Most of the time when kids go to get their hair cut, they're lucky if they're able to watch a movie they've seen a thousand times or play with the single toy the salon keeps on hand. But even that doesn't generally happen. And because most salons don't bother to entertain kids, haircuts can be a difficult thing for them to sit through.
Yet, when kids go to Snip-Its, they get an adventure. Staffers first hand kids a Snip-Its Adventure Club card, and then invite them to sing along with the salon's own cast of animated characters. There's Curly Comb, the adventurous Flyer Joe Dryer, and the group's leader, Snips, an anthropomorphized pair of scissors with a shock of brown hair. This same crew stars in computer games and activities that kids can play at each salon station, which dazzle eyes with more bright colors than a car covered in Lisa Frank stickers.
While their clients explore imaginative worlds, stylists use a proprietary line of natural and allergen-free products to create buzz cuts and bobs. At the end of the process, kids visit the Magic Box. The enchanted device awards kids a prize in exchange for a swatch of hair. On special occasions, stylists can also photograph a baby's first haircut or transport girls to Tinseltown during a Hollywood Party.
In order to make every salon experience exciting for kids and relaxing for adults, Snip-Its partners with Autism Speaks and trains stylists to work with kids with autism.
It begins with a facial massage with MMIV shave oil, creating a protective barrier and conditioning the skin with Vitamin E. Next, warm towels open pores, soften scruff, and relax muscles without the adverse and downright weird affects of a horse tranquilizer. Finally, hand-whipped MMIV shave cream coats jawlines, another product packed with Vitamin E as well as green tea. This process comprises just the preliminary steps for an Ultimate Shave at M.U.G. Men's Ultimate Grooming. Once faces are prepped, specially trained barbers shave with, and then against, the grain. Then, they wrap smooth faces in a cool towel before spreading on moisturizer like butter on a dry Thanksgiving turkey—but without Grams and Aunt Carol watching closely.
All of the MMIV products are exclusive to M.U.G. Its masterminds spent almost a decade formulating them specifically for the Ultimate Shave, making sure each held an ample amount of conditioning Vitamin E. The staff, which also cuts and colors hair, trusts in the products so fully that they'll give you a refund if the MMIV line doesn't deliver the closest shave since Napoleon bear-crawled away from Waterloo, sobbing into his epaulets.
When Angela Cash first decided to go to nail school, she did it, "just for fun". Twelve years later, she's still having a blast as the owner and head nail artist at Simplicity Salon, where she oversees a beauty team ranging from a recent Paul Mitchell Academy graduate to a seasoned hair styling veteran of 35 years. To keep clients looking chic from head to toe, Angela's staff pulls from an arsenal of brand name products including Goldwell hair color, Moroccanoil, OPI Axxium nail polish, and Tammy Taylor Nails. When it comes to skin care, the Dermalogica line helps the salon's aestheticians customize each anti-aging facial or microZone treatment, while mineral makeup by Weightless lends a finishing touch to faces without smothering them with oils, talc, dyes, or creamed corn. Other services include custom spray tans by SunFX and full face or body waxing by the salon's resident waxing specialist.
At Images Partner Studios, master stylists, colorists, aestheticians, and massage therapists help patrons look and feel their best in an intimate, private setting. After cuts and colorings, stylists add a complimentary blowout for a finished look. Skincare staff are certified in several specialized treatments including laser services, advanced Rhonda-Allison peels, and HydraFacial resurfacing treatments. For an aromatic-massage session, therapists offer the Massage Flame Experience, in which a lit candle transforms first into warm massage oil, then into a gift that guests take home, and finally into a cozy digs for homeless genies. Staffers also handcraft airbrush spray tans that last about five to seven days.
Seven days a week, Darque Tan's clients can bronze their bodies with the more than 20 tanning beds and spray-tan booths lining each of Darque Tan’s 100 salons across the US. Each location's tanners are kept highly sanitized, undergoing a 50-point cleaning inspection by a separate cleaning staff to ensure all of the tanning beds, both stand-up and lie-down, and UV-free Mystic Tan booths remain in tip-top tanning shape. Clients new to tanning or bronzing up for a special occasion can work on a personalized tanning game plan crafted by one of Darque Tan’s knowledgeable staffers, each of whom must pass a detailed training program before hitting the salon floor. Most Darque Tan salons also boast a Kid Zone, which provides a safe haven for youngsters to wait, watching TV shows, reading a book, or using their imagination to grow a tail and chase it.
Brandi Nuttall, the owner of Dolce Salon & Spa, must believe that you can never have too much of a good thing. Expanding upon her first and second Dolce locations, which measure in at 12,000 and 13,000 square feet, respectively, she opened the third hub in 2007, and now there is a fourth. The 30,000-square-foot behemoth built in 2007 houses 62 styling stations, 21 spa rooms, 14 pedicure thrones, a makeup counter, a brow bar, and manicure stations. All four locations boast the same services—though at different scales—as well as men’s hair and spa treatments and bridal styling. Unlike hotels that charge extra for doorknobs and oxygen, the salons have a generous streak. They provide hairstyling services to those who donate to Locks of Love, spa services to local foster children, and hair clippings to areas affected by oil spills.