Founded in 1974 in Memphis, Tennessee, by the eponymous Sam Ross, Fantastic Sams is a family-friendly salon geared toward quality. Today, the brand spans more than 1,200 locations, employing a legion of experienced stylists as they wage wars on bedhead and uneven bangs. Wielding shampoos and conditioners crafted with provitamins and soy proteins, the staff offers services such as haircuts, color treatments, and straightening treatments.
After moving to Buffalo, Nece Bellomo found herself returning to a passion she had first discovered in her homeland of Brazil: styling hair. “I just like to make people happy, to make them beautiful,” she says, recounting how she embarked on a whirlwind of education with hair mavens from Paul Mitchell and Rusk. Seven years ago, after only six years working in other people's salons, a devoted clientele motivated Nece to open her own salon and spa.
Drawing on a sleek New York aesthetic for inspiration, Nece and her daughter—a Goldwell-educated stylist and coworker—decorated the space in blacks, whites, and silvers and hung mirrors with ornate scrollwork frames to reflect back their clients' masterful coiffures. Although Nece is drawn to modern styles and keeps abreast of the latest coloring techniques and trends, she and her team focus on shearing ’dos that suit their clients’ face shapes, preferences, and inspiration from their favorite Bjork album.
In addition to pampering tresses, the salon and spa also enhances nails with chip-resistant Gelish polish, lavishes feet with scrubs and pedicures, and waxes away unwanted body fuzz.
Laura Christine's Salon & Day Spa oscillates between a serious day spa for grownups and a playful beauty venue for young girls. In the salon, stylists create custom cuts, modify textures, or brighten tresses with one of nine specialized color treatments. Nail techs shape and shine up nails, all the while hydrating fingers and toes with hot oils, paraffin, or sips of bottled water. In the spa, aestheticians wax unwanted hair, soothe skin with three types of facials, or nourish the body. In addition to traditional massages, therapists perform raindrop therapy—a whole-body massage that taps into olfactory senses. During the treatment, a therapist applies essential oils in featherlike strokes. Parties for children take on a whimsical personality. In lieu of drawn-out therapies, aestheticians perform truncated beauty treatments that involve glitter, neon hairpieces, and hot-pink cosmetics. In contrast, parties for adults have an indulgent vibe—aestheticians variously lavish patrons with chocolate, adult beverages, or blank checks.
With a degree from Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Shauna Lee was well on her way to practicing internal medicine before discovering the efficacy of chiropractic techniques. For her, it’s all about locating the source of the problem. She views the body as a single, self-healing organism, and, instead of covering up pain with numbing medications, she aims to isolate the uncomfortable nerve with precision adjustments and soft-tissue massage.
Amid the soothing cream- and mocha-hued palette of Montage Salon, stylists wield Paul Mitchell products as they brighten locks with highlights and single-process-color services. The talented staff also customizes facials with Dermalogica products and blends conditioning treatments to best match hair type. Inside private rooms, aestheticians shape eyebrows and remove unwanted hair with wax instead of a jet-engine-powered vacuum cleaner. The staff rounds out the pampering with Gelish manicures and paraffin dips.