Salon Di Panache's Victorian turrets and inviting, wraparound porch give way to a shabby-chic interior filled with glittery chandeliers and plush antique chairs. If it weren't for strategic swathes of leopard-print fabric and the beauty products lining the dark-wood bookshelves, it would be easy to mistake the space for some kind of time warp. Pati and Andy, Salon Di Panache's owners, intentionally built upon the vintage charm of the old house, redesigning its interiors with studded manicure tables and purple velour curtains to put clients at ease and make any nearby ghosts jealous. The duo leads a staff of stylists, nail technicians, massage therapists, and an aesthetician.
Stylists refurbish hair with single- and double-process color and a range of hair- and scalp-conditioning treatments. The aesthetician soothes skin with Aveda's plant-based facials, back facials, body polishes, and specialty treatments, such as a rosemary-mint body wrap. The salon's massage therapists also express creativity with massages that fuse hot stones and botanical essences, as well as the Panache signature massage, conducted atop a heated water table.
When it comes to skincare, Roni Paulino has done a little bit of everything throughout her nearly 40-year career. She's administered glycolic peels and laser treatments at plastic surgery offices, and performed custom facials and massage at a five-star hotel spa in New York City. Now at her own spa in New Jersey, Paulino works with clients in need of varying degrees of treatment. Those just looking to relax and refresh can get the signature facial, which includes a gentle exfoliation and facial massage, while those with scarring or hyperpigmentation issues can try microdermabrasion or a four-layer facelift. The service menu also includes makeup applications and massage.
At the precocious age of 22, entrepreneur Linda Cesario started her own salon—but a fire soon destroyed it, and Cesario was forced to go to work for other salon owners. With time, Cesario gathered the courage to strike out on her own again, and she named her new salon Lighten Up as a nod to her career philosophy of always striving to lift her clients' spirits. Now at Lighten Up, Cesario is again her own boss, which means she has to email herself when she wants to play hooky and then confront herself when she does. She draws on more than 38 years of industry experience as she helms the salon’s dedicated stylists, who tame tresses with INOA hair color and products from Redken and Paul Mitchell. The salon also coddles appendages with manicures and pedicures, waxes away fuzz, and massages sore muscles.
At Lilly's Nail Spa, the actual mani-pedi experience is just as important as the end product. Nail technicians lavish attention onto hands and feet, filing and buffing fingernails and toenails into perfect crescents. They also dunk feet into a bubbling whirlpool bath to soothe soften skin, and further calm overworked heels with a reflexology massage. And when they finally get to polishing nails, the technicians
turn on the creativity, outfitting tips with polka dots and chevron stripes or applying extra-glamorous touches such as faux crystals or strands of celebrity DNA.
Comfy massage chairs line one wall of Pine Tree Nails Spa. That's where techs pamper feet with pedicures and inviting fragrances such as milk-and-honey or pomegranate. In addition to performing reflexology and hot-stone massage on sore arches, the salon staff also removes rough callouses, leaving tootsies smooth and soft. Techs line up along the other side of the spa to top natural nails with solid pigments or French acrylic sets. Aside from primping nails, Pine Tree offers waxing services that target areas such as eyebrows, bikini lines, or neighbors.
Choice is never a problem at Saigon Nails. More than 200 different colors of polish fill the salon’s shelves, including brands such as OPI as well as an assortment of chip-resistant gel polishes by Shellac. In addition to shaping and painting natural nails, the technicians can also apply acrylics or add nail-art designs to create a truly distinctive look. To complete the salon experience, some services chase away stress with add-on treatments such as rosewater soaks that can be splashed at approaching tax accountants.