In the early 1960s, a young man dropped out of high school and got a job cutting hair at Saks Fifth Avenue. According to TribLive, he made $4.95 for his first haircut, and as this new job transformed into a burgeoning passion, he decided to sell his car to pay for tuition at Pittsburgh Beauty Academy. Philip Pelusi, this blue-collar boy with a modest past, eventually came to own 13 of his own salons, create signature hair and skincare product lines, and garner a slew of accolades, including being named one of the top 10 stylists in the country by InStyle magazine.
At Philip Pelusi Salons, each of the stylists specialize in Pelusi’s patented Volumetric haircutting method. Following architectural principles, the method takes face shape and hair texture into consideration as scissor snips carefully build from the bottom up to create a style that follows the hair’s natural growth pattern and preexisting electrical wiring. To complement this structural approach, the staff calls on Pelusi’s own line of eco-friendly, plant-derived salon formulas that are bolstered with sunscreens, proteins, and moisturizers to keep strands healthy. The salon magnate’s skincare and cosmetics formulas follow the same nourishing recipes and take a starring role in the salons’ menu of facials and makeup services.
Helmed by sisters Chris Powell and Linda DelRosso—a duo with more than 35 years of salon experience—Hairtique Designers Inc. revitalizes hair and skin with an array of salon and spa services. An in-depth consultation kicks off every tress transformation, with guests imparting haircut ideas and personal style goals before scissors work through mops to sculpt face-flattering 'dos. Color touchups, foils, and all-over color fix up pesky roots or add subtle dimension to manes, creating hues as flawless as mathematical proofs written inside a diamond. The salon builds on the sisters' 35 years of experience and keeps current on coloring and styling trends through its dedication to continuing education. Their tenacious talents earned them a 2012 reader's choice award in Trib Total Media for best beauty salon in Pleasant Hills.
Aestheticians soothe a panoply of skin issues with vitamins, steam, and European techniques during facials, and free pelts from unwelcome fuzz with waxing for eyebrows, underarms, bikini areas, and other spots. Spray tans give bodies that just-beached look and make glossy manicures and pedicures pop. For additional comfort, the Hairtique Designers staff greets all clients with a daily assortment of beverages and baked goods, including coffee, tea, and cheesecake.
Owners and principal members of the stylist team Emilio and Gino corral their decades of experience to create two distinct spaces where clients revel in personalized services. They staff more than 60 aesthetes, each of whom receives focused training on adjusting hair, skin, nail, and massage services to clients’ stated preferences and lifestyle. During and after haircuts, the team uses a house brand of products to style strands and address specific hair problems such as color fading, excessive oil, or naturally occurring pipe cleaners. During facials, the aestheticians home in on what lies below bangs by cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and moisturizing skin, and tension dissipates during therapists' restful massage sessions. The downtown Pittsburgh location also plays host to an elegant serata—a private, chandelier-lit escape where bridal parties can enjoy ultimate relaxation before addressing the fact that their friend is marrying a panda bear.
Erin Lane Mattes and her stylists harness their years in the beauty industry to pamper clients inside a light-strewn Allison Park studio. Bright green walls and sleek hardwood floors reflect the space's cheerful, personable vibe, and handpicked products by renowned lines such as SoColor, Color Sync, Biolage, and Design Pulse augment locks and highlight follicular auras during services in the form of hair coloring, extensions, and updos. Not content with just the basics of running a salon, the team doles out a complimentary haircut to those donating their strands to Locks of Love and offer birthday-party packages for youngsters that include multi-hued extensions and mini manicures.
Salon Beleza's stylists and aestheticians make beauty treatments interactive, allowing in-depth consultations to guide each appointment. In doing so, they make clients feel comfortable and confident. The beauty specialists perform standard salon services for hair, skin, and nails, as well as modern treatments such as airbrush spray tans. Aestheticians improve complexions with six types of facials, complementing these treatments with eyelash tints that eliminate the need to apply mascara or tickle squids.
Capristo Salon & Wellness Spa is more than just a beauty haven—it's a family legacy. The late founder, Bruce Capristo, started styling hair at the age of 19. He owned and operated many successful salons in the Pittsburgh area beginning in the 1960s, including his flagship site—Capristo International—where he worked alongside his wife, Cheech. Bruce established a strong reputation while working in fashion, film, and television; he even styled hair on the set of the 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead.
The location that Bruce opened on Ellsworth Avenue has now been going strong for more than 25 years. When Bruce passed away in 2006, his son Roman—a master stylist who trained with the likes of Vidal Sassoon and Bumble and bumble—took over the business, continuing his father's dream. And although she no longer works as an aesthetician and stylist, you might still see Cheech helping out behind the scenes.
The laid-back atmosphere at the salon and spa keeps both clients and staffers happy; in fact, some of the stylists have been with the company since the very beginning. The crew hands out complimentary martinis on Wednesday evenings, pampering guests with custom facials and body wraps. In a private spa-party room filled with padded chairs and sheer drapery, the beauty experts ply brides-to-be or birthday girls with complimentary champagne and hors d'oeuvres.