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.
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]]
Board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. Fredric Newman and Dr. David Passaretti have been ranked among the country's top plastic surgeons. At Aesthetic Surgery Center Darien, the doctors aim to create a family atmosphere and give everyone the same level of care.
Their services start with non- or minimally invasive beauty procedures, such as facials, Botox, and laser skin resurfacing. But they extend into more involved surgeries to lift eyebrows, reshape noses, or contour the body.
Owner Lisa Primps and her team of aestheticians, electrologists, and permanent-makeup artists have dedicated the past 21 years to helping clients reach a state of relaxation via treatments that fuse alternative and clinical spa methods. In doing so, they reach for Jan Marini, Dermalogica, and Bioelements skincare products during facials and peels, which can further be enhanced with microdermabrasion and ultrasonic technology. Rather than relying on hypnosis, aestheticians safely subtract unwanted hair from the follicles with traditional waxing or electrolysis, which uses disposable gold probes. Lisa applies her aesthetic knowledge and years of experience?which includes postgraduate work at the International Dermal Institute?during telangiectasia treatments, which gently remove broken capillaries and skin tags from the face and chest.
Just as The Primping Place Spa?s treatments stay ahead of the curve, so does its decor. The reception and treatment room is decorated from floor to ceiling with renewable materials, including Benjamin Moore VOC-free Natura paint, natural-bamboo blinds, and cotton drapes. A series of potted philodendrons help cleanse the air more effectively than washing its mouth out with soap. The Spa also sells Scentsy wickless candles and offers free tastings of weight-loss shakes and cleanses from Isagenix.
Salon Shahin owner Shahin Farzam opened his salon with a steadfast pledge to devote time and attention to both clients and the environment. The team of hairdressers uses plant-based Phytologie products, and each stylist brings his or her own unique touch to the styling chair, delivering customized classic and cutting-edge haircuts alongside coloring services that use ammonia-free European products.