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.
With more than a decade of experience, local hairstylist Megan Sharek huddled an experienced team of other style superheroes to join her beauty lair, called Megan’s Loft…a hair and nail studio. Since her salon’s doors swung open, the team has honed a range of services, including tress-transforming techniques from haircuts for women, men, and children to foil highlights and special-occasion updos. Facial-waxing services further spruce up appearances, whereas customized mani-pedis make fingers pretty enough to shake hands with a scrutinizing American bald eagle. Nail services treat fingers and toes to a soak, massage, and paraffin treatment before crowning them in coat of traditional polish, long-lasting Shellac, or acrylic tips.
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.
Deemed one of the city’s best salons in 2010 by the Pittsburgh City Paper, Dean of Shadyside has been beautifying clientele since its founding in 1984. Its stylists focus on hospitality and guarantee all their services, which include everything from a basic blow dry to feather extensions and three levels of highlights. Nail techs perform four types of manicures and three pedicures for everyday occasions or as part of packages for bridal parties. In a private office, staff experts also consult clients on hair loss and offer them wig-fashion services or attach extensions for more voluminous looks.