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.
Top-shelf products by Aveda, Kevin Murphy, and Baco line the shelves at Cristo Bello Spa Salon and Gifts, where beauty experts cosset their clients with an array of services. Experienced hairstylists spin around cushy black styling chairs in the salon, ribboning hair with full-foil highlights and freeing men, women, and children from pesky split-ends and lengths that present choking threats. They dole out helpings of the Brazilian-blowout treatment to transform frizzy strands into smooth and shiny locks, or put a hint of bounce into stick-straight strands with spiral texturizing. Nail technicians work close by, shaping and polishing nails and enveloping skin with hot stones.
Guests can escape the chatter and noisy blow dryers by retreating to the spa for a massage or facial. Licensed massage therapists push stress aside with Swedish, deep-tissue, and shiatsu massages, while clients sip on herbal tea or wine. Meanwhile, aestheticians call upon Aveda and Dr. Alkatis Organic Skin Care products to cleanse and clarify skin. They use the soy-based Nufree system to remove hair from the face and body without the irritation or bee trail of traditional waxes, and create a natural-looking tan in minutes with Norvel organic spray-tanning solutions.
At Chaney's Natural, revitalizing the body is about more than muscle manipulation. Of course, the massage team commands an array of hands-on modalities designed to ease pain and promote relaxation, including Swedish massage, trigger-point therapy, and even energy-based reiki sessions. But the studio goes beyond outer relaxation by offering nutritional counseling services and mind-centering activities such as yoga classes, drum circles, and posing really hard riddles. Chaney's spans two locations and its Monongahela office is completely handicap-accessible, down to its wheelchair-friendly hydraulic massage bed.
From the outside, Resolutions Med Spa has the look of a rural country house––a quality that continues inside to its pastel-hued walls, wood accents, and plush, high-backed pedicure sofas. Amid these cozy accents, guests may partake in a mélange of beautification services, ranging from microdermabrasion and chemical peels to waxing and makeup consultations. The spa also employs a licensed massage therapist who can ease chronic tension with hot-stone therapy and restorative deep-tissue bodywork.
At Phalanges Unlimited, the decor strikes a balance between charm and chic. A wall-to-wall, monochromatic portrait of a woman greets guests in the reception area, her fierce gaze surrounded by curled hair and bejeweled earrings. It's a striking image, offset by numerous blackboards that adorn the walls with quirky quotations and service prices.
Licensed and certified technician Cherie Dercqu oversees the venue with expertise that is as varied as the salon's design. Having been in the beauty industry for more than 20 years, she administers nail and cosmetic treatments with meticulous care. Natural-nail specialist Tina Costello performs pampering mani-pedis, and her acrylics artfully enhance hands and feet. Cherie also applies permanent makeup to lips, eyebrows, and eyelids, canceling out the hassle of putting on eyeliner or wearing sunglasses at night when you forget. Her other services include eyelash extensions, ear candling, and formal makeup sessions.