Growing up in sun-drenched Southern California, Bronzed Bunny owner Jeni Nola found herself in a bit of a paradoxical situation. Though she knew she was drawn to the beauty of radiant, sun-tanned skin, she was also wary of the dangers associated with excessive UV exposure. To resolve this tension, Nola turned to spray tanning, which she quickly realized carried its own inherent risks such as the use of harsh chemicals. Determined to find the answer, she then spent months developing Indulge, an organic, paraben-free spray-tanning solution that safely bronzes the skin while also leaving behind invigorating scents of coconut or pomegranate-mango.
Today, Jeni and her team of veteran aestheticians employ this signature formula at Bronzed Bunny, a beautification haven that also offers sugaring sessions. A fitting complement to newly bronzed skin, sugaring sessions target ingrown hairs and lift away strands in the same direction of growth—a technique that leaves the clients less prone to irritation and more prone to receiving gigs as thigh models. Other treatments offered at the boutique spa include skin-purifying facials for both the face and the body.
The Spa Gregorie team won Spa Finder’s Reader’s Choice award for Best Day Spa of 2011 for rejuvenating skin with Spa Gregorie's botanically enriched product line. Steps away from the spa's tranquil hair salon, Arcona formulas play a central role in the spa's 18 facial treatments while massage clients benefit from fluffy robes and a eucalyptus steam room. But the staff's dedication to well-being doesn't stop with the clients—contributions to the Make a Wish Foundation and multiple cancer research organizations echo this allegiance to communal prosperity, and any nonprofit group or charitable organization may use the Del Mar spa's conference room for free.
In 2011, the International SPA Association honored Spa Gregorie's CEO Angela Cortright with the Dedicated Contributor of the Year award. The press release cites her commitment to well-being and public service beyond her three eucalyptus-scented spas and reveals her favorite quote to be Muhammad Ali's maxim, “Service to others is the rent we pay for our room here on Earth.” This attitude has earned the company an avalanche of awards, which document the good works of its expert aestheticians, hair designers, and massage therapists.
Darque Tan's arsenal of beds, booths, and nourishing lotions infuses visiting bodies with sun-kissed color. Along with at least 20 tanning beds, each location brims with tan-savvy staff members—each certified through the International Smart Tan Network—who can work with you to customize a program based on your tanning goals, skin type, and relation to black-and-white movie starlets. Sessions take place in private rooms that line a column-flanked hallway, where five different levels of UV beds give skin the perfect level of tanning. Mystic Tan and VersaSpa sunless-tanning systems imbue clients with a hydrating, natural-looking glow, which can be customized according to skin tone, desired shade, and spirit animal. A full-time cleaning staff keeps each center in pristine conditions by referencing a 50-point inspection system. Most locations have books, televisions, and kids’ play areas to keep children entertained while adults are bronzing.
At Drybar, a pair of scissors or hair-coloring foil is nowhere to be found. That’s because the business’s founder, Alli Webb, opened the shop strictly for blowouts after her in-home business skyrocketed. Featured extensively in the media, each of the more than 25 white-hued, airy shops revolves around a center bar where customers sit for around 45 minutes as stylists blow-dry, straighten, and curl their hair. From a menu booklet, clients select a cocktail-themed hairstyle, such as The Mai Tai, which imparts beachy waves, and The Manhattan, which streamlines locks with a sleek finish that mimics the straight lines of downtown New York and can be outfitted with a tiny doorman who hails cabs for you. The staff at Drybar also crafts updos, travels on location for an additional fee, offers high-end products and tools available for purchase, and tallies bar tabs so that customers can pay for multiple blowouts at once.
Cofounder Tina Mui-Wong boasts a passion for the beauty industry that spurred her to earn a cosmetology license before completing high school and establish a pair of spas that have thrived for more than 25 years. In a 2010 interview with Pasadena Magazine, Mui-Wong admits to being a "product freak," which is reflected in her role as developer of Amadeus's signature line, T.E.A. The staff and salon has appeared in the film Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde, graced television screens on ABC's Extreme Makeover, and exhibited their handiwork on the Rose Bowl queen and her court of chrysanthemum noblesse for two decades.
Amadeus takes pride in its custom massages, and re-trains every nail technician in-house to ensure updated mastery of the hand jive. Guests receive slippers, robes, and complimentary skin consultations upon request, and may pad down the scented hallways after their treatment to decompress in a eucalyptus steam room.
The cutting-edge beauty techniques taught at CAMMUA Makeup Academy prepare budding makeup artists for the high-fashion world as well as careers in TV or film. The techniques and vision of founder Gia Deo shape the school's curriculum, and she has personally mentored every one of the school’s teachers. Advanced FX classes teach students how to use foam and latex appliances, facial hair, and bald caps to turn an actor into an otherworldly creature or make a werewolf presentable enough for a job interview. The academy’s comprehensive makeup kits combine with intensive beauty-certification classes that cover the essentials of being a makeup artist. Members of the public can enroll in one-session makeup tutorials, which cover flattering color palettes and impart concealer techniques to hide redness rather than entire eyes.