For Salon Blanc co-owner Alan Vuong, hair is more than something to tuck behind an ear or sweep over a shoulder—it's an artistic medium that inspires creativity and pride. The salon's website even asserts that "hair is an expression of the moment we live in." Nothing could hold truer for Vuong and his team, who are continually educating themselves on the latest cutting and coloring techniques and products. They displayed these to full effect when they journeyed to California for the 2011 International Salon and Spa Expo—one of the largest professional beauty events on the West Coast—a trip chronicled on Living Local.
Vuong's trendsetting artistic vision earned him the title of Honolulu magazine's Editors' Pick for Best Hairstylist in 2009, and according to that publication, "he even has clients flying in from Japan and Guam to get the Vuong vibe." He and his crew rely on the Kérastase and Shu Uemura lines for haircare, and also offer services such as bridal packages, makeup, and waxing.
It should come as no surprise that Vuong is as concerned with the salon aesthetic as he is with his clients' satisfaction. His blank-canvas hair philosophy is much like the look of the Ala Moana Beach–facing salon itself; in fact, he compared the space to an artist's studio in a feature in American Salon magazine. The minimalist, white-on-white interior is accentuated by black leather chairs and feathery chandeliers that are lighter and more elegant than a performance of Swan Lake on the international space station.
In his role as the chief surgeon at Aesthetica Plastic & Laser Surgery Center, Dr. Gregory Caputy draws on knowledge gleaned from his presidency of the Hawaii Aesthetic and Wellness International Institute to strike an ideal balance between artistry and anatomy. Along with his skilled team of aestheticians and medical professionals, Dr. Caputy aims to satisfy beauty desires with cosmetic and surgical treatments for the face, body, and skin—many of which account for the specific needs of island natives and Asians. Among the services offered are Sculptra Aesthetic injections, which helps replace lost collagen and corrects shallow to deep facial wrinkles and folds.
The center’s aestheticians exemplify the individual care that Dr. Caputy has sworn by since he began his practice, rejuvenating complexions with custom treatments and staying beside their clients for the duration of each visit. If you manage to sneak away from their sight, take a moment to relax on the waiting room’s tan leather couches, bathe in the sunlight that spills in from oversize windows, or admire Dr. Caputy’s collection of diamond-encrusted stethoscopes.
In medical school, Dr. Carolyn Mai's mentors wanted her to become a surgeon. They noticed her uncanny attention to detail and that she possessed the steady, certain hands and a keen eye—skills which she now uses to administer noninvasive treatments that correct blemishes and signs of aging.
In Dr. Mai's office, patients don’t bounce from specialist to specialist, nor does the doc bounce from patient to patient. She keeps every appointment one-on-one, delivering close, personal attention that not only maintains the continuity of treatments, but also helps put patients at ease. Dr. Mai sees herself as being an approachable doctor who seeks to see her patients feeling more confident on their way out of the office than they did upon entering.
In keeping with this down-to-earth caregiving philosophy, Dr. Mai designed her office to feel light and airy with light blue walls that wrap around white, contemporary furniture. Large leafy plants overlook patients sipping tea and coffee, creating a relaxing atmosphere.
Steamy saunas and cool pools share space with an in-house salon, massage parlor, and nail studio at Herbal Spa Sauna & Salon, which has separate facilites for men and women. The journey through saunas and baths is ordered strategically for optimal effect, beginning with a hot-tub dip to calm muscles and relax minds. After a sojourn in the steam sauna opens pores and releases tension, the dry sauna heats cores with controlled 210-degree coals to ease muscles and a bath cools down bodies before limber limbs meditate in a jade room. A Himalayan salt sauna uses heat to release the minerals found in salt to benefit respiratory systems, reduce stress, and improve skin health.
Over at the salon, aestheticians work out any lingering stresses with body scrubs, massages, and pedicures that outfit toes with bright colors before their next trip into pitch-black shoe caves. Staffers stock locker rooms with complimentary robes, ice water, and shower products to ensure pleasant transitions to and from the tranquil retreat.
Luxz Esthetics owner Roxanne is one of only seven authorized Intraceuticals skincare professionals in Oahu. In this role, Roxanne administers Intraceuticals's signature treatment, which involves infusing the face with oxygen and painting it with a serum composed of vitamins, aloe vera, green tea, and hyaluronic acid. As implied by its prefix, the Intraceuticals formula seeps deep into pores. As a result, the products stimulate the skin rather than traumatize it with chemicals or gruesome Halloween masks. In addition to the nonchemical peel infusion, Roxanne performs diamond microdermabrasion to remove dead skin cells from the superficial layer. She also administers microcurrent treatments to naturally stimulate cell growth and provide a nonsurgical, nonpuppet-string face lift. Roxanne's private salon-studio specializes in other non-surgical skin care procedures including Microdermabrasion, Intraceuticals Oxygen Infusion Treatment and Atoxelene wrinkle reduction treatment.
Hawaiian sitar music hums softly in the background of spacious, private rooms, setting a tranquil mood as licensed massage therapists ease aches with a blend of shiatsu and lomi-lomi techniques. As a heating pad warms muscles and helps release tension, the kahuna (teacher) delivers specialized strokes from other modalities, using various yoga positions and techniques to optimize breathing and flexibility. The relaxation can also be taken outside, as practitioners perform these massages in the salty breeze of the beach. During ocean massages, therapists use the weightless buoyancy of an outdoor salt pool to manipulate bodies into positions that both release tension from muscles and communicate with nearby migrating whales.