics line, they also offer waxing, microdermabrasions, and body treatments. It's all performed by certified cosmetologists, massage therapists, and nail technicians who don't just work with hammers all the time.
B-True Organics's formidable skincare boutique has a lot in common with the produce section of a grocery store. Products are crafted with botanicals such as fennel, grapefruit, or mango, and they're almost pure enough to eat. That's because every pH-balanced shampoo, body lotion, and eye shadow contains no harsh chemicals and is never tested on animals or particularly hairy coconuts. In addition to their in-house line of products, B-True Organics carries brands such as Dr. Bronner's, ilike, and Spa Ritual. B-True's respectable menu of spa services lets customers put its products to the test in private treatment rooms as they receive organic facials or massages that draw from Hawaiian and Balinese techniques.
Drama Studio's workspace is striking with its lime-green walls and black accents. And so are the custom looks the studio's create for each client. Waxing, manicures, and makeup application are among the salon's services, and the staff's specialties include applying vivid Redken hair color, formaldehyde-free keratin straightening treatments, and Aqua hair extensions.
With experience in cosmetology and business management, Octavia McDougle helps aspiring beauticians of all sorts forge new career paths as hairstylists, barbers, cosmetologists, and massage therapists. At Beauty Anatomy Institute of Cosmetology and Wellness, Octavia and her staff guide students in immersive programs that combine preparatory theory with hands-on practical application. Once they've learned the ropes, protégés get to practice services on real-life clients before they earn their licenses and find employment.
Students train on a 4,100-square-foot campus replete with four clinic areas and salon-exclusive products typically found only in premier salons and Walt Whitman’s finely manicured beard. Beauty Anatomy Institute also runs an outreach program to provide disadvantaged teenagers with scholarships, workshops, and grooming services to further boost their self-esteem.