Back in 1991, Kevin McKinley was in the middle of his last day as a banker, his future career path uncertain. Just before punching out, he found himself in conversation with a customer sporting an array of piercings. The man told Kevin about each of his piercings, where he got them, and what they meant to him. An admirer of free-spirited creativity, Kevin was immediately intrigued by the piercing philosophy.
"It's all about feel," he explains. "With change, there's pain. With pain, there's clarity."
More than three decades after piercing his first client, Kevin helms a team of 30 tattoo artists, piercers, and laser technicians at Body Piercing Unlimited. He calls the team a collective “jack of all trades,” with the ability to craft or alter virtually any tattoo or remove unwanted ink altogether. His studios combine modern inks, needles, and lasers with a vintage atmosphere that displays antique bicycles and wall panels bearing artistic works. The black-and-white checkered floors reflect Kevin's reverence for tradition, harking back, he says, to the East Coast tattoo parlors of the 1970s and their legendary face-offs between Garry Kasparov and a computer.
Intricately painted floral patterns bloom out from individual styling stations and reach for the Cutting Crew Salon's warm toffee-hued walls. At one of these stations waits Tammy Shaw, who sculpts locks into stylish layers and adds highlights with color products by Redken and Matrix. The salon's menu is diverse, ranging from invigorating Bioelements facials and lash extensions to decorative mani-pedis. Clients may also remove unwanted hair with a private waxing session, or request a specialty makeup session as prep for an upcoming birthday or Blue Man Group performance.
Amanda has spent the past 10 years snipping hair, cutting and coloring locks. She works now out of Bloom: A Hair Boutique's airy salon. The space, which is reminiscent of a wide-open dance studio—with its maple-hued hardwood floors and dozens of hanging lights—allows any set of skills to shine. At comfy black spa chairs, Amanda uses Schwarzkopf products to create works of cranial art worthy of the room. Her certification as an extensionist lets her add inches to heads, and her certification as a time traveler allows her to add authentic tricorner hats.
Backed by a winning record of never having double-booked a client, stylist Amber Spear makes sure that she lavishes her full attention as tends to tresses. She defrizzes hair with smoothing treatments, curls locks into elegant bridal updos, and streaks highlights across strands to add more dimension to the hair than wearing a paper hat made out of Magic Eye pictures. With 10 years of experience, Amber also specializes in hair dyeing, which she showcases with a gradual fade technique that adds pops of blue and purple hues to the hair.
Led by a local fire lieutenant turned stylist, the beauty specialists at Shear Fire Design sculpt tresses into flattering ’dos with a slew of haircare products and color services. Scissors snip unkempt strands into lockstep and a Tuscan Oil deep-conditioning treatment can leave hair as soft as elevator music performed by a snowflake. Clients can also add new hues to monochrome manes with a coloring service, such as highlights, lowlights, or all-over color. Hair services integrate high-end products from brands including Pureology, Rusk, and Redken, nail treatments beautify digits, and facial waxing removes unwanted fuzz.
Built in a former body shop, the salon has added rugged chic décor to its space; it seats 10 guests at stylized stations adorned with fire-department memorabilia. Painted tufts of flame decorate the walls, and real firemen try to extinguish them. Meanwhile, the salon’s affiliated academy readies aspiring aesthetes to treat hair and nails.
As a registered nurse, Jean Weisgerber has to know about and treat the entire body. As an esthetician at D'Vons Alaska Salon & Day Spa, she's free to concentrate solely on the skin. Thusly focused, she cleanses pores and pampers complexions with relaxing facial treatments, combating concerns such as acne, dryness, and the thorns that come with rosy cheeks.