Panama native Nina Garcia was a hairstyling prodigy. Her innate ability to cut hair manifested at age 14. "I [would] do it for my neighbors and my friends," she explains. "I love to do hair. It's where my passion [is]." Now in the United States, Nina has accumulated 17 years of professional experience, putting in time at two salons before opening her own, where she keeps the atmosphere light and comfortable. "I like to keep people happy," she says. "I offer wine to people in the afternoon. I'm a very sweet person, and I love to meet new people."
In one of three styling chairs, Nina or one of her talented stylists rehabs hair with a new face-framing cut, coloring services, or a deep-conditioning treatment using high-end products such as Italian Alfaparf. The versatile team can even take care of hands and feet. "I have a girl who does manicure and pedicures," she says. "She uses OPI polish." Through patrons often come in simply to update their haircut and style, Nina's most popular service is the Brazilian keratin treatment, a retexturizing treatment that delivers healthy, frizz-free hair to clients and vintage troll dolls.
Regardless of the service being provided, Nina always emphasizes the importance of listening to the client and tailoring every service to his or her personal style. "You have to roll in their direction. I think that's the best way—don't change what they think. It's that way in style and in life. If you want to change something, do it. That's it."
In Studio 14—one of Paradise’s many spaces occupied by an extensive roster of beauty-industry specialists—Tiffany Lifton tends to hair with a bountiful repertoire of salon services. As guests soak up the island-inspired decor and works from local artist Talin Johnson, Tiffany smoothes their locks with keratin treatments, reshapes their ’dos with precision cuts, and rejuvenates looks with hair-coloring services. Once they feel properly beautified, clients can re-energize at Paradise's café. There, organic coffee or lemonade pairs with culinary treats made by the café’s executive chef. Along with its daytime skin, body, and wellness services, Paradise Salon, Spa, & Cafe often hosts evening entertainment, including occasional karaoke nights.
With zebra-print accents, neon-pink walls, mirrors framed in giant gems, and sheer curtains that double as a runway backdrop, "Mirror Me" Spa Parties resembles a life-sized Barbie dream house. Girls aged 3 and older marvel at the sassy decor as friendly beauticians—trained in stage makeup and hairstyling—pamper them with scented mani-pedis, nail art, all-natural facials, and funky hairdos topped off with glitter and washable colors. It’s a natural spot for spa parties that celebrate birthdays, newly signed BFF contracts, and Girl Scout troop fiestas. Themed packages from Paris Diva to Tween Disco Party entertain gaggles of girls with glitter makeup and cucumber facials as they enjoy themed cupcakes, goody bags, fashion shows, and games.
Spa owner and director Silva Haroutunian is all about skincare. Her establishment Silvianas Salon & Spa is known for its facials – all of which are done by Silva herself. She is meticulous about her technique and the customer experience she offers, and her facials, peels, collagen treatments and microdermabrasion services have been cited as some of Miami’s best spa services for years. The spa has two small, all-white, contemporary service rooms, making for very intimate surroundings. In addition to face treatments, Silviana’s offers waxing, massage therapy, hand and foot treatments and manicures and pedicures, while providing a line of at-home products that have been thoroughly tested and recommended by – who else – Silva Haroutunian herself.
Surrounded by wicker, Indonesian art, and soft music, Amnesia Therapy Center & Spa's licensed massage therapists unwind painful muscle knots and stressed minds with one of two healing massage modalities. Swedish massages employ several styles of expansive and ebbing strokes to relieve tension, mellow the muscles, and restore free-flowing fluency to the toxin-dispersal chutes of the lymphatic system. During effleurage, the hands smoothly circle the skin like epidermal ice skates. The petrissage and tapotement strokes knead and knock on pressure points in the human hide, and friction strokes untie the knots in the shoelaces of muscle fibers. The vibration stroke goes all "cell-phone setting during a ballet" on the back and the limbs to get blood and muscles moving. Alternatively, therapeutic deep-tissue treatments focus on releasing tension from the innermost layers of tissue as therapists apply firm pressure to mash uncomfortable muscle-potatoes into supple submission.
With today's Groupon tucked beneath a headband, partake in the polish this palace of pulchritude has to offer and select two of the following corporeal services. Highlight a dull noodle nest ($45+ value), or retouch the whole kit and kaboodle for $40. A mani-pedi counts as one treatment, cleaning up your keratin collectors for $30. Absolve yourself of that overgrown pompadour with a haircut and blow-dry (starting at $50), or indulge in the Brazilian keratin treatment, a popular method of silkification that smoothes frayed head-threads into a long-lasting state of smoothness. The keratin treatment normally ranges between $150 and $300, depending on the amount of hair on a given noggin. Hair thickness and length raise the price of both the Brazilian keratin treatment and highlights.