• For $27, you get a men's traditional hot-towel shave, facial, and a neck, head, and shoulder massage (a $55 value). • For $32, you get a women's haircut and blow-dry (up to a $75 value). • For $100, you get two 60-minute massages (a $200 value).
Men, women, and children alike sit back in comfy salon chairs at Alex's Unisex Hair Salon & Barber as stylists tend to each customer's hair needs. Haircuts remove dead weight and split ends at the tips of strands, and highlights add pops of color to refreshed styles. The stylists also calm frizz using keratin straightening treatments, trim beards, and twists locks into chic updos for the annual pretzel-festival ball.
Lorena's Body Shoppe is a one-stop venue for looking good. Above the neck, beauty pros offer facials, haircuts, makeup applications, and eyelash extensions. Mani-pedis clean up nails, and massages relax stressed bodies. An on-staff tattoo artist inks up bodies with colorful flowers, tribal designs, and blueprints of celebrities' houses.
After gliding over glistening wooden floors supporting chic, modern fixtures, licensed aesthetician Najia Rohlf and her team greet guests in need of custom skin revitalization. In the first phase of the 60-minute European facial, a staff member cleanses pores and dusts off skin detritus. Extraction follows exfoliation, and then the aesthetician sheathes skin with a mask designed to ward off cheek-pinching aunts. Finally, a moisturizer restores suppleness and vanishes croissant flakes holding on since breakfast. Following treatments, clients can admire their newly radiant visages in nearby storefront windows and crossing guards' suits of armor.
In the late 1920s—just as the Great Depression struck America—Merle Norman took up a project in her tiny California kitchen to formulate her own skincare products and share them with family and friends. She truly believed in her formulas, and she knew that getting them on as many faces as possible would help her develop a following of customers. She was right—and in 1931—she and her nephew opened their first studio in Santa Monica. The pair eventually unveiled a series of independently operated stores that enabled women to take ownership during a time of gender-based limitations such as men-only restrooms.
Today, in approximately 2,000 stores across three countries, the three basic principles of Merle's original vision still apply. Each studio is independently owned and fosters an in-depth knowledge of the company's own line of makeup and skincare products. Just as Merle shared her creations with close friends and sallow mannequins more than 80 years ago, today's aestheticians embody the business's "try before you buy" philosophy. A menu of complimentary studio services—from foundation checks to express facials—allows patrons to sample the lauded brand before committing to the purchase of products or full spa treatments.
Depicting a hip, well-groomed character holding clippers, the colorful mural on the window of Manny's Cutz jumps out on 14th Avenue, beckoning passersby to peek into the shop. Inside, a calm scene of peach walls and wood floors surrounds the mural's likeness, Manny, as he stands at a black barber chair, lopping off and styling hair. Manny also tends to beards and the dried mustard that naturally grows in them during soothing hot-towel shaves.