Sonja Sadi, a certified and licensed nail technician, draws on more than 22 years of experience when shaping, filing, and polishing nails using products from Zoya, Qtica, Minx, and CND Shellac. When scheduling appointments, clients can opt to relax at her station in Refuge Salon and Spa, covering nails with intricate designs and patterns from Minx, including stripes and animal prints.
A row of rooms partitioned off by curtains hold identical interiors: a canopy of white fabric above and a long, comfy floor mat below. It’s here where therapists perform traditional Thai massages—a style that blends yoga-like stretches with deep massage techniques—with the aim of improving clients’ range of movement and overall wellness. During the total Thai relaxation massage, therapists apply rhythmic pressure along the body’s energy lines, or Sen, to unblock pathways and turn the belly button into an iPod charging station. Pho Siam’s staff also turns their attention to skin concerns with Dermalogica facials, and removes hair from the face and body with waxing treatments.
At Form Academy, professionals from the salon, spa, and cosmetology industries train the next wave of stylists and aestheticians. Each student receives supervised, hands-on training in services such as balayage, razor cuts, facials, and gel mani-pedis. Those interested in natural products can also take classes on holistic beauty. Form Academy rewards guests who visit its educational salon with rates up to 75% lower and high-fives up to 75% more frequent than they'll find at other area studios. Located in Echo Park, the academy's 10,000-square-foot converted 1940s warehouse is also available to rent as an event space or paper-airplane testing facility.
As the name suggests, Cinema Wellness takes a panoramic approach to health, labeling itself 'an aesthetic whole-body boutique". The spa's clients can solicit skilled aestheticians for an organic mani-pedi, hair removal, or especially indulgent treatments ranging from chemical peels and facials to full-body exfoliating scrubs. The spa also staffs a team of licensed massage therapists to temper achy sinews with flowing Swedish strokes and deep-tissue pressure. When not pampering clients within in their elegant facility, many of Cinema's wellness warriors proudly volunteer for The American Cancer Society.
Nail to Toe Rescue, located in the Gelson’s shopping center in Los Feliz, offers manicures and pedicures, obviously, as well as facials and waxing services. Inside, a peaceful, translucent waterfall brings serenity to the cool blues and soft whites of the peaceful spa. The classic manicure and pedicure services can be upgraded with a moisturizing citrus scrub and warm thermal wrap, or a refreshing mint exfoliating sea salt scrub. Gels, acrylic full sets, acrylic fill, pink and white full sets and pink and white fills are also available, and are applied at the comfy nail bar by experienced nail technicians. There, customers are treated to complimentary champagne, and can indulge in a five-minute massage, callus scrub or paraffin treatment. The salon’s waxing services range from brows to stomach to bikini areas, and everywhere in between.
When most people check their nails, they don't expect to find an art gallery. Nail Service's clientele, however, is used to leaving with dazzling designs at its fingertips. Mondrian color patterns, white lilies floating like jellyfish through inky blackness, blood-red witchy-woman talons, rhinestone-encrusted pinkscapes to match any Barbie's Dream House?Nail Service's variety of Japanese 3D gels and custom-painted abstractions has made it a "Little Tokyo cult favorite for LA?s nail art-obsessed set," according to Los Angeles Confidential.
The nail techs also excel at the fundamentals, enhancing routine mani-pedis with organic lotions and scrubs infused with herbs, citrus, and essential oils. Similarly, the salon's stylists accentuate gazes with synthetic or mink eyelash extensions that can withstand showers, swimming pools, and up to three stooges' worth of seltzer bottles.