Black Hole makes body decorating safe and accessible with two locations, rigorous cleanliness standards, and a licensed staff of tattoo artists and piercers. Those going the piercing route can adorn the head or body with a glint of jewelry, ranging from standard surgical stainless-steel barbells to more-ornate navel rings and conflict-free diamond nostril screws. Black Hole offers ear and facial piercings, including lip, nostril, and labret ($25–$35); body piercings, such as nipple ($25 for one) and surface anchors ($50); genital piercings ($70 on average); and more. Basic starter jewelry starts at $12 and goes up depending on function and style. For inspiration, watch Hellraiser or browse through the gallery of piercing pics, then check out the piercing requirements here.
Similar to Superman and a telephone booth, people walk into Adorn Body Art with one appearance, and walk out with another. Instead of a cape, they exit brandishing new piercings, customized tattoos, and other creative body modifications. But unlike the man of steel, the customers here need some help with their quick change––and that's where the Adorn staff steps in. The studio's body piercers average more than a decade of experience apiece, and its tattoo artists cover a wide range of styles, from traditional to realistic to delicate. And, to ensure a perfect design each time, these ink gurus compliment their own ideas with hundreds of reference books, each of which was kicked out of the city library for rebelling against the Dewey Decimal System.
Like a fingerprint, a snowflake, or a social security number, every piece of body art created by Aardvark Tattoo Company's tattoo artists is unique. Unlike those at other tattoo shops who work from preset designs, co-owners Risa Stevens and Paul Thomas lead a team of artists who create custom designs based on clients’ input. Each artist specializes in a different style, such as portraits, photorealism, art nouveau, feminine tattoos, and proper spellings of extremely long words. Meanwhile, the shop’s piercing specialist safely and precisely helps clients add jewelry to any part of the body.
Relaxation requires peace of mind as well as physical comfort, and the technicians at Midas Nail Spa know how to achieve both. To ease client's worries during pedicures, they sterilize every tool that touches their toes—and sanitize the warm water in which they soak. Likewise, the more porous tools, such as files and pumices stones, are only used once, and clients may take them home afterward to decorate their garden if they wish. A modern ventilation system sucks away the odors of acrylics and gel polishes, and natural soaks and scrubs give off fragrances free of chemicals.
Free Spirit Skincare owner Rene' Halstead started out as a nail technician before earning a master's certification through Creative Nail Design for acrylic application. The multitalented aesthetician and her award-winning team cleanse and nourish faces using Dermalogica products and fragrant essential oils, and transform 'dos with color, cuts, and weaves. Halstead is licensed in cosmetic and body tattooing, specializing in permanent-makeup application, and—having trained at the renowned Gauntlet body-jewelry mecca in San Francisco—is certified to pierce earlobes or navels while seated atop a skirted horse. She stays ahead of industry trends with ongoing education through the International Dermal Institute and the American Institute of Intradermal Cosmetics.
As high-pitched needles buzzed in the background, a young April Slater traced her father's designs, stenciling with a steady hand and honing her artistic eye. Many years later—after apprenticing and working at several other parlors—Slater opened her own studio, Memento Ink. In the bright, cheerful space, Slater decorates bodies with classic and custom designs while her staff performs piercings and applies permanent makeup. Customers enjoy refreshments in the airy lobby as they browse classic tattoo designs and portfolios of original artwork. Of her studio that she makes available to host charity events, Slater has said, “I wanted everyone to feel welcomed and have the same positive experience, whether it was their first tattoo or they had a full bodysuit.” The Register-Guard suggests that “she’s been successful in doing just that.”