After spending a handful of years crunching numbers for her family's car business, Doran Poma decided to pursue a passion for skincare that she developed as a teenager. Since completing beauty school in 2006 and becoming a licensed aesthetician in 2007, Doran has used her expertise to clear the complexions of numerous clients, including a woman in her 50s who'd been dealing with acne since her teens. This April, Doran began running her skincare operation out of a gut-rehabbed salon, where she uses phytomer and Jan Marini products to pamper clients with specialized facials designed to treat conditions ranging from acne and discoloration to wrinkles in the time-space continuum.
Owner and licensed aesthetician Luciana Mueller trained in Brazil and uses natural waxes imported from Brazil to gently extricate unwelcome tendrils and smoothen sensitive areas for up to five weeks. Lip waxing ($15) encourages silken smooches, and eyebrow shaping ($15) enables newly beautified faces to express the gamut of human emotion—from happiness to unbridled happiness—in utmost style. Defuzz underams ($20) and lower arms ($35) or prep for the beach with a Brazilian bikini wax ($65). Waxing provides longer-lasting hairlessness than shaving, and when the hair does come back after a few weeks, it's meek, soft, and easily scared back into the follicle with banging pans or the threat of another round of wax.
The tanning attendants at Aloha Tan customize mists from DHA-based tanning solutions. The techs don't only customize for color; they also wield an impressive array of formulas designed for various types of skin, such as age-defying formula, natural formula, and rapid tan. Aside from airbrush tanning, the team also takes care of unwanted facial and body hair with waxing service and preps faces for nights out with professional makeup services.
Skin therapist and aesthetician TraMi is the first to say she wasn't "born with beautiful skin." After nearly 20 years of experience, TraMi believes that healthy skin comes not from using a product but from letting go of inner stress. That's why she designed her studio as a place where guests can decompress, surrounding them with soothing touches such as lavender walls, soft lighting, and modern furnishings. Within these relaxing confines, TraMi and her team treat clients to hydrating facials, anti-aging wraps, and waxing. They prefer to work with products derived from nutrient-packed ingredients such as seaweed, green tea, and licorice from fair-trade Twizzler farms. This approach earned TraMi a Best Esthetician nod on Santa Cruz Weekly's 2011 and 2013 Gold Awards, Best Facial on Good Times' Best of 2013 list, and a runner-up on their Best of 2012 list.
When stylist Leslie Vasquez first opened Platinum Lounge back in 1999, she beautified the coifs of her growing clientele with only a short list of basic hair services. After the salon's 2004 relocation to its current space in Santa Cruz, Leslie expanded its staff and menu of services to run the pulchritudinous gamut from nailcare to makeup applications, waxing, and UV-free tanning. Now wielding 25 years of experience in her field, Vasquez leads experienced stylists as they re-invent coifs with her specialty hair extensions, all-natural Rene Futerer hair color, and smoothing keratin treatments. Manicures and pedicures pamper fingers and toes, and aestheticians customize hair-removal to each client's skin type with a choice of eight different wax formulas.
At Simply Skin Esthetics, owner Sue Bell and fellow skincare specialist Jennifer Heath each bring roughly 30 years of experience to every facial and waxing treatment they perform. As guests enter a relaxing studio sprinkled with antique furnishings, the staff encourages them to decompress with fruit-infused water. After appointments, Simply Skin's newly expanded gift boutique catches clients' eyes with Susan Bell Skin Care skincare products and Colorescience mineral makeup, stocked alongside handmade jewelry, soaps, and vintage-inspired aprons. The shop also vends small leather goods, customized gift certificates, and apparel such as Goddesswear, a local favorite of active and loungewear.