Dritan Azemi’s parents wanted him to become a doctor or an engineer. But he had his own ideas about how he could best help people. Feeling a calling in the world of aesthetics, Azemi dropped out of college and moved with his family from his native Albania to southern California. One day while out walking, he happened by a beauty school and stopped in to speak with the director about enrolling. Though Azemi had planned to heal people as a massage therapist, the more he worked on the school's styling floor, the more inspired he was by the happiness his clients felt after a great haircut. On his 20th birthday, Azemi celebrated by speeding down Interstate 15—an act that got him pulled over, right at the exit leading to the Ontario Mills mall. There, he discovered what was then Allen Edwards salon, where he quickly worked up to senior stylist and educator. When industry legend and ceramic-tools innovator Adam Shuman took over, Azemi learned many of his signature styling techniques and eventually became the company's junior art director.
Azemi's parents soon announced that they were moving to Pittsburgh, and he had to give up his glamorous fashion shows and photo shoots. He retained his sunny California mentality, however, and felt he could use this to enhance salon-goers' experience in the Pittsburgh area. The accomplished stylist opened Azemi Salons in 2008, naming the business not only after himself, but after a root word in several Eastern languages that means “power” and “moving forward.” To continue forward in its client-empowering mission, his team now offers spa treatments alongside hair services, performing skin-specific facials, relaxing mani-pedis, and massages to leave muscles as relaxed as the dress code at a Halloween parade.
Owners and principal members of the stylist team Emilio and Gino corral their decades of experience to create two distinct spaces where clients revel in personalized services. They staff more than 60 aesthetes, each of whom receives focused training on adjusting hair, skin, nail, and massage services to clients? stated preferences and lifestyle. During and after haircuts, the team uses a house brand of products to style strands and address specific hair problems such as color fading, excessive oil, or naturally occurring pipe cleaners. During facials, the aestheticians home in on what lies below bangs by cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and moisturizing skin, and tension dissipates during therapists' restful massage sessions. The downtown Pittsburgh location also plays host to an elegant serata?a private, chandelier-lit escape where bridal parties can enjoy ultimate relaxation before addressing the fact that their friend is marrying a panda bear.
Stylists at Dolce' Vita Salon & Spa know that living the sweet life isn't just about being rich; it's about feeling comfortable and confident in your own skin. So they try to help their clients retain sharper images with professional haircuts, color, and keratin hair-smoothing treatments that make hair sleeker and enable it to fit back into its prom hat. Their efforts haven?t gone unnoticed?clients voted Dolce' Vita the best salon in Wexford in Trib Total Media?s 2012 Readers? Choice Awards. To keep the good vibes flowing below the shoulders, the spa also offers spa services that include Swedish or deep-tissue massage, custom facials, and Minx Nails mani-pedis.
Sunlight filters in through gauzy curtains at this clean, uncluttered salon, where patrons can glimpse a portrait of Audrey Hepburn looking coquettishly over her shoulder. Her glance falls on a team of stylists as they bring form and a subtle sparkle to tresses with cuts and highlights.
To Constantina Hahn, hospitality is as important as the luxurious treatments and pristine facilities that won her studio a day spa Gold award from the Beaver County Times. Inside the homey spa, clients are greeted with complimentary coffee or tea and then led past rows of antique framed mirrors that reflect hairstylists and customers chatting like old friends. To make heads feel well-cared for, organic hair-coloring products??certified cruelty-free and vegan by PETA-customize hues, and Brazilian blowouts form a smoothing sheath around strands fried by chemical treatments or jealous short order cooks. Dermalogica skincare products also cater to individual needs and concerns as they are blended into tailored, age-defying treatments, and nail, waxing, massage, and tanning services ensure no limb, hair, tendon, or talon is left untended.
Inside Alera's 3,300-square-foot spa space, clients can bask in the calmness of private suites and inherent glamour of the spacious, runway-esque haircutting floor. Stylists leverage high-end skin- and haircare products from Sebastian, Wella, Brazilian Blowout, and Aveda and aestheticians infuse visits with subtle elements of luxury such as mini massages. Beauty treatments include hair removal, makeup application, and completely organic airbrush tanning. On the spa side, therapists administer massages with heated basalt stones to ease muscles and oust stress.