In the late 1920s, the Great Depression was rendering most Americans professionally and financially paralyzed. But in a small California kitchen, Merle Nethercutt Norman was putting a plan in motion to formulate her own skincare products and share them with family and friends. She truly believed in her formulas, knowing that by getting them on as many faces as possible, she would develop a following of customers. She was right—within a few years she and her nephew were opening their first studio in Santa Monica, and they 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 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.
The nail technicians, massage therapists, and aestheticians at True Grace Spa & Nail use top-shelf products to yield long-lasting results. By slathering hands and feet in a private-label lotion containing pure botanical ingredients, nail technicians hydrate the skin without leaving the greasy after-feel associated with cheap lotions or used motor oil. During signature facials, aestheticians nourish faces with Decléor products that contain all-natural ingredients. To enhance the therapeutic benefits of massage, kneading professionals may add the spa's signature Cellular Renewal lotion or Moisture Vitality lotion, both of which restore vitality to the skin and promote relaxation with subtle aromas of citrus or lavender.
Whether attending to a client's facial needs or love of eclectic nail colors, the aestheticians at Cosmetic Boutique are committed to their use of organic and paraben-free beauty products. This gallery of makeup and skincare formulas includes products by brands such as Jane Iredale, Skinceuticals, and Natura Bissé. The boutique mainly serves as a personalized small-scale shopping experience, where trained staff walk customers through their stock. And yet, as a combination beauty shop and med spa, it also has staff who perform services ranging from oxygen-infused facials with exfoliation and extractions to waxing and airbrush tanning.
Hairquarters has cultivated a mature elegance throughout its 40 years in business. In the salon, sconces are mounted on the wall like dark wineglasses, casting a glow on the polished hardwood floors. Vintage mirrors reflect the stylists as they transform tresses with high-end Keratase and Aveda products. Deeper into the facility, pedicure nooks outfitted with black leather banquettes and gold throw pillows offer a soothing retreat, enhanced by the rippling water of footbaths. Guests may also relax in a private room as facials or microdermabrasions are administered by the spa’s skilled esthetician
Furnished with kidney-bean-shaped manicure tables, framed mirrors, and an American cherry-wood hutch lined with polishes and nail products, The Nail Retreat’s quaint space resembles a cozy living room. In that space, trained technicians buff, sculpt, and paint nails, and in a separate room, aestheticians nourish and beautify skin with facials, hair removal, and skincare services. Before or after appointments, clients can browse the adjoining boutique arranged with handmade jewelry, seasonal gifts, and fashion accessories.
Board-certified physician Denis Bouboulis, MD directs Versailles Medical Spa, pairing a clinician’s expertise with a doctor’s compassion. When not overseeing the application of treatment, the doctor finds avenues to give back—his self-produced 2006 Christmas benefit CD climbed to the top of medical charts everywhere. Dr. Bouboulis’s staff includes aesthetician Marie Saade, who draws upon a decade of experience—plus training in France and England—to fight against wrinkles and misapplied temporary tattoos. In Versailles Medical Spa's well-appointed reception area, fine-art prints hang near carved wooden furniture, and a rose-toned oriental rug.:m]]